We were transferred to the hospital with the sirens blaring and lights flashing which frightened Joshua. Harriett was unconscious by the time we arrived and unresponsive; the ambulance driver took her off me and ran up the corridor to the children's ward where the doctors were all waiting. They took her into a side room and attempted to resuscitate her, giving her oxygen and trying to put up a drip.
I was left anxiously waiting with Joshua in the playroom as he was too distressed to leave with anyone. Someone contacted my husband who arrived as quickly as he could, I couldn't really tell him anything as I didn't know what was going on other than I remember saying, "she is not going to make it".
I can vaguely remember my in-laws arriving and us all being ushered into the staff coffee room, a consultant arrived to tell us that Harriett had died, I remember shouting NO! and Joshua stamping on his foot, this all happened very quickly - two hours from us arriving at the hospital. As my parents were coming from Wales they agreed to keep Harriett on the ward so we could all say our goodbyes, my father was distraught.
I can't remember getting home or the rest of that evening but the next day I noticed some information I had been given by the hospital which had the number of the helpline for the Meningitis Research Foundation, which I rang because I wanted answers, I talked to them for ages and many times afterwards.
It has taken me many years to overcome the guilt of not knowing something more serious was wrong and blaming myself for letting her die.
After 10 years I eventually agreed to counselling following an episode of horrendous flashbacks of that day, and finally,after 15 years, I can now talk about Harriett with great happiness for all the great times we had as a family albeit very short.
I have been involved with Foundation for many years and am now a trained Befriender.