Mom who nearly died of COVID-19 meets newborn weeks after birth

Published: Sep. 22, 2021 at 4:25 AM CDT
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MCHENRY, Ill. (WLS) - An Illinois mother who contracted COVID-19 while pregnant with her third child is encouraging pregnant women to get vaccinated after she nearly died from the virus. She calls her time battling the disease a nightmare.

Samantha Kelly says she is just glad to be alive and holding her newborn son, Holden, for the first time after her family contracted COVID-19.

“I was almost dead. There was a couple of scary times where I’ve heard that I was close to not making it,” she said.

Samantha Kelly was about 32 weeks pregnant when she contracted COVID-19. Weeks later, she is...
Samantha Kelly was about 32 weeks pregnant when she contracted COVID-19. Weeks later, she is recovering, glad to be alive and able to hold her newborn son, Holden.(Source: Kelly family, WLS via CNN)

Samantha Kelly was about 32 weeks pregnant when she, her husband Donnell and their two kids all contracted COVID-19. She fared the worst with trouble breathing, chest pain and a fever and was eventually rushed to the hospital.

Days after she was hospitalized, doctors told Samantha Kelly they needed to deliver her baby. She was then immediately put into a medically induced coma.

“Seeing her on a ventilator, a machine breathing for her, that was probably the hardest… That’s when I broke down,” Donnell Kelly said.

The couple says they had put off getting the COVID-19 vaccine for a while. Donnell Kelly eventually did get the shot, but Samantha Kelly wanted to wait until her pregnancy was further along. She was scheduled to get her first dose the same week she got sick.

“It’s a lot of decisions being thrown at you, and you try as a mom to make the best one. But unfortunately, I think I made the wrong one, and I should have gotten that vaccine,” Samantha Kelly said.

Samantha Kelly is finally breathing and eating on her own. She gets to visit baby Holden once a day, but she has not been able to see her two older children, ages 3 and 5.

“I cannot wait until I can see my kids again. I wish I would have gotten vaccinated. I really would have. I wish I would have. I hope every pregnant woman gets it. It’s so much better than being near death,” she said.

The CDC recently strengthened its guidance, recommending that pregnant women should be vaccinated against COVID-19, including women who are breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant.

Pregnant and recently pregnant people are at an increased risk for severe illness from the virus.

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