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Mom meets newborn son for first time after fighting COVID-19

A Monroe County mom met her newborn son for the first time following a near deadly bout of COVID-19.

MONROE, Ga. — For 39 days, Jessica Walker didn't know what her newborn son looked like -- what color eyes he had, or if he looked like his Dad. She told 11Alive's Kaitlyn Ross that she didn't even know she had given birth until her son was a month and a half old.

Jessica Walker never wants to put her son Gunner down. 

"He's just amazing, he sleeps all night, he gets fussy sometimes," she said. 

Even when he's fussy, she still holds him in her hands. 

"He's just precious," she said. 

Gunner and Jessica are still learning each other. Even though he's only 3 months old, it's like they're making up for lost time. 

"When I first went home, it's like he didn't know me," she said.  

Jessica was 36 weeks pregnant when she was rushed to the hospital on September 12th. She was unvaccinated and had a severe COVID-19 infection. 

Her oxygen levels were so low, doctors had to perform an emergency C-section to save Gunner's life. Her baby was life flighted to Augusta, and Jessica was put in a medically induced coma on a ventilator.

"It got to the point where it got so bad that they were saying, all they can do is keep me comfortable. It was between me and God if I made it or not," she said. 

But, the doctors and nurses at Piedmont Walton in Monroe, GA did everything they could to save her life. 

"I am just so grateful for them. I am grateful for them every day. They never once gave up on me," she said. 

Her fiancé was caring for their other children, visiting Gunner in Augusta and holding down a job. Jessica's Dad stayed by her side. 

"I am telling you, that if I wouldn't have had my Dad... I wouldn't have made it," she said. 

He came to her hospital room every day in the ICU and held her hand, even when the doctors told him there was little hope Jessica would recover. They gave him her handprint to remember her by. 

"I don't expect any thanks, I am just Dad. Dad's do what Dad's gotta do," he said. 

What Jeff Walker had to do was stay by her side, every day, for 39 days. 

"They're grown, they have their own lives, but if my kids need me, I am going to be there," he said. 

That's the kind of parent Jessica wants to be to her own children, to Gunner -- now that she has the chance to know him, to hold him in the palm of her hand. 

"He was brought into the world rough, but it's going to make him strong. He's going to be strong. And mama and daddy will be there the whole time," said Jessica. 

Gunner is hitting all of his milestones perfectly, and Jessica has made an incredible recovery too. She doesn't need to come back to see a doctor again until the end of January.