A pregnancy, labour and the birth of a new baby is a magical experience.
When you hold your newborn in your arms for the very first time you hope to love, cherish and protect him/her forever but sadly some infants grow their angel wings earlier than others.
I recently spoke to a young woman who kindly agreed to an interview with me.
Her son contracted Group B Streptococcus otherwise known as GBS.
He fought the condition as long as he could but his tiny body eventually shut down.
(her name/age and other personal details are kept private due)
Was your pregnancy normal or were there any complications?
A very normal pregnancy.
I was consultant led but only because of previous miscarriages and I have sticky blood syndrome.
I had no sickness, no back ache, nothing.
Was your labour normal or were there any complications?
My labour was far from normal.
I went into labour on the Friday.
The pains got worse over night so I went to hospital on the Saturday morning and was only 1cm.
The midwife did another sweep to move things along and I then poured with blood, she said it was normal but it certainly wasn't.
I got sent home and went back up again on Saturday night where I was only 3cm. The pain was awful so I had Pethadine and Gas & Air and I was sent to the ward to sleep.
I didn't sleep at all, I went through 3 canisters of gas and air.
I got examined about midnight and was only 5/6cm, they decided to move me to the delivery suite as I wanted an epidural as couldn't cope.
Finally I got the epidural about 5 in the morning but still to this point I was only 6cm.
They kept checking me and I wasn't progressing so they gave me the drip to try and move things along.
Just before 9am the midwife came in and noticed my unborn son's heart rate was very, very low so she examined me and while she was doing that his heart rate went back up but as soon as she removed her hand his heart rate dropped again.
She called the doctors and they pressed the emergency button.
Within seconds there was a team of 15 in the room.
They then said "we need to rush you for a section now" and off I went and I was put to sleep through it all.
When did you first notice a problem with your child?
From day one he was grunting and I was concerned and medical staff reassured me that it was just mucus because of the section.
We came home when he was a week old and we went to the doctors numerous times as I knew there was something wrong but couldn't put my finger on it.
How was this addressed by the medical team?
The medical team brushed me off every single time!!
We saw in total 8 medical staff and every single one said "he is fine" but I knew he certainly wasn't fine!
When and why was your child taken to hospital by ambulance?
He was 4 weeks and 4 days when he was rushed into hospital.
We had an ambulance out on the Friday morning and they said "he is fine just see your GP" so we had an appointment for 3 hours later and he was that bad that he was put on oxygen in the surgery.
He was rushed in with suspected broncolitis.
How was the condition treated in hospital?
We had a paediatric team waiting for us in A&E.
They administered antibiotics, cannulas and catheter straight away.
He was kept on oxygen to try help him. He was also on a drip as he'd stopped eating on the Thursday night.
When was your child diagnosed with Group B Streptococcus?
We didn't get the diagnoses of GBS until the Monday so he had been in hospital 3 days at that point.
They said he had GBS, meningitis, septicaemia and went into septic shock.
What was the cause of this condition?
How did your child develop a brain injury?
Meningitis caused swelling to his brain which then caused the damage.
At what age did your child sadly pass away?
At age 6 weeks and 1 day.
Later, you became aware of the swab during pregnancy that could detect GBS, but you were not offered this during your pregnancy.
How did that make you feel?
I knew I had GBS the day before he passed away, I can remember wanting to kill all the midwives that had taken care of my during my pregnancy. (strong words but this is how I felt).
I would never have known I had GBS if I didn't have ongoing discharge problems in Addenbrooks which meant the picu team then sent me to maternity.
What advice would you give other parents/guardians in this situation?
I would tell them not to take any risks at all and have the test done!
Wether it means spending £100's of pounds at least their baby would be safe!
What advice would you give other parents/guardians on how to deal with grief?
I'm not sure I can really give advice on grief as I still don't know how I feel....maybe just go along with every emotion.
What additional information can you share in regards to GBS?
1 in 4 pregnant ladies carry GBS without knowing.
There is a 1 in 300 chance of your baby contracting GBS if you have it and are not given the antibiotics in labour.
If you do get the antibiotics in labour this number then drops to 1 in 6000 chance of your baby contracting it.
GBS lives inside 25% of healthy ladies; normally in their vagina and intestines.
There is an early onset GBS and a late onset GBS in newborns.
The early onset GBS is when a baby contract the infection from birth to 6 days old.
THE late onset GBS is when the baby gets the infections from 7 days old onwards.
It's rare for a baby to have a GBS infection after 4 weeks old and extremely rare for a baby to contract is after 3 months old.
GBS can cause meningitis, pneumonia, septicaemia and septic shock in newborns.
Help & Support:
GBS Grief Support