14 April 2021

So This Is What Happened When a Breastfeeding Mom Who Just Gave Birth Has COVID-19

Today marks my freedom, aka the last day of my isolation period, from the unwanted, life-threatening virus that is corona. 

But first — I would like to apologize to the ad agency who coined this phrase for a detergent powder campaign ‘cause I’m gonna use it now to respond to your reaction to my opening salvo — GULAT KA NOH? 

Actually, ako rin eh! When I got pregnant last year, the times I’ve gone out went from rare to almost none. So imagine our disbelief when someone from the military hospital I had my swab test done informed me nonchalantly that I was Covid positive. Before my brain dictated my body to be in shock, I have already yelled to the hubs from my eldest’s bedroom that we used as isolation facility and told him matter of factly, “positive raw ako”. Shoot shoot shoot.

*enter MMK background music so I could shake my shoulders while I do a proper walling*

Joking aside, I’m sure by now you’ve already read a lot about how Covid patients go through this ordeal. But your chismosang kapitbahay Maritess might be curious and have these questions – “saan nakuha?”, “anu-anong mga symptoms?”, “ano mga ginawa nung malaman mong may symptoms ka?” So before I share with you my daily shenanigans since I felt a symptom, I’ll answer one question first. 


Our primary suspect was our helper who comes and goes every day. But since she got tested on April 5th along with my family and the result was negative, she was acquitted. Some of you might think, “sa delivery talaga yan”. Well, we spray every package with Lysol and leave it outside for more than an hour before opening it. So it’s only a percent of a hundred to be accurate. If it’s the delivery people naman, I highly doubt since we exaggerate social distancing here. Also, doctors only consider someone a close contact if he has spent 15 minutes with a Covid positive person. Methinks it was the neighbor who does handy things here at home. I asked him to fix the curtain hook at Sophia’s room days before I felt symptoms. My hunch was, he was asymptomatic and since he was only wearing a cloth mask (surgical mask pa rin ang malakas), he gave us the virus unknowingly through our toddler, Sammy. Why her? She was the only one who got near him who didn’t wear a mask. And because Sammy and I sleep together and we hug and kiss each other a lot, I’m now telling this story. If there’s someone out there who would tell me “eh kasi dapat pinagsuot mo ng mask ang anak mo, yung anak ko nga fetus pa lang marunong ng mag-mask eh”, ang masasabi ko lang, “shut up Tessy” lol. 

As for the symptoms and what we did upon learning I was positive, here’s my story. 

03/29 - I cooked a ground pork dish for lunch and posted it on Instagram (follow me - @deniserayala). I said in the caption that I was pretty proud of myself to have done it. I mean, a mother who just gave birth shouldn’t be doing house chores yet. But I got to do what I needed to do, you know. So turned out, it was too salty, like literally; which means I have started losing sense of taste already. And that evening, I had a creepy feeling that I’m also losing sense of smell. As a foodie, it was a heartbreaking realization. 

03/30 - I went through the day per usual as a sleepless mom of a needy newborn, a moody threenager and an angsty pre-teen. What only made my day different was I couldn’t smell my tiniest girl’s head! It smells like hope and joy and world peace but that day, I lost it. Insert a teary-eyed Puss in Boots face for emphasis. 

Here’s more. Sinangag would be my deathbed food, I said that many times in my previous social media posts. So imagine the devastation I felt when I couldn’t even smell the garlic in the fried rice that I asked the helper to cook. I even questioned her kitchen capabilities, ha! I said, “baka naman hindi pa mainit ang kawali?” She smiled and said, “tapos na nga akong magluto”. Like, really?

Shaking my head, I pumped a good amount of alcohol in my hands as I have just gone out of the bathroom. What the heck, the alcohol that has 70% isopropyl smelled like tap water! I got wide nose with big nostrils but can’t smell anything? Basura feels huhu.

That night, I messaged my soldier hubs who was in lockdown at the general headquarters about my silly smelling (or lack of it) story. 

03/31 - Of course, he came home and we drove to the military hospital to have my swab test done. We bought the newborn Stella with us as she is breastfeeding. Best decision though as the doctor in the general headquarters hospital where we got our referral advised us to continue doing so as it can help protect her from the virus.

In the military hospital, when the nurse-on-duty called me as “OD wife Rayala” for everyone to hear, I was kinda shaking. I was so nervous to get inside as there were frail patients lying down in beds, coughing left and right. By the way, OD means Officer’s Dependent not Only Dear hihi. Although it should be that way. Sorry for rambling, I’m not making any sense anymore. 

