Your health: i gave it to him!
Laura Pollard, 23, from Liverpool, discovered her newborn had a nasty infection...
Even in my daze, I just couldn’t take my eyes off of my baby. It was 17 December last year and Joshua was just 3 hours old. My partner Gary, 24, and my mum Anita, 46, were with us, and I was exhausted and drowsy from medication.
I couldn’t wait for our first family festivities at home. I’d got Joshua an elf outfit and personalised baubles saying, Joshua’s First Christmas.
In my weary state, I hadn’t noticed that Joshua was making grunting sounds.
But Mum and Gary had. Gary rushed to get the nurse and Joshua was whisked to Intensive Care.
‘There’s a problem with his breathing,’ Gary told me. But he’d been fine earlier! When I saw him hours later,
he was in an incubator – wires attached to his tiny body, gravely ill with pneumonia and sepsis.
Joshua was given antibiotics and a blood transfusion, while doctors ran further tests.
I was surrounded by mums and newborns, but I couldn’t have my baby with me.
He had a high temperature, and congestion on his chest.
‘His illness was caused by a group B strep infection,’ a doctor explained to us.
It is a type of bacteria carried by some adults, usually harmless to the human body.
Though rare, in some cases the bacteria can be a problem for pregnant women if passed to their baby, leading to longterm disability, or even death, if not treated immediately. ‘I gave it to him!’ I cried. ‘It’s not your fault,’ Gary said. Later, after I’d left a message for my midwife, she called me back, sounding frantic. ‘I’m so sorry,’ she said. It turned out the bacteria had shown in my urine test at 36 weeks, but the results had never been flagged.
If they had been, the doctors could have made preparations for the birth. I wasn’t angry, just wanted my baby to get better.
Joshua stayed in hospital until he’d finished his two-week course of antibiotics, and the doctors dealt with his infection and got him breathing on his own.
He wouldn’t be home for his first Christmas after all… heart breaking.
So, on 25 December, instead of unwrapping gifts by the tree, Gary and I made our way to the hospital.
Now Joshua was no longer on a breathing machine, I dressed him in a sleepsuit, Santa hat and elf shoes!
We put up cards and sang We Wish You a Merry Christmas to him.
And our families popped in, too.
Slowly but surely, the antibiotics worked their magic and he came home on New Year’s Eve. Energetic Joshua is climbing on everything in sight now!
If it wasn’t for Gary and my mum, Joshua’s infection may have been missed and he might not even be here for his first proper family Christmas…
I dressed him in a sleepsuit, santa hat and elf shoes!
Festive Joshua in hospital last year
He’s a star! My boy recently