A FIRST-TIME mother sobbed as she feared both she and her baby would die shortly before an emergency C-section at 29 weeks after her oxygen levels dropped dramatically last summer.
The traumatic drama – that led to a happy ending with mother and baby daughter Grace survived the ordeal – airing this week on UKTV’s W channel.
His new flies-on-the-wall series, Nurses On The Ward, follows the day-to-day lives of staff at Portsmouth’s Queen Alexandra Hospital.
But for Jasmine Bradley, 30, who lives in Basingstoke with her husband Mark, 32, and Grace, now eight months old, the birth nightmare haunts her to this day.
She began feeling unwell last July but a few days later her condition worsened and the mother-to-be was taken to Basingstoke’s emergency department.
There she was told she had tested for Covid but as she was only 29 weeks pregnant she was transferred to Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth.
Shortly after arriving, Jasmine’s oxygen levels dropped dramatically and she was taken to intensive care where a scan revealed the Covid had progressed to pneumonia.
She exclusively told The Sun: “I was in so much pain but all I thought was I didn’t want to give birth so soon because you hear so many horror stories.
“But the chest pains got so bad and tests showed I had pneumonia.
“I’m only 5’7” and the bump got so big my lungs couldn’t take it anymore.
“They couldn’t drop down to get oxygen.”
But instead of getting better, Jasmine continued to deteriorate rapidly and concerned doctors told her she would need to have an emergency C-section and then be put on a ventilator to help her breathe properly.
Jasmine admits that at that point she feared she was going to die.
“I was so scared, scared and burst into tears,” she says today.
“The counselor told me I wasn’t getting better and that the only option was to have a cesarean and then put on a ventilator.
“There was really panic and I was afraid I would never meet my baby.
“I thought 100 percent I was going to go on the ventilator and never wake up.
“I thought I was going to die. Then even more panic set in and I remember asking if my baby was okay.
“They kept reassuring me, but I was also scared for them.
“At the time, I wanted to find out what we had.
“I didn’t want to because we wanted a surprise, but the reality was I might not wake up.
“They told me I was going to have a little girl, which was a real surprise as I was convinced I was going to have a boy!”
i thought i was going to die
Feeling alone and vulnerable, Jasmine was then forced to say goodbye to her family.
“I asked if Mark could witness the birth but because of Covid that was completely taken away from us,” she says.
“Mark was allowed to accompany me to the OR in full PPE and then we had to say goodbye.
“I also had to say goodbye to my parents on Facetime before the c-section.
“They were so strong, but I was so upset.”
Twenty minutes later, on July 24, 2021, Jasmine gave birth to baby girl Grace at three pounds, three ounces.
“She was then referred to a neonatal unit and I was put on a ventilator,” Jasmine recalls.
“Mark was able to see her two and a half hours after she was born.
“I was out on Saturday and Sunday and stopped by late Monday afternoon.
“The first thing I asked the nurses was if they could confirm that I had had a girl. They assured me: “Yes, of course”.
“Because I was Covid positive and they had to wait to make sure Grace hadn’t contracted Covid (luckily she didn’t catch it) I wasn’t able to see her until late Tuesday afternoon.
“When I first saw her, it was a mixture of feelings.
“She was so beautiful and gorgeous, but I also felt guilty that she was there for me. ”
Unfortunately for Jasmine, the Covid restrictions meant she had to wait five days before she could hold baby Grace.
“I cried so much holding her,” she admits. “I was happy that I was alive and that she was okay, but I was also very sad that that instant connection where they put the baby on you had been taken away from me.”
Jasmine was released from hospital after an 11-day stay, but Grace wasn’t allowed home until she was six weeks old.
“Babies don’t know how to suckle, swallow and breathe until they’re 34 weeks old, so she was in the hospital for six weeks,” she explains.
“It was very hard and leaving your baby every night is something you never want to do but you trusted the nurses and they were absolutely amazing.
“I can’t thank them enough.”
She says the day Grace came home, now five pounds, with her and Mark was such a happy milestone and now eight and a half months later they are both doing very well.
“Grace is now 15 pounds and amazes me every day,” says Jasmine, beaming.
“She is so relaxed and such a happy baby. She smiles all the time.
“Mark is just as smitten and loves being able to ask him how his girls are!”
And although Jasmine, who works as an HR manager, is now taking her maternity leave, she says the trauma of what happened is still there today.
“I love being a mom and I’ve tried to push it away,” she admits, “but the trauma I experienced is still there.
“It’s not the birth story I wanted but like people say never have a birth plan!”
Praising the NHS staff, she added: “The staff have been amazing and everyone who has looked after me has been so lovely.
“But yes, despite everything, I would like to have more children over time. I would like Grace to have a sibling.”
Nurses On The Ward starts Thursday April 21 at 8pm on W. Catch up on UKTV Play.
https://www.thesun.ie/health/8672563/i-didnt-think-id-ever-meet-my-daughter/ I didn’t think I would ever meet my daughter after my oxygen levels went down and I was taken for a traumatic cesarean