The scariest thing about meningitis is how there is sometimes so few symptoms
The infamous rash never arrived on Francesca’s body, so it never even crossed my mind that it could be meningitis until the doctors uttered the dreaded diagnosis.
Francesca was only three weeks old when she contracted meningitis. We were still getting to know her as a new little person, so when the constant crying started I thought perhaps she was just starting to vocalise her needs more.
Then a high temperature arrived so we took her to an out of hours doctor who checked her over and assured me the temperature would drop as he could find nothing physically wrong with her.
We went home, she refused to sleep in her cot or on her back, so she slept, on and off, on me.
We woke later in the night to feed her, and she felt very hot and her temperature had soared to over 39. I phoned an ambulance straight away and they arrived to take her and I to our nearest A & E, whilst my husband stayed at home with our older daughter. She screamed and screamed all the way there, it was heart-breaking.
When we arrived she was whisked away for tests - a urine test and the dreaded lumbar puncture - I was not allowed in the room for this, the thought of your tiny baby having that done, all alone, is horrendous.
They also noted how mottled her skin was, something I had never noticed previously. Her high temperature was clearly the result of an infection, so she was put on antibiotics to begin fighting it.
The doctors told me that she would be admitted so that the result of the lumbar puncture could be grown over the next few days.
Francesca stabilised from this point on, her temperature dropped and she continued to feed as normal - we were lucky.
The following morning an army of doctors arrived in our room to tell us the words that no parent ever wants to hear - meningitis.
They were fairly sure that because of her symptoms it was viral, but we had to stay for the results, just in case, and she would be constantly monitored in that time.
As I have already said, we were lucky. Her condition never deteriorated and once we received the confirmation that the meningitis was viral after two days, we we're allowed to go home.
It was still an extremely frightening time for us all, and something I would never wish anybody to experience.
At the time of writing there have been no long term effects from the illness. Francesca will turn one next week and is growing into a beautiful and happy little girl.
I remind myself every day how blessed I am to have two beautiful, healthy children.