Orange County nurse faces challenges of treating COVID-19 patients while protecting pregnant wife

MISSION VIEJO, Calif. (KABC) -- Back in August, Mission Hospital nurses Anthony and Danielle Wilkinson were thrown a curveball - the newlyweds found out Danielle was pregnant.

"It was really scary at first. My first appointment I talked to my doctor and I was just like, 'What do I do, how do I protect myself? My husband is working in the COVID ICU, is he safe? Is he safe to come home to me?'" said Danielle.

While she now works in the cardiac ICU unit, Anthony has been working directly with COVID-19 patients since day one.

"The patients grew and grew and grew, so we became a dedicated COVID ICU unit," he said.

That's where PPE is put to good use and where safety is a top priority - a fact that helped ease their fears.

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The line of people volunteering to get a COVID-19 vaccine at the Orange County Health Care Agency headquarters Thursday, was promising as it wrapped around the block and extended down the street.

"We've been meticulous about our protocols and everything and I think that, for me, was like, you know what, we can do this. I can still work the unit, you're pregnant, we're gonna take every possible precaution," said Anthony.

"I actually felt OK with him being there because I felt like he was probably more protected than I was at that point," she said.

After plenty of research, they also both decided to get the vaccine.

"I'm just excited that I'm going to be able to protect my baby right now through all of this and not have to worry about that, hopefully if everything is working the way it's supposed to you know, ideally," she said.

While there's disappointment he can't be there for special moments like ultrasounds, or to be able to have a baby shower, they're choosing to stay positive.

"There are people out there that have nobody and the fact that we get to have each other through this is huge. So count your blessings," said Anthony.

"Grit your teeth and power through it, you know that's what we gotta do," said Anthony.

Danielle is about seven months pregnant with a baby boy. Their advice to others expecting during the pandemic: do your research before you start to worry about anything.
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