What it’s like to give birth one day after testing positive for coronavirus

Chantel Longuinho, an office manager from Astoria, tested positive for COVID-19 on April 21 — the day before she was due to deliver her third child and two weeks after losing her father-in-law to the deadly virus.

We’ve lived in a house with my husband’s parents since 2008. After losing his father, life became traumatic, to say the least. We just had to think about our next hurdle, which was having a baby in the midst of a pandemic. I’m 42 and my son, Vincent, was a long time coming. It wasn’t easy to have another child at my age.

It was a complete shock when I found out I had the virus. When I went to the hospital to have Vincent, my husband had to stay home with our daughters because we didn’t know if they were infected, too.

A nurse felt so terrible about my husband not being able to be there that she made sure we could FaceTime during my C-section. I could hold my beautiful baby for one hour a day in the hospital, as long as I had gloves, mask and gown on. I couldn’t breastfeed since my body was in such a shock that it wasn’t producing milk.

Thankfully, my husband and daughters tested negative, but my two weeks of isolation were brutal.

‘I gave birth a day after I tested positive for COVID-19 – and after my father-in-law died from it’

My older daughter, who is 8, was crying one night and said, “I need a hug, mommy.” It broke my heart when I told her I couldn’t hug her. I would hear my son cry and it’s a mother’s instinct to soothe him, but I couldn’t. He had never seen me without a mask until we posed for this photo.

It’s a dark place when you’re in isolation and your mind takes over.

Now, we have a lot of lost time to make up for — and a lot of snuggling to do. This Mother’s Day, my family is together, and we can face anything.

— As told to Doree Lewak

Read more stories about mothers dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. 

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