A mum who caught COVID-19 when she was 30 weeks pregnant is finally home with her now four-month-old son, after doctors feared she wouldn’t survive.
Ellie Wright, 20 from Walsall, West Midlands, was placed in a coma for three weeks after giving birth to her son, Leo James, via emergency C-section.
She remained critically ill with coronavirus and her baby was five weeks old before she was able to meet him, while it took eight weeks before she was strong enough to hold him.
After leaving intensive care, Wright spent another month in rehab but now the new mum has finally returned home and is looking forward to being able to care for her son and enjoy motherhood.
“I am still weak but I can feed him, change him and give him a bath," she says. "I have waited so long to be able to physically care for him.”
When doctors told Wright's family she was unable to breathe by herself, they feared the worst.
Not only did she have to fight off COVID-19 and recover from a C-section, she also battled pneumonia, MRSA and sepsis.
“I’ve also had Kidney dialysis twice and a priest was called to my bedside because at one point they really didn’t think I would pull through," she explains.
“I gave birth to [Leo] asleep, I didn’t wake up from the C-section and I was put in an induced coma.
“I was scared to hold him the first time I could, I was worried he wouldn’t bond with me because I had missed the first few months of his life.
“I didn’t get to see him, I didn’t know what he looked like. We had chosen his name before he was born so people knew what to call him but it has all been a rollercoaster of emotions and a lot to come to terms with.”
She added: “I am sad I missed his first few months, I don’t think I have really processed everything that has happened yet.”
Wright is now recovering and adjusting to life at home with a newborn.
“I am getting better but it will be a long recovery," she says. "I am still on a lot of medication and I am still struggling to walk.
“I have long Covid and I don’t know how long it is going to take me to fully recover.
“I have a lot of muscle wastage, I have been off my feet for so long. I need to do a lot of walking and regain my balance.”
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Returning home gives Wright a chance to get to grips with the usual challenges of parenthood.
“I want to take [Leo] out in his pushchair – it’s still in the box," she says. "I wanted to be the one to set it up and be the one to take my son on his first walk and adventure.
“I love reading to him and he is already babbling away back to me and he loves when I sing him to sleep.
"He was 4lb 4oz born and is now 10lbs and coming on so much.”
Wright wants to thank her partner Chris, her parents and the hospital staff for their support over the past few months.
“Chris is doing so well, he does the night feeds and is doing so much so that I can still rest, and my family and the hospital staff have been amazing,” she says.
Wright, who worked as a sales assistant, still finds it hard to believe she caught coronavirus.
“I was only going to work and coming home. We were all so careful,” she says.
Reflecting on the end of her pregnancy and her near death trauma, Wright says: “I still don’t quite believe it. It feels like it has happened to someone else.
“I hallucinated a lot when I was in the coma and only now when we are talking through things, I realise I heard conversations.
"I know I heard my mum say she wasn’t prepared to bury me, which she said when I was in the coma.
“I am still trying to piece it all together but the nurses started to write a diary for me from when I was admitted so that has helped to fill in the gaps.
"And thankfully I was able to have visitors so I could bond with Leo before I was able to come home," she adds.
Though Wright says she finds it difficult to comprehend everything she's been through, she's looking forward to the future with her son.
“I hope to go to university and study to be a mental health nurse, but for now I am just so glad to be alive and home," she said.
Wright’s mum Michelle says she's thankful to have her daughter home safe.
“We have been through every emotion you could think of," she says. "From absolute hell to pure joy, and I am so proud of Ellie for fighting.
“I am just so relieved she is alive to take over looking after Leo now, there were times when she wasn’t breathing by herself, but now I see her holding her son and it gives me goosebumps.
“She is an incredible mum, she is doing everything she physically can for him and we are helping her to get stronger every day.”
Additional reporting Caters.