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Haley Mulkey Richardson, 32, was a registered nurse working in a labor and delivery unit at Ascension Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola, Florida.
Three weeks before her passing, Richardson had contracted COVID-19, most likely in late July or early August, a friend – Jason Whatley – told Alabama.com.
At the time, she was living at home with her husband Jordan and young daughter Katie in Theodore, a suburb of Mobile, Alabama.
PICTURED: Haley Mulkey Richardson (left), daughter Katie (center) and husband Jordan Richardson (right) celebrating Christmas in 2019. The Richardson’s were expecting a second child before COVID-19 tore the family apart
She was living at home with her husband Jordan and young daughter Katie in Theodore, a suburb of Mobile, Alabama
It is unclear as to whether she became ill while working at the hospital or elsewhere before contracting the virus.
The mother-of-one previously decided to not receive the COVID-19 vaccine as she was scared of suffering life-threatening allergic reactions after hearing unproven claims that the jab could affect fertility.
Richardson’s mother, Julie Mulkey, told Alabama.com: ‘Haley had anaphylaxis reactions in the past. So for that reason, she felt that it was not safe for her.
‘And then, of course, with all the negative reporting that has gone on, what was she to believe about what the vaccine would do to reproduction?
Richardson (center) was a nurse at Ascension Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola, Florida, before her COVID-19 related death
‘Stuff about that it would destroy a female’s eggs and that kind of thing, and she wanted to have her second baby. That made her afraid to get it.’
Pregnant or soon-to-be pregnant women are strongly advised to get vaccinated against COVID-19 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which mentioned that there ‘is currently no evidence’ the vaccine causes fertility problems in women or men.
Richardson’s unborn child, named Ryleigh Beth, died on August 18 around the six months pregnancy mark. Richardson, herself, died two days later on August 20.
‘It’s really hard. It’s hard to accept, it’s hard to face. We’re glad she’s not suffering anymore,’ said Mulkey.
‘After about three or four days in the hospital, the [obstetrician] told her that she was going to lose the baby. And she continued to get worse and worse.’
‘At some point, they basically told her that we’ve got to start treating you as if you didn’t have a child. We’ve got to do what we can for you because the baby is going to pass anyway,’ Mulkey added.
In critical condition, Richardson was quickly transferred to USA Health Children’s and Women’s hospital in the state’s capital, Mobile, where she wasn’t allowed to receive any visitors.
Mulkey told the outlet: ‘Haley did call me crying, that she was going to lose the baby. And that she was down there by herself when that happened.’
Before her unborn child’s passing, Richardson wrote a post on Facebook, saying: ‘Here in the dark, in the wee hours of the morning, it is so easy to pretend that all of this was just a nightmare or that I’m just here in this hospital bed due to my own issues with COVID.’
‘Not for anything being wrong with my sweet baby girl whom I thought I was protecting in my own womb. I know the prognosis and I know the reality.’
‘And while part of me may start to acknowledge this, the other part of me still believes God is still the God of miracles and is in control above all else.’
She ended the post, saying: ‘I hope and pray for miracles, but having said that I am also praying for his will to be done. If there has ever been a time to ask for something to be taken out of my own hands and put in his, it is now.’
The mother-of-one wrote a Facebook post, nine days before her unborn child’s passing, saying that ‘if there has ever been a time to ask for something to be taken out of my own hand and put in [God’s], it is now.’
After his wife’s death, husband Jordan shared his devastation on Facebook
Mulkey told Alabama.com that she was able to say goodbye to her daughter along with Richardson’s husband Jordan, Katie and Jordan’s mother Donna.
After Richardson’s passing, Jordan grieved the lost of his wife on Facebook, sharing: ‘Words cannot describe the devastation that I feel so I will not try to explain it. I know you are now watching over Katie and I and will continue to help guide us on our path.’
‘I love you so much and will always love you. So this is just goodbye to your earthly life but I know one day I will be able to say hello to your heavenly one, and that day shall be the happiest of all of my life. So until then just know I love you with everything that I am.’
Mulkey told Alabama.com that she was able to say goodbye to her daughter along with Richardson’s husband Jordan, Katie and Jordan’s mother Donna
Whatley, who co-created a GoFundMe campaign for Jordan and Katie, described Richardson as ‘easy to love.’
He said: ‘Her spirit lit every room she ever walked into, her laugh brought a celebration to any moment, and her heart—her heart was as pure, and as kind, and as loving, and as selfless as anyone you have ever known or ever will meet again.’
The fundraiser raised $19,050 out of $20,000 total as of Tuesday morning.
Since the start of the pandemic, Alabama, one of the states with the worst vaccination rates in the country, has lost 12,000 people to COVID-19, according to data collected by the New York Times.