Welcoming your first baby during a pandemic

Michael and Tina Lung hold their daughter, Makayla Lily Lung, outside by a field of sunflowers
Tina and Micheal Lung, a medical student at Carver College of Medicine, welcomed their first child during a worldwide pandemic. They are grateful for the compassionate care they received at UI Hospitals & Clinics.

Becoming a parent for the first time can be scary. Having your first baby during a worldwide pandemic can add another layer of anxiety. And when you’re a medical student, you’re extra sensitive to potential complications.

“We were concerned in terms of what the exposure would be, whether we were going to be able to see her, whether or not people would be able to visit her,” says UI Carver College of Medicine student Michael Lung about his wife’s delivery. “We followed our doctor’s recommendations and weren’t overwhelmed by that concern.”

Michael and Tina Lung were high school sweethearts in California. Now married, they were excited to add to their family. When Tina began having contractions, the couple entered UI Hospitals & Clinics on a Friday night. As Tina’s labor continued into the next day, they were faced with a decision.

Dr. Rachel Maassen came and talked to us, letting us know there were some semi-concerning fetal heart patterns they were seeing. And we started discussing the idea of having a C-section. She gave us all the information that we wanted, gave us a good amount of time regarding that decision, and she didn’t push us either way.

— Michael Lung, UI Carver College of Medicine student

Ultimately, the Lungs decided to move ahead with the C-section.

“It was a bit nerve wracking, we’d been up, I don’t know how many hours at that point. We were pretty stressed out and worried,” he says.

Nurse provides inspiration for care

Still a medical student, Lung hasn’t decided on a specialty yet—he’s leaning towards radiology—but he’s certain of one thing: he wants to provide the same compassionate care he and his wife received from another UI Health Care employee, Ashley Kempf, RN.

“She had a very positive attitude and lightened the mood, made sure we were informed of everything that was happening,” he says.

Her support was especially crucial during the C-Section.

“My wife lost two liters of blood,” says Lung. “I was freaking out because, being a medical student, I knew what the complications were. Ashley was there, and she never left my wife’s bedside. She was kind of a guardian angel that night.”

As he considers his future as a doctor, Lung says he learned valuable insights from Kempf.

“I think it’s an important thing to have providers that are compassionate,” he says. “When their loved ones are sick, people are probably at the worst point of their lives. That’s when providers are seeing them and why it’s important to give quality care.”

Makayla Lily Lung
Makayla Lily Lung entered the world on July 18, 2020 weighing 7 pounds, 2 ounces.

A happy ending

On Saturday, July 18, more than 24 hours after labor had begun, the Lungs welcomed baby Makayla Lily Lung into the world.

“We thought we knew what love was, we love our parents, love our family, we love each other, but the depth of love a parent has for their child is clearly a different level,” says Lung. “I met Makayla and wondered how that is even possible, but it is.”

In these uncertain times, Michael has concrete dreams for his daughter.

“I hope that she’s happy. I hope that she’s fulfilled. I would say to her that, with all that’s constantly changing, there’s going to be times of crisis, but there are always times of joy.”