Ayesha is a resident physician in medicine and pediatrics.
“I first witnessed the toll this pandemic was having while I was working in the neonatal ICU.
A 34 week-old male was born via an emergent C-section in an ICU, where his mother was admitted on a ventilator, battling COVID. She had no idea that she was being operated on, and did not have a chance to see or hold her baby.
The child was immediately transported to our ICU and kept in isolation while his COVID test was run. His father was not allowed to visit his wife or newborn son, for fear that he could catch the virus.
I was called by the nurse that night, saying that dad had arrived for the first time to see his baby. I walked over and saw dad standing outside the patient’s room, one hand pressed against the glass. I paused for a second, took a deep breath, and introduced myself. I went over how the patient was doing, and that our hope was to have the viral testing back the next day. Dad was concerned about feeding his little one – his wife had emphasized how important it was for her to breastfeed. I discussed how although breast milk would be ideal, we would need to weigh the risks and benefits, and the implications pumping could have on mom while she was intubated and admitted in the ICU.
‘I’m sure she would understand,’ I said to him. I couldn’t see his smile, but I picked up on the wrinkles at the corners of his eyes as he smirked. ‘Oh you don’t know her,’ he joked.
I smiled and replied, ‘she’s pretty strong-willed, huh?’
Dad paused, with tears filling his tired eyes, he turned to his newborn and said, ‘yes she is.'”