Two Babies Die, Likely from Their Mothers' First Trimester Covid Vaccines
Two grieving American mothers, both nurses, are left with pain and outrage after the sudden deaths of "perfect" babies.
This article is part of a publishing collaboration between RESCUE and TrialSite News.
This article is about two beautiful babies, Makenna and Edison, and the mothers who mourn them.
It is also about what likely doomed them, according to doctors and scientists who investigate vaccine harms, as the babies grew cell by cell within the womb, from healthy to harmed to the clinical, horrific category of demise.
Makenna blossomed for thirty-five weeks until, one day, her heart stopped. She was delivered to the arms of her mother, who had been told a day earlier to expect this. Stillborn.
Edison survived birth and thrived for nearly three months, his mother’s hope growing by the day. He had been diagnosed in utero with a rare heart defect. Children survive this, she was told; she saw pictures on Facebook of those who did. Edison met milestones. He smiled in a onesie the day before he died.
Each of these mothers, one from the Chicago area and the other near Orlando, had received covid-19 vaccinations in their first trimesters, one Pfizer, the other Moderna. After their babies died, they were assured by doctors, sometimes in dismissive ways, that the vaccinations had nothing to do with their pregnancy outcomes. The vaccines are safe, they were told, even in any stage of pregnancy. Get vaccinated, they were told.
But Heather Schultz, Makenna’s mother, and Maria Pieczonka, Edison’s mom, question that guidance. As mothers and nurses, they believe it goes against long-held concepts of pregnancy. They were inoculated in the most vulnerable, sacrosanct stage of fetal development, when even common flu medications and acetaminophen are risky. Each had previously birthed healthy, whole babies. This time their babies had rare defects that, tests showed, had no genetic explanation.
“When have we ever said, ‘This vaccine is experimental, but let’s just give it to all the pregnant women?’” Pieczonka asked.
“They’re just saying it’s safe without really knowing anything,” Schultz said.
Then, when things go wrong, doctors place blame. When she lost Makenna, Schultz, then 44, was told, “It’s because you’re diabetic and older. It possibly will happen again.”
If nothing else, that obstetrician’s prediction was proven wrong sixteen months later. On October 12, 2022, Schultz gave birth to a baby girl, also through in-vitro fertilization. Named Malayna, she is healthy.
These mothers cannot be certain that the vaccines caused their families’ loss and grief. At the same time, however, they wonder how medicine can be so sure that it did not. This is why they tell their stories.
Edison’s mother wants obstetricians to stop telling women: “If you want treatment, you’re getting the vaccine.”
Added Schultz: “I was basically told if I didn’t get it, I couldn’t keep working because I was a nurse.”
The come-on: Protect your baby
The unconditional advisory—or mandate in these cases—to vaccinate pregnant women is driven by two bedrocks of covid management. Each is open to question.
One holds that the vaccines are safe in any trimester, even though trials did not test the vaccine on pregnant women. Instead, regulators inferred human safety based on Pfizer and Moderna studies of rats dosed twice each before and during pregnancy. “These studies revealed no evidence of harm to the fetus,” the Pfizer label states, referring not to humans but rats. (More on safety later.)
“Available data on COMIRNATY administered to pregnant women are insufficient to inform vaccine-associated risks in pregnancy,” reads the Pfizer label.
The second assumption is that pregnancy itself is a risk factor for severe covid-19. Yet studies are mixed.
One study from Mexico and another combining data from eighteen countries showed that pregnant women were, respectively, 1.8 times and 22.3 times more likely to die than non-pregnant women. A third study from the United States demurred, finding a mortality rate of 0.8 percent among 1,062 pregnant women with covid pneumonia compared to 3.5 percent among 9,815 nonpregnant women.
As in the U.S., the United Kingdom in 2021 “offered” the vaccine to pregnant women based on “new evidence that outcomes from COVID-19 infection for pregnant women and babies have worsened since the Delta variant became dominant.” But are these studies relevant?
Delta was supplanted by Omicron a year ago, during which deaths from covid plummeted by more than half among confirmed cases. The actual rate is far lower because so many cases go unrecorded.
Nonetheless, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control still tells pregnant women, “you are likely to get very sick” if infected. “Getting a COVID-19 vaccine can help protect you and your baby from serious health problems.”
