‘After 6 years of battling infertility and finally getting my miracle baby, COVID-19 almost killed me.’: New mom recounts postpartum COVID, ‘She was the one who kept me going’

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“After six years of battling infertility and finally getting my miracle baby, COVID-19 almost killed me. Six years of infertility, five failed IUI’s, one IVF retrieval, and two transfers to finally become pregnant with male factor infertility. We were beyond excited, but being pregnant during a pandemic made it tricky. I thought I was in the clear of catching COVID-19, but boy was I wrong.

baby ultrasound picture, or sonogram, framed in a white with the words 2020 worth the wait
Courtesy of Pamela Wade
husband kisses pregnant wife in the forehead while holding pregnant belly in front of the beach wearing a pink shirt and a pink dress
Courtesy of Pamela Wade

Nine months pregnant, 38 weeks to be exact, is when the induction process started due to my blood pressure elevating (preeclampsia). I went into the hospital on a Tuesday, didn’t realize anything out of the ordinary except a cold, until a few days later my mom noticed my awful cough and headache wouldn’t go away. On Thursday, while getting an epidural put in after being tested, the nurse came in to tell me I was positive for COVID. I freaked out, to say the least, but my biggest worry was my unborn child.

woman showing 38 week pregnant belly on a mirror selfie in her room
Courtesy of Pamela Wade

My OB came in and reassured me everything would be fine. We felt like prisoners stuck in a room, isolated. My husband had to get permission to leave due to us having a diabetic dog at the time. My whole birthing experience was not what I imagined after fighting so long to get pregnant. We kept the induction going and symptoms were mild at the time.

Then the hot and cold sweats started from COVID-19. I ended up sweating out the epidural and began to have feeling. They reinserted the epidural, but I still was feeling everything due to the medication leaking out of the original insertion hole. My OB decided it was time for a C-section. This was Saturday.

I ended up going preeclamptic on the OR table, as well as becoming so nauseous to where I was dry heaving. I was told I had to wear my mask which I ended up pulling off because I felt something was wrong. Mind you I had been wearing the same snotty mask since Tuesday, so I asked for a new one and was told they did not have any.

Finally, my miracle baby was born. A baby girl Charlotte on July 31, 2021 at 2:10 a.m. However, I was so drugged up from the C-section, It was all a blur to me until the next morning when I finally felt I had met my beautiful baby. My husband ended up doing all the diaper changes due to me being bedridden on a magnesium drip for the preeclampsia.

New mom battling COVID holding her newborn baby girl after childbirth wearing a mask
Courtesy of Pamela Wade

By Sunday, my blood pressure was controlled and my COVID symptoms were getting better; I thought I had beat COVID and it was not bad. We were discharged to go home. At night, my sweats came back and I didn’t feel right. I called my mom and my sister, and I took Tylenol and ibuprofen instead of going to the ER. I called my OB in the morning and they advised me to go to the ER, as my lungs were not feeling great and my appetite had decreased.

I decided not to go because I had my new baby at home. No way did I want to leave my husband alone, or even myself, with a two-day-old brand new baby. It was my time to bond with her. The next day was worse (Tuesday). I called my OB again and explained the crackle feeling in my lungs. She told me at this point I needed to go to the ER, so I listened and my husband took me. He was not allowed to go in due to me being COVID positive. I cried when he left. Not only did I not have my baby, but my husband wasn’t allowed to come with me.

I kept in contact with my OB, who got in touch with all the doctors explaining my situation and getting me home to my baby ASAP. This was not the case. The x-ray showed COVID pneumonia, which was treatable at home but my oxygen was too low to be released. It had dropped to 80 and my blood pressure was showing preeclampsia again. I had to agree to be admitted. The only thing I kept thinking about was my baby and I just wanted to get home to her.

I was told I’d be admitted for at least five days for the Remdesivir treatment. This devastated me, but they explained I needed to get well for my baby. I agreed and a CT scan was ordered. I remember the questions I kept getting over and over, ‘Are you vaccinated?’ No, I just had a baby and the vaccine was not out before I got pregnant. ‘Do you smoke?’ Again, no. I just had a baby three days ago.

