McHenry mom who nearly died of COVID while pregnant: 'I wish I would've gotten vaccinated'

McHENRY, Ill. (WLS) -- A woman from McHenry who went into a coma after giving birth is now reunited with her newborn son.

Samantha Kelly contracted COVID-19 while she was pregnant. She's talking about the ordeal she calls a nightmare for the first time, along with a message for other expecting mothers.

"I was almost dead, couple of scary times I heard I was close to not making it," Kelly recalled.

Today, Kelly says she's just glad to be alive and holding her newborn son for the first time, weeks after giving birth.

"It makes me tear up," she said. "It was magical."

SEE ALSO | 3 out of 4 expecting moms have not received COVID-19 vaccine, CDC data shows

Kelly was about 32 weeks pregnant when she, her husband and their two kids all contracted COVID-19. She feared the worst.

"She had trouble breathing, she felt bad, had a fever," said Donnell Kelly, her husband.

She was rushed to the hospital and days later, doctors told her they needed to deliver the baby.

"I just remember the doctor holding my hand saying she'll get my baby out," Kelly said.

Kelly was immediately put into a medically-induced coma.

"Seeing her on a ventilator, a machine breathing for her, that's when I broke down," her husband said.

SEE ALSO | COVID increases risk of premature birth in pregnant women, study shows

The couple had put off getting the COVID-19 vaccine for awhile, but Donnell eventually did. Samantha waited until her pregnancy was further along and was scheduled to get her first dose the same week she got sick.

"A lot of decisions being thrown at you, you try as mom make the best one," she explained. "I unfortunately made the wrong one, should've gotten the vaccine."

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

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

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

A GoFundMe has been page set up for the family to help with medical expenses and bills.
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