Pregnant unvaccinated nurse and her unborn 'sweet baby girl' both die of COVID

An Alabama family is mourning the loss of a mother and unborn child who died after complications from COVID-19.

Haley Richardson, 32, was almost 7 months pregnant when she was admitted to the hospital, WKRG reported. Her unborn daughter died Aug. 18 and she died two days later on Aug. 20.

Richardson was a labor and delivery nurse at the Ascension Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola, Florida. She and her husband, Jordan, lived in Alabama with their 2-year-old daughter.

Jordan Richardson told WKRG his wife became sick after testing positive for the virus at the end of July. She had decided to not get vaccinated due to fears of what could happen to their unborn daughter. 

After being at home sick, her heart rate went up and she was taken to the hospital and then transferred to the ICU at USA Health’s main hospital campus in Mobile, Alabama.

“After about three or four days in the hospital, the (obstetrician) told her that she was going to lose the baby,” Jason Whatley, a family friend, told AL.com. “And she continued to get worse and worse.”

Whatley told the outlet that doctors advised Haley Richardson they would need to treat her as if she wasn't pregnant so her life could be saved.

“Haley did call me crying, that she was going to lose the baby,” Julie Mulkey, Haley's mother, said.

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Haley Richardson made a final Facebook post on Aug. 9 detailing her experience.

"Here in the dark, in the wee hours of the morning, it is so easy to pretend that all of this was just a nightmare or that I'm just here in this hospital bed due to my own issues with Covid," she said.

"Not for anything being wrong with my sweet baby girl whom I thought I was protecting in my own womb. I know the prognosis and I know the reality."

She went on to thank her friends and family for the outpouring of support.

Whatley told AL.com  Richardson was on a waiting list to be transferred to  the University of Alabama at Birmingham for a ECMO treatment — a machine that pumps blood out of the body, then oxygenates it, before pumping it back in — before her health quickly deteriorated.

Jordan Richardson is now advocating for expectant mothers to get vaccinated. Earlier this month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a statement saying vaccinations were safe for pregnant people.

“It’s kind of odd to say but she’s got one up there and I got one down here to take care of, so it makes it a little bit easier,”  Richardson told WRKG.

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Follow reporter Asha Gilbert @Coastalasha. Email: agilbert@usatoday.com.