A mom is touching hearts around the globe with an open letter on her experience giving birth for while having COVID-19 and Pneumonia.
“I’m sorry. Those were the first words I tried to mutter to my son over a Zoom call,” Lexie Berhorst began.
“In a completely different hospital than my firstborn was. With no family around me. I’m so sorry. I tried to touch the screen, but my arms were too weak. I couldn’t get the words out because I had just been extubated, but they were there.”
“There the iPad sat, on a pillow in my lap, the nurse cleaning up the counter in my room, my husband and mom updating me through the Zoom call, looking at the most beautiful baby in the world, and all I wanted to say to Tate was ‘I’m sorry.’ I’m sorry I got sick and this is how you had to enter the world. I’m sorry I didn’t see you take your first breath. I’m sorry I’m not there.”
Berhorst gave some background of what led to these events in a lengthy essay published to Love Matters.
“I was in shock and scared….I called my OB and they advised me to be seen….I went to our local ER and got some pain medicine and was told it was just post-COVID complications….I was intubated and paralyzed on December 7, 2020, in hopes I could rest my body and lungs on the vent…..This was honestly traumatic for me. But I am SO happy with the support I received.”
“Once extubated, I remember sitting in my ICU bed not really understanding the severity of what happened or the sequence of events.”
“Now this is only a small portion of my story and I’ll forever be piecing it together, but this is what I got. Our journey has been a hard one. For Tate, one step forward, two back. Each day feeling like years. But this was nothing compared to others I’ve seen. For that, I am thankful and pray every day for those NICU parents/babies. Fifty-two days in the NICU. But he’s a fighter, I’m a fighter, Scott’s a fighter. And we made it. If I could let you with one thing, it’s this: hug your loved ones, let go of the small things, and enjoy life.”
“Being a former NICU nurse, I thought I was prepared. I absolutely was not. After about 2-3 days after I met Tate and him being there, I broke down. How do people do this? How could I have EVER told a former NICU parent, ‘It’s fine, we’ll take good care of him/her, he’s doing great, everything’s going to be okay.’ Okayyyyy?!?! Okay?!?! This is the most unnatural thing to be separated from your child, trusting total strangers for their care (lucky for me, there were no strangers), and watching your child go through this and there’s literally nothing you can do but sit there and watch them.”
“Hold them in short intervals. Change their diaper? Help with a bath? That’s it. I felt helpless and once again out of control. But let me tell you, I’m so, so, SO blessed to have previously worked in the NICU. I knew my boy was SAFE and LOVED and taken care of. We even got lucky and got 3 dayshift primary nurses and 1 nightshift nurse who we love and adore. Ashley, Linda, Tara, and Sarah. If you see this, thank you. More than thank you. And to every other nurse, RT, OT/PT, speech, and doctor who took care of him, thank you.”
Read the full essay here.
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.
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