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Ava's C's story

12th January 2023

When Nicole’s young daughter Ava became suddenly unwell with a high temperature, her instinct told her that there was something wrong. Nicole tells the story of what happened next

Ava's C's story

“On Thursday the 24th November 2022 my daily routine started the same.

I have a 2-and-a-half-year-old who’s at nursery so I normally am running around dropping and picking him up I also have a 7-week-old.

“I noticed that my 7-week-old Ava felt quite hot, so I took a blanket off her thinking it was that, an hour later I noticed she was really hot to touch so I took her temperature, I was shocked to see the temperature red light came on and it read 38.8, I panicked and called my GP.

“They called me back and told me to take her in. Something in my belly was just telling me something was not right. The GP was not bothered about her high temperature and begin to tell me that she will pick up viruses from her brother all the time. I even did mention to her what about meningitis. she told me that’s very rare you know why do you keep saying that? If the temperature is still there in two days, then come back.

A mother’s instinct

“When I got home, I still felt something was off, I knew I wouldn’t feel comfortable putting Ava to bed knowing she had a temperature that high. I called 111 it was around 9:30pm. A lovely doctor called me back and said to come into the QE2 hospital where he would have a look at her for me straight away. When he saw her, he first checked her temperature it was now 39.2, he then undressed her and noticed her mottled skin. He said to me I don’t want to scare you but I think she may have sepsis; you need to go to A&E right away. He also said to me a mother’s instinct is always right.

I rang my boyfriend hysterical, shocked at the information he had just given me, worried for Ava. So, I grabbed some bottles, clothes, milk and took myself to Barnet General. They only let one parent in at a time which is understandable as there is no room but it was so scary going through that bit on my own. Ava was still drinking her milk and seemed OK so I wasn’t really worrying and was hoping the hospital would give her some calpol and send me on my way. I went into triage and her temperature was still over 39 degrees, the kind nurse said that we will have our own room soon and a doctor will be with us shortly.

Worst fears realised

“By this point I sort of knew it was more serious, three doctors came in to tell me how they needed to do a lumbar puncture and put her on antibiotics and anti-virals, while they were waiting for her results. The next morning, we were still in A&E and a lovely doctor came in to see us, they didn’t have all Ava’s results but she sort of said that they think she had viral meningitis but they are treating her for all of the types until they know. Me and my partner burst into tears panicking that our little baby was seriously ill I will never forget those words, they are words you never want to hear as a parent.

“We were taken to a ward where they made us feel so comfortable, we had our own room and a parent room to make the bottles. Ava’s temperature came down and started reacting better to all the medicine and she was still smiling, happy, and eating as normal so this also made us feel better that she was doing well.

“The doctors reassured us every morning that she was doing well and they were just waiting to see exactly which type she had so they knew exactly how to treat it.

“On day four she finally got discharged without further treatment they said that she had viral meningitis and they were discharging us as they were happy with her, and this type did not need further treatment. Ava is doing well, she has since had her first lot of jabs and is feeling much better. We still have a follow up in March to check of any health concerns since contracting the virus but so far I feel she is doing amazingly. Honestly if I can share anything from my experience it is parents, please go with your gut instinct it really does tell you things, I knew it was meningitis without lots of symptoms, I just had a feeling. If you feel something is not right with your child please take them to see someone, it could save their life.

“Thank God my baby is OK and doing well that is the best Christmas present I could have asked for.”