DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - In AdventHealth Daytona Beach Hospital rests Shantel Feliciano, who has never held her newborn son, Caleb. Her husband, Heriberto, says it's not how either of them wanted to welcome him into the world.
"It's supposed to be the happiest day of our lives, having our first child," he adds. "We planned this, we anticipated this, and it's kind of hard for her not to be here and hold him and that was just something she really wanted."
Shantel is still in a medically-induced coma, struggling with COVID-19.
"Her oxygen levels were really low. So they decided to perform an emergency C-section, and doing so they had to put her on a ventilator and intubate her," Heriberto says.
While Caleb was born close to full-term, doctors took him to the NICU as a precaution. Once his father showed a COVID-negative test he was allowed to take him home.
"I have no idea what I'm doing. It's been a big learning process, you know," Heriberto Feliciano says.
The Felicianos did not get vaccinated because he says at the time there wasn't enough information about possible effects on the fetus. Now, Heriberto says it's something they absolutely should have done.
"I'd rather be safe than sorry. It's totally up to you if you want to get vaccinated or not, but the people you're around, think about everyone else because it's not just all about you."
The family plans to hold a vigil for Shantel outside the hospital Saturday at 5 p.m. They have set up a Go Fund Me page to help in her recovery.
This is a developing story. Check back for details.