Neonatal Herpes Stories
By Oliver's mum
(names have been changed to retain anonymity)
When Oliver was born, I shouted "my baby, my baby, my baby". I remember looking down at Oliver a few hours after he was born and thinking he was incredibly beautiful. He was serene, chubby and his beautiful skin glowed. We have loved him since that first day.
During my first night with him in the hospital I became worried about him as he was floppy, seemed irritable and I couldn't settle him with breastfeeding. The midwives had a look at him and said he was breathing a bit too quickly. The doctors did x-rays and blood tests and gave him antibiotics.
The next day his infection markers were incredibly high and so he was taken to the neonatal intensive care unit and given a lumbar puncture and blood cultures. Oliver's blood results improved over the next 36 hours and he was allowed to leave the NICU and stay with me on the post natal ward. However he lost too much weight as he remained floppy and was feeding poorly. We began a gruelling regime of breastfeeding, pumping and formula feeding.
Oliver wasn't quite improving as much as the doctor's hoped. The question of neonatal herpes was raised and the doctors decided to also start antiviral treatment. They mentioned that they had experienced some tragic deaths resulting from neonatal herpes.
Oliver received 72 hours of intravenous treatment and then completed a 14 day course of oral treatment. He improved enough that the doctors were happy for him to go home.
He remained floppy and a poor feeder for a number of months, but he gained weight and began to meet developmental milestones. He was discharged by paediatricians from their outpatient department at around four months as he was doing well.
Now he is fourteen months. He is walking, smiling, saying a number of words and is a very loving, cheerful person. We have no concerns about his health.
It was only many months after Oliver's birth that I learned about Kit's story. It made me very sad but I met James and Sarah, and they said that our story gave them comfort. Our experience shows that the work they have done has helped save other babies' lives, including that of our precious son.
Rest in Peace, Kit.
Read more stories of neonatal herpes infections here.