A mother could hardly wait to greet her second child. Covid-19 killed him before holding the baby.

Erika Becerra fought for her life for 18 days after giving birth, tied to a ventilator at a Detroit hospital.

Covid-19 was diagnosed on November 7, when she was barely nine months pregnant, and Becerra, 33, was otherwise healthy, relatives said, and she welcomed her second child excitedly.

Initially, her coronavirus symptoms could be treated at home: body aches and some tightness in her chest, said Claudia Garcia, Becerra’s aunt and godmother.

But then Becerra had breathing problems and her husband, a landscapist, took her to the hospital with an ambulance. As his condition worsened day by day, doctors decided to launch Becerra on Nov. 15, a few weeks before it was due, Garcia said.

Becerra’s son Diego was born healthy. But chaos followed his birth: Becerra’s oxygen levels plummeted, doctors at Henry Ford Hospital told Garcia. Instead of hiding in her cradle, Becerra had to be intubated.

Erika Becerra, who could be seen here with her husband Diego and daughter Erika Guadalupe, was expecting a baby shower in October.Courtesy of Claudia Garcia

According to his troubled family, he never had a chance to keep his newborn. At one point, the hospital staff brought the baby close to his face so he could feel his mother’s presence, ”a doctor told Garcia, but family members don’t know if Becerra knew Diego was there.

While Becerra initially responded with eye and hand movements for the first few days of intubation, her condition worsened. He died on December 3rd.

“I’m speechless when it comes to the reality of this,” Garcia, 41, told NBC News. “We want to make sure everyone understands the tragic consequences of this damn virus. I don’t want anyone to suffer this pain.

“We want to make sure everyone understands the tragic consequences of this damn virus.”

Becerra recently moved to Detroit from her hometown of East Los Angeles and was the mother of a daughter who turned one year old when Becerra was on the ventilator.

Garcia, who lives in Fontana, California, spoke daily to Becerra’s doctors and passed the information on to Becerra’s Spanish-speaking husband and parents. Whenever the phone rang, Garcia jumped, fearing it would be bad news.

Erika Becerra, left, with her godmother and aunt, Claudia Garcia, and Erika’s daughter, Erika Guadalupe. Becerra called the little girl Lupita.Courtesy of Claudia Garcia

He thinks Becerra’s death shocked his close family. Becerra was “happy — so happy, happy that she brought a little boy into her family,” Garcia said. Diego got his name from his father, Diego Becerra, while the couple’s first child, Erika Guadalupe, was named after him. Becerra called her daughter Lupita.

His family described Becerra as selfless and caring.

“Erika was the most amazing man she’s ever met,” Miguel Avilez, his brother, told CNN this week with tears. – For him, the happiness of others was his happiness.

Becerra’s family doesn’t know where she got the coronavirus, but she believes it happened during a hospital visit when they were premature babies. Doctors told his family that his death was caused by the coronavirus, Garcia said it was not a complication of pregnancy or childbirth. (The Henry Ford healthcare system in Detroit declined to comment, citing patient privacy laws.)

It is not common in pregnant women

Deaths of pregnant women due to Covid-19 are uncommon, but not unknown, said Dr. Stephanie Gaw, assistant professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive science at the University of California, San Francisco.

“We know that most have very mild or asymptomatic cases that don’t require hospitalization,” he said. “But we also know that if you need hospital treatment for Covid, you’re more likely to get very sick and sick than if you weren’t pregnant compared to women your age.”

Last month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention added pregnancy to its list of conditions that are more likely to have serious or fatal complications from Covid-19, based on a large study in pregnant women that found them at 70% higher risk. compared to non-pregnant symptomatic women.

Still, Gaw said pregnant women with the coronavirus still have a low risk of death.

“You have a higher risk of getting very sick, but luckily most don’t get very sick.

“There’s a higher risk of getting very sick, but luckily most don’t get very sick,” he said. However, pregnant women need to take measures such as wearing a mask, social separation, thorough hand washing, and “selective choices about who they are in close contact with” to reduce the chances of catching the coronavirus, she said.

Becerra took those steps and yet got sick, Garcia said. His death will occur as the United States increases in record cases of confirmed cases, hospitalizations and deaths of Covid-19.

Minorities, including Latin communities, have been disproportionately affected by the virus. Garcia urged his Latin companions to take the disease seriously.

“Not everyone can reach it,” he said.

Diego Becerra.Courtesy of the Becerra family

No one else in Becerra’s family was positive for the coronavirus, including Diego, who was monitored in the hospital for several days after birth. The newborn and her sister are cared for by their father and Becerra’s parents, who flew from California to Detroit to sit next to her hospital bed for her last moments. Garcia also said goodbye during FaceTime.

Becerra’s family plans to hold a small memorial in Detroit. Garcia launched a GoFundMe site to raise money for the funeral; by Wednesday afternoon, more than $ 86,000 in donations were received, mostly from strangers. Garcia said he was overwhelmed with generosity.

“We come from a very, very modest background,” Garcia said. – We’re not asking for much. He doesn’t ask for much.

Becerra’s family spends an overflow of donations to raise her children. Garcia plans to tell the kids everything about their mother as she gets older: how Becerra loves to rub her pregnant belly with Diego inside; how he will play subtly with Lupita; and that everyone he met loved his “beautiful soul”.

“I’ll make sure their mom stays alive in their hearts forever,” Garcia said. – They’ll know who their mother was.