BUFFALO, N.Y. — She's known to many in Western New York for telling emotional stories through her blog called Hope Rises and for her work with the Make-A-Wish Foundation. But Kate Glaser's personal battle with Coronavirus while carrying her unborn child may be her most inspiring story yet.
Giving birth is frightening for any woman, but giving birth while positive for COVID-19? Kate Glaser of Buffalo says it was the scariest experience of her life.
The 32-year-old wife and mother of 3-year-old twins considers herself to be very healthy. She runs half marathons, exercises frequently has no underlying medical conditions. Glaser was tested for Coronavirus at 39 weeks pregnant after exhibiting flu like symptoms, a sore throat and fever.
"I thought to myself, there's no way I have COVID. There's absolutely no way because I've taken every precaution," she said. "I was masking up. I was self-isolating. I hadn't left my house in so long. So I thought there's no way this virus could find me. But it did find me."
So for 8 days, Glaser isolated at home away from her husband and twins. She hoped to wait as long as possible for the baby to arrive, knowing the baby would be healthier in utero. But as Glaser's symptoms worsened, so did her emotional state.
"I felt the virus make it's way from my head into my chest and the chest tightness was so so scary, but I think that ultimately impacted my mind. I felt like I was going down a rabbit hole of anxiety so I really had to remain positive," she said.
On July 11, a week after her due date, baby Isla Alice entered this world. Kate was grateful her husband could be by her side for the delivery. Policy at Sister's of Charity Hospital allows one support person in the delivery room if that person tests negative for COVID-19.
At two days old, Isla had her first Coronavirus test and thankfully it was negative. Brian and the twins have also remained COVID free.
Almost a month after her initial diagnosis though, Kate is still testing positive, and doctors are closely monitoring the health of both mom and baby.
"The recommendation is just like any other delivery: immediate skin to skin contact, early and frequent breastfeeding. The only change is that mom is going to be masked when holding a nursing baby, but there's no other separation that's recommended," said Glaser's doctor, Lisa Gelman-Koessler, of Buffalo OB-GYN.
Still, Dr. Gelman-Koessler admits there's so much not known about the virus and its effects on pregnant women and newborns.
"In medicine in general, we've never dealt with something we know so little about," said Dr. Gelman-Koessler.
Kate is now participating in a study being done by Golisano Children's Hospital in Rochester to measure the effects of breastfeeding while COVID positive.
Kate is sharing her story to send this message to others:
"People need to take this virus seriously. It is not a hoax," she said. "So socially distancing and wearing a mask and hand sanitizing it's all very very important and I think we all have to care enough about each other to not have an issue doing so."
Both Kate and baby Isla are expected to be tested again for COVID later this week. She sends her sincerest thanks to the doctors and nurses who cared for her and the baby, and for the messages of love and support from people in Western New York and around the world.