I am not a big talker about the things that really matter to me, the things that have hit deep down in my sole and heart, the things that have changed me and made me who I am today.
Many of you will know that my little lad unfortunately got viral meningitis at 7 weeks old. I have spoken to you all about it and told you on the surface how it felt and what it meant, but I cannot bring myself to talk to anyone about it more than that, because when I do, almost a year on I still find my eyes welling with tears. I still wont talk about it at that level to people and I probably never will. That said I am sure people don’t really want to hear, there is nothing worse than someone wallowing in something thats been and gone and done and dusted. However I have recently been inspired by a person on twitter @mannix1000. This person has to be the bravest person I have ever had the pleasure of not meeting.
This person did not have the happy outcome we did. Miller is fit and well and so far has shown no signs of any damage. Unfortunately baby Charlie did not survive and meningitis took him away at just 3 months old. I spotted @mannix1000 on twitter because having been through what we have, the word menigitis whenever i see it, jumps out at me and my stomach flips. Its like when you get a new car.. you never see a ford whatever on the road until you have one, then every car that passes is a ford whatever. I watched over weeks as @mannix1000 seemed to spend every minute of every hour tweeting the world asking the same thing, written word for word over and over :
Pls RT for my son Charlie who died age 3 months #meningitis. Read http://charliecheekychops.blogspot.com/ save a life today.
For weeks I could not bring myself to click on the link, I did not want to know. But then one night I did….it was the hardest reading I have ever experienced. I found myself not wanting to read but unable to stop, tears pouring down my cheeks, feeling sick and that night I could not sleep.
Their story mirrors ours exactly, the symptoms the hospital tests, long agonising waits but thankfully our MRI was clear and we were able to bring our baby home. Words dont do the feelings any justice, I mean…’thankfully our MRI was clear’ thats just not powerful enough, I want to say thank god we brought him home, we were so lucky… but thats just not strong enough either. We were so close to loosing him, if we were a few hours later, who knows, even minutes, it could have been another picture entirely. I feel like, I can feel that family’s pain, closer than most, but not to the same degree, as our outcome was so different. I have spent too long imagining what would life have been like, if we had acted a little later and not been so darned lucky. Imagine having to carry on, to meet your antenatal friends who still hold and cuddle their babies, how awkward that would be. To try and explain to siblings and have them constantly ask, the way kids do. A piece of you would die forever.
I am in total awe of this family, the unimaginable pain but despite this spending hours tweeting to raise awareness, forcing people to do some uncomfortable reading, but in the process no doubt saving a life or two and saving a family.
So why have I written this happy uplifting blog (not!), I still have not told you about exactly what happened, how I felt , before, during, after and now, @mannix1000 is far braver than I could ever be. But what I hope you all do is be brave yourselves, click on that link and read it. Recognise that meningitis comes in all shapes and forms and is NOT always a rash and can strike at any time or age. Dont EVER hesitate with your children, get them seen, if you look like a paranoid parent so be it. But most of all, even when your tired through sleepless nights and demented with toddler tantrums, give them an extra big special hug and cherish them.
Thanks to @mannix1000 for their bravery and my thoughts will always drift to your horrendous experience. You had charlie so breifly and loved him so much, thanks for being brave and raising awareness, keep it up. xx