A Prescot dad has recounted his story of feeling “helpless” during the birth of his premature daughter.
In April 2020, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Antony McCoag’s pregnant partner Kodie, 30, woke him feeling unwell and “scared” in the middle of the night.
Kodie was immediately rushed to hospital and was in and out of Whiston Hospital as a result of complications she experienced over the following weeks.
First-time dad Antony, 31, received a call while at work and was told to come to the hospital, and said he was “floored” by what the doctors told him upon his arrival.
Antony told reporters: “Three weeks down the line she [Kodie] was in hospital for a few days and the hospital rang me and said ‘can you come down please?’”. Antony asked if they needed him to come immediately and they said “no, you can finish work and come down”.
Antony continued: “I just thought it was just a little update. I thought we’re nowhere near the due date I’ll just be taking Kodie home. When I got to the hospital they said there was a high chance that we could be delivering the baby tonight. I just got floored by it”.
“Nothing was ready in the house because you feel you have just that more time. Everything is going through your mind like what can I do”.
He explained: “You feel quite helpless as a dad just standing there knowing your partner has been going through this. All you can do is stand there and be there for them”.
Antony said doctors were growing “increasingly worried” about his unborn daughter, and they consequently performed an emergency c-section the same day.
He said: “I was getting worried but I knew I just had to be there for Kodie. We couldn’t tell family because of how quickly it was happening”.
Antony and Kodie’s daughter Freya was born at Whiston Hospital on 23 April 2020, nine weeks before her due date, and weighing just 4lb 2oz.
Antony said she was immediately taken to intensive care, but he recalls the moment their child’s gender was revealed to the couple.
He said: “We didn’t want to know, we didn’t do a gender reveal or anything like that. We wanted to find out when she arrived”.
“When we knew we were having the emergency c-section, the midwife taking care of us said there is certain ways we can tell you. We can tell you it’s a boy or a girl or we have these different coloured hats”.
“We have a pink one for a girl and they didn’t have a blue one for a boy so it was a green one. We said that sounds quite fun”.
“When she was born there was a little tiny cry and then she stopped crying so right away you’re terrified about that. They brought her around on this little trolley as she had to be rushed to ICU straight away”.
“All I remember is this big pink hat and these bright blue eyes glowing back at me. It sounds dead soft but she was literally glowing, I couldn’t believe it when I was looking at her”.
Antony said despite complications in the weeks leading up to Freya’s premature birth, the “little fighter” overcame all the obstacles she encountered.
Now 20-months-old, the first-time dad described daughter Freya as a “little social butterfly”.
He said: “She’s great now, she’s a little troublemaker. She’s into her little Toy Story phase at the minute, she loves Woody. She’s just learnt to walk now so she’s running everywhere. Her favourite thing is to try and climb the stairs even though there’s a gate there”.
“She’s a little social butterfly as well. Being a baby in lockdown you worry she’ll have trouble interacting with other kids but as soon as she sees kids outside she wants to go out and play”.
A spokesperson for Right To Life UK, Catherine Robinson, said: “It is both wonderful and incredible that baby Freya and her parents overcame so many obstacles. We wish them the very best”.
“The number of babies born just after and shortly before the legal abortion limit in the UK is increasing all the time”.
“Stories such as Freya’s and others highlight a real contradiction in British law. In one room of a hospital, doctors could be working to save a baby born alive before 24 weeks whilst in another room, a doctor could perform an abortion which would end the life of a baby at the same age. Surely this contradiction needs to end?”
“Independent polling from Savanta ComRes shows that 70% of women in the UK want to see the time limit for abortion reduced to 20 weeks or below. Our current abortion time limit is way out of line with the rest of Europe where the most common abortion time limit is 12 weeks”.
“It’s time that our laws were brought into line with public opinion, modern science, and the rest of Europe”.