Human Interest

Mom who came off life support to meet 7-week-old son reunites with family for Christmas

Life support

Indiana mom Autumn Carver had a long road to meeting her third child, but that made the reunion all the sweeter. Now, after nearly 100 days in the hospital, she is home for Christmas with her family — something that seemed highly unlikely just a few months ago.

Autumn caught COVID and had to be hospitalized in August when she was pregnant with her son, Huxley. Unfortunately, she had to be put on a ventilator, and doctors delivered Huxley by C-section at 33 weeks. Autumn’s condition continued to worsen and she was put on an ECMO machine, which is a form of life support. Her prognosis was not good, and doctors thought that if she did survive, she would likely need a double lung transplant.

“When we took on Autumn, the probability was pretty low that she would get better because she had been on the ventilator and ECMO for an extended period of time,” Dr. Ankit Bharat, chief of thoracic surgery at Northwestern Medicine told reunite. “If you need ECMO for over a month, your probability of coming off without something like a lung transplant is less than 5 percent.”

Autumn spent nearly two months on life support, but when she did wake up in October she was able to meet Huxley for the very first time — a moment that was emotional for everyone. “Her parents, one of her best friends, and many nurses and doctors witnessed the special moment. I don’t know if there was a dry eye in the area,” her husband Zach wrote on Facebook at the time. “What an amazing day. We have a long way to go, but a good day through this was much needed.”

After meeting Huxley, Autumn continued to make improvements and despite the doctors’ predictions, she has not had to have a lung transplant — a development Zach says is miraculous. “She can talk. She can walk. She can breathe on her own. We’re gonna walk out of the hospital here in a little little bit and go home,” he told WTHR. “I just don’t have the words. I’m super, super excited and blessed and grateful, and it’s just a miracle, an absolute miracle, and I thank God every day for her.”

After an amazing recovery, Autumn was finally able to leave the hospital several weeks ago, just in time to reunite with her family for the holidays. In addition to Huxley, she also has two young daughters who she was not able to see for the entirety of her hospital stay. “I’m most excited for all five of us being a family under one roof for the first time. The baby just turned three months old and we’re going to surprise our kiddos, our two older daughters, Harlow and Sadie. The look on their faces, we’re pretty excited to see them,” she told PEOPLE.

Autumn said that she is looking forward to everything about being at home with her newborn, especially given all she’s been through. “All of it, including the late night wake-ups and everything. Baby snuggles are the best. So, just looking forward to that bonding time and letting him get to know mama again,” she said.

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