“My baby Pippa was born at home on the 26th of April 2016 at 8:34am. All seemed fine and we were left at home by the midwives.
We were left with no information other than to call our local mlu if we had any problems, and they said a midwife would visit later that day.
“Pippa struggled to feed, she lacked the rooting reflex. In the afternoon we received a call from the midwife (not a visit) and I raised concerns about feeding. I was told this was normal and to continue with skin to skin but that not feeding much within the first 24 hours is normal. I did as directed and managed to get Pippa to latch for a few minutes. Again she told me to call the mlu with concerns.
“As the evening went on Pippa continued not feeding, her breathing became increasingly noisy and as a result I decided to stay awake that night. She slept in her Moses basket next to our bed. I continued to try and feed, becoming increasingly concerned.
“In the early hours of the morning she coughed up thick brown mucus and I knew something was not right. I immediately called the mlu and was again reassured that everything was fine. As I was worried they said they would send a midwife out to me first thing.
“At 9am the next morning I had a call from another midwife. I explained all of my concerns and she reiterated everything was normal and she would be with me early afternoon.
Purple and mottled
“At around 11am I stripped Pippa off to try skin to skin to encourage her to feed and her skin was purple and mottled. We tried to google it but as it disappeared when touched and improved with skin to skin we did not think it was serious.
“About 30 minutes after that Pippa collapsed. I was holding her when I noticed she was not breathing. We called 999 and commenced resuscitation. After the emergency services tried all they could we had to make the decision to withdraw care.
“A number of tests were taken including a lumbar puncture. A few days after she died we were called to say the lumbar puncture showed group b strep meningitis and that this was the likely cause of her death.
Unaware of the dangers
“We had not been aware of GBS, how dangerous it could be or what signs or symptoms to look out for. After a year of pushing my husband Colin and I got the coroner’s verdict that the death was avoidable and we would have been alerted to how ill she was had the midwives given us with the correct information when they left – they left us with nothing.
“A death from meningitis which was wholly avoidable!
“The support we have had from Meningitis Now has been brilliant. At the worst time of our lives Meningitis Now was there. They took the burden of financing the funeral and offered us any support we wanted. We are forever indebted.
“But our family has been changed forever, we have a son Sonny and a daughter Brooke without a sister and our daughter has seen her parents become different people through their experience.”