A mom who missed out on the first month of her baby’s life while battling COVID-19 in a Santa Monica hospital says this Mother’s Day will be extra special.
Natahlie Herrera was 37 weeks pregnant with her son, Felipe, when she and several other members of her family tested positive for the virus. Her condition rapidly deteriorated and she delivered the baby via cesarean section to avoid exposure, and he was taken away before she could hold him.
“My biggest fear was my baby not knowing who I was,” she told KTLA Friday.
Doctors say Herrera was paralyzed, sedated and “near death” when she arrived at Providence St. John’s Health Center in Santa Monica. When she woke up, she found out her father had died and been buried, and her infant was 5 weeks old.
She was discharged from the hospital Dec. 15 after being apart from Felipe for 37 days. Herrera went home to her husband and 4-year-old son Joaquin, and held her infant for the first time.
Herrera’s still recovering from long-haul coronavirus symptoms but says she’s simply grateful to be alive.
“I don’t know if the side effects will go away. But I do know I’m alive,” she said. “I’m grateful about the vaccine. I’ve gotten my second dose already.”
Although it’ll be a special Mother’s Day, Herrera is still a college student and says she plans to spend the holiday studying to make up for the time she lost in the hospital.