Meningitis in your words

Ollie 's story

  • Location: Wales
  • Categories: Escherichia coli (E. Coli)
  • Age: Baby 0-1
  • Relationship: Child
  • Outcome: Full recovery
Ollie was born on the 18th of December 2019. I was in hospital for 2 days after this due to me not being well enough to come home, we finally left the hospital on the 20th of December with our little healthy baby.

On the 22nd of December we woke up, done our normal thing, gave Ollie his feeds. He seemed fine until 2:30pm he started to make grunting noises as if he was constipated, so I rang the birth centre just for some advice and I was told to rub his tummy. We tried giving him a bath just to relax him because we could see he was getting destressed, but as first time parents we never suspected a thing!

During the bath he stopped breathing which resulted in us immediately ringing 999. He kept having these episodes. A paramedic arrived and took his obs and everything was fine, but she insisted we went to the hospital just to be checked out. I’m not sure if she knew something was wrong or not looking back. When we arrived at the children’s A&E we were placed in a private room due to Ollie only being 4 days old. These grunting noises continued and the breathing episodes also continued with me running to grab someone each time but nothing was done about it. We in the end found out he was having seizures.
As we were finally seen they put an oxygen mask on Ollie, also tried taking blood but had no luck due to tiny veins so he had to have a cannula in the top of his head where the main vein was. He then had to have a brain scan and ended up on the high dependency unit on the children’s ward with the noises continuing - I could even hear them from the parents room. He was so destressed I honestly thought he was going to give up, we had no idea what was wrong, and then he had a seizure which lasted for 5 minutes. These then continued so they made the decision to sedate ollie to give his body a rest.

It was 7 pm by this time. We were then told he’d need to be transferred to the PICU in Noah’s Ark to keep him alive, we waited until 8 am the next day for the special ambulance to transport him to Cardiff.
Once we got to Cardiff we couldn’t see him for a few hours due to transferring him onto the bed, then when we saw him laying there with wires left, right and centre I thought "how could this happen?".

He was on life support to keep him alive. I thought this was it, we weren’t bringing him back home. I sat by his side stroking his tiny cold hand, brushing his thick brown hair and just watching the machine beeping. He had a lumbar puncture done which resulted with ecoli meningitis, I never knew the symptoms or anything about meningitis so when I used read up on it gave me a better insight.

"I sat by his side stroking his tiny cold hand, brushing his thick brown hair and just watching the machine beeping."

We were told various things such as he could be brain damaged, might not have the ability to walk, or even blind and deaf. We spent a good 4 weeks on antibiotics and regular bloods. By the 14th of January, Olie had the all clear and we were allowed home.

I was so nervous I was watching his every move. He had regular head measurement checks to see if fluid would build on the brain, but in August we had a review and the paediatrician was happy with progress and didn’t need to see him anymore. We now have a happy healthy 10 month old who I'm so lucky I could bring home again. Please always follow your parent instincts and never doubt yourself.

Bethan Littlejohns
November 2020
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