Melanie, mum to Delilah, says,
“When I checked in with the day unit for my induction, my observations were abnormal: I had a high temperature and heart rate. I said I had a bit of a headache but otherwise felt fine. I was swabbed for flu and covid and it turned out I had the flu, so staff had to decide whether or not to go ahead with the induction.
They decided to, as long as I felt well enough, which I did. I had the pessary inserted but after 20 hours there wasn’t much progress, so they tried the gel. The next day I started having tightenings throughout the evening but was given codeine and managed to sleep that night. At 6am the midwife came in to say I would be going to the birthing suite to have my waters broken so we walked down, very excited to meet our new arrival!
Once this was done, I went onto the oxytocin drip which made my contractions very strong and painful. I knew something wasn’t right at this point, as I kept telling my partner ‘I just know I can’t do this, something is off’ but he reassured me that I could.
I can’t remember much of this day due to the pain I was in, but I was constantly using the gas and air, even though I’d had an epidural (three actually, one leaked over my back and the other only worked on one side of my body). I was just in the most excruciating pain and my daughter’s heart rate was escalating at a worrying level.
My temperature kept spiking to 39C and I was only 3cm dilated, so at around 8pm the next day, the decision was made for an emergency caesarean, which I somehow signed the consent form for with the shakiest hands. I heard the consultants saying they were going to prepare IV antibiotics for myself and baby due to having two risk factors for sepsis. Group B Strep was never mentioned. My beautiful daughter, Delilah, was born at 21:29 on 21 December, although I didn’t see her until she was about 10 minutes old due to her having to be cannulated and tested.
Once we were back in our room and settled and after lots of cuddles with my mum, my partner got her dressed, as I still couldn’t move from the spinal block. I don’t remember much of the night as I was on a lot of pain relief and having broken sleep.
The next day a doctor came to see us to say my placenta was sent for tests and this showed group B Strep was present. I’d heard of this infection before but that’s it. Just the name. I knew nothing about it, how it affects babies or anything like that. The doctor then went on to explain we would have to stay in as Delilah needed a seven-day course of antibiotics and so would I.
Having a mixture of baby blues, pain from the c-section and the news I was just given, I just wanted to cry. The skin to skin I wanted, being at home with her for her first Christmas, the ability to walk and see to her post birth, all stripped away from me due to this infection.
I’ll never get those moments back and I pray every day that more people are aware of this, that the NHS one day will do routine testing in pregnancy, no matter what. No mother should have to miss out on such things, and ours was only a moderate case. We are so lucky that Delilah made a full recovery and won’t have any lasting effects. Some mothers are not as lucky as I was and that’s why I really do hope GBS routine testing will become a regular thing in maternal care.”