A Covid-19 patient who gave birth before going into an induced coma for six weeks has made an “incredible” recovery, according to a specialist rehab facility.
Hajrah Aslam, from Peterborough, gave birth to her first child, Huzayfah, after she caught coronavirus in January when she was 35 weeks pregnant, and went into a coma after her oxygen levels dropped dangerously low.
Ms Aslam, 28, is now recovering with her son, who will be seven months old on Friday, after going through 11 weeks of rehabilitation at Askham Rehab in Cambridgeshire.
“All I could see was my baby boy’s face,” she said.
“I kept on saying his name, even when I was in excruciating pain, I kept on going and going.
“Being a first-time mum, I want to do all the things that mothers do; hold him, play with him. I feel like I’ve missed out from the beginning, but now is the time to make up for that.”
After 11 weeks of rehabilitation therapy, Ms Aslam, who works in insurance, was able to return home to her husband, son, and parents while continuing her recovery.
While at Askham Rehab, Ms Aslam worked on weight-bearing therapy, working on upper limb and lower limb strength, and being able to walk and climb stairs comfortably.
The prolonged time spent in intensive care had caused Ms Aslam to suffer from polyneuropathy – the simultaneous malfunction of peripheral nerves throughout the body, meaning she was unable to move her feet.
“It’s the hardest thing I’ve had to overcome in my life,” Ms Aslam said.
“Everything just came at me at once, emotionally, mentally and physically.”
Ms Aslam told the PA news agency she was able to briefly see her son after she gave birth via Caesarean, however it is a “dream come true” to now be able to see him every day.
“The challenging part was me knowing that I have a baby and I’m a first-time mum – I planned everything, his clothes, his pram… mentally that was the challenging part for me,” she said.
“It’s a dream come true (to see him every day)… I missed out on a big chunk of six months of his life, but I’ve been making up for that now.”
Sara Neaves, clinical lead and outpatients service manager at the rehab centre, said: “When Hajrah arrived at Askham, we really had to start at the basics.
“The key to Hajrah’s amazing progression was her determination, motivation and hard work.
“Due to all these incredible traits, Hajrah was able to leave us much sooner than anyone had initially expected.
“Considering the condition she was in when she arrived, an 11-week discharge is an incredible feat.”
Ms Aslam, who has now had one dose of Covid-19 vaccination, said: “I can now walk up and down the stairs slowly and safely, which is amazing.
“Askham has given me my life back… I’m a mum again and that’s all down to their hard work.”