A pregnant Ohio woman who refused to get vaccinated against COVID-19 because she was worried it would harm her unborn baby has died of the virus.
Brittany Luvender got to feel her newborn baby against her body, who was born three months premature, right before she died. The moment was captured in a heartbreaking photo that was shared on a GoFundMe to raise money for her family.
On September 17, Brittany had an emergency C-section and gave birth to her daughter, three months before her due date, Jonathon later shared. "Riley is in the NICU and doing great and getting strong every day," he said. "Unfortunately, I cannot say the same about my wife Brittany."
Since Brittany gave birth, her ventilator settings only improved on two separate days, Jonathon said. "The rest have all been bad news as she's been at 100%, when our goal is for her to be at 25%," he wrote. "It breaks my heart to say that, from the doctors point of view, we are racing a clock and Britt does not have much time left. We are asking for prayers and positivity from everyone."
Jonathon also shared this gut-wrenching statement: "I try to visit Brittany every day, since I do not know how much time I have left with my wife. Especially when we have no improvements at the moment and we could lose her in an instant."
On October 2, Jonathon shared that Brittany had died. "Yesterday at 2:54 p.m., Brittany passed away," he said. "It breaks my heart to say this. The day before she passed, she got to do skin to skin with Riley. We think Brittany was waiting to make sure her baby was okay."
Jonathon also shared that he, his 7-year-old daughter, and his newborn will need to move to a smaller house. "Our current house is a two-person income home, so we will be needing to move, as our home is also filled with all of our memories and is very hard to be around," he said.
"My wife was the brightest light in this world," he continued. "Myself and her family are completely broken by this loss. Please keep us all in your prayers."
Brittany's death came just days after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a health advisory urging pregnant women to get vaccinated against COVID-19. "CDC strongly recommends COVID-19 vaccination either before or during pregnancy because the benefits of vaccination outweigh known or potential risks," the advisory said.
According to data cited by the CDC, more than 125,000 laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported in pregnant women, including more than 22,000 hospitalized cases and 161 deaths, as of September 27. The data also shows that about 97% of pregnant women who have been hospitalized with COVID-19 were unvaccinated, and that just 31% of women who are currently pregnant have been fully vaccinated—either before or during their pregnancy.
Jonathon spoke to WKRC about his experience, calling his daughter's birth "bittersweet, because we really wanted this baby, but now she's not here to share it with me." Jonathon said that baby Riley is "doing good," but "Mommy couldn't fight."
Jonathon says she wishes his wife got the COVID-19 vaccine. "Her thing about the vaccination was it's not approved for children yet, so why would she give it to the baby?" he said. "She wanted to wait until after the baby was born."
Now, Jonathon is urging other people to get vaccinated against COVID-19. "I don't want to see this happening to anyone else," he said. "I'm going through it and it's the hardest thing I've ever had to do."
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