NORTH KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The family of a young North Kansas City mother who died of COVID-19 hopes pregnant women will get the vaccine.
Braxten Goodwin died of COVID-19 two weeks after going into emergency labor. Wednesday, the CDC said they are advising pregnant women to get the vaccine. Goodwin’s family said she planned to get the vaccine after she gave birth.
In the 24 years, she was alive, her family said she lived life to the fullest.
“Whatever she put her mind to she accomplished,” her grandfather Lloyd Goodwin said.
“She was amazing. She had a good spirit. She was awesome,” her dad Cameron Horton said.
Goodwin played basketball at Leavenworth High and graduated with honors.
“She was awesome on the court. All I know is I would rush to her basketball game, and try to hurry up and get off work and go. I was like – I gotta go! My daughter is playing right now,” Horton said.
She got her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and had a passion for her faith. However, her family said her greatest accomplishment was her kids, her 22-month-old daughter Nova and newborn son Levite.
She got pregnant with Levi in February but wanted to wait to get the vaccine.
“She was just concerned about her baby trying to make him safe. That’s how much of a good mother she is, was,” her mother Tamika Horton said.
Her family said in mid-July she came down with COVID-19. She was rushed to the hospital and gave birth to Levi two months early. Her health quickly deteriorated.
“She wanted to go home. She said I want to go home and before she went to the ICU she was like, she was kind of scared she said. She was scared,” Tamika Horton said.
She never got to meet Levi. Soon after he was born she was put on a ventilator and died August 2. Horton said her daughter’s last words to her were calling for her daughter Nova.
“I wish we could turn the clock back, I wish we could change some things,” Lloyd Goodwin said.
On Wednesday, the CDC advised pregnant and breastfeeding mothers to get the vaccine. Dr. Kristi Weaver, an OBGYN for HCA Healthcare says vaccines are safe for expecting mothers, and it makes doctors and nurses feel helpless as more and more pregnant moms are showing up in the ICU with COVID.
“We are seeing very sick moms, we are seeing moms in the ICU, we are having to deliver very preterm babies in order to save mothers and unfortunately, as you alluded to, sometimes we cannot save them. So it is vastly important that our mamas become vaccinated to save them and of course, their infants,” Weaver said.
Weaver also said for women who are hoping to get pregnant in the future there is no evidence the vaccine affects fertility.
“There is absolutely no science behind that statement. There is no vaccine on the market, including the COVID vaccine that causes any problem with fertility in our young patients. So it is safe at any age, including women that are pregnant,” Weaver said.
Dr. Dana Hawkinson with the University of Kansas Health System agrees.
“No one should die for their political views or whether it’s still feeling like it’s an experiment, or whether there are that misinformation campaigns about infertility, which is completely false, there are various reasons. But none of those reasons are good enough to override the general fact that these vaccines prevent you from going to the hospital and prevent severe illness even in these young people,” Hawkinson said.
Weaver said, if anything, the vaccine helps babies build up their antibodies to fight off the virus.
“Not only can it be transmitted through the breast milk, the antibodies I mean to say, it can also be transmitted across the placenta to the baby. And interestingly, most vaccines do that, which is why we advocate for flu vaccines, teed up vaccines, and the COVID vaccine during pregnancy,” Weaver said.
Braxton’s family said they know she did everything she could for Nova and Levi. They say if she realized how safe it was, she would have done it, and it would make her happy to know her story inspired other moms to get theirs.
“She’d be happy. She’d be very happy about that. Very happy,” Cameron Horton said.
“She didn’t know. She was trying to take care of her baby’s safety,” Tamika Horton said.
The family said Levi was originally at North Kansas City Hospital but was eventually transferred to Children’s Mercy. Their relationship with the child’s father is complicated and they are having trouble getting information about the child. They say the only contact they’ve had with the baby are photos taken by nurses before Braxten passed. Nova is living with her grandparents.
FOX4 did reach out to Children’s Mercy to see if we can help get the family connected with them.
The family set up a Gofundme to assist with funeral expenses and to help care for both children.