Kenzie Hotham-Fuller

Group B Strep meningitis at 5 at time of writing

Group B Strep meningitis

We were at home with our lovely little girl. At just nine days old she was completely different to her sister, she was quiet and very content to lie down and watch the world go by, and then she changed!!
Suddenly my baby was irritable, screaming, trying to take a bottle but just screamed when she got it, then all I could think was that I had fed her earlier in the day and not winded her because it was cold out and I needed to get her in the car.

I tried and tried to settle her but nothing worked and, knowing how calm she normally was, I started to worry so I called the emergency doctors. After loads of calls we got an appointment at the hospital with an out of hours doctor at 5am, 13 hours after she showed her first signs. We dropped off my other little girl off with her grandma and headed out.

We were seen quickly when we got to the hospital and the doctor’s face said it all, her temperature was 40.5 but he said there were no other signs of infection. So she was sent straight up to a ward where she had tubes put down her nose, pads on her chest, and machines going off everywhere, all I thought was ‘this is a bit dramatic for colic’.

On the ward they started her on antibiotics and my baby was a lot calmer, but then she had to have a lumbar puncture. All I could hear was her screaming, my poor little girl.

The day we got the diagnosis we had been in hospital about three days and the doctor came in to change Kenzie’s cannula, but could only get it in her head, so they shaved off her gorgeous red hair. That’s when it hit, this is serious.

The doctor told us she had what was called strep B meningitis and then it went blank... I just remember being at my dad’s, I’d gone there for a break and a bath. I sat there in the bath and cried my eyes out, I’d been so strong until then. Kenzie was then like a different child, she was whiny and didn’t sleep much although being woken up all the time for antibiotics didn’t help.

She stayed in for two weeks, coming home on Valentine’s Day, the best day of my life. Kenzie was alive and healthy.

At home we were so glad to have our baby safe but did notice a big difference – lack of sleep and needy. As she got older we noticed more things going wrong; some doctors say they are linked others aren’t as eager to agree with it. At 11 weeks old her hands and feet started going funny – swollen and different colours. We later discovered this was Reynaud’s which means her veins spasm and her blood doesn’t circulate to fingers and toes when it gets cold, which is extremely painful. We were told this may have been from having so many antibiotics so young.

Then at five months we noticed blood in her nappy and she would scream trying to open her bowels, but nothing would come out. This is still on-going four and half years later. Kenzie also has eczema, asthma, scarred small kidney, delayed speech, problems eating, the list goes on but she’s special because of the way she is. We call her Duracell as she has so much energy and although she has these problems they are little problems and we are grateful for her every day, my little monkey.

I got in touch with Meningitis Research Foundation to find out more about strep B and through them I have got so much information I now make it my mission to tell as many people as possible about strep B and maybe stop more children from going through what Kenz went through.