Weeks away from giving birth to her first child, Winnipeg singer songwriter Leanne Pearson found herself recovering in hospital from COVID-19.
It could have been a time for putting the finishing touches on a nursery. Instead, Pearson was admitted to Health Sciences Centre at 38 weeks pregnant.
“New Year’s Eve, I was very sick with trouble breathing and a cough,” she says. “I’ve avoided covid for two years, and right when my health matters the most to not only me but my baby, it was not a good diagnosis.”
Like many right now, with the Omicron variant exploding in Manitoba, she had contracted COVID-19. The major difference for the country artist — she was in her third trimester.
“I was having trouble breathing and when you’re pregnant you need to breathe to get oxygen to the baby. So the concern was, is the baby getting enough oxygen?”
In total, she visited HSC three times. She was also diagnosed with shingles and laryngitis.
“I started to go down pretty fast,” she says. “I got hit pretty hard.”
There’s no handbook for what she had been experiencing, she explains.
Read more: Fort Saskatchewan hospital suspends services for pregnant women due to COVID-19 impact on staffing
“If I wanted to google, 38-weeks pregnant, covid, with shingles, respiratory issues, a mix of laryngitis — it just doesn’t come up.”
Despite the uncertain times, she says there was one glimmer of positivity.
“I had just gotten home from the hospital and was laying in bed, really sick and my husband looks at me and says: ‘Isn’t it release day?'”
Pearson’s new single “Little Man” describes the unknowns of first-time parenthood.
“We listened to the song on release day in the morning and we both had tears in our eyes,” she says. “The timing couldn’t have been crazier.”
But Pearson has been positive throughout and that continues to shine through. She says she’s on the road to recovery.
“Being calm, especially in situations like this, is only helpful,” she said. “Each day, we’re hoping, is better.”
“Before I couldn’t even get through a conversation, I would choke, I couldn’t breathe, now I’m left with a lot of congestion.”
She hopes the baby won’t come sooner than the January 21 due-date, to allow her time to recover even more in the meantime.
“I was leaving the hospital the other day and the nurse said to me, ‘No more shenanigans okay?’ And I said, ‘Well that’s the plan!’.”
Manitoba Shared Health Information
As of December 19, 2021, Shared Health says they no longer track how many pregnant women test positive for COVID-19.
However, they say between the start of the pandemic and mid-December 2021, 970 women indicated being pregnant when they tested positive.
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