After working on the COVID-19 pandemic frontlines, Danielle Goins, a case manager at a local hospital, welcomed her new baby, Etta Catherine Goins, to the world on April 24.
Goins said as a case manager, she helps families make decisions for their loved ones by assisting with discharge planning and assisting with skilled nursing placement.
“I’ve not directly had to care for a COVID patient, as we made precautions to save PPE, those consults could be done by phone,” Goins wrote in a Facebook message. “I realized this virus was becoming serious when I saw how quickly it was spreading in the United States. At first, I thought in North Carolina, we wouldn’t get it as bad. But as it quickly spread state to state, I understood it to be much more dangerous. When I saw how the hospitals I work with appeared nervous about it, then I definitely took it very seriously.”
Goins said while she was working, the requirements and precautions were ever-changing.
“At first, it was just to wear a surgical mask when around the patients. Then, an N95 if they were doing a breathing treatment. Then, it became an N95 at all times,” she stated. “I realized no one had a true understanding of the virus and how it was spreading. Things changed minute by minute, it seemed. We were given one surgical mask to wear all day. I was nervous because everyone wasn’t getting tested, and we were learning more and more about people having it but being asymptomatic.”
When she realized how fast COVID-19 was spreading, she said she started being concerned for her health as well as the health of her family.
“I was scared and nervous, as I was pregnant, and worried that if I contracted it, could I have a premature birth or pass it to my newborn or my 2-year-old? I was worried if I went to deliver and coughed, then I would be separated from my newborn.”
Goins was also worried that the hospital visitor restrictions would prevent anyone from being in the delivery room with her.
“I had back up plans to have my boss at the hospital be present in the delivery room so she could FaceTime my husband,” Goins noted. “Luckily, they never made it where he couldn’t come. But we were unable to have any family come see me. My coworkers who worked in the hospital weren’t allowed to come see me either. That was hard after having a C-section to not have any help after except my husband, who was exhausted as well!”
Even though her baby is out of the hospital, Goins said she still has to take Etta back intermittently for newborn check-ups, and that presents its own challenges.
“Taking Etta to the doctor for her newborn checks is hard because they only allow one parent in,” Goins wrote. “Since I’m still recovering, a nurse has to carry her in from the car and back out for me.”
Even though this wasn’t an ideal time to have a baby, Goins and her family are making it work, and most importantly, Etta is healthy and safe.
“Etta is doing great! She’s gaining weight,” Goins wrote. “Toby loves his little sister, and we are adjusting to a family of four. It’s hard not having family and friends come over to see her or be able to take her anywhere. I don’t go to any stores, and we try to order online and have things delivered. I’m going a little stir crazy for not being able to get out and go places, but we are doing OK.”