Shay and Amelia B.
It was Friday, October 24, 2014. I was 27 weeks pregnant and just finished two long days of parent teacher conferences. I was so tired I could barely keep my eyes open. My husband and I had scheduled a long overdue date night, but I was so tired I ended up sleeping through it. (Sepsis and Pregnancy & Childbirth)
I woke up in the middle of the night to uncontrollable chills and could not stop shaking; violently shaking.
The next day my husband had planned to go golfing, but I was to tired to move so my mom said she would watch my 2 year old daughter. I ended up calling my OB office because I was getting pretty worried; I had a temperature, told them about my chills, and how tired I was. The doctor on call told me to take some Tylenol, that it was just a cold.
That night I woke up completely drenched in sweat, I actually had to go lay on the couch with towels, I thought maybe it was my fever breaking.
The next day was Sunday, and since I thought it was just a cold, I spent the day with my 2 year old, but ended up sitting outside just watching her play because I was so tired. I was also having a hard time feeling my baby move, so I started to keep count of her movement, it was definitely less and less throughout the day. I physically was feeling worse and with the work week starting the next day and my symptoms not getting improving with Tylenol, I took myself to the Emergency room for what I thought maybe was the flu.
The nurse called my OB office and admitted me, hooked me up to monitors, and had me pee in a cup.
I was there for less than an hour; they found her heartbeat and concluded I had a UTI. (Sepsis and Urinary Tract Infections) I had UTIs in the past and told them it didn’t hurt to pee, but the nurse said that over the phone the OB office gave me an antibiotic. At this point I felt like I was dying, but told myself I couldn’t act this weak over a UTI, so that night after being discharged, I went home trying to get some rest to go to work the next day. That Monday I could barely walk I was so weak. I was in really good physical health as I was a runner, so when I couldn’t walk up the steps of my school building, it reaffirmed to me I didn’t have a cold, flu, or an UTI.
That night I went home and went to bed. I told my husband I was really worried, but he try to comfort me with the doctors orders and hoped I would feel better after the antibiotics started working. Around 1:00 a.m. I felt an uncomfortable sensation, I got up to go into our master bathroom and on the felt lots of liquid. I thought maybe I had an accident (UTI), but it just kept coming. I didn’t want to panic, so I quietly put myself together and laid back in bed. I did some research and concluded the worse, my water broke. I gently woke up my husband to let him know. He called the OB office and they told me it probably wasn’t, but I could go to the ER to have it checked out.
We got my mom to come stay with our 2 year old so we didn’t have to haul her out in the middle of the night, I had no idea that would be the last time I slept at our home for 3 months.
As soon as we got to the hospital they confirmed that my water had broke. Planning and preparation to transfer me 1 hour and 45 minutes away to be Level 1 hospital began. Everything happened so quickly and soon I was in an ambulance on my way with my husband following behind us.
After arriving and being admitted I was told they were going to try and stop contractions. This meant I would be there for the foreseeable future; this would allow the baby extra time to develop.
Things changed though and I was schedule for an amniocentesis. Without any numbing I had the test and it concluded that there was bacteria in the amniotic fluid and this was my body’s way of trying to save us.
With a change in medication labor was induced. Unfortunately, things did not go smoothly and it was a Code Blue birth.
Our daughter Amelia was born, October 29, 2014 at 1:53 a.m. exactly 28 weeks. We were hopeful that her NICU journey would be uneventful as she was able to make it to 28 weeks, however, that was not the case.
From her birth she had a Grade 3 Bi-lateral IVH, 3 heart defects, was in respiratory distress, on life support, jaundice, and the list goes on.
After things were finally slowing down for Amelia she had 14 crashes in one night, luckily the NP on that night started antibiotics right away while they were waiting for the cultures to come back. The next day it was confirmed she had late onset sepsis from GBS, I had passed the GBS sepsis onto her, this is what had caused premature labor resulting in her premature birth. (Sepsis and Group B Strep) It was devastating. They prepared us for the worse and the head doctor couldn’t believe she made it through the night; this was by far the worse night and day of my life. To this day I carry a tremendous amount of guilt.
After 21 days of intense antibiotics she was cleared from being septic to then have to undergo brain surgery for the hydrocephalus caused from the brain bleed. After 88 days in the NICU she was cleared to go home. This was a bittersweet move as they prepared us she will never walk, talk, eat on her own, etc.
Today, she is 6 years old, in kindergarten, dances, does yoga, runs around like any normal kid. She graduated from physical therapy and occupational therapy. She is hands down the toughest person I know. She is determined, smart, and spirited; nothing brings her down.
Compared to many others that have stories of loss we have been fortunate enough to both survive.
There are still lingering and life-long effects of having sepsis.
Amelia has an Ommaya reservoir in her brain that she will have for the rest of her life, she has lung issues, and one heart defect.
After trying to conceive on my own and struggling for a very long time, a HSG was done; both of my fallopian tubes are completed blocked from the infection and there was never a chance of conceiving naturally after being septic. We are set up to begin IVF. The doctors believe since the reason behind the premature labor is known they can regulate safely to have a full-term future birth.
I try not to think about the what ifs; what if the doctors and nurses would have listened to my concerns or taken it seriously before it got to the point it did.
The only thing to really do is spread the word on sepsis so other people can know the signs and get help before it is too late.
I tried to advocate for myself and my baby but they didn’t listen, I needed to be more informed and demand answers.
If I would have advocated and been informed about sepsis my daughter, Amelia possibly would not have had to be on life support, have brain surgery, dozens of procedures, etc. If I would have advocated and been informed I would not be had to endure the painful emotional journey of watching my daughter fight for her life and I would not be struggling with fertility today.
Thank you for reading.
Source: Mom and daughter