COVID-19 pandemic temporarily separates new mom, baby

nicu covid baby.JPG
Posted at 7:26 PM, Aug 24, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has put two brand new parents in a position they never expected.

The first-time mother had COVID-19 and her baby was premature so they ended up in different hospitals after his birth.

The young Paso Robles couple was excited to start their family together until the coronavirus changed that.

COVID-19 safety protocols made it so the mother couldn't see her newborn for several days.

"I got to hold him for a few seconds when he was born," said new mom Francesca Hamamoto who gave birth to a baby boy at Twin Cities Community Hospital.

She says her son's breathing was okay but he was small for 37 weeks so he was transferred to the NICU at Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center.

She was unable to go, however, because she was still within the 10-day isolation period from her initial positive COVID-19 test.

The baby's father, Isaac, was able to see his son after being cleared for COVID-19.

"I get jealous because he can go in and he gets to hold him and all the other nurses get to touch him and I can't even see him," Hamamoto said.

It's been five days since she's seen her son and the young couple says it's been a difficult experience.

"It should be the happiest day of your life and it's been nothing but stress for the both of us," said father Isaac Virgen.

Hamamoto was considered a visitor since she was not transferred to the NICU while in isolation.

Tenet Health's policy is that visitors must have proof of vaccination or a negative test within 72 hours.

For those in isolation, the ten days must be completed or two out of three tests must be negative.

While navigating the ins and outs of COVID-19, the couple is staying strong with the help of family and knowing that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

"I just want to hold him," Hamamoto said.

The family says they were given the okay for Hamamoto to go to the hospital on Tuesday where they will come together as a family of three.

KSBY News reached out to Dignity Health, which has a NICU at Marian Regional Medical Center, as well as Cottage Health in Santa Barbara. Both said they would have the same COVID-19 protocols in place in the rare event a baby would need to be transferred while its mother is positive for coronavirus.