'I kept saying his name': First-time mum who slipped into six-week Covid coma after birth makes recovery
- Credit: ASKHAM REHAB
A first-time mum who gave birth hours before falling into a six-week Covid-induced coma is cradling her newborn son once again following a miraculous recovery.
Hajrah Aslam, a 28-year-old insurer caught coronavirus in January 2021 when she was 35 weeks pregnant.
It led to complications and her baby having to be delivered by C-section.
On the same night she gave birth to Huzayfah, Hajrah was put in an induced coma to help relieve her lungs after the virus caused her oxygen levels to drop significantly.
After waking up from her six-week coma in April, Hajrah was taken to Askham Rehab in Doddington to begin her recovery.
She describes the journey the journey as the hardest thing she’s ever had to overcome in her life.
The prolonged time spent in intensive care had caused Hajrah to suffer from polyneuropathy - the malfunction of peripheral nerves throughout the body.
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She was left practically bedbound and unable to move her feet. She also had a grade four pressure ulcer across the whole width of her back.
Upon arrival, Hajrah required specialist treatment from Askham Rehab’s multidisciplinary team.
Following assessments, they set SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound) goals for her.
She was then prescribed a treatment programme, which included weight-bearing, repetition, and hands-on therapy.
A seating regime was used to build on the amount of time Hajrah could sit out of bed.
Electrical stimulation, a technique that uses low-energy electrical pulses to artificially generate body movements, was also used to aid ankle movement.
Sara Neaves, clinical lead and outpatients service manager at Askham Rehab, said: “When Hajrah arrived at Askham, we really had to start at the basics.
"This included hands-on therapy, both from the physiotherapy team and the occupational therapy team, to try and work on the upper limb and lower limb strength, as well as functional activities.
"Once Hajrah had built up enough strength, she made use of Askham Rehab’s new robotics and sensor assisted technology.
"Using Tyromotion’s OMEGO Plus, a multifunctional chair enabling specific training of functional therapy goals, Hajrah was able to challenge her lower limbs in strength, movement, accuracy, and coordination in a safe and secure position."
After 11 weeks, Hajrah was finally able to return home to her new family.
Sara added: "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.”
Hajrah said: “It’s the hardest thing I’ve had to overcome in my life.
"Everything just came at me at once, emotionally, mentally and physically.
"It’s been a really tough journey. When you say 11 weeks aloud, it seems crazy.
"It’s a really short amount of time and I’ve done it. It feels like I’ve won something. More importantly, I’ve got my life back.
“All I could see was my baby boy’s face. That was the end goal. 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.”
Luke Cook, head of rehab and nursing at Askham, said: “I got to meet Hajrah five hours after her arrival.
"She was bubbly, optimistic and humble. With every resident, we give them the chance to get their life back.
"However, with Hajrah, this was about someone starting a new life, a new life as a mother, so we knew she was going to give everything.
"Hajrah is absolutely everything you could ever want from an individual who is coming through a rehab therapy pathway.
"We’re delighted she has completed her journey with us and returned home to be the mum she wanted to be.”
Hajrah added: “Askham has given me my life back. I’m a mum again and that’s all down to their hard work.”