Freya's story

7th April 2016

Freya’s life changed forever when she contracted GBS meningitis and septicaemia in 2005, after spending weeks in hospital critically ill with the disease, Freya now suffers a series of after-effects including blindness and cerebral palsy

Freya
Her mother, Emma Mathison, of Liverpool, tells her story

“My daughter Freya was born seemingly healthy on 15th May 2005, weighing 6lb 3oz - our first child born by normal delivery.”

“On 24th May we took Freya to bed. She was due a feed about 10pm but Freya wasn't interested in her bottle. Although she had been very slow at feeding since birth, she had always finished her bottles, so when she didn't take her feed we were a little baffled, but thought nothing of it.”

“Freya was quite irritable and wouldn't settle. We tried to put her down in her Moses basket numerous times, but she would cry out and she continued crying for what seemed like hours. She also sounded quite snuffly.”

We were in A & E for what seemed like forever

“We continued trying Freya with a feed throughout the night to see if she would settle but she kept crying and was clearly upset. During the early hours on 25th May she finally settled and she was no longer crying, but she was breathing rapidly and heavy with snuffle-like noises. She was also very lethargic.”

“Being first time parents we assumed maybe the tiredness was due to lack of sleep and food. We rang our midwife who suggested a couple of things, but we decided we should visit our GP so we did just that.”

“We had to wait for an out-of-hours appointment as Freya was not yet registered with the GP being only 10 days old. The GP listened to what we had to say about Freya being lethargic, pale, and not feeding. The snuffly noise got the doctor to thinking Freya was just ‘a bit snuffly' but when we mentioned she hadn't cried in a while, and she was breathing quite rapidly, she suggested we take Freya to A&E and wrote a letter for us to pass to the A&E department.”

“We waited again in A&E for what seemed like forever. When Freya was finally called in to the triage room, the Nurse took one look at her and whisked her off into a room called MAJORS. She pressed an alarm and we were ushered off into a separate room.”

Freya was seriously ill

“We could see nurses and doctors running into the room and a lady came to talk to us took notes and wanted to know everything about what Freya had been like over the past few days. A couple of hours later, Freya was taken to the PICU. We followed up and saw our tiny baby girl surrounded by medics trying to stabilise her and we were told it was either her heart or an infection that was making her so poorly.”

“We were told to wait in the parent’s room, whilst the doctors worked on our little girl trying to insert lines into her tiny failing veins. Eventually during the early evening a nurse explained that Freya was seriously ill and had to be vented in order to rest her tiny body.”

“At around midnight, we were told Freya's bloods were growing a nasty infection and Group B strep was mentioned. The following day this was confirmed.”

We may lose her

“Freya remained in a critical condition and suffered a huge bleed to the brain. We were told if the clot was to become any worse we would lose her. It was devastating after we were told the day she was admitted to PICU we may also lose her.”

“Luckily the clot dispersed but Freya was left with severe brain damage as a result. She remained on PICU for seven days. She was finally taken off the vent when she was able to breathe by herself with the help of some oxygen and she stepped down to high dependency.”

“Finally she was moved to a ward and then after two weeks she was discharged. MRI scans confirmed the extent of the damage to Freya's brain and she was diagnosed with severe cerebral palsy just weeks after being critically ill.”

Meningitis and septicaemia destroyed her life

“She is now 10 years old and has a host of severe health conditions. She is registered as blind and has needed numerous operations for things like scoliosis, hip dislocation and feeding problems. She is often admitted to hospital with chest infections and bacterial infections.”

“I know her meningitis was secondary to another infection, but the meningitis and septicaemia destroyed her life. We as parents forever feel guilty as we had no idea that as a young baby (just 10 days old) our daughter was so ill. We assumed meningitis always presented with a rash, and had no idea of the other symptoms associated with it.”

Fight for now

Has meningitis affected you?

If someone you love has been affected, whether its a friend of family member, we'd like to know how it made you feel and how it changed your life. Share your experience
  • Eliza

    Eliza's story

    We were told that she only had an 8% chance of survival and to say our goodbyes

  • Elise

    Elise's Story

    The speed at which her diagnosis went from dehydration to confirmed meningitis still terrifies me now

  • Louie

    Louie's story

    I couldn’t believe what was happening in front of my eyes

  • Savannah

    Savannah's story

    My instincts told me I couldn't just take her home and give her Calpol