A mum-of-three who died of Covid eight days after giving birth to a baby boy never got to hold her newborn son.
Joanna Jimenez, 36, and her partner both tested positive for the deadly bug a month before she went into labour on February 13.
Doctors had to perform an emergency delivery and due to strict quarantine measures, baby Ashton was taken away at birth to protect him from the virus.
Tragically, Joanna’s condition deteriorated rapidly in the week that followed, and she died of Covid eight days later without ever being able to hug her little boy.
The only time she ever got to see little Ashton was on FaceTime and through photos shown to her by nurses, her grief-stricken partner Chad Augustus, 36, said.
Because the mum’s body had been working so hard to protect the unborn baby during pregnancy, it left her immune system vulnerable to the virus.
After welcoming her son into the world, Joanna’s defenses were lowered and her oxygen levels plummeted.
She had to be airlifted into LeHigh Valley Hospital in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania – miles from her home in New Jersey.
Speaking after the tragedy Chad said: “Joanna was never able to hold Ashton.
“She only saw him through FaceTime and photos from the nurses who were with him in the NICU.
“Our last conversation was on FaceTime.
“To this day, it still feels unreal.
“I feel like she is on vacation and she is going to come home in a few days.”
“One of the physicians told me that her immune system was protecting the baby fully so it left her vulnerable for COVID to attack her body.”
Joanna, an esthetician, took rigorous hygiene measures during the pandemic and had no underlying health condition, Chad said.
“She did not want to go out at all, she always sanitized everything.
“It took an hour for us to clean down our groceries,” the partner said.
The last time Chad spoke to his partner was on a FaceTime call with her son Christian, 18 months, two days before her death.
“He was excited to see her, he was jumping for joy and speaking his baby language to her,” Chad said.
“She was calling him baby and asking him if he was being good.”
Joanna, mother of Jordan, 15, Christian, and Ashton, continued to receive extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, which removes carbon dioxide from the blood in turn helps with breathing.
But the treatment was sadly unsuccessful and she passed away on February 21.
Paying tribute to Joanna, Chad said: “She was a straightforward person.
“She would go above and beyond to make everyone happy.
“She was beautiful inside and out. She won’t get to see the younger children go to their first day at school.
“But I will tell them that she is looking down from heaven and what you want to do is make her proud.”
Friends of the family have set up a GoFundMe to support them in the wake of Joanna’s tragic death.