A powerful reminder of why influenza vaccine is recommended during pregnancy!

“Imagine waking up one day to find out that you’ve been asleep for 45 days straight. You’ve had four surgeries, are in a completely different hospital than the one you walked into, and your baby — who you last remember being 25 weeks pregnant with — is now a month old.”

This is what happened to now mum of three, Melissa Barvels.

Melissa shares on Babble, “On December 20, 2013, I was 25 weeks pregnant when I suddenly became gravely ill. I could barely get out of bed, was running a high fever, and was chilled to the bone — no amount of blankets could warm me. At first, I called my OB, and was told by the nurse practitioner to stay put and just “sweat it out.” But a few days later, I was still feeling like death; and had lost 6 lbs. This time, my OB told me to get to a hospital as soon as possible.”

“My last memory was of texting Scott from my hospital bed on December 23, 2013. “Did they call you?” I wrote. “Yes, I’m on my way,” he texted back.

But that’s where my memory ends.

When I woke up, it was February 5, 2014.

My son Scotty, I came to learn, was born at 28 weeks, delivered via c-section on January 8, 2014. It happened a little over two weeks after I’d been intubated and placed in a medically-induced coma. He weighed only 2 lbs., 10 oz.”

Melissa had contracted the H1N1 swine flu.

Although pregnant women are generally encouraged to get a flu shot, I never did. I didn’t think it was necessary at the time, and I certainly never knew how sick you could actually get from the flu. That might have been the toughest part about coming to terms with all of this: A simple flu shot would have changed everything. It would have saved my family and I a lot of heartache; it would have prevented me and my son from facing life-changing health effects; and it would have granted me all of the stolen memories from that time that I now can’t get back.”

The seasonal influenza vaccine, or “flu shot”, is recommended and funded for pregnant women under the National Immunisation Program. It is can be given at any time during pregnancy.

Women face a high risk of severe consequences if they contract influenza during pregnancy. The flu shot is safe for pregnant women, and provides effective protection for you and your new-born baby for the first six months of their life.

The adult dTpa (diphtheria-tetanus-acellular pertussis) vaccine is also recommended for pregnant women in their third trimester of pregnancy. This vaccine protects the mother against pertussis (commonly called whopping cough) but also the newborn as the mum passes on her antibodies via the placenta.

Share your comments below.

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  • So scary a thing to happen. I have only lost a few weeks from my life but to wake up to find your baby was born and you did not know must be hard. I feel for her husband as he has had to live through the whole thing and making those decisions on how both were treated. Glad it turned out alright for them.


  • I can’t imagine how she felt waking to the news. It must have been a frightening time for her husband with his wife’s life in the balance and that of his unborn son too.


  • wow that is so unreal! hopefully she is fine now and bub too


  • Very scary. I didn’t have the flu vaccine during my recent pregnancy – I asked what vaccines I should have and it wasn’t mentioned


  • Flu vaccination is very important. Thanks for sharing.


  • This is very scary. Hopefully this also alerts medical professionals to advise patients, including expectant Mums to be vaccinated


  • Wow, what an incredible story. I didn’t consider any flu vaccines when I was pregnant. This poor woman. I did have swine flu at it’s peak and it was hideous, so I can only imagine how she struggled with a pregnancy on top. Thank God it all turned out okay, though.


  • Oh woah! How horrible!


  • So great they both made it so lucky!!! Awful to have no memory of anything but they’re both healthy so that’s all that matters! Def a great reminder to get the flu shot !


  • how terrible for the family. Thank goodness Mum and baby are okay. What a troubling time for Dad. Sows how important it is for us all to get flu vaccination.


  • wow what a horrible thing to happen to someone without them knowing!

    If only the OB had said to get checked out first rather than sweat it out!

    Wishing them all the best for the future


  • A very traumatic experience for all involved. Thank God everything turned out well !
    I never had a flue shot either during my pregnancies, it was never recommended to me.


  • powerful reminder to vaccinate. At least that are all healthy now.


  • This would be deeply traumatic.


  • So pleased it all turned out well but very scary for them.


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