An unvaccinated mother who gave birth to her son while she was in a coma battling Covid met him for the first time on a video call app while she was still fighting the virus.
Sophie Byrne, from Dovecot, didn’t know her son Joseph had been delivered by caesarean section until she regained consciousness days later.
The 28-year-old, who had no underlying health conditions, had put off getting the vaccine because of concerns surrounding how safe it was for expectant mothers and was hoping to get jabbed after she had given birth.
But she contracted the deadly virus and spent nine weeks in the Royal Liverpool Hospital, eventually being placed on a ventilator after her condition deteriorated.
When she regained consciousness, she was able to meet Joseph over Facetime a few weeks after he was born but the young mother says she was so heavily sedated, she barely remembers it.
It wasn’t until six weeks after she had given birth that she was able to hold her son Joseph for the first time.
Sophie Byrne (pictured), an unvaccinated mother who gave birth to her son while she was in a coma battling Covid, met him for the first time on Facetime while she was fighting the virus
A team from Liverpool Women’s Hospital had to be brought into the Royal to deliver her baby 11 weeks early while she was still in the coma.
Baby Joseph was born on August 26 – and the mother-of-three wasn’t even aware her son had been born due to the severity of her condition.
Sophie’s family received an unimaginable call from medical staff who warned them she may not survive the delivery, and Joseph’s father rushed to the hospital to be at her side.
Sophie said: ‘Staff at the Royal informed my family that I might not survive the delivery because I was so weak.
‘They allowed Joseph’s dad to come in and see me but not my parents due to the risk of Covid.’
Joseph was born healthy despite being premature and he was moved onto a neonatal ward while Sophie continued to battle coronavirus on a ventilator.
Sophie’s son Joseph was delivered while the 28-year-old (pictured) was still unconscious
Sophie (top inset) was introduced to Joseph on Facetime while he was still in the neo-natal unit
She said: ‘Although Joseph was born 11 weeks early he was fine. He was in intensive care briefly and then onto a neo -natal ward. ‘
Sophie is now continuing to recover from the virus at home, having spent weeks in intensive care.
The mother-of-three said she is ‘still very weak’, having contracted pneumonia as a complication of her illness.
She said: ‘I had to learn to walk again because I had been in bed for so long. And I had to learn to eat again after undergoing a tracheotomy. It’s been hard and there is a long road ahead.’
Sophie finally got to hold Joseph for the first time on the day she left the Royal.
She said: ‘I got to hold Joseph for the first time on October 4. They let me see Joseph for the first time in mid September through FaceTime. But I was heavily sedated and can’t remember a thing about that day now.’
Mother-of-three Sophie Byrne, 28, says Joseph is the quietest newborn of her three children. Pictured: Amelia (left) and William (right) holding their new baby brother Joseph Byrne
After surviving her terrifying ordeal, Sophie wants to raise awareness of the seriousness of contracting coronavirus and the need to get vaccinated.
She said: ‘Covid nearly killed me and I had no underlying health conditions. I was not vaccinated but that was because I was pregnant.
‘I am now due to be vaccinated soon and can’t wait. People need to take this seriously. I did not doubt Covid existed but did not fully appreciate how devastating it could be.’
Sophie said she had delayed getting the vaccine while she was pregnant due to her own uncertainty regarding coronavirus vaccinations for expectant mothers.
Recent figures from Public Health England show the numbers getting fully vaccinated among mothers-to-be are still low.
The Guardian reports that The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) says just 15 per cent of pregnant women have had two doses of the vaccine so far.
Women have cited many reasons for their reluctance to get jabbed, including a lack of long-term information about the dangers of the vaccine to their child, healthcare providers giving unclear messaging around safety and misinformation being spread on social media.
However, England’s top midwife has urged expectant mothers to get the vaccine after data shows the overwhelming majority of pregnant women hospitalised with the virus have not had a jab.
Now that Sophie is back home with her family, she’s settling into life as a mother-of-three and joked that Joseph is the quietest of all her newborns.
She said: ‘He is very quiet and just likes to sleep really.’
Sophie credited the staff at the city’s Royal Hospital with saving her life, thanking them for delivering her son.