Hi, my name is Charlotte and I am fundraising for my niece Saskia, and her family … Partner Lee and their two beautiful daughters Eliza Grace (23 months old) and Betsy Mae (8 weeks old). This is to help them with financial support for Saskia’s recovery and whilst Lee has only been able to return to work part-time since Saskia contracted Covid and gave birth to their baby girl, she has been critically ill in hospital ever since.
Here is Saskia's story so far:
Saskia contracted Covid at the end of August 2021 whilst she was 8 months pregnant. She became very unwell and was admitted to Intensive Care at Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath. Saskia was needing Oxygen whilst her body was struggling to fight the Covid. She was no longer able to breathe on her own. It was decided that Saskia's baby should be delivered immediately to help her body have a chance to fight the Covid,
Saskia was sedated whilst her baby was delivered by emergency c-section on Saturday 4th September 2021. Saskia's partner Lee was not allowed to be with her during this worrying time. Their baby girl, Betsy Mae, was successfully delivered and healthy, but she had to go straight into isolation alone in case she was positive for Covid. Lee was unable to meet their baby girl or be with Saskia.
After Betsy was delivered Saskia was put into an induced coma to try and give her body a chance to rest and recover. As the days went on attempts were made to wake Saskia but she was not responding well. Saskia became critically ill and it was decided she needed to be transferred to St Thomas in London to give her the best chance of survival. Saskia was put onto a specialist life support machine called ECMO and was cared for by a wonderful team of doctors and nurses. Saskia was needing 90% oxygen from the ventilator. She also caught a bug and had blood poisoning. We did not know if Saskia would ever wake up and be able to meet her baby girl.
Lee was finally able to meet baby Betsy in the special care unit along with my sister, Saskia's amazing mum, Becky. During the time Saskia remained in a coma Lee and Nana Becky were preparing to bring baby Betsy home without her Mummy. It was bitter sweet. Becky immediately gave up work to help Lee take care of their eldest daughter Eliza, whilst taking it in turns to visit Betsy in hospital. All the while no one was allowed to be in London with Saskia. It was a truly heart breaking time for all Saskia's family.
Baby Betsy was allowed to return home so Lee moved into Becky's with Eliza and Betsy so he had support at home to help him take care of the girls for the first 4 weeks. During this time we received the news that Saskia was going to be gradually woken after 3 weeks in a coma. The surgeons also had to perform a tracheostomy on Saskia to help with her breathing once she was woken. Saskia came to and was moved back to Princess Royal in Haywards Heath on Saturday 25th September. My sister Becky was finally able to be reunited with her daughter after an agonising time! Now to explain all to Saskia that her baby had arrived into the world and she had been in a coma for several weeks. Saskia was completely shocked but gradually absorbing the news. She was unable to speak due to the trachy in her windpipe, but was learning to communicate with her Mum and her partner Lee with hand signals and lip reading. It felt like a long road ahead.
The day Saskia was finally able to meet her baby girl Betsy was the most amazing and emotional time. The moment we had all been waiting for. Lee was allowed to visit Saskia with just Betsy at first, and in time Eliza was able to be reunited with visits to her Mummy too.
Saskia remains very unwell in hospital and will have a life long lung condition as a result of the Covid damage. She has a hole in her lung and fluid from the bug that has formed a pocket in her lung, This is currently requiring a permanent drain through Saskia's back into her lung to keep the fluid drained away from leaking into her body. Saskia will require surgery to make her better. She has spent 4 weeks back in PRH in Haywards Heath hospital with the wonderful team of staff there helping her to recover. The trachy has been removed and she is able to speak again.
Saskia was transferred back to Guys Hospital in London on Saturday 24th September where she will now be with the specialist lung team who aim to get her fixed and back home with her partner Lee and their girls where she deserves to be.
Lee has been an amazing Daddy throughout it all. Taking care of the girls and remaining strong and positive, with the help of Becky and his Mum Hayley, and all the family. Lee has now moved back to Saskia and Lee's rented home with the girls. He has only been able to return to work part time as he has to juggle taking care of Eliza and baby Betsy too. Lee's Mum stays over at the house twice a week to help with childcare, along with Becky.
Saskia is awaiting 2 further procedures plus an operation on her lungs. She needs to learn to walk again and regain her strength. Saskia will be classed as disabled and may require a stair lift when she returns home. On top of this is added financial worry for how they will cope now and in the future. With just one part time wage coming in and 2 young children to take care of. Eliza will turn 2 in November, and Saskia wishes nothing more than to be at home with Lee and her girls.
Throughout all of this Saskia has not moaned. She is grateful to be alive. She has been through one massive journey so far and we do not know how long her path to recovery will be. Saskia has shown such strength and determination every step of the way. I wanted to do something to help and I know so many others have offered ways to help already and have asked if there is a Go Fund Me page where they can give donations. Becky's friends organised a food rota to help cook meals for the family whilst Saskia was in her coma. This was a tremendous help and meant so much to Becky and Lee. Everyone has been so generous.
So for anyone wishing to help Saskia and Lee please donate if you wish but please do not feel obliged! The money will go towards funding visits to Saskia in London for Lee and the girls, and for Saskia’s recovery and rehabilitation. For all that she has been through she has missed out on so much time with her girls already we would really like them to be able to enjoy some special family days out together once Saskia is better. We are forever grateful for everyone’s help and have been overwhelmed by how many of you have shown such love, support and kindness. We know not everyone can. Any donation is much appreciated.
We would also like to say a special thank you to all the dedicated NHS staff who have helped care for Saskia at Princess Royal Hayward’s Heath and Guys and St Thomas in London. From the amazing team of midwives in the beginning through to all the nurses and doctors in ICU. The consultants and surgeons. You have all been amazing and we are so grateful for the care that Saskia has received. You are all wonderful! Once Saskia is better and well enough we are planning a fund raising event next year to show our appreciation.
Thanks so much for reading Saskia’s story.
With much love from Charlotte xxx