A mother who refused to receive a covid vaccine during her pregnancy has revealed that her daughter was stillborn after contracting the virus.
Sharnai Crossland, from Dukinfield, explained that she chose not to receive a covid vaccine during pregnancy because she suffers from a condition that predisposes her to blood clots and was concerned that potential side effects could harm her daughter Nova Grace Heyes.
The 23-year-old said she had cold symptoms for a week before a test showed she had the virus and later became seriously ill with abdominal pain.
She decided to go to the hospital after finding she could no longer feel Nova kicking, but when midwives struggled to find a heartbeat, Sharnai and her boyfriend Charlie left with only a memory box.
Research has found no link between an increased risk of miscarriage and getting Covid-19.
Sharnai, who has been in a relationship with boyfriend Charlie since 2013, said she was concerned when midwives struggled to find their daughter’s heartbeat.
Sharnai told Manchester Evening News that she thought her symptoms could be a urinary tract infection, but her condition quickly deteriorated.
“Because Covid is being delivered so close to her, there’s a possibility it could have something to do with the baby’s passing,” Sharni said.
“The reduced movements started when I was really bad. I think there’s a good chance it was the cause.’
Despite Sharnai having trouble conceiving due to endometriosis and having previously had three miscarriages, Sharnai had had a healthy pregnancy, with the exception of bleeding at around 10 weeks.
Scans at 12 and 16 weeks showed Nova was developing healthy and gave her and Charlie the confidence to host a gender reveal for their family.
Sharnai was given a blood-thinning shot every day around 20 weeks, after tests showed she was prone to blood clots and started feeling her daughter kicking at 21 weeks.
Sharnai Crossland, 23, from Dukinfield, fears her daughter Nova Grace Heyes (pictured) may have been stillborn because she caught Covid while pregnant
Sharnai said she hadn’t seen many stories of pregnant women being safe to get the vaccine and wanted to wait until Nova (pictured) was born to get it
Customer support advisor for John Lewis had to revise her diet after 26 weeks after discovering she had it gestational diabetes, but further scans showed that Nova continued to develop healthy and could be induced at 36 weeks.
The couple decided to take covid tests when Charlie became unwell at around 33 weeks, with their results both coming back negative.
Does Catching Covid-19 Put You at Higher Risk of Miscarriage? Research finds no evidence of a connection
Pregnant women who contract the coronavirus are no longer at risk of miscarriage, stillbirth or having a low-birth-weight baby, a study in February 2021 found.
The study involved 4,004 pregnant women in the UK and US and found that Covid did not increase the risk of a pregnancy going wrong.
Advice for expectant mothers during the pandemic has been cautious, with the NHS placing them in a ‘clinically vulnerable’ group. But there is a lack of qualitative evidence to prove whether or not they are put at additional risk from Covid.
Children hardly seem to get sick from the virus unless they already have serious health problems.
And the study, by Imperial College London, suggests the same is true for unborn babies and newborns. In the study, no babies died from Covid and only about 10 percent of them tested positive after birth.
While women were more likely to die if they had Covid than if they didn’t, this risk was the same as for a non-pregnant woman, suggesting their baby was not a factor.
Preterm labor was more likely in the women who tested positive for coronavirus, the researchers found, but this appeared to be because doctors decided to induce labor because they were too cautious about Covid.
They decided to do a drive-thru PCR test because they planned to have a baby shower, which tragically confirmed that they had both contracted the virus.
Sharnai revealed on a fundraising page set up in her daughter’s memory that her symptoms resembled a cold before rapidly worsening.
She was taken to the maternity ward where midwives checked her heartbeat 150bpm while Nova’s peaked at 203bpm.
‘I spent about 18 hours on the ward, had many tests, an EKG, blood taken and an X-ray of my chest. Listening to the machine beeping constantly because one of our heartbeats is above an acceptable level was horrible,” Sharnai said.
After being transferred to a covid ward, Sharnai and Nova’s condition stabilized and they were allowed to go home.
However, Sharnai soon became seriously ill and noticed that Nova wasn’t moving much, so she returned to the hospital with a bag ready to give birth.
John Lewis’s customer support adviser said she was concerned and immediately knew something was wrong when the midwives struggled to find Nova’s heartbeat and a colleague came in to check what was going on.
She admits that she cannot remember the words to Charlie, with whom she has been in a relationship since 2014, but clings to each other in tears.
Nova Grace Heyes was born dead at 9:24 pm on July 28, weighing 5lb 8oz.
Sharnai said, “Charlie had to cut the umbilical cord, which was so special. She has her father’s long legs, that’s for sure, it’s the first thing we notice about her. And his nose. But she has my dark, curly hair, and certainly my face shape.’
Sharnai revealed that she and Charlie felt a surge of love, even though Nova was stillborn and they spent four days with her before putting her to rest.
to explain Not having seen many stories of pregnant women being able to get the vaccine safely, she admitted she wanted to wait until she no longer expected Nova to get it, as it’s still in the pilot phase.
Sharnai and Charlie (pictured) hope to raise money for the suite they stayed in after Nova’s birth and for the charity 4Louis
She said it’s hard not to blame herself for Nova’s death and hopes the autopsy won’t confirm her fears her death is related to Covid.
Sharnai and Charlie hope to use money from their fundraiser to donate a baby bath to the Harebell suite where they stayed after Nova’s birth and to contribute to the charity 4Louis, which makes keepsake boxes.
They have already raised £2,390 of their £5,000 goal since launching the fundraiser at the end of August.
A study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology suggested that having the virus around birth may increase the chances of stillbirths and preterm births, but the overall risks are low.
More than 340,000 women who gave birth in England between the end of May 2020 and January 2021 have provided data for the study led by the National Maternity and Perinatal Audit.