Pregnancy during COVID-19: When things don’t go to plan

Sarah was 32 weeks pregnant when lockdown started in the UK in March. Her baby due on 17th May, Sarah went to hospital on the 4th due to pain in the scar of her previous caesarean section. Here, she shares her story of the medical emergency that led to her son’s birth, during a nationwide lockdown.

I’d felt some pain in my scar, so decided to go to hospital as I was worried about a rupture. Upon arrival my husband was asked to leave due to the Covid situation, so I was alone. This was terrifying as we live 45 minutes away from the hospital, so I was worried he would miss the birth of our son. He had already missed several fortnightly growth scans.

Initially, they said it couldn’t be a uterine rupture as these were so rare. I admitted to a ward but I was in so much pain I almost passed out – the level of pain I was in was triggering the contraction monitor! They told me to try and hang on for 12 hours so they could administer a second steroid injection, but that never happened…

In the early hours of the morning I was assessed again, I was in so much pain despite exhausting my pain relief options. I was assessed, and my baby’s heart rate was accelerated so I was taken into theatre. My husband was called at 3am with the news “you need to get here ASAP, things have taken a serious turn”

I suffered a uterine rupture in theatre, before my husband arrived. He was racing to the hospital after being told they didn’t know if me or the baby would survive. Luckily he arrived to see our son born at 5:52am on 5th May.

However, it took them until 7:43am to stabilise me enough to move me into recovery. I was barely aware that my husband had arrived as I was in and out of consciousness due to the blood loss. Even after this level of trauma, he had to leave us in the hospital by 6pm due to the Covid rules about visitors. I spent my first night alone despite being seriously unwell.

Sarah’s husband Carl sums up the events simply, “There was a lot of blood” which I think paints a nice visual image for us all!

Sarah rounds off her story with, “it wasn’t fun babe” which frankly I think is the understatement of the century at this point.

Alfie has since been diagnosed with occular albinism and nystagmus, more information about this can be found on the RNIB website. Sarah is grateful that her experience with getting a face to face appointment and therefore a diagnosis was relatively straightforward. Even with limited face to face appointments, they were seen 4 weeks after the referral to the eye clinic.

Despite a rocky and dramatic entrance to the world, I’m pleased to say that Alfie and Sarah are both doing great. Sarah even completed the virtual London Marathon earlier this month and will run next year in London for action on pre-eclampsia

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