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Corona and an emergency caesarean section: ‘It was hanging by a thread’

It was early October 2020. Denise was 34 weeks pregnant, she was due on November 12. She, like her boyfriend Steven, was extra careful. “We really wanted to do everything to prevent contamination.”

But Steven got it anyway, and felt very guilty. “Actually he had only been to the Albert Heijn and the hardware store. He must have contracted it there.”

Denise felt fine, but when she had some blood loss, she got checked in the hospital anyway. “I was getting a bit warm, but thought it was because of the stress. In the Flevo Hospital in Almere it turned out that I also had corona. Everything else was fine so I could just go home.”

Daughter Lauren (4) was also infected, so the family had to be quarantined at home.

Panic within 5 minutes

On October 8, Denise felt unsure of her pregnancy anyway. She decided to go to the hospital. “Within 5 minutes there was panic. I was taken to a quarantine room and there were three or four doctors standing around me without protection. I still shouted: ‘I have corona’, but there was no time to waste. code red caesarean section otherwise the baby wouldn’t make it. ”

Don’t panic

The baby – a boy – had the umbilical cord around his neck three times. In addition, Denises released placenta, causing bleeding. That had nothing to do with Denise’s corona infection: even if she hadn’t had corona, this would have happened. “I want to say that, other women don’t have to be afraid. Corona made it a bit more difficult.”

She was given the opportunity to call her boyfriend very briefly, but saying more than ‘I’m not doing well’ and ‘Caesarean section’ was not possible. Denise herself barely understood what was happening. There was no time to ask questions. The anesthetic had not worked properly when she felt her stomach being cut open to take the baby out.

“I screamed, was in such unbelievable pain. You feel panic, I was afraid that my baby would not survive.”

The baby cry right away. “On the one hand that was a relief, but I also immediately thought: why such a hurry, it sounds healthy.” There was not much time to think about this. The pain was excruciating, she was unable to see the baby and eventually fell asleep from exhaustion. “I heard them say that Milo was doing pretty well, that’s his name.”

When she woke up a day later, she really wanted to see Milo. That was not allowed because of her corona. Besides, she had been given morphine and the pain prevented her from getting out of bed. Her boyfriend Steven and their daughter Lauren were also not allowed to come to Milo or Denise, because they were in quarantine at home.

“Steven felt helpless and guilty, but we were in good hands.” Denise did get to see a picture of her child for the first time (see below). “That was nice, but also difficult to see your baby like that.”

Pregnancy if you have corona

Pregnant women do not appear to have an increased risk of becoming infected with corona, the RIVM reports on the website. “So they are no more susceptible to the virus than people who are not pregnant.”

In addition, there is also no evidence that corona increases the risk of miscarriage or birth defects. Pregnant women do not need to take extra measures.

To the hospital or at home?

Pregnant women with corona are requested to contact their midwife about check-ups and delivery. It is often recommended to give birth in hospital if you are infected with the corona virus, the Amsterdam hospital OLVG reports on its own website. This way, the health of the baby can be monitored to be sure.

‘If the infection was longer than 14 days ago, this advice will lapse and you can also give birth at home if you wish’.

The RIVM reports that an unborn baby cannot become infected, and that newborn babies often do not get very sick from the virus. But: ‘If one of the parents or carers has Covid-19, it is important to take extra measures during the care. With the extra measures you minimize the risk of contamination to your baby. ‘ Breast-feeding can be given as usual.


The end of the roller coaster had not yet been reached. Milo collapsed and deteriorated. He had to go to intensive care, but it was not free in the Flevo Hospital. He had to go to the hospital in Veldhoven, an hour and a half away. “They said I had a chance to see him before he would leave, but then I insisted: I did not abandon my child.”

Sad face

Ten minutes later she drove in an ambulance after an ambulance with her child. She was received very well in Veldhoven. “They reassured me, said it would be okay and I could finally see him. That was very emotional. It was really a sad sight. Because Milo could also have corona, he was isolated, he had a drain in his lungs and an oxygen mask over his face, and tubes everywhere ”

In Veldhoven, Denise was eventually reunited, after three days, with Steven, who had only seen his child via video calling at the time. Fortunately, Milo recovered considerably after a few days. Steven and Denise stayed in the Ronald McDonald House. After a week they were allowed to return to the Flevo Hospital where Milo continued to strengthen. He was then also tested negative for corona, so Denise and her husband were finally allowed to put their baby on their chest. “That was amazing.”

At home Denise also saw her 4-year-old daughter again. “I just cried. She didn’t get it, wasn’t I happy to see her again?” The family was almost complete after a few bizarre days. Only Milo. It was not long before the boy was finally allowed to go home. “We hadn’t even finished the nursery, everything had happened so suddenly. But he was healthy. He was still alive, that was the most important thing.”

Later, Denise and Steven learned that doctors had never experienced such an extreme corona delivery before. Whatever she wants to say: what she’s been through is exceptional.

Milo recovered completely and is a very normal boy. His big sister is also happy, but she also wants a sister. “I have a lot of doubts whether it will come,” says Denise, thinking back to that hellish week in October.


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