PASCO COUNTY, Fla. — During the pandemic, visiting loved ones in the hospital has been a challenge.
A couple from New Port Richey is having to take turns seeing their newborn baby. She has been under intensive care ever since she was born three weeks ago.
Every day, mother Alexi Weed and her fiancé Jordan Finch visit their daughter Ayva at St. Joseph's Hospital in hopes that one day they’ll be able to take her home.
Baby Ayva was born on May 16, but she has yet to see her parents. Ayva has underdeveloped eyes. It’s one of several medical conditions her mom and dad are trying to cope with, including a cleft lip and cleft palate.
“We really don’t know the extent of her medical problems, some of these children with septo-optic dysplasia have thyroid issues, some of them have seizures,” said Weed. “We have no idea what’s going to happen to her eyes. I’m pretty positive she is going to be completely blind.”
Weed is only 20-years-old, while Finch is 24. It’s the couple’s first child.
All of this happened at the height of the pandemic which has put Finch out of work.
“I can imagine a whole month's stay in the NICU is going to be a pretty penny,” said Weed.
Besides the financial burden, there is a tremendous emotional toll. Only one parent is allowed to visit Ayva at a time.
“You know I’m her mom and I always want to be there and of course he always wants to be there for her too, but he’s only seen her a handful of times and she’s going to be a month old on Saturday,” said Weed.
Living an hour away, just getting to the hospital is a challenge. The couple’s family and the community have started several fundraisers in order to buy Alexi a car.
“It was 100 percent our family just staying behind us one step at a time,” said Finch.
While Finch continues to look for a job, he's never afraid to promote himself.
“I try to be my very best every day and I’m a fast learner I show up to work every day,” said Finch.
Despite all the heartache, this couple knows they are not alone, there are families across the country in similar situations. They want to be an inspiration.
Their baby isn’t giving up, and neither will they.
“She definitely knows we’re her parents and we are there, there have been several times when I’ll see her, and she may be a little fussy and I hold her and she instantly falls asleep,” said Finch.
For more information on the family’s fundraising efforts, click here.