Editor’s Note: We are publishing personal essays from CNN’s global staff as they live and cover the story of Covid-19. Chelsea McGinnis is a writer for CNN Newsroom with Brooke Baldwin.
My twin boys were supposed to be born in June, but they had other plans. I went into early labor in March, just as the coronavirus was sweeping into my hometown of Atlanta.
Suddenly there was an emergency C-section and my husband Walt and I were parents, blessed with Wyatt and Cameron.
But they’re in the neonatal intensive care unit at Piedmont Hospital, and there’s a strict four-hour-only visitation schedule.
It’s been three months and counting …
I can’t take them home and place them in their cribs that Walt and I have arranged for us to all start our lives together.
And, because of Covid-19, it’s even harder.
I can’t kiss my beautiful boys.
I can’t introduce them to their grandmothers who so desperately want to help.
I can’t even hug my own mom.
We want to love on our baby boys, but we are terrified they could be exposed to coronavirus.
So the next time you’re thinking about going out without a mask, when you think, “This one time won’t matter,” and “If I get it, I’ll recover,” please think of me.
Please think of my twin boys, born premature, at just 28 weeks.
My husband and I have been through hell and back. We almost lost both of them.
One horrible night in April, the nurses called the chaplain. We already know what it’s like to plead with God to let you keep your child.
Please think of running into me – in a hallway, on an elevator, or in a grocery aisle.
If you’re not wearing a mask, not social distancing, maybe you unknowingly give the virus to me.
Hopefully, I don’t get sick, because I am relatively young and healthy.
But then I go visit my babies in the NICU – for the four precious hours the restricted visitation rules allow.
Please think of me – scrubbing my hands raw at the surgical sink.
Please think of our NICU nurses – true angels on Earth – who sacrifice seeing their friends and family to protect my babies.
Please think of these two tiny boys – who have no idea about the world they will so soon be a part of.
And think of the thousands of families who are trying to protect immuno-compromised children right now.
If simply wearing a mask protects them, is it really so much to ask?