Newborn Is Carried Behind Casket of Mother Who Died of COVID-19 After Giving Birth
Friends and family members said Samantha Willis, who was unvaccinated, had no underlying health condition. Her grieving husband has urged everyone to get vaccinated.
An unvaccinated mother from Ireland who contracted COVID-19 while pregnant died unexpectedly two weeks after giving birth to her fourth child, a baby girl, according to a published report.
Samantha Willis, 35, died on Friday at Altnagelvin Hospital in Co. Derry in Northern Ireland, after a 16-day battle with the deadly disease. Friends and family members said she had no underlying health conditions, The Belfast Telegraph reported.
On July 31, Samantha’s husband, Josh Willis, who had been vaccinated, came down with COVID-19. Samantha, however, was told to avoid the vaccine until further research was available, according to loved ones. Samantha tested positive for COVID-19 and was admitted to the hospital. She initially responded to treatment but then her condition began to decline and doctors said the baby would need to be delivered, according to a GoFundMe page created to support her family.
On Aug. 5, baby Eviegrace was born, and within hours Samantha was taken into the ICU, where she fought for her life. Samantha was unable to hold or meet her daughter, Eviegrace, out of fear that the baby would contract COVID-19.
On Aug. 12, Samantha went into a coma, and on Friday, just after midnight, she died, the GoFundMe page said.
Family and friends were left devastated by Samantha’s sudden passing on the heels of what should have been a joyous occasion, said Sara McCaul, the GoFundMe campaign's organizer.
In a Twitter, Samantha’s husband, Josh, wrote a heart-wrenching post urging people to get vaccinated.
“It’s real, the numbers are real," he wrote. "Get your vaccine so you or your family don’t have to go through what I have had to. “
He continued: “As I write this I am laying beside her, she is 35, unvaccinated, and in a coffin. Let that sink in!’”
On Monday, during the funeral procession baby, Eviegrace followed her mother’s coffin as a family member carried her in her arms. Samantha’s three other children, daughters Holly and Lilyanna and son Shea, were also present, The Irish Independent reported.
During the mass held at St. Columb’s Church in Co. Derry, Eviegrace was baptized. It was something Josh wanted so his wife and Eviegrace’s mother would be present, McCaul wrote.
Father Joe Clifford, who led the service, told the Telegraph it was the first time he ever conducted a baptism and a funeral at the same service.
“It is sadness and joy all at the same time, but never brought together as close as this,” Clifford said. “And the joy of baptism of this new life doesn’t minimize death, but rather the sadness that brings us here all in the context of faith.”
He also spoke of how Willis’ untimely death was “very much out of order,” and said that “it doesn’t make sense," the Telegraph reported.
Willis’ grieving husband, Josh Willis, described his wife as a “wonderful, loving, and caring person and she has been our superhero the last few weeks.”
”She is now our guardian angel and she will remain in our hearts and thoughts forever more. We love you loads and miss you. We wish we could only have helped you get home to live the rest of your life with us.”
He made a final vow to the woman he called the “love of his life.”
“I will never stop loving you and we will do our best to make you proud until we see you again," he said. "Sleep tight my Queen. Love you.”
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