This Mother's Day is going to be very special for one new mom who was dangerously close to losing her life, and her unborn child, to COVID-19.
It was the happiest time of their lives: Serena Torres and her husband Joe were expecting their first baby. But last October, at six months pregnant, Torres contracted coronavirus. Her condition got worse and worse by the day.
“Nobody expected it to go downhill the way that it did," Torres said.
She was taken to Westchester Medical Center, where at one point her lungs, heart and kidneys were all failing. Torres was placed in a medically induced coma.
“By the end of October, she was about as sick as any human can possibly be," said Dr. Dipak Chandy, who is in charge of critical care at the hospital. The decision was soon made for Torres to undergo an emergency C-section.
“I do remember her asking where is the baby, and telling her the baby is in the NICU," said Lissett Fauntleroy, a nurse manager at the hospital.
Torres said she doesn’t remember a lot from those months as she battled to stay alive, but she does remember her reason to fight: Little Alessandra Rose, her healthy daughter, who was waiting to meet her mom.
“I had pictures of her on the wall and I always kept focusing on her," Torres said.
Four months later, the reunion everyone had been waiting for finally arrived, as Torres got to hold her baby girl for the first time. It was love at first site.
“You wait every day and you fight every day to get better and when you finally get to hold her and see her pictures don’t do it justice," she said.
Torres still faces a long road to recovery. She suffers from memory loss, nerve damage and all of her toes had to be amputated. But Dr. Chandy said Torres' fight to stay alive and meet her daughter inspired them.
“I think she has been a tremendous inspiration to us with just her energy," he said.
One day, Torres says she’ll tell Alessandra all about everything that happened leading up to and following the day she was born, saying she share with her the articles and what she's able to remember.
But for now, she's focused on spending Mother’s Day Weekend finally being a mom.