MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — An Orange County woman beat all odds to survive COVID-19. Then, she gave birth while in a coma.

As CBS2’s Natalie Duddridge reported Friday, the woman is finally strong enough to share her story – just in time for Mother’s Day.

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Serena Torres remembers the moment she got to hold her little girl Alessandra for the first time, nearly four months after giving birth.

“It was the best day of my life. I just started crying, I couldn’t stop,” said Torres.

(credit: Serena Torres)

Torres contracted the coronavirus in October when she was seven months pregnant.

“I didn’t think it was that serious because I was 28 years old. I was young, relatively healthy, worked out every day,” she said.

Torres started having trouble breathing and was rushed to the emergency room at Westchester Medical Center.

Her condition quickly deteriorated. Doctors put her into a medically induced coma and performed a cesarean section because her baby was at risk.

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“An incredibly rare event where we end up delivering a baby in a person whose had her lungs, heart and kidneys completely shut down,” said Dr. Dip Chandy.

Alessandra was born two months premature. She was healthy enough to go home with her father while Torres remained hospitalized in a coma for six weeks.

Torres’s toes had to be amputated as a result of her lack of movement. She had no idea what happened when she finally woke up.

“I actually thought that I got bit by a shark and I thought that I was dreaming I was by a beach, in my coma, fighting through bubbles, swimming to the top so I could breathe,” Torres told Duddridge. “I didn’t even have memory that I had COVID. I woke up and said, ‘What’s COVID?'”

Torres said the second best day of her life was March 20, when she finally got to go home.

“I’m still in a wheelchair and leaning to walk, but my dream is to be able to run after this little one,” Torres said. “We both fought and made it home together.”

Torres said the best day of her life is everyday. But she’s especially looking forward to her first Mother’s Day.

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Doctors said Alessandra tested negative for COVID-19 shortly after she was born, but tested positive for antibodies – meaning they were passed along during the pregnancy.

Natalie Duddridge