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'I had no fetal movement': Pregnant Dallas woman describes COVID battle as cases climb in North Texas

“To not feel him for a whole 24 hours… I was thinking the worst,” Dallas mom-to-be Shenerial Gipson said.

DALLAS — Shenerial Gipson sat in her living room and took a deep breath. The Dallas woman, who’s about seven months pregnant with her first child, had just returned from a traumatic hospital stay.

“I promise you, I never thought it would be me,” Gipson said.

Gipson, who is expecting a baby boy, tested positive for COVID-19 this week. Unvaccinated, she described feeling as if her body suddenly began to shut down. From body aches to a fever of 104 degrees, it was brutal.

Just when the 26-year-old thought it was bad, it became even more concerning.

“I had no fetal movement,” Gipson said. “My baby wasn’t moving at all in my stomach, and I got worried.”

Gipson told WFAA she drove herself to a hospital emergency room on Friday night and that her baby’s heart rate rose to 194 bpm at one point.

COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are on the rise in North Texas. This week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) declared Dallas, Collin and Tarrant Counties in the red/high risk COVID level. 

However, Dallas County Health and Human Services has kept the county in an orange zone, urging extreme caution.

Dr. Majeeb Basit, UT Southwestern Health System's associate director of the Clinical Informatics Center, said cases and hospitalizations have risen quickly over the last few weeks.

“We should be a little bit more concerned,” Basit said. “That acceleration is what’s really concerning. The likelihood that if you go to a gathering and someone will have COVID and not realize it is much higher now than it was just a few weeks ago.”

The latest data from UT Southwestern shows COVID hospitalizations in Dallas are on the rise. Currently, there are 739 COVID patients currently in the hospital.

UT Southwestern’s COVID forecast anticipates hospitalizations will continue over the next few weeks as an aggressive BA. subvariant fuels a summer spike. It leaves people up against reinfection.

“People who have had omicron in January are starting to get BA.4 and BA.5 again,” Basit said.

His advice? Now’s the time to mask up in high-risk situations and receive a booster dose of the vaccine. 

Basit said precautions should be taken while risk-level is high, encouraging people that the added measures are only temporary.  

Gipson is now second-guessing her decision not to get vaccinated.

“To not feel him for a whole 24 hours… no kick, no move, nothing… I was thinking the worst,” Gipson said.

Gipson said her child’s high heart rate nearly led her to go into early labor at 31 weeks of pregnancy.

She’s now relieved to be home and recovering.

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