Trichelle McDaniel of New Orleans, Louisiana, was 35 weeks pregnant with her son Brian when she started to feel dizzy while out running errands. The mother of six drove herself to the doctors office, where she was told she had a fever of almost 105 degrees. The cause of the fever was COVID-19.
As McDaniel’s symptoms worsened, doctors decided to deliver Brian via an emergency Cesarean section. Trichelle was put on a ventilator, and the weeks of illness rolled into months, with the virus taking a toll on Trichelle’s nervous system, costing her the feeling in one of her hands and requiring the amputation of some of her toes. Because of this, Trichelle was still in the hospital and had yet to meet or hold Brian on Mother’s Day of 2020.
“I thought about that every second of the day,” Trichelle said, according to WDSU News. “He was the new baby that I wanted to hold, and I couldn’t.”
She spent many nights crying in the hospital’s intensive care unit missing her children and yearning to be with her newborn son. Finally, on May 22, 2020, Trichelle was well enough to be discharged from the hospital and go home to her family. She remembers the moment baby Brian was placed in her arms. “He grabbed my face, and that’s when I just broke down,” she recalls. “This is what I was fighting for.”
McDaniel told KSLA News 12, “I was perfectly fine before I had COVID. I was 100 percent independent. In fact, the day I went into the hospital on March 11th, I was supposed to go to work because I was still working. I was going to keep working until my scheduled c-section April 8th.” She added, “I’m still having complications. I still go to therapy. The thing that really bothers me the most is not able to change the baby. Like putting his clothes on, or giving him a bath, I need assistance with giving him baths and things like that.”
Fast forward to Mother’s Day 2021, which marked McDaniel’s second Mother’s Day as a mom of six and her first Mother’s Day spent with all of them. As the effects of her nerve damage linger, Trichelle’s fiancé and children have stepped up to help her on the road to recovery.
“Helping her really, to me, seemed normal,” her daughter, Aryn, says. “There’s nothing wrong about it.”
McDaniel told KSLA that needing help and having lingering effects from COVID are “frustrating, but I have to look at the brighter side of the picture, being that I was spared my life. I still have my life. I am still here to raise my children.”
In the McDaniels’ yard stands a sign that has been there in the several months since Trichelle was finally able to be home with her children and baby Brian. It reads, “Welcome Home, Trichelle.”
“I look at it every day,” she told WDSU. “I see it, and I’m like, yep — welcome home, Trichelle.”
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