Woman with H1N1 gives birth

COLLINGSWOOD, N.J. - October 15, 2009 29-year-old Karin McHugh of Collingswood was happy and healthy and expecting her first child until she got sick. It started with a cough, but as she explained on Good Morning America this morning, it quickly got worse.

"Then on Saturday, I couldn't even get out of bed, I was struggling to breathe, wheezing and just achy. I told my husband to take me to the hospital, something was not right," Karin said.

And something wasn't right. Chest X-rays showed her lungs were filled with fluid.

Doctors thought she had pneumonia. Karin was put on a respirator and had to undergo an emergency C-section. Karin was also tested for the H1N1 virus.

All this happened in July, just a month after hundreds of children reportedly got sick with flu-like symptoms at nearby Pennsauken Intermediate High School.

Health officials told Action News back then some students were tested for the H1N1 virus.

Karin tested positive for H1N1.

Fortunately, she delivered a healthy baby boy named Liam.

However, she wouldn't get to hold him for two months as she remained in a medically-induced coma.

"Once I knew Liam was okay, I just focused all my attention on Karin," Karin's husband Brian said.

"My heart stopped three times, they thought I had brain damage," Karin said.

But Karin was kept alive with the help of a machine known as an ECMO. It lets the heart and lungs rest as it does their work.

Miraculously, she survived and Liam is now a healthy 2 and a half month-old baby.

Karin says knowing what could happen she would have gotten the H1N1 vaccine if it had been available. As a reminder, pregnant women cannot get the flu-mist form the vaccine which is the one available now. But the shots are coming.

In the meantime, if you are pregnant and have flu symptoms, here are three important steps.

Number one: Stay home.
Number two: Call your doctor.
Number three: Seek immediate medical care if you have any difficulty breathing, pressure or pain in your chest, sudden dizziness, persistent vomiting or a fever that does not go away with Tylenol.

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