Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 27 November 2020

CORONAVIRUS

Coronavirus: Dubai nurse gives birth to healthy baby girl after beating Covid-19

Ruth Deva Kiruba spent 12 days in hospital and 30 days in self-isolation after catching the virus

Ruth Deva Kiruba, a nurse at NMC Royal Hospital in Dubai, pictured days before she went into labour and gave birth to a healthy baby girl. Chris Whiteoak / The National
Ruth Deva Kiruba, a nurse at NMC Royal Hospital in Dubai, pictured days before she went into labour and gave birth to a healthy baby girl. Chris Whiteoak / The National

A nurse who contracted Covid-19 while pregnant has given birth to a healthy baby girl.

Ruth Deva Kiruba welcomed her second child on July 29, three months after she tested positive for coronavirus while 26 weeks into her pregnancy.

The staff nurse, who works for NMC Royal Hospital in Dubai, spent 12 days in hospital and 30 days in self isolation after coming down with a number of symptoms, including difficulty breathing.

The 32-year-old said it was “surreal being pregnant during a pandemic”, but was never concerned for the health of her unborn child.

“I guess because I was working in a hospital and seeing first-hand how more patients were recovering from the virus than succumbing to it, I just wasn’t afraid,” Ms Kiruba said.

I saw many people get covid, beat covid, then return to full health, which helped keep me in a good mindset throughout

Ruth Deva Kiruba

“I saw many people get covid, beat covid, then return to full health, which helped keep me in a good mindset throughout.

“As healthcare workers we are not meant to be afraid, we stay strong for our patients and that was the attitude of all my co-workers.”

From diagnosis to recovery, Ms Kiruba spent more than 42 days away from loved ones, including her two-year-old daughter.

The mother-of-two, from India, said she was still not sure how she was exposed to the virus.

At the peak of the crisis, NMC Royal had 50 patients occupying beds on a special Covid ward.

“I wasn’t working directly with infected patients so was shocked when I got that positive result on April 28,” she said.

“I was super cautious at work and I was a hand sanitiser maniac, to the point where my hands were so dry from constantly washing and sanitising them.”

Between April and June, Ms Kiruba, who has lived in Dubai for two years, took 10 Covid-19 tests, all of which came back positive.

Ruth's baby daughter was taken straight to an incubator but is doing well in hospital. Courtesy: Kiruba family
Ruth's baby daughter was taken for observation but is doing well in hospital. Courtesy: Kiruba family

On June 13, she finally received the news she was waiting for; a negative result which meant she could return to work.

“I started to get a little concerned when I kept getting positive test results,” she said.

“But my obstetrician told me the virus would not harm my baby and that she was doing really well, so that was some comfort at least.

“When I got that final negative result, I went back to work straight away, the next day in fact.

“My two-year-old daughter was staying with friends for about a month when I was isolating at home and that was quite tough, I was glad to get back to some form of reality.”

After pacing the wards at work for another six weeks, a heavily pregnant Ms Kiruba finally went on maternity leave on July 28. She gave birth to her second daughter just one day later.

"I was thrilled when I gave birth and am so grateful that my baby is healthy and happy, it's a relief," she said.

"My baby hasn't been discharged yet, hopefully we can take her home soon and be together as a family of four again.

"It's great to finally meet her and hold her after all this.

"I will take about two months off before I head back to work again."

While it has been a very different pregnancy experience, self-isolation being the worst part, she said it’s a story she can tell her daughter in years to come.

Last month, doctors in France described what they said was the first confirmed case of a newborn infected in the womb with Covid-19 by the mother.

The baby boy, born in March, suffered brain swelling and neurological symptoms linked to Covid-19 in adults, but later recovered.

As part of research published in the medical journal, Nature Communications, they "transmission from the mother to the foetus across the placenta is possible during the last weeks of pregnancy".

Updated: August 3, 2020 09:38 AM

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