Wife of Saints wide receiver, Erica Carr, gives birth after testing positive for COVID-19
NEW ORLEANS - Erica Carr and her husband Austin, who happens to be a a wide receiver for the New Orleans Saints, were thrilled to welcome their brand new baby boy into the world last month. But shortly before Erica gave birth, she tested positive for novel coronavirus.
According to the New Orleans Advocate, her memory of the coronavirus test is still a bit hazy.
On April 4, the 26-year-old's water broke and she began having contractions, so she her husband rushed to New Orleans' Ochsner Baptist Hospital.
After being admitted, staffers administered a virus test, which is routine procedure for all patients.
Erica hadn't noticed any COVID-19 symptoms within the past few days and seeing as she was now in labor, she was fully focused on giving birth, so she was shocked when Ochsner medical personnel told her she'd tested positive for the virus.
“We were really surprised, to be honest,” Erica said.
The Carrs, who've been married since 2017, knew their hospital experience would be odd due to the virus, but prior to being tested, Erica’s doctors said Austin would be able to accompany her during labor.
But hospital security held Austin up, and by the time he finally got to Erica's room she'd already been given the coronavirus test and was awaiting the results.
The positive coronavirus diagnosis meant the Carrs had to scrap their original birth plan. Erica had wanted to give birth naturally in the bathtub, but that was ruled out because personal protective equipment is less effective when it's wet. Instead, she had an epidural and a face mask.
A few hours later, the baby was well on his way.
“When they said, ‘You’re ready to push. We’re ready to bring this guy into the world,’ I was just elated, beyond excited to meet our little boy,” Erica said.
But, then came another unexpected hurdle.
“That’s when they said, ‘Oh, but you’ll have to put on the N95 (mask) to protect the baby while you breathe,’” Erica recalled.
Erica had spent the previous eight hours of her labor in a surgical mask — something she called “a bit of a hassle.” But trading in that mask for a more industrial one? She didn’t know if she was ready for the heavy breathing that comes with the final stages of labor while wearing it.
“But once they put it on and I’m starting to push, I really didn’t even notice it because you’re just in the moment,” Erica said. “What’s happening is just so otherworldly miraculous to push out a baby and meet this new human that, although it was harder to breathe, it paled in comparison to the moment of meeting Clive.”
Clive Nicholas Carr was born at 7:16 p.m., April 4, weighing 9 pounds and measuring 21½ inches. Healthy. Coronavirus-free.
The hospital staff continued to work in overdrive, bathing Clive immediately in an effort to reduce his risk of contracting the virus.
Another protective measure: putting the baby behind a barrier inside the birthing suite more than six feet away from Erica’s hospital bed. She could only hold him when she was breastfeeding.
"All in all, we feel blessed and thankful for the healthcare workers who were looking out for us," Austin Carr said. "We're grateful for a healthy mom, healthy baby and ultimately, just continuing on in life."
Austin Carr took the coronavirus test shortly after the family returned home from the hospital.
His results came back negative, but he later tested positive for the coronavirus antibodies.
He looks back to early-to-mid March as to when he could have possibly had coronavirus. He recalled having a sudden loss of taste and smell — which has now been linked to COVID-19.
“At the time, I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, you’re being dramatic,’” Erica Carr said. “‘You don’t have a fever. You’re fine. Are you sure you can’t taste?’”
Erica still doesn’t know if she presented coronavirus symptoms or her body aches, nausea and headaches were side effects of her pregnancy.
The Carrs weren’t sure what they were hoping for when it came to Clive’s test.
“I just wanted him to be healthy and OK, whether he had the virus or not,” Erica said.
At his one-month check up in May, Clive topped the charts.
He was in more than the 99th percentile in length and the 97th percentile in weight.
“Here we are with a healthy baby,” Erica said. “... This is just a microcosm of what life is and what parenthood is. You make your plans but you've got to be flexible and you've got to be ready to deal with whatever comes.”