Mother shares struggles of life in hospital NICU separated from family during COVID-19 pandemic

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 CLEVELAND (WJW) – While everyone else is trying to keep their distance Hannah Lockard is moving closer to her son.

“I’ve been staying here two weeks I had a little break in between my two stays but I’m staying here because of my son.”

Hannah Lockard stood outside the Comfort Inn In Cleveland, her new temporary home without a jacket, as the chilly breeze picked up because she’s been too busy to purchase one.

“I live in the Youngstown area it’s about an hour and twenty minutes away from here.”

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Lockard is just days away from celebrating her first Mother’s Day, one she didn’t imagine would anything like it does now.

“This is my first child so I don’t really know what’s supposed to happen.”

Her son Liam, less than one month old is a neonatal intensive care unit patient at UH Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland.

“It was pretty scary but the fact that what was happening was so emergent and I knew the baby’s health was in danger that’s really all I could think about the virus kind of in the back of my mind at that point.”

Lockard says she gave birth during emergency surgery, without her husband by her side because of safety precautions.

“They’re warriors, they are absolutely warriors.”

Nurse Practioner Nicole Harvey says their team is giving babies and their parents many separated from one another tender care.

“These babies are only allowed to have one visitor and normally that’s the mom,” explained Harvey.

She says the volunteer staff that would normally help hold newborns able to be held cannot come into the NICU in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Harvey says it’s not uncommon to see nurses and physicians hold babies, as parents juggle the schedules of at home distance learning with older children while also planning daily visits with their newborns in the NICU.

They’re using FaceTime and Zoom to call parents unable to see their baby in person.

“We take so much time because we know especially right now that these moms are doing a lot of this stuff and going through this stuff alone.”

“They changed the policy to just one parent being allowed in the NICU so he hasn’t seen Liam since about a week old,” said Lockard about her husband.

Liam was born 3lbs and 14 ounces, two months premature in April. Lockard says she developed preeclampsia and experienced a placental abruption. She says Liam was on a ventilator for 13 days. He remains on supplemental oxygen.

“As long as I’m a mother that’s all that matters so I’m just happy.”

Pausing to take off her glass and wipe tears from her eyes Hannah said, “I just think the combination of being here during a pandemic and being separated from family along with the severity of his medical status is difficult to do on your own.”

A painted hospital window says “when it rains look for the rainbow.” While Hannah looks for her own she says she is so grateful for her baby and the team working so hard to make him well.

“I’m really thankful for all those doctors and nurses and everyone taking care of him.”

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