New dad shares hospital experience after wife gives birth during COVID-19 pandemic

New dad shares hospital experience after wife gives birth during COVID-19 pandemic

PITTSBURGH — Living during the coronavirus pandemic is stressful enough, but expecting a baby during this time of uncertainty can add to it.

Ryan Santelli and his wife, Erin, were certain of many things while preparing for the birth of their first child: They knew it was going to be a boy, that his name would be Luca and that Erin would have a scheduled induction at West Penn Hospital. What they didn't know was whether Ryan would be allowed in the room for the delivery.

“About an hour before we were due in at midnight, they called us and said that I was allowed to be there and that it was going to be an easy process. And, honestly, it’s been a great, easy process,” Santelli a cousin of Channel 11’s Trisha Pittman’s husband, said.

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However, as first-time parents trying to navigate their new role in the world during the pandemic, Santelli said he and his wife are struggling with one thing they didn't count on.

"Less family. That's the downside of it all. Our mother, aunts, uncles, loved ones that want to be here, they have to wait. Other than that, I see no difference,” Santelli said.

While doctors and nurses took extra protective measures during the birth of their son, the new mom and dad said they have felt very at ease.

"The doctors, the nurses are awesome. Every precaution the hospital has taken has been stupendous. Honest to God, it's been great,” Santelli said.

Santelli was told he had to stay at the hospital and couldn’t go back and forth, and while he understands there are potential COVID-19 patients at the hospital, he and his wife feel safe.

"We've been reassured 100 times that we're the safest place in the hospital, and it's honestly easy to believe because there is extra security. It's all around us and it's a comforting feeling,” Santelli said.

Doctors said they are trying to get newborns home as soon as possible and into isolation.

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