Mum who gave birth during Covid coma urging pregnant women to get vaccinated



A new mum is urging pregnant women to get their Covid vaccinations – after she was forced to give birth to her son in an induced coma after contracting the virus.

Chelsie King, 27, of Weston-super-Mare, fell pregnant with her son Raphael in January this year, but in July she caught Covid.

She decided not to have her vaccination as at that point its effects on pregnant women were not known.

But unfortunately, when Chelsie was around six months pregnant, she started to feel unwell, Somerset Live reports.

“It was mainly sickness,” she said. “And I had been suffering from that throughout my pregnancy.

“I had no loss of taste or a cough and had no reason to think it was Covid.”

Baby Raphael was born while his mum was in a coma
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After three days of being unable to even keep water down, Chelsie called her medical team who advised her to go for a PCR test.

“They told me that it was becoming more evident that continuing sickness in pregnant women was a symptom of Covid,” she said.

Chelsie took a test and the next day learned that it had come back positive.

“That’s when my temperature started to soar and I became breathless,” she said.

After becoming increasingly unwell, Chelsie’s husband Patrick, 32, called St Michael’s Hospital in Bristol for advice.

Chelsie then went to St Michael’s Hospital where she and the baby were checked over.

“I hadn’t eaten in a week,” she said. “We were so worried about the baby.

“Thankfully the baby was ok but I was very poorly and I got transferred straight to the Bristol Royal Infirmary (BRI).

“My oxygen levels were dropping rapidly.”

Raphael’s mum and dad Chelsie and Patrick are now looking forward to Christmas
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Within three hours, Chelsie was transferred to intensive care.

Just days later, the ward phoned Patrick and told him that Chelsie’s condition was so critical that they would have to induce his wife and deliver the baby by C-section so she would have a better chance of recovery.

“The last thing I can remember was watching the Euro football finals on my phone from my ITU bed,” she said.

“By midnight on Tuesday I was so critical they decided to deliver him.

“They had to put me into a coma as they needed to put me on a ventilator to get my oxygen levels up.”

Little Raphael was born at 2am on Wednesday, July 14, 12 weeks and one day early, weighing just 2lbs 4 oz.

He was taken immediately to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit ( NICU) at Southmead Hospital – leaving Chelsie unable to realise the dream of holding her newborn.

The ITU team tried to wake Chelsie up after five weeks.

“But every time they did, I picked up another infection,” said Chelsie. “And the ventilator was not working anymore.

“What made it worse was my husband also contracted Covid so couldn’t come in to see me or his newborn son for the first days of his life.”

It was a long road to recovery
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A team from St Thomas’s Hospital in London made their way to Bristol to assess whether the new mum was suitable for intensive life support treatment called Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (Ecmo).

The treatment involves taking the blood out and re-oxygenating it before pumping it back into the body – providing respiratory and cardiac support.

The procedure was performed at the BRI before Chelsie was transferred by ambulance to St Thomas’s Hospital in London.

Chelsie remained in London for 21 days, waking up after 15 days of the lifesaving treatment.

“When I woke up I knew I was in London,” she said. “Because the medical team had been telling me while I was in the coma.

“But no one told me how long I had been there and how long it was since I had Raphael.”

The hospital provided Chelsie with a whiteboard to communicate with her family.

“On the first call with my grandma and grandad and Patrick they told me Raphael was five weeks old,” said Chelsie.

“I was so shocked.”

Cheslie, who works in finance, was then transferred back to the BRI ITU.

Five days later, she was able to see Raphael for the first time.

“He was six weeks old when I first got to hold him,” she said. “They placed him on my chest. It was so wonderful to be able to see him and smell him for the first time.”

Chelsie remained in ITU in Bristol for another 11 days before being taken off the ventilator and put on oxygen.

She also had to undergo physiotherapy to help her to walk again.

On September 1 she was moved onto a respiratory ward with her own room, with little Raphael being brought in for visits.

And on September 9 she was discharged home, with Raphael being discharged from NICU five days later.

“I didn’t want him to come home before I did,” she said.

“I wanted him to come home to me.”

Raphael, who turned five months old last week, is doing well and now weighs 12lbs.

“Luckily he came out pretty much unscathed thanks to the amazing work of NICU,” added Chelsie.

The family are now looking forward to their first Christmas together.

Since being discharged, Chelsie incredibly managed to train to take part in a 5k walk at the end of October, raising more than £1,000 for NICU.

“I wanted to thank them for looking after my baby when I couldn’t,” she said.

Chelsie has now had her first Covid vaccination and is awaiting her second dose.

“I had to wait due to the medication I was on,” she said. “But as soon as the medication finished, I had it.”

She is now appealing to other pregnant women to get vaccinated.

“I do regret not having the jab when it was offered and wonder if I did have it, whether things would have been different,” said Chelsie.

“I wouldn’t want any other family going through what we have – the truth of the matter is that we could have both died.”

Little Raphael is now thriving.

“He’s such a happy little baby,” she said.

“He learned to smile at the end of November and hasn’t stopped since. He loves his cuddles – and I’ve been giving him plenty.

“It’s important to get the message out to mums to-be to make sure they get vaccinated. The risks of not being jabbed are far more than having the vaccination itself.

“I am one of the lucky ones. I got to cuddle my baby. But there are some mothers who will never have that joy.

“All because they didn’t have a simple vaccine.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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