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South MS mom recovering after being in ICU with COVID right after giving birth

Tessa Williamson had a healthy pregnancy until she tested positive for COVID-19. Just days...
Tessa Williamson had a healthy pregnancy until she tested positive for COVID-19. Just days later, her baby would be delivered safely and she would be in ICU. Two weeks later, both mama and baby are home recovering.(Submitted)
Published: Aug. 19, 2021 at 5:24 PM CDT
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GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - With COVID-19 surging in the state, many people are at risk including pregnant women. One South Mississippi mom is grateful to be alive and to have a healthy baby after contracting a severe case of the virus.

Tessa Williamson was a otherwise healthy 27-year-old who was an avid bicyclist. She was enjoying a healthy pregnancy until about five weeks before her due date when she began having trouble breathing. She got tested for COVID-19 and the results came back positive.

Two days later, she was in the hospital and doctors made the choice to deliver her baby by c-section. Right after the delivery, however, Tessa’s condition got worse. She was moved to ICU and put on high-flow oxygen.

“It definitely was very scary to be moved to the ICU,” she said. “Not being able to be with my newborn baby probably was one of the worst parts.”

Two weeks later and Williamson is still on oxygen, but she was well enough this week to be discharged from the hospital with her daughter Blakely Rose.

Tessa Williamson and her husband Joshua were able to bring home baby Blakely Rose two weeks...
Tessa Williamson and her husband Joshua were able to bring home baby Blakely Rose two weeks after their scary ordeal.(Submitted)

On Thursday, baby Blakely had her first checkup and received a clean bill of health.

“We’ve been very lucky with our pre-term babies. They’ve all been very stable -- a couple with minor respiratory problems, but nothing really very serious yet,” said neonatologist Dr. Brad Goldenberg, the Director of Newborn Services at Singing River Health System’s Gulfport hospital.

Tessa Williamson, who also works at the Gulfport hospital where she delivered, was unvaccinated when she contracted the virus, but it’s a decision she made based on the information that was available at the time she got pregnant.

Tessa, Joshua, and Blakey Williamson pose for a photo on Thursday at Singing River Gulfport.
Tessa, Joshua, and Blakey Williamson pose for a photo on Thursday at Singing River Gulfport.(Singing River Health System)

“There wasn’t a lot of research with the vaccines and pregnancy, so after consulting with my doctor, we decided we were going to wait,” she said.

The vaccines have since been proven safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women. Both the FDA and the College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists now recommend vaccinations.

“It’ll definitely protect the baby. It’ll provide antibodies for the baby to fight off infection if they do get exposed,” said Goldenberg. “It’s a win-win for both mom and baby.”

Tessa and her husband Joshua are now focusing all of their attention on baby Blakely and getting healthy again.

“This virus is nothing to play with. I mean, having to go on oxygen, especially at my age, is quite an ordeal, but I’m blessed to be home,” said Tessa Williamson.

More than 100 pregnant women have been hospitalized with COVID-19 in Mississippi. OBGYN Dr. Don Gaddy joins us with more.

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