2-month-old baby was vomiting ‘like the Merlion’ before she was diagnosed with Covid-19

Ms Siti Hawa Mohd Najib's second of four daughters, Aqilah Shazwani (first from right), was the first to contract Covid-19 in the family of six. PHOTO: COURTESY OF MS SITI HAWA MOHD NAJIB

SINGAPORE - When Ms Siti Hawa Mohd Najib's two-month-old daughter started projectile vomiting - "like the Merlion", as she put it - she panicked.

"I told my husband, this is not normal," the 40-year-old bank teller told The Sunday Times.

As it turned out, her baby girl, Aaisyah Humaira, tested positive for Covid-19 the next day - Sept 24.

Ms Hawa's second of four daughters, Aqilah Shazwani, 12, was the first to contract Covid-19 in the family of six. She developed symptoms after coming home from her PSLE listening comprehension examination on Sept 17 and tested positive two days later.

"Because Aqilah's ART (antigen rapid test) was negative at first, we thought it was just a normal fever. So we still mingled and ate together," she said.

Both Ms Hawa and her husband, Mr Muhamad Firdaus, 41, are fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

Berita Mediacorp first reported Ms Hawa's story on Thursday (Sept 30).

While Aqilah was kept under home isolation, Aaisyah was rushed to the National University Hospital (NUH) the day she tested positive. She was admitted into the neonatal intensive care unit.

Aaisyah had to undergo blood tests and a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) swab. The baby is too young to receive medication.

"I cried because as a mother, this was too much to handle," Ms Hawa said.

On Sept 25, Ms Hawa and Mr Firdaus tested positive for Covid-19. Ms Hawa was warded in NUH, while her husband isolated himself at home.

She said: "I developed a sore throat and itchy eyes. My asthma was getting quite bad and my chest was in pain and felt heavy. I have asthma, diabetes and hypertension, so I was worried that with all these conditions, Covid-19 could affect me badly."

Still, Ms Hawa continued to breastfeed Aaisyah.

Aaisyah Humaira in the neonatal intensive care unit. PHOTO: COURTESY OF MS SITI HAWA MOHD NAJIB

"She slept and cried more than usual. It seemed like her body and throat hurt," she said.

"Luckily, I'm fully vaccinated, so my breast milk has antibodies, which is why I think Aaisyah managed to recover so quickly."

Both mother and daughter tested negative for Covid-19 on Tuesday and were discharged from NUH.

Ms Hawa added: "Those days in the hospital were very exhausting and stressful. My husband plays a big part in taking care of Aaisyah, so she was more cranky without him around. The video calls kept me sane and gave me strength to look after Aaisyah."

However, the family has yet to be reunited as Mr Firdaus remains isolated in his room until Oct 5.

Their two other daughters, Athirah Firzana, 10, and Aaliyah Falisha, 15, were not infected.

"All of us are quite sad without Daddy at the dinner table; my kids really miss their father a lot. But we still video call often," Ms Hawa said.

She added that she was grateful to her close friends and colleagues, who got food and groceries delivered for her daughters and husband while she was away.

"Although this was a traumatic experience, I appreciate people praying for my family and sending us words of encouragement."

Ms Hawa was also thankful that Aqilah completed her quarantine order on Wednesday, one day before she had to sit the PSLE English paper.

"I thank God all of us are healthy and that I get to sit in the living room with my girls and watch TV together," Ms Hawa said.

Another family went through a similar ordeal. Mr Mohammad Raihan, 25, contracted Covid-19, and so did his wife, three-week-old daughter and two-year-old son.

Mr Mohammad Raihan, his wife and two children contracted Covid-19 and were warded at KK Women's and Children's Hospital. PHOTO: COURTESY OF MR MOHAMMAD RAIHAN

Mr Raihan, who works as a house mover, tested positive when he took an ART on Aug 11, after getting a fever and headaches. Five days later, on Aug 16, his wife tested positive as well.

"I was admitted to Tan Tock Seng Hospital. The day after my wife tested positive, we were all transferred to KK Women's and Children's Hospital so that we could be together. There, my daughter turned out to be positive too," he said.

He added that his daughter had fever and it took her two weeks to recover. "We were very worried because she's so young - only three weeks old. We kept praying and hoping everything would be all right," said Mr Raihan.

Everyone in the family has now recovered.

Join ST's WhatsApp Channel and get the latest news and must-reads.