Cat Garcia had been waiting for the call from the nurses at the neonatal intensive care unit, hoping to hear good news about her baby twin boys she had yet to meet.
Three weeks earlier, she lay in St. Joseph Hospital about to undergo an emergency cesarean section. Garcia wasn’t due for another six weeks but her doctors felt like they had little choice: She had tested positive for COVID-19, had pneumonia, and was having difficulty breathing.
Bright lights filled the room. Doctors and nurses were covered from head to toe in PPE. The drugs began to take hold, and everything went dark.
When Garcia woke up, she had a breathing tube in her mouth. A nurse held up her phone to show pictures of her newborn sons, Kal and Bruce. It was the closest she was going to get to them.
Her husband, Zach, who works for the Transportation Security Administration at Denver International Airport, had begun to show symptoms of COVID-19 on March 19. Cat Garcia developed a violent cough not long after, and the couple were suddenly facing the prospect of becoming parents in frightening times.
Released from the hospital while Kal and Bruce gained strength in the NICU, Garcia returned home. She pumped milk and unpacked baby clothes while hoping for good news.
When the call came, the news wasn’t good. The twins — both of whom have tested negative for the coronavirus — still weren’t feeding well enough. Watching them on the NICU webcam would have to be good enough for a while longer.
“We haven’t been able to hold them or see them,” Garcia said.
Three days later, the twins were sleeping in car seats on their way home, dressed in matching powder-blue pajamas and hooked up to oxygen to help them breathe.