Neighbors surprise mom returning from hospital after giving birth during coronavirus pandemic

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- Neighbors put up balloons and a flag to welcome a newborn and his mom to their home in Northeast Raleigh.

"I'm so grateful for my neighbors," Christina Gomes said. "I want to say thank you to everyone."

Christina gave birth to her son, Maximus, Monday. Her husband, Patrick, said he stayed with them at the hospital but couldn't leave because of coronavirus concerns.

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Still, he was desperate to have something special for his wife and son when they arrived at home. So he turned to Nextdoor, asking if somebody could "put some balloons on our mailbox. It would make my wife so happy."

Patrick said he would have called a florist, but all of them were closed due to COVID-19.

"So it's like, how am I going to do this?" he said. "I figured a couple people would respond. I really didn't expect anything at all."

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But dozens of neighbors posted congratulatory messages and offered to help out.

Due to the coronavirus, the Gomeses couldn't have visitors or their 3-year-old daughter, Clairese, at the hospital. What's supposed to be a happy time was suddenly filled with some sadness and fear.

"We are excited but we are scared because everybody was praying for us that we were going to the hospital," Christina said. "Sometimes people get exposed by going to the hospital."

"It sucks not having family or friends being able to come to the hospital," Patrick said. "But it's almost like when I put those pictures up-just so many comments. It's almost like an extended family, of sort, neighbors."

Another reason his post may have resonated with so many: Patrick said with all the coronavirus deaths, this is life.

"It gives me a lot of joy with everything that's going on in the world, for neighbors to come out and just show humanity at its best," Patrick said.
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