The McGhees welcomed a very special baby girl to the world this week.
Chloe Madison McGhee was born around 3 p.m. Tuesday to parents Jake McGhee and Dr. Kaleigh Fulmer McGhee. She’s 7 pounds, 9 ounces, and 20 inches long. But that’s not all.
Chloe was also born with some COVID-19 immunities because Kaleigh was vaccinated during her pregnancy against the novel coronavirus.
Both Jake and Kaleigh are excited to be new parents.
“It feels great,” Kaleigh said. “You can’t even explain the feeling.”
Jake echoed: “I didn’t know you could love something so much.”
Jake and Kaleigh are young professionals. Jake currently serves as vice president and chief philanthropy officer at Jockey International. He previously served as chief executive officer of the Boys & Girls Club of Kenosha and general manager of the Kenosha Kingfish.
Kaleigh is a dentist at Fulmer Dentistry, 2009 Roosevelt Road and 7137 236th Ave., Salem, in Paddock Lake.
Because both are heavily involved in the local community and the nature of Kaleigh’s work, they made the decision to become vaccinated over the winter.
“I ended up getting the first Pfizer vaccine shot around 34 weeks pregnant and 37 weeks pregnant for the second shot,” Kaleigh said. “It definitely makes you feel better about having a new baby and being out in public. Being a dentist here, too. You’re in a high-risk profession.”
Kaleigh said the couple researched the vaccine and spoke with health care professionals before making the decision.
“Just being in a high-risk line of work, it felt safe for myself and the baby,” Kaleigh said. “We ultimately decided the benefits of getting vaccinated would be worth it. I was hopeful it would give some protection to the baby who is so vulnerable at this newborn stage.”
The couple feels more comfortable bringing family and friends around Chloe because she has some immunity to the coronavirus.
“Now we can’t say no to the visitors,” Jake joked. “We’re really excited for the new grandparents and aunts and uncles to see Chloe and come over safely.”
Jake also highlighted the strong support the couple received from Froedtert South because their own parents weren’t allowed to be there during the pregnancy because of the hospital’s rules aiming to help curb the spread of the virus.
“Their team did a great job for our family,” he said. “The team of nurses and doctors at Froedtert South did such a great job bringing the baby into the world. They were all also really excited about testing Chloe for antibodies.”
Dr. Kelli Sasada helped deliver Chloe.
“This is one of the first patients in town that I have delivered that actually had the vaccine in pregnancy,” Sasada told Kenosha.com.
Sasada described the testing process that occurred immediately after birth.
“After the baby was born and we clamped the umbilical cord, there was still cord blood coming through from the placenta from the clamped umbilical cord. We obtained the baby’s blood that way,” Sasada explained. “The blood got sent to a lab and was tested for antibodies for COVID, which it came back positive for.”
Still, Sasada said it’s unclear how long such antibodies will last in Chloe, but it’s a positive thing nonetheless.
“It’s anticipated the baby will have those immunities, those antibodies as long as a mom continues to breastfeed or provide her breast milk,” Sasada said. “She will have those antibodies presumably, hopefully for a lifetime and those antibodies will continue to go to the baby indefinitely while she nurses. … You basically vaccinated two people by giving out one vaccine.”
She applauds the McGhees for sharing their experience and helping dispel falsehoods about the vaccine.
“Unfortunately, pregnant women who do get COVID are at higher risk of serious illness and being hospitalized and being put on a ventilator compared to a woman who is the same age who is not pregnant. For women thinking about becoming pregnant to think about becoming vaccinated, the vaccine will either prevent you from getting COVID or the very few who get it have a less severe disease.”
She called Kaleigh “commendable for sharing her experience” with other women so they feel more empowered to make such decisions for themselves.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also currently recommends women talk with their health care providers about vaccines before or during pregnancy.
“Based on how these vaccines work in the body, experts believe they are unlikely to pose a specific risk for people who are pregnant,” according to the CDC’s COVID-19 website.