PUEBLO, Colo. — Any mother who has given birth to multiple children will tell you each pregnancy was different. For Kristina Morales-Gomez, that is especially true, and she had quite the range of experiences.
“I was shaking, like, profusely and it was like a fever. My fever was almost 103, 104,” said Morales-Gomez. “Every night I would get it, but my body would not stop shaking.”
Morales-Gomez contracted COVID-19 in 2020 right before Thanksgiving. Immediately, she knew it was bad.
“I woke up that Wednesday and I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I felt like something was on my chest. I couldn’t catch my breath,” she told Rocky Mountain PBS.
Morales-Gomez went to the emergency room and was admitted after testing positive for COVID-19. The complication on top of it all: she was pregnant and due in four months.
“I felt like a guinea pig because, you know, no one knew how to treat me because again I’m pregnant with COVID so bad,” explained Morales-Gomez.
Kristina Morales-Gomez welcomes another baby
A mother who had COVID while pregnant gives birth to another baby.
Morales-Gomez said during the hospitalization, her blood oxygen levels dipped so low she saw her fingers turn blue.
“That was scary. I didn’t think I was going to live, honestly,” she said.
At one point, the doctors told her she may want to call her family to say her goodbyes and was forced to face tough questions.
“What if we both didn’t make it?” Morales-Gomez wondered, now sitting with her family in their home. “We wouldn’t even be here right now … it’s just crazy to think that she’s doing all this, and I’m able to be here to witness it.”
Morales-Gomez's daughter Athalia was born on January 26, 2021, about seven weeks prior to her March 14 due date. She weighed four pounds, eight ounces. After 60 days in the newborn intensive care unit (NICU), Morales-Gomez and her husband were finally able to take Athalia home.
“It’s crazy how my life was then, you know, and now it’s definitely a whole different lifestyle right now,” said Morales-Gomez.
The comparisons are even easier to make for her because 14 months after Athalia entered the world, Morales-Gomez found herself in the hospital again giving birth. This time things were so much different. Unlike her previous experience, the community-spread of COVID-19 was significantly lower and she didn’t go into labor while battling the disease.
“When we were in the hospital with Athalia, we had to be masked in the NICU as well which that’s not normal, your baby should be able to see you smile,” said Morales-Gomez. “And even the nurses would comment like, you know, put [the mask] down a little bit. They need to see you smile, that’s how they learn.”
Amaya Gomez was born March 31, 2022. This time, the baby was born full-term, and mom was healthy, so that meant the family was able to welcome a fifth girl at home just a couple of days after her birth. Now, the family includes 16-year-old Athena, 9-year-old Alicia, 6-year-old Adrienna, 15-month-old Athalia and now Amaya, who is just four weeks old.
“I’m very thankful to have my five very healthy daughters … it’s amazing,” said Morales-Gomez.
Ahead of this Mother’s Day, Morales-Gomez is just happy the challenges from the last two years are in the past.
“Mother’s Day means to me just honored to be … called that,” she said. “Especially this Mother's Day I have a new bundle of joy, and we’re actually kinda normal. So, this Mother’s Day feels, like, it’ll be super special but super normal [and] I want normal.”
Brian Willie is the content production manager at Rocky Mountain PBS. You can reach him at email@example.com.