Mother's GBS Status: Not tested Gestational Age: 41 weeks Age Harmed: 27 days
I had a "normal" pregnancy, labor and delivery. Danny was born on the 23rd November 2006, weighing a healthy 8lb 14oz. The next 4 weeks went by without incident until the early hours of the morning of the 20th December. Danny awoke for his feed at around 3am, just as he had every other night but this time he seemed a little restless and possibly a little uncomfortable. I changed him and fed him but he only appeared more uncomfortable. His cry had become high-pitched and scream-like and he threw up his entire feed all over the both of us. I spent the next few hours trying to console him but by 7am, it seemed that even my touch was causing him pain. I had been waiting for the doctors to open because I though he may have chronic wind or a bad stomach but he was worsening very quickly, so I carefully dressed him and drove to the hospital, 5 minutes from our house.
By the time we arrived in A&E, Danny had turned a mottled bluish color and was freezing to the touch, but he was still screaming. The first nurse we saw in children's A&E immediately placed us in a cubical and began paging doctors. The next hour or so was spent taking bloods and starting IVs. I cried and I begged them to make him better but they just kept saying that they would do everything they could but that he was a very seriously ill little boy. The next thing I knew, someone had pressed an alarm and more nurses were running over to us. A doctor explained that Danny was deteriorating rapidly and they needed to take him the resus room where they were more equipped to deal with him. A nurse took me outside and said that it may be a good idea to call my partner and my family and get them to come to the hospital. She then asked what religion we were and if we would like her to call the hospital chaplain, so I said yes and once my partner and my parents arrived, we had Danny baptized. Danny was given 3 blood transfusions and 2 lots of adrenaline to resuscitate him while in A&E.
Eventually, the hospital staff managed to secure Danny a bed in the PICU at St. Mary's Hospital in Paddington. The CATS team (Children's Acute Transport Service) were called to transport him there and at 4pm he was sedated and intubated and we made our way to St. Mary's by ambulance. Danny remained on a ventilator for the next 7 days. For the first 48 hours they were unable to move him because his brain was so swollen that they were afraid he would go into shock. Because of this, he suffered a large pressure sore on the back of his head. The scar vaguely resembles the outline of the "Superman" symbol, and so we call it Danny's "Superman" badge! During that week, Danny had many seizures and after an MRI performed on Christmas Eve, we were told that he had suffered a significant amount of brain scarring. They couldn't predict how this would affect him, but it would.
Seven and a half years on from his ordeal, Danny is (most of the time) a happy, funny, loveable child. Albeit a bit late, he hit all of his developmental markers. The GBS meningitis left him with epilepsy and, despite being on 2 different medications, he still has regular seizures. He also has autism, severe ADHD, behavioral problems and sensory processing disorders. I am a glass-half-full type of person and I count my blessings every day because I know that not everyone who has experienced GBS has had as positive an outcome as we have, but it breaks my heart to watch my son struggle every day with issues that I can barely understand. I had never even heard of GBS until Danny got it and I will always wonder that, if I had been aware of the signs and symptoms, I could have got him to the hospital sooner and he would have been able to experience a "normal" life.
— Victoria Burbidge, United Kingdom
To learn more about How to Help Protect Your Baby from Group B Strep (GBS), click HERE.