Five days after giving birth to her first child, Beau, vaccinated Killeen teacher Alex Chandler was intubated and put into a medically induced coma with COVID19. Suddenly, she found herself in the fight for her life.
My daughter, Alexandra Chandler, had been so excited to be having a baby. After years of infertility and many tears and conversations between us, she excitedly raced over on mother's day to give my husband and me a gift: two mugs announcing we were about to be grandparents. We celebrated with her! She was due in January 2022.
As a little girl, Alex always wanted to be a teacher. It wasn't so much that she chose teaching as teaching chose her.
First day of Kindergarten, pretending to be a teacher
Teaching in China, 2015
When she told us she wanted to be a teacher it was no surprise.
Alex with a picture of her husband, deployed at the time of her graduation
She currently works for Killen ISD in Texas as a 5th grade reading/writing teacher. She also has worked with SPED students in various locations and adores those students. According to friends, students, and parents, she is a favorite. You can always expect a smile in the classroom and maybe a "mom" stare if you're not doing what you're supposed to. She loves kids and has such a heart for them.
As COVID19 started to be an issue, we discussed vaccines and protection. When the vaccine came out, she was first in line to get it. She did not want to get sick or cause others who were vulnerable and couldn't get the vaccine to be ill in any way. Alex did everything she could to protect herself from COVID19. She wore masks, got vaccinated, didn't go anywhere inherently dangerous or crowded. As a teacher (and I a teacher myself), we had many discussions about the risks our districts exposed us to. It was scary.
Alex was concerned about returning to school to teach after the Christmas break. She was only a few days from delivering, and she also mentioned that she didn't feel safe while cases of COVID19 were rapidly increasing in Central Texas. But, she had no choice but to return for the few days before giving birth.
At the end of the first week back, Alex told me she felt like she had eaten glass and that she had the chills. The next day, I had the same symptoms. I told her I thought we might have COVID19. She spent the next two days sleeping and trying to feel better as the days dragged on in those final moments of pregnancy.
By the time her son was born, she was already in trouble, and she didn't even know it. On January 9th, when she went to the hospital to deliver, she tested positive for COVID19 and gave birth to her first child, Beau, via emergency c-section. Beau also tested positive.
She complained of shortness of breath, but the nurses told her it was just her pain medicine and a few days later sent her home.
Once released from the hospital, things quickly got worse. Alex brought Beau to the emergency room on Friday, Jan 14, because she was concerned about his breathing. But while there, the doctors noticed her breathing was labored too. They checked her out and discovered her oxygen level was at only 76%. They admitted her immediately, and 12 hours later, to the shock and horror of everyone, she was intubated and placed in a medically induced coma. Suddenly, she was in a fight for her life.
At first, the prognosis looked promising. After all, she was young, healthy, and vaccinated. She'd just given birth and experienced a normal pregnancy. The doctors said by the end of the week, she'd probably be breathing on her own. However, each day brought new challenges. One mediocre day would be followed by three horrible ones. She needed blood, her oxygen levels were struggling, and the ph blood levels were "inhospitable to life." Her test results were not favorable, and she continued to decline, and decline, and decline. By the end of the week, a palliative nurse was assigned to help with her end-of-life care. How had we gone from excited new mom to considering she may never come home?
Mom and Alex holding Baby Beau's hat while intubated and sedated
On Thursday, January 27, they called us (husband and mom) to the hospital to say our goodbyes. We raced there, wailing and running down the hall to get to the ICU as quickly as possible. Mere moments before, her oxygen levels had plummeted to 13, and she had turned blue and white. Her breathing was labored, alarms were beeping from every corner of the room. The doctors told us: whatever happens now is beyond our control. If God saves her, he will save her in spite of us. We thought it was the end. Everyone did. Even the local paper reported her deceased!
It made no sense. How could an otherwise healthy, young mother find herself in such a horrible space in just a few days of having COVID19? The doctors told us that pregnancy is a risk for COVID19 patients and that it dramatically suppresses your immune system. But even they were a little befuddled about how COVID had so quickly ravaged her body. We watched helplessly, waiting for THE CALL.
However, on January 30th, a peculiar thing started to happen. The hospital stopped calling with bad news. She had a good day, then another, and then one more. Her tests were all returning to normal. Suddenly, she'd strung together several good days and hope returned. Doctors are currently trying to get her a tracheotomy to wean her off the vent. She is to have the procedure at 3:00 p.m. today. This is huge! A week ago, we couldn't have had this conversation.
We are in awe that she may open her eyes again--back from dead!
Her husband and son, Beau, desperately need her back. They need your help in any way you can give it. The expenses are mounting, and Alex has many challenges to face now and in the future. If you led to donate prayers, money, or anything at all, the family would be highly appreciative. Everything goes to benefit Alex in her recovery and baby Beau. We need to bring Alex home to her husband and newborn son. Thank you for your consideration.
*Please note this fundraiser is in place of the previous fundraiser about Alexandra Chandler and Beau. The previous fundraiser has been discontinued. The family received those funds, and we are very appreciative for all your support*
Dad, Mom. Alex, and her 3 siblings, Jeran, Kyla, and Nate
Goofing around with grandpa
Ziplining with Grandma Butz