NYPD officer was hospitalized with Covid-19 and gave birth to her first son while she was intubated
A husband and wife who both work as NYPD cops have celebrated their first Father’s Day as a family after she gave birth to their first child while on a ventilator with COVID.
Martin Lopez says he was overjoyed to mark the special occasion with his son Elias and wife Yesenia, 34, who is now recovering from the virus.
Elias was delivered via caesarean section while his mom was in a coma with the virus in April.
Yesenia and Martin, both of who are NYPD officers, stood in their Rockland County home just a week earlier, on March 25, when Martin found out that his wife contracted the infectious disease, he told the New York Daily News.
‘I was reassuring her everything’s going to be fine,’ he said. ‘But this was our biggest fear.’
At the time, many fears regarding the coronavirus pandemic had begun to wane and more and more people were getting vaccinated. Martin had his vaccination in January, but Yesenia, 34, wanted to wait until after her pregnancy out of concerns that it would have a negative effect on her child, according to the New York Daily News article.
Yesenia already had a fever when she tested positive for the virus and, soon after, she began experiencing an aggressive couch and breathing issues. On March 29, Martin rushed her to the emergency room at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan, where she stayed for a month while she battled coronavirus.
When they got there, Obstetrician Francesco Callipari saw her condition and immediately admitted her to the surgical ICU.
Martin Lopez (left) was with his wife Yesenia (right) and their first son Elias. Yesenia gave birth to Elias via C-section while she was intubated with Covid-19
Yesenia recovered after a month at Mount Sinai Hospital and her baby was sent to the NICU for 20 days before being reunited with his parents
During that month, Yesenia gave birth to the couple’s first child, with Elias sent to the NICU for 20 days before being reunited with his parents.
‘There were so many times that I wished I could trade places with them when they when they were in the hospital,’ Martin told the New York Daily News. ‘You’re constantly [wondering] are they going to be able to come home? Are they going to make it out?’
By 3.30am on March 31, hospital staff informed Callipari that Yesenia’s condition had grown far worse. Callipari joined with roughly seven medical teams and treated Yesenia for nearly 10 hours. Overnight, her oxygen saturation plummeted and the baby’s heart rate began to slow down with it. Yesenia needed to be intubated to keep them both alive.
Her lungs were also full of fluid and couldn’t inflate on their own, so doctors needed to hook her up to an Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation machine. According to Mayor Clinic, the machine works by pumping blood out of the body and removing carbon dioxide from it before sending oxygen-rich blood back into the body. This allowed Yesenia’s lungs and heart to rest and recover. However, the baby’s heart rate still didn’t improve.
‘And during that time, we called her husband to come in right away because we had to make some important decisions on what to do next,’ Callipari told the Daily News, adding that he hasn’t had to treat a case like Yesenia’s in 29 years.
‘It was terrible,’ he said. ‘It was very emotional for everybody.’
After consulting with Martin, Callipari decided to perform an emergency c-section.
Doctors at Mount Sinai Hospital delivered Yesenia Lopez’s baby while she was being intubated with a harsh bout of Covid-19
Elias Lopez was born without further complications and is now healthy
Another one of Yesenia’s doctors, Sanam Ahmed, recalled seeing Martin cry after the baby was born. He told her, ‘I’m not crying because I’m sad. I’m crying because my wife is alive and my son is alive.’ And you guys have given them a chance.’
Meanwhile, Yesenia does not remember the delivery or the following days in the hospital. She said that, in hindsight, she wishes she got the Covid-19 vaccination when her husband did.
‘I didn’t know if it was going to have any effect on the baby,’ she said. ‘We don’t know as much as we do now.’
Dr. Francis Collins, of the National Institute of Health, wrote in a blog post on June 1 that two recent studies revealed that the Covid-19 mRNA vaccines had successful results on pregnant women and may even offer protection to infants born to vaccinated mothers. There are still a number of clinical trials underway, however.
Throughout the first year of the pandemic, Yesenia said that she and her husband took all of the necessary precautions and safety measures. By March, she said she was confident that she wouldn’t get the virus. ‘And it still happened to us,’ she said.
Martin said that the virus robbed the couple of experiences like hosting a baby shower or getting to hold their baby as soon as he was delivered. ‘Every day I thank God Yesenia and the baby are home,’ he said. ‘[They] are doing so much better — and that’s all I need.’
‘This Father’s Day, all I need is my family. And I have that, and I am so grateful.’