A frontline nurse who contracted Covid-19 while heavily pregnant has shared her delight after her long-awaited first child was born virus-free.
Jincy Antony, who cares for coronavirus patients at Medeor Hospital in Al Ain, and her husband Jose Joy tested positive within two weeks of each other last month.
Ms Antony was 36 weeks pregnant when she received the grim news on May 15, which proved a hammer blow to a couple who had been trying to become parents for five years.
The positive test prompted her to have her labour induced on the advice of doctors.
“We were shattered. My blood pressure level was high. So as per the doctor’s advice, we decided to go ahead with induction,” said Ms Antony.
The beaming mum gave birth to a healthy daughter who was virus-free, who she named Angeline in honour of the heroic nurses leading the fight against Covid-19.
Relief and joy were initially mixed with sadness as Ms Antony's husband remained in quarantine and she was unable to hold her precious daughter.
“All of us were overjoyed. I wanted to hold my child and kiss her. But I couldn’t do that. My husband was also not there as he was in quarantine. So my colleagues looked after the child," she said.
"They just showed her face to me from a distance. Later they sent me a few pictures. It hurts me that I couldn’t hold my child or feed her. My husband was equally suffering. But we were happy that at least our child was healthy.”
Her husband first contracted the virus on May 4 and was admitted to Medeor Hospital in Al Ain, where Jincy worked. He was later diagnosed with pneumonia and had breathing difficulties.
“It was a tough time. I tried to keep up my spirits and stay strong but it wasn’t easy. I was 36 weeks pregnant and my delivery date was nearing. I was very much worried about the health of my child," she said.
"The thought was very distressing and disturbing. Despite all this, I tried to stay calm. Unlike my husband, my condition was stable. He was suffering from high fever and other issues.”
It took more than three weeks for her to recover and she was discharged from hospital on June 10.
Ms Antony said tears filled her eyes when she held her baby in her arms for the first time.
“It was at that moment I decided to name her Angeline as a tribute to all nurses across the world fighting the battle,” she said.
Her husband first saw his child when they reached home from the hospital.
“It was an emotional moment for me as well. We had only informed our immediate family about our medical condition. They were all worried and scared. But thankfully, God had listened to our prayers. Our child is fine and healthy,” said Mr Joy.
While Ms Antony was undergoing treatment, the newborn was looked after by her sister Josmy Antony, who herself later tested positive for the virus.
Fortunately, Angeline was unaffected and Josmy has subsequently recovered.
Dr Divyatha Jayaram, specialist in obstetrics and gynecology at Medeor Hospital, paid tribute to the courageous new mother.
“Jincy was very strong. I was amazed to see the courage she displayed. It was heart-wrenching for us to learn that she had tested positive. But thankfully, the child is healthy,” she said.
It has now been two weeks since Ms Antony tested negative and both mother and child are free from infection.