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EXCLUSIVE: Omaha family reflects on intense COVID experience one year later

Posted at 6:55 PM, May 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-20 19:57:38-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — May is a month of milestones for the Laux family, it has now been a year after their COVID scare. Ashlee Laux was 29 weeks pregnant with her third child when she got sick with COVID-19.

In April 2021, Ashlee was admitted to Methodist Women's Hospital when her oxygen level dipped below 95 percent. She got pneumonia and doctors performed an emergency C-section. Her son Gavin was successfully delivered early, but her condition worsened.

"For her, 'we're putting her on a ventilator right now,' that's just news you don't want to hear. When I got to the hospital, it was just a rush," her husband, Josh Laux, said.

Adam Wells, the Medical Director for Methodist Hospital's ICU, recalls caring for Ashlee and supporting her in the ambulance.

"I remember sitting in the hospital at the main campus after we got there just shaking, finally being able to settle and reflect on what had just happened, how close they were to not being Ashlee and not being baby and not a family, this one really moved me, it was hard," Wells said.

With baby Gavin in the NICU, Ashlee spent four days on the ventilator. Her husband Josh braced for the worst.

"Probably the darkest days, just 'what do I tell my kids if Mom's not coming home?' Kept going through my mind, 'what will I do with three kids as a single dad if something were to happen?' " Josh said.

In early May of last year, Ashlee opened her eyes and came off the ventilator. By Mother's Day, doctors released her from quarantine and her other children who are a pair of twins, got to see their mom. But there was one piece still missing.

"I still hadn't got to see Gavin ... now I'm gonna cry," said Ashlee as she paused to wipe a tear. "It was hard, heartbreaking, but so overwhelming at the same time."

Ashlee came home from the hospital to recover, but Gavin spent almost two full months there.

One year later, Gavin is celebrating his first birthday while husband and wife celebrate 10 years of marriage.

"You just realize there's a lot of stuff in life that does not matter. Don't focus on the little stuff, don't let it get you down. Focus on the important stuff and everything will be ok," Josh said.

"Your family and friends are there for you, you don't have to carry everything on your own," Ashlee said.

A year later - Ashlee still struggles with joint pain and shortness of breath but wants to urge others to protect themselves. Doctors urge people to get their vaccine if they still haven't gotten it.

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