While the U.S. embraces vaccination in anyone six months and older, officials in France understand nuance, in this case in pregnancy. One French government directive precludes first trimester vaccination. Another policy asserts “the potential benefits [must] outweigh the risks to the mother and fetus,” and recommends only vaccinating women over 35 or with health problems like obesity.
Indeed, six of nine pregnant covid-infected women who died in the U.S. study were obese, and seven had at least one comorbidity. The risk of covid for these women was tragically real.
But what is the risk to babies?
Consider the circumstances and fate of Makenna and Edison. Here are their timelines:
Makenna Lynn Schultz
Stillborn, June 15, 2021
Mother is Heather Schultz, 44 years old. She is considered high-risk because of her age and Type 2 diabetes, which has been controlled since diagnosis at age 35. She is healthy and fit and had one previous normal pregnancy with a healthy daughter.
October 28, 2020: Embryo is implanted from in vitro fertilization.
January 15, 2021: Schultz receives dose of covid-19 vaccine, seventy-nine days after implantation.
January 16, 2021: Schultz experiences difficulty breathing, cough, body pain for two weeks.
Later, she develops “gushing” morning nosebleeds, lasting twenty minutes; becomes anemic. She has bruising, called petechie, on her chest and right shoulder. High-risk obstetricians assure her several times that the reactions are unrelated to the vaccine. She is advised to get the second shot; she declines.
June 7, 2021: At 34 weeks 4 days, a test finds “normal fetal heart tones.” “She’s a good healthy baby,” Schultz is told.
June 14, 2021: Ultrasound finds “intrauterine fetal demise.”
June 15, 2021: After induced labor, Makenna Lynn is stillborn at 35 weeks 5 days; she weighs 8 pounds, 10 ounces. Schultz holds her baby briefly.
June 21, 2021: Autopsy: “Congenital anomalies identified. A. Malrotation of the intestines… B. Fenestration of septum primum, consistent with a minimal atrial septal defect. C. Dilatation of right ventricular outflow tract. D. Accessory spleens…”
Immediate Cause of Death: “Probable umbilical blood flow obstruction.” An amended report describes blood clotting including “a massive occlusive thrombus in the umbilical vein. An umbilical artery also shows a partially occlusive thrombus.”
Main Disease: “Diabetes mellitus type 2.”
Until the moment she delivered, Schultz said, “I had hoped that they were wrong.”
“She was perfect.”
Edison John Pieczonka
Born, August 27, 2021. Died, November 24, 2021
Mother is Maria Pieczonka, 35 at birth. She is healthy and fit and had two previous normal pregnancies and healthy children.
December 23, 2020: Pieczonka receives dose of covid-19 vaccine.
January 6 or 8, 2021: Pieczonka tests positive for pregnancy. It is unplanned.
End of May 2021: At about 23 to 24 weeks, an anatomy scan shows a heart defect.
End of June 2021: Congenitally corrected transposition of the great artery, a developmental abnormality, is diagnosed in the baby’s heart. His mother is cleared in genetic tests.
August 27, 2021: Edison is born after induction at 38 weeks, 4 days. He is 6 pounds, 6 ounces. He has “mild tricuspid regurgitation,” in which a valve fails to close properly and leaks blood into the heart atrium. He is cleared to go home within twenty-four hours.
October 27, 2021: A foot device to monitor the baby’s heart goes off repeatedly. Edison’s heart is racing so fast Pieczonka cannot count the beats. The irregular rhythm slows when she picks him up to 170 beats per minute. Normal is 100 to 150 bpm. Edison is cleared by a pediatric cardiologist after two EKGs, an echocardiogram, and forty-eight hours on a holter monitor.
November 24, 2021: His penis blue, Edison is rushed to the emergency room. As before, he is in tachycardia, his heart beating at 270 bpm. He arrives at 8 p.m. Time of death is 10:54 p.m. No autopsy is performed.
Cause of death: A. Transposition of the great vessels. B. Supraventricular tachycardia.
“Developmentally he was perfect,” Pieczonka told me. “He was smiling, working on rolling over. He was a little chunk. He liked to eat. He could lift his head up. He was sitting up in a little bouncy thing.”
At the start of her second day back to work on November 24, Pieczonka breastfed Edison. At the end, she had difficulty leaving him at the hospital after she was told he had died.
What these cases mean
“The baby's heart begins to form immediately after conception and is complete by eight weeks gestation.” — American Heart Association webpage.
