This adorable photo captures the moment a dad meets his newborn son for the first time – five weeks after falling into a coma with Covid on the day his wife gave birth.
Father-of-two Andrew Allen, 32, had only previously caught a brief glimpse of his son Oliver in a photograph that a nurse had left for him on his sickbed.
But it would be another three weeks before he would physically see his baby boy for the first time.
And an adorable photograph captured the heartwarming moment he laid eyes on his little lad as he was introduced to him in a hospital corridor.
Andrew said: “I was on a high dependency ward, and I was moving down a ward because I was obviously getting better – and the consultant arranged for me to see them on the corridor.
“That was the first time I’d met Oliver.
“It was overwhelming – not just the fact that I’d seen my son for the first time, but I’d not seen my daughter at that point for about three and a half weeks as well.
“I spend pretty much every day that I’m not a work with my daughter. So, it was very overwhelming.”
Andrew from Bolton, Gtr Manchester, said he started feeling ill on July 19, 2021, after a co-worker tested positive for Covid-19.
The factory worker, who’d only just had his first jab, developed symptoms after a colleague at the aerospace engineering firm where he was employed tested positive.
Over the next ten days, he lost his sense of smell, vomited and had diarrhoea, but thought he might only have a winter bug following a negative PCR test.
But he later grew suspicious of the results when his symptoms began to closely resemble those associated with the Covid-19 Delta variant.
He said: “I lost my smell and taste after having the negative, a day later, so I was thinking in my head: ‘It’s got to be covid, this. I don’t know how it could be anything else?’”
Andrew’s expectant wife, retail worker Charlotte, 32, went into hospital on July 27, as she prepared to have her baby.
But by that point, the crushed dad already knew he wouldn’t be able to come with her.
He said: “I vaguely remember saying ‘bye’ to charlotte as she left to go to the hospital, and I remember being quite upset that I wasn’t going with her.
“But I was so poorly that I sort of just fell asleep again – and I wasn’t really aware of what was going on.”
At 5:25 the next morning, his wife gave birth to their healthy baby boy, Oliver.
Andrew was rushed to hospital just a few hours later when worried relatives compared his strangled breathing to a “death rattle”.
He added: “My mum came in on Wednesday morning. She rang for an ambulance, and the paramedics listen to my breathing over the phone.
“I wasn’t breathing properly. My mum described it as like a ‘death rattle’. I was severely unwell.
“My oxygen stats were at 35, which apparently is very, very low – and one of the worst cases they’ve ever seen.
“I remember trying to tell the paramedics that my son had been born. But I kept getting told off for taking my oxygen mask off.”
Andrew was ventilated and put into a medically induced coma on the day he arrived in hospital.
When he woke up two weeks later, on August 11, he caught sight of a picture of his daughter, Imogen, 5, and baby – his first glimpse of his newborn child.
Andrew said he was “gutted” to miss the special day after he came very “close to dying”.
He added: “There was a picture that the nurses had put up for me – and it was my little girl, and she was holding a baby.
“At the time, I just remember thinking: ‘That must be the baby.
“I knew I would miss the birth when I got Covid, and I was gutted. I was in and out of consciousness, so I wasn’t aware when he was born.
“But I was disappointed when I found out afterwards that I had missed it.”
For the next three weeks, frustrated Andrew was kept under observation, separated from his family, as he slowly began to recover.
Now back in full-time work, with his family, Andrew’s breathing has since improved, but he explained there’s still a long way to go before he reaches full fitness.
He said: “I’m still nowhere near 100 percent. I think I lost about 25kgs in about five weeks while being in hospital.
“I’m now building my muscle back up, and I’m back at work full time, but at the end of each day, I always feel tired.”