New Mom Was Unable to Meet Baby for Weeks Due to COVID Battle and Regrets Not Getting Vaccinated

Chequile Pettaway, who tested positive for COVID-19 a week before her son was born in early August, wasn't able to hold him for the first time until over a month later

Erica Hoodye
Baby Karter. Photo: gofundme

Although she welcomed her son in early August, one Houston mother didn't get a chance to meet her son for over a month due to her battle with COVID-19.

Chequile Pettaway, who chose not to get vaccinated while she was pregnant, tested positive for the virus one week before son Karter's due date, according to ABC affiliate KTRK.

"I didn't want to get vaccinated while pregnant," she told the outlet. "I didn't know how that was going to affect him."

However, by contracting the virus, Pettaway noted that instead, "I put my child in danger."

Pettaway went on to welcome her son on Aug. 2 — but because of her health, she was not permitted to hold him.

"They took him right out the room," she told the outlet.

As her health continued to decline, doctors decided to put Pettaway into a medically induced coma for the next few weeks — and she wasn't able to leave the hospital until Sept. 21.

"A month and a half later, that's when I was able to first hold him," she told KTRK of finally being able to be with her son.

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However, Pettaway still has a long road ahead to recovery and needs physical therapy in order to learn how to walk and use her arms again.

"She was brought out of the coma last week, but now she can neither walk nor care for herself. She needs rehab but does not have funds to cover the costs," read a message on a GoFundMe page created by her sister.

In addition to being separated from her newborn, Pettaway's hospitalization also left her unable to see her "other two small children — ages 7 and 18 months."

"The fund will cover the rehab costs so she can get back home to her babies," her sister wrote on the online fundraising page, which has raised over $1,100 as of Tuesday afternoon.

As for what she hopes people can take away from her story, Pettaway's answer is simple: "Get vaccinated, if possible," she told KTRK.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from the CDC, WHO and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.

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