Joe, dad to Beau, says:
“23 December 2014 saw my son Beau born and introduced to the world at a healthy weight and without complication. As proud parents, we couldn’t wait to take him home to meet his three older brothers.
On 5 January 2015, my wife called to say that I must rush home quickly as Beau was unwell and that we needed to take him to the hospital – a decision which proved vital in saving him.
On arrival at A&E, Beau was floppy, had a low temperature, and his heart rate was 260 beats per minute. He was clearly distressed and unwell.
After 15 minutes of basic observations, which weren’t making us feel any better about the situation, Beau became completely floppy and unresponsive, which was when we were all rushed into resuscitation. During the next five hours, we were in the resuscitation room applying ice to his head to shock him into getting his heart rate back to where it should be. Due to my wife and I both having heart conditions, it was assumed that Beau had a heart defect that hadn’t been picked up in pregnancy screening. Discussions were had that unless it could be controlled, we’d have to ambulance him to London to a heart unit who could help him more with their expertise.
As we neared 2am, the consultant decided that he’d give Beau antibiotics as the ice treatment wasn’t working, which was the decision that we now know saved him. As you can imagine, this was an awful time for my wife and me, which is difficult to put into words and is a situation that you never think you’d be involved in. Two weeks followed in the hospital, where he was given antibiotics intravenously. After numerous tests, we were told that Beau had group B Strep meningitis and sepsis and then left on our own.
What was this, we thought, and why wasn’t anyone talking to us about what it was and where it came from? At that point, we googled group B Strep and learned all the information we needed to know and got angry that we should have been told about it before Beau was born. Until very recently, no one knew what Beau’s future looked like as he had a very low immune system, which made him get ill very quickly and prone to hospital visits, speech, and eye problems.
Now aged eight, we know that, luckily, his development hasn’t been affected by the infection, but through raising awareness of group B Strep, I am hopefully saving other families from having to go through what we did; and know from friends and family that after taking the GBS test that they were group B Strep carriers and now have a healthy baby at home.”