It’s not every day that a woman gives birth in the ICU. Monique Jones, 28, was 26 weeks pregnant with her second child when she started feeling fatigued and short of breath. She was quickly admitted to a local hospital in St. Louis, where she tested positive for COVID-19. She says she only left her house to go to the grocery store and run errands. She always wore a mask and washed her hands, so it’s not clear how she got infected.
She was then put on an ECMO machine, which is often considered the highest form of life support. Throughout her journey, ICU nurse Caitlyn Obrock cared for Jones and her unborn child. It’s a relationship that both women will go on to cherish for the rest of their lives.
A Stressful Delivery
As Monique Jones fought for survival in the ICU, Obrock felt a connection with her. “From the very beginning Monique was special to me,” Obrock said.
She knew that for Jones, the life of her unborn child was more important than her own. “The baby was priority over her,” Obrock said of Jones. “She would do anything for her baby.”
As Jones was intubated, Obrock would spend hours talking to Jones and praying for her at her bedside. While Jones was in and out of consciousness, she remembers feeling there was a “guardian angel” watching over her.
“She was scared,” Obrock said. “I was very invested in her, hoping and praying for a good outcome.”
Soon, Jones’ condition worsened, so the doctors decided it was best to deliver her baby via an emergency C-section.
“It was possible that I wouldn’t live–that’s all I was thinking,” Jones remembers. “They asked me if it was possible to take my baby out. At first, I told them no, but I wasn’t getting any better.”
On September 23rd, they welcomed Zamyrah into the world, even though Jones wasn’t awake to see it. Coming in at just 2 pounds 5 ounces, young Zamyrah was transferred to the neonatal ICU at Children’s Hospital.
A Joyful Reunion
At the time of the C-section, Obrock remembers saying, “If Monique makes it, we’re going to throw her the biggest baby shower there is to have.”
And that’s exactly what happened. Jones soon recovered after her daughter was born. On October 20th, a full month after she’d given birth, she finally got to hold her child.
Before long, Jones was at the rehabilitation center learning how to walk and talk again. That’s when Obrock and her colleagues surprised her with an unexpected baby shower.
“I just started crying as soon as I saw everything, like this couldn’t be for me,” Jones said of the baby shower.
Obrock raised thousands of dollars from friends, colleagues, and neighbors to make sure Jones got the belated baby shower she deserved. It was a private affair with Jones and her soon-to-be husband and nurses from the ward. Images soon spread on social media, as gifts, baby wipes, and other essential supplies started rolling in.
“It was to boost her morale,” Obrock said. “The way she started out motherhood with this baby was unfair and we wanted her to know how special and loved she is.”
Monique and her daughter were later discharged from the hospital in December, but their connection to Obrock wouldn’t end there.
Soon after leaving the hospital, Jones asked Obrock to be her child’s godmother. Obrock accepted with honors.
“I never really felt that special to somebody. I really needed somebody like her,” Jones said.
Obrock wants people to know that despite all the bad that’s happening in the world, love and compassion will carry on. “It’s not a matter of politics, it’s just a matter of loving people,” Obrock said. “That’s what we need. Days that I feel like I can’t go anymore — through those hard days when I don’t think my patient is going to make it — I just know there’s another Monique that needs us.”
Monique and her family are still recovering from her ordeal even as her story continues to spread all over the world, appearing on Apple News and “Good Morning America”.
Jamez Prewitt, her fiancé, has created a GoFundMe account to help them keep up with their medical bills. They have currently raised just under $9,000 of their $12,000 goal.
Jones says she wants to get together with Obrock to celebrate as soon as she’s feeling better. As for Obrock, she can’t wait to see her goddaughter again.
“She’s a miracle,” Obrock said of Jones. “Her and her baby.”