Updated: Apr 4, 2021
I was 21 weeks, 5 days pregnant with my second little boy when, as a healthcare worker, I was exposed to COVID.
In the next week, ten more employees, including me, tested positive. I immediately separated myself from my husband and son when the first group of positives started returning.
The day my positive returned, I had eaten lunch, taken a nap, and when awoke I could not taste my coffee. The worst of what felt like a summer cold eased up after a few days, but then I began to feel some backaches. Over the next few days, the backaches turned into some nightly Braxton Hicks contractions. I would chug fluids and they would subside.
I had been in close contact with the OBs at the hospital. The Braxton Hicks were now waking me up at night and I knew I had to be admitted. I was the first COVID positive mom to come to our hospital. There were no recommendations, no guidelines on what to do, just a few case reports out of New York. We were all learning together.
After spending three days admitted, the non-productive contractions were better controlled and we thought we had gotten through the remainder of my COVID battle. I had no symptoms of COVID at that point, could even taste the hospital food again, and was sent home. But that night things took an awful turn. The contractions returned with a vengeance. Then I started bleeding. I drove myself back to the hospital in the middle of what turned out to be full blown labor. Within minutes of arriving, I knew my worst nightmare was coming true—contracting the virus and it hurting my baby boy. My Grady was going to be born at 24 weeks, 2 days gestation. I was alone, in agonizing pain, drowning in guilt and scared to death. The doctor said “the helicopter is coming for your son, but there isn’t time to airlift you.” He was born less than one hour later, weighing 1 pound, 10 ounces. Oh, what a fighter our Grady was. He was airlifted to one of the best NICUs in the country. He was thriving (and COVID negative). My husband was able to see him daily after multiple negative COVID tests. The policy finally changed when he was 18 days old, and I was able to see him.
Meeting my Grady after being in complete isolation for 29 days was a feeling I will never ever be able to put into words. A few days after I met him, he started having more trouble oxygenating. He didn’t act or appear infected—maybe it was just his premature lungs. NICU babies have these “honeymoon” periods and maybe Grady’s had just been a really good one.
But that was not the case. Our Grady passed away in my arms, 11 days after I met him. He had been infected by a virulent, hospital acquired organism that somehow ended up in his lungs. That pneumonia eventually turned into a bacteremia. The antibiotics he had been on were ineffective as the organism was resistant to them all. By the time the cultures finalized and this was realized, Grady’s already premature and very fragile lungs had been destroyed.
From the beginning of our battle with COVID and prematurity, I said I wanted what was best for Grady—even if it destroyed me. I pray that him leaving us so early was in HIS best interest.
My heart will never ever be the same, but I’m so glad I got to meet him. I got to look into those beautiful eyes, got to know his smell and hold him while he was still on this earth. And I will always be thankful for that.
Thank you @jkissg08 for sharing your story. Shared with permission.