I GAVE MY BABY MENINGITIS (It’s all Mummy’s fault)
WHEN VICKIE, 38, NOTICED ITCHY BUMPS ON HER ABDOMEN AND HIPS SHE PRESUMED THEY WERE INSECT BITES.
SHE VISITED HER GP AND OBSTETRICIAN TO MAKE SURE THEY WERE NOTHING MORE SINISTER, BUT THEY TOO BELIEVED HER SYMPTOMS WERE FROM A NASTY CLUSTER OF STINGS. BUT THE ‘HARMLESS’ INSECT BITES TURNED OUT TO BE A DANGEROUS VIRUS, WHICH LED TO HER UNBORN BABY, LUCAS, NOW SIX, DEVELOPING MENINGITIS AND CEREBRAL PALSY.
When Vickie caught sight, at 35-weeks, of the extreme rash on her stomach and thighs, the first-time mum assumed she had been bitten by a horsefly. Unconcerned Vickie didn’t have many symptoms other than those she put down to being pregnant and the GP confirmed her beliefs, giving her a cream to calm the blisters down.
But when Vickie gave birth by caesarean section, her little one was whisked away, having trouble breathing. The doctors worked frantically trying to keep Lucas alive and eventually, to Vickie’s relief he took his first gulp of air. All Lucas’ vitals came back, reporting him very healthy. But later that night, Lucus let out a bloodcurdling wail and began turning blue.
Vickie and her family called for help, but by the time it arrived Luke had returned to normal – he was bubbly and bright pink again. A nurse told Vickie that this was common but the shrill scream returned and soon became routine over the next few days. It wasn’t until Lucas screamed with a doctor in the room that concerns were raised and Vickie’s little one was rushed into intensive care. Medics explained to distressed Vickie that Lucas was having seizures and would need to be monitored closely.
Lucas’ health deteriorated and over the following days he experienced between 20 and 30 seizures a day. After a cocktail of drugs and a ream of tests, doctors eventually found traces of the HSV-1 virus – or cold sore virus. Vickie was dumbstruck. How could a new-born have caught the cold sore virus within hours of birth? Not only that, but she had never had a cold sore in her life!
Medics explained that there was a one in 100,000 chance that she could have passed the virus on to her son, but she must have done so via the ‘rash’ she developed before giving birth. Lucas suffered with seizures for months after he caught the cold sore virus and developed meningitis and a swelling on the brain, which led to the discovery that Lucas had developed cerebral palsy. Vickie waited patiently to take her baby home for 10 distressing weeks and now, six years on, Lucas has made slow but steady progress.
He has hit his milestones although he didn’t crawl until he was 18-months-old and he didn’t walk until he was three. Vickie said: ‘I can’t describe how shrill the scream was – it was like nothing I’d heard before. He sounded as if he was in incredible pain and started to go blue. I knew something wasn’t right. He’s never going to be like other kids his age but he’s so cheerful that it doesn’t matter. Until recently Luke walked with a specially-made frame to support his weight but he now walks by himself.’
‘I don’t know what I’d have done if I didn’t access to the Brainwave charity. They are so supportive and helped me feel like I’m moving in the right direction with Lucas.’
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