Photo: Esbedy Reyes
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It was an agonizing battle with COVID-19 that an expectant Houston mom felt she might not survive. But one thing kept her going throughout her worst moments— the baby girl that was growing inside her.
Two months after Esbedy Reyes’ recovery, she delivered a healthy baby weighing 6 pounds and 9 ounces.
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“She’s my motivation. She gave me strength,” Reyes said. “I wanted to give her a chance to live. I kept fighting for us.”
Reyes’ has named her daughter Ari Amor.
“I delivered her early at 37 weeks. She wanted to come into the world,” Reyes said. “My due date was September 8 and she was born on August 23.”
Although Reyes’ actual delivery only lasted about two hours, there were tense moments as her daughter came into the world.
“First of all, the delivery was crazy,” Reyes said. “My water broke here at home at 12:30 a.m. We went straight to the hospital but it was 30 minutes from where we are at.”
Reyes credits her nurse Leslie Guzman for helping her through the chaos.
“I told her ‘she’s coming.’ Then, she checked me again and said, ‘Oh my God the baby’s coming,” Reyes said. “Then she told my husband, ‘you go get a doctor. Tell someone we’re in active labor.’ The doctor didn’t make it. The nurse delivered my baby.”
It wasn’t long ago that Reyes began her harrowing battle with COVID-19.
“I called in on Friday. I had diarrhea and fever,” Reyes said.
On June 1, Reyes tested positive for COVID-19. As Reyes struggled to fight the virus, there were moments when she felt like it was taking over.
“It will take over your body if you let it,” Reyes said. “Keep fighting it. Don’t give up. Have faith and pray.”
On June 11, she was given convalescent plasma at Memorial Hermann’s ICU unit in the Texas Medical Center. She said responded to the treatment immediately.
“I think this saved my life because I started to feel better,” Reyes said. “On the 14th, they took me out of ICU.”
Reyes added that she can’t wait to tell her daughter the full story of how she was born some day.
“If she only knew what we went through just to have her. It was a crazy rollercoaster,” Reyes said. “I’m just so grateful that she’s here. And that she’s healthy.”
Reyes says she already sees her fighting spirit in her daughter.
“She is my soldier,” Reyes said. “She’s a strong little baby. When she was born, they put her on the weight table. She grabbed onto this plastic thing on her crib. She had her hand, and she was holding onto it. The nurse said, ‘I’ve never seen a newborn baby grab onto anything like that. She’s strong!'”