New Florida mother intubated while giving birth with COVID-19 sees baby for first time over video call

Coronavirus

ORLANDO, Fla. (WESH) — Roughly 18,000 pregnant women across the U.S. have been hospitalized because of COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and that includes a local woman who had to have an early delivery when her health started to deteriorate.

The last 10 days have felt like months for Robert Hartman as he watched his pregnant wife Chelsea Hartman fight for her life.

“When your wife is with your daughter inside her and having issues breathing, it’s scary,” Hartman said. “She just started [to have] body aches and chills.”

The couple found out they were expecting in January — at that time the CDC was not recommending the vaccine for pregnant women, and Chelsea had her own concerns.

“She was skeptical about [the vaccine] because there wasn’t enough research on the effects of a growing baby and a mother that’s growing a baby inside her,” Hartman said.

This week the CDC suggested pregnant women get a COVID-19 vaccine in wake of the delta variant and the surge in cases.

Chelsea Harman landed in the ER with COVID-19 Aug. 2.

“It was [a] very scary 24 hours because they continued to increase her oxygen because her O2SAT was falling,” Hartman said. “They did a chest X-ray, they confirmed that she had COVID pneumonia.”

“I found out I was a father from sitting at my kitchen island,” Hartman said. So much of the experience was gone of seeing [our newborn] when she’s brought into the world and being there, holding my wife’s hand.”

Chelsea and her newborn showed a glimmer of hope Wednesday when they were pulled off the tubes and able to breathe on their own. As new parents, the Hartmans met their new baby through a video call.

“What I learned in this is my wife is loved and there’s still an unbelievable amount of great people that have offered time and support throughout this,” Hartman said.

The Hartmans have received overwhelming support through a GoFundMe.

As Chelsea continues to recover, her husband says she will likely need physical, speech and respiratory therapy. The earliest the baby can leave the hospital is at 36 weeks.

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