Tyldesley mother wakes up from Covid coma to discover she has given birth to baby girl

A mother who was so ill with Covid she had to be placed into a coma woke up seven weeks later - to discover she had given birth to her baby girl.

Laura Ward fell ill with the virus while pregnant with daughter Hope, but her condition deteriorated so much she underwent an emergency C-section at 31 weeks.

Hope, who weighed just 3lb 7oz spent five weeks on the neonatal unit at Royal Bolton Hospital, and is now fit and healthy at 10lb 7oz.

Laura says she has no recollection of Hope being born, and woke up in hospital almost two months later to see her daughter lying next to her.

Laura's baby daughter has been named Hope, and after spending five weeks on the NICU she is fight and healthy. Credit: MEN Media

The 33-year-old from Tyldesley in Wigan, said: "It’s amazing what happens when you fall asleep for seven weeks, and then you can’t move.

"It’s quite upsetting when you can’t hold your baby, and you can’t move and you can’t even speak to her so she can’t hear your voice it’s just very, very upsetting."

The Tyldesley Primary School teaching assistant first began to feel unwell when she finished for the summer holidays with "a bit of a cough".

Despite a lateral flow test showing negative, when her symptoms got worse the next day, she decided to get a PCR, which came back as positive.

After isolating Laura began to struggle to breathe, and after calling 111 for advice, she was told to go to hospital.

Her condition continued to worsen in hospital and she was sent to maternity to check on her baby, where she was told they may have to deliver early.

Laura says the last thing she remembers is arriving back on the Covid ward, and despite since being told that she nodded her head to give consent to an emergency C-section, she has no memory of the moment.

Her partner John Leece was called to the hospital but, due to Covid restrictions, was not allowed into the theatre.

The mum woke on 30 September, two weeks before Hope's due date, to find discover she had given birth early.

She said: “When I found out I’d had Hope, when John told me - when I woke up, in my mind I still had the feeling I had her inside me, and to be told I’d already had her I felt quite emotional because I felt I’d missed it. I’d missed all the first things like the first bath, the first everything.

“You want to be the one bringing her home, showing the world this is my new addition to the family, it was very emotional, and it still is when I think about it.”

Baby Hope was born weighing just 3lb 7oz, and after five weeks in NICU now weights 10lb 7oz. Credit: MEN Media

John, 37, was among the family and friends who would regularly chat via FaceTime to Laura while she was in the coma, not knowing whether she could hear them or not.

He did not want to name their baby - referring to her only as 'baby girl' until they could both agree on a name - and has kept a scrapbook of things the children have done while their mum has been in hospital.

Laura, who had no underlying health conditions other than gestational diabetes, did not have the Covid vaccination earlier in her pregnancy as initially it was not recommended for pregnant women.

By the time she was offered it, it was too late. Now however Laura says she would recommend the jab to any pregnant women.

"I'd say just get it," she said. "I wouldn't wish what's happened to me on anyone and it's better to be safe than sorry."

Laura says she would urge everyone to get the vaccine.

Laura was initially treated at the Royal Bolton, but was later sent to Wythenshawe Hospital where she spent 35 days of her coma on an ECMO machine - the highest level of life support.

John, and Laura's parents Lynn and Bill, were told it was "the last resort".

"My family were obviously panicking," she said. "The doctors and nurses clearly thought it's not looking good.

"John has managed to keep everyone upbeat about it though. He was telling them 'she's not giving up and neither are we' and 'let's keep positive, we're not going to lose her, she's going to be fine'."

After five weeks in Wythenshawe Laura returned to Bolton's intensive care unit where she eventually came out of her coma.

From there she was transferred to Trafford General, where she has since been rehabilitating with intense physiotherapy and occupational therapy - with the goal of returning home for Christmas.

Credit: MEN Media

Laura had tracheostomy and feeding tubes fitted and was unable to speak for two weeks. She has since had to learn how to do almost everything all over again.

She said: "I was just lying in bed at first and not able to move at all. I tried really hard to lift my arms but I just couldn't.

"It was frustrating because I couldn't speak, but because I couldn't move my arms or hands, I wasn't able to write anything down that I wanted to say either.

"I had to learn to feed myself, brush my teeth, all the things you learn as a toddler, it's like learning everything all over again."

Laura also saw the muscles in her legs deteriorate, and only began to walk again at the beginning of December, first with a frame and then holding the hand of her three-year-old son William.

As well as thanking the staff at the hospitals she's been treated at, Laura, who hopes to return to her job at the primary school when William starts there in September, wants to thank her family, including parents Lynn and Bill, cousin Kirstie Atkinson and friend Emma Chatwood for all their support.

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