The husband of a woman who died after she gave birth to a baby girl, shared his grief at the loss of the love of his life.
Samantha Willis, 35, died Friday at Altnagelvin Hospital after testing positive for Covid-19.
Her two-week-old daughter, Eviegrace, was baptized during her mother’s funeral at St Columb’s Church on Monday.
Samantha, of Derry, has not yet been vaccinated, and today her husband Josh made an appeal to the public.
Speaking on the BBC Nolan podcast, Josh said things will never be the same again for their families.
He said, “Samantha was starting to have some symptoms so we booked an appointment for a test. The results came back positive. Samantha was 36/37 weeks pregnant, tiredness is normal. It took her a few days and I had to take her to the doctors on Tuesday 3rd August with distress in breathing.
“Things got worse over time. The doctor said her levels were on the border but they sent her to be tested.
“They took it on Tuesday and did some tests and at lunchtime on Thursday they handed the baby over to each department. That was a big thing because that’s what Samantha wanted.
“I was on FaceTime while this was all happening. After the birth, they literally showed her the baby for three seconds behind the curtain and took the baby into the next room. That was the only time she saw the baby in person.
“Then she was brought to the intensive care unit and stayed there from Thursday to Monday. She was doing well and responding well. They released her into the Covid ward on Monday afternoon. Between Monday and Thursday everything was showing positive signs.
“The baby was born on Thursday and collected on Sunday. The neonatal ward was sending us both pictures. Samantha never held the baby. The department closest to the baby was other than her eight-month pregnancy.”
Samantha was back on the ward on Monday and within three days she was back in the intensive care unit, Belfast Live Report.
Her oxygen levels were piling up and she had been weaned off some medication – things looked positive.
The last time Josh heard from his wife was on Wednesday when she texted him to say she had Covid pneumonia.
“Things happened quickly,” Josh told The Nolan Show.
“Everything was related to Covid. She had no underlying problems. She was 35. Her problem was that she was not immune, her oxygen levels were low and she slipped.
“She took a dip on Thursday morning. When I arrived that afternoon, they flipped her over her chest. That seemed to help. I got a call that evening to speak with some family members.”
“We wore full PPE. Her two older children had gone in first, aged 14 and 17. They had never seen anything like this, aside from their mother. She was on her chest at this point.
“I went down and whispered in her ear that Holly and Shea were there, I was there and it would be her mother.
“We were all inside, and the priest was there too. She passed away just after 12pm on Thursday going into Friday. That was 16 days after I left for the hospital.
“I went and looked out the window and they were telling her mother and her two oldest children.
“At that point, I made the kids my number one priority. My main priority is making her proud and raising the kids the way she wants. I hope to see her again someday. Not very soon.”
In an appeal to the public to take the Covid-19 vaccine, Josh hopes others will take the vaccine as he shares his story.
He added, “Get it [the vaccine]. Samantha had no underlying problems. I sat in the middle of the ICU last Thursday for five hours. I have seen him. I saw other patients. It’s real. The numbers are real. he’s there. This has reached our doorstep in the worst possible way.
“Even though she’s gone, if she can make a difference in at least one person’s life.
Want the latest political news and analysis straight to your inbox?
Our new political newsletter brought to you by political reporter Ciara Phelan explores the week’s top talking points to keep you informed.
From exclusive interviews to highlighting issues that matter to Ireland – we’ve got you covered.
Simply Sign up for our free newsletter here And we’ll do the rest
“I haven’t hit me yet. He’s there and I know one day he’s going to collapse around me.”
“There are so many things I wish I had told her. She would have starved to let someone else eat. I loved her job as a caregiver. I wish I had told her I loved and appreciated her more. I thought we had all the time in the world. I wish I could go back and do all the things.” silly.
“Things will never be the same. She was the home cook. She cooked and ate. I went to bed and put her frozen feet on me. Silly things don’t mean much, they don’t exist anymore. I promised before her death that I would do my best to make her proud.”
“Lector profesional. Jugador galardonado. Aficionado a los zombis. Adicto a las redes sociales. Experto en tocino. Erudito en Internet”