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PHOTO ESSAY: Mothers caring for mothers during coronavirus crisis

Text and photos by GIgie Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 11 2020 02:47 PM | Updated as of May 11 2020 08:18 PM

They are mothers who had to celebrate Mother’s Day away from their families. 

Three mothers who are part of the COVID-19 delivery team assisting pregnant women during childbirth spent Mother's Day at the OB/GYN Emergency room of the Quirino Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City. 

When the Philippine government placed Luzon under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) on March 15, nurse Krujane Solano, 40, opted to stay at QMMC’s hospital dorm. She shares a room with other women health workers like midwives Johan Guevarra, 46, and Angie Vasquez, 50, who have been working in the government hospital for 2 decades.

The novel coronavirus has changed the way medical workers assist women in childbirth due to the high threat of infection.

Women who are about to deliver their babies are asked to undergo a swab test and chest x-ray to check for possible COVID-19 infection. The results, however, could come out weeks after the tests, often after the babies are already delivered. 

Midwife Angie Vasquez said she struggles in putting on personal protection equipment (PPE), which is essential for workers like her diagnosed with asthma and diabetes melitus. Better safe than sorry, she said.

Health workers said pregnant women should have regular check-ups to ensure their babies are healthy. They appeal for everyone's honesty and transparency to protect patients, health workers and the newborn as we navigate through this dangerous situation. There were cases where patients won't disclose their conditions, adding burden to our already strained healthcare system.

Nurse Krujane Solano, 40, had to leave her 3 kids under the care of her husband who works as an enforcer together with her sister-in-law in Valenzuela. Gigie Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Nurse Krujane Solano takes her lunch at the Quirino Memorial Medical Center dormitory in Quezon City on May 8, 2020. Gigie Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Nurse Krujane Solano hangs her clothes and personal protective equipment at the Quirino Memorial Medical Center dormitory in Quezon City on May 9, 2020. Gigie Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Although she anticipates the lifting of the ECQ on May 15, she might forego this chance and return home only when her test results for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) are ready. She, together with midwife Angie were placed under dorm quarantine for assisting a QCPD inmate on April 19, who turned out to be COVID-19 positive. Gigie Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Fellow dormmate Johan was also advised to undergo quarantine after giving CPR, sans face shield, to a patient who later died. The test result came out negative. However, on April 25, about 5 mothers that they handled in the OB -ER turned out COVID-19 positive including a newborn baby whose mother was tested negative, prompting another round of quarantine. Gigie Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Johan longs for the day that she will be reunited with her family in Sasmuan, Pampanga. She last saw her husband and twin boys last March 12 but they regularly update each other through calls and social media. Gigie Cruz, ABS-CBN News

While on quarantine, the 3 health workers plus another colleague entertain themselves by dancing the Zumba inside their room while others take up sewing. Gigie Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Midwife Johan Guevarra prepares for her shift at the Quirino Memorial Medical Center dormitory in Quezon City on May 9, 2020. Gigie Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Showing no symptoms of COVID-19, the health workers were issued with provisional clearance as patients under investigation (PUIs) on May 4. They were however restricted from having direct patient care to the elderly, young, with comorbidities and those immuno-compromised as they wait for their swab test results. Gigie Cruz, ABS-CBN News

There are times when paranoia sets in every time they get a rhinitis attack or some mild coughing. Vitamins, eating healthy, drinking ginger tea and fervent prayer are their allies. Gigie Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Nurse Krujane Solano during her time off at the Quirino Memorial Medical Center dormitory in Quezon City on May 9, 2020. Gigie Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Nurse Krujane Solano leaves the Quirino Memorial Medical Center dormitory in Quezon City for her shift on May 8, 2020. Gigie Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Nurse Krujane Solano fixes her stuff at the Delivery Room pantry and locker room at the Quirino Memorial Medical Center on May 8, 2020. Gigie Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Nurse Krujane Solano prepares for her shift inside the Female Dressing Room of the Endoscopy Unit, which is temporarily being used as the PUI-COVID Operating Room at the Quirino Memorial Medical Center on May 8, 2020. Gigie Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Nurse Krujane Solano at the PPE donning and doffing room at the Quirino Memorial Medical Center Endoscopy Unit, which is temporarily being used as the PUI-COVID Operating Room on May 8, 2020. Gigie Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Nurse Krujane Solano prepares CS SET at the Quirino Memorial Medical Center Endoscopy Unit Operating Room, which is temporarily being used as the PUI-COVID Operating Room on May 8, 2020. Gigie Cruz, ABS-CBN News

