Every year since the birth of our son on the 26th of March, 2017 we have continued to share our hearts open and raw.
Letting you in to what is our world now encompassed equally of joy but weighed heavily by grief gives me the opportunity to create awareness on an illness that takes the lives of many babies, many more than just my first born son.
In a short summary; Group B Streptococcus – Sepsis was the very illness that took the life of Foxx John Fitzgerald. Born at 38 + 6 weeks gestation I had completed a swab for the bacteria just weeks prior that showed a negative result. In such a transient bacteria that may be present in one moment and not the next a negative result is as common as a positive. The difference between the two is that one woman may be positive at time of birth; I was that woman, unknowingly.
This meant that our son’s life started with a struggle and hours after birth he began to struggle. We could see something wasn’t right and after being deemed very ill and taken to NICU for life support to help him through we ultimately lost him on day three due to the bacteria.
To this day – Midwifes, Doctors and some Obstetricians will continue to encourage you against having a swab to find out if you are positive or negative. To them, it is highly unlikely you will be positive at birth if you read a positive result prior. This is true. It is highly unlikely, like a lot of illnesses you test for in pregnancy.
However, there is still a chance. A chance you may be positive and while it could be you that has a child who births a Group B Streptococcus positive child the chances of them passing are even less likely. We were unlucky; it still happens though almost everyday that someone loses their newborn to it and if they don’t then often the child grows up with a disability like hearing loss, brain damage, blindness and conditions you don’t ever want to risk your child having.
If you have the choice, then choose to test for Group B Streptococcus not once, not twice but three times.
Choose to test from 24 weeks onwards, take action as a mother and don’t settle for the words ‘It is highly unlikely’. I would give anything to be reading a post like this. I read a notice about the bacteria before I swabbed for it. I swabbed with no concern in my mind. No concern was instilled in me. If I read something like this, I would’ve tested more. I would’ve allowed myself to get a positive. I would have had the opportunity to protect my baby.
In honour of what would be the 3rd Birthday of our son Foxx. I ask, please donate blood.
Blood transfusions are lifesaving and even for a newborn like Foxx when there was a shortage Australia-wide meant that for him, this valuable lifesaving free to give part of ourself was delayed more hours than a worried parent would ever hope. There are many more parents out there and adults in fact that need this one thing money can’t buy – blood.
There is a RedCross Australia Red25 Group created in honour of Foxx called FORFOXX. When you mention this when donating to your local RedCross Australia Organisation it puts a tally against Foxx of how many lives he has saved. This is your way, to help us, remember him, create awareness about testing multiple times in pregnancy for Group B Strep while saving the lives of others together.
In March 2019 we saved 171 lives in honour of Foxx, lets beat that together.
For more information about group b strep please visit the website here.