When Maria Pieczonka read that sentence, she was devastated. As one of the first health-care workers to dutifully do her part, she was vaccinated when she was in the first days of a yet-unknown pregnancy.
Makenna and Edison are just two of many babies lost in the aftermath of, and quite likely because of, covid vaccine mandates and policies. They are the tangible, tragic victims depicted in a growing number of statistical reports that I reported on last month. In Europe, 110,000 fewer babies were born in the first half of 2022 compared with the three prior half-years, a drop of 7 percent. In Switzerland, which saw its steepest birth decline—10 percent—since World War I, researchers there, as elsewhere in Europe, found “a striking temporal correlation” with vaccine rollouts nine months before. In Germany and Sweden, researchers have tied soaring stillbirths, unexplained deaths and plummeting fertility to vaccines, while ruling out economic conditions or covid itself.
This is not an abstract concept.
I asked two obstetricians to review the timing and circumstances of the cases I write about here. These babies, they both concluded, were highly likely—though not definitively—injured by the vaccines given in the first trimester of pregnancy. Both draw these conclusions in the context of a rising array of pregnancy woes they have witnessed since the vaccines were introduced at the turn of 2021.
“Do I think it was related?” said Dr. James Thorp, a Florida high-risk obstetrician for forty-four years, referring to Makenna Schultz. “Absolutely, including the fetal death and including the malformation.”
On Edison Pieczonka, he continued, “It’s perfectly consistent with a vaccine injury. That is what I have seen.” Namely, he said, more fetal heart arrhythmia, malformations and death; more preeclampsia and pre-term membrane ruptures. “It all substantially increased,” he said. “It’s my suspicion that this is directly related to the vaccine.”
Nonetheless, he cautioned on both cases, “I can’t make a definitive statement about cause.”
The second obstetrician agreed that vaccine harm was highly likely though saw clearer indications in Makenna’s autopsy; Edison did not have one. This doctor, under pressure by their hospital administration, asked not to be named.
“To deny a reaction to the jab”—as Schultz’s doctors did—“is amazing to me,” the physician said. They went on to describe one of the hospital’s patients: “We had a 24-week stillbirth with a clot in the cord [as with Makenna] as the only abnormal finding. She had just gotten the booster.”
In a September 2022 article, Thorp compared adverse events in women after they received influenza vaccines to those after covid vaccines.
Among covid vaccinated women, “There was an 1192-fold increase in abnormal menstruation, a 57-fold increase in miscarriages, and a 38-fold increase in fetal death,” he wrote to me. “There were significant increases in fetal chromosomal abnormalities, fetal malformations, fetal cardiac arrhythmias, fetal growth restriction, abnormal fetal surveillance testing, low amniotic fluid volume (oligohydramnios), preeclampsia, premature labor, and preterm labor.”
Other physicians, including the second obstetrician I interviewed, have witnessed this troubling trend.
Dr. Patricia Lee, a twenty-year intensive care unit physician and surgeon, wrote to FDA and CDC officials in September 2021 to report an unprecedented wave of vaccine injuries. Among these were something formerly rare: obstetric patients needing ICU care.
“In a typical year, I would take care of 1-2 such patients,” the Harvard-trained physician wrote. “In the last two months alone, I have cared for at least four such patients, two with post-partum hemorrhagic shock and two with septic shock secondary to chorioamnionitis following pre-term labor. All were vaccinated.”
“It appears statistically improbable that any one physician should witness this many Covid-19 vaccine injuries” if safety claims were true, she wrote. Her colleagues reported similar injuries, which to some were “collateral damage;” other doctors were dismayed but feared speaking out, she wrote.
“I have never witnessed so many vaccine-related injuries until this year,” she wrote.
What we know, in part
The U.S. Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System, co-managed by the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration and made accessible through a private website called openVAERS.com, shows soaring reproductive injury counts that did not start until early 2021, after introduction of covid vaccines. Among them are some 4,600 miscarriages; 150 stillbirths; 35,000 menstrual disorders, and 12,300 uterine hemorrhages. Then, of course, there are nearly 33,000 deaths reported, 16,000 in the U.S.
The CDC dismisses serious public consideration of VAERS data. “The reports may contain information that is incomplete, inaccurate, coincidental, or unverifiable. Reports to VAERS can also be biased,” its disclaimer states.
