Novi Nadya, journalist at Fimela.com, and Covid-19 survivor.
Covid-19 has definitively tested me and my small family. Just 12 days after I gave birth to my firstborn, we were both declared positively infected with Covid-19. As was my husband. While still having to deal with the pain from my still fresh cesarean wound, I also had to fight against this crippling Covid-19 that has made me weak and feel powerless.
Apparently, all three of us caught the virus from our parents who also live in the same house. My husband was immediately admitted to the hospital of the Army’s Health Education Center while I still remained at home with the baby, contemplating what steps I should take.
It was Raden Janitra Argibi Wiriaatmadja, my small and cute baby, who gave me my fighting spirit, ignoring the pain that was gnawing on me, making sure that I remained calm, not stressed and thus, able to continue to breastfeed my offspring.
But stress was unavoidable.
It hit hard as I was trying to find a hospital that had a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) for my baby, and this turned out to be far from easy. I had to go from one hospital to another looking for that elusive NICU or any facility where my baby could be treated for Covid-19. Not all infant polyclinics, it turned out, accepted infant Covid-19 cases.
Determined to continue my search, I sought information from any source I could lay my hands on, including reading an article on babies infected by the virus. Babies that were under one month old, the article said, must first undergo a blood test and a thorax examination.
Not long afterwards, I managed to find a hospital that accepted to treat Covid-19 infected babies, the Puri Cinere Hospital. We both spent the whole day at the hospital’s ICU for Covid-19 cases and the doctor found a heightened liver function, at 200, compared to the normal rate of 50, and also a lung inflammation.
The doctor told me that the baby needed to be put on specific monitoring but unfortunately, that hospital did not have the facility to provide in house treatment to positive Covid-19 babies. And thus, I had to resume my quest.
In the cold ICU of the hospital, in the early hours of that day, my mind was racing, trying to decide where I should search for a hospital for my baby. Fortunately, a child specialist at the hospital offered me a reference to take my baby to the Permata Depok hospital, which I immediately accepted.
And that was where me and my dear baby, finally got admitted.
That difficult struggle to get a place for my baby had not given me time to realize that I was also positive with Covid-19. We were both admitted to the NICU ward, under a round-the-clock monitoring by doctors and nurses. I was put under the care of an internist while my baby was cared for by a pediatrician. Raden, it turned out, was the youngest patient at that hospital.
As a new mother, I had to learn to care for Raden alone, and in a condition I cannot even begin to describe. The pain from my cesarean slit was further compounded by the pain and discomfort caused by the Corona virus and also the lack of sleep I had been subjected to. And I am not even talking about the postnatal psychological factors that had hit me.
But the determination to save my baby had made all those pain and discomfort bearable. The support from family and friends was also another factor that had kept me strong. Including Maverick Indonesia’s moral and financial support through the #UntukJurnalisID program. I was also pleasantly surprised that the assistance that I received was not only for me, as a journalist, but also for my baby and my husband who also happens to work in the media.
God’s help was extraordinary. Prayers from so many people, also helped my determination to stay strong while in a very weak health condition. And God also answered our prayers. The medicine we were prescribed, such as antibiotics and multivitamins, worked wonders, quickly restoring our body’s strength and resistance. And I could even fully breastfeed my baby so that it did gain 100 gram in weight while being treated at the NICU.
After the baby’s liver function was declared to have returned to normal, and the results of the examination of the thorax also showed that it had recovered, we were allowed to return home and continue with self-isolation there. I had actually not recovered enough to be allowed to go home, but the doctor finally gave in in the face of my adamant determination to continue to provide my baby with my milk, a natural antibody.
My gratitude goes to all my friends and all other parties for the support provided to me and my family, and of course to Maverick Indonesia – AJI Indonesia with their #UntukJurnalisID program. May we remain all healthy and we should never underestimate Covid-19 and ignore health protocols. Be Healthy! (*)