NS. LOUIS (KMOV.com) – The pandemic has uprooted life as we know it both outside and inside our homes. For a local woman, the pandemic has infiltrated all aspects of her life; As a nurse treating COVID-19 patients at home with an infected husband and later getting the virus herself during pregnancy. The virus eventually caused blood clots that led to the death of their baby.
Vanessa Alfermann from Franklin County is one of many. Doctors at Mercy Hospital said they are seeing incredibly high admission rates of unvaccinated pregnant women with complications in the hospital.
Alfermann said she contracted COVID-19 shortly after her husband was born in November 2020, before vaccines were available.
Alfermann, a nurse at Missouri Baptist in Sullivan, said she was used to treating COVID-19 patients and knew early on of the harmful effects this could have. The expectant mother recovered from an otherwise mild case of the coronavirus – but weeks later, back pain and cramps set in.
“I woke up on November 24th around 1:30 pm and realized that I was going into labor,” said Alfermann. “I just realized this is not just cramping or something not to worry about. It was definitely work. I realized that something bad was going on. “
Alfermann rushed to Mercy Hospital in St. Louis and gave birth at just 22 weeks. Doctors said COVID-19 caused a blood clot to form on her placenta, which eventually broke out. Alfermann only had a few seconds with her son Axel before he died.
“It’s devastating because after these nine months your goal is to have a little baby, a little boy that you have, take care of him and just let him steal – it was devastating,” said Alfermann.
As a health care worker, Alfermann was one of the first to receive the vaccination a few weeks after her son’s death.
“If I could have had my vaccine [earlier] I would have done it. I would have done anything not to get COVID, ”said Alfermann.
Dr. Asal Fathian, a maternal fetal medicine specialist at Mercy Hospital, said unvaccinated women are at higher risk of complications. In some cases, premature births, miscarriages, and stillbirths occurred.
“Really, the best protection pregnant women have against these complications is vaccination,” said Fathian. “We know it’s a safe vaccine to use during pregnancy. Women get on well with it and it’s just the best way to protect yourself and your baby. “
Both Alfermann and Fathian urge others, especially pregnant women, to get vaccinated or at least speak to their doctors.
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