A mother who was placed in an induced coma for 17 days after catching COVID while 21 weeks pregnant says she’ll never forget the moment she found out her baby was still alive.
Laura Curtis gave birth to her daughter Demi at the Rotunda Hospital on July 14th – just months after being rushed to intensive care after being diagnosed with the virus.
On The Hard Shoulder this evening, she said the last thing she remembers before being put to sleep was a doctor telling her that if it came to it, they would prioritise her life over her baby’s.
She said the virus came on very quickly after she first tested positive.
“Basically, in a nutshell, back in March, I got COVID,” she said.
“I tested positive on a Saturday, by the Wednesday I was in Beaumont Hospital and on the next Saturday, I was rushed to ICU where I spent 17 nights in an induced coma on a ventilator at 21 weeks pregnant.
“So yeah, not the best route to go down while pregnant, let me tell you.”
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She said the baby was all she was thinking about when she was first admitted to hospital.
“They were doing blood tests and I was just saying to them, is my baby OK, is my baby OK,” she said.
“They had one of those small monitors that they can check the belly to make sure the heartbeat is still there, so the nurse did that for me and she said yeah everything’s OK.
“But then they told me I had to get an X-Ray and obviously it is not recommended to get an x-ray when you are pregnant so I panicked then.
“They basically said to me Laura you don’t really have an option because if you have clots on your lungs from COVID, never mind the baby, you won’t make it.
“Then it kind of got a bit real and when I was transferred to the high dependency unit because every oxygen machine they put me on wasn’t satisfying - it wasn’t helping me - so they kept improving my oxygen, kept putting me on bigger machines, higher doses and then I started to panic.”
She said her boyfriend Robbie Dalton was allowed into the hospital when they were taking her to ICU.
“The only thing I remember them saying to me was Laura, you’re 21 weeks pregnant, it is not a viable pregnancy until it is 24 weeks so, if I have to make the decision, I am going to try and save your life.
“So, I went into hysterics and that was the last thing I remember, I was put to sleep straight away.
“I was put into an induced coma for 17 nights and that was the last conversation I had.”
Laura said that, when she woke up, she thought her baby was gone.
She said Robbie was at her bedside when she woke up.
“The first thing I said to him when I turned to him was, ‘oh, you know I am not pregnant anymore.’
“He kind of looked at me and I said the baby’s gone and he said no you’re still pregnant.
He played her a phone recording of the baby’s heartbeat and told her: “The baby’s doing fine, the baby’s doing great – there’s nothing to worry about.”
“It’s something I’ll never forget,” she said. “I couldn’t believe it. I still can’t believe it. I still can’t believe she made it through it all. I couldn’t believe it because I thought she was gone; I didn’t think I was still pregnant."
Demi is four weeks old today and doing great.
“Like they say the woman’s body is amazing,” said Laura. “But how she survived and thrived so well when I was so sick … I was prone on my belly for 16 hours a day to give my lungs a break and support my lungs.
“You’re not meant to be on your belly when you’re pregnant and I was on it for 16 hours a day for 17 days.
“The fact she has come out of it and she is great there is not a bother on her … Ten fingers, ten toes.”
Laura said she wanted to tell her story to thank the doctors and nurses at Beaumont Hospital and the Rotunda Hospital.
“The people who cared for me were absolutely amazing and without them, myself and Demi my little girl wouldn’t be here,” she said.
“So yeah, I’m just very grateful to everyone who looked after me and just a word of warning that you can’t be too safe.”
You can listen back here:
Main image shows Laura Curtis and Robbie Dalton with their newborn baby daughter Demi.