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Charenne Collymore

England GBS (Group B streptococcal) Baby 0-1 Full Recovery

RAISING AWARENESS!

Be aware of meningitis! Ask about it and make sure you receive your swab!

Eden's story:

It seemed I had a healthy baby, happily chilling out and feeling relaxed with her new surroundings. A few hours later it all went downhill.

With a grumpy, grunting baby I was unaware anything was wrong as she's my first child. When her temperature started to rise I got a little scared. I'd called for help, a midwife came and said it may be normal for her to be grumpy; she might just be a "grumpy baby".

"A midwife met me halfway down the corridor; she took Eden straight away as I fell to my knees."

With a high pitched scream and constant jolting movements it seemed she was having fits, but I wasn't aware. Shortly after I started to strip Eden down, turned her over face down to undo her babygro and I felt her chest cave; when turning her over her lips were blue and her eyes were in the back of her head.

Although I was under the spinal, my instinct was to just run with her. A midwife met me halfway down the corridor; she took Eden straight away as I fell to my knees.

With me being rushed back down to theatre I had no idea what was going on with my baby girl. Hours passed and I was back on the ward to be told Eden had to be ventilated, both of her lungs collapsed. It was another 12 hours till I saw her with tubes, wires, monitor and loud sounds surrounding her.

"It was my worst nightmare, but with the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) doing their best I knew she was in great hands."

It was my worst nightmare, but with the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) doing their best I knew she was in great hands. However nobody really had any hope for her, I was told numerous times "you know she's a very poorly baby, don't you?”. It was horror because I just wanted them to say she would pull through!

A few days had gone by and, after a swab, I was found to be was a carrier of Group B-strep (GBS).
Passing from me to my child it had caused meningitis and I felt horrible that my body couldn't do what most mothers have done - just have a healthy baby and go home and live happily ever after!

With Eden having fits the NICU team had sedated her in order to do a lumbar puncture. They couldn't do this if Eden wasn't sedated as the muscles in her back would seize.

An EEG test was done and Eden was still fitting as the sedation went into her system. By the time she was fully sedated they had done three lumbar punctures.

After weeks on antibiotics, Eden’s condition started to turn around. They had stopped sedating her but said it would take days for her to come round properly and to start moving again.

She was still on ventilation to support her breathing as her muscles were still trying to recuperate.

Two days went by and Eden's fingers and toes started to move, which meant I was allowed to touch her. I went into the incubator which held Eden's baby smell that every mother loves! And I got to touch her, even change her nappy, which was a dream as I could now be her carer, her mother.

My mind was at rest as I knew I was going to leave the hospital with a baby, MY BABY.

So it was time, time to take away the vent and let Eden finally take her first breath, and she just couldn't do it, she had to be bagged, and the vent went back in. Another day went by and they said they would try again, so they did and this time Eden did breathe alone.

"We finally got to go home, and our journey together started there. She's now a happy, nearly 11 month old cheeky madam"

Exchanging incubator for a cot she had moved from high dependency to special care, with another 14 days to wait for the antibiotics to run their course, before we could finally go home "together".

I'd like to thank the NICU for all their great work, for saving my girl and making me feel reassured in the best way possible.

We finally got to go home, and our journey together started there. She's now a happy, nearly 11 month old cheeky madam, with a bright future ahead, still undergoing tests and check-ups but Eden's showing the world that she has come through a lot and is facing things head on.

Mothers of babies affected sometimes feel distressed that they were the source of infection. It is important to remember that GBS bacteria are just one of many types of bacteria which naturally live in our bodies, and most babies are not affected.

Immunisation of mothers could also prevent GBS, and several potential vaccines are in development.

Charenne Collymore
November 2014

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