Mikayla’s meningococcal story

Our beautiful daughter Mikayla Naomi was born on the 1st December 2000, perfect and healthy. She even went for her six-week check up and we were advised that she was a very healthy baby. As the days began to get hotter, I began to worry about my baby girl and how the heat and humidity would affect her. This was a new experience for my partner and myself as our son was born in winter and had time to acclimatize to the Australian summer.

One day I had to go out, so I left her with the lady next door as her house had air conditioning. I knew my little girl would be cooler. When I returned, she had not woken from her sleep. I put it down to the air conditioning, however as the afternoon wore on I was beginning to worry, so I decided to take her home, perhaps that would wake her up for a feed. She did wake up and she seemed very strange. Mikayla seemed like she was drugged and she had a small whimpering cry - not screaming for a feed like most babies do. I said to my husband, "I think there is something wrong." He thought it was probably the heat of the summer day. So we went home and did the usual things, while each of us took turns to watch Mikayla.

My husband told me to go and have a rest at 9:30 pm and said he would watch Mikayla. I think I just sat on the bed worried because she was not feeding well. At 10:30pm he brought Mikayla to me and said, what is this?" I panicked and told him to take her to the hospital, as there was now a small purple dot on her temple. However, I did not worry too much as we had a nephew who had survived meningitis. I told my husband to hurry, as I had to stay with our little boy who was asleep in bed. I kissed Mikayla and my husband left for the hospital. At 11:30pm I received a phone call from my husband telling me we had to get to the hospital.

Mikayla was not going to make it. I said, "why?" So Bryton and myself and the lady next door travelled to the hospital. The lady next door also came with us because she had been in contact with Mikayla.

When we got to the hospital I was taken to intensive care, what I saw is forever burned into my memory. My baby was hooked up to what seemed like tons of cords and her whole body was as purple as a plum. I was told that she had meningococcal septicaemia. The doctors and nurses were doing all they could. I sat there telling her I loved her. However it was no good, the doctors explained that she had been very badly affected by the disease and so the life support was turned off and we lost Mikayla at seven weeks on the 24 January 2001. We buried her on the 27 January 2001.

It is the most horrible thing ever to bury a child. I am also racked by guilt. What did I do that was so wrong? The doctor said that we had done nothing wrong. The disease spreads through the body at such a quick pace. Furthermore, they also advised us that if we had brought her in earlier they would have sent us home.

Everyone who had been in contact with our little girl had to have antibiotics. Our hearts are broken. We still have many questions including how she caught the disease.

I still can't believe this happened to me, I feel robbed of a daughter, someone to go shopping with and to organize her wedding. I miss her so much and still cry when I see other little girls and wish they were mine. I was a Catholic before Mikayla died but I feel that God let me down when she died and I have lost my faith

My husband did a wonderful thing for me. He got a locket and put Mikayla's picture in it. I never take it off and wear it all the time. At first I was mad. This locket was not going to bring Mikayla back, however, I feel and believe that it's a special way to keep her close to my heart.