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The World Prays and COVID Obeys

Vancouver, WA

“The doctor came in, she’s like, ‘Hey, based on your chest x-ray, I think that you have coronavirus,’” says Angela. “And I’m like, ‘What?! No, no way that I have coronavirus.’”

Little was known about COVID-19 when 27-year-old Angela Primachenko showed up at the E.R. in March 2020, with a fever and a persistent cough.

“I’m like, ‘Well, even if I do have it, I’m young, I’ll be fine, I’ll just fight it off. Like, I don’t have any health problems, I’ll be okay,’” says Angela.

But the symptoms got worse. Two days later, barely able to speak, Angela was admitted to Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center in Vancouver, Washington.

“I was sitting there and I’m just gasping for air. And I’m like, ‘It’s okay, just five more minutes, I can just do five more minutes.’” says Angela. “And I’m just looking at the clock. I wasn’t thinking, like, ‘Oh, man, I’m gonna die,’” says Angela. “I always felt like, ‘Man, how do I survive.”

Angela comes from a large family who were all hoping and praying for a quick recovery. Still, her twin, Oksana, felt it wasn’t going to be an easy ride.

“The second she got in the hospital, I realized, ‘Whoa, I’m not strong enough for this,’” says Oksana. “Cause it was just so scary waiting. And you couldn’t be there with her to hold her hand and just to pray with her.”

And making things even tougher, Angela was 33 weeks pregnant. For the time, doctors felt the baby—a girl—would be fine. The mother’s health was another matter.

Angela’s OBGYN, Dr. Suzanne Slayton-Milam, points out that a baby at 33 weeks puts a lot of stress on a mother’s body, especially her lungs—the organ most vulnerable to the coronavirus.

“For pregnant women, we know that this is worse for them,” says Dr. Slayton-Milam. “They’re more likely to be placed on a ventilator and have intensive care unit admissions. Because they’ve lost some of that respiratory lung capacity.”

At the time, neither of their lives were in danger, so doctors felt it best to wait as long as possible to deliver the baby. Meanwhile, Angela’s lungs had weakened even further, and doctors decided to induce Angela into a coma and put her on a ventilator. Before they did, Angela texted Dr. Slayton-Milam.

“Can you please make sure the baby’s okay? And take care of the baby,” says Angela.

“I feel like He put me in this position to take care of her,” says Dr. Slayton-Milam. “I had my doctor hat on, but I had the Lord with me.”

By then, Angela’s family had learned she was in a fight for her life and were now praying for a miracle.

“I was totally broken, and praying to Jesus,” says Oksana. “What I had was just a broken heart to God. Be like, ‘God, I’m terrified.’ We couldn’t even like wrap our minds around the heaviness of the situation.”

They weren’t alone. Their community of friends and family were sharing Angela’s story around the world through social media.

“I actually put it out there for people to pray for us and to pray for Angela and pray for me to do what I needed to do,” says Dr. Slayton-Milam.  

After 3 days on the ventilator, Angel’s lung function still hadn’t improved, so on April 1st, Dr. Slayton-Milam induced labor. In a coma, Angela gave birth to a healthy baby girl, Ava—a name she’d picked out months before her COVID diagnosis.

“The name means ‘breath of life,’” says Dr. Slayton-Milam. “It was one of those things that I can’t call coincidence. I think the Lord had this; He-He knew.”

As a preemie, Ava was placed in the NICU. In another part of the hospital, her mother was showing some improvement. Then on Palm Sunday, Angela started to crash, spiking high fevers.

“The doctors told us that she’s doing absolutely terrible, like, be prepared for the worst,” says Oksana. “And at that point, that’s when it’s like all these like images of like ‘What would I say at her funeral? How would my life look without my sister?’” questions Oksana. “And she has two little babies. I kept reminding myself, like ‘Miracles are normal for You. Miracles are not something crazy for You. It’s like just the way you are.’”

The next day, Oksana and her family got word—Angela was breathing on her own.

“Is this for real? Is this actually happening?” questions Oksana. “Like the darkest day ever to turn to like the brightest day ever.”

After being taken off the ventilator and brought out of the coma, Angela realized that...something was missing.

“Apparently when I was like in that ‘haze’ time I was like, ‘Where’s my baby? You guys took my baby!’” says Angela. “I don’t remember saying any of that.”

But the staff reassured her that baby Ava was fine. Then after 16 days in the hospital including 9 days on a ventilator, Angela went home.

“All of the world was praying for me,” says Angela. “And I’m just so thankful, you know, God took me out of that.”

“I think the first time I saw her, I just started crying,” says Oksana. “Like, about to lose one of the closest people in my entire life and then having them back again. It felt like I got like this gift all over again.”

It would be two more weeks before Angela tested negative for COVID and could finally hold her baby.

“I just remember holding her and just crying and just being like, wow, like this is actually my kid,” says Angela. “And she was so tiny, she was only four and a half pounds. And so just being thankful that she’s okay. She’s definitely our ‘breath of life,’” says Angela.

There are few who didn’t walk away from this ordeal with a new understanding, and appreciation for the goodness of God and the power of prayer.

“I was scared, like everybody else was, with coronavirus. And, I had to face my fears,” says Dr. Slayton-Milam. “And the Lord said, ‘If you want courage, I will give you courage.’ And He threw me in the fire! I just felt like I had the Lord there through all of that, and He just guided me.”

“He’s been by my side the entire time,” says Angela. “Even when I felt like I was alone or even when I literally was alone. God was still right there beside me.”

“God hears our prayers,” says Oksana. “There’s no prayer that comes empty. Every single prayer He holds it close to His heart.”

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