Mum’s gut instinct

On 23rd June 2013 I gave birth to my second child a beautiful baby girl called Zaidee. After giving birth I only stayed in hospital the minimum six hours as everything went so well I had no reason to stay longer and considering I had a 4 year old son at home I left the hospital to continue life at home.

The day we went home, Zaidee was a bit unsettled but you expect that with a new baby so after several hours of screaming at a time I managed to get an hour or so rest in between. As the days went on Zaidee was getting more & more unsettled to the point she would scream for seven hours straight then sleep for fifteen minutes then scream again. She stopped feeding and had a reddish coloured swirly pattern across her face and body.

We went to our family doctor who thought she may have an allergy or intolerance to her formula so referred us to a paediatrician. We got into the specialist the next day as an emergency case as Zaidee was only five days old and no longer feeding at all. The paediatrician we saw insisted she was just a very unsettled baby and possibly had some reflux. We were recommended another formula to use and sent home. In the following days there was no improvement. A baby who was over tired, hungry & that unsettled was very exhausting. We didn’t know what to do next! We had to wait two weeks for a follow up with the paed. The doctor’s office phoned me a week and a half later with a cancellation so they could move our next appointment forward, so we took it! Again the specialist was definite she was just very unsettled!

I was so unhappy with her diagnosis and just felt deep in my gut she wasn’t unsettled but something was really wrong so I left their office and took Zaidee straight to the emergency department of the closest hospital. Upon approaching the triage window Zaidee started having seizures in my arms and then stopped breathing! She was rushed straight through while a nurse massaged her heart to keep her alive.

I’ve never felt like that before, my perfect new baby girl’s life was being taken from us just like that! To watch your own child in so much pain and then have them stop breathing in your arms is something you could never imagine. Zaidee was transported immediately to another hospital where on arrival they did a lumbar puncture & whilst awaiting the results she had brain ultrasounds and some other tests done. During this time she stopped breathing another four times which also happened to be in my arms but I wouldn’t put her down. She needed me, hermother! To know she was safe and I wasn’t going to let her go!

It took an hour to get the results back which showed Zaidee had viral meningitis. She had to receive medication as soon as possible. She was transferred to another hospital again where she had to have a central line put her neck to receive her medication. They had to put her to sleep to do an MRI and insert the central line and then she had trouble coming out of it. I had to spend three weeks by her bed side in hospital while she got her medication because the hospital couldn’t guarantee they could get straight to her if she needed them. It was a very long & exhausting process, not just on me and Zaidee but the whole family! We ended up setting up a roster where my mum and sister would take turns doing a day shift here and there so I could still spend time with my son at home.

All this turned out to be due to me somewhere somehow without knowing coming in contact with the chicken pox virus whilst pregnant and it being passed to Zaidee through utero. The hospital did some tests on me whilst caring for Zaidee which confirmed I carried it and would’ve passed it on. Hence the importance of immunisation.

At 3 1/2 weeks of age Zaidee was diagnosed with viral meningitis which she was born with but misdiagnosed for that long. She is now a healthy happy 9 month old. She has a new paediatrician and has been discharged after her 6 month follow up.

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