My son Zach is the reason why I am here today. I am here to explain my reasons for setting up a petition to raise awareness of and get better testing for group B strep.
In December 2014, I discovered that I was pregnant. My fiancé, Craig, and I were delighted. At the time, we were both smokers, and we occasionally drank alcohol. As soon as I discovered that I was pregnant, we both stopped smoking and gave up alcohol in order to give our baby a healthy start in life. In addition, I did research on all foods that are harmful to unborn babies and took pregnancy vitamins. I did all that to protect my unborn baby and give him the best possible start.
I had a trouble-free pregnancy, and I worked until I was eight and a half months pregnant without a single day off due to sickness.
My waters broke while I was at home. I informed the hospital, which advised me to go over to be checked, which I did. The midwife advised me that she would not bother swabbing me, as she could see that my waters had broken. I was sent home, and my contractions started after only a couple of hours. I went back to the hospital and was told that I was in labour. Eight and a half hours later, I gave birth to my beautiful, healthy son, Zach. We were kept in overnight and let home the following day.
For the next two weeks, my son continued to grow into a happy, healthy and content baby. I could not believe how lucky I was, as he never cried other than when I changed him or when he was hungry.
My family and friends were amazed at how often he smiled, as newborn babies tend to just sleep. My health visitor commented that she had never seen a healthier baby.
On 14 August, when Zach was 12 days old, he was unsettled, which was unusual for him. Over the next few hours, he became worse, so I called an ambulance. He was rushed to hospital with a high temperature, and the doctors worked frantically on him. A few hours later, Craig and I were given the devastating news that he had bacterial meningitis and would probably not survive. He was then transferred to Yorkhill hospital. Sadly, he passed away at 3 pm on 15 August.
I cannot begin to tell the committee how heartbroken Craig and I and our immediate families are. Zach was the first grandson in Craig’s family and the first grandchild for my parents.
In a follow-up meeting with the consultants at Yorkhill hospital, I was horrified to discover that Zach had developed meningitis due to contracting group B strep during my labour. I had never heard of group B strep, and it was not discussed or tested for at any point during pregnancy or labour.
I have lost where I am at.