Things seemed pretty much on track with my pregnancy until the 39th week.
In spite of all the precautions taken, my husband and mom were tested positive for COVID-19. My husband had chest congestion for a couple of weeks and fever; for which he was under our family doctor’s treatment. My mum and I had lost our sense of smell and taste. When I initially got the symptoms, I informed my gynaecologist and he said that these are the red flags of COVID and asked me to keep him informed if I get a fever.
I had already done the test in the first week of July (before showing any symptoms) as it is mandatory to undergo the test in the last month of pregnancy. My test report then was negative.
When my husband and mom’s reports were out, I broke down and just couldn’t think of what lay ahead. My only concern was to bring the baby into this world through safe delivery. I immediately contacted my gynaecologist. He insisted I get admitted immediately and deliver the baby since I had mild symptoms and was still healthy.
I got all the support and strength from my husband, parents, in-laws and a few close friends; I felt like a warrior who would fight all the odds and come out as a stronger person.
I rushed to the hospital and got myself admitted. I was accompanied by my mother-in-law- a senior citizen who stood by my side since my husband and mom couldn’t be there as they had to self isolate.
I stayed positive and kept praying for a safe delivery. I was quite confident with my gynaecologist who also gave me the courage that things will be fine.
I was shifted from the maternity ward to the COVID ward after my COVID report came positive. My mother-in-law was asked to go back home as no relative was allowed in this ward.
The doctors tried for a normal delivery for two days and then took a call for a caesarean as there was a fluctuation in the baby’s heartbeat. The doctors didn’t want to risk it and since I was COVID positive, we were advised not to wait further and go for a caesarean.
This was my first pregnancy and the plight of being alone kept daunting me. I still didn’t lose faith and kept looking at the brighter side.
I delivered a baby girl on July 23, 2020, and just got a glimpse of her. She was then taken to the NICU where I couldn’t go and I was taken to the Isolation Ward. I felt so low as I didn’t get to touch, kiss or even nurse my baby.
My husband was in touch over the phone with the gynaecologists, nurses in the NICU, paediatricians and took an update on a timely basis.
The next challenge for me was to recover from the caesarean with no one by my side. I still didn’t lose hope, although my husband, me, our baby were separated from each other. The doctors and nurses were kind enough to see to it that I was comfortable.
One thing that kept me going was faith in God which can change everything.
A verse from the Bible- ‘And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.’
After I got discharged, I had to self-isolate for another 7 days which means I still couldn’t keep my baby with me. However, as per the WHO recommendation, I was able to only nurse the baby taking all the precautions. Our neighbour (family friend) willingly accepted our daughter and took very good care of her. In this world, it’s rare to find good Samaritans like them who took the risk and accepted our daughter with open arms. My husband moved in with me as I would not be able to manage alone since I was still under-recovery from the caesarean operation.
Once things settled, we were finally united with our baby girl who was actually a fighter in this entire narrative. What I have learnt from this episode of my life is that ‘Worry ends when faith in God begins’ and hence we named our baby girl Iris Faith Fernandes.
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