A doctor interviews a patient before the scheduled Cesarean section surgical delivery at the Quirino Memorial Medical Center Endoscopy Unit Operating Room, which is temporarily being used as the PUI-COVID Operating Room on May 8, 2020. Gigie Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Midwife Florinda Jacinto helps nurse Krujane Solano wear her face shield before a scheduled C-section surgical delivery at the Quirino Memorial Medical Center Endoscopy Unit Operating Room, which is temporarily being used as the PUI-COVID Operating Room on May 8, 2020. Gigie Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Health workers prepare for a scheduled C-section surgical delivery at the Quirino Memorial Medical Center Endoscopy Unit Operating Room, which is temporarily being used as the PUI-COVID Operating Room on May 8, 2020. Gigie Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Anesthesiologists administer venoclysis or intravenous infusion during a scheduled C-section surgical delivery at the Quirino Memorial Medical Center Endoscopy Unit Operating Room, which is temporarily being used as the PUI-COVID Operating Room on May 8, 2020. Gigie Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Medical team during a C-section surgical delivery at the Quirino Memorial Medical Center Endoscopy Unit Operating Room, which is temporarily being used as the PUI-COVID Operating Room on May 8, 2020. Gigie Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Nurse Krujane Solano (from left-right) assists Dr. May Fair Dalmalerio and Dr. Mary Jane Lopez, both OB-Gyne residents, during a C-section surgical delivery at the Quirino Memorial Medical Center Endoscopy Unit Operating Room, which is temporarily being used as the PUI-COVID Operating Room on May 8, 2020. Gigie Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Midwife Florinda Jacinto catches baby girl no. 2 from nurse Krujane Solano during a C-section surgical delivery at the Quirino Memorial Medical Center Endoscopy Unit Operating Room, which is temporarily being used as the PUI-COVID Operating Room on May 8, 2020. Gigie Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Midwife Florinda Jacinto and Pediatrician Dra. Camille Gaspar thoroughly dry the twin babies while doing a quick check for breathing at the Quirino Memorial Medical Center Endoscopy Unit Operating Room, which is temporarily being used as the PUI-COVID Operating Room on May 8, 2020. Gigie Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Midwife Florinda Jacinto extracts blood after a C-section surgical delivery at the Quirino Memorial Medical Center Endoscopy Unit Operating Room, which is temporarily being used as the PUI-COVID Operating Room on May 8, 2020. Gigie Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Nurse Krujane Solano cleans up after a C-section surgical delivery at the Quirino Memorial Medical Center Endoscopy Unit Operating Room, which is temporarily being used as the PUI-COVID Operating Room on May 8, 2020. Gigie Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Nurse Krujane Solano cleans up after a C-section surgical delivery at the Quirino Memorial Medical Center Endoscopy Unit Operating Room, which is temporarily being used as the PUI-COVID Operating Room on May 8, 2020. Gigie Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Nurse Krujane Solano wipes her sweat at the Quirino Memorial Medical Center Endoscopy Unit, which is temporarily being used as the PUI-COVID Operating Room on May 8, 2020. Gigie Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Newborn twin girls are exposed under a droplight to keep the babies thermoregulated at a separate room of the Quirino Memorial Medical Center Endoscopy Unit, which is temporarily being used as the PUI-COVID Operating Room on May 8, 2020. Gigie Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Nurse Krujane Solano enters the Quirino Memorial Medical Center Endoscopy Unit Operating Room, which is temporarily being used as the PUI-COVID Operating Room on May 8, 2020. Gigie Cruz, ABS-CBN News

They also hope that midwives will be given due recognition for their contribution in the health sector. Apparently midwives experienced some form of discrimination during the early weeks of the ECQ citing difficulty in crossing borders and not being prioritized in supermarkets. The Integrated Midwives of the Philippines even had to raise this concern to the Health department so they can be treated fairly. Gigie Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Health workers count the days until the end of the enhanced community quarantine as they yearn to be with their loved ones. Gigie Cruz, ABS-CBN News