Patrick is the youngest of our 3 children. He was a healthy weight and size, as were his brother and sister. His delivery at 28 weeks was not a surprise - his brother and sister were both delivered 2 and 3 weeks early. All healthy babies with no complications during labor and delivery.
As we prepared to be discharged when he was 2 days old, Patrick began to decline. He would not nurse and seemed to only want to be held and to sleep. His cries became high-pitched like a teapot. After 3 hours of pestering the nurses that something was wrong, the doctor was called and tests began. Eight hours later, he was admitted to the NICU unit.
The following day doctors confirmed that Patrick had meningitis and they suspected Strep B. I had not been tested.
Patrick's 1st week was touch and go - he was desperately ill. Seizures were becoming more frequent and were harder to control. We prepared for the worst. He was given IV antibiotics and seizure medications throughout his stay. He began to nurse again at 1 week of age. He began "waking up" 2 days later. By the end of his NICU stay, he was gleefully being passed from nurse to nurse who all spoiled him terribly. His red hair, dimples and sweet temperament were a hit with staff.
Before he was discharged, an MRI was ordered which confirmed that there was some damage to Patrick's brain in several areas including his "motor strip". We left the hospital with seizure medications and doctors' appointments.
Patrick began physical therapy when he was 4 months old. At 12 months the diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy was not a surprise. Patrick began speech and occupational therapies and special education services. All of these services continue today.
Currently, Patrick attends 4th grade. He is a happy and active child - pesters his older brother and gets on his sister's nerves. Patrick does not speak but always has a lot to say! He uses a communication output "Dynavox", some sign language and lot and lots of pointing to communicate. He uses a wheelchair for long distances, but is able to walk around home without assistance. His poor balance and difficulty in coordination of fine and gross muscle groups make life interesting. Seizure control is still a concern and he takes medication daily.
Each day is a joy and I am so fortunate to have Patrick's smiles and dimples as a part of my life as a mother. The experience of Strep B has brought a perspective to our lives that has changed us as a family and as individuals. We are more patient and understanding of people because of Patrick.
— Susan Creel, MN, USA
Patrick's mother helps create GBS awareness by placing articles in church newspapers, using awareness ribbons, and being a community advocate for people with disabilities.