When she didn't appear by lunchtime I decided to wake her. When I went into the room I knew she was very sick. She was very weak, floppy and disorientated and was unable to lift her head from the pillow. I pulled back the curtain and could see a rash on her chest and some purple spots under her arm. I realised that this was serious and she needed urgent medical attention.
I was on my own and the doctor's surgery was closed for their weekly half day. I didn't know whether or not to call an ambulance but, as Daisy Hill Hospital is seven miles away and I couldn't be sure how long it would take to get to us, I decided to take her straight to A&E myself. This was probably the best decision I have ever made in my life.
On arrival at Daisy Hill, Ciara was taken into resus and the nursing staff suspected meningococcal septicaemia and started treatment immediately. I felt as though it wasn't happening to me. How could my precious, beautiful girl be lying there hovering between life and death?
I was told that she was being transferred to the Intensive Care Unit at Belfast City Hospital and that the next 24 hours would be critical. All I wanted was for someone to tell me that she was going to be alright, but nobody would or could. They just didn't know. I wasn't even allowed to travel with her in the ambulance in case they had to work on her on the way up. We had to travel by car, not knowing what we would face when we arrived there.