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Couple leans on faith after death of newborn daughter, COVID hospitalization

Published: Sep. 16, 2021 at 5:48 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - A young couple is leaning on their faith, facing a physical battle as they grieve the death of their newborn daughter following an emergency C-section. They’re finding strength in support from loved ones and their community, especially through prayers.

David and Mattie Steinhilpert caught COVID-19 a couple weeks ago. Now, Mattie is fighting off complications from the virus. David said his wife still has a long road to recovery, but physically, is doing better. Emotionally, the couple acknowledges it will take them awhile to begin to heal.

When David and Mattie caught COVID-19, Mattie was nearly 30 weeks pregnant. David’s symptoms came and went quickly, but Mattie’s didn’t show up until after.

“The word in the medical community is that for pregnant women, by Day 10, they either fly or they sink,” David said.

On the 10th day for Mattie, her health sank. The couple went to Wesley Medical Center, but were soon discharged. David said everything with the baby looked good and Mattie’s health took a turn for the better.

“The baby looked beautiful. She was happy, healthy, moving around,” David said.

He remembers hearing “her beautiful heart tones.”

The next day, Mattie’s symptoms were gone. She felt the best she had since catching COVID. But her motherly instincts told her something was off. They decided to go back to the hospital, this time for the unborn baby.

“Her health was declining so fast, (Mattie) was actually at risk of bleeding out,” David said. She had a condition called Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation (DIC). The U.S. National Library of Medicine explains the condition as “”a serious disorder in which the proteins that control blood clotting become overactive.”

Blood transfusions made a C-section possible and saved Mattie’s life, but their newborn daughter was barely surviving, being supported by machines and medicine in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

“We got to meet our baby and we got to spend her final moments with her so she wasn’t alone,” David said.

Now, Mattie’s fight continues. COVID caused multiple blood clots and a bad case of pneumonia. David said while his wife’s condition is gradually improving, the road to physical and emotional recovery will be a long one.

David said he and Mattie are grateful for the love and support the community has shown them. He continues to ask for everyone’s prayers.

In a Facebook post, David expressed that his and Mattie’s lives are forever changed as “God chose (them) for something bigger than (they) ever imagined.”

“I think it would be wrong of me to say that we are doing okay. We aren’t, nothing compares to the hurt and loss we feel right now,” David wrote. “What I will say is we have unending peace in our hearts knowing full well that our baby girl is resting in Heaven.”

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