Anywhoo... it was a quick poke in my nose. The nurse who did the test has very gentle hands that I never thought it could be that, uhm, not of a big deal like others have posted about on social media. Or was it because my nostrils can handle 5 swab kits? Heehee. 

After so, we went home. And all I had in mind the whole drive was this word: Negative. Law of attraction daw eh so there. When we got home, I took a bath and immediately isolated at my eldest Sophia’s room. It has no bathroom and is actually near the kitchen but it’s the best we got. I wouldn’t want to go to a quarantine facility because I’m hundred percent sure my breastfed baby will not be allowed to get inside. 

So when Stella and I were settling down, the curious toddler Sammybear couldn’t understand why. I saw in her soulful expressive eyes the many questions that she had that time. She wanted to hug me after gleefully shouting “you’re back, Nanay” but I quickly stopped her. My heart crushed. 

That night, I cried while breastfeeding Stella. I cried while cleaning her poop. I cried when I heard her loud fart that was actually poop. I cried when I had to dance and sing because that’s what newborns love to make their parents do. I cried and cried and cried until my colds got worse and I couldn't breathe. Afraid to be isolated somewhere strange, I collected myself and decided to dump my emotions to my mama and my siblings.

04/01 - Stella unfortunately got colds, too. Was it Covid? We would never know. She never got tested but hubs and I got a feeling she had it inevitably. Saline spray was a huge help. Without it, I wouldn't have slept even for just an hour. This day was one of the longest I had in my entire life. In a very small room with white walls and only one window, waiting for my swab test result, I couldn't help but think of all the worst things that could happen to me. I even messaged my sisters to look after my kids have I died. I was so sure hubs will just get married again to have someone do my duties haha.

04/02 - That "mukhang Biyernes Santo yang mukha mo" was true to me this day. I got a call from a military doctor informing me in rapper fashion that my swab test result was POSITIVE. I instantly told my family and closest friends. And even to two of my fellow mommy bloggers who are also newborn moms like me. I shared the news with them so they could double boost their immunity to avoid having the same fate.

04/03 - Thank God for family and friends who gave us food! My mama sent comforting homemade dishes such as sinigang na bangus, ginataang gulay and scrambled eggs. SIL gave us fish to cook and snacks for the kids. My highschool bestfriend who lives in the States sent Max’s for lunch via her brother. My sister sent ready-to-cook beef tapa, banana bread, mango float, fruits and lots of snacks for the kids. A fellow military wife and Sammy's ninang sent us a cake. MIL gave us whatever extra food she has. We wouldn't have survived this phase of our domesticity without the delicious and filling food they sent our way. 

That night though, I suddenly had a hard time breathing so I thought of using the nebulizer. We consulted a doctor first, of course. My husband texted what the doctor told him, “kapag nag-nebulize pala parang magiging airborne enabler ng virus yun. Kaya 'wag gagawin sa kwarto. Sa open area na walang ibang tao ginagawa dapat.” OK, noted. I just drank ginger tea, walked back and forth slowly inside the room and prayed it wouldn't escalate into what most Covid patients fear. 

04/04 - God has risen! Apparently, we couldn't celebrate Easter like most families did. In fact, I wasn't able to supervise Sammy in her first Zoom event with her fellow Paw Patrol fans. I just joined with them from the window. Late in the afternoon, Barangay Health Worker Jean called and interviewed me. She scheduled hubs, kids, MIL and helper for swab testing the next day. 

By dinnertime, wala na akong gana to eat kahit yummy yung spaghetti that MIL cooked because I’m so tired for what it feels like being imprisoned. Sophia’s room is nice and comfy but because it’s small and I see nothing but white walls, it was too much for my mental health to handle.

04/05 - Hubs, kids and MIL had their antigen test done by the LGU. I had headache, while waiting for them to come home. So imagine how terrified I was. I thought what if the virus attacked too fast while they were gone and Stella had no one. Good thing they got home just in time for lunch. BHW Jean messaged me that afternoon regarding their results. She said in verbatim, “lahat naman negative, si Samantha lang ang positive”. I felt nauseous. I called my husband and told him. Even if Sammy basically only has a mild cold, nanghina pa rin ako. 

That night, we moved in together in one room so I can monitor her temperature and manage her symptoms to not progress. She was so excited to be with me again and kept on saying " I love you too Nanay" even if I hadn't said it first. Haha cute. As for me, I didn't sleep well as I wore a mask the entire time. 

