Laura’s little boy Jude was born premature and had many health problems before they found out he had contracted meningitis.
Despite Jude’s difficult start in life their love for him has helped them through. Laura describes his first few weeks:
“My son Jude was born five weeks early on the 2nd July 2016 with a congenital heart defect.
“When he was in the womb, he was also diagnosed with talipes, a foot abnormality and hemivertebrae which affects his spine.
“Jude spent his first ten weeks in neonatal care between The Countess of Chester Hospital and Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, and underwent bowel surgery before we were finally allowed to bring him home.
“Two weeks after bringing him home we noticed he was going blue and he had to go back to the hospital for another two nights.
“At just fifteen weeks, Jude’s cardiologists decided he would need to have open heart surgery to reduce the pressure on his lungs. His recovery was difficult having gone into cardiac arrest the day after his operation.
“I couldn’t believe all this was happening to my little boy.Thankfully he pulled through and was eventually ready again to be discharged from hospital two weeks later.
Bringing him home
“We were so relieved to be able to finally bring him home, but later that night it was clear that Jude was not at all well.
“He was very irritable, had very short breaths, and had a grey look about him. We got him settled through the night but by morning he was no better. We decided to take him straight to our local hospital where we had open access due to his heart condition.
“Jude was given a blood test which showed that this white blood cell count was very high at 50! He was put on a course of antibiotics and then moved by ambulance back to Alder Hey.
“He remained on antibiotics for the next 36 hours, however in the early hours we received a call that Jude’s breathing had become even worse and needed intubating and care from ICU.
“He then underwent a number of tests, but it was not until he had a lumbar puncture three days later that it was confirmed that Jude had meningitis. However by this time Jude was stable and the infection had begun to subside.
We were very lucky
“The meningitis caught the doctors by surprise as the fluid from the lumbar puncture was clear. We are very lucky that the antibiotics that Jude was originally prescribed at our local hospital were able to minimise the damage caused by the disease.
“Jude escaped relatively unscathed as far as we know, but we do not know which strain of meningitis he had. Once again the fantastic team at Alder Hey saved my little boy’s life.
“It may be that the true impact of the disease will surface, however for now, we count ourselves very lucky. We have a long road ahead of us because of his heart defect and we really don’t know yet how the meningitis may have affected this.
“But either way, we will continue to fight whatever health problems he has and love him whatever happens."
Information on how we can help families living with the after-effects of meningitis.