“Riley first went into hospital on 1 September 2018. We phoned 111 asking for advice as he had a high temperature and was breathing strangely. They sent an ambulance and we were taken in. A lumbar puncture and blood tests were done, which came back with a complex urine infection. Riley was on IV antibiotics for 4 days and we went home on 6 September.
“Three days later he was irritable and had a high temperature again, so I took him to the GP thinking he had just caught my cold but to get him checked as he was ill the previous week. The GP agreed saying it was probably a cold but sent us to hospital to get checked by the paediatrician just to be sure due to his age.
“At this point everyone thought it was the back end of the urine infection combined with a cold but did another lumbar puncture to be sure. This is when we found out he had bacterial meningitis. He was immediately put back onto IV antibiotics and ended up having a femoral line put in his groin as we could not keep a cannula in.
“Two days after being diagnosed, we found out the type of meningitis Riley had was from the Pseudomonas infection which is rare for a baby of his age and fairly serious. If he had not had 10 days of antibiotics prior to this for the UTI, he may not be here today. They kept it at bay and prevented it getting to that point.
“After two more weeks of IV antibiotics we were allowed home, and he has been improving ever since. He needs a hearing test and check-ups in the future, but the doctors don't believe he will have any lasting after-effects.
Signs can be subtle
“Being told my baby had meningitis was like a punch in the gut. Especially as Riley did not present like a very sick baby, we thought for a while that he just had a cold. We didn't think in a million years it was as serious as it was - in fact the only reason I took him to the GP was due to him being ill the week before. The signs can be so subtle, it's no wonder it doesn't always get picked up on until it's too late. In my mind I was struggling, thinking well he doesn't have a rash, he isn't floppy etc so he can't have meningitis.
“That month was easily the hardest time of my life. Not only was I in hospital with my sick baby, not always knowing if he would be coming home again, but I had left my 2-year-old son at home and missed him dearly. I do want to add though that the nurses and doctors were amazing - Riley was on hourly observations 24/7 and if I was asleep they would come in and try not to wake me. We were fully informed all the time and they really went above and beyond by looking after us as well as Riley.
“We were the lucky ones and I truly hope that more awareness and research can help prevent more families going through this. I wouldn't wish this experience on my worst enemy but at least we had a happy ending.”