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Myles' story

31st July 2018

Michelle’s baby son Myles was just two weeks old when she knew something was seriously wrong with him – his cry just wasn’t the same

Myles' story

He was rushed to hospital where bacterial meningitis was diagnosed.

Thankfully it had been caught early, thanks to Michelle’s instinct, and he responded well to treatment. Michelle recounts their traumatic experience here.

“My pregnancy had been a very 'normal' second pregnancy, four years after my daughter Laila was born. I'd had some cramping early on but all was fine and apart from feeling huge, both I, and more importantly, my baby boy were doing great.

“During the final stages of pregnancy I had some bleeding, which I'd not experienced during my first pregnancy. I went straight to hospital and had some tests done, where I was later told I'd tested positive for Group B Strep. I was told not to worry about it but immediately I went home and began googling to see what, if any, impact this would have on our unborn baby boy.

“I was having a planned c-section, after having had an emergency c-section with my daughter. I questioned several midwives and nurses about whether our unborn baby would be given medication straight after birth and was told repeatedly that because I was not having a natural birth there was no chance anything could be passed on.

Seeking reassurance

“I was incredibly worried about this and even when being prepped for surgery that morning I tried to seek reassurance that the advice I'd been given was correct. Nobody seemed fazed. Apart from me, knowing this was something in my body that could potentially cause a risk to our baby before we'd even met him broke my heart.

“As I was wheeled down for my planned c-section I remember just wishing it were all over so I could have him in my arms, and know he was safe.

“The c-section went fine, and as I lay with bated breath he cried. Myles James Graham, 13 September 2016, 7lb 9oz, smaller than they'd predicted he'd be, but he was here and after initial checks everyone seemed happy with him.

Our family was complete

“Our family was complete and that afternoon when our daughter came to meet her new baby brother everything felt perfect. But in the back of my mind there was still this lingering fear, which I tried multiple times to shake and just couldn't seem to.

“He was feeding okay initially, having being diagnosed with a tongue tie and gaining weight, loved cuddles and just seemed so content.

“After his tongue tie operation he fed okay and was gaining weight still, but slowly, and I was advised to try different feeding positions to make it more comfortable for us both, which I did.

Cry sounded painful

“Then, after putting my daughter to bed on 27 September when Myles was only two weeks old, his cry just didn't seem the same. All those things I'd read before he'd arrived came flooding back and I just knew something was seriously wrong. He settled on my husband Dean's chest and as I called 111 I just hoped I was being dramatic, but his cry sounded painful, a much higher pitch than it had been, and he had a temperature.

“The man I spoke to was incredible and went through a checklist with me, and then very calmly told me to pack a bag and take Myles straight to the RVI, and that he'd refer him so we wouldn't have to wait while there.

“Looking back I just froze. We gathered everything together, my mother-in-law came to collect our daughter and we drove to Newcastle. Myles had a slight temperature when we got there but had settled and (probably hopefully) I began to think maybe nothing was wrong.

Standing in disbelief

“Minutes after arriving Myles was rushed through to a ward and checked over and then we were told he would be going for a lumbar puncture. He was taken from us, we were then shown to a parents’ room and just left standing there in disbelief.

“Several nurses came by and tried to reassure us and we were taken to a room where Myles would come back to. When he returned he just looked so small, so fragile, with a drip in his hand and wired up to be monitored. My husband and I just sat in silence for what seemed like hours while we waited for some results.

“Just as my husband had left to pay parking two doctors arrived and told me the worst possible news. Suspected meningitis. I was told they believed we'd caught it fast and that they'd be starting antibiotics immediately.

Inside I was devastated

“Inside I was devastated and furious. I had so many questions. When my husband returned I broke down telling him all I'd been told. As I tried to get a little sleep while Myles slept I remember vividly waking and seeing my husband just leaning over Myles' cot, holding his hand, wiping tears from his face. This just made it all feel too real.

“Over the next few days Myles had several cannulas inserted in his hands and feet and then a line inserted in his chest to get the medication he needed to him. Further blood tests confirmed it was bacterial meningitis and Myles would need to complete a course of antibiotics, meaning we'd be in hospital for a further week.

“Being in hospital and away from my daughter was awful but as long as Myles was getting better we knew it had to be done. Due to his age he wasn't quite old enough to be given medication at home and the constant beeping of machines and wires kept us both up all night. Everyone who came to check in on and monitor Myles was very happy with his progress and his little smiley personality was beginning to shine through.

Going home

“Going home was like bringing him home for the first time all over again – but no one was able to say how or why Myles had contracted meningitis, or any long-term impacts on his development.

“Myles had hearing tests and all came back fine, and as he achieved each milestone we couldn't be more proud of him.

“Now at 22 months old, his speech is slightly delayed but his understanding is there and we hope there have been no lasting after-effects from such a traumatic time at only two weeks old!

“I cannot give any advice and will always be left with doubts as to whether I did my best for Myles. Should I have pursued further examinations when he was first born? But in our case trusting my instincts on that evening potentially saved his life.

“We will never be able to say how thankful we are to the 111 man I spoke with who was so attentive and calm and the doctors and nurses at the RVI Newcastle for caring for our baby boy.”