ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. (KMOV) – An unvaccinated Missouri mother was hospitalized for COVID-19 and then forced to bring her baby boy into the world 14 weeks early.

Doctors weren’t sure Jasmine Ballard would make it.

“COVID will take you down fast, faster than you know,” Ballard said.

You can hear in her voice how much COVID-19 has taken a toll on her body.

“I couldn’t eat on my own. I couldn’t use the bathroom on my own. I couldn’t do anything.”

Ballard was nearly 26 weeks pregnant on July 31 when she was admitted to a hospital and diagnosed with COVID-19.

“She was declining really fast, and they couldn’t keep her oxygen levels up,” said Tommy Greene, Ballard’s father. “They had to keep turning the ventilator up, and then they told me, finally, it was maxed out and her condition was still declining.”

By Aug. 4, Ballard was put into a medically induced coma.

“Organ failure was imminent, so they had to do an emergency C-section to get baby Ricky out,” Greene said.

“I woke up not knowing that I didn’t have a baby, that I didn’t have a baby in my belly,” Ballard said.

Ballard’s fight still wasn’t over, as doctors prepared to use an ECMO machine to pump oxygen into her blood and save her life.

“I got a call, and they said they accidentally nicked the wrong artery in her neck, and she had to be rushed into the OR,” Greene said. “They repaired the artery, but then they said, well now, that ECMO, that last-ditch effort to save her, was off the table.”

Greene said what happened next felt like a miracle.

“So, they put her back on the ventilator, and for whatever reason she started responding,” Greene said. “Her lungs started to heal. They were able to turn that ventilator down daily, and then within a week she was off of it.”

Ballard and her baby are now both recovering from the traumatic experience.

“He still has a feeding tube, and he’s still on all the oxygen and everything, but he’s doing good, he’s gaining weight,” Ballard said.

Ballard said after her experience – and after her three other children catching COVID-19 – she’ll be getting vaccinated.

“I was dead set against – like a lot of people – against the vaccine, did not want it,” Greene said.

“There was no one to tell me any long-term effects of this vaccine, but I had to realize, seeing Jasmine go down as quickly as she did, that people are dying from COVID. They’re not dying from the vaccine.”

Greene said he was set to get his second dose over the weekend, and called on others on the fence to get off it.

“To think about possibly losing your child is something that you can’t process,” he said.

Copyright 2021 KMOV via CNN Newsource. All rights reserved.

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