A baby boy has become one of Britain’s youngest Covid-19 survivors after testing positive for the deadly virus – at just two DAYS old.
Little Presley Dowdall was born on May 11, at 5.52pm, weighing 6lb 7oz – but was immediately rushed to the newborn intensive care unit (NICU), as he was unable to breathe.
His mother Roxanne Dowdall, 27, was unable to see her son for over five hours after his birth – and did not get to hold him for the first time until four days later.
And she and husband Sam, 30, were left reeling when they got a call from the hospital two days after Presley was born – to let them know that the newborn had tested positive for coronavirus.
Mum-of-two Roxanne, from Basildon, Essex, said: “I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. It was such a shock.
“They phoned me up on the Wednesday evening, two days after Presley was born, and asked if my husband and I had had our Covid test results back yet.
“Then they said, ‘You both tested negative, but Presley has tested positive. We’ll see you tomorrow’. It was just like that.
“I felt angry and guilty that I couldn’t protect my son, that I couldn’t even hold him.
“I also remember feeling embarrassed, like people would look at us differently when I told them.
“I don’t think we will ever know how he could have got it. I had nothing that I could put my finger on to suggest that I could have passed it on to him.
“I had so many questions about how he could test positive – but I think I just have to accept that we will never know.”
Thankfully, little Presley made a full recovery from the virus – and is now happy and healthy at almost 12 weeks old.
But Roxanne, who is also mum to two-year-old Dixie, said that his birth was “extremely difficult” – and that she did not believe Presley was going to make it through his first night.
Roxanne, who had to be induced in Basildon Hospital in Essex at 37 weeks, said: “When they’re born, you wait for that first big cry – but I didn’t hear anything. He couldn’t breathe at all.
“The midwife that delivered him buzzed down to NICU straight away, and the doctors from NICU came up with the wires and the tubes and took him away.
“The NICU ward was actually Covid-free until Presley was taken down there.
“He was born at 5.52pm – but I didn’t get to see him until about 11.30pm that night.
“It was very surreal, seeing him there with all the tubes, and the doctors doing all the stuff I should have been doing. It was like watching a movie.
“I knew he was mine, but it didn’t feel like he was mine. We hadn’t had a chance to get that bond.
“But just to know he was breathing was a good thing.”
Roxanne added that none of the staff that were on hand to deliver Presley were wearing masks or gloves – but she was told he was unlikely to have contracted it from that.
Roxanne and Sam returned home without Presley the day after he was born – where Roxanne had to deal with “difficult” questions from two-year-old Dixie about where her brother was.
Thankfully, it was not too long before the parents could bring little Presley home on Friday, May 15 – four days after he was born.
Roxanne said: “I didn’t hold him for the first time until that day I brought him home.
“I went in to the ICU and he was still all intubated, and I didn’t even know how to pick him up. It was like he had the plague.
“The nurse asked me if everything was okay – she didn’t realise I hadn’t even held him yet.”
She added: “It was such a mix of emotions bringing him home.
“I so wanted him to come home with us, but I also had my daughter to think of – I didn’t want her to catch anything off him.
“But what with all the poorly babies in the NICU, it was actually safer to bring him home to quarantine there with us, than to leave him in the hospital.
“The first few days after bringing him home were really hard. I felt like I needed to be checking on him constantly – but then I felt really guilty for neglecting Dixie.”
Luckily, after a two-week period of quarantine, Presley was tested again for coronavirus – and the results came back negative.
And a few months on, Roxanne has settled in to life as a mum of two, and has managed to form a “fantastic” bond with her son.
She added: “Presley is doing amazing now. The bond he has with his big sister Dixie is great – I was actually really surprised by how good their bond is.
“Dixie loves being a big sister, and his first smile was for her – he smiles every time she goes near him.
“He has a good routine and is so content.
“As parents, Sam and I just had to put the situation of Presley having coronavirus to the back of our minds.
“We will never get a straight answer as to how or why he caught Covid-19, and it’s just an unanswered question we will have to live with.”