Father, 32, who was placed in a coma with Covid on the day his wife gave birth to their son reveals he first met his baby five weeks later in a hospital corridor
This photograph captures the touching moment a doting father met his five-week-old son for the first time, after he was placed into a coma with Covid on the day his wife gave birth.
Factory worker Andrew Allen, 32, from Bolton, was put into a medically induced coma by doctors on July 28 last year, just hours after his wife Charlotte, 32, gave birth to their baby boy Oliver.
Two weeks later Andrew woke up in the hospital’s high dependency ward and laid eyes on a photograph of his five-year-old daughter Imogen holding baby Oliver, but it was a further three weeks before he could see him face-to-face.
Their first meeting took place in the hospital corridor when Andrew was transferred to a different ward.
This photograph captures the touching moment Andrew met his five-week-old son Oliver for the first time, after he was placed into a coma with Covid on the day his wife gave birth
Father-of-two Andrew, pictured leaving hospital, was put into a medically induced coma by doctors on July 28, just hours after his wife Charlotte gave birth to their baby boy Oliver. Pictured, Andrew and wife Charlotte with daughter Imogen, five, and newborn baby Oliver
He recalled: ‘That was the first time I’d met Oliver. It was overwhelming. It was not just the fact that I’d seen my son for the first time, but I’d not seen my daughter at that point for about three and a half weeks as well.
‘I spend pretty much every day that I’m not at work with my daughter. So, it was very overwhelming.’
Andrew first developed symptoms on July 19, shortly after his first jab.
A colleague at the aerospace engineering firm where worked tested positive and over the next 10 days, Andrew lost his sense of smell and began having vomiting and diarrhoea.
He initially had a negative PCR test and hoped it might just be a bug but soon realised it had to be Covid.
He said: ‘I lost my smell and taste after having the negative, a day later, so I was thinking in my head: “It’s got to be Covid, this. I don’t know how it could be anything else?”‘
Andrew first developed symptoms on July 19, shortly after his first jab and his condition eventually deteriorated to the point he was placed in an induced coma, missing the birth of his son. Pictured, Andrew with baby Oliver after recovering
On July 27, retail worker Charlotte went into hospital to have their baby. Andrew, who was bedbound at home, said he only vaguely remembers her leaving.
He said: ‘I vaguely remember saying “bye” to Charlotte as she left to go to the hospital, and I remember being quite upset that I wasn’t going with her.
‘But I was so poorly that I sort of just fell asleep again and I wasn’t really aware of what was going on.’
At 5:25 the next morning, his wife gave birth to their healthy baby boy.
Hours later Andrew was rushed to hospital when his mother grew concerned about his breathing.
He continued: ‘My mum came in on Wednesday morning. She rang for an ambulance, and the paramedics listen to my breathing over the phone.
Andrew and Oliver’s first meeting (pictured) took place in the hospital corridor when Andrew was transferred to a different ward
After being moved down from the hospital’s high dependency unit, kind staff arranged for the pair to meet in person in the hospital corridor (above)
Andrew is pictured meeting his newborn son with his five-year-old daughter Imogen after being placed into a medically induced coma for three weeks
‘I wasn’t breathing properly. My mum described it as like a “death rattle”. I was severely unwell. My oxygen stats were at 35, which apparently is very, very low and one of the worst cases they’ve ever seen.
‘I remember trying to tell the paramedics that my son had been born. But I kept getting told off for taking my oxygen mask off.’
Andrew was ventilated and put into a medically induced coma on the day he arrived in hospital.
When he woke up two weeks later, on August 11, he caught sight of a picture of his daughter, Imogen, 5, and baby Oliver.
Andrew said he was ‘gutted’ to have missed his son’s birth.
He added: ‘There was a picture that the nurses had put up for me and it was my little girl, and she was holding a baby. At the time, I just remember thinking: “That must be the baby!”
Andrew, Charlotte and their two children are pictured enjoying the festive period last year after Andrew left hospital
‘I knew I would miss the birth when I got Covid, and I was gutted. I was in and out of consciousness, so I wasn’t aware when he was born. But I was disappointed when I found out afterwards that I had missed it.’
For the next three weeks, frustrated Andrew was kept under observation, separated from his family, as he slowly began to recover.
Now back in full-time work and living with his family, Andrew’s breathing has since improved, but he explained there’s still a long way to go before he reaches full fitness.
He added: ‘I’m still nowhere near 100 percent. I think I lost about 25kgs in about five weeks while being in hospital.
‘I’m now building my muscle back up, and I’m back at work full time, but at the end of each day, I always feel tired.’