In Greek, Nicolás means: “the victory of the people”, which is why her newborn son could not have had a better name for Yina Moreno. From before she was born, he was already waging a life-and-death battle with her. Mother and son became the first case of a pregnant woman at high risk of death from covid-19 at the Cafam clinic in Bogotá, a clinical picture that seemed to have been taken from one of those articles of medical literature in which what was experienced by the pandemic in other countries was documented. It was no longer a distant reality. Her health was so bad that doctors had to, as she put it, “urgently remove the baby.”
Before presenting symptoms, coronavirus was a myth for Yina. He had heard of it, but he had never heard of anyone who did. He recognized the symptoms, but no one he knew confirmed they felt them. Because, Although she initially complied with the imprisonment measures with her daughter and husband, as the weeks went by she began to leave the house and relax. despite the warnings; After all, the Covid-19 thing sounded like one of those stories you see on television and believe you’ll never touch.
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However, that nightmare reached her in mid-July. It started with a constant feeling of tiredness, coughing and loss of smell and taste. Over the days, fever, difficulty walking, loss of appetite and mild breathing problems appeared. Given the persistence of the discomfort, on 8 July he went to the hospital.
In the hospitalizations they questioned him because he was suspected of contagion and when there was a high probability, the special hospital code was activated, which contemplates the isolation of all staff and the cleaning and disinfection of the transfer routes and places of care . Medical evaluation supported a high suspicion of virus infection, but with no initial commitment. The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test was performed on a nasopharyngeal swab and was discharged with recommendations for home isolation.
Over the days its deterioration continued, until when The exasperating feeling of suffocation did not leave her alone and that is why on July 12, when she was seven months pregnant, she left the emergency room at the health center. Unlike the first time, this time there was general and pulmonary involvement due to signs of hypoxia (low concentration of oxygen in the blood), a situation that made immediate hospitalization in the ICU imminent. On that day, doctors confirmed she was positive for the coronavirus.
The uncertainty of not waking up
The pulmonary failure was so acute that the pregnancy had to be terminated urgently. “We went on higher doses of drugs and went through it all without seeing much improvement, it was frustrating. When we explained to Yina the need to have an emergency caesarean section, that her newborn would be at risk and that there was a chance she could not go on due to prematurity, it was a very difficult time, “she says. Dr. Diana Patricia Parrado, manager of Cafam Hospital Gyneco-obstetrics.
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Parrado says she still remembers all the complications of the situation, because in addition to the respiratory problems caused by covid-19, a pregnancy physiologically requires more circulating oxygen, and in the third trimester of gestation the large uterus causes difficulty in achieving adequate breathing. In other words, the patient’s lung system was already working at the limit of its capacities and volumes. In addition, there was maternal overweight, which implied greater restrictions and limited response to ventilatory therapy.
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From July 13-14, Yina says she doesn’t remember much. He only knows that his sister celebrated her birthday that last day; That’s why, along with the nurses, they sang for him. That morning, hours before the operation, she felt fear take hold of her. Suddenly, the urge to say goodbye to all the people she loved awoke within her. “That morning I wrote to everyone saying goodbye, I thought there were so many dead around me and the figures said that chubby people always died. With my baby I weighed 107 kilos, I had everything to lose, “he recalls.
When July 15 arrived, the day the surgery was scheduled, it was as if the intensive care had stopped a few minutes before the surgery. In the midst of the turmoil, she was now invaded by an inner silence harmonized with the voices of a group of doctors who had gathered in front of her door, calculating step by step what they would do to save them.
“We had to resort to intermittent pronation, which consists of placing intubated patients face down to achieve better oxygenation given the pulmonary compromise,” explains Dr. Diana Patricia Parrado.
That morning I wrote to everyone saying goodbye, I thought there were so many dead around me and the figures said that chubby people always die
Suddenly, the weather thawed out and everyone started running. Yina felt like in one of those movies where doctors rush into the operating room at marathon speed in the midst of the confusion.
(Of interest: ‘The silence you hear is terrifying’)
From that moment on, everything is confused. She knows she screamed desperately at a nurse asking him not to let go of her hand, she clung to him as if it helped her not to let go of life itself. She also begged him desperately not to leave her alone at any time. He took care of her as if she were a guardian angel.
There, in that operating room, she experienced one of the most indescribable sensations of her existence: the sublime sensation that overwhelmed her when she heard her baby cry three times. He was breathing and with the possibility that neither of them would survive, he promised to record that sound forever.
“After that they covered my face. It’s like you’ve been turned off. What happened in those days still remains a mystery to me that I have clarified with what my husband and brothers tell me ”.
Open your eyes to a new life
-When did he wake up?
-I reopened my eyes on August 2 (he entered intensive care on July 12). I know this because it was the first thing I saw in the doctor’s coats around me. They had the date written on the clothes, otherwise I don’t know.
Today it was like he was born again. A second possibility that, he admits, would not have been possible without the professionalism of the medical staff and without the prayers of family, friends, work colleagues and even strangers. who, after hearing her story, joined in a religious novena for her recovery and even sent her gifts for her son.
(Other Stories: The Torture of Having Your Mother Between Life and Death)
After so many tears, she now jokes about what happened during her recovery days. For example, it seems absurd that his first words upon awakening were “I’m very hungry”. Anecdote that he tells amidst laughter, because he believes that the most logical thing was having asked about the child and his health.
More than twenty days passed without seeing or hugging little Nicolás. Time when his sister Diana worked as a babysitter mother. He saw his baby for the first time through a video that the nurses showed him, the same nurses who, to cheer up, filled the glass of the room with photos of the newborn to get strength and get out of there.
After that they covered my face. It’s like you’ve been turned off. What happened in those days still remains a mystery to me that I have clarified with what they tell me
Gradually the doctors began to reduce the parameters of the ventilator and the drugs, until they were completely withdrawn after about 15 days of critical condition in the ICU. Seeing the improvement, he went to the apartment and later managed to continue the hospitalization at his home.
His departure on August 6 was a collective celebration. Among the operators of the clinic they organized a street of honor where they filled it with applause and words of encouragement. “They encouraged me to move on, to make my dreams come true, to appreciate that second chance we had with my son, and to look forward to the discharge of my baby, who came home three days later.”
(Read: ‘I didn’t know if he was alive or dead’: says the man who suffered from covid)
He can now walk without shaking his legs, but he is now struggling to recover his memory one hundred percent and hopes to normalize his voice, as he was hoarse due to double intubation. Nicolás also advances in his trial; although he is already with his family, he still needs oxygen. Despite everything, Yina feels lucky: the consequences she had, given the gravity of her case, are insignificant. She and her son are miraculously healthy and alive.
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You don’t see what you’ve been through as something you should sadly remember. When the baby grows up, he hopes to tell her, with emotion, that he was famous from childhood and that his love was so powerful that he lifted her from a hospital bed just by hearing her first cry. “It was our first win, we both came out positive and now we are on the other side”.
DIANA MILENA RAVELO MÉNDEZ
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