“When Quinn was one week old, we noticed he was very warm.
"He had spent a few days in NICU at birth due to some breathing problems, so we decided to take him back to hospital to be checked out.
“By the time we got to hospital he seemed far more unwell. He was very lethargic, mottled, very white and screaming a really high-pitched scream every time he was touched or moved. The doctor at the out-of-hours department sent us straight to the children's ward, and within half an hour he had had a lumbar puncture, bloods, and was started on IV antibiotics and IV antivirals.
“The doctor came to see us shortly after and told us that the lumbar puncture had confirmed that Quinn did have meningitis, but if would be a few days before we knew which strain - the bloods and CSF sample had to be sent to another hospital. Hearing that your new-born baby has meningitis is terrifying. I remember the feeling of absolute helplessness and fear.
“Working as paramedics, both my husband Neil and I have seen first-hand the outcome of meningitis and trying to rationalise was impossible. Quinn had a week of IV antibiotics, antivirals and fluids.
Became more alert
“After the first few days he became more alert, started to feed better and his breathing improved. The wonderful team who looked after us were fairly sure it was viral meningitis but wanted to continue all the treatment until they were definite. On the seventh day the good news came that the blood results confirmed Quinn had viral meningitis.
“We had finished the week’s worth of medication and were able to go home with follow-up appointments a few weeks later. We were absolutely overjoyed that we could go home and our baby could finally spend some time with his big brothers, Dylan (aged 6) and Fraser (aged 3).
Back to hospital
“Unbelievably though, at six-weeks-old, Quinn developed a temperature again, and as soon as he started the high-pitched squealing again, we knew we needed to take him back to hospital. All the same steps were taken and once again we heard the news that he had contracted meningitis. Although once again very worrying, we at least this time round knew what to expect, and after another week of treatment, we were able to go home again. Doctors concluded that it was sheer bad luck, and very unusual that Quinn had contacted it twice.
Full of giggles
“Since then Quinn has had regular follow-ups with the paediatric team. He is now a very happy eight-month-old, full of giggles and doing everything he should be for his age. We thank our lucky stars every single day that for us the outcome was good and we are so grateful to all the wonderful medical staff who cared for him - and us - both times.
“I'm not sure the day will ever come where we will be fully relaxed with his health now, particularly if he has a temperature, but as time goes on it is easier to rationalise and realise that sometimes he will just be poorly, and it won't always be meningitis.”