GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA)- An Upstate woman found out she had the coronavirus when she was eight months pregnant.
She spoke exclusively with 7News about the the harrowing experience, the diagnosis, and the emergency delivery. The experience was especially difficult because she was immediately separated from her baby after giving birth, and neither her husband nor other family members could be with her in the delivery room.
When Krishonna Williams had a runny nose, cough, and a sore throat at the end of March, she was diagnosed with a sinus infection and given nasal spray. But a few days later, her cough got worse.
“I honestly felt like I was swallowing glass,” Williams said.
She lost her sense of taste and her appetite. About a week after she first started feeling bad, she woke her husband up in the middle of the night.
“I said, ‘I don’t feel right. I feel really off,’” she said. “My words started to slur. I just felt really crazy. I started shaking.”
A trip to the emergency room found she had a fever of 102 degrees.
“That’s when it really hit me, and honestly at that point, I started praying to have the flu because I didn’t know how COVID would affect my pregnancy,” she said. “And I knew that if I did have COVID, if I were to have her, then I wouldn’t be able to get her and keep her.”
That’s because she would have to be quarantined from her own baby.
Six hours later, it was confirmed: she had the coronavirus. She also had pneumonia. She was in the hospital overnight and then sent home. Two days later she got more bad news: she had to have an emergency C-section because the amniotic fluid surrounding her baby was low.
“They said, ‘There’s no way that she’s going to make it through really strong contractions,’” she said.
Williams said she couldn’t breathe during the C-section and panicked so badly she lost consciousness. But she delivered a healthy baby girl named Marlee.
“I was able to just glance at her for a second before I passed back out,” she said.
Williams was isolated from her baby and her family for a few days to recover.
“After giving birth, you look forward to that skin to skin time. It’s special,” she said. “And I didn’t get that.”
Williams was placed in the care of Bon Secours St. Francis postpartum nurse Meagan Eby.
“She was like our first one, so we didn’t know what to expect. And I feel like that was kind of the most terrifying thing in itself,” Eby said. “But it’s also like the saddest thing too.”
Williams got her first good look at Marlee in a photo.
“I was just looking at her, and honestly I wanted to cry,” she said.
Virtual visits would soon follow. When Williams was discharged from the hospital, her daughter had to go home with her grandmother, to keep Marlee from being exposed to the COVID-19.
But soon, they would meet face-to-face for the first time. Even that came with restrictions. Williams could only feed Marlee while wearing a mask and gloves.
“I was overwelmed to meet her,” Williams said. “I mean all I could really do at that point was cry. I knew I couldn’t really get her and touch her like I wanted to, but at least I was able to see her.”
Williams said it went on like that for 10 days, but since then she and Marlee have been fully bonded. Both mom and baby are healthy.
The grandmother, who initially took care of Marlee while her mom was in the hospital, also developed coronavirus symptoms while she had the baby in her custody. But luckily, she tested negative.