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Leanne's story

5th June 2018

Twenty-two-year-old Leanne, from Stockport in Cheshire, became ill with viral meningitis just as she was taking maternity leave with her second child

Leanne's story

She was taken to hospital for treatment and thankfully went on to deliver a healthy baby daughter, Sophia. Leanne tells their story here.

“I started my maternity leave much earlier with my second baby, as I wanted to spend some time with my daughter Phoebe before the baby arrived.

“I finished a couple of days earlier than planned as I'd had some aches and pains all over my body and felt very lethargic and generally unwell.

“The following week, at 29 weeks pregnant, I woke at around 3am to excruciating head pain, which I thought may be a virus or cold starting. I had a drink and tried to go back to sleep. I must have drifted off as around an hour later I woke again with the pain in my head.

Leanne's story

Never felt anything like it

“I'd never felt anything like it. I got downstairs and took some painkillers and managed to get back upstairs. I found walking difficult as each footstep pounded through my head. I got back into bed but even closing my eyes I could still feel some light through my eyelids from having the landing light on for my daughter.

“I had to sleep with a cold flannel over my eyes to try and ease the pain and block out the light. By lunch time my partner Anthony knew this wasn't right as I hadn't started to look any better and had now started to vomit with the pain.

“He called the doctor and asked for a home visit and as I couldn't make it to the surgery. The doctor came to check me over and told me I had a virus. A few hours later, unsatisfied with the doctor, my partner then called the midwife who told him to call an ambulance if he was that concerned.

Temperature too high

“At 11pm the ambulance arrived. They explained my heart rate was too fast and my temperature too high.

“After being in A and E most of the night and finally admitted to a ward I was then sent for a CT scan to check my brain. They explained that if this was fine the next step would be a lumbar puncture.

“Sure enough the CT was clear and in they came to carry out my lumbar puncture. After the longest few minutes of my life they got the fluid from my spine and sent it off for testing.

“A couple of hours later a doctor came into my room and explained I had viral meningitis and I had to begin treatment of intravenous Aciclovir straight away. However, as it's unusual for a pregnant women to contract this and need the medication, they were unsure how it would affect my baby. I agreed to start the medication as I was desperate at this point, although I did fear for my unborn daughter.

Grateful for my own bed

“After a week in hospital I was finally allowed home looking like a pin cushion, but grateful for my own bed.

“The rest of my pregnancy I found I was constantly tired. However, this is usual for the final trimester. I had a lack of appetite and low mood and anxiety.

“My daughter Sophia was born a healthy 7lb 3oz at 38 weeks with no problems.

“I did contract Group B Strep towards the end of my pregnancy, which I took a course of antibiotics for. I am unsure whether the two conditions are related. I still get migraines, which before the viral meningitis I never suffered with, and had a short spell in hospital when the baby was six months old, again with suspected meningitis, which also meant another lumbar puncture.

“My daughter is now a crazy six-and-a-half-year-old and there is no evidence that any of this ever affected her.”