PLYMOUTH (CBS) – To this day, Allie Lotzkar doesn’t know how she contracted COVID-19. The 28-year-old Plymouth mother says she did everything in her power to keep herself and her family safe from the virus, “we were very careful. Masks everywhere, we stayed home.”
The Plymouth mother had added incentive to be safe. She had her 17-month-old son Miles at home, and she was pregnant through much of 2020. Despite her best efforts, Allie was diagnosed with the virus in early March, 2021 at 38 weeks pregnant. “What was going through my mind was this was my worst nightmare the whole time,” Lotzkar says.READ MORE: 'Oh My God, I'm In A Whale's Mouth': Lobster Diver Says He Was Nearly Swallowed By Whale Off Cape Cod
Most people her age recover from the virus with no serious complications, but not Allie. Within days of being diagnosed her condition worsened. She says, “it started like a cold, sore throat, coughing, a little bit of a fever and very quickly turned.”
Husband Ben says Allie isolated herself in a bedroom in the family’s home, but around day three he noticed she had developed a serious cough. “I started hearing her coughing more throughout the night,” he says, “it just progressively sounded worse and worse.”
The moment it really turned was early in the morning on day four. Allie says, “I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I felt like I was drowning every time I laid down.”
Eventually it got so bad that Allie needed to be taken to South Shore Hospital. It was there that doctors determined she had pneumonia in both lungs, and that she was in respiratory distress. That’s when doctors told her they would need to perform an emergency C-section to save her unborn child. “The biggest thing was whatever it takes to keep him safe,” she says, “if my body can’t support him anymore, then take him out.”
In the early morning hours of March 16th, baby Emmett was born. A healthy boy weighing 7lbs, 13oz. The experience was traumatizing for Allie. Her husband couldn’t be in the delivery room, and she wasn’t able to hold her child over fears she could infect him. “I wouldn’t wish it on any mother,” she says, “delivering with people in hazmat suits, not being able to hold your baby.”
Just four days after the birth of her second child, Allie’s condition took another turn, and she went into respiratory failure. She says she had to be flown to Brigham and Women’s in Boston, where she was put on a ventilator. “I spent 12 days on a ventilator. There was complications along the way,” says Lotzkar. “I developed another pneumonia on top of the COVID pneumonia, they found a blood clot in my lung.”READ MORE: Alonzo Polk, Teen Pulled From Pool At Dedham Graduation Party, Dies
After eight days, and some improvement, doctors tried to take her off the ventilator, but that effort failed. “There was an initial attempt to extubate me on day eight, but my throat closed and they had to re-intubate me,” she said.
Somehow, after 12 days on the ventilator Allie started to pull through. “I started breathing on my own,” says Lotzkar, “they don’t really know why, apparently it’s just a miracle.” Allie then started an amazing recovery, that wowed her doctors. “They said it might take weeks before you could walk. I started walking two days later.”
She also says she had no voice when she woke up because the tube paralyzed her vocal cords, but her voice is slowly coming back.
Husband Ben says, “it’s just incredible to see how quickly she bounced back.”
On April 9th, Allie was able to return home and finally hold her newborn baby Emmett. It was an emotional reunion for the whole family after an improbable COVID-19 comeback. “It’s hard to find the reason for why these things happen,” Lotzkar says, “there might not be a reason, but at the end of the day I’m at home with my kids.”
Allie hopes her story will now serve as a warning for younger people who may think they’re not at-risk. “It’s killing young people, and I learned that in the hospital. They’re seeing more and more 20 to 40-year-olds that aren’t vaccinated yet. So I think that we all need to be very careful because this is not over yet.”MORE NEWS: Hampton, NH Police Say Alcohol, Fireworks Violations Will Be Strictly Enforced
A GoFundMe has been set up to help the family pay for mounting medical bills, and already it has raised more than $50,000.