HOUSTON - A pregnant mother has died of complications from COVID 19, leaving behind her preemie baby who is fighting for his life in the hospital.
Juanita Marchan was a school volunteer, a stay-at-home mom, and a “second mother” to many.
“She was always somebody who loved babies. She was literally everyone's babysitter,” says longtime friend Nancy Beltran.
She says Juanita was careful to avoid catching coronavirus. She wore a mask and socially distanced to protect her unborn baby.
At 39-years-old, her pregnancy was already high risk. But despite her efforts, in June, the fever and chills started.
“It got to a point where on a Friday, she started feeling like she couldn't really breathe so well,” says Beltran. “She went into the hospital thinking that she was having complications with her pregnancy.”
At six and a half months pregnant, Marchan tested positive for COVID-19. The family says three days later, she suffered a heart attack and died.
Doctors performed an emergency C-section to save the baby. Delivered at only two pounds, they decided to name him Jesus.
“Because it was a miracle that this baby is still here today,” says Beltran.
Nearly three weeks later, Jesus is still in the hospital but she says he is gaining weight and tested negative for COVID-19.
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A balloon release was held and a memorial of posters and flowers was put up to honor his mother. His father is now preparing to raise two sons without her.
“I've never seen someone love someone so much like he did, so I know it hurts,” says a tearful Beltran. “I know Juanita’s looking down and just proud of them because he stepped up a lot.”
Because of the pandemic, Marchan’s husband, who works as a roofer was already lacking jobs.
Beltran posted an online fundraiser that has been supported by others who lost loved ones to the virus. She's warning everyone to take it seriously.
“You don't really believe it until it's inside your own home, until it's your neighbor, until it's somebody that you personally know that just lost their life because of this,” she says.
She adds that Jesus's father won't raise him alone. Family and friends are promising to care for Juanita's sons the same way she cared for everyone else.
To support the family’s fundraiser, click here.