A grieving mother has given birth to a baby boy in the same hospital where she lost her husband to COVID-19 two months before, saying the moment was ‘bittersweet.’
Maria Garza, 30, from Texas, delivered her son with her mother by her side on July 19. She named the newborn after his father, Jason Garza, 36, who died in the ICU in May following a three-month coronavirus battle.
‘Bittersweet’: Maria Garza, 30, from Texas, delivered her son on July 19 in the same hospital where her husband, Jason Garza, died of COVID-19 two months before
Loss: Jason (pictured) died in May after a three-month battle with COVID-19 in the intensive care unit
‘But with the support of my family and my mom was there with me and I held his memories close to my heart. [Giving birth] definitely [was] a bittersweet moment.’
Jason knew Maria was expecting before he contracted the virus, but he was hospitalized during the entire second half of her pregnancy and never got to meet his second son.
Maria was five months pregnant when her husband tested positive for COVID-19 on February 5. She had recovered from a mild case of the virus last year and assumed Jason would have a similar outcome.
‘A couple days later, he started having trouble breathing, especially at night. About a week later, he was sent to the hospital, because he really couldn’t catch his breath. He couldn’t walk. A week after that he was put on a ventilator. So it was a very, very fast progression of disease there,’ she told KXAN.
Tribute: Maria named her son after his late father, who never got to meet him
Legacy: Maria and Jason have a three-year-old daughter Isabela (pictured with her baby brother). He also has an older son from a previous relationship
Maria, who works in the healthcare industry, was vaccinated while Jason was fighting for his life in the intensive care unit. She watched as his health would improve one day and then drastically decline the next. He died in May.
‘The stress of him being in the ICU for three months was almost more than his passing,’ she explained to GMA. ‘By the time that his passing came about, it was, [in] a way, a relief because we knew that he wouldn’t be suffering anymore.’
Her OB-GYN, Dr. John Thoppil, said he tried to be there for the expectant mom as much as he could as she dealt with her pregnancy and the stress of her husband’s hospitalization.
‘She handled [it] with such grace that I don’t think anybody outside of people who were the closest would have known what she was dealing with,’ he told GMA.
Heartbreak: Maria was five months pregnant when her husband tested positive for COVID-19 on February 5. He was put on a ventilator just a few weeks later
Protecting her family: Maria, who works in the health care industry, was vaccinated while her husband was in the ICU
Using her voice: Maria is sharing their story to urge others to get vaccinated, explaining that she doesn’t want anyone else to endure what she went through
Dr. Thoppil believes Maria being vaccinated made the remainder of her pregnancy and birth safer, explaining that ‘pregnancy is a known risk factor’ for severe COVID-19 complications.
Maria told KXAN that her husband’s doctors tried everything to save him and had considered a lung transplant in Florida, but he was too unstable for the surgery.
She is now sharing her family’s heartbreaking story to urge everyone, including pregnant women, to get vaccinated because she doesn’t want anyone else to endure what she went through.
‘He should have had a short disease, and he didn’t,’ she said. ‘Any pregnant woman out there, as a mom, what you want to do first and foremost is to protect your children, and I was able to do that with the COVID vaccine.’