Gemma, from Sheffield, recognised these as possible signs of meningitis and got Vinnie straight to hospital, where thankfully he went on to make a good recovery. She shares their story here.
“It was a normal day. My son Vinnie, aged 10 weeks at the time, was fine all morning and I noticed nothing unusual. He would have a nap after a bottle - it was about 2 o’clock in the afternoon – and while he was napping I went into the shower to start to get ready to pick my daughter up from school.
“I started to hear grunting noises coming from Vinnie’s Moses basket where he was sleeping. At this time he had no temperature and I just thought he was really tired which was why he was making these noises. I carried on with getting dressed and after I finished getting ready I went to get Vinnie out of his Moses basket to put him in his pram. Within those ten minutes from checking on him last time he was boiling! He couldn’t really wake up and I noticed his eyes constantly blinking.
Hands and feet stone cold
“I checked Vinnie’s hands and feet and they were stone cold compared to his body’s temperature and alarm bells rang, as I had recently seen a post of signs and symptoms of meningitis and knew I needed to act fast. Dane, Vinnie’s dad, had viral meningitis at 10 months old and also Dane’s younger brother sadly passed away at four months old from meningitis.
“I phoned Dane straight away and luckily he was just finishing work. My granddad picked my daughter up so we could set straight off to Sheffield Children’s Hospital.
Heart rate was really fast
“They took us straight through. Vinnie’s heart rate was really fast and we were still unsure what it was causing this, but a lumbar puncture was carried out and he was put on two different antibiotics until we knew what it was. After a few days in hospital a doctor came around and said it was a bug called neisseria meningitidis that was found and if untreated or left too late it could cause life threatening sepsis and loads of other complications.
“Vinnie carried on with the antibiotics in hospital and as an out patient. We had to go back every day for a week until he was discharged. The doctor and nurses praised us on how fast we acted because it could have been a whole other story.
Healthy, active soon to be 2-year old
“Now Vinnie is a healthy, active soon to be 2-year old and I’ve never been so proud of him. Such a tough little boy at 10-weeks-old having to go through that! It was such a hard and emotional experience for myself and his father too, but we got through it. It wasn’t easy though and left a lot of worry.
“I’m a lot more aware now of things and on edge when anyone in the family’s ill. It was just so unexpected but it’s something that is slowly getting easier. I will always be on edge in the winter months because that’s when he contracted it and I think that’s how I will always be now.
“Even when it comes to common colds and teething I get so paranoid, but as time goes by I am beginning to relax more. My family beat this and I hope my story will help other people to look out for those key signs and symptoms.”