Cuddle from mother brings newborn out of coma
A COUPLE were told by doctors they should say goodbye to their severely ill newly born baby but were astounded when a hug from his mother brought him out of a coma.
Adam Cheshire was just a day old when he stopped breathing and started suffering violent seizures due to a brain infection.
He slipped into a coma and was placed on a life support machine while doctors battled to save him.
Parents Charlotte and Chris Cheshire from Telford, Shropshire, were told to say their goodbyes and to take a final photograph of their son.
Yet, Adam astounded medics when he started showing signs of life after a cuddle from his mother.
The 16-month-old boy's recovery has been described as a 'miracle' and now Adam has taken his first steps.
Mrs Cheshire, 34, said: "They were convinced he was going to die.
"His entire body started to shut down. He was blue and shaking with convulsions.
"For a number of days, I was only allowed to gently stroke Adam's leg or arm before they encouraged me to hold and cuddle him.
"They told me skin-to-skin contact is very important. Your baby needs to know you are there.
"Adam is our miracle. He just refused to give up."
Adam was born at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital in Shropshire, weighing a healthy 7lb 3oz.
But the next day, Mrs Cheshire, noticed he was making a strange grunting noise and wouldn't feed.
Midwives immediately realised something was wrong and took Adam away for tests.
Mrs Cheshire, who is training to be a vicar, said: "Shortly after, I tried to get out of bed and was suddenly in agonising pain.
"After helping me back into bed, doctors diagnosed me with a full pelvic split, which meant all the bones in my pelvis had separated from each other.
"I couldn't even walk.
"Chris had left the hospital about an hour earlier to get some rest after the long night of helping me through labour.
"He had only just got home when I rang him in tears to say that Adam had been taken away because he was sick."
Mr Cheshire, 47, a systems engineer, raced back to the hospital to find Adam was in neonatal intensive care, where he had collapsed and had stopped breathing.
His organs began to shut down and he was having constant seizures.
Doctors put Adam on a ventilator to breathe for him and kept him an induced coma.
The couple's health visitor was also put on stand-by to deal with bereaved parents.
Mrs Cheshire said: "When Chris came back to my room, he explained what little he knew. We sat holding hands and cried together."
Three days later, Adam was diagnosed with Group B Strep Meningitis.
Pregnant women can transmit the disease to their newborns at birth.
Babies who survive can be left with speech, hearing, and vision problems as well as being permanently disabled.
Mrs Cheshire said: "A doctor came to see me to explain that while Adam was still alive and that they would do their best to treat him, that his life was very much in danger.
"By then, I was determined to go and see him.
"It took two hours to get me into a wheelchair lined with pillows, but despite my tears, I refused to give up.
"I'll never forget how I felt looking into that incubator for the first time. He had more wires attached to his tiny body than I have ever seen.
"The midwife told us to take a photo and we feared it would be the only one we ever had of our son."
Over the next week, his parents could only watch while their son fought for life.
They were warned that even if Adam lived, he could be brain damaged, epileptic, suffer cerebral palsy and a range of other disabilities.
But he refused to give up.
His breathing slowly improved and a few days later, doctors were able to take him off the ventilator.
On Mothering Sunday, Mrs Cheshire was finally able to hold her son for the first time since he had been ill and Adam opened his eyes for the first time.
Over the next few days, she spent up to twelve hours a day sitting in a rocking chair while Adam slept in her arms.
After being fed tiny amounts of milk through a tube for the first few weeks of his life, Adam began to breastfeed.
Skin-to-skin contact, also known as the 'kangaroo care' technique after the way kangaroos hold their young in a pouch next to their bodies, means the mother acts as a human incubator to keep babies warm, stimulated and fed.
Mrs Cheshire said: "It was incredibly traumatic to be separated from Adam. It felt fabulous to hold him in my arms.
"The moment he opened his eyes was incredible. I knew that if he was waking up, he would survive.
"In tiny, baby steps, Adam began to grow stronger.
"His seizures reduced and then stopped. His first MRI came back with some small spots of brightness which appeared to indicate brain damage, but it was too early to tell."
However, after three weeks in hospital, Adam, who has a hearing impairment, was well enough to go home to be with his parents and step-brother, George, ten.
A more recent MRI scan showed most of the brightness that indicated brain injury had disappeared.
Mrs Cheshire said: "It's been a continuing journey. We are so proud of him.
"Adam recently took his first steps unaided. It's another tick of the check list. Everything he does is incredibly amazing.
"We cannot fault the care we received at the hospital and the support we have been given. We would like to thank them all from the bottom of our hearts."
The couple are now backing the Group B Strep Support's petition asking for routine group B Streptococcus testing for pregnant women on the NHS.
Mrs Cheshire said: "Group B Strep is very common in the UK as one in four women in the UK are carriers. It can be quickly and easily detected with a swab test between 35-37 weeks of pregnancy.
"If detected it can be treated with antibiotics during labour but the NHS currently don't test for it.
"By sharing my story, I hope more women know about GBS and can therefore prevent going through experiences like ours."
For more information, contact Group B Step Support on 01444 416 176 or sign the petition at www.gbss.org.uk/epetition
Cathy Smith, head of Midwifery at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, said: "Adam received intensive care support on the Trust's neonatal unit after being born and was cared for by our paediatric doctors and nurses until he was well enough to go home.
"We are grateful for the support his family has shown through their fundraising efforts for the unit."
"One in three women carry Group B Strep (GBS). The majority of babies born to these women will not be affected. However, there is a small risk that GBS can pass to the baby during childbirth. Very occasionally this causes an infection in the baby which requires additional care.
"Skin-to-skin contact, or kangaroo care, is a beneficial way of helping a baby bond with its parents, especially if mum is breastfeeding. This contact can help the baby relax, improve temperature control and regulate the heartbeat.
"It must be remembered that every case is different, however, and when caring for premature or sick babies treatment plans are made on an individual basis."