Hungarian mother Szilvia Bedő-Nagy only found out she had given birth to baby daughter Napsugár when she was brought out of an induced coma more than a month later, having tested positive for COVID-19 and contracted pneumonia.
She was heavily pregnant when she was diagnosed with COVID-19 late last year and was sent home to quarantine. But as her condition worsened, she was rushed back to hospital.
“I couldn’t breathe,” Bedő-Nagy told Radio Free Europe from her home in the rural town of Hatvan. “It turned out that it was pneumonia.”
She was transferred to Budapest and Napsugár, which is Hungarian for “sunshine”, was born by caesarean section. Bedő-Nagy was put in the intensive care unit on a ventilator, then an artificial lung and finally into an induced coma.
While she was in hospital, her husband József Bedő cared for their daughter, fearing that his wife might not survive.
Hungary has the world’s highest COVID-19 deaths per 100,000 people, according to Johns Hopkins University data, and in some hospitals as many as 80% of the patients on ventilators did not survive.
But around Christmas time, Bedő received a call from a doctor who said his wife had been woken up.
“The doctor said my wife was trying to make contact with me,” Bedő said. “The next day, I went to pay her a visit. She was awake and when I asked her something, she would answer me with her eyes.”
New Year’s Eve, 2020, was the first time Bedő-Nagy remembers being awake after her ordeal, but she said she still did not know what had happened.
“I had no idea what was going on. I was pointing to my belly to ask when I gave birth … Then the doctor said the baby had been born a while ago.”
Her doctor, Béla Merkely, said Bedő-Nagy’s was a fascinating, unusually complicated case.
Bedő-Nagy is making a good recovery at home together with her husband and Napsugár.