A COUPLE have told how they lived through “every parent’s worst nightmare” when their newborn son developed two life-threatening conditions at just nine days old.
Brad and Kiera Mimms welcomed baby Alfie into the world seven months ago, but suffered a series of blows when they received the “heart-wrenching” diagnosis that he had deadly meningitis and septicaemia.
Brad, who is now preparing for a charity bike ride in tribute to staff at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, said the couple’s ordeal with Alfie was “the longest, most horrendous week of our lives” before the newborn amazed doctors by recovering.
He added: “It’s every parent’s worst nightmare when you hear them say: ‘It’s meningitis’.”
Doctors told them both conditions stemmed from a infection caused by bacteria known as strep B, which usually lives harmlessly inside many women’s bodies but can be dangerous in rare cases if passed on during pregnancy.
Brad (30), of Rawmarsh, said: “It was unbelievable how quickly the infection took control of his body and within a matter of hours he was fighting for his life.”
The parents, who are both teachers, first suspected something was wrong when Alfie developed a high temperature at home and struggled to breathe and took him to Rotherham Hospital for emergency treatment.
Kiera (29) said: “For a newborn baby he was always really alert.
“But on that day he just wouldn’t look at me.
“His eyes were glazed over and rolled to the back of his head and it was like he just wasn’t there anymore.
“The doctors told us that meningitis would be the absolute worst case scenario.
“We never thought something like that could happen to us, but suddenly Alfie started having seizures in his incubator.
“We knew at that point that he wasn’t just suffering from a simple infection.”
Brad said it had taken doctors five hours to get Alfie stable enough to transfer him to Sheffield Children’s Hospital and inserted a life-saving drugs line through his belly button.
The sick infant spent a week in intensive care.
Kiera said: “All I wanted was for someone to tell me that he was going to be alright but no-one could tell us that for sure.
“He was unconscious with cannulas in his arms, groin and legs and was being treated with about eight different drugs, it was just horrible.”
Brad added: “I’ve never felt so helpless.”
But Alfie amazed doctors as his infection levels dropped and he woke up.
Kiera said: “There aren’t any words to describe how I felt when Alfie woke up, itt was just such an amazing relief.
“The doctors wanted to take him off his ventilator and warned us that he would probably still need a bit of help breathing but he was absolutely fine.
“We hadn’t been able to touch him because of all the wires — it was so good to finally be able to cuddle him.”
Dr Cath Rimmer, consultant in emergency medicine at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, said: “Strep B is a common bacteria which usually lives harmlessly inside the digestive system and in the vagina of about one in four women.
“It can sometimes be passed on to the baby during the time of birth and quickly spread through their body, causing serious infections such as meningitis and septicaemia.”
Meningitis can cause long-term damage, including hearing loss, loss of limbs and visual impairment.
But seven months on, Alfie has made a full recovery and is enjoying playing with his sister, Ava (4).
To thank hospital staff, Brad and his brother Josh are taking on a fund-raising challenge on August 18, cycling 160 miles from Seascale to Whitby in 48 hours in aid of The Children’s Hospital Charity.
Kiera added: “If it wasn’t for the staff on intensive care, Alfie wouldn’t be here.
“They never left his side, that’s why Brad wanted to do this cycle.”
To donate visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Bradleigh-Mimms.