US

Mother who lives on a remote Alaskan island had to isolate 800 MILES away from home for 10 WEEKS

A first-time mom who lives on a remote Alaskan island has opened up about how she had to quarantine nearly 800 miles away from her home for 10 weeks to give birth to twin daughters as the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Cara Lestenkof-Mandregan, 27, and her boyfriend, John Melovidov, are from St. Paul Island, which is located off the coast of Alaska in the Bering Sea. She told Good Morning America that the village’s 400 or so residents have to take a three-hour flight to Anchorage for specialized medical treatment.   

The healthcare aide, who works at the island’s only medical center, found out she was pregnant in 2019. She thought she would only have to fly to the mainland a few times before giving birth — but then she learned she was having twins.  

Isolated: Cara Lestenkof-Mandregan, 27, and her boyfriend, John Melovidov, quarantined in Anchorage, Alaska, for 10 weeks before welcoming their twin daughters during the pandemic  

Far away: Lestenkof-Mandregan is from St. Paul Island, which is located off the coast of Alaska in the Bering Sea, nearly 800 miles away from Anchorage

Far away: Lestenkof-Mandregan is from St. Paul Island, which is located off the coast of Alaska in the Bering Sea, nearly 800 miles away from Anchorage

Lestenkof-Mandregan’s doctor explained that carrying twins is considered a high-risk pregnancy that would necessitate more frequent and specialized care. 

‘I found out from my doctor that I’d have to travel every two weeks after my 16-week appointment and my jaw dropped,’ she told GMA. 

If the amount of travel she would have to do wasn’t stressful enough, the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and cases started popping up in Alaska. As a precaution, residents could only leave St. Paul Island for essential medical trips.

Logistically, Lestenkof-Mandregan would have to quarantine on the island for two weeks every time she traveled to Anchorage for a doctor’s appointment.   

Hard to handle: After learning she would have to travel to Anchorage every two weeks after her 16-week appointment, the pandemic hit, adding another complication

Hard to handle: After learning she would have to travel to Anchorage every two weeks after her 16-week appointment, the pandemic hit, adding another complication

Bundles of joy: The couple welcomed their twin daughters, Mila and Anna, on June 22, 2020

Bundles of joy: The couple welcomed their twin daughters, Mila and Anna, on June 22, 2020

Heading home: It took them nearly three weeks to get a return flight to St. Paul Island due to the weather and COVID-19 restrictions

Heading home: It took them nearly three weeks to get a return flight to St. Paul Island due to the weather and COVID-19 restrictions

While she was focused on keeping herself and her twins safe, she was also worried that she would contract COVID-19 while traveling back and forth and quickly spread it throughout her community. 

With the help of her doctor, Lestenkof-Mandregan and Melovidov decided in April during her second trimester of pregnancy that she would spend 10 weeks isolating n Anchorage to ensure she could safely give birth at a hospital.   

Lestenkof-Mandregan had to leave behind her family, who are Alaska Natives and members of the Unangan tribe, which she said was ‘really hard.’ 

‘We had not seen our families since March 13, so to know that we weren’t going to visit with them for many more months, that was really tough,’ she explained.  

The Alaska Native Medical Center chartered a plane to take them and another patient to Anchorage, where they stayed at a Ronald McDonald House offering temporary housing for pregnant Alaska Natives.

Difficult: Lestenkof-Mandregan had to leave behind her family, who are Alaska Natives and members of the Unangan tribe, which she said was 'really hard'

Difficult: Lestenkof-Mandregan had to leave behind her family, who are Alaska Natives and members of the Unangan tribe, which she said was ‘really hard’

Precaution: Once they returned home, the new parents had to quarantine with their baby girls for another two weeks

Precaution: Once they returned home, the new parents had to quarantine with their baby girls for another two weeks

Precaution: Once they returned home, the new parents had to quarantine with their baby girls for another two weeks 

Too cute: The couple's twins are now eight-months-old, and they plan on telling them all about the unforgettable lead-up to their birth

Too cute: The couple’s twins are now eight-months-old, and they plan on telling them all about the unforgettable lead-up to their birth

Lestenkof-Mandregan said the only time they left was to go to her check-up appointments, but her boyfriend was never allowed in because of COVID-19 restrictions. 

When they returned to the Ronald McDonald House, they immediately sanitized and changed their clothes as a precaution.  

Lestenkof-Mandregan and Melovidov welcomed their twin daughters, Mila and Anna, on June 22, 2020, but it took them nearly three weeks to get a return flight to St. Paul Island due to the weather and COVID-19 restrictions. 

Once they returned home, they had to quarantine with their baby girls for another two weeks. The couple’s twins are now eight-months-old, and they plan on telling them all about the unforgettable lead-up to their birth. 

‘We definitely have a lot to share with them,’ the mom said. ‘We’re going to let them know that it was a very scary time and we did everything we could to protect them and keep them safe.’


Source link

Related Articles

Back to top button