STATESVILLE, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) — It’s not the experience any pregnant woman wants to have, but one Statesville mom gave birth shortly after being diagnosed with COVID-19. Days later, she was admitted to the ICU, fighting to come home to her family.
Valerie Allen is a mother of four. Giving birth is nothing new to her. But things with baby Zoey would be much different, since Valerie was diagnosed with COVID shortly before giving birth.
“I was freaking out. I was so scared,” she said. “I didn’t want to give birth and have her get COVID.”
Though Valerie, her husband Jacob, and their three other kids all tested positive for the virus, baby Zoey was negative.
“The best way I can describe it, it’s traumatizing. It was really hard because I couldn’t kiss her. I couldn’t love on her,” said Valerie.
Four days after coming home from the hospital, Valerie’s symptoms were only getting worse. She was admitted once again.
“I was just laying on the couch. I couldn’t hold a conversation. I was sleeping. My fever was going up and down. I tried to take a shower one day and I fell in the shower,” she said.
Iredell Memorial Hospital diagnosed her with COVID pneumonia in both lungs, and immediately placed her in the ICU. After initially rejecting medication due to not being able to breastfeed on them, Valerie was told she was just hours away from being placed on a ventilator.
“Outside of my window, I could see that people were dying from the same thing I had. You’re just laying there, sitting there, thinking about your life, your kids, your family, your husband. That was really hard,” said Valerie, choking back tears.
Thankfully, Jacob was cleared from quarantine by the time Valerie was readmitted to the hospital. He stayed home with their four kids, praying everyday for his wife’s recovery.
“I had to come home and be strong for my kids. I couldn’t show them any weaknesses. Sometimes [I had to] lie to them and tell them ‘Mommy’s going to be OK, she’s getting better.” Even though she wasn’t,” he said.
Valerie got to hold her new daughter for the first time two weeks after her birth. After 18 days in the hospital, she was cleared to come home and start her new life.
“Just pure happiness. Pure happiness,” she said.
Other than pregnancy, Valerie says she did not have any other underlying conditions. At the time of her illness, she was not vaccinated. She says the main takeaway she wants people get from her story is to do their research before making decisions about the vaccine.
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