Pendleton mother, who lost infant son to COVID-19, shares story in hopes of raising awareness

Pexels: Polina Tankilevitch

PENDLETON, Oreg.  — A Pendleton mother who lost her infant son to COVID-19 has shared her story in an effort to raise awareness and comfort other moms experiencing loss.

On Thursday, the Umatilla Public Health Department confirmed an infant with underlying conditions had passed away at Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland after being diagnosed with COVID-19.

“Every death from COVID-19 is a tragedy, even more so the death of a child. The death of an infant is extremely rare. This news represents a tremendous loss to the mother and family. My thoughts are with them during this difficult time,” Dr. Dean Sidelinger with the Oregon Health Authority said in a press release.

READ MORE: Umatilla Co. infant passes away after COVID-19 diagnosis

The mother, Ashley Wadley of Pendleton, said she tested positive for COVID-19 while pregnant with her son in mid-January. Wadley said she couldn’t get out of bed and was running a high fever. Even worse, she couldn’t feel her son moving.

On January 15th, Ashley said she felt minimal movement from her son, so she went to her birthing center to be checked out. She said her son’s heartbeat was especially high and doctors told her he was in distress.

Following the news, Ashley said she underwent an emergency C-section while still sick with COVID-19.

Her son was born the evening of January 15th, nine weeks early, weighing just three pounds and 15 ounces. Ashley said he was life-flighted to Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland, but she had to stay and recover in Pendleton. Luckily, her mother was able to be by her newborn son’s side.

On Sunday, January 17, Ashley said her son started to go downhill, so doctors ran a plethora of tests. She was told his lungs were cloudy, he was having seizures and had a brain bleed.

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Later that night, Ashley and her family got the call no one ever hopes to receive, her son had passed away just over 48 hours after being born. They found out baby Wadley had also tested positive for COVID-19.

Now, Ashley is spreading awareness to other mothers to prevent this tragedy from repeating itself.

According to the CDC, only 1.3 percent of COVID-19 cases in Oregon have been among residents nine years old and younger. However, children or babies with underlying conditions may be more susceptible to infection.

The Oregon Health Authority said these are COVID-19 symptoms in children that should seek immediate attention:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Pain or pressure in the chest that doesn’t go away
  • New confusion
  • Being unable to wake up or stay awake when not tired
  • Bluish lips or face

The Wadley family is raising money to help with burial funds and supporting their other children, here.

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