Mum’s horror as newborn in coma for eight days fighting sepsis and meningitis

A newborn baby clung to life in a coma for eight days fighting sepsis and meningitis.

Sophie Roberts welcomed Zaira-Jade Thomas to the world following a quick and uncomplicated birth on November 4 last year.

Mum and baby were allowed home from Prince Charles Hospital in Merthyr Tydfil to Mountain Ash two days later.

It was only the following week that Sophie and partner Callum Thomas realised something was wrong.

“When she was 11 days old, I noticed her breathing was weird,” said Sophie.

“Then she projectile vomited twice. I said to my boyfriend ‘something is not right’ and he tried to reassure me.

“I could just feel something was not right. We said we would see how she was through the day.

“By 9am she wasn’t taking her milk and she was a grubber for it usually and then she started to make this grunting noise.”

Sophie called up the hospital and was told not to bring Zaira-Jade in unless she turned pale or turned blue.

Later that day the baby had taken a turn for the worse and at one point stopped breathing.

Paramedics rushed to the home and whisked the young girl to the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff.

“She stopped breathing again in my arms in the ambulance,” Sophie recalled.

“They said straight away it was septic shock.”

Zaira-Jade was in a coma for eight days fighting sepsis and meningitis.

For three weeks during her treatment Sophie and Callum were unable to hold her.

A planned move to Prince Charles Hospital didn’t work out when Zaira-Jade began to have seizures, meaning she had to be sent back to Cardiff.

Thankfully the baby has pulled through the worst of her illness, although it is too early to tell if Zaira-Jade will have any long term health complications from the infection and septic shock.

“We won’t know if she has had any impact until she gets to an age where she would start to walk and do other things,” said Sophie.

Zaira-Jade’s illness may have been triggered by a highly detectable amount of Group B Strep (GBS) bacteria present in Sophie throughout her pregnancy.

The mum’s quick labour meant she was unable to be put on a drip for antibiotics while giving birth, as was originally planned.

GBS is a type of bacteria which is very common and often harmless.

However, there is a chance that it can spread to a baby during labour and make them ill.

This is why the mother is often given antibiotics through their vein while in labour, but Sophie didn’t get to the ward before Zaira-Jade arrived.

Sophie expected Zaira-Jade to be given a course of antibiotics before leaving the hospital, but she was only monitored for 24 hours before being sent home.

The mum has urged everyone expecting a baby to seek a test for Group B Strep while pregnant.

According to the NHS, grunting is one sign of a Group B Strep infection, but Sophie said she did not know this at the time.

She claimed she was not given any information on what signs to look out for when she left the hospital.

“They told me I should have been told the signs to look out for and given leaflets,” Sophie said.

“Maybe if I had known about the grunting, I would have acted faster.

“I didn’t know what to do. I was trying to think positive but it was so heartbreaking.”

Greg Dix, executive director of nursing, midwifery and patient care at Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board, said: “While we are unable to comment on individual cases, we deeply apologise to anyone whose care has fallen short of the standard which they deserve.

“We are committed to providing safe and high quality care for women, babies and their families and take any concerns raised about our services extremely seriously.

“We are grateful for feedback from women and families so we can work to address any concerns and make further improvements to our services.

“We continue to work closely with the Independent Maternity Services Oversight Panel to learn from incidents, support active engagement with families and staff and deliver safe and effective care.

“While much progress has been made, this is a journey of improvement. We remain determined to do everything we can to make all the improvements required to provide women and families with the very best possible care.”