04/06 - Thank God, madam Sammy was fine and has actually woke up happily! As for nyorita Stella, it was with tears and sharts and baby cow wails. I was on full mombie mode. Thank God for Ate Sophia for making the day better! She got an average of 90.33% for her 6 major subjects on her report card! She can now use TikTok again as a reward. Told her to follow me lol. 

Team Nonong (name of the Facebook group chat that includes my mama and siblings) was active as ever. Like my sister said, whatever happened to me served as a trailblazer. It proved the importance of having a good relationship with your family. We are all in quarantine (even if hubs’ result was negative) so no one can go out to buy supplies but we never ran out of food. 

04/07 The hubs scheduled a retest for him and Sammy at the military hospital. The doctor told us that since the antigen test done to Sammy used blood sample, it has a high possibility of giving a false negative result.  

04/08 As respite to my isolation days that seems to be a blur, I attended Mommy Mundo's Zoom meeting that night. And in the Family Feud that we played, the survey said, sleep is top moms go-to self-care practice. And I was one of the first moms who answered it in the chat box. I know too well how important it is! I mean, I know I wouldn't get this dreadful virus if I only had enough sleep.

04/09 I can't remember any significant happening this day except for the crispy pata that we had for lunch. It wasn't spectacular but it gave me milk supply enough for ten babies hehe.

04/10 Results of husband's and Sammy's swab retest came out that morning: NEGATIVE! God is so amazing, right? Sammy has already spent two days with me by the time she got tested but she was still spared from having the virus. Our fierce little girl must have heard everything hubs and I talked about upon learning the result that when hubs hugged her, she said “I’m not scary anymore.” Aww, she must have thought we were all wearing masks to avoid her. She didn't know it was me! 🥺

The following days leading to today went by the same -- slow and mundane. I tried to entertain myself by reading Janet Lansbury's parenting books, taking lots of photos of my little humans, making sure I still give enough attention to my eldest by telling her to sweep and mop the floor lol and finally, tagging my husband in the posts that resonate with me in the Home Buddies Facebook group. 

Our family dynamic for two weeks was a mess but with a glass of Berocca and two PotenCee capsules a day plus healthy and delicious meals and lots of love and prayers in between, we survived. Looking forward to better and brighter days over here at Casa Rayala. 

And like what a lot of Pinoys have fought for the past week...

#LugawIsEssential, especially when you're sick. 


  1. stay safe and healthy to the whole family Ms D. We love you!!

  2. Awwe! Sending hugs, Miss D! 🤗 May the good Lord continue to protect and bless you and your whole Family..🙏 God is good!!

  3. God is good 🤗 Glad youre all well now Ms. D. Nakakateary eyed basahin 😁 Stay safe tayong lahat. We'll never know if someone is carrying a virus na kaya ang hirap talaga panahon ngayon pero pag malakas resistensya kayang kaya 💪💪💪

  4. Hello Ms.D.. Yes gulat ako na ngcovid positive ka po pala, habang binabasa ko
    to maluha luha na ko tapos biglang akong natatawa s mga hirit mo , aliw! hehehe. Stay safe. 😊

  5. Napakalakas mo! 💕
    Sending hugs Ms. D!

  6. Virtual hugs, Mumsh! ❤️ Kering keri yan. Fervent prayers for your family’s safety against this virus. Stay safe everyone!

  7. Get well soon Ms.D. Praying for your speedy recovery and protection for the whole family. Thanks also for sharing your story. This hits home since I am also a newborn mom and we're breastfeeding, too. Virtual hugs.....❤🙏💐

  8. I admire you, Ms.D! Stay strong and sending you my virtual hugs. Just want to let you know that I appreciate you sa lahat nang mga nishashare mo.. Lagi ko binabalikan basahin ung step by step procedure mo if bet ko mag luto nang sinigang na baboy :)

  9. Nakakaiyak na natatawa rin ako kasi ung oag-sulat mo talaga parang kaharap lang kita. I miss you so much, mars. Ang galing mo!!! Saludo ako sayo. Prooof na moms don’t need to fret and just continue being a mom! Love you, sissy! God is with you through it all.

  10. Nakakaiyak pero God is Good Mommy D.. alam mo yun nag babasa ka pero parang naririnig ko boses mo parang mag kausap tayo. At gusto kita yakapin Mommy D ����

  11. Praise the Lord for the strenght and healing given to the whole fam..naramdaman ko ung sa part na "im not scary anymore"...thank you for being the tough mommy that you are! And God bless your whole family❤️❤️

  12. Thank God you are okay now D. Praise the Lord. Ang hirap pala talaga mgka covid. I am scared too dahil Nanay din ako..