This video is what it sounds like when a sick infant is having a hard time breathing. This was just before we left for the doctors office.
I tested negative for Group B Strep (GBS) at the end of my pregnancy so antibiotics were never given. In fact I've had occasion to be tested again and I'm still negative. It's a bacterium a good amount of people carry on their skin, it's something you can get from a grocery cart, a handshake, a library book, a baby present. Most people never know they carry it, because it's a wimpy bacteria killed by penicillin. For babies it can be deadly. That is what Jack had. Babies usually get it when they are born, it's very unusual for a six week old to get it, but it happens. Late onset Group B Strep can lead to meningitis, brain damage, hearing loss, life long handicaps or even death. Jack escaped all of those things. He's scrappy like that. I stayed in the NICU with him for 13 days while he received intravenous sterile antibiotics. He responded well to them in the first few days and so doctors were optimistic. I lived in dread of his IV falling out again. His veins were so small and hard to find to get it back in was a delicate catastrophe of blowing out vein after vein, searching under the skin with a needle and holding him down.
Leading up to the day Jack wouldn't eat, he had a rash. It looked like a heat rash all over his face, I called ask-a-nurse and she suggested if that was the only symptom he had that is was likely baby acne and I should just keep a close eye on it. It was hard to tell if he was sleeping out of the ordinary, or acting differently, we just met and I wasn't sure what the usual Jack behavior was yet. Once he was in the hospital and on the antibiotics the rash went away, almost immediately. It wasn't baby acne, heat rash, 'stork bites' or sensitive skin, it was infection running all over his whole body. By the time Jack got a fever, the strep bacteria was winning, his white blood cell count was in the hundreds.
This was Jack's rash
I still wonder how his stay at the hospital effected him, how it may or may not have shaped his personality or pain tolerance or zest for life. He is so much like my littlest brother who was born with a club foot and endured similar poking a prodding and even surgeries. He's spirited and particular, funny and bright, he figures a thing out quickly and is awesomely coordinated - both Jack and my brother.
This is strong, scrappy Jack now.
July is Group B Streptococcus Infection Awareness month, the same month Jack was born. I'm posting this now though because it's important and I was finally ready to say it. One in four pregnant women carry it. All doctors here in the U.S. test for it. It's not something most people need to worry about, just something you should be aware of. It's far scarier and more dangerous to put our baby in the car and drive everyday. I have only this advice, wash your hands often, if your baby is under six months old and has a fever - see a doctor right away and if you feel something is "off" or "wrong" follow your intuition, it's hardly ever wrong.