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She was about to give birth when she learned she had COVID-19. Here's what happened next

Lisa Schencker, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Health & Fitness

It was so early in the pandemic that not all hospital patients were being tested for coronavirus. And Faber wasn't wearing a mask when she drew blood from the man's chest port or gave him a breathing treatment. Not until after Faber had cared for the man did she learn doctors wanted to test him for COVID-19.

The University of Illinois Hospital declined to comment on Faber's case, citing privacy issues. But Dr. Susan Bleasdale, the hospital's acting chief quality officer, said in a statement that the hospital has "always followed the latest scientific guidelines from local and national public health officials, which have changed rapidly over the last few months." The hospital began requiring all staff and patients to wear masks March 27, and began testing all patients for COVID-19 upon admission on April 16, she said.

Faber started feeling ill three days after she cared for the patient. She was then 39 weeks pregnant. She isolated herself in her bedroom at home, asking her husband to care for their daughters, ages 2 and 3, so she wouldn't spread her sickness.

Her 2-year-old, Alana, would come to the bedroom door and call "Mommy," not understanding why her mother wouldn't come out.

Then she'd hear Alana's sister, Brynn, explaining: "Mommy's sick."

Faber also missed most of Alana's 2nd birthday, which occurred during her self-imposed isolation.

 

"I came out real quick in my mask and said, 'Happy birthday,' " Faber said. "It was tough."

During that time, Faber was tested for COVID-19 but didn't receive the results quickly. Her doctor had planned to induce labor on March 21, given her risk factors, which included advanced maternal age and gestational diabetes. But she and her doctor decided to push back the date a couple days in hopes of getting the test results.

By March 23, there was still no answer, and Faber and her doctor decided it was time to move ahead with the induction. Faber had started to feel better, but when she arrived at Good Samaritan she received another COVID-19 test, in hopes of more rapid results. The nurses caring for her donned full personal protective equipment in case she had the illness.

In midafternoon, the results of her first test finally came back: negative. Faber was elated, and the nurses caring for her removed their layers of protective equipment.

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