These babies were born when their mother was unconscious from coronavirus -- and all three survived!
Every now and then, a story of the pandemic brings hope for the future. That’s the case with the extraordinary situation of a Bolivian wife and mother named Mili, and her newborn twins. All three were in danger because of COVID-19, but they pulled through and now their story is a ray of light to others.
Mili was admitted to the Vall d’Hebron Hospital in Barcelona because of symptoms from COVID-19. She was pregnant with twins at the time. The coronavirus caused her to develop severe pneumonia, and was taken to the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU). As the days went by, it became necessary to sedate her. By her 28th week of pregnancy, the medical team thought the best option to ensure the health of the babies and mother was to perform a C-section.
Mili’s husband Yaseen authorized the procedure. So, with Mili under sedation and intubated, Ayma and Ayla were born. Their names are of Pakistani origin, a heritage they receive from their father.
She forgot she was pregnant
It took 21 days for Mili to recover enough to be taken off the respirator and to wake up from the sedation. At that moment, a curious circumstance occurred: although she’d given birth to two girls, she didn’t remember anything about her pregnancy.
The sedation made Mili lose her recent memory. Her husband and the medical team had to bring her up to date with reality.
“The doctors showed me pictures of the girls so I could see that they were fine, and I listened but didn’t respond. It was as if I was coming from another planet. When they finally passed the ICU phone to my husband, the first thing I asked him was why he wasn’t with me and had left me there alone. I didn’t remember anything,” she said.
Despite the explanations, Mili was weak and disheartened, overwhelmed by the situation.
The head of the Neonatology Service, Dr. Félix Castillo, then decided to accompany her to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), specifically to the room where parents get to spend time with their children.
They helped Mili to sit comfortably, and placed Ayla and Ayma on their mother’s chest. It was that moment of skin-to-skin contact with her babies that gave Mili new life.
“Her eyes lit up suddenly. Her smile was priceless,” explained Dr. Castillo to the newspaper La Vanguardia, describing Mili’s transformation.
From then on, Mili truly felt her motherhood. “I knew I had two daughters and that they were in incubators, but I didn’t feel it. Not until that moment,” she told La Vanguardia
On Sunday, May 1, two days after that moving experience, the doctor tweeted a picture of Mili, wearing a mask but clearly smiling with her babies on her chest.
Mili afecta de grave neumonía por #Covid_19 .Embarazada de gemelas.Cesárea a las 28s. Nacen Ayma y Ayla . 21 días intubada, al despertarse, no recordaba su embarazo . Este es su primer kanguro con sus hijas en neonatos @vallhebron tras 30 días de enfermedad. No hay palabras. pic.twitter.com/apDtUoGCI9— felix castillo salinas (@felixcastillos2) May 1, 2020
Mother and daughters united
Mili was discharged and is at home recovering, while her twin babies continue to grow in the hospital. She goes there every afternoon, and hopes to go more often as she recovers her strength.
The twins have tested negative for the coronavirus after three tests at the hospital. If all goes well, in two weeks they will be reunited with their parents at home.
Mili cannot forget the impact of that first day with her daughters. She believes that they, too, noticed they were with their mother for the first time since their birth.
“They cried that first day as soon as I was separated from them. They felt me, too,” she says.