The novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is currently having a devastating impact on individuals across the world, including a Spanish mother who could not touch their newborn baby after she contracted.
Vanesa Muro, a resident of Madrid, the Spanish capital, alongside her husband, Oscar Carrillo, contracted COVID-19 shortly the delivery of her first child, but were barred by medical experts from touching their son for 10 days for fear of infecting the baby.
Muro had been preparing to have the baby by caesarian section on 16 March, but everything changed when her grandmother, who the couple had been seeing every day, contracted the virus. She later died.
On 12 March, Muro and her husband tested positive and he rushed her to Madrid’s La Paz University Hospital, but he was prevented from entering.
They decided to operate the next day, when baby Oliver was born safely, weighing 3.6 kilogrammes (7 pounds, 9 ounces).
“It’s hard,” said Muro at her home in Spain, a country where more than 10,000 people have died from the virus, the highest number outside Italy.
“He grabs your finger, the poor little thing and holds on to the plastic, not on to you. But at least that’s another day over, you have to think of it like that otherwise you get depressed.”
She said she was nervous and afraid of passing on the virus to the baby, adding that she felt bizarre seeing the surgeons who operated on her dressed completely covered in protective suits.
“I felt a whole mixture of feelings, it was horrible,” she said.
Her husband, Carrillo, described the moment as “the longest 90 minutes of my life”, adding that he was not informed of developments in the theatre room.
After baby Oliver was born, he was put straight into an incubator and kept away from all the other babies until he was tested and found to be free of the virus.
After 48 hours recovering in hospital in almost total isolation, with the staff entering the room as little as possible because of a lack of protective equipment, Muro was allowed to go home, but had to leave her baby behind.
“It seems silly but even though he was seven floors below me, he seemed closer to me there than when I was home,” she said.
The couple were only allowed to take their baby 10 days after and had to wear gloves and masks to protect baby Oliver from contracting the disease.
“Hey little champion, we’re going to go home now,” were the first words Muro said to her son during their emotional reunion.
“It was like he’d just been born that day,” she added.
Although they have spent 14 days in quarantine, there are no testing kits to confirm they are free from the virus so they are still wearing gloves and masks.
“I still haven’t touched my son without gloves… we are just dying for the quarantine to end so we can touch him, kiss him,” Carrillo said.
*Additional reporting by the AFP