Danielle D's story

16th May 2019

Danielle thought she had contracted flu but in fact the new mum, from Lurgan in County Armagh, had something even worse – pneumococcal meningitis. Despite being rushed to hospital she was unable to beat the infection and died soon after. Heartbroken husband James tells their sad story here

Danielle's meningitis story

“Danielle thought and was told she had the flu. She had just given birth 11 weeks earlier and didn't have a great pregnancy. She suffered throughout it all."

"But after the pregnancy on the 25th of September 2016 she started having these flu like symptoms. She went to her local doctors on the Tuesday and was told that she had the flu and to go home and rest and take Beechams cold and flue tablets, so she did."

“I came home from a day out with friends and she was laying on the sofa with the blinds and curtains closed. I thought she was watching a film, but then she told me that she couldn't bear the light outside or indoors. We didn’t know what to think but went with what the doctor told her. He headed to bed early and I said I would sort our newborn son for bed. Around 10:30pm Danni sent me a text message looking for water and ice, so I got them for her. I then headed to bed shortly after."

Stay in darkness

“When baby Keynzee woke for his bottle I noticed Danni wasn't in bed. I didn't think much about it till later that day when she told me that my body heat was too much for her as she was sweating so much. She headed into the single bed. All she would do was take water and ice and stay in darkness. That night, which was Wednesday, the same happened. She sent a text if she needed anything. It was still water and ice, but I told her to eat something as she hadn't since Monday. I brought her a banana yoghurt and she took a spoonful and that was it."

“She then asked me to run her a bath. Danni liked a hot bath to just relax and soak in. When I had the bath ready she told me that it was freezing, which it definitely wasn't because the steam was everywhere and it burnt my hand after feeling it. She then asked for more hot water and I said it’s roasting hot. After the bath I got her things ready for bed and she said she was cold, so I got her a hot water bottle. I gave her a kiss and told her I loved her and she told me she loved me too and would see me in the morning. I said that was okay and not to worry about the baby, I would sort him."

Heard a groaning noise

“Keynzee woke at 6am on Thursday morning for a bottle, so I gave it to him and got his wind up and he fell back to sleep. I thought Danni was having a good sleep too and didn’t want to disturb her. At 7am Keynzee woke crying and I gave him the dummy and he was fine, but as I was awake I could hear a groaning noise, which I though was my dog out the back in his pen. I checked and it wasn't. I could still hear the groaning and that’s when I thought to check on Danni in the single bed. I walked in and was horrified to see she was on the floor, bleeding from her nose and mouth in a seizure like fit."

“I panicked and ran to neighbours for help and then got an ambulance. I called her family to come quickly. Danni was rushed to hospital as the paramedic thought she had overdosed, which I knew couldn't have happened as I was attending her for those days and nights. Me and her mother then headed after the ambulance once we had babysitters sorted."

Doing everything they could

“On our way to the hospital I called to see how she was and I was told that she was in a stable condition but to hurry down. As we got to the hospital we were met by a nurse and brought to a waiting room. We were sat down and told by the sister that her kidneys had failed and that the doctors were doing everything they could. I didn't know what to think. I was one year married and had a newborn baby. I didn't see this happening in my future. Me and Danni's mum sat waiting and wondering what was going on. The sister came back to us and told us that her heart had stopped and that they were giving her CPR. She then went to see what was going on, leaving me and her mother was in tears. Danni was her mother’s only daughter."

“The sister came back a short while later and said that her heart was beating again but they were transferring her to another hospital with an Intensive Care Unit. We then got to the other hospital that afternoon and were in another waiting room. Danni was in the ICU at this stage."

Informed friends, family and churches

“We had informed friends, family and churches about Danni and asked for people to pray for her to be safe and come back to us as her normal, witty self with that bouncing, vibrant smile that she carried. We were all walking the hallways and taking turns going in to see her and pray for her. We had people in different countries praying for her and seeking God for her safety. By Thursday night my phone was overloaded with messages that I couldn't read and I didn't know what the next stage would hold. The doctors were running tests on her and I was walking and waiting to see what they said. I didn't go home; I must have walked up and down the same hallway in the hospital a million times."

“No one was about. I was praying out loud for God’s help. Two am came and went, 3am, 4am - that was the longest night of my life. Knowing I wasn't allowed into the ICU after a certain time I just wanted to see if she was okay, hold her hand and tell her that she was a fighter and she would get through this horrible time."

“I think it was 8am when I headed to my mum’s. I wanted to get washed and freshened up and came back again around 9:30am. Not long after my arrival and meeting up with her family we were brought into a room and told that results were back and Danni had pneumococcal meningitis. I think all we kept asking was would she be okay? They just told us that we had to be patient and wait. At times like this they are the last words you want to hear."

Alarm went off

“Our pastor at that time went in around 4:50pm on Friday to pray for Danni and shortly after he was rushed out and told us an alarm went off and doctors rushed around her. A sister and a consultant came out and brought us into a room and told us that Danni’s heart had stopped and that the doctors and nurses were doing all they could."

“At 5:20pm they came again and said that Danni never came back. That was it; our world came crashing down on top of us. Me and Danni had our baby boy Keynzee together, and Danni also had two children, a boy and a girl. I had another boy and a girl from previous relationships. We lost a beautiful wife, mother, stepmother, daughter, sister and granddaughter. It left everyone in shock and crushed. Danni always carried a witty side to her; she was always bubbly and funny. She did everything for anyone. She would have helped no matter what."

“Her eyes were crystal blue and amazingly our son carries those same eyes today. We know Danni is still there and watching from above and I know she would want to warn others. We have beautiful memories and will cherish them for the rest of our lives. Keynzee, being so young, didn't know his mummy but now he is nearly three years old and she is listening to his wee words every day. He says that mummy is in heaven and points to the sky and her photos."

“People need to be aware of this horrible disease. RIP Danni.“

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