'I thought I had Covid... I was pregnant' - Mum's fundraiser after birth

Georgie Brown from Gorleston with baby Emily

Georgie Brown with baby Emily. After a traumatic pregnancy and early birth she is raising money for Bliss. - Credit: Supplied by Georgie Brown

A woman who thought she felt dreadful due to Covid, had in fact fallen unexpectedly pregnant.

Georgie Brown, 32, of St Hugh's Green, Gorleston, was told aged 16, she would struggle to conceive.

She and husband Ben tried for seven years to have Jack, now four, with baby Holly, aged three, coming along soon after.

When it came to having their third child the couple had all but given up hope after she was diagnosed with a thyroid disorder, and were thrilled to discover that it was pregnancy that was making her feel so unwell - not the virus.

"I thought I had Covid but I was pregnant," she said.

Georgie Brown fundraising for premature baby charity Bliss

Georgie and Ben Brown with baby Emily who needed special care in a neo-natal intensive care unit. - Credit: Supplied by Georgie Brown

However it was to be a difficult, traumatic pregnancy that almost ended in both mother and daughter Emily losing their lives.

As a thank you to the neonatal unit that cared for them she is fundraising for premature baby charity Bliss by walking 300,000 steps in November.

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The pregnancy started with severe morning sickness, for which she was hospitalised, losing two stone.

Then at 21 weeks a scan revealed there was almost no lining to her womb.

Baby Emily Brown was born at 32 weeks.

Baby Emily was cared for at the James Paget University Hospital for four weeks after she was born. Her mother Georgie says they both received 'amazing' care and is fundraising as a thank you. - Credit: Supplied by Georgie Brown

"There was virtually nothing there to protect Emily," Mrs Brown said.

"I was like a water balloon waiting to go. They said I was a ticking time bomb."

From that point she was put on bed rest, and even standing up too quickly carried a risk.

Baby Emily Brown was born too soon after her mother's womb ruptured.

Baby Emily was attached to tubes and wires when she was first born. Her mother Georgie is fundraising for Bliss, a premature baby charity which carries out research and supports families. - Credit: Supplied by Georgie Brown

In the end the pains were so frequent she was admitted permanently at the start of 2021.

In February a day of contractions gave way to nothing and soon after her womb ruptured putting both mother and baby in danger.

Emily was born by emergency c-section weighing 4lb 2oz on February 18.

Georgie Brown fundraising for baby charity Bliss

Georgie and Ben Brown taking Emily home from hospital on Mother's Day. - Credit: Supplied by Georgie Brown

It was eight hours before Mrs Brown could see her baby in the neonatal intensive care unit where she stayed for four weeks.

They eventually both came home on Mother's Day.

Now having witnessed the incredible care given to premature babies Mrs Brown wants to raise funds and awareness for premature baby charity Bliss and says she feels "incredibly lucky."

Georgie Brown fundraising for premature baby charity Bliss

Baby Emily pictured with her siblings Jack and Holly. - Credit: Supplied by Georgie Brown

She is walking 300,000 steps throughout November as part of a national sponsored challenge to thank nurses for their "amazing" care, adding: "We are both extremely lucky to be here and I can't thank them all enough."

Georgie Brown from Gorleston fundraising for Bliss

Baby Emily Brown had a difficult start to life but is now all smiles. - Credit: Supplied by Georgie Brown

To donate find Georgie Brown's fundraiser for Bliss on Facebook.

'Every baby is different'

Bliss estimates that around 60,000 babies are born prematurely in the UK every year - one in every 13.

Not all of these babies will need to be cared for in a neonatal unit. Many babies born prematurely will be born late preterm (at 34-36 weeks of pregnancy), and some of these may not need specialist care on a neonatal unit.

It is important to remember that every baby is different and will develop differently, its website says.

The charity is promoting World Prematurity Day, on November 17 -  a global movement to raise awareness of premature birth and the sometimes devastating impact it can have on families.

It is asking people to share their #MyNeonatalStory and show families in neonatal care they are not alone.

Globally, prematurity is the leading cause of death in children under five.

To find out more about Bliss visit www.bliss.org.uk.