NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It was a miraculous Mother’s Day for a Queens woman. She recently gave birth while on a ventilator and fighting coronavirus.

Doctors at Jamaica Hospital were afraid she wouldn’t make it, but she defied the odds, CBS2’s Lisa Rozner reported Sunday.

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Reeda Birt Shaheen is only 2 weeks old. She was born three months premature, but it’s already clear the premature baby is a fighter just like her mom. Tasnim Shaheen, 42, battled COVID-19  along with two bouts of pneumonia and kidney failure since being taken to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center on March 24.


Tasnim’s condition rapidly deteriorated and she was put on a ventilator. A month later she was in the third trimester of pregnancy, so the medical team asked Tasnim’s husband if they could deliver the baby by C-section. He consented.

“We felt that maybe, just maybe, if we delivered the pregnancy that the mom would be able to take those energy and those resources and use that to fight her own disease process and heal,” Dr. Kavitha Ram said. “The risk of this was that we might lose both of them. It was a very tense operating room and the first sound we heard was baby Reeda coming out kicking and screaming, and the second sound we heard was the call to prayer that the palliative care team came in and played in Reeda’s care.”

Mom and baby survived.

“It’s a miracle, all right,” father Shahnewaz Shaheen said. “I get two great news in three days and that is the great gift for me in the month of Ramadan we are celebrating.”

Tasnim saw Reeda for the first time a week after giving birth.

“She was in incubator and she was like this and she’s looking like her papa,” Tasnim said.

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Tasnim’s condition has improved so much, she’ll be discharged from the hospital Monday. Since March, her two sons and family in Bangladesh have only been able to see her via videoconference. That’s how she and her husband will continue to bond with Reeda, or during visits through the window of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

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“She’s feisty. She’s a very active little baby,” Dr. Ram said.

“For my daughter, I think I am alive,” Tasnim said.

Before Tasnim was to leave the hospital the staff threw her a surprise baby shower on Mother’s Day.

“I thank all the employee here in the Jamaica Hospital. I told them I call them the angel that God sent them for my wife,” Shahnewaz Shaheen said.

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They never gave up hope, and now they’re part of Reeda’s extended family for life.