Aria Mason-Folse faced a big challenge delivering her baby. She gave birth prematurely after experiencing symptoms of preeclampsia. The life-threatening pregnancy complication brought baby Amarato the world weighing just one-pound, eight-ounces.
The newborn was rushed to the NICU at Ochsner Baptist Medical Center in New Orleans and when mama Aria and dad Henri got to visit with her, she never saw their faces entirely because they were following COVID-19 guidelines and wearing face masks.
Nurses noticed that Amarato was not responding to her mother the way babies normally do and decided it was the fact that her face was covered up was causing Aria some challenges. This could also affect Amara’s development of social cues and non-verbal communication skills. A speech therapist at the hospital heard about the problem and had a solution - clear masks designed for people who work with deaf patients.
The parents say they noticed a difference with their daughter almost right away. "You can see her watching our mouths, especially when I was singing to her," Aria says. “Having the ability to connect with her this way has been its little ray of sunshine through all of this.”