In the ambulance Tilly was laid on a bed and I was horrified to discover the bruise-like marks had taken up a huge percentage of her body and were still appearing. The ambulance driver gave Tilly a shot of penicillin and radioed through to the hospital warning them there was a serious case of meningitis coming in.
I told her she was going to be OK and that mummy was here and I wouldn't let anything bad happen. As I said these words I felt helpless. As a mother all you want to do is protect your babies and Tilly was lying there helpless in my arms. How had I let this happen to my baby?
At the hospital Tilly was snatched from my arms and surrounded by hospital staff. I was by her bedside as they cut off her clothes and started to quickly insert drips and give her jabs. A consultant told me Tilly was very seriously ill with what they were treating as meningococcal septicaemia and was likely to die.
Adam walked through the door and everything must have been so confusing for him as the last thing he had heard was she had an ear infection. We were shown to a parent's room while they did tests and the consultant came back and confirmed meningococcal septicaemia, saying they were transferring her to Newcastle General Hospital's Children's Intensive care unit.
Dr Chowdry, the consultant from Newcastle General, explained Tilly was in a very bad way but they would do what they could. They would transfer her by ambulance and she would need a blood transfusion on the way, and we would not be able to be in the ambulance. This was to be Tilly's most critical journey. She could die on the way.
We drove to the hospital in silence, not knowing if Tilly had even made it to the hospital. We were shown to a parents' room and sat there for what felt like hours reading leaflets on meningococcal septicaemia. I grew strength from reading one paragraph that said '9 out of 10' children diagnosed with this disease recover with no further problems. Finally a nurse came and told us Tilly had made it to hospital and was receiving the treatment she needed to beat this.
Tilly was lying there alien-like. She was so swollen by all of the fluids and her hands and toes had started to turn grey and shrivel slightly. I can remember saying to Adam: 'Oh my god it looks like she has been severely beaten up and set on fire.' I was terrified for her.
Days passed and Tilly was still the same - critical but stable. Every day I would ask the nurses 'Can you just tell me if she is going to live' and they couldn't give me an answer. I said I could cope with ANYTHING, deaf, dumb, blind, as long as I had her back to hold and love and give her a good life.
On the fourth day Dr Chowdry came on his morning rounds. He looked at Tilly for a few minutes, turned to me, winked and said 'She's getting better'. I have never been so relieved in all my life. I was going get to cuddle my baby again.