ATLANTA - It's been almost five weeks since August and Angel Cook came into the world. Their mother, Monique is grateful there are absolutely no signs of the health troubles that started hours before they arrived four weeks early.
“I just couldn't breathe. My contractions were two minutes apart and the shortness of breath just came out of nowhere. I didn’t think anything about it though because I was 34 weeks pregnant with twins, so I was always short of breath.
Dr. Peter Barrett is the heart and lung specialist at Piedmont Atlanta Hospital who was called immediately after the doctors at Piedmont Henry Hospital performed an emergency C-section. Cook had no idea she had contracted COVID-19 in the last weeks of her pregnancy until she got the news in ICU. That's what was causing her breathing troubles.
“I was shocked and couldn’t believe it because I hadn’t been anywhere in a while. I was pretty much on bed rest waiting until my babies got here,” said the 36-year-old Henry County wife and mother.
Several days later, Cook woke up wondering where she was and where were her twin baby girls. A nurse explained she had been transferred to Piedmont Atlanta while doctors cared for her babies at Piedmont Henry Hospital.
“A few days later they showed me a picture of my babies. I couldn’t tell who Angel was and who was August, but I knew they were my babies and I was glad they were okay,” said Mrs. Cook.
Cook is grateful Dr. Barrett dispatched a team of specialists to Henry county with an ECMO machine--a device that supported Cook's failing heart and lungs by removing carbon dioxide from the blood and pumping oxygen through the body as she coded on March 24.
The 36-year-old mother was the first COVID-19 patient to undergo treatment under this mobile transport unit. Dr. Barrett told FOX 5’s Portia Bruner he is grateful his team could help.
“It was a blessing and an honor to be able to help Ms. Monique because to care for a human being when they are most vulnerable is a privilege. And I was really proud of my staff and the ambulance team because they didn’t hesitate to help. And to be honest with you, this was the early stages of Covid19, so they really didn’t know what to expect in terms of their own health and safety. It’s just a blessing to be able to wish her a Happy Mother’s Day,” said Dr. Barrett, is the Director of Cardiothoracic Vascular Surgery at Piedmont Atlanta.
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“My babies and I, we're alive because people we don’t even know fought hard to help us and save us. I am just so thankful. I will never forget this Mother’s Day,” said the mother of four daughters.