Ann-Marie, mum to Vaughan, says:
“I knew nothing about group B Strep or the risks it posed. I started shivering in labour and within a couple of hours, my labour had progressed, and I was in excruciating pain. This wasn’t my first labour, and I kept saying something was wrong.
After being in horrendous pain, I was desperate for them to do something, so I was actually relieved when they said they were putting me under general anaesthetic and performing a C-section. I woke a few hours later to my fiancé telling me we’d had a boy and showing me a picture of a baby that looked just like our first but was in an incubator with tubes and wires everywhere. He told me our baby was in NICU and showing signs of an infection. I felt awful but assumed it was due to the C-section.
Only during my ‘debrief’ did I realise how poorly I had been myself. I wasn’t well enough to even get out of bed until around 10/11 hours later when I was finally wheeled to the NICU to meet my baby. For the first few days, I only got to see Vaughan when my partner could come to wheel me down and around my own medical care. He was also looking after our 5-year-old at home who was desperate to meet his new baby brother.
After a couple of days, they told me I had group B Strep infection, and they wanted our consent to do a lumbar puncture to test for meningitis. Thankfully it was negative, but group B Strep did show up in Vaughan’s blood, and he had signs of a chest infection. For ten days, we were in the hospital telling ourselves we weren’t as bad off as others, but I was falling apart emotionally. I was so desperate to get us both home.
I’d read up online about group B Strep and was terrified, as it said even with treatment, babies can die or have lifelong complications. We had issues with his infection levels spiking back upwards and it was hard not to fear the worst, but eventually, they came back down, and we were discharged.
Vaughan has fully recovered, although he has had multiple other issues, such as cow’s milk allergy, anaemia, wheezing episodes, various viruses and reflux etc. We don’t know if these are related to GBS or just a coincidence.
For months after he was born, I was incredibly anxious about everything. This is easing now, but I would say the worry and feeling that I had that I might not be taking our new baby home to meet his big brother didn’t leave me for quite a long time – especially when I heard of others I knew who had lost babies from it.
I feel incredibly lucky that we made the recovery we did and want to do anything I can to help prevent other families from going through the trauma we did and much worse.”