COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — A Georgia woman is urging pregnant women to get the COVID-19 vaccine amid the spread of the delta variant after suffering the ultimate loss.
Kyndal Nipper, of Columbus, was 36 weeks pregnant (40 is considered full-term) when she and her husband tested positive for COVID-19. She said their symptoms were so mild they would not have gotten tested if it weren’t for the loss of smell.
After several days of low-grade fevers and allergy-like symptoms, Nipper and her husband felt better, but that’s when she noticed something was wrong. She said her baby was moving less than usual. She contacted doctors and followed their orders to monitor it for an hour and head to the emergency room if it didn’t get better.
“I just felt deep that something was wrong,” said Nipper. “So I went up to Piedmont, went straight to labor and delivery, and that’s where we found out that, unfortunately, our baby boy was no longer with us.”
Piedmont Columbus Regional OBGYN Dr. Timothy Villegas explained that further testing showed the stillbirth was a complication of COVID-19.
“We are finding that the placentas have been infected with COVID,” said Villegas. “And the virus is destroying the placental tissue and causing inflammation, which is what’s causing these stillbirths.”
Nipper, who was unvaccinated, said she wasn’t against the vaccine. She explained that she simply didn’t know enough about it, so she decided to get it after the baby was born.
“The vaccine was so new we decided to wait until after we had our son to get it,” said Nipper. “We didn’t really know much about it, but we just figured we would just wait until after he was born to get it.”
Now, Nipper says she wishes she could go back and have more in-depth conversations about the vaccine with her doctors and ultimately get it.
Villegas said what’s alarming is that Nipper’s situation is not an isolated case.
“Higher rates of hospitalizations, higher rates of maternal death and even stillbirths, which you know we’ve seen three cases of that in Columbus in the last month,” said Villegas. “And this is something we have not seen previously, so we’re starting to get really worried about this and get the word out.”
Nipper and Villegas are hoping expectant mothers will heed their plea to ask their doctors about the vaccine and make the right decision for the health of themselves and their babies.
“What’s important for me is that no other mother has to go through this pain,” said Nipper. “We would do anything to keep our children safe, even our unborn children, and if I could just help one mom reassure herself that she is doing everything she can to protect her and protect her baby, then this is worth it.”
Villegas said when he discusses it with his patients, he tells them everything in medicine has risks, but with the vaccine data, research, and now personal experiences like Nippers, it shows the benefits far outweigh the risks.
“If you look over at the hospital right now, there are hundreds of patients admitted in the hospital with COVID infections,” said Villegas. “I don’t think there is even one patient admitted with a complication from the COVID vaccine.”
Nipper, after her heartbreaking experience, said she cannot wait to get fully vaccinated.
“Since all of this happened, my husband has actually gotten his very first dose of the vaccine, and as soon as I am able, I will be going to get mine,” said Nipper. “I’m literally counting down the days, because for me, the thought of this exact thing happening again is more scary than getting a shot. I mean I would never want to go through this again.”
Nipper said she and her family were ready to welcome their baby, even picking out a name.
“His name was going to be Jack after my grandpa,” said Nipper. “And the sad part about that is, we actually lost my grandfather to COVID-19 in February, so Jack was going to pay tribute to his grandfather.”
Nipper’s hope is that her story will encourage women to talk to their doctors and save them from experiencing the same loss she has suffered due to COVID-19.