When I think back over the happiest moments of my life, the birth of my children is most certainly at the top do the list. For one States Island, mom this is a memory she will never have. Melissa Barvels gave birth to her second son while in a medically induced coma. Having contracted a deadly strain of the flu virus we 25 weeks pregnant in 2013, Melissa urges expecting moms everywhere to get vaccinated and waste no time in doing so. It could mean your life.
Having spent 45 days in a coma, Melissa recounts the dreadful experience. With a “necklace” of scars as she calls it. This was caused by a procedure in which doctors made a series of incisions in an attempt at saving her life. Now a mother of three, she is alive and well. Can you imagine awaking to no knowledge of what transpired, to include not knowing your own child’s name? Her sweet as can be husband went with the only name they had discussed, “Scott.” Melissa coined the nickname, “Scotty” after her miraculous recovery.
Any time she discusses the time she lost with her family and newborn, Melissa becomes emotional. When she awoke, she immediately knew she wasn’t pregnant anymore. She is quoted saying, “I still get emotional when I think about not being apart of Scotty’s birth. I don’t know if that’s something I’ll ever get over. Especially on January 8th.” A small portion of the sadness she recalls from this experience is alleviated when she discusses the first moments she spent with her newborn son. An entire team of medical personnel escorted baby Scotty from the NICU to Melissa’s bedside. Melissa was grateful yet overwhelmed by the outpouring of support with people taking pictures and staring wildly at her. She struggled to take it all in but as time passed she began to feel herself again, making daily trips to visit her son as they both endured the road to recovery together.
Scotty weighed 2lbs and 10ozs at birth and was taken to the NICU for recovery due to entering the world at 28 weeks gestation in the New York-Presbyterian Hospital. After the 45 day ordeal, mom and babe made a full recovery. It was by a stroke of luck that Melissa was able to walk away. This new mom was stunned to find out the cause of this life-altering time when she was diagnosed with H1N1 Swine Flu. In 2014 this strain of the flu caused the death toll to rise to critical heights in children, senior citizens, and those with compromised immune systems. This family hopes to raise awareness of the dangers of not being vaccinated and what it could cost. With an urgent plea to all mothers to vaccinate yourself, vaccinate your kids. There are no do-overs in life.