Wis. Mom Dies of COVID Days After Welcoming 4th Child via Emergency C-Section: 'Gut-Wrenching'

·3 min read
adrienne chandler
adrienne chandler

Faecbook Adrienne Chandler

A Wisconsin mom of four is being remembered as a "beautiful human being" after she died of COVID-19 shortly after welcoming her newborn.

Adrienne Chandler, 38, was "super excited" for the birth of her fourth child, according to a GoFundMe set up on her family's behalf.

"She was the most amazing mother- not only to her own kids but every kid she met," organizer Lauren Klebba wrote on the fundraiser.

Unfortunately, after contracting COVID-19, Adrienne's symptoms worsened and she had to have an emergency C-section, per the GoFunMe. Although baby Roman is healthy, Adrienne died on Nov. 30.

The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office confirms to PEOPLE that Adrienne died of COVID-19 when she was 36 weeks pregnant. According to the medical examiner, she was not vaccinated. (The Centers for Disease Control has "strongly" recommended that pregnant women get vaccinated against COVID-19 due to the significant risks of hospitalization or death from the virus.)

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Adrienne began to exhibit COVID-19 symptoms two weeks before she was hospitalized, ex-husband David Henderson told CBS affiliate WDJT.

Although initially "it didn't seem like it was that serious," Henderson told the outlet that he noticed she "was not looking good" when he went to pick up their three kids the weekend before her death.

"She was getting ready to drive herself down to the hospital," he added.

The pair's children range in age from 11 to 8, according to ABC Affiliate WISN.

adrienne chandler
adrienne chandler

Go Fund Me Adrienne Chandler's children

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After arriving at the hospital, Adrienne had to be intubated and doctors performed a C-section to save her baby, Ryan Emperley, her boyfriend and father to her newborn, told WISN.

Unfortunately, she never got to meet Roman after the baby's arrival, dying just three days later, per the outlet.

"It's been an emotional rollercoaster," Henderson told WISN, going on to address his and Adrienne's three children together. "On Tuesday when I had to tell them it was probably the worst day of my life. A lot of questions came from them about what happened, and what was going to happen. A lot I don't know I had answers to, but I tried to be as honest and forthcoming as I could."

"It was gut-wrenching," Henderson added in his interview with WDJT.

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In addition to being remembered as a wonderful mother, Adrienne was also celebrated for her big heart.

"Adrienne Chandler was a beautiful human being. She was known for her contagious laugh, being a friend who would be there for you no matter what," her friend wrote in a tribute shared on the mom's GoFundMe.

The fundraiser, which has raised over $15,000 as of Monday afternoon, was created to help take care of Adrienne's children.

adrienne chandler
adrienne chandler

Go Fund Me Adrienne Chandler's newborn son Roman

"We are starting this GoFundMe on behalf of her 4 kiddos who lost their mom WAY too soon. We'd like to raise enough money to be able to help dad David give Moriah, Olivia and Calvin the best Christmas they can have this year given the circumstances," her friend wrote.

"We want to help dad Ryan take care of little newborn Roman's needs. If everything goes well, we could possibly even start a trust to help with all of her kids' future needs/educational future," the friend added. "Let's all rally together and help these kiddos. If Adrienne were still here, she'd be the first to do the same for ours."

Those interested in donating to Adrienne's GoFundMe can do so here.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from the CDC, WHO and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a GoFundMe.org fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.