(CNN) — Eric Robison will never run out of words to describe his wife.
Her smile, her laugh, her constant antics, the faces she made when she was grumpy, the kindness she brought out of him, the way she made him feel at home.
Losing her made the world stop, she says, as if the path they were traveling stopped at a dead end with no future in sight.
Emily Robison was not vaccinated when she died on September 20 from COVID-19, after struggling to survive for more than a month.
Just three weeks before her death, she had given birth to her first child, a girl she named Carmen in honor of her great-grandmother.
“I knew something was wrong that night,” Robinson told CNN, referring to his final hours. “I could feel it in my chest. It felt like Emily was further away from me than she already was. In my heart, I felt like she was too far out of reach.”
He added: “Even though he was in the hospital, I always felt like he was there, holding on to me. But at that moment, I knew he was pulling away.”
At the same moment that he was going to call the hospital, he received a call. His wife’s heart had stopped, they told him.
Within 46 minutes, Emily had passed away, leaving her loved ones behind, including her husband and baby.
“After that, I was a lost soul,” Robison said.
Now, as a single parent, mourning the loss of his soulmate and preparing to embark on the journey of solo parenthood, Robison didn’t know what to do.
But a nurse supported him, as did hundreds of strangers who heard his story and sent him baby supplies, supplies, gifts and donations to help him overcome the tragedy.
A helping hand in times of desperate need
Ashlee Schwartz remembers the first time she saw Robison.
He was sitting across from his wife’s hospital room, separated by a glass door, looking at her “obviously heartbroken,” Schwartz said.
Schwartz, who has been an intensive care unit (ICU) nurse at Mercy Hospital in Fort Smith, Arkansas for 10 years, had just learned that Robison’s wife, a 22-year-old pregnant woman, had been intubated and connected. to an artificial respiration system.
“The image will be forever etched in my head. He stared in a daze. It literally broke my heart to pieces,” he told CNN.
“Especially as an ICU nurse, the reality of life with this virus is that any patient’s story could easily be our own story one day and I just said, ‘What if this was me sitting in this chair staring at the room? of my husband?'”
The couple had not been vaccinated due to misinformation that the covid-19 vaccine it causes problems in pregnant women and could harm the baby.
Pregnant people who develop symptoms of Covid-19 are at risk for emergency complications and other problems in their pregnancies, according to two new studies. And pregnancy alone carries an increased risk of serious illness and death.
But despite the risks, pregnant women remain one of the population groups most reluctant to get vaccinated in the US, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Robinson caught the virus from a person she works with, but within days she had improved, while Emily’s health rapidly deteriorated. On August 15, she was hospitalized with Covid-19 pneumonia and three days later she was placed on an artificial respirator, according to Robison.
“Before they put her on the respirator, I told her that I loved her more than anything in the world,” he said. “I said something to her that she shouldn’t, I promised her that she would come back to me. She whispered that she loved me and that was the last time I spoke to her.”
On August 25, Emily’s condition worsened and the obstetric nurses were unable to find the baby’s heart rate.
That day, Carmen Robison was born in an emergency cesarean section, almost two months early.
After discovering that the baby had been born, Schwartz made a Facebook post asking his co-workers and friends if they would like to buy a gift for the new parents.
“I called Eric and asked if he and Emily had a list of gifts for the baby and he didn’t know what it was. He said all they had for Carmen was clothes. As Emily fought for her life, I felt a call and a sense of responsibility to make sure this baby had everything he needed, “said Schwartz.
“All I could imagine was Emily coming home after being in the hospital for months and having almost nothing for Carmen and wondering ‘Why didn’t someone help me?’
The nurse created a baby gift list on Amazon, Babylist, and Target, and established a GoFundMe campaign for the family that so far has raised more than $ 16,000.
Gifts poured in, and almost everything Schwartz had selected on the list was purchased and mailed to the family. More than 200 people contributed gifts and another 300 donated money to GoFundMe.
“I never would have imagined that gifts would start pouring in from all over Arkansas and the rest of the country,” Robison said. “It’s bittersweet, because I wish Emily were still alive to see it. But not having to worry about Carmen having what she needs is one less thing I have to worry about now.”
Baby Carmen will go home with her father this Monday after spending two months in the hospital for reflux problems in her feeding, a common problem in many premature babies.
“I am very grateful to everyone who has helped, even those who have texted me saying they can’t give me money but will pray for me. That’s enough for me,” Robison said. “I know Emily is watching right now crying with happiness. She always wanted to be a mother.”
Schwartz took two prints of Emily’s hands, with Robison’s permission. When Carmen is discharged, her handprints will be placed on her mother’s.
“He will have a memory of his mom forever,” Schwartz said.
“She would still be here if we had taken it seriously”
This Saturday would have been the fourth anniversary of Emily and Robison and three years since they were married.
The couple had met on Facebook, where they immediately connected and found themselves talking on the phone every day for hours. Within a month, they moved in together and became inseparable.
In October 2018, they got married. His dream of finding his person forever had come true, he said, and he was never going to let her go.
“She was like Jim Carrey in woman. She was extremely funny, extremely cute,” Robison said. “Wherever I was with her, it felt like home. That’s how I always felt with her, even when we hit rock bottom.”
When Robison closes his eyes, the only thing he can hear is the hospital intercom, which repeats “code blue room 22” over and over again in the moments leading up to the loss of his wife. Code blue is the hospital’s emergency code.
“That sound of the heart monitor as they push her, trying to get her back, is the one that has been playing in my nightmares every night since then,” she said.
“I had to put on the covid protection equipment to see her after her death because she had been very ill, but that prevented me from kissing her. I didn’t care. As soon as the curtains closed, I tore off the mask and kissed her. I told her to kiss her. I wanted and that I was sorry I had not tried more. “
Now, Robison just wishes they had been vaccinated, a message he wants to send to everyone who hasn’t yet.
“It is a pain unlike anything I have ever felt in my life, sitting looking at my wife, dead on a bed, holding her hand and watching the color of her face fade,” he said. “Get vaccinated. It’s very serious. She would still be here if we had taken it seriously.”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism