55 days after testing positive for COVID-19 during labour, mother reunited with baby son
MONTREAL -- A mother who gave birth via emergency C-section and was diagnosed with COVID-19 has been reunited with her baby after 55 days.
Emmanuelle, who asked that her last name not be used, delivered a baby boy at only 26 weeks. After experiencing stomach pains, she was admitted to hospital for a series of tests, and was shocked to discover she had COVID-19.
“I didn't have any symptoms, I was very fine, except for the contractions,” she said.
The stomach pains were premature labour which doctors at Ste-Justine Hospital could not stop. That's when Emmanuelle was taken for the emergency procedure.
“They told me it was a boy, that's the only thing I knew about him,” she said. “I didn't see him, I didn't touch him, I didn't hear him.”
Her son weighed less than two pounds and was rushed to neonatal intensive care. Because of the risk of spreading the virus, Emmanuelle could not go with him.
“Now that we didn't have her there, we were trying our best basically to substitute her presence in some way,” said neonatal care unit head Martin Reichherzer. “We got her an iPad and we communicated with her so at least she could have some presence just to see her baby.”
For seven weeks Emmanuelle waited at home as her tests kept coming back positive. The baby's father was out of the country when the borders closed and was not allowed to return.
Lactation consultant and nurse Amelie Ouellet helped Emmanuelle through her ordeal, calling her every day to keep her motivated.
“It's very important for her to give her milk to her baby. It's the only way she is a mother in this situation,” said Ouellet.
After finally testing negative, Emmanuelle was able to reunite with her child.
“For now, I'm just trying to catch up the 55 days and then just praying,” she said.