Man who lost wife, unborn child to COVID: Not vaccinating was ‘one of the biggest mistakes ever’

ORMOND BEACH, Fla. — An Ormond Beach man who recently lost his wife and unborn child to COVID-19 is sharing his story, hoping to encourage others to get vaccinated.

Ashley and Christopher Smith vowed to love each other from their wedding day forward, until death do them part.

“When I saw her I was like...oh my god...that’s my wife,” Smith recalled. “Definitely A very special moment.”

READ: FDA authorizes Pfizer booster shots for older, at-risk Americans

The couple built a life together, and planned to have children. Then, in the Spring of this year, they learned a baby would be on the way.

Soon after, things took a drastic turn. Ashley, who wasn’t vaccinated, tested positive for COVID-19 in late July.

Christopher says Ashley had been concerned about the vaccine’s effect on her pregnancy.

“She was just worried that she was finally pregnant again,” Smith said. “We’re finally going to have a baby and she’s like, ‘I don’t want to risk anything.’”

Ashley was checked into Halifax Health, and just a few days later, the couple received another devastating blow.

READ: New Florida surgeon general gives parents choice whether to quarantine students exposed to COVID-19

“She got her ultrasound, and they didn’t find a heartbeat,” Smith recalled.

Soon after, Ashley’s own oxygen levels dropped until she had to be placed in a medically induced coma.

Making things worse, Smith says he wasn’t even able to visit with his wife during that time due to the hospital’s COVID protocols.

“They wouldn’t let me see her,” Smith said. “They wouldn’t let me see my wife, my baby, nothing.”

Christopher says he was finally allowed to see Ashley in September as her health began to decline, but it was clear his bride was fading away.

READ: Orange County extends free COVID-19 testing, vaccinations through October

“Seeing her like that...that was the worst moment. And I couldn’t do anything.”

Ashley was on a ventilator and in need of an ECMO machine, but there were none available.

“She passed away September 10, at 7:07 a.m.”

Christopher says he was called in to be with Ashley during her final moments, but it was too late.

“From right there, I collapsed,” Smith said. “I was done, so I told her I love her, and I left.”

READ: New R.1 COVID-19 variant detected in U.S. outbreak

Smith will bury his wife this weekend. Meanwhile, doctors are desperately pleading for pregnant people to get vaccinated.

“We haven’t found any risks for pregnant persons,” said Dr. Sonja Rasmussen of UF Health.

However, Dr. Rasmussen says what they did find in the data was alarming.

“Pregnant persons were almost three times as likely to end up in an intensive care unit, and about almost two time as likely to die.”

Smith, who was also infected, says he regrets that he and his wife did not get the vaccine.

‘It’s one of the biggest mistakes we’ve ever had.”

Smith says not being able to say goodbye, or hold her in her final moments has made things even more difficult for him.

READ: Florida doctors welcome vaccines for younger children, but wonder who’ll take them

“I’m living a life that’s not me...lonely and depressed. It’s just not me,” Smith said. “I haven’t accepted she’s gone yet.”

Christopher initially set up a GoFundMe page to help cover medical costs. Now, the funds will be used to help pay for the cremation of their baby and Ashley’s funeral.

Nearly 200 people have donated more than $13,000 so far. To help, click here.

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