Claire Trusson, 37, welcomed her first child in circumstances she never could have expected, giving birth in a bereavement room while suffering from coronavirus.
The first-time mum became pregnant after having IVF following two years of struggling to start a family with her husband Murray Mitchell, 33.
She was overjoyed to finally be pregnant, but just weeks before she was due she began to experience cold symptoms and went into isolation.
Claire tested positive for the virus just one week before she gave birth to baby Jake six weeks before his due date – in the bereavement delivery room, as doctors had to keep her isolated and away from other mothers on the ward.
Performer Claire, from Carshalton in Sutton, said: ‘I found out this week that that’s the bereavement room – that’s where they put families with their stillborn babies so they can have some time with them.
‘They have a memorial clock on the wall, and because I was timing my contractions when I was first in there, I spent a lot of time staring at that clock.
‘I found it quite comforting in a way – it’s so full of love.
‘I did think at one point, “it’s a strange choice to have a memorial clock in a room where women are labouring.’
‘But in the scheme of things, I am super lucky – I’m well, he’s well and really it’s amazing.’
After struggling to conceive for two years, Claire and Murray received IVF on the NHS and had a single egg implanted in August 2019. It worked out and Claire fell pregnant with her first child.
Then on 15 March, weeks before her first child was due, Claire began experiencing a persistent cough.
After experiencing contractions for 24 hours she was admitted to St Helier Hospital, Carshalton.
She informed staff of her symptoms before entering the hospital, and was isolated with her husband in the bereavement suite – to keep them away from others.
Claire was sent home after two days to wait for her Covid-19 results, with painkillers for the early labour pain.
A day later the test came back positive and Claire and Murray were told to isolate for 14 days.
However a week later, on 30 March, Claire’s contractions became more frequent, and she returned to the same hospital.
By the time she made it back to the isolated bereavement suite, the midwife could see the baby’s head.
Claire said: ‘I didn’t want to go back into hospital.
‘I knew from when I had been there, I felt like a bit of a drain on them.
‘They’ve got babies rushing in and you’ve got the midwives stuck in with me having to peel off their PPE and wash their hands ten times.
‘Midwives need to be able to run in and out and help people when they need to help people.’
Thankfully, Claire was able to safely give birth to a boy, Jake.
On the way home from hospital, Jake met his grandmother Angela and uncle David through the car window.
Now Claire and Murray are quickly adjusting to life as new parents, while also still remaining in isolation due to coronavirus.
Claire said: ‘Every little sneeze and every little cough and every little cry, I jump on him like “oh god, you’ve got coronavirus”.
‘It sounds really reckless, but it’s really hard to look after a baby and them not see your face – and I didn’t really have any face masks.
‘I just had the one they gave me in the hospital which is a disposable one – after a couple of days it is soggy and wet, and probably full of germs.
‘I don’t even know how to make a face mask.
‘I’m just trying not to breathe on him.’
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