FOX NEWS - An Arizona woman is issuing a warning to others after she delivered her son premature, while fighting for her life in the hospital with COVID-19.
Kassidy Hazelton, a 37-year-old Mesa resident, told Fox News she was diagnosed with COVID-19 the first week of May. She was five months pregnant with her first child, she said.
"I tried to be optimistic about it," Hazelton said. "I went on some moms’ [social media] groups, saw what others went through, so I thought I would be OK."
"I was scared," she added. "But once my temperature started to get out of control, that’s when I started to get worried."
Hazelton said she experienced symptoms of body aches, progressed fever and cough, which worsened over time.
Hazelton suspects she may have contracted COVID-19 after visiting a "lax" car dealership to purchase a vehicle. Because she was pregnant, Hazelton said, she was hesitant to get vaccinated.
Hazelton said she quarantined and at one point her body temperature rose to 103 degrees. Her partner, Craig, tested positive and was asymptomatic.
Banner Desert Medical Center in Mesa air-transported Hazelton to Banner University Medical Center after she was placed in an induced coma, Hazelton said.
"I had double pneumonia and a fungal infection so they had discussed a lung transplant," Hazelton said.
"I was not improving at all and my family made a decision to deliver [my son], as the doctor suggested, to give us the best surviving chance," she said.
Hazelton said she and doctors believed she likely had the fungal infection in her lungs prior to COVID-19, which became more serious when she contracted the virus.
On May 31, Memorial Day, Hazelton’s son Kash was born weighing 2 pounds, 2 ounces.
Kash was immediately brought to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
"Once I was coherent, I thought I was still pregnant," Hazelton said of coming off medical drugs. "They told me he was delivered and that I couldn’t get out of bed, so some family [members] had to press me down and say, ‘No.’"
Kash, who was born via C-section, will remain in the NICU until at least his original due date, which was Aug. 20, Hazelton said, adding that three nurses wheeled her hospital bed into the unit so she could see him for the first time.
Kash has had blood transfusions and has had heart murmurs. His breathing is consistently being monitored due to his premature birth.
Hazelton, who was hospitalized for about seven weeks, still has shortness of breath and is currently undergoing counseling to help process her experience.
"Every single nurse, all the OB doctors, my main primary physician, they were blown away of how fast I was recovering," Hazelton said of her care team at Banner Health. "They could not comprehend how I was able to walk and do all these things ... they said I was very lucky to be alive and we were ‘miracles,’ is what they said to me.’"
Banner Health told Fox News that it’s "thankful for the life-saving care" in which the "exceptional medical team provided to Kassidy and her baby, Kash."
"Data have shown that COVID-19 infection puts pregnant people at increased risk of severe complications and even death, according to the CDC," a spokesperson added. "Pregnant women should consider receiving the COVID-19 vaccination for the safety of themselves, their infant, their loved ones and others. This is a recommendation from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine."
Hazelton echoed that statement.
"I usually think it’s crazy to put all these protectants on but at this point where the virus is, wear a shield, wear a mask, be that person," she said. "Don’t ignore this virus even though they’re saying it's slowing down. It was slowing down in our state and I forgot it."
"Mothers need to take this seriously and there were mothers that did not make it … protect yourself and your baby because it can, and it will kill you," she added. "It tried to kill me. I went on my platform and said, "I was wrong. This is real,’ and I am all for admitting that I was wrong."
Hazelton has launched a GoFundMe account titled, "Healing from COVID-19, coma and the birth of Kash."
Donations will help recover from business losses amid the spread of the virus, as well as Kash’s homecoming, she said.
Hazelton said Kash is a clone of his father and has inherited her personality.
"You can tell he has that fire in him that I have, which is great because he needs that right now," she added.