There's nothing like laying eyes on your newborn baby for the very first time. But for baby Jonathan's father, it took longer than expected -- 54 days longer.
"I had my baby boy on the 28th of March, and I was admitted to the hospital on the 29th," Tony Thomas said.
Tony Thomas is a 39-year-old nurse from New Hyde Park.
He works at Brookdale Hospital in Brooklyn and became very sick with COVID-19.
Thomas was on a ventilator at St. Francis in Roslyn, for 39 days. At the very same time, his wife Riya Thomas also tested positive and was giving birth at Winthrop Hospital.
Since the two both had COVID-19, and the baby tested negative, Tony's sister had to take the baby home at first until it was safe.
On Wednesday, Tony Thomas and the team of amazing caregivers at St. Francis reunited for the first time since his release.
The doctor who cared for him in the ICU explained that he also had COVID-19, and his first day back at work was Thomas' first day hospitalized.
To say the doctor became emotionally attached is an understatement. Especially when Thomas successfully came off the ventilator.
"The emotions were overwhelming. I was crying, I couldn't speak," Dr. Jeffrey Wolf of St. Francis Surgical ICU said.
Tony Thomas' family credits the doctors and also, their faith, as the reasons why he pulled through.
"I'm so happy. I'm the luckiest woman in the the world right now," Riya Thomas said.
No doubt, the power of parenthood was also at play.
Tony Thomas wanted to be strong to meet his new son.
He says he feels like he is definitely recovering, but is not all the way there yet.
However, his family will be having a big, socially distanced barbecue with family this weekend to celebrate.
"For Father's Day, this is my true bundle of joy, you know," he said.
And that joy is a life-force in and of itself.
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