West Salem mom welcomes first child while dealing with COVID-19

La Crosse Mayo Clinic Health System professionals guiding moms through pregnancy and pandemic
COVID-19 and pregnancy

WEST SALEM, Wis. (WKBT) – COVID-19 adds stress to what is normally an exciting time for new moms. It’s a reality a La Crosse nurse dealt with after testing positive with COVID-19.

“I just love helping people and I love babies,” said Taylar Schoh, a resident of West Salem and a nurse at Mayo Clinic Health System.

Taylar Schoh helps new moms welcome new children into the world.

“I’m a nurse in the NICU at Mayo,” Schoh said.

The pandemic brings a deep chilling feeling for pregnant women.

“I was scared to go to work and get sick being pregnant,” Schoh said. “I was scared to bring it home to my husband. I was scared to bring it home to my family.”

Schoh’s career has come full circle welcoming her own daughter Willa. Unfortunately, she said goodbye to a good night’s sleep for now.

“Yeah, we’re definitely still learning,” Schoh said.

Things were not easy before Willa was here.

“I had some like congestion but that was really it,” Schoh said.

COVID-19 cases are climbing at a rapid rate in La Crosse County.

“We’re seeing more and more which is not the way we want to be going,” said Theresa Hagen, a nurse-midwife at Mayo Clinic Health System.

Schoh’s positive COVID-19 test brought the harsh realities she sees at work into her own life.

“We have seen people in their 20s and their 30s like in ICUs like for weeks,” Schoh said.

Mayo Clinic Health System’s Dr. Dennis Costakos said there are people who can suffer severe COVID-19 symptoms.

“If you have hypertension or certain other diseases, you more likely if you get COVID that you’re going to be sick,” Costakos said. “That’s also true for pregnant women.”

Fortunately, the risks people like Schoh face are watched by people like Hagen.

“We’re making sure that the babies are growing by doing scheduled ultrasounds,” Hagen said.

Costakos’ expertise also provides some stress relief.

“If you’re positive we’re not going to separate you from you’re baby,” Costakos said.

Schoh’s journey to good health didn’t stop at the ultrasound checkups.

“She ended up being a see section so that was a surprise in itself,” Schoh said.

Quarantine with her husband taught patience.

“We were in the same hospital room for six days, my husband and I,” she said. “It was, testing.”

The toughest part was family and friends could not be there when it was Willa’s time.

“It makes me so sad, because I know they’re out and it’s not fair,” Tish Olson said, Schoh’s mom and a nurse at Mayo Clinic Health System.

Even Olson needed fate to be there for her daughter.

“That was the best. I could only be there if I was working, if it was my scheduled work shift,” Olson said. “I don’t know. By the grace of God, she came 20 minutes after I walked on to my night shift. I do not enjoy night shifts, but I had never been so excited to work a night shift in my entire life,” Olson said.

Things are working out for the better. Schoh and Willa are safe and healthy. Schoh hopes people take precautions to heart for the sake of other families.

“We all have people we’re looking out for too. It’d be nice if everyone could play their part and it would make it easier for us too,” Schoh said.

Schoh’s baby did not test positive. Doctors at Mayo say they are learning more about babies and how COVID-19 impacts newborns. So far data shows it doesn’t affect babies like adults. More research is being done to show the true impact.