Dr. Xi Hehong holds the newborn baby girl who is discharged from the hospital on Feb. 21, 2020. (Photo provided to Xinhua)
by Xinhua writers Peng Peigen and Wu Guangyu
CHENGDU, Feb. 28 (Xinhua) -- Putting on a protective suit, a pair of goggles and fetching a face mask, obstetrician Xi Hehong rushed onto the ambulance. She knew this trip would be quite different.
"My colleagues and I all felt like going to the battlefield," Xi said.
A 38-week pregnant woman needed dire medical care, but she was quarantined at home as her brother tested positive for the highly infectious novel coronavirus.
Xi, along with around a dozen doctors from six departments in the local hospital in Peng'an County in southwest China's Sichuan Province, fully geared up in protective clothing as they headed for the woman's home on Feb. 1.
It was something big in her small county, where many people had been going to central China's Hubei Province, where the epidemic is most severe, for jobs and doing businesses.
The woman's brother returned from Wuhan, the epicenter, and was confirmed to be infected on Jan. 30. She stayed in the same house with him for four days and was later quarantined.
When the team arrived at their house, the woman's husband thought this was still too exaggerated, with over a dozen doctors in biohazard suits.
"We are just being responsible for ourselves, as well as for other pregnant women in the county. Who will they turn to if we are infected?" Xi said.
The woman, 32, is having her second baby, and she was very anxious when meeting the doctors.
"She kept asking us if she was infected whether her baby would be okay," Xi recalled. "Honestly, we didn't know the answer to that, so I just tried to ensure her that we would do our best to keep both of them safe."
The examination went fine that day, with her temperature, blood pressure, heart rate and fetal heart rate all in the normal range.
Before leaving her house, Xi set up a social media chat group for tracking her conditions around the clock.
"Honestly, I was not even this careful when I was having my own baby," Xi said.
Dr. Xi Hehong, holding the baby in her arms, takes a group photo with her colleages and the baby's family after the newborn is discharged from hospital on Feb. 21, 2020. (Photo provided to Xinhua)
When they had the second examination a week later, the husband was much more hospitable. Considering there were only five days to the expected delivery date, the team transferred her to the local hospital.
The hospital turned a physical examination area into an independent delivery room and allowed her husband and son to accompany her.
On Feb. 17, she had her first contraction, and by noon the next day, she was having consistent contractions.
The woman suffers from premature ventricular contractions, a heart condition that may increase the danger of delivery if the process takes too long. The doctors used oxytocin for strengthening contractions and even prepared a defibrillator in case of heart problems.
At 5:40 p.m. that day, the woman was put onto the delivery bed. Xi was with her the whole time, and three other nurses were by her side cheering her up.
The woman did a great job adjusting her breath and pushing hard following Xi's guidance.
"We were both covered in sweat," Xi said.
Thirty-eight minutes later, a baby girl weighing 3.4 kg was born.
"When I held my baby born in such a special time in my hands, my tears burst out, the goggles fogged up and my sight was blurred," Xi said.
Unexpectedly, the mother suffered from major bleeding and an emergency treatment followed soon. It was not until 2:00 a.m. that she was out of danger.
The next day, the family received tests for the novel coronavirus and all of them tested negative.
"After going through all this, the mother has become my family; she is like a sister and comrade to me," Xi said.
"Though we're doctors and patients, we have also become each other's company through these tough 20 days facing the epidemic," Xi said. "I think this will be the most unforgettable experience in my career." ■