Richmond councilwoman Stephanie Lynch facing tough battle with COVID-19 while pregnant: ‘I’m still terrified’


RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Richmond city councilwoman Stephanie Lynch says she’s facing a tough battle with COVID-19. To complicate matters further, Lynch is more than four months pregnant.

According to the city councilwoman, she first thought her symptoms were caused by allergies or a cold. That was until symptoms worsened at the end of last week.

“A rapid decline over the weekend,” she said. “I definitely went down for the count.”

Lynch said she tested positive for the virus on Monday. Along with the test came bucket loads of stress, as she is carrying a baby girl.

According to the CDC, pregnant people are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

“I’m still terrified. I was terrified thinking that she wasn’t getting enough oxygen when I was having a difficult time breathing. Every time I’m struggling to breathe, she’s struggling to get oxygen. That really is the most terrifying feeling,” Lynch told 8News.

For her family, these feelings of fear are not new. She and her husband have been through several miscarriages while trying to get pregnant within the last four years. “My anxiety is not gonna go away until I see her on the ultrasound and know that she’s okay.”

The 5th district councilwoman said said she’s been waiting for her baby to grow a bit more before getting the COVID vaccine. Ironically, she was scheduled for a 20-week ultrasound and to finally get the shot this Wednesday.

“So I’m having that conversation with myself, should I have gotten it sooner, you know, would it have been more beneficial for me to avoid getting COVID,” she said. Lynch said she knows many other pregnant women around the world are having a tough time deciding if or when to get the COVID vaccine.

According to the CDC, experts believe vaccines are “unlikely to pose a specific risk for people who are pregnant.”

However, there’s not much data on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in pregnant people quite yet. That said, some studies suggest COVID vaccinations of pregnant mothers also protect newborns.

Lynch told 8News her symptoms have improved since the rough weekend. Now, she’s watching her oxygen levels with a monitor from home and said she’ll admit herself to a hospital if she declines again.

“It’s one thing if you get ill, but having another human being that you are pouring your heart and soul into and worried about their well being as well, is a whole other ball game,” she said. “It’s really tough. It’s really hard.”

The councilwoman said she doesn’t know how she contracted the virus, adding that she doesn’t leave the house much.

One of the staffers “in her bubble” also has the virus and is isolating, according to Lynch. They’re working for the city at home in the meantime.

She said we’re making great strides in getting people vaccinated but her situation proves that we’re not out of the woods yet. She asks folks not to give up on being COVID safe.

The councilwoman also said she wants to thank the community for their well wishes as she recovers. “I have two wonderful nurses at home, my husband and Isaiah, our 9-year-old,” she said.

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