“That’s is my mom. This is her spirit captured in a photo. She’s such a bundle of energy and joy," said Fiana Garza Tulip as she looks at a framed picture in her living room.
The moments she has captured of video on her phone of her mom and her 2-year-old daughter playing together now only exist in her memories.
COVID-19 took her mom in July of last year.
“She caught it at work and died a week after feeling her symptoms, so I didn’t know she was sick until two days before she died. It was fast," Tulip recalled.
The virus also took her uncle and left her dad with long-haul symptoms, who Tulip says now needs around-the-clock care.
But after so much loss, in less than a month, she’ll give her 2-year-old daughter, a brother.
“I’m excited to smile when he comes. I’m excited to feel real joy that he’s here and he’s breathing, and we fought through some of the darkest times of my life together," Tulip said.
Tulip was only four weeks into her pregnancy when she got the Johnson and Johnson vaccine in April.
“It was in honor of my mom and I knew there was no question if I was going to get it," Tulip said.
But a couple of weeks ago, when it came time to get her booster shot, she says even as a major supporter of vaccines, she became nervous when her pharmacy only had Pfizer or Moderna.
“That was the first time that I got kind of nervous, and it was because I had heard so many stories about people questioning whether can you mix? Is it ok? You’re just about to have a baby in four weeks, is that safe?” asked Tulip.
The FDA says it is OK to mix vaccines, and that’s what Tulip did.
Dr. Beth. Carewe, an OBGYN at Rose Medical Center in Denver, says the best thing to protect moms and their babies is to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
“Pregnancy is one of those really hard times in life where we become very conscious of the things that we do, things that we put into our bodies, much more so than any other time in our life," said Dr. Carewe.
No research has found that vaccination leads to an increased risk of issues like a miscarriage.
As for the side effects COVID-19 can bring? Evidence shows problems like a higher risk of pre-term birth.
“I think the more and more data we have, the risks of COVID are really high and the risks of the vaccine are really low for our pregnant patients,” Dr. Carewe said.
Tulip says while the virus has taken so much from her, when she soon welcomes a new life, it will be proof of what COVID-19 could not take.