Lindsay Bullock was nervous as they wheeled her down to the operating room. A nurse, trying to calm her patient, asked, "What makes you happy? Like, what's your happy place?" Bullock is a Disney fan. She mentioned a song that Olaf the snowman sings in the movie "Frozen," and the nurse began to sing. "I remember being calm," Bullock said. "I was like, 'I'm gonna be OK.' And then I heard them putting me on the operating table." Bullock was 36 weeks pregnant when she was diagnosed with COVID. The pregnancy itself was something of a miracle, she said, managed with the aid of intravenous fertilization. "My husband and I tried for three years to have a baby," she said. "He was very important to us, obviously, before he even came out. At that point, it was like a four-and-a-half-year journey." She's not sure where she caught the coronavirus. Bullock and her husband, who live in Wallingford, had been very careful and managed to make it nearly a year through the pandemic before contracting the virus. But, after testing positive, her symptoms soon became dangerous. She took her oxygen saturation levels at home and found them declining. A pneumonia diagnosis, comorbid with COVID, raised concerns for her obstetrician. "I just keep progressively getting worse, my oxygen levels are going down," Bullock recalled. "At this point, l couldn't even get up, honestly, to go take a shower." Bullock couldn't breathe. She knew she needed oxygen. They called 911 and she was carried to the ambulance. She had a quick stay at MidState Medical Center in Meriden before getting transferred to Yale New Haven Hospital, where her doctors worked. "The guy that was in the back with me was the nicest man. I remember talking to him, and I was like, 'Your pillows are so comfortable,'" she recalled. "When he pushed me into the ICU, he gave me the pillow. He was like, 'Here, take this.' I don't know why, but that meant the world to me at that moment, because I was so scared." Making room to breathe The COVID was the problem, and the pregnancy was a complicating factor. She wasn't yet at full term, but Bullock was told the baby was taking up room her lungs needed. "They're like, 'At this point, we need to deliver your baby, because you are not breathing, you're not getting enough oxygen. We think that by having the baby out, will give your lungs more room and you'll be able to breathe better,'" Bullock recalled. With that determination came a choice. One option was to be intubated in a non-emergency setting and then have the baby delivered via cesarean section while Bullock was unconscious. That would have allowed doctors to get Bullock on a ventilator, quickly, if there was a problem. The other option was for Bullock to be awake during the C-section. That might have made for an easier birth, but a worse situation if an emergency arose. She chose the first option, doctors weighing whether she was breathing enough to be brought to an emergency room or if they should intubate right there in the ICU. So Bullock found herself being wheeled into an operating theater, while an "awesome" nurse - "I believe her name was Megan," Bullock said - sang Disney songs to keep her calm. She remembers the anesthesiologist as having a heavy accent, and reminding her of the gingerbread man from the movie, "Shrek." "I just kept calling him in my head, 'the gingerbread cookie.' And I'll never forget, he said, 'You're gonna be OK Dolly.' He said 'Dolly.' The only person who ever called me Dolly is my, my nema, who's my grandma on my mom's side," Bullock said. "I just felt like peace at that moment. And then that's all I remember." Bullock gave birth, while intubated, to a seven-and-a-half-pound baby boy, who she wouldn't see or touch for weeks. "I remember, I was still intubated, but they took me off sedation every now and then and, one time, I remember coming to and they were like, 'Congratulations, you had a baby boy, and we're gonna show you him on the iPhone,'" Bullock said. "But, obviously, I couldn't talk." Carter James Bullock was born Feb. 23, nearly a month before his due date. He, also, couldn't breathe. COVID separations Bullock's husband, James Bullock Jr., had also contracted COVID though his case wasn't as severe. Still, he was stuck quarantining at home, alone, while his wife went through her ordeal. Neither of the new parents could meet their son, though James Bullock felt it was important that a blood relative be with their newborn. "If his mom and his dad can't be there, he needs someone there because he needs to fight, too," Lindsay Bullock recalled. "So my mom came. He was two days old. My mom got here and she kept going for like 12 hours a day, every day." As a COVID patient, Bullock was also isolated from other patients, including her son. "I was intubated and on the ventilator for a week," she said. "In an actual physical capacity of seeing my child was not until he was about two-and-a-half weeks old." Meanwhile, newly born Carter James Bullock was having his own difficulties. "When he was born, he had two seizures. I was under a lot of distress, and I didn't have a lot of oxygen, which means he didn't have a lot of oxygen," Lindsay Bullock said. "So when he was first born, he wasn't breathing." Doctors resuscitated the newborn using mouth-to-mouth, but the seizures were the longer-term concern. He was put on two medications to ward off more seizures "and one of them made him really sleepy," Bullock said. "And because he was really sleepy, he didn't want to eat. And he didn't really want to breathe on his own, like he was just tired." 'Thriving' Eventually, once doctors felt confident there would be no more seizures, the baby was weaned off the medication and he began to grow healthier. "He just kept thriving and continuing to do well," Bullock said. "He started taking all his food. Now, he doesn't not eat. I mean, if he's awake, he's eating. He's breathing really well. He's holding his arms and neck and head up. He is babbling a mile a minute." Bullock, too, is healthier. Her son is home, and she's back at work, her mother caring for the now 4-month-old baby. Still, it's four months later and Bullock does have some lingering COVID symptoms. Weakness is one of them. "I was very fortunate that I didn't lose much in terms of my mobility, but I'm still pretty weak in my legs and one of my arms," she said. "Definitely, that brain fog piece is still there, and a memory type thing. And my heart is a little strained on the right-hand side." Bullock does recognize that she's dealing with a bit of PTSD from the manner of her son's delivery. There were no pictures taken at the birth and she remembers nothing beyond some half-remembered flashes. She's still in grief, she said, for the happy, joyful birth that she was denied. She said she "kind of missed out." "I'll be really honest, it took me a little bit, because of that, to feel bonded to my son," she said. "It's really hard as a mom." After carrying the baby for eight months followed by a difficult, life-threatening delivery, Bullock said she initially found it difficult. The choice to intubate before the C-section might have been medically safer, but it meant she couldn't see her child, hold him, connect with him, in the way she thinks a new mother should. "You're just like, 'Well, I'm taking care of him because I have to,' but it takes a little bit because, again, you didn't see him being born. You didn't have that time at the beginning," she said, though that concern has faded. "Now I love the stink out of that kid." Bullock is a little worried about her husband, who she said "went through so much more emotionally than I did," though it's clear the experience affected both of them. "It takes a while to kind of get over something like that," she said. "I go to therapy because I have some PTSD. Ambulance sounds make me freak out. If I have a cough, I'm like, 'Oh, my God, I'm gonna get COVID again, like, what's gonna happen?'" Bullock does, however, manage to maintain a positive attitude. She's grateful for her doctors and nurses, particularly for her obstetrician and that one nurse who sang for her as she was wheeled into surgery. "We're very fortunate that this is how it ended up," Bullock said. "But still, it's still a struggle. It's still a journey."