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Mum who gave birth in coma after getting Covid urges pregnant women to get jab

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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, became 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 ended up requiring doctors from London to travel out of the capital to give her urgent medical care.

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When Chelsie was around six months pregnant, she started to feel unwell.

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

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

Chelsie took a test after being told that continuing sickness in pregnant women was a symptom of coronavirus

After three days of being unable to even keep water down, Chelsie, from Weston-super-Mare, called her medical team who advised her to go for a PCR test.

They told her that it was becoming more evident that continuing sickness in pregnant women was a symptom of coronavirus.

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

Soon after, her temperature began to soar and she became breathless.

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

She said: “I hadn’t eaten in a week. 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. My oxygen levels were dropping rapidly.”

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The last thing Chelsie could remember was watching the Euro football finals on her phone from her hospital bed. They then put her in a coma and delivered Raphael

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 hospital bed,” she added.

“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.”

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

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

Doctors tried to wake Chelsie up after five weeks.

She said: “But every time they did, I picked up another infection, 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.”

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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.

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

The procedure was performed in Bristol before Chelsie was rushed to St Thomas’s Hospital in London.

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

She said: “When I woke up I knew I was in London 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.

“On the first call with my grandma and granddad and Patrick they told me Raphael was five weeks old – I was so shocked.”

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Chelsie was then transferred back to Bristol, and 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 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 five days later.

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

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

Since being discharged, Chelsie incredibly managed to train to take part in a five-kilometre 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.

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

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Chelsie is encouraging other pregnant women to get vaccinated so they don’t go through the same thing

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

“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, with Chelsie saying: “He’s such a happy little baby; 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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