Mother who died from Covid days after giving birth 'only saw baby for 2-3 seconds'

A mother who died from coronavirus days after giving birth only saw her newborn baby for two to three seconds before passing away.

Mother-of-four Samantha Willis, 35, who had not had a Covid-19 vaccine, died at Altnagelvin Hospital in Northern Ireland last month after giving birth to daughter Eviegrace.

Her husband Josh said his wife didn’t get the chance to hold her baby in her arms.

“Literally, two, three seconds tops she seen her for,” he told ITV’s Good Morning Britain on Wednesday.

“Carried her for eight months and never got to hold her in her arms.”

Mr Willis said his wife had intended to get a Covid-19 jab after giving birth.

Josh Willis appeared on Good Morning Britain to speak about his wife, Samantha, who died last month from COVID days after giving birth. (ITV)
Josh Willis appeared on Good Morning Britain to speak about his wife Samantha, who died last month from Covid days after giving birth. (ITV)
Samantha and Josh Willis on their wedding day. (Josh Willis/Facebook)
Samantha and Josh Willis on their wedding day. (Josh Willis/Facebook)

It was only in April this year that the UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advised that pregnant women should be offered a jab.

Mr Willis said he was not allowed to be present at the birth, when Eviegrace was delivered by C-section, and watched it through a FaceTime call.

His wife’s funeral took place last month, and Eviegrace, who is now four weeks old, was baptised during the same service at St Columb’s Church in Londonderry.

Mr Willis said he wanted to share his wife’s story to encourage pregnant women to get vaccinated.

“When Samantha was in hospital in ICU at the start and the end and in the in-between period she said to an old work colleague: ‘Make sure you get your vaccine.’

“I had a cousin who's pregnant and she said, ‘Make sure she gets the vaccine’, so I know she cared about people getting the vaccine.

“I feel this is the last thing I can do for her to try and make her proud.” 

Husband Josh with his newborn daughter Eviegrace, being carried by a relative (name not known) after the coffin of Samantha Willis (nee Curran) from Strathfoyle is taken from St Columb's Church, Londonderry, following her funeral. The mother-of-four died with Covid-19 shortly after giving birth on Friday. Picture date: Monday August 23, 2021.
Josh Willis, second from left, with his newborn daughter Eviegrace at his wife Samantha's funeral last month. (PA)

In a tribute to his wife posted on Facebook after she died, Mr Willis wrote: “Today has been the worst day of my life. I have lost the love of my life Samantha to Covid-19.

“Samantha had put up a strong fight for the last 16 days but in the end just wasn’t enough.

“Whilst in hospital she also had to deliver our newest addition to the family who she has never met properly or held in her arms.

“I will make sure that Eviegrace will know all about the mother she will never meet. I will never let anyone forget you and I will remember all the special times and experiences we shared together.”

“She was a wonderful, loving and caring person and she has been our superhero the last few weeks. She is now our guardian angel and she will remain in our hearts and thoughts for ever more.”