Now, as you guys may have realised, kidGLloves doesn’t usually do ‘serious’ as we’re normally too busy having fun. But sometimes, something happens, which really gets the Mother’s hackles raised and she feels that she needs to try and help do something about it. So, I’m not going to say anything else but I’m gonna hand you over to the Mother and she’s gonna talk to you about something really important……….
When I was 13 weeks pregnant, on a Saturday morning, I woke up and, typically, as most pregnant women do, had to visit the Little Girl’s room. I looked down and saw blood. My heart literally stopped beating and I think I sat there for about 10 minutes, actually scared to breathe. When my brain started working again, I wiped myself and found more blood. I woke Lec, my partner, and told him what was happening. Within a matter of minutes we were in the car and driving to our local A&E department. We didn’t talk. It was complete silence. We reached the A&E reception and told them our situation. Well, Lec did, as I couldn’t speak. I don’t remember feeling any pain but just had this most detached feeling inside me. I was playing every single scenario in my head and they all had one outcome. I was losing my baby. We were immediately whisked away to a side room and I can honestly say we were given the most amazing treatment. The Nurses who tended me were sympathetic, caring and did everything they could to try and relax me. They also made a point of including Lec in everything too; something that we remain grateful for to this very day. The Doctor who came in, examined me and, thankfully, the bleeding appeared to have stopped. They then said that they were going to take a few swabs and also hook me up to the heart monitor machine to make sure everything was OK with baby. They turned the monitor screen away from me and Lec. We knew why they did this. That one action scared me more than anything else ever has. It seemed like hours were passing. Nobody was talking. The Dr was looking at the monitor so intently. Then, just at the moment that I thought I was going to explode, she turned the monitor back to face us. With a huge smile on her face, she uttered one of the best lines I have ever heard……… “There’s baby there. And Baby looks very happy….”
We were then allowed home with Lec having received very strict instructions that I had to receive tonnes of pampering, and he had to be prepared to be my slave for the rest of the weekend. He was and he did.
So, Monday morning, I arrived in my office, and settled back into a normal routine. We’d made the decision not to tell anybody about the ‘scare’. I didn’t want to be wrapped in cotton wool and I actually wanted to forget about it. Then my mobile phone rang. It was my Doctor’s surgery and to cut a very long story short, I was informed that I carried a bacteria called group B Strep infection. I had no idea what this meant and, although, I won’t go into it now, the locum I spoke to wasn’t the best communicator, and to tell a pregnant woman that her baby could be born deaf, blind or brain damaged, or even worse, could die, isn’t probably the best way to verbalise with a very hormonal and emotional woman. I cut the telephone call very short and immediately phoned my midwife. She cut to the chase and explained the situation and what exactly group B Strep infection was. Blood pressure slowly went back to normal and Cathie started breathing again.
The problem now was, was that I had elected for a home birth which was now not an option as I would require antibiotics to be administered to me during labour via an IV. This would prevent me passing the bacteria onto my baby.
Cue a few months later, being looked after by an excellent birthing team, IV in arm, I gave birth (eventually) to a very healthy, very gorgeous, baby boy. That baby boy was Lucas…………..
My Happy Ending…..
But, sadly, this isn’t always the case. Group B Strep infection is not routinely tested for in pregnant women yet 1 in 4 women carry the bacteria. And sadly (I hate having to use this word so much) an old school friend of mine gave birth to a stillborn who was found to be carrying the infection.
Why aren’t we testing for group B Strep infection as a matter of course?
Why did me thinking I was miscarrying have to end up being possibly the best thing that happened during my pregnancy?
If I hadn’t bled, what would have happened to Lucas?
Would Lucas be here now?
Why is one baby a week dying from group B Strep infection?
On average, one newborn baby a day in the UK develops group B Strep infection. One baby a week dies from group B Strep infection. One baby a fortnight who survives the infection is left with long-term disabilities – physical, mental or both. It is the UK’s most common cause of severe bacterial infection in newborn babies, and of meningitis in babies under 3 months.
Group B Strep infection is a normal bacterium carried by around 1/4 women, without symptoms and usually unknowingly. It can be passed from mother to baby around birth with potentially devastating consequences for the baby. But these consequences are usually preventable.
So, here’s where we can try and help. To try and ensure that every single pregnant woman is tested as standard. Please sign this petition and see whether we can get standard testing approved. The petition may not be successful. The testing may never happen but if, by promoting this petition, we can raise awareness so that pregnant women can take the necessary action for peace of mind and a healthy child, then we will have been successful.
To sign the petition, please click here. The ECM (enriched culture medium) test costs the NHS £11 and by writing this I am not slating the NHS. I think that as a country we are so lucky to have our Health System and, on the whole, have received amazing, caring, compassionate treatment. The Nurses and Doctors that tend to us do a fantastic job and I thank each and every one of them for their service.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. All I have to say to end this post is, there for the Grace of God, go I………………………………