A FIRST-TIME mum sobbed as she feared both she and her baby were going to die moments before undergoing an emergency C-section at 29 weeks, after her oxygen levels dramatically plummeted last summer.
The traumatic drama – which led to a happy ending with both mum and baby daughter Grace surviving the ordeal – will be played out this week on UKTV’s W channel.
Its new fly on the wall series, Nurses On The Ward, follows the everyday lives of staff working at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth.
But for Jasmine Bradley, 30, who lives in Basingstoke with her husband, Mark, 32, and Grace, now eight months, the nightmare birth still haunts her to this day.
She began to feel unwell last July but a few days later, her condition worsened and the soon to be mum was rushed to Basingstoke A&E department.
It was there she was told she had tested for Covid but as she was only 29 weeks pregnant, she was moved to Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth.
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Not long after arriving, Jasmine’s oxygen levels dramatically fell and she was placed in intensive care, where a scan revealed the Covid had led to pneumonia.
She exclusively told The Sun: “I was in so much pain but all I was thinking was I didn’t want to give birth this early because you hear of so many horror stories.
“But the chest pains got so bad and tests revealed I had pneumonia on my lungs.
“I am only five foot two and the bump was pushing up so high, my lungs couldn’t cope.
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“They couldn’t drop to get the oxygen.”
But rather than getting better, Jasmine began to rapidly deteriorate further and worried 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 it was at that point she feared she was going to die.
“I was so frightened, scared and I burst into tears,” she says today.
“The consultant told me I wouldn’t get better and that the only option was to have a C-section and then be put on a ventilator.
“Panic really set in and I feared I was never going to meet my baby.
“100 per cent I thought I would go on the ventilator and never wake up.
“I thought I was going to die. Then more panic set in and I can remember asking if my baby would be ok.
“They kept reassuring me but I was fearing for her too.
“It was then that I wanted to find out what we were having.
“I hadn’t wanted to because we wanted a surprise but the reality was I might not wake up.
“They told me I was having a baby girl, which was a real surprise as I was convinced I was having a boy!”
I thought I was going to die
Feeling alone and vulnerable, Jasmine was then forced to say her goodbyes 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 in full PPE to the operating theatre and then we had to say our goodbyes.
“I also had to say bye before the C-section to my parents on Facetime.
“They were so strong but I was so upset.”
Twenty minutes later on 24 July 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 got to see her two and a half hours after she was born.
“I was out Saturday and Sunday and came round late Monday afternoon.
“The first thing I asked the nurses was if they could confirm I’d had a girl. They reassured me: ‘Yes of course’.
“Because I’d been Covid positive and they had to wait to make sure Grace hadn’t contracted Covid (she didn’t get it thankfully), I couldn’t see her until late Tuesday afternoon.
“When I saw her for the first time, it was a mixture of emotions.
“She was so beautiful and gorgeous but I also felt guilty that she was there because of me. “
Sadly for Jasmine, the Covid restrictions meant she had to wait five days until she could hold baby Grace.
“I cried so much when I held her,” she admits. “I felt happy I was alive and she was doing well but also immense sadness that that instant connection where they lie the baby on you had been taken away from me.”
Jasmine was released from hospital after a 11-day stay but Grace wasn’t allowed home until she was six weeks old.
“Babies don’t know how to suck, swallow and breathe until they are 34 weeks and so she was in hospital for six weeks,” she explains.
“It was very tough and leaving your baby each evening is something you never want to do, but you put the trust in the nurses and they were absolutely incredible.
“I can’t thank them enough.”
She says the day Grace came home, by now five pounds, with both her and Mark, was such a happy milestone and now eight and a half months later, both are doing very well.
“Grace is now 15 pounds and she amazes me every single day,” says Jasmine, beaming.
“She is so chilled and such a happy baby. She smiles all the time.
“Mark is just as smitten and he loves to be able to ask how his girls are doing!”
And although Jasmine, who works as a HR manager, is embracing her maternity leave now, she says the trauma of what happened is still there today.
“I am loving being a mum and I’ve tried to put it to the back of my mind,” she confides, “but the trauma I experienced is still there.
“It’s not the birth story I wanted but there again, as people say, never have a birth plan!”
Praising the NHS staff, she adds: “The staff were incredible and everyone who looked after me were so lovely.
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“But yes, despite everything, I would love more children in time. I would love a sibling for Grace.”
Nurses On The Ward launches Thursday, April 21 at 8pm on W. Catch up on UKTV Play.
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