A mum who thought she was going to die after contracting COVID-19 is encouraging pregnant women to not put off getting their vaccine.
Lucy Smith, from Thornaby, in Stockton-on-Tees, was planning on getting her COVID vaccine after giving birth to her baby girl as she was worried about what the side effects would be for her and her daughter.
But, a week after being recommended the jab, she was rushed into The James Cook University Hospital with the virus at 36 weeks pregnant, after experiencing shortness of breath.
The 18-year-old became increasingly more ill and medical teams at the Middlesbrough hospital were required to perform an emergency caesarean, days after she was admitted, before placing her on a ventilator.
“It was really scary, I didn’t know what would happen to me and my baby,” Lucy said. “I was in the maternity unit for four days before my lungs collapsed.
“They did an emergency C-section and then put me straight on a ventilator, meaning I didn’t get to see my baby, Billie Rae.
“When I was in ICU I didn’t know where I was, I thought I was going to die.”
After spending four weeks in the hospital’s intensive care unit Lucy started to recover, was moved to another ward and was reunited with her daughter.
“I’d seen a photograph of a baby and I hadn’t realised she was mine.
“When I got to see her in the delivery suite, I got to hold her for the first time, it was really emotional, I cried.”
Lucy, who is back at home with her family and getting stronger every day, is now urging pregnant women to follow their midwife’s advice and get the life-saving jab.
“Get it done,” she said. “It’s really not worth the risk of not getting it. I nearly died.”
Since being discharged and spending quality time with her daughter, Lucy is planning on booking her vaccine.
Deepika Meneni, South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s clinical director for obstetrics, said: “We are so glad to hear both Lucy and her beautiful baby girl, Billie Rae, are doing well and are now able to spend very important bonding time together.
“We would highly recommend that mums-to-be get their COVID-19 vaccine as it’s the best way to keep both them and their babies protected against becoming seriously unwell.
“If you have questions or are undecided, please talk to your midwife, obstetrician or GP, we are here to help support you making a decision based on the best available evidence and information.”