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COVID-19 mom finally takes baby girl home

Adriana Torres, of Hempstead, took her baby daughter Leah home from NYU Winthrop Hospital in Mineola on Wednesday, seven weeks after the baby was born April 8 by emergency C-section because Torres was put in a coma after testing positive for COVID-19. Credit: Newsday / Yeong-ung Yang

Leah Robledo weighed less than 3 pounds at birth on April 8 following an emergency C-section on her mother, who was in a medically induced coma caused by COVID-19.

Forty-nine days after her daughter was born seven weeks prematurely, Adriana Torres held her now much heftier newborn — weighing 5.06 pounds — Wednesday as  Leah was discharged from NYU Winthrop Hospital.

The two were finally able to go home to Hempstead — as a family.

“I’m so happy. What we went through, it makes you change your perspective on life,” Torres, 41, said in Spanish on Wednesday afternoon. “It’s a miracle we’re both alive. I finally have her 100 percent of the time. We can begin bonding as mother and daughter. I’m looking forward to living a normal life, one without hospitals. … We are going to enjoy every moment, every second.”

Leah was released to her mother and an older sister Wednesday to a roaring ovation from doctors and nurses who treated her at the NYU Winthrop Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, a hospital spokeswoman said.

The mother and daughter are now seen as symbols of perseverance in the face of the pandemic. Leah was born on the day before medical staff treated the most coronavirus patients at the hospital, 663 cases on April 9, officials said.

"This family's struggle to prevail through this pandemic sums up what so much of our country has gone through," said Nazeeh Hanna, chief of Neonatal Medicine at NYU Winthrop Hospital. “We've gone from complete darkness to now seeing the sun."

To that end, hospital officials said Torres was near death during the emergency surgery that brought Leah into this world. It remained touch and go for some very scary moments, officials said. Hospital staff could not find a single space in the Intensive Care Unit where they’d be able to resuscitate Torres' daughter via intubation, and it would take three to four minutes to get the newborn to the hospital’s Neonatal ICU, which could mean death for Torres’ baby, officials said.

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Hospital staff had to plan on resuscitation of the infant in a hallway in the ICU, even though there were few outlets and the COVID-19 staff were coming and going, a hospital spokeswoman said.

But Torres suddenly took a turn for the slightly more stable, enough to where she was able to get moved and then gave birth to Leah near the Neonatal ICU, officials said.

Torres had previously told Newsday the coronavirus was choking her to death. She struggled to breathe for days before being rushed to the hospital on April 5.

Torres first met her Leah after recovering from the medically induced coma, nine days after the baby was born, officials said. Torres was released from the hospital April 18.

Torres, who is from Colombia, has lived on Long Island for eight years. She is ecstatic Leah can now join her two sisters, ages 3 and 22, and her father, Torres’ longtime boyfriend, permanently.

“We can now live day by day as a family,” Torres said. “I’m very grateful to the doctors. I thank God.”

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