CA woman shares ordeal being pregnant and sick with COVID-19, urges expecting moms to get vaccinated

"It was the scariest situation I've ever been in."
PLACERVILLE, Calif. (KGO) -- A 32-year-old mother from Placerville is sharing her story of how COVID nearly took her life and that of her unborn baby. Sarah Heyl decided to not get vaccinated during her pregnancy forcing her to have an emergency Caesarean section after contracting the virus.

Fortunately, this story has a happy outcome. Heyl and baby Naomi are now both healthy.

"She is now a little over ten pounds which is amazing because when she was born, she was only four pounds, one ounce," explained Heyl.

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The baby was born prematurely at 32 weeks after an emergency C-section. They had to be separated because Heyl was fighting pneumonia after contracting COVID.

"Something that will stick with me is that because I was positive, I didn't get to meet Naomi until ten days after she was born," she revealed.

After Naomi's birth, doctors were focused on saving mom's life.

RELATED: COVID increases risk of premature birth in pregnant women, UCSF study shows

"I couldn't breathe. It was the scariest situation I've ever been in, in my life and I remember looking at the doctor, and I said please help me because I was so scared," she told us.

Refusing to get vaccinated was a hard decision. She was already pregnant when the new vaccines became available and because she had suffered two previous miscarriages, Sarah and her husband, Matt, decided he would get vaccinated, but she would not.

"We felt her being secluded kind of from the outside world, during the pregnancy, was hopefully enough for her not to need the vaccine," added Matt Heyl.

RELATED: Unvaccinated San Francisco mother loses unborn baby after getting infected with COVID-19

But Heyl contracted the virus after a brief encounter that a family member had with her other child.

"What we have to realize here is that we can't control viruses that are floating around in the atmosphere," explained Dr. William Isenberg, obstetrician and chief medical officer at Sutter Health.

"I will never take another deep breath for granted, ever! I want people to know that a situation like mine can be prevented by getting vaccinated," said Heyl.

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