LEBANON, TN (WSMV) - A Lebanon family says “normal” is all they’re looking forward to in 2021, after 2020 and COVID-19 almost took two cherished members of their family.

Jessica Rowlett knew her already serious battle against COVID-19 had taken a real turn when she was asked if she wanted to speak with the hospital chaplain.

“I think that was the only time I was ever afraid of dying — of death,” Rowlett said.

In May, the 32-week pregnant mother was admitted to the COVID-ICU at TriStar Centennial Hospital – where her oxygen levels continued to drop, threatening both her life and the life of her unborn son.

She would need an emergency c-section.

“I remember telling my husband, I’m sorry. And he said, what are you sorry for, and I said I’m about to leave you with these two children,” Rowlett said.

Things went from bad to worse, when during the c-section she went into respiratory failure and was placed on a machine to support her heart and lungs. Rowlett gave birth without ever meeting her son Rowdy.

“I felt down and the baby was gone and so I wrote “baby”, and [the nurse] said he's right across the street in the NICU — he’s wonderful,” she said.

Both would spend another month in the hospital before being united for the first time in the living room of the Rowlett’s Lebanon home. 

“I remember thinking, ‘That’s a cute baby, who does he belong to?’” she said.

Jessica’s husband James says over the past seven months, things have been slowly getting back to normal.

“I was really happy to have her back and, I mean, everybody was here. It took me a minute and I cried — you know, just now I feel like we're back to normal,” he said.

“He’s definitely my miracle baby,” Jessica said. “I mean every child is such a miracle, you know, it really is. But he and I definitely have a special little attachment, you know.”

Rowlett says she still has to sleep with oxygen every night, but otherwise hasn’t experienced any other long-term impacts of COVID-19.

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