Blake’s grandmother Donna writes,
“My daughter went into early labour with my first grandchild on New Year’s Eve 2009.
I was living in France. Because she wasn’t having contractions the hospital sent her home, even though her waters had broken. Blake, her beautiful son, was born healthy on New Year’s Day so there were no ferries for me to get to the UK until the 2nd January.
I remember feeling so very excited, Blake was here at last, my 1st grandchild. I couldn’t wait to see and hold him and had a suitcase full of little clothes for him. I received a call from my daughter at my sister’s house an hour after my arrival. She was very upset, crying and telling me if I wanted to see Blake to hurry to the hospital as he was going to be transferred to a London hospital because he was gravely ill. I was completely in shock. My excitement turned to worry in an instant.
I arrived at the hospital and within minutes a nurse came to my daughter and told her she needed to quickly go to the special care baby unit. I was allowed to go with her. The baby unit had subdued lighting and there in a corner was a nurse pumping Blake’s tiny chest with her thumb and apologizing to my daughter that there was nothing more she could do…..!!
Blake was naked apart from a nappy and a blindfold. He was so tiny, so very perfect. Tiny fingernails and a light downing of hair, so perfect. I was so proud of my daughter.
I still hear my daughter crying out, ‘Noooo’ to the nurse. We were told that Blake had sepsis and his skin was blue and mottled. We were in a state of complete confusion. He had been born healthy so what had happened?
He wouldn’t feed from my daughter after he was born, and he was given a tube up his nose to pass food to him. He cried a lot and made grunting noises, which the nurse had apparently never heard before. My daughter had every faith that the nurses knew what they were doing. We were never told during that episode that Blake had group B Strep infection.
Blake was then put on a ventilator and my daughter held him in her arms, utterly devastated. The worst thing for me was I couldn’t take the pain away from my daughter, like you can when they fall over when small. What could I say to ease her pain? What could I do to make her feel better? I was afraid to cry in case I lost it and couldn’t support her. A Priest arrived to baptise Blake, but he was really already dead, being kept alive only by the ventilator. I held him in my arms at last, a tiny perfect corpse, my beautiful little grandson. I never saw his eyes open and now they were closed forever.
During the following week, we had to register Blake’s birth and death at the same appointment, a cruel painful experience. We had to arrange a funeral. My daughter’s milk came through with no baby to drink it. She asked me if she was in fact still a mother. I didn’t know how to answer her.
We learned shortly after that the hospital broke 5 group B Strep protocols, not just one but 5. Many of the nurses hadn’t heard of GBS and didn’t know the signs.
After Blake’s funeral my daughter became angry. Angry for the unnecessary waste of her son’s life that could have been avoided.
She is now a Group B Strep Support Ambassador. She continuously works to raise awareness to pregnant mothers and I am immensely proud of her to have been able to turn such a sad tragedy into a positive quest for other mothers to be.
We also found out later, that two members of our family carried GBS in pregnancy, but kept this knowledge to themselves for fear of it being confused with an STD because it can be found in the mother’s vagina. I find it very hard to believe and accept that still, 12 years later, healthy babies are still dying because of ignorance.
I am so happy to know that there are many people now letting the world know of group B Strep infection in newborns.”