Illinois mother remains hospitalized with COVID-19 after giving birth, father fears job loss


MCHENRY, Ill. (WGN) — A suburban Illinois mother remains hospitalized after a grueling battle with COVID-19 that she fought while pregnant. She had to be put into an induced coma and gave birth early.

Samantha Kelly’s husband, who also tested positive for COVID-19, shares the emotional and physical challenges his family has faced.

Donnell Kelly of McHenry has been by his wife’s bedside at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital for the last three weeks.

On August 22, Donnell tested positive for COVID-19; his wife and two children got sick a few days later.  At the time, Samantha Kelly was pregnant with their third child, a baby boy.

“It was really scary because she was complaining of loss of breath and chest pains,” Donnell said. “She’s breathing for two, so that’s why I was scared and nervous.”

The Kelly Family

Donnell first took his wife to Advocate Sherman Hospital in Elgin; that same night, she was transferred to Lutheran General’s ICU.

Over the next few days, her health declined.

“Her breathing saturation got really bad. She was already on oxygen with full force, the highest pressure it could go,” Donnell explained. “It still wasn’t working for her and the baby.”

On September 6, at 32 weeks pregnant, Samantha had an emergency C-Section.

Baby Holden, weighing 5 pounds, was admitted into the NICU and is doing well.

But Samantha Kelly is still struggling.

“After he was born, they put her on the ventilator right away and intubated her,” Donnell said. “She’s on a ventilator now.”

The young mother is still intubated and on sedation, doctors hoping to slowly ween her from the ventilator over the next few days.

She has a really big heart. She’s funny, beautiful inside and out … a great mom … She’s everything you want in a wife partner and a friend.


Donnell, who has been unable to work for the last month, is worried about losing his job and insurance coverage.

“I always think positive thoughts about the situation. You think negative thoughts it can eat you up,” Donnell said. “I knew Covid was real. I’ve seen the numbers. But when it hits you in the face personally, it’s a different kind of beast.”

Donnell Kelly said he was vaccinated, but his wife wasn’t. He said she was nervous about getting a COVID-19 shot because she was pregnant but had recently changed her mind after her husband tested positive. But before she could get one, she started getting sick and it was too late.

A friend set up a GoFundMe page to help with medical costs.

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