Meningitis in your words

Onaiza Fice's story

  • Categories: Unknown meningitis and septicaemia (sepsis) type
  • Age: Baby 0-1
  • Relationship: Parent
  • Outcome: Bereavement
Onaiza Fice
Onaiza Fice - Meningitis in your words

In 1999 my husband Jonathan and I got married, and in 2000 we were delighted at the news that I was pregnant and expecting our first child. Our son, Zain was born in October 2000. It was a normal and healthy pregnancy and birth, and Zain was a beautiful and healthy baby. Zain’s birth was celebrated – he was a much loved son, grandson, nephew and cousin.

One morning, when Zain was one month old, my husband left for work and I got up to breastfeed Zain and noted that he was not his usual alert self – he was listless, appeared drowsy and his hands and feet were cold. I immediately called my health visitor who was due to visit us that day as I felt something was not right with Zain. Within the hour the health visitor arrived and on examining Zain, phoned the emergency services.

At hospital, Zain was seen by the A&E paediatric consultant who informed me that my son appeared very poorly. My husband by this time had been called from work and arrived at the hospital too.

The next few hours were a blur but I remember the medical team informed us that they would perform a lumbar puncture on Zain, and we saw our son being given intravenous antibiotics, and fluids and he put on to a ventilator to assist with his breathing.

Several hours passed, and the medical team worked hard on keeping Zain alive – he was attached to various machines and he was surrounded by doctors and nurses. I remember saying, please don’t let me leave here without my son.

Eventually the question came that no parent ever wants to hear - ‘do you want us to take your son off the ventilator?’ Before my husband and I could answer, we were informed that Zain had made that decision for us. Our beautiful son stopped breathing and passed away twelve hours after he was admitted to hospital.

A post-mortem revealed that Zain had died from septicaemia but they were unable to confirm the exact strain of bacteria that had caused the sepsis.

Since Zain’s death, not a day goes by when I don’t think about him. His memory lives on through the love that we have for him as a family and the ambassador role that I have with the Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF).

I’m so grateful for the work that MRF does and their vision of wanting to see a world free from meningitis and septicaemia.

Onaiza Fice
February 2024

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