But while CDC cautions against drawing conclusions from the number of reports alone, it acknowledges that “only a small fraction” of injuries is reported. Yet top academic physicians like Dr. Peter McCullough are outraged by the government failure to investigate the historic number of reported covid vaccine injuries. In the past, far fewer vaccine deaths nationwide led to swift government cancellation of a vaccine, McCullough has said, as regulators once agreed that a new biological product was “guilty until proven innocent.”
In this milieu, in which criticism of vaccines is discouraged both in popular discourse and scientific journals, the truth of fertility harm is difficult to discern. Mainstream studies assert the vaccines are safe in pregnancy, most famously a New England Journal of Medicine article that found normal rates of miscarriage among 827 vaccinated women—but neglected to say that 700 had been vaccinated in the third trimester, past the definition of miscarriage. (The error was fixed but data was added that showed the rate did not change.)
A second study, reported by the CDC, failed again to analyze first-trimester complications when endorsing safety of the vaccines for all “women who are pregnant, recently pregnant, who are trying to become pregnant now, or who might become pregnant in the future.”
In the United States, where national birth numbers are shamefully unavailable, vaccine injury data and anecdotal reports point to harm.
Dr. Pierre Kory mined Pfizer data to find that, in women vaccinated in the first twelve weeks, twenty-eight of thirty-two pregnancies ended in spontaneous abortion or neonatal death. (Strangely, “no outcome was provided” for 238 additional pregnancies.)
In another analysis of VAERS reports, Dr. Jessica Rose found that of 1,981 women who had an “exposure” to covid vaccines before or during pregnancy, nearly half miscarried.
And at a large California medical center, a leaked memo revealed a wave of “fetal demises”—twenty-two in both July and August 2022. Thorp said this was “an extremely rare event,” by his calculations a “40-sigma surge” above the institution’s normal average.
These and other indications of potential trouble are dismissed under the “safe and effective” rubric. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology “encourages its members to enthusiastically recommend vaccination…in any trimester.”
What does ACOG point to in support? Research done long before the spike-based covid vaccine that concluded, “mRNA vaccines cannot cause any genetic changes (CDC, Zhang 2019, Schlake 2012); Woefully outdated figures showing “Pfizer being 95% effective and Moderna 94.1% effective”; An assumption “that the safety and efficacy profile of the vaccine for pregnant individuals would be similar to that observed in nonpregnant individuals.”
This is how policy is made and science done in the twenty-first century.
To Thorp, “No woman of reproductive age, pregnant or post-partum, should ever take the vaccine.”
These two women, health care workers on the front lines, had little choice.
Heather Schultz’s 5-year-old daughter, Makayla, will sometimes see a rainbow. “That’s Makenna,” she will say.
Maria’s Pieczonka’s 3-year-old son, Evan, will see something of Edison’s—a blanket in a diaper bag—and say, “That was Edison’s. I miss Edison.” Her daughter, Eve, 4, draws stick figures in crayon that they tape to the wall. In each is a tiny Edison, with Eve and Maria on each side in one; Eve and their father, John, in another.
Meanwhile, when Heather Schultz’s maternity leave is over—lactating, pregnant, or not—she will be told to get up to date on her covid vaccines.
Or risk losing her job.
RESCUE with Michael Capuzzo is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support our work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
#NoAmnesty #NoQuarter Hold these people pushing these poisons accountable, fully, completely, irrevocably. The pain these mothers, fathers, and families face is horrible.
Too many people still trust the word of our public health officials. Too many people still think elected "leaders" represent the interests of the people. Too many people still believe that "someone" will step forward and save us from predatory hospitals, banks, employers, monopoly pricing, and on and on.
It's high time we realized that nobody is coming to save us from the greedy excesses of the 1%. It's high time we realized that we're living in a much different world now, a world where old assumptions, habits, and expectations no longer apply. A harsher world. A world that has removed all sources of power and control from our hands save one -- the power of superior numbers.
They are organized, we are not. They control the mass media while we struggle to evade censorship on the internet. They manufacture diversions and we fall for them, every time, slavishly engaging in diversionary tribal bickering. Every time.
No meaningful changes will happen with the billionaire oligarchs still in power. It's high time we realize the only thing that's going to save us is: We the People. The only thing truly worth discussing at this point is organizing for massive sustained demonstrations of nonviolent civil disobedience. Exercising our power of superior numbers. The only thing worth demanding at this point is return of power to the people and the dethroning of every greedy sociopathic oligarch who currently holds us and our children by the throat. Power is never relinquished voluntarily. It's high time we get to it.