GoFundMe Haley Mulkey Richardson
Days before she and her unborn child died of COVID-19, a pregnant Alabama nurse wrote that she was struggling to come to terms with her prognosis.
In a Facebook post on Aug. 9, Richardson penned a note to her loved ones that she was "praying" for a miracle.
"Here in the dark, in the wee hours of the morning, it is so easy to pretend that all of this was just a nightmare or that I'm just here in this hospital bed due to my own issues with COVID," she said. "Not for anything being wrong with my sweet baby girl whom I thought I was protecting in my own womb."
She continued, "I know the prognosis and I know the reality. And while part of me may start to acknowledge this, the other part of me still believes God is still the God of miracles and is in control above all else. I hope and pray for miracles, but having said that I am also praying for his will to be done. If there has ever been a time to ask for something to be taken out of my own hands and put in his, it is now."
GoFundMe Haley Mulkey Richardson with her daughter Katie and husband Jordan
Richardson was a labor and delivery nurse at a hospital just over the border in Pensacola, Florida. She and her husband, Jordan Richardson, lived in Theodore along with their 2-year-old daughter Katie, and were excitedly awaiting the arrival of their second child.
Haley had put off getting vaccinated against COVID-19 out of concerns about her pregnancy, Jordan said.
"We were just worried that there may be complications from that standpoint with having a baby and once she was pregnant, so she was not vaccinated. I think she would have advocated for it though, knowing this would be the outcome," Jordan told WKRG News 5.
(The Centers for Disease Control and OB-GYN groups strongly advise people who are pregnant, breastfeeding or trying to conceive to get vaccinated against COVID-19, as studies have confirmed that the vaccines are safe and effective for those groups.)
At the end of July, Haley, who had no preexisting conditions other than her pregnancy, contracted the virus and her condition quickly worsened. Researchers have found that COVID-19 significantly increases the risk of pregnancy complications such as premature and stillborn births and miscarriages.
"She was home sick for about a week and then her heart rate went up," Jason Whatley, a family friend whose wife was Haley's maid of honor, told AL.com. "I guess that's something they look for."
Watch: Do coronavirus vaccines affect fertility?
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Haley was admitted to the hospital in early August at nearly seven months pregnant, and "after about three or four days in the hospital, the [obstetrician] told her that she was going to lose the baby," Whatley said. "And she continued to get worse and worse."
"At some point, they basically told her that we've got to start treating you as if you didn't have a child," he continued. "We've got to do what we can for you because the baby is going to pass anyway."
On Aug. 18, the couple's baby died.
Meanwhile, Haley continued to worsen, and was put on a ventilator four days before her death on Aug. 20.
"It's really hard," her mother, Julie Mulkey, told AL.com. "It's hard to accept, it's hard to face. We're glad she's not suffering anymore."
Whatley said the family and doctors did everything they could to help Haley.
"They wished she'd been vaccinated, but outside of that, when she got sick, they did all the right things. And she still died," Whatley said. He and his wife have set up a GoFundMe page to help support the Richardsons.
Watch: How the world could be better after COVID
Mulkey and her other daughter have now gotten their first vaccine dose, in light of Haley's death, and are urging others to do the same.
"I had held off on getting my own shot," Mulkey said. "Now I have done that, the second one's coming up later this week. My older daughter is the same way. And we have a couple across the street from us who are expecting, and one afternoon I just barreled over there, and I said 'look, if you haven't done it, go get it done.' "
"It's absolutely had a big bearing on our opinion," she added. "Watching what my precious daughter went through was indescribably hard."
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