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Ava H's story

2nd July 2015

Devastated mother, Hayley Smith of Coventry, lost her beautiful daughter, Ava, just days after she contracted bacterial meningitis in 2014

Ava H's story

She tells her heartbreaking story here.

“Our daughter, Ava Faith Hill, was just one year old when she contracted meningitis in November 2014.

It was on Sunday 9th November, two weeks after her first birthday, when Ava started to become poorly. I was 26 weeks pregnant with her little sister, Luisa Ava Grace Hill, who is now 17-weeks-old. Ava also had a big brother, Nathan, who's just turned four.

We thought Ava was unwell because she had cut her gums by her three top teeth, and on Monday she seemed better. However, after 6:00pm on Monday evening she started shaking and was very sleepy.”

Ava’s condition quickly deteriorated

“We had to wait till 9:15pm to take her to the out-of-hours doctors. I asked if it could be meningitis but Wayne (Ava's daddy) and I were told there were no symptoms, however she had them all bar two.

On Tuesday she still was being sick. She had cold hands and feet, and when she opened her eyes they were going left to right very fast. She was hot and sleepy and again I asked the doctor if it was meningitis. He again said she was showing no signs.

In the early hours of Wednesday morning I had to ring an ambulance as her skin was pale and blotchy. Her breathing was really fast and she was unresponsive. She had also suffered a seizure.

Ava passed away just a few hours later on Wednesday 12th November. She had contracted bacterial meningitis and septicaemia, with pneumococcal and meningococcal infections identified. We also found out Ava was severely brain damaged.

Ava’s death has left us heartbroken. She was such a happy, healthy baby. Her father and I are on anti-depressants and miss her so much. I often wonder what she would be doing now and how she would look. It hurts so much.”

There needs to be more awareness of meningitis

“I suggested meningitis to two professionals and it was passed off as a virus. It's not good enough. Awareness of meningitis needs to be higher and parents need to be taken more seriously. As they say, ‘mum knows best’ and in this case, I was right.

I want to share our story to raise awareness of meningitis and how quickly the disease can deteriorate and kill. I want to encourage parents to be aware of the signs and symptoms of meningitis and trust their instincts.

I wish Ava was still here. Her big brother misses her - they had a very strong bond always played together, and her little sister never even met her. It's the worst pain in the world to lose your beautiful baby.”