A woman couldn’t remember giving birth to her son after falling ill with Covid, and had to learn to walk, talk and eat again after waking from a three-week coma.
Erem Ali, 29, was 31 weeks pregnant when she admitted herself to Royal Surrey County Hospital in Guilford, Surrey, after struggling to breathe.
Ms Ali was unable to feel her baby moving and suspected she might have caught coronavirus.
Her infection with Covid-19 was quickly confirmed by doctors, but her condition worsened so much she had to be put into an induced coma.
As a result, her baby boy needed to be born five weeks early and was delivered via an emergency C-section on 2 February last year.
Zorayz Ali, now eight months old, weighed just 4lbs and 2oz when he was born, just before his mum was put into a three-week coma.
However, Ms Ali said she has no memory of the birth and did not meet her son when he was born.
‘I don’t remember anything’
Ms Ali said she started to get a cough in January 2021 which led to a tight feeling in her chest, but she “thought it was the baby pushing up”.
When she couldn’t feel her baby moving anymore, she went to Royal Surrey County Hospital, Guildford, to find out what was wrong, and was quickly rushed into isolation after discovering she had Covid-19.
After a week in hospital, her condition deteriorated and she was placed on a ventilator to help with her breathing.
Doctors chose to deliver her baby via an emergency C-section and she was later placed in an induced coma after her lungs collapsed, and was transferred to St Thomas’ Hospital in Westminster, London.
“I don’t remember anything about the birth,” she said. “I just remember waking up three and half weeks later and being told I had a baby.
“I was so delirious and confused.
"It was really hard for my husband Junaid as he couldn’t come and see me and couldn’t be there for the birth."
Due to her infection, she was kept in a different hospital from her son meaning she did not get to meet her baby boy for five weeks.
The 29-year-old said: “I didn’t have any memory of the c-section or giving birth. It was horrific.
“I was still struggling to breathe, and I wasn’t allowed to see my baby.
“Seeing him for the first time after over a month was so relieving, but I feel sad that I missed out on the first part of his life.”
“It was a very special moment but really hard that I was only just seeing him for the first time.
"He didn’t look fresh out of the womb but he was still quite small as he was premature. He was wiggling around already and opening his eyes.
“It was so surreal, but I was just so glad to see that he was OK.”
Learning to walk and talk again
Ms Ali was woken from the coma on 22 February after three weeks, but she still struggled to breathe by herself and suffered from blood clots, bloating and constipation, which led doctors to discover she had a bowel obstruction.
She had to have a laparoscopy to put a medical mesh in her abdomen to hold it together and was so weak that she had to learn to walk, talk and eat again.
She explained: “I was so weak I had to be hoisted up and no one could come and see me. I had to wave to my husband through the window.
“At first I couldn’t speak, but I was very determined to get better.
“They called me a miracle for how quickly I bounced back.”
After only two weeks in rehab, the new mum was able to come home to her husband Junaid, 31, and their children Ariya, five, and Zakaryia, two, but admits she still struggles with symptoms.
She said: “I still struggle talking sometimes.
“My voice is now quite quiet so people have to get close to hear me and I am on painkillers daily.
“But I am just so glad my baby and I survived. It’s so terrifying how close to death I was.
"I wish I had been able to have the vaccine when this happened to me. But it was too early on in the vaccine roll out.
"Now I have been double jabbed. I now urge pregnant women to get it because it could save your life.
"I don’t want anyone to go through what I have."
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