By Shirley Montesdeoca, Class of 2021
Discomfort, sleepless nights, the constant sensation of itchiness, and yellowing of the skin, are the symptoms of a condition called cholestasis during pregnancy. Lisbeth Racines, a 29-year-old mother of two was diagnosed with a high-risk pregnancy for both pregnancies. She was five months pregnant when she was diagnosed with cholestasis for a second time during Covid-19.
“We had to stay home since we found out the virus was here. It was really scary, I was afraid to go into the doctor’s office for my monthly checkups.”
Racines and her unborn baby were part of the high-risk group for Covid-19. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, there were a total of 42,268 cases of pregnant women who were diagnosed with Covid-19 and 55 total deaths from January 22 to November 30, 2020.
The CDC recommends pregnant women take preventive steps. These include limit interactions with people, wear a mask, avoid anyone not wearing a mask, social distancing, avoid activities where social distancing can’t be practiced.
“ All the appointments had to be done by the phone because during that time it was too dangerous for me to go out. We didn’t know anything about the virus, and how it could affect me and the baby.”
Dr. Doran Fink talked about the use of the vaccine on pregnant women in a CNBC interview. “ “We really have no data to speak to risks specific to the pregnant women or the fetus, but also no data that would warrant a contraindication to use in pregnancy at this time.”
Racine’s husband had to travel out of the country days before lockdown and was forced to return to the United States due to traveling restrictions. As a precaution, she had to move into her parent’s house with her three-year-old toddler until her husband completed the two-week quarantine mandate.
“ I can’t say I was alone because I had my family but it was hard not being able to be with my husband during the last weeks of my pregnancy.”
The pregnancy had to be induced at 36 weeks. The baby wasn’t able to complete the full term pregnancy since the life of the mother and the baby are put at risk from cholestasis. Racines had to plan everything with the hospital due to Covid-19. The only people allowed are parents and were mandated to wear a mask at all times even after the birth of the child.
“ I had to wear a mask while being in labor. It was so hard because I wasn’t used to wearing a mask, I couldn’t breathe and the contractions were so strong.”
The experience was surreal for Mrs. Racines, she wasn’t allowed to kiss her newborn baby because of the mask policy. Her husband wasn’t allowed to leave the room because he will be unable to come back in. Everything she experienced with her firstborn had to change in order to protect her family from the new virus.
“ As a mother that’s all you want to do…you want to make sure she’s safe and protected.”