On 26 March, Tracy Maguire gave birth three weeks early via caesarean section. She had been feeling healthy when she had a routine medical appointment, only to be told she may have pre-eclampsia. She was immediately confined to Wishaw General Hospital in Lanarkshire, Scotland.
Arriving eight weeks early, Tracy gave birth to a premature baby who weighed a mere 3lbs 5oz (1.5kg).
As the mother and child worked on getting strong and healthy, the Maguires were unaware that there would be a more severe challenge ahead for their premature baby.
Peyton was enjoying her first few weeks as babies do, taking a bath, and enjoying being with her parents, when she started to sniffle and cough a little. The symptoms were so slight that they were almost undetectable.
At three weeks old, doctors inserted a swab into the premature baby’s nose to test for coronavirus. Tracy remembered the moment, saying that it was one of the worst things she has seen. “She’d had a sniffle, which is why they’d tested her for a range of viruses including COVID-19.
It was the first time I’d seen my baby cry tears. I held her, I was crying and we were just trying to get each other through the situation,” she recalled.
Soon enough, Tracy and her husband AJ were told the traumatic news – their premature baby had become one of the country’s youngest coronavirus patients. “They said ‘she’s fine, don’t panic – but she has tested positive for coronavirus.’ I think the doctor was trying to keep me calm but I was sobbing,” she said.
The parents were understandably worried, given that Peyton was a premature baby. Tracy said, “When I heard Peyton had coronavirus I was sobbing and really worried about how it could affect her respiratory system, her lungs and if it was life threatening.”
She added, “As much as she was fine I thought at what point was she with the virus? How is she fighting against it when she’s so wee? It was just the unknown.” Tracy was reassured, however, after seeing the amazing care the neonatal nurses gave to Peyton in the days following her diagnosis. As part of her treatment, the medical team gave the premature baby steroids to help strengthen her lungs.
Since Tracy was on her way to recovery following her caesarean section and Peyton’s coronavirus infection, she was told to go home and isolate for 14 days. Tracy was distraught, and said, “I was pleading on the phone with the doctor saying I don’t want to be away from her. As much as everyone was looking after her, I’m her mum. Even if it was the cold, I’d want to be there with her.”
Fortunately, the doctors relented and allowed Tracy to stay. Her husband AJ, however, was instructed to go home. He would have to complete the 14-day isolation period before he could see his baby girl again.
While the number of fatalities due to coronavirus continued to increase in Scotland, the premature baby fought off the virus, and recovered! Following two negative COVID-19 tests, Mother and child were discharged on April 20.
Peyton is now at home in Bellshill, North Lanarkshire with mother Tracy, a digital marketing student, and AJ, a personal trainer and boxing coach who finally had the chance to hold his daughter again. Tracy said, “From AJ’s point of view, I think he felt a bit useless – first his baby is coming early and secondly his wife isn’t well and he couldn’t be there.”
With the threat of coronavirus now behind them, the premature baby girl and COVID-19 warrior is now happily settling into a routine. The Maguires credited the doctors and nurses at Wishaw General for guiding and getting them through such a remarkable and daunting journey.
“They are doing a job that is unreal – they put their life at risk to make sure my baby was getting fed and cuddled in their full PPE,” Tracy said.
“It’s spectacular, you’ll never understand how grateful you can be to people. Peyton is the most precious person in the world to me and it shows the trust I had in the midwives and the other staff that I put her care in their hands – because that is that they are trained to do.”
She encouraged others to immediately seek treatment if it was necessary. “And if people have symptoms of a serious health problem, like I did, they shouldn’t be scared to go to hospital and get checked out because just leaving it could make their condition worse. Only someone who has been in our position can understand the gratitude we feel towards the hospital staff.”
In these difficult and uncertain time, Tracy honored the healthcare workers who helped her premature baby successfully fend off a fearsome virus. She also sent a message of hope to pregnant women worried about giving birth during a pandemic.
She stressed, “To any mums that are worried, put your trust in these nurses. My message to any mums-to-be is that they shouldn’t be worried about going into hospital to give birth because the staff know exactly what they need to do to protect everyone from the virus.”
The couple want to spread some positivity in these uncertain times. Watch the video below courtesy of STV News.