Flu strikes pregnant mother

Flu strikes pregnant mother

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Byford mother and Kelmscott hairdresser Gillian Wright with her daughter Kayleigh. Photograph – Aaron Van Rongen.

The tail end of Gillian Wright’s pregnancy was nowhere near smooth, nor normal. 

Feeling sick, the Byford mother and Kelmscott hairdresser took herself to multiple doctors who told her there wasn’t much she could do, just rest up and gargle salt water and honey. 

A few days later, exhausted and hardly able to get out of bed Mrs Wright drove to Armadale Hospital with her mother Carol Parker. 

“They looked at me and said I needed to go to the emergency department,” she said. 

“I went there and was put through patient administrations for the first night and by the morning they said I shouldn’t be there and said get to the intensive care unit.” 

At 36 weeks pregnant with her baby girl, Mrs Wright had an emergency caesarean and was then placed in a coma for what should have only been for 24 hours but ended up being nine days. 

“I remember going through the surgery… I remember the doctors giving me the gas on top of the oxygen and I remember feeling like someone was strangling me and that was it,” she said. 

“I can remember moving from one bed to another. 

“I remember the doctors telling me what they were going to do and that’s it.” 

Doctors delivered Mrs Wright’s baby, Kayleigh Violet-Jean, who was born with influenza A. 

She was on antibiotics and had daily blood tests until the virus was out of her system. 

Gillian Wright had an emergency caesarean and was placed in a coma at Armadale Hospital for nine days.

But Mrs Wright’s condition was significantly worse. 

“One of the doctors described my insides as looking like a bomb had gone off, like someone had thrown a grenade down my throat and it had exploded,” she said. 

“I was diagnosed with either swine flu or Spanish flu, the doctors don’t actually know because the symptoms are very similar. 

“I also had pneumonia and influenza A and also got a secondary infection while I was in the coma.” 

By Mrs Wright’s bedside everyday was her husband Adam and four-year-old son Hunter, her mother Carol and stepfather Graham Parker and her father Stewart McCallum and stepmother Pauline who had flown in from Scotland as soon as he heard about her ordeal. 

Fast forward to today, Mrs Wright and Kayleigh are both healthy, having recovered from what was they described as a terrifying ordeal. 

Mrs Wright is hoping to be fighting fit to take on next year’s HBF Run for a Reason to raise money for Armadale Hospital’s intensive care unit.