Rachel, from Bilston, is now urging others to have the vaccine - particularly those in Black and Minority Ethnic communities who are reluctant.
The 38-year-old mother of one, who was admitted to New Cross Hospital after suffering Covid symptoms when she was 19 weeks pregnant, became so ill she didn’t even know she had given birth.
“I was heavily sedated a lot of the time and from what I’m told by my family, my chances weren’t looking very good,” added Rachel.
“They were trying to get the baby to survive to 28 weeks but unfortunately, at 24 weeks, my son was born stillborn.
“I didn’t actually know I had given birth. I was on drugs so they wanted to tell me when I wasn’t sedated, and the obstetrician informed me a few days later.
“My emotions were disbelief – one minute you’re having a scan and a gender reveal, naming the baby and getting excited and then there was this sudden loss.
“I was only able to see him once. Normally I’d have been able to spend a lot more time with him and to hold him. But I didn’t get to do that because of the circumstances.
“It was very difficult for my partner (Austin) because he was suffering too. He’d just lost his child, I was in a coma and then when I came round, I was in hospital for another two-and-a-half months. I’ve got an 18-year-old so it was an awful time for him as well.
“We’re all devastated at our loss. We were all very excited at this new life then we were left with nothing.”
After so long in hospital and having suffered the loss of her son, Rachel had new challenges to face.
“The coma had paralysed me – I literally couldn’t stand, so I couldn’t walk, and I lost my voice for a month because of the trachea,” she added.
“I had to have physio. I was on three different types of life support and dialysis. It’s not something I would want anyone to go through.
“It’s affected my ability to do everyday tasks, I’ve had to have time off work, it’s not just caused damage to my life but other people’s as well. It’s made me appreciate my life a lot more.”
Rachel wanted to have the vaccine when she was pregnant, but at the time there was still uncertainty over whether expectant women should have it.
“I did initially go to get the vaccine, but at the time the advice was not to have it,” she said.
“I thought I’d have the vaccine when I’d had the baby, but it wasn’t meant to be.”
Rachel is now fully vaccinated and wants anyone who isn’t to do likewise, especially those in Black and Minority Ethnic communities.
“I would say take it. It’s a two-minute thing that can save months of agony if you end up like I was,” she urged.
“It’s really important. In the news it says there’s quite a low take-up – it would appear black and ethnic minority women, if they’re pregnant and unvaccinated, are more likely to be in intensive care. The evidence and data is there.”
Rachel also wants to acknowledge the care and support she has had from the staff who looked after her.
“New Cross Hospital has been very supportive. I had a bereavement midwife who organised everything for me,” she said.
“I was really thankful for the care and all their expertise. It could have been totally different because not only was my son being buried, but I could have been as well. So I am very grateful to them.
“I’d like to say a big thank you to all the nurses and doctors on ICCU and everyone at Glenfield Hospital.
“The staff brought Jaxon to ICCU and I’ve been given a special book with his handprints, and they also helped with funeral arrangements.”
Amazingly, one of Rachel’s cousins, Shem McLeod, was also pregnant, caught Covid and was in a coma around the same time, but her story had a happier ending as her baby son survived.
“She went through exactly the same as me and we supported each other throughout,” said Rachel. “It’s unfortunate we had to go through that but at least we got to share it.”