Family in Louisiana talks about COVID-19 guidelines they followed while newborn was in NICU


MONROE, LA (5/6/20)– The circle of life doesn’t stop for anything, not even a world wide pandemic. However, giving birth during COVID-19 can bring new challenges a mother never expected.

“The nurses were great, the delivery was great, everything was great until she went to the NICU,” said Emalee, Mother of newborn.

Emalee and Brad Bell thought they were going to be able to leave with their baby Berklee, but after she was admitted to the NICU, that all changed. With Berklee in the NICU, the couple had to follow new safety guidelines due to COVID-19. The family says those guidelines were tough and unexpected.

“We weren’t able to see her. They would let us go in for like 30 minutes a day and it could only be one parent,” said Emalee.

The hospital also set up a 24-hour live camera so the couple could check up on Berklee throughout the day. The Bell family says they never thought they would have to send virtual hugs and kisses to their newborn baby girl.

“Having the camera was a huge deal for me. It allowed her [Emalee] to go in to see the baby so that way she could have that motherly bond with her,” said Brad, Father of newborn.

However, COVID-19 brought challenges before the delivery process even started.

“You know we pretty much quarantined for 4 or 5 weeks before. We’re very, very secure about going out in public and being safe so that way I could for sure be there,” said Brad.

Brad says if he had a fever or felt sick, he would not have been able to sit with his wife through her labor or see his new daughter, so following the stay at home order was a priority.

The family says they are thankful for the hospital staff at St. Francis Medical Center and how well they kept them informed. Berklee was released from the hospital on Monday and is now home with her parents and brother.

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