A rural Alaska family is torn between feelings of grief and celebration. After a family member suffered a seizure, cardiac arrest and long-term coma, her relatives are saying goodbye -- while welcoming a newborn they call a "miracle baby."
Shirley Jerry is Jessie Ayagalria's mother. While she says the family is deeply saddened by Ayagalria's current state, there is a shining light through all of what's happened.
"I could hear her laughing with her uncle and the other sister," Jerry said.
It was the last time Jerry heard her daughter's laugh.
"Next thing I know they were hollering for me and I told them to call 911," Jerry said.
Ayagalria had been living with her aunt in Bethel and intended to marry her boyfriend when she suffered a seizure before going into cardiac arrest in January. She was revived and brought to the local hospital.
"It happened just that fast," Jerry said.
Before she was medevaced to Anchorage, care providers discovered something they weren't expecting.
"The doctor told us that she was pregnant and we didn't know how far along until we got here," Jerry said.
Ayagalria was 12 weeks pregnant, but medical tests revealed she had no brain activity. Her family told doctors not to resuscitate her.
"It's hard because you know that she's there to carry the baby, but if you know the baby does get born which she now is, we're going to have to let her go," Jerry said.
Ayagalria carried her baby to 35 weeks with the help of a feeding tube and intravenous drip and baby Faith was delivered by C-section on Tuesday.
"Her auntie said that when she first saw her she said that she's got Jessie's cheeks," Jerry said.
As Jessie's family members say hello to a new little face, Jerry knows it also means saying goodbye to another.
"We're just gonna let her pass on 'cause I know in my heart she wouldn't want to be like this," Jerry said. "I just know in my heart she wouldn't want to be taken care of like this and I feel, I hope I'm doing the best I can for her by letting her go."
But Jerry says Faith is a six-pound, one-ounce miracle that will remind Jessie's family of her memory forever.
"That's the last of my Jessie, she's precious. She's a miracle, she made a miracle," Jerry said.
Once Faith is strong enough to be released from the hospital, Jessie's sister plans to adopt her.
The family has set up a GoFundMe account where people can donate money that will be used for items to care for the baby.