Back in November 2015, I gave birth to a ‘healthy’ baby girl. All seemed well to start with. An hour or so after hubby had left to get some food and sleep, she started grunting and turned purple and cold. She was taken to the Special Care Baby Unit for oxygen, a chest x-ray, tests and observation and put on antibiotics in case she had an infection. Later that morning I went to see her. She was in an incubator but no longer on oxygen and after a few hours was allowed back on the post natal ward with me.
The following day she had been less interested in feeding and appeared more poorly. That evening we were given the news that she did indeed have an infection and she would be moved back to special care to complete a 7-day course of antibiotics. She would also need a lumbar puncture to allow them to test further. She was back in an incubator and would be fed my expressed breast milk by tube.
I was discharged from the post natal ward and thankfully given a room in the Special Care Unit. The results came back: our daughter had septicaemia caused by group B strep would need to complete 14 days of antibiotics. I had heard of group B strep through online pregnancy websites but I had only read the words, not what it meant.
I asked not to be told what the outcome might be. Hubby went home and looked online to find out more about group B strep. As did the rest of our families. I knew it was serious but I didn’t know how serious. I knew she was very poorly and I think I knew on some level that she could die but I hadn’t acknowledged it. That would have been too much.
It was so hard being away from my husband and our 3-year-old son. One thing I really struggled with was that the infection was passed to our daughter from me. I spun myself in circles feeling guilty for making her poorly.
Thankfully the antibiotics began to work quickly and after a few days our daughter was declared well enough to room in with me and had the feeding tube removed. The lumbar puncture results came back clear and her infection levels came down so we went home once she had completed her two-week course of antibiotics.
It was only when I got home that I discovered how serious group B strep is and found out weeks later that hubby was taking videos of her in her incubator not just because she is our daughter, but because she could have died.
During her first two years, our daughter will have regular check ups at the hospital to check for side effects from the infection. So far her check ups have revealed that she is developing normally. Not knowing what the future holds for her means we have to trust God even more.
I cannot adequately describe the range of emotions we went through. Elation that our daughter was born safely, with no complications this time and excellent midwifery care. Confusion after she was taken away to be checked over in special care. Concern as she remained in special care. Shock at her test results. Relief as she was discharged and we came home to our new normality. God gave me all that I needed during that time and I learned what it means to really cry out to him in prayer.