Unvaccinated mother dies after childbirth
Kimmie Pavone died of COVID-19 in early September, two weeks after she was put on a ventilator and then her only child was delivered by emergency caesarean section in a Las Vegas hospital.
“She tried so hard to have this baby and she didn’t even know it was born. I could never hold her, ”said Vena Foster of her sister, who was 35 years old.
“And this baby will never know how wonderful her mom was.”
Pavone’s baby, Jordyn Rose, was born 30 weeks premature with underdeveloped lungs and cerebral hemorrhage. She remains in a neonatal intensive care unit but is fine, her aunt said.
Pavone, who had been trying to get pregnant for nearly a decade, tried to do everything right during her pregnancy, Foster said. She didn’t get the vaccine for COVID-19 because she believed the vaccination could increase her chances of miscarriage.
Jordyn’s father Mike wasn’t able to see his newborn until a week after it was born due to pandemic restrictions when he recovered from his own attack of COVID-19. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, he couldn’t be by his wife’s side from admission to Spring Valley Hospital until he saw her body in the morgue on Thursday, Foster said. He would video chat and text her from his car in the hospital parking lot to be as close to her as possible.
Foster said her sister had wanted a child for a while.
“She was so excited to have a baby. She really wanted to be mom. … She just did everything she should, ”Foster said of her sister who worked as a phlebotomist in a doctor’s office.
When she tested positive for COVID-19 in early August, Foster wasn’t too worried as her sister was young and healthy.
Last October, more than a dozen members of their large extended family contracted COVID-19 after a family reunion and none had to be hospitalized, including Foster, who is 16 years older than her sister and had undergone open treatment. Heart surgery two months earlier. Pavone, born in Utah and the youngest of six siblings, grew up in Boulder City; she had worked as a laboratory technician at Reflections Healthcare in Pahrump.
“I said, ‘You will be fine. You will get through this, just like the rest of us; you’ll be fine.’ And I said, ‘As soon as you know, the baby will be here and you will be able to hold it in your arms.’ And that, ‘all of this will be behind you.’
“And the next day she called me and could barely breathe.”
On August 11, the day after Pavone was hospitalized, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new data on the safety of COVID-19 vaccination for pregnant women. Data from nearly 2,500 women who received an mRNA vaccine before the 20th week of pregnancy showed that they had no higher miscarriages than unvaccinated women.
Previous data had also shown no safety risks for women vaccinated late in pregnancy or their babies.
Given that doctors were seeing more and more pregnant patients with COVID-19, the CDC encouraged all pregnant women to get vaccinated and consider getting pregnant or breastfeeding. The CDC’s advice reflected recent recommendations from leading obstetrician groups.
“The increased prevalence of the highly contagious Delta variant, the low vaccination intake in pregnant women and the increased risk of serious illnesses and pregnancy complications associated with COVID-19 infection in pregnant women make vaccination more urgent than ever for this population group,” said the CDC in a statement.
Pregnant women are more likely than their non-pregnant peers to develop serious illnesses for reasons that are not entirely clear, but these may include decreased lung capacity, increased weight, immune suppression, and a higher risk of blood clots. said Dr. Michael Gardner, an obstetrician and assistant dean for clinical affairs at UNLV’s Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine.
When pregnant women are vaccinated, they “very, very rarely” need to be hospitalized, he said.
COVID-19 also increases the risk of premature birth, Gardner said, which can lead to long-term complications for the baby.
He encouraged doctors and other practitioners treating pregnant women to speak to their patients about vaccinations.
“We need to be more proactive, talking to our patients and encouraging our patients to get vaccinated as we try to prevent these types of tragedies,” he said.
Gardner’s own pregnant daughter took his advice to get vaccinated and gave birth to a healthy daughter with no complications last month.
Foster said the last time she communicated with her sister was the day before Pavone was ventilated.
“She was so scared,” said Foster of the nurse, who she described as always happy and eager to help others.
Pavone had an oxygen mask over her face and could not speak, but communicated using the sign language she had learned. Her signature was interpreted by Foster’s niece.
The last words she signed for her sister were “I love you”.
Foster’s daughter Malia Matney was founded GoFundMe account for Pavone’s widowed husband and the child he will raise alone. The couple got married in Hawaii three years ago. It was Kimmie’s second marriage; She had also tried to get pregnant on her first attempt.
The widower wants to sell his house in Pahrump in order to make ends meet.
“I spoke to him this morning and he just cried. He just cried, ”said Foster. “And he says, ‘I don’t understand. I don’t understand how that happened. ‘”
“She was so healthy. She was always healthy. We were all the ones who had health problems. And we survived COVID. … I don’t understand a lot, ”said Foster with tears.
The editor of the Pahrump Valley Times, Jeffrey Meehan, contributed to this report.