Touch and go for twin
The twins arrived on 28 March 2014, Joshua weighing 6lb 1oz and Charlie 5lb 3oz – good weights for twins. The next day we were discharged and took the twins home – exciting, they got to meet their big brother.
On 30 March, when the boys were two days old, I contacted my local hospital to say that Joshua was making a funny noise that almost sounded like ‘grunting’. We took him to the hospital. When at the hospital Joshua had a cardiac arrest. They managed to get him back and he was immediately placed on a ventilator. He was transferred to Birmingham Children's Hospital Paediatric Intensive Care Unit where he stayed for three and a half weeks.
When we arrived at BCH Joshua was stabilised with lines, medication etc being put in and administered. We were told that it was GBS and had likely progressed to meningitis. They couldn't confirm this as he was too poorly for a lumbar puncture to be carried out, but they were pretty certain.
It was a horrific few days and Joshua was touch and go. After several days, he began having seizures; seizures that took bucket loads of medication to control and would knock an adult out for a week or so. This resulted in an MRI scan being carried out. We remained positive yet were devastated when we were told that the brain damage was extensive and it was 'possible' he may never move, wake up, walk, talk or most importantly survive.
Despite this, Joshua battled on and after three and a half weeks was strong enough to breathe on his own!!! Amazing! He spent two more weeks in hospital being monitored and was finally allowed home with anti-seizure medication and a feeding tube. Within three weeks, he had learnt to suck all by himself and the feeding tube was removed.
Every day a blessing
The twins are now 14 weeks old. Every day is a blessing and we see positive progress each day. Joshua certainly knows what he wants, mainly cuddles (might be because he missed out in the first few weeks of his life).
Only time will tell what the future holds for Joshua. He has already passed a hearing test and sight and other developmental tests will follow. We know that so many other families experience a different story and their precious babies are taken away from them. Joshua is lucky to have a loving family around him, including his beautiful twin brother Charlie and his big bro Zach, no doubt that in time they will help him to develop and live life to the full.
In total, Joshua spent five and a half weeks in hospital. We are sure the cost of this is far more than a simple swab that can be taken to detect if a woman is a carrier. If so then antibiotics can be administered during labour which significantly reduces the risk of long-term damage.
Unfortunately, it depends on where you live as to whether you are tested or not. If we had known, we would have paid for a home testing kit ourselves (available on the Internet)... but we were never even informed of this test or the risk this potentially fatal infection holds.
Please share this with friends and family and make any pregnant women you know #GBSaware. We wanted to share Joshua's story and raise awareness of GBS, we know that they have helped many other children and families in our local communities.