Supporting a Family Ravaged by COVID-19
Sharon* had no idea that 2020 would bring her such heartbreaking loss. She had every reason to be optimistic – a good job as a patient care technician at a local hospital, a loving husband, three healthy sons, and a daughter on the way in April. Life was good.
And then COVID-19 changed everything.
In February, Sharon got the coronavirus, which then spread to her entire family. She wasn’t able to eat much for weeks. The stress on her body caused her to deliver early, when the baby was about 33 weeks along (39-40 weeks is considered full-term).
After a difficult labor, Ann entered the world on March 27. She had a few minor health complications and a consistently low temperature that the doctors attributed to her small size. She wasn’t tested for COVID-19 because at the time children didn’t seem to be affected by the virus.
After three days in the hospital, Ann was sent home. Sharon said she was mostly fine, though a bit constipated and sleepy. Doctors suggested stool softeners and told her to bring Ann to the office for her wellness visit.
Two weeks after Ann’s doctor visit, on the day before Mother’s Day, Sharon and her husband tucked Ann into bed one night – and she never woke up.
“There was no warning sign,” Sharon said. Ann wasn’t short of breath or displaying any other symptoms. “It hit us from left field.”
While the family grieved, officials performed an autopsy that revealed Ann had COVID-19 pneumonia and bacteria likely picked up at the hospital. She was the one baby who passed from COVID in their county.
Sharon, a woman of deep faith, said, “Everyone has a test. This is mine. I’m committed to keep believing in God and trusting His ways.”
At the same time, the family was moving from a two-bedroom apartment to a house, a transition made more difficult by the early delivery and Ann’s death. Sharon, who was familiar with The Salvation Army from years prior when she got Christmas gifts for her oldest son through our Angel Tree program, turned to the Army for financial assistance. Their local corps community center provided help with rent and utilities, which Sharon said, “Really took the pressure off and alleviated our financial burden.”
Sharon and her husband held a very small funeral for Ann, and soon after they both tested positive for COVID again. But it was another positive test that stunned them even more. In June, a little more than a month after Ann’s passing, Sharon discovered she was pregnant.
Doctors advised her to expect a miscarriage. And here she was pregnant with COVID again. But so far the ultrasounds and other tests have shown a healthy baby. A girl. Due on the very day Ann was born.
“I believe everything we lose we shall gain again in one way or another,” Sharon said. With this pregnancy she says she’s grateful the doctors know a lot more about the coronavirus, and their family is taking every precaution to stay healthy as the virus continues. Sharon also takes comfort that The Salvation Army is there to help with anything the family needs. “Their assistance meant so much to us. It was a light in a dark tunnel. It felt good to know in a time of need that the Army was there for us.”
*Names changed to protect client’s privacy.
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