My Pregnancy Complication During Covid-19

Louise Priddy during labour, mid May 2020

My very dramatic Covid-19 story has resulted in the most unimaginable blessing.

It all began when I took a pregnancy test which read positive. I shared the shocking news with my sister Oona, saying “we have a problem.”

How could this happen to me at 44, after 8 rounds of IVF resulting in my son Khaii (12) and daughter Ayla (6)? After tears of both joy and sadness, the worry kicked in. Am I too old? Covid is still rampant, will my baby be okay? Do I want to start bearing children all over again?

My mother had just passed away. Could I do this on my own, without my mum by my side? Yet, one thing that kept coming to mind is did she sent me this baby because God knows this was an enormous surprise! Everyone was so happy after my shocking baby news.

The first four months were the worst time of my life because I had Hyperemesis Gravidarum (severe vomiting in pregnancy) which I had never had to endure before. I could not eat, drink or walk. I lost two stones and was in and out of the hospital due to my condition. I was so weak and the baby wasn’t getting any food, so I needed to get fluids and was put on steroids. I couldn’tlook after myself, let alone my two children. My lips became so dry due to a lack of fluids. I don’t wish this on anyone and respect those who have been through this.

After that phase passed, the rest of the pregnancy was fine, though I was obviously very tired and also had to have several checks regarding my health and the size of the baby. My age was mentioned at every visit. Yes, my age! As if I needed reminding. Then the biggest blow was when I was told that due to Covid, nobody was allowed in the room with me until right up until it was time to give birth. I hated it! The isolation for two days was awful. I was induced and then had to wait, all alone with my thoughts. I didn’t have that relaxed feeling that it was my third child, that I had done it before, because everything was so different from the beginning, so it felt like the first time for me.

The birth was a long, drawn-out one and terrible. At one point, I screamed that I can’t do this anymore, but my amazing and calm sister-in-law Audrey was there every step of the way. I felt very out of it, as I chose to have a natural birth and the gas and air made me vomit everywhere. I also remember Oona urging me to calm down, that young girls do this and I had to remind her I was 45! That I’m old and I can feel the pain. Looking back now, I laugh out loud.

Louise Priddy’s surprise addition Ora Valerie, with her older siblings Khaii and Ayla

ORA Valerie, who was born on 17 May 2022, is my late mum’s double with fair blue eyes. She was even born with the same haircut!

I would like to extend a big Thank You to everyone who helped me when I was sick, especially my amazing sister Oona and my sister-in-law Audrey – Godmother to Ora Valerie. And of course, my heart goes to my mum, who sent me this precious gift.