BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — A Haleyville family is calling it a “miracle recovery.”

After months in the hospital battling COVID-19– much of it on a ventilator– Dorothy Roberts is now preparing to go home. CBS 42 Morning News anchor Alissa Rothermich sat down with Roberts and her family about their emotional journey.

“I had to keep my faith. But my faith got weak so many times,” said Jackie, Roberts’ husband.

After watching his wife spend more than a month on a ventilator fighting COVID-19, with a tracheotomy and severe sepsis, Jackie was told on July 2 that Dorothy may not make it through the day.

“They called the family in and we just figured that was the last time we were going to see her. I just broke down and got to praying,” he said through tears.

As Jackie was preparing to say his final goodbyes to Dorothy, their daughter Heather Frederick was in labor two floors down at Helen Keller Hospital, moments from welcoming her first child into the world. The plan had been for her mom to be in the delivery room.

“I was really focused on having the baby. But, it’s just, my mother was constantly on my mind,” Heather said.

That day, three generations of women were in the same hospital at the same time: one experiencing her first day on earth, another being told it could be her last while another was torn between her heart bursting with joy or being broken.

“I tried to be strong, knowing that the best day of my life may also be the worst day of my life, too,” Heather said.

Days after Heather’s baby was born, Dorothy’s condition began to improve. Doctors don’t know what caused the change, but her family says it’s a miracle.

“They kept saying ‘Mama you’re a fighter. We know you’re a fighter. You’re going to get through it,'” Dorothy recalled.

On Aug. 21, Dorothy left Helen Keller Hospital and has since made major strides at Encompass Health Lakeshore in Homewood. Her occupational therapist said they’re focusing her re-learning basic skills like how to get dressed.

Dorothy admits some days are better than others and she fights frustration thinking about all she’s lost since she began battling the virus in May.

“Laying there, knowing you used to do it and you can’t anymore. But I will one day,” she said.

But after cheating death, the Roberts family say they are focused on celebrating life.

“I can’t wait to see her come home. I can’t wait to have her home and to love on her and to have her love on my baby. I’m just excited for that day,” Heather said.

Next month, Dorothy and Jackie will celebrate 40 years of marriage. Jackie said that for months, he leaned on his faith, praying that he just needed more time with her. Now, they’re celebrating a victory over COVID-19 and a prayer answered.


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