20/12/2021 | Press releases

“Get the vaccine” urges new mum who nearly lost her life while pregnant

If mum Samantha had one message to someone expecting a baby it would be “get the vaccine”.

The mum-of-three never imagined she would give birth to her third baby while fighting for her life in a coma after catching COVID-19.

She has no memory of her baby Violet being born via emergency c-section at 27 weeks’ gestation, as she wasn’t conscious, and she couldn’t even hold newborn Violet until she was a week old.

Samantha Montgomery

Samantha with husband Craig while in Colchester Hospital

Samantha Montgomery caught COVID-19 in August. Although she wasn’t initially very poorly, thinking she just had a cold, a lateral flow test confirmed she was positive. She was 26 weeks pregnant.

The 31-year-old said: “I was really scared. I had a chesty cough and felt a bit groggy then did a test and within seconds it was positive. I did another and again it came up as positive.”

Samantha had been vaccinated in February with her first Astra-Zeneca jab before she fell pregnant, but then the advice said she would need the Pfizer vaccine as she was expecting. Unfortunately she caught COVID-19 before she was able to have the Pfizer vaccine leaving her vulnerable.

“My breathing started to get worse and my husband Craig decided to call 111. They told him I needed to go to A&E.” She said.

An X-ray showed a small patch of pneumonia on her lungs and she was given antibiotics and returned home, which is the last thing Samantha remembers before her memories are a “complete blur” of the following days.

Samantha Montgomery

Samantha in Colchester Hospital

Samantha continued to get worse and two days later she started being sick and collapsed on her bed. Craig called 999 and she ended up back in Colchester Hospital on oxygen. By that evening she was taken to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) but went downhill rapidly.

She said: “I was put into an induced coma and was so ill Craig was told I may not get any better.”

An emergency c-section was performed to save her baby, and once Violet was born Samantha’s condition dramatically improved.

Newborn Violet in NICU, born at 27 weeks

Samantha said: “I was really poorly – I’d turned purple, all the veins had starting going in my face and I had quite a lot of blood clots.”

Although Samantha and Violet are improving, it has been a rocky ride, with Violet having specialist treatment at Addenbrooke’s and needing eye surgery. Samantha was also given large quantities of medication, which caused her to hallucinate.

She said: “It’s been really difficult. The hallucinations were awful. I was telling friends and family Violet wasn’t here. I have so many strange thoughts and so much guilt about that.

“Not being able to see Violet for her first week here was just awful.”

Samantha Montgomery's children

Baby Violet now at home with brothers Louie, five, and Alfred, nearly two

Samantha, who is also mum to Louie, five, and Alfred, nearly two, said her physical recovery is ongoing and been very difficult, having coughed up blood clots from the infection alongside the mental trauma of not being conscious for her daughter’s birth.

Samantha Montgomery's daughter Violet

Newborn Violet in NICU

She said: “I’m still processing what’s happened to be honest. Violet has been through a lot – including her eye operation because of the rate her eyes were growing wasn’t OK – and it’s been a lot to take in.”

Samantha had a debrief about her birth with the midwifery team at Colchester Hospital to help her understand what happened with labour and delivering Violet.

Samantha Montgomery and baby Violet

Samantha and baby Violet

She said she’s aware her story may not have ended the way it did, and she’s urging anyone who is pregnant to take the opportunity to be vaccinated: “Get it! Get the jab. The risk of you being so poorly isn’t worth it. As a doctor said to me – once you’re in hospital you’ll be pumped full of drugs – so what’s better – having one vaccination or risking the life of you and your baby and ending up having loads of medication anyway?

“I thought I wouldn’t be here to see my children again and that just isn’t worth the risk.”

  • Our midwife, Romie Rice, who cared for Samantha, has shared more information about pregnancy and the vaccine. Watch what Romie has to say on our YouTube channel.
  • You can have the vaccination during pregnancy or if breastfeeding. For more information about the COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy ask your community or hospital midwife or visit the NHS page. To book your vaccine or booster visit South and North East Essex’s Vaccination website or visit the national booking webpage.




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