A husband was told he had to choose which life to save when his Covid-hit wife gave birth two months early via C-section.
Christina Jones, 39, was diagnosed with the virus earlier this year and, following eight days of isolation, was taken to hospital.
She was 30 weeks pregnant when she was moved to Prince Charles in Merthyr Tydfil, Wales – where her condition began to worsen.
She was ventilated four days after being put on oxygen on the coronavirus ward, prompting staff to call her husband Nick, 45,
They rang him to say that doctors wanted to deliver the baby by emergency C-section, reports WalesOnline.
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Angel was delivered on March 2 (Image: Mark Lewis)
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Christina, from Caerphilly, said: “They said [to Nick]: ‘We need to get this baby out and we need you to come and sign the paperwork’,”
“They needed to put me on my tummy to inflate my lungs – that’s why they had to get the baby out – and they couldn’t give me the drugs that I needed.”
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Nick was then met by a surgeon and grief counsellor at the hospital following the phone call.
“Clearly it’s not a good thing when you’re met by a grief counsellor and taken to one side. I thought she’d gone at that point,” he said.
Nick said the surgeon told him the only option they had to save Christina’s life was to deliver the baby.
“He said: ‘Your wife is as ill as you can possibly get’, Nick recalled.
“Before she went into surgery they said if we can save one I had to choose. I said it would be my wife.”
Dad Nick gives his daughter Angel a kiss
Nick was met by a grief counsellor – when he knew the situation was dire (Image: Mark Lewis)
Under the exceptional circumstances Nick said a grief counsellor told him he could go into the room, wearing a hazmat suit with an oxygen generator, to speak to Christina, who was in a coma.
“At that point, how ill Chris looked, I really thought it was going to take a miracle,” he added
The couple’s daughter was delivered via a C-section on March 2. She was born weighing just 3lbs 6oz.
“All she had was a heartbeat. She was lifeless,” Christina – who is also stepmother to Nicky, 15, and mum to daughter Honey, 10 – said.
“They said surgery would be quick but they had me in there for three hours because they couldn’t stop me bleeding.”
Nick said their daughter was not initially breathing when she was born and was then taken away to a separate room as she had been born to a Covid-positive mother.
He was allowed to put on PPE to see his newborn daughter through the glass of the incubator where she had been put on a ventilator.
The baby was transferred to The Grange Hospital in Cwmbran for five days.
All the while new dad Nick was unable to see his daughter as she required two negative Covid tests.
Angel and Christina
Nick said Christina is an “extremely good mother” (Image: Mark Lewis)
The hospital shared daily pictures of her through vCreate, a secure video messaging service used by the NHS to connect families, patients, and clinical teams.
“It was really nice. Because I couldn’t see her I felt a bit more in touch with her at that point,” Nick said.
“When she was in the Grange my husband was ringing to see how she was and they were calling her Baby 41-whatever,” Christina said.
Businessman Nick and the family decided to name the baby Angel Grace Hope Jones with ‘Angel’ being a temporary name at first.
“My little girl, who’s only 10 years old, sent me a text message when I was sleeping saying: ‘Mummy, you’re not going to see this when you’re sleeping but when you wake up the baby’s name is Angel but you can change it if you want’,” Christina said.
When Nick told his wife the temporary name of the baby Christina thought it was “beautiful” and decided to keep it.
As well as being unable to see his newborn daughter Nick was also unable to see his wife while she remained gravely ill in hospital.
“He had me in Prince Charles ventilated – couldn’t see me – Angel in the Grange, ventilated – couldn’t see her – and he had to come home and tell my other kids that mummy might not come home because they didn’t think I was going to make it,” Christina said.
Nick requested that he FaceTime Christina, who was still in a coma, but nurses didn’t think she would respond.
“I FaceTimed and called her and as I called her her eyes – don’t get me wrong, one fell to the left and one fell to the right – she opened her eyes,” Nick said.
Angel is now back at home and said to be doing well (Image: Mark Lewis)
“You could see she was totally lost and not quite in reality but the minute that happened I started feeling: ‘Wow, she’s still in there.’ I believed at that point she was going to get better.”
By the time Christina woke up on March 8 baby Angel had been transferred back to Prince Charles Hospital.
Before she was transferred Nick was able to spend 10 minutes with his daughter.
He said: “I looked at her and she was so skinny. She was sort of translucent. Her whole hand was the size of the top of my thumb.”
But Christina, who works on the accounts for car sales business Carrera Cars, Aberdare, which is run by Nick, was unable to see her daughter until the newborn was two weeks old.
“When I woke up they gave me a picture of the baby and I didn’t even remember I was pregnant, didn’t even know the baby was mine,” she said.
Christina remained in the ICU for five days where she says she had to learn to walk again.
“I literally couldn’t do anything. I had been in bed for so long I had muscle wastage,” she continued.
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“I couldn’t see the baby because they were testing me and I was still testing positive for Covid. I tested positive 33 days altogether.”
Nick and Christina were then able to see their daughter separately but not together.
Due to the period of separation Christina said doctors were concerned that she wouldn’t be able to bond with her baby daughter.
“I’ve wanted a baby for 10 years. They were concerned about whether I was going to bond with her but I’ve wanted this for 10 years,” she said.
Before becoming pregnant with Angel parents Christina and Nick had lost a baby three months into pregnancy about a year ago after doctors could not find a heartbeat.
“If I said to Chris: ‘Would you want to win the lottery or have another child?’ it was also to have another child. That was her dream,” Nick said.
“Christina’s an extremely good mother. She dotes on all our kids.”
Christina praised her treatment at Prince Charles in Wales (Image: Mark Lewis)
Baby Angel is now back at home with her loving family and is said to be doing “amazingly”.
Christina said she still has headaches and feels tired and weak but is now able to walk short distances without getting breathless.
Now eight weeks old, baby Angel’s original due date was on Sunday.
“She’s not due until May 2 – she’s not even supposed to be here yet,” Christina said.
“The last three months has been a daze really. But I’m so grateful that we’re both here because we very nearly weren’t. We nearly lost the two of us.”
Nick also praised the couple’s elder daughter Honey.
He said: “I didn’t keep anything from her without scaring her. I did say: ‘Mum is extremely unwell.’ She needed to be prepared – if things deteriorated worse it would have been the end.
“Angel just started out in life and nearly didn’t get to the starting hurdles and Christina was right at the gates of death but they’ve both bounced back remarkably well.”
Christina said the most difficult part of her experience was being unable to see her family.
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She said: “Out of everything not being able to see my kids was the hardest. Not even the C-section or anything – it was not seeing the kids.
“I had fantastic treatment at Prince Charles – I couldn’t have asked for any better. Even the support since I’ve been home has been wonderful.”
“I’m just over the moon that we’re both here because there are so many people losing their lives. I’m just high on life that we both survived,” she added.
Nick added: “It was incredible to see, when she came out and we all got together, how happy things were.”