A mum-to-be caught Covid before giving birth and slipped into a coma on what should have been her wedding day.
Georgia Macey, 30, did not get to meet her newborn baby for five weeks as she fought for her own life.
She tested positive for coronavirus on 17 September last year when she was seven-and-a-half months pregnant with her first child.
Due to “confusing advice” for pregnant women at the time, Georgia had decided not to get vaccinated.
However, she said she was “extremely careful” shielding at home with her fiancé Luke Finch, 32, a mechanic who has asthma.
Georgia tested negative for Covid on lateral flow tests at home, but grew concerned when her health deteriorated.
She called 111 and was advised to go straight to Royal Surrey County Hospital in Guildford where she tested positive.
‘I didn’t know if I’d ever wake up’
Georgia spent an anxious night alone in hospital while being closely monitored by doctors, and the next morning her unborn child’s heart rate started to rapidly increase.
Doctors decided to deliver her daughter via emergency C-section on 18 September amid concerns about her health, and she gave birth to Eliza Georgia Louise Finch six weeks early, weighing 5lbs 8oz.
Eliza spent two weeks in hospital before being discharged and going home with her dad Luke 1 October.
Georgia, a civil servant, said: “It was a scary time. I was so relieved when I heard Eliza’s little cry. I knew she was alive, but I couldn’t hold her because I had Covid and we didn’t want her to catch it.
“I barely got to see her before she was taken away, it was awful.”
Shortly after giving birth, Georgia’s stats started to drop, and she was admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) for two weeks, unable to see her daughter.
The nurses would bring her the blankets that Eliza had been sleeping in so that she could feel closer to her, but she said “it was agony not being able to see or hold her in real life."
Georgia’s health continued to deteriorate and on 30 September - on what was supposed to be her wedding day - she was put into a medically induced coma and on a ventilator.
She explained: “It was devastating, my fiancé came to visit me in hospital in his wedding suit, but I just wasn’t getting better, and I had to be put on a ventilator.
“It was supposed to be one of the happiest days of my life, but I was told I’d have to be put into a coma and I didn’t know if I’d ever wake up and see my daughter again.
“But we didn’t have a choice, the doctors said I was in the worst position I could be in, and 90 per cent of my lungs were damaged.”
‘I had to learn to walk again’
Georgia spent 10 days on a ventilator on life support and when she finally regained consciousness, she was delirious and extremely weak.
The medication she was on caused her to hallucinate and she had to have physiotherapy to learn how to walk again, but she was able to meet her baby girl properly five weeks on.
She said: “I was on so much medication that when I came to, I was hallucinating. I thought the sound of my door opening and closing was gun shot, and that someone was going to kill me and take my baby.
“I couldn’t stand up and had to have a physio to teach me how to walk again.
"The hospital policy was to keep me in isolation for five weeks so I couldn’t see my baby.
"I met Eliza on the 24th October, two weeks after I’d woken up from the coma and five weeks after she’d been born. I was so weak but it was amazing to see Luke and Eliza at last.
“It was extremely emotional. I was still very weak, and it was difficult to hold her, but it was the best feeling in the world to finally meet her.”
Georgia was discharged from hospital on 9 November 2021 and she is now at home with Luke and Eliza at their home in Cranleigh, near Guildford.
She is still dealing with the long lasting effects of her battle with Covid and said she’s had blood clots, and no longer has a working spleen due to all the medication she was on.
She continues to have regular appointments at the hospital to check on her heart and lungs, and is in touch with another woman who went through a similar ordeal for emotional support.
The couple rearranged their wedding and tied the knot on 24 February, with Eliza as their bridesmaid.
Georgia said: “Everyone was so understanding about our situation so it was quite easy to rearrange the wedding as we just had to change the date.
“It was such an emotional day. We were surrounded by our close family and it was just perfect.
"After everything we’d been through, to finally get married and have Eliza there was amazing."
Georgia’s husband Luke added: "It was the worst time of my life leaving Georgia and Eliza at the hospital. Not being able to be with Eliza and watching Georgia’s condition deteriorate was heart-breaking knowing I might not see either of them again.
"I look at things differently now. I couldn’t be anymore proud of them and how well they have done since.
"Life can be cruel and take everything from you, spend time with one another and make the most of every moment."