A Filipino resident in the United Arab Emirates who tested positive for COVID-19 twice – once during pregnancy and once during labor – has given birth to healthy twin girls.
Mariecen Nituma Agillon, 26, first tested positive for COVID-19 at 31 weeks pregnant after reporting symptoms of fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
After her health deteriorated, she was admitted to the isolation ward in NMC Specialty Hospital, Al Nahda, Dubai on June 4, 2021.
Her husband, Kenneth Zamora, who worked as an office assistant before losing his job to the pandemic, had also tested positive around the same time, and was admitted into a quarantine center in Dubai.
Blood tests on the mom-to-be revealed she has high levels of infection and inflammation, while a chest x-ray revealed she had developed pneumonia.
Dr Rakesh Sankar, a specialist physician, at the hospital said: “Pregnancy can lead to complications in COVID-19, and in this case, more so since this was a pre-term twin pregnancy.”
“In addition to COVID-19 related pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome, other complications during treatment such as severe anemia requiring blood transfusion, bacterial pneumonia with sepsis, and high heart rate suggestive of thyroid condition were encountered.”
After spending two days in the ICU, and a total of nine days in the hospital, Agillon, a sales executive with a local retail chain, was finally discharged on June 1 after obtaining a negative PCR test. However, she was readmitted the very next day for premature labor, testing positive yet again.
Dr Praveena Saraf, a specialist obstetrician and gynecologist at the hospital said twin pregnancy in general is considered high risk and can lead to preterm delivery.
“While Mariecen was weighing just around 50kgs, the COVID-19infection increased her risk of a preterm delivery.”
Agillon had an emergency C-section, delivering two live healthy preterm 32 weeks baby girls, weighing 1.4 and 1.6kg. Both the babies tested negative for COVID-19.
She was alone in hospital her husband remained in the quarantine center. The premature babies were managed in the NICU and finally discharged after two weeks.
The new mother expressed her happiness at the safe delivery of her twins, saying: “Me and my husband could only pray but it seems God answered our prayers through these doctors.”
Michael Brenden Davis, CEO of NMC Healthcare, said the safe delivery of twin babies proves that life can go on with proper medical care despite the pandemic.
‘What is most encouraging is the fact that her twins remained COVID negative. I am grateful to our doctors and nurses who deliver such miracles time and again.”
Dr Karvendhan Ramasamy, a specialist neonatologist at the hospital said that in spite of the mother being COVID-19 positive, her breast milk was expressed and given to the babies from day one.
“Though the mother was COVID 19 positive, we could still use her breast milk as breast milk of COVID 19 mothers is safe for their babies,” he said. “As such, the babies remained COVID-19 negative; although, they were premature hence needed constant and special nursery care for two weeks.”