Pregnancy
Teacher cares for her student’s newborn sibling while parents are hospitalized for COVID
Not knowing who to turn to or what else she could do, the mother called her son’s elementary school teacher.
Britanie Leclair
12.20.21

Since the pandemic, communities have been coming together to help others in need. Sometimes, though, it takes a strong person to go the extra mile — especially for complete strangers or someone you don’t know well.

And that’s exactly what this woman did. She went to extraordinary lengths to help someone who wasn’t a complete stranger but certainly wasn’t a close friend.

In the end, her actions meant more than she ever could have imagined.

Little Junior Flores is seven years old.

He and his parents, Marvin and Zully Escobar, are Guatemalan asylum seekers living in Stamford, Connecticut.

Both Marvin and Zully lost their jobs at the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, so their circumstances were already critical. Zully was pregnant, and now the family had no income.

Facebook - Luciana Machado Lira
Source:
Facebook - Luciana Machado Lira

But things were about to get worse.

Zully contracted COVID-19 and was about to give birth to a premature baby.

Her husband also suspected he might be infected, so there was obvious concern over who would look after the newborn.

Not knowing who to turn to or what else she could do, she called her son’s elementary school teacher.

According to the Hartford Courant, she was barely able to breathe when she placed the call.

“‘Miss Lira?’ she said in Spanish. ‘I need help.’”

GoFundMe - Luciana Machado Lira
Source:
GoFundMe - Luciana Machado Lira

ABC7 expanded on that, saying,

“The family reportedly told Lira there was no one in the country who could help them and had listed her as their emergency contact.”

When the call came from Zully on April 1st, she didn’t hesitate.

Even though no one would have blamed her for any hesitation. Zully also asked Lira to call Marvin, her husband, and passed on his number.

The Hartford Courant reports,

“At the time, Lira wouldn’t have known Marvin if she walked into him. Her only contact with him was seeing him in the distance on parent-teacher conference night, waving hello.”

But she called him, and he reiterated his wife’s concerns.

He feared that both he and his son had covid-19 and that they would infect the baby. He asked if Lira would take on the role of temporary guardian of his newborn.

Imagine being put in this position. Virtual strangers asking the unthinkable. Take their newborn and look after it for the foreseeable future.

Lira tells the Courant he was a mess.

“All he could do is cry. And cry. And cry,” Lira said. “He said, ‘She was five weeks early. I’m just terrified. I don’t know what’s going on in my life.’”

Not only was she willing to take on this task, she also realized the need to act as an interpreter for the Flores family. She became the go-between for communication between Martin Flores, the hospital, and even the family in Guatemala.

Baby Neysel Flores is Born

Facebook Screenshot - Luciana Machado Lira
Source:
Facebook Screenshot - Luciana Machado Lira

One day after Zully Flores makes her desperate call to her son’s teacher, her child is born. He is born via c-section, weighing in at 5-pounds, 12-ounces, while his mother was in a medically induced coma.

“She was critically ill, to the point where they thought she wasn’t going to make it,” Lira said.

Everyone was thrilled to learn he was born healthy, and despite being premature, Lira was able to take him home with her just five days later.

Facebook - Luciana Machado Lira
Source:
Facebook - Luciana Machado Lira

However, by then it had been confirmed that both Martin and Junior Flores did indeed have the coronavirus.

So after Marvin Flores had a conversation with Lira’s husband Alex—to make sure he was okay with the arrangement—Lira had to make arrangements.

She hadn’t had a newborn in her home in more than a decade, so there was a lot she needed.

Donations rolled in from friends and family, and finally, she was ready.

Facebook - Luciana Machado Lira
Source:
Facebook - Luciana Machado Lira

Zully is home but has a long road ahead of her before she is well.

Until then, she is separated from her child, only seeing him on Zoom—or in photographs. The only thing she has to hold on to.

Facebook - Luciana Machado Lira
Source:
Facebook - Luciana Machado Lira

In a Facebook post, Lira’s friend Joy Colon wrote,

“This unselfish act reminds us that our humanity makes us all essential … to each other. How will each of us respond when we are asked to simply show up and help. The nurses at the hospital asked my friend if she was the mother’s sister, or perhaps, a cousin as she was listed as the primary contact, Luciana Lira responded, ‘I’m just a teacher.'”

Luciana Lira is much more than “just a teacher.”

Facebook - Luciana Machado Lira
Source:
Facebook - Luciana Machado Lira

Watch Luciana meet the baby for the first time in the video below!

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

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By Britanie Leclair
hi@sbly.com
Britanie Leclair is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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