Mother who contracted COVID-19 just days after giving birth released from hospital 52 days later

Updated: Jun. 1, 2020 at 9:31 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - After 52 days at Woman’s Hospital in Baton Rouge, Stephanie Melancon, 41, was released May 29 to a hallway lined with staff celebrating her release.

She delivered a baby girl April 2 and five days later, was admitted back into Woman’s Hospital for the coronavirus. Even though she successfully overcame COVID-19, she lost the ability to speak, breathe on her own, and even walk.

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“Friday, we were discharged after 52 days at Woman’s. She was officially discharged. They discharged her to Baton Rouge Rehab Hospital and that’s where she will be for physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy,” said Stephanie’s husband, Mike Melancon.

Mike says she’s doing well as Monday, June 1 was her first official day in physical therapy. She had a tracheostomy, and still cannot speak very well.

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“She can talk, but it’s kind of hoarse sounding. Her voice is not there 100 percent, but she can talk pretty well,” said Mike. “She’s breathing 100 percent on her own, she just has oxygen to help her breathe. She is walking better. She’s able to stand up on her own using a wheelchair or something to help her, support her to stand up.”

On Friday, May 29, Stephanie’s legs were shaking as she got up from her hospital bed to get into her wheelchair. When she finally made it out of the hospital doors, she broke down in tears, overwhelmed with joy.

“That moment, she walked out and saw five of her best friends that were standing there and they’ve been friends since childhood and they are like sisters to her,” said Mike.

Their daughter, Gracie, will be 2-months-old Tuesday, June 2. While at the hospital, Stephanie went into cardiac arrest, which Mike says may have led to some short-term memory loss, meaning Stephanie had a hard time remembering whether she delivered her own daughter. With thoughts once of whether Stephanie would even survive the coronavirus and then a heart attack, the walk down the halls of Woman’s Hospital meant more than anyone could ever imagine.

“Means a lot. Every day, it’s just one step closer to getting her home and back to the girls,” said Mike.

Mike says the physical therapists say it could be a few weeks before Stephanie is ready to return home.

The family has a GoFundMe account set up to help pay for Stephanie’s medical bills. Click here to donate.

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