A mum gave birth to a baby boy while she was fighting for her life in a coma after contracting coronavirus while she was pregnant.
Sophie Byrne, from Dovecot, didn’t even know her son Joseph had been delivered by caesarean section until later.
The 28-year-old, who is also a mum to William, eight, and Amelia, five, was placed on a ventilator at the Royal Liverpool Hospital after her condition deteriorated.
Sophie spent nine weeks in the Royal after being diagnosed with Covid earlier this year, Liverpool Echo reports.
A team from Liverpool Women’s Hospital had to be brought into the Royal to deliver her baby 11 weeks early while she was still in the coma.
Baby Joseph was born on August 26 – and the mum-of-three wasn’t even aware her son had been born due to the severity of her condition.
Sophie’s family received an unimaginable call from medical staff who warned them she may not survive, and Joseph’s dad rushed to the hospital to be at her side.
Sophie said: “Staff at the Royal informed my family that I might not survive the delivery because I was so weak. They allowed Joseph’s dad to come in and see me but not my parents due to the risk of Covid.”
Miraculously, Joseph was born healthy despite being 11 weeks premature and he was moved onto a neonatal ward while Sophie continued to battle coronavirus on a ventilator.
She said: “Although Joseph was born 11 weeks early he was fine. He was in intensive care briefly and then onto a neonatal ward. “
Sophie is now continuing to recover from the virus at home, having spent weeks in intensive care.
The mum-of-three said she is “still very weak”, having contracted pneumonia as a complication of her illness.
She said: “I had to learn to walk again because I had been in bed for so long. And I had to learn to eat again after undergoing a tracheotomy. It’s been hard and there is a long road ahead.”
Sophie finally got to hold Joseph for the first time on the day she left the Royal.
She said: “I got to hold Joseph for the first time on October 4. They let me see Joseph for the first time in mid September through FaceTime. But I was heavily sedated and can’t remember a thing about that day now.”
After surviving her terrifying ordeal, Sophie wants to raise awareness of the seriousness of contracting coronavirus and the need to get vaccinated.
She said: “Covid nearly killed me and I had no underlying health conditions. I was not vaccinated but that was because I was pregnant.
“I am now due to be vaccinated soon and can’t wait. People need to take this seriously. I did not doubt Covid existed but did not fully appreciate how devastating it could be.”
Sophie said she had delayed getting the vaccine while she was pregnant due to her own uncertainty regarding coronavirus vaccinations for expectant mums.
And she is not the only expectant mum to feel like this, as recent figures from Public Health England show the numbers getting fully vaccinated within this group are still low.
The Guardian reports that The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) says just 15% of pregnant women have had two doses of the vaccine so far.
Women have cited many reasons for their reluctance to get jabbed, including a lack of long-term information about the dangers of the vaccine to their child, healthcare providers giving unclear messaging around safety and misinformation being spread on social media.
However, England’s top midwife has urged expectant mums to get the vaccine after data shows the overwhelming majority of pregnant women hospitalised with the virus have not had a jab.
Now that Sophie is back home with her family, she’s settling into life as a mum-of-three and joked that Joseph is the quietest of all her newborns.
She said: “He is very quiet and just likes to sleep really.”
Sophie also had a message for staff at the city’s Royal Hospital, as she said: “Thank you for saving my life and delivering Joseph.”