Amanda's forward: The story shared by this mom below is a true account of her real-life experience being the first Covid-positive Labor & Delivery patient at Morristown Hospital. She accounts her pre-L&D symptoms and her experience during L&D and mother/baby while awaiting her Covid test results.
*Name redacted for privacy.*
"On March 9th, I started to feel a cold coming on. Specifically, I had really bad post-nasal drip. At this time, I was 36 weeks pregnant. As my symptoms worsened, I called my OB and I was instructed to call my General Practitioner (GP). My GP said that she didn’t have any appointments available and to go to an urgent care to have them check my lungs and test for the flu. I did that on Thursday, March 12th. They told me my lungs were clear and I was negative for the flu. My fever was 99.2 and was told not to worry. I went home and relaxed and nothing much changed over the next few days.
By Saturday morning, I was experiencing a lot of pain in my stomach and was also noticing contractions. I called the on-call doctor. She said she was sure it was nothing but that if I thought I needed to go to the hospital then I should. But she still didn’t seem convinced that it was necessary.
When the contractions became unbearable, my husband and I headed to the hospital. Upon entering the Labor & Delivery floor, I was asked if I had had a fever in the last week. I said yes but not in 24 hours. We waited for ten minutes, received a slip of paper that was slid under the door, and I was told to go to the Emergency Room. When we arrived at the ER, they didn't know why I was sent. They admitted me, but my contractions started to intensify, so I had be moved back upstairs to L&D. I was taken in through a side entrance where we sat for twenty minutes so they could figure out a room to put me in. Because I was the first possible case, there was a lot of unknowns and questions about how to handle me.
Finally, I was taken into a room and hooked up to monitors. The contractions were random but painful at this point. A midwife came in who said “These aren’t real contractions” and insinuated there was nothing they could do. I was confused as I had been put under all this coronavirus protocol and I was still in tons of pain. She asked why I thought I was going to have a baby. It was weird and patronizing as I have had three other children before. For an hour, we just sat there. We couldn’t leave and my husband had to sit there as well. We had none of our stuff. Everything was in the car.
At 9:45pm, a doctor and midwife come in to say, “In a normal situation we would deliver you tonight. You have protein in your urine and you’re 37 weeks, but because of the coronavirus we need you to get tested, start a 24 hour urine test, and we will assess again then.” They moved us that evening to a negative pressure room. I received the coronavirus test and then I fell asleep.
In the Labor & Delivery room, people could not come and go. They had to take extra precautions and dress and undress from extra protection in a different room. We were in there for a few days awaiting results. Finally, on Tuesday, my liver was starting to shut down from pre-eclampsia. They had to do a c-section. It took them 3 hours from that point to formulate a plan of action. I had a section in one of the L&D operating rooms and they immediately took my baby away when he was delivered. He was completely fine. I then
recovered in the OR and then went back to the room I had been staying in.
I didn’t see my baby the next day while I was monitored and waited for the Covid results. Fortunately, I received incredible care from the entire staff of nurses. They made the experience all the more bearable. They were literally our lifeline to the outside world.
On Thursday morning, the pediatric department called me to come up with a plan. I didn’t know what they were talking about until they said, “You’re positive for Covid.” Everything was kind of a blur for the next hour. The OB came in less than 48 hours after my 4th c-section and announced that they had to release me; effectively kicking us out with very little warning. Including the baby. We had no idea what we were doing or how we would do it; there isn’t a playbook written about protocols when you’re the first to experience something as crazy as this. But we packed up our bags. The doctor went to the car and retrieved our infant car seat. And then we were on our way home.
I have chosen to nurse my baby to give him the best chance possible. I wear a mask and gloves when I am holding him. I stay quarantined with him and my husband has been caring for our other kiddos. We have no idea who else in the house has it (Covid) but it’s been a while since I had any symptoms. We are just trying to use our common sense and navigate life a day at a time. The infectious disease doctor thinks by Thursday March 26th, I can reenter life with our family."
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