This is one of the hardest times in recent history to be a pregnant person. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed everything, but it can't change the fact that life goes on. People continue to get pregnant and continue to give birth even when hospitals are over capacity and families are quarantining themselves from the world.
It's been hard for pregnant people to hear stories about mamas having to give birth alone or be separated from their newborns because of the coronavirus, but these next three stories show that even in the hardest of times, mothers are strong.
This mama with COVID-19 gave birth to twins while in coma: 'Family is complete'
[Editor's note: The above photo was shared by Piedmont Healthcare. The babies are being watched by the photographer. To learn more about the American Academy of Pediatrics safe sleep recommendations please visit the AAP.]
Atlanta mother of four Monique Cook doesn't remember the birth of her twins, August and Angel, on March 24 because she was in a coma, fighting COVID-19 when they were born. But now Cook, the twins, her older two children and her husband, Andre, have all been reunited, she explained on TODAY.
"The worst part of that waking up, I look down and I have no big stomach, no babies," Cook explained in an interview with TODAY hosts Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager. "I remember asking, 'Where are my babies?' That's when the young nurse said, 'Oh, your babies, they're fine.'"
Those little babies are now at home and Cook says she's so grateful to the medical staff who did everything they could to save her life and the lives of her twins.
"For somebody to fight for me that hard? It's meant for me to be here," she said. "I just want to tell them thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you so much, because they were my family that whole 11 days. ... Without them, I wouldn't be here."
Cook continued: "Family is complete; everybody's home...Once they got home, it was like we were starting over. Forget the past month—now it's like our new start."
Congratulations on your new start, Monique. You are an inspiration and so are the health care providers who made this new start possible.
Mother who gave birth while in COVID-19 coma reunited with baby ❤️
As a respiratory therapist, Angela Primachenko likely would have been on the front lines of the fight against coronavirus, but the pregnant health care professional's obstetrician advised her to stop working as the pandemic spread.
She left work in February while in her third trimester, but somehow, in late March she came down with a fever and was admitted to the same hospital where she'd recently worked, Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center in Vancouver, Washington. Eight days later she was on a ventilator and in a medically-induced coma. She was 33 weeks pregnant.
Primachenko's husband David and her twin sister, Oksana Luiten, were incredibly worried, and now they are incredibly relieved. Primachenko pulled through, and the mom of two says she is "living a miracle" as a coronavirus survivor. But she didn't just survive COVID-19—she gave birth while fighting it—and this week she was reunited with her baby.
"Our little sunshine is doing amazing!" Primachenko wrote on Instagram Thursday after a series of negative COVID-19 tests meant she was allowed to finally meet her daughter, Ava, in the NICU. According to Primachenko, little Ava is expected to be discharged this weekend.
Its been more than two weeks since Primachenko's second child was born on April 1, but Primachenko had no idea that even happened because she was still in the coma, fighting COVID-19. When she woke up on April 6 her belly was gone, and she learned she's given birth nearly a week earlier.
"It was truly a miracle," Luiten tells Motherly of her twin sister's survival and Ava's birth.
"She remembers looking down and not seeing her baby bump, she was scared, but the nurses and staff were the sweetest and they made her an 'it's a girl' sign and they assured her that her little girl was doing well." Luiten says.
The twin sisters were able to reunite a few days ago, and can't wait until the day they get to hang out together with Ava.
Primachenko was released from the hospital last weekend after 17 days in the hospital (10 of those spent intubated) and says she is so grateful for Ava's birth, even if she can't remember it.
She calls Ava her "little fighter" and credits hospital staff with keeping mother and daughter alive.
Primachenko isn't the only mama recently reunited with her baby after beating this illness. There is a lot to be thankful for right now, as this next story proves.
Viral video shows mom who survived COVID-19 meeting her baby for the first time ❤️
As Today reports, New York mama Yanira Soriano finally got to meet her son in April, almost two weeks after giving birth to him.
The cameras were rolling as Soriano, who recently recovered from COVID-19 was wheeled out Southside Hospital in Bay Shore New York with her 12-day-old son, Walter, in her arms.
He was born via emergency C-section and his mama was on a ventilator for 11 days.
Now, Soriano and baby Walter are finally at home with her husband and thier three older children. When she left the hospital to go back to them the medical staff lined the halls and clapped before her husband put Walter in her arms.
"It was this powerful, human moment," Dr. Benjamin Schwartz, chair of the Obstetrics and Gynecology department at Southside told Today.
"We needed this so badly. We need something to celebrate," he said.
This is certainly a moment worth celebrating. Thank you to all the doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists and other medical staff who saved his mama and her baby. They are heroes and so is Soriano. She is one strong mama.
[A version of this post was published April 13, 2020. It has been updated.]