This photo captures the touching moment a loving father first met his five-week-old son after being put in a coma with Covid the day his wife gave birth.
Factory worker Andrew Allen, 32, of Bolton, was placed in an artificial coma by doctors on July 28 last year, just hours after his wife Charlotte, 32, gave birth to their son Oliver.
Two weeks later, Andrew woke up in the hospital’s high-dependency ward to see a photo of his five-year-old daughter Imogen holding baby Oliver, but it was another three weeks before he could see him in person.
Their first meeting took place in the corridor of the hospital when Andrew was transferred to another ward.
This photo captures the touching moment Andrew first met his five-week-old son Oliver, after being put in a coma with Covid the day his wife gave birth
The father of two, Andrew, pictured leaving hospital, was placed in an artificial coma by doctors on July 28, just hours after his wife Charlotte gave birth to their son Oliver. Pictured, Andrew and wife Charlotte with daughter Imogen, five, and newborn baby Oliver
He recalled, “That was the first time I met Oliver. It was overwhelming. It wasn’t just the fact that I had seen my son for the first time, but I hadn’t seen my daughter for about three and a half weeks at the time.
“I spend pretty much every day I’m not working with my daughter. So it was very overwhelming.’
Andrew first started showing symptoms on July 19, shortly after his first shot.
A colleague at the aerospace engineering company they worked for tested positive and over the next 10 days Andrew lost his sense of smell and started vomiting and having diarrhea.
He initially had a negative PCR test and hoped it might be a bug, but soon realized it must be Covid.
He said: ‘I lost my smell and taste after being negative a day later, so I thought in my head, ‘It must be Covid, this. I don’t know how it could be anything else?’
Andrew first developed symptoms on July 19, shortly after his first shot, and his condition eventually worsened to the point that he was placed in an artificial coma, missing the birth of his son. Pictured, Andrew with baby Oliver after recovery
On July 27, store associate Charlotte went to the hospital to have their baby. Andrew, who was bedridden at home, said he only vaguely remembers her leaving.
He said, “I vaguely remember saying ‘goodbye’ to Charlotte when she left to go to the hospital, and I remember being quite upset that I didn’t go with her.
“But I was so bad I just went back to sleep and didn’t really know what was going on.”
The next morning at 5:25 am, his wife gave birth to their healthy son.
Hours later, Andrew was rushed to hospital when his mother began to worry about his breathing.
He continued: “My mother came in on Wednesday morning. She called for an ambulance and the paramedics listen to my breathing over the phone.
Andrew and Oliver’s first meeting (pictured) took place in the corridor of the hospital when Andrew was transferred to another ward
After being moved from the hospital’s high dependency ward, the friendly staff arranged for the couple 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 held in an artificial coma for three weeks
‘I wasn’t breathing properly. My mother described it as a “death rattle”. I was seriously unwell. My oxygen stats were 35, which is apparently 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 was always accused of taking off my oxygen mask.’
Andrew was placed on a ventilator and in an artificial coma the day he arrived at the hospital.
When he woke up two weeks later, on August 11, he saw a photo of his daughter, Imogen, 5, and baby Oliver.
Andrew said he was “gutted” that he missed the birth of his son.
He added: ‘There was a picture the nurses put up for me and it was my little girl and she was holding a baby. I remember then thinking, “That must be the baby!”
Andrew, Charlotte and their two children enjoy the festive period last year after Andrew left the hospital
“I knew I was going to miss the delivery when I got Covid, and I was devastated. I was in and out of consciousness, so I didn’t know when he was born. But I was disappointed when I found out afterwards that I had missed it.’
For the next three weeks, the frustrated Andrew was kept under observation, separated from his family, as he slowly began to recover.
Now back to work full-time and living with his family, Andrew’s breathing has improved since then, but he explained that there is still a long way to go before he is fully fit.
He added: “I’m nowhere near 100 percent. I think in about five weeks I lost about 25 kg while I was in the hospital.
“Now I’m building my muscles again and I’m back to work full-time, but at the end of each day I always feel tired.”