that's life (Australia)
LITTLE LEVI’S big battle
Emma’s son fought for his life – twice Emma Smithson, 33, Mornington Peninsula, Vic
Maybe I ate something that got into my breastmilk and disagreed with him,’ I said to my husband, Scott, 33.
It was 4am and our two-week-old baby, Levi, had screamed all night. Suddenly he threw up.
His temperature was a high 38 degrees.
Phoning the hospital, they told us to come in. There, Levi calmed down a bit.
The paediatrician looked at him and her face fell.
‘He needs uids and antibiotics straight away,’ she explained.
Suddenly the room was full of medics trying to insert a cannula into his tiny vein.
‘Will he be all right?’ I asked, frightened.
‘You’re lucky you brought him in when you did,’ a doctor replied.
By now, Levi was grey and barely moving.
Finally, they got a cannula into his scalp to give him uids and antibiotics.
Levi was diagnosed with late onset group B streptococcus, or strep B.
The bacteria that cause strep B can be passed from mum to baby during birth.
Sometimes, antibiotics are given during labour to ward off infections. Levi’s birth had been so fast there hadn’t been time.
‘He either has meningitis or sepsis,’ the doctor told us.
Meningitis was a deadly in ammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord, while sepsis was life-threatening blood poisoning. They both sounded terrifying.
Trying lumbar punctures, no uid shot out. This meant he had sepsis, not meningitis.
To our relief, after two weeks on antibiotics Levi had recovered and we took him home.
But a day later, Levi stopped feeding and cried uncontrollably.
His temperature was 38 degrees again.
Ringing the hospital, they said the chances of him having strep B again were slim, but we should take him in.
Unbelievably, he did have it again. There must have been an area in his body that the antibiotics hadn’t reached.
‘We need to test every part for the virus,’ they said.
So Levi had ECGs, X-rays, ultrasounds, blood tests and a lumbar puncture. Every test came back clear. To our relief, Levi again got well.
As a result of the ordeal, I suffered PTSD, which isn’t uncommon for parents with such an ill child.
With counselling, I fully recovered and our tiny battler is now two and hitting all of his milestones.
He is adored by his big brother, Tyler, ve, and is always smiling.
We can’t believe that we nearly lost him twice, and are grateful for every day. ●
Our tiny battler is now hitting all of his milestones