Dad Birju considers himself very fortunate that his wife, Preya, and younger daughter, Uma, are here today. Here Birju shares his story.
“After a high-risk pregnancy, Preya’s waters broke on 9 January 2021, and we made our way to the hospital. As we were in a pandemic, I couldn’t stay with her, so I retreated to the car, where I waited for hours until she messaged to say I should go home.
The next day as I still couldn’t see Preya, she was giving me updates, and we were both informed that they were going to liaise with obstetrics and haematology consultants on the Monday morning if Uma hadn’t arrived. That evening Preya messaged me, saying she felt shivery, weak, and dazed. Not long after, she messaged me again to say come to the hospital. I could never in a million years imagine what was about to happen. The consultant explained that Preya needed an emergency c-section because both Preya and Uma were distressed and in a life-threatening situation. While I was trying to process everything the consultant had said, Preya was rushed to the operating theatre.
Left alone, I felt helpless, scared, numb, lonely, and fearful of the worst.
On Sunday, 11 January 2021, I met Uma and held her for the first time. It was an emotional moment as Preya wasn’t there with me as she had developed maternal sepsis during labour and was in recovery. Uma was in NICU as she had group B Strep sepsis.
Uma kept on fighting, and after ten days in the hospital, Preya and Uma were finally allowed home. This was an actual moment of relief, joy, and happiness. We started researching group B Strep and realised we weren’t alone with many mothers and babies being affected. We couldn’t believe a simple test could have prevented so much trauma and heartache for us as a family.
We must continue to raise awareness of group B Strep and campaign for change until GBS screening is introduced in the UK; we’d never heard of it until this happened to us.”