The hospital was so full, I didn’t have a room on the COVID floor. It was like a movie. I was put in a corner and had to scream for help at night. I couldn’t breathe, was drowning in my own fluid, and my blood pressure was through the roof. I was saved by a nurse who must have been a mom. I begged her to help me, crying, and told her I have a three-day-old baby at home. She found a room for me in the ER to be monitored more closely.

By this time, my husband and family had no idea what was going on. My phone was dying and I was focusing on trying to breathe. The nurse ended up calling him and explaining everything. They also had to contact the doctor about the medication I was supposed to be starting but didn’t until the next morning. At this moment, I asked the nurse if I was going to die. I was scared for my life and all I could think about was my daughter and husband.

New father sitting on a black couch holding newborn baby girl on a pillow and wearing a black mask because of COVID
Courtesy of Pamela Wade

The next nurse was amazing. I was coughing up blood and puking it up due to the fluid build-up in my lungs. This nurse assured me she would get me to my baby. She even called my husband. We talked and we both cried. He told me to get better, and to not worry about him. He told me my sister was staying with him at the house and helping, which was a relief. We both were new parents, and leaving my husband alone with a three-day-old, and battling COVID as well, was not something I wanted.

The nurse was going to have him see me when he brought in my charger. I was behind glass see-through doors in the ER. They never got to her when he dropped off my phone charger, and I’m glad because I did not want him to see me practically dying. The nurse was there to save me, she got all my meds going, including the life-saving Lasix, which got rid of most of the fluid I was drowning in. I had requested it with my medical background and I am glad I did. Two rounds of Lasix, and the crackle in my lungs started to dissipate.

That night, I finally was transported to the COVID unit as a bed had become available. They all were expecting me and knew about my situation. I was there for five days and cried every day. I stayed in contact with my husband via FaceTime. It was the worst feeling as a new mom to be away from your baby. I was offered a breast pump two days into my hospital stay, which I denied as my milk never came in. My OB ended up visiting me on the COVID unit. If she had never made calls, I may have died and I could never repay her for it. She didn’t have to visit me either, but she did.

I cried because I was away from my baby. She told me if I’m not well, I cannot care for her. She told me to focus on getting better. For the whole five days I was on oxygen. At first, it was a high-flow reservoir, which was like a duck mask. Then, down to a nasal cannula. I was also told I had a mini-stroke due to my blood pressure and cardiomyopathy. All from COVID. I was released on oxygen on a Sunday and was excited to go home. I felt so much better and was thankful to have survived. I was able to discontinue the oxygen by that Friday per my PCP tele-visits.

Every medical professional, including my primary, have told me how lucky I am to be alive. COVID robbed me of the first week with my baby. It also had me take my whole family down as we all contacted COVID. My family came through, while I was in the hospital, to help my husband. They did not care. We needed the help, and the only way to do it was to put themselves at risk. I could not thank my family enough for coming through, and my sister especially for staying with my husband at my house to help care for my baby. She did not leave until I came home. She slept on my couch every night until I returned.

Today, I am much better. I do not have any long-term side effects and am able to be with my now five-month-old daughter. I am grateful to be here and able to share my story of how I survived COVID. My daughter is a true miracle. I feel because I was bedridden for four days during my induction, my COVID symptoms were so bad and I almost died. With COVID you have to keep moving and I was not able to do so at the time. COVID may have robbed me of the newborn pictures, the breast milk, the first-week bonding with my daughter, and many other things. But it did not rob me of my life and I am here with my daughter. She was the one who kept me going when I felt like giving up. My Charlotte, you are my lifesaver, my baby girl, and the best thing that has ever happened to me and your daddy.”

new mom battling COVID holding newborn baby in her chest and wearing a mask
Courtesy of Pamela Wade

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Pamela Wade. Submit your own story hereand be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

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