I’d never heard of Group B Strep, my midwife never mentioned it & no other mothers mentioned it either. If no one mentions it, it can’t possibly be that bad can it?
I’d already been tested for everything, I thought I was safe from any issues & that I’d made sure to accept every test going.
Whilst pregnant I was reading my mums magazine when I came across an article about GBS & how a beautiful baby had lost their life due to contracting a GBS infection . I was confused as to why my midwife had never mentioned this to me. I was baffled & upset that I wasn’t told about every test possible. Why was this vile bacteria not explained to me in my booking appointment?!
That was the moment I decided to have the test done. I found out early in my search that the NHS doesn’t routinely test for GBS & that I’d have to pay to have the test done privately.
I found my chosen laboratory, The Doctors Laboratory, through the Group B Strep Support website. The GBS support website have a fantastic list of clinics & Laboratories, as well as a whole host of information. I ordered my test at around 36 weeks of pregnancy & it came quickly with instructions on everything I needed to do! I was going to get my midwife to do the test for me but my appointment would have meant I missed the time window for the test so I did it myself. The test was simple, one vaginal swab & one rectal swab. I sent them off & assumed I would soon get the all clear… Sadly this wasn’t the case.
A few days after sending off my test I received a text message stating that I was Group B Step Positive, this meant I would need IV Antibiotics as soon as my waters broke to protect my baby from a GBS infection. I contacted my midwife & she laughed, she asked why I’d even bothered having the test & she said that even though I was positive I didn’t need to worry about it. I was fully aware of how GBS can affect babies & I wanted to be kept an eye on.
I went into labour around 4 days early, I had my GBS POSITIVE sticker emblazoned ALL over my paperwork, YET I was told that I could not bother with IV Antibiotics in labour but instead just wait and see how my son was once he was born. To me that sounded completely wrong, why would I put my baby through potential pain, suffering or even death to just ‘wait and see’.
I told them I wanted the antibiotics & I was given around 3 injections throughout my labour. Thankfully my son was born happy & healthy.
He suffered no illness or after effects, he was & still is perfect.
I went into labour at 38 weeks, my waters broke at 11pm Friday 5th August 2005. This was my first child & I was so excited.
The hospital sent me home & said to return the next day.
My contractions started pretty soon & by 3pm on the Saturday I had to go back in. I was in agony & progressing very slowly due to Ella being back to back… By 6am on the Sunday they said I was ready to push, I pushed for over an hour but nothing, they tried forceps but they also failed so I ended up with an emergency C section.
We were both very poorly & Ella was taken off to special care, they said she had GBS and required IV antibiotics.
She had to have a lumber puncture, needles & tests, it was awful! I remember finding out afterwards that the test for GBS was £30! I was angry, I would of paid that a thousand times over to prevent Ella from being poorly. After 8 days we were discharged & I now, thankfully, have a happy & healthy 11 year old.
After 2 inconclusive smear tests my GP decided to have my third one tested for any other underlying issues and it came back clear apart from GBS, he explained what it was and if I should I ever have children I would need to discuss my positive result with my midwife.
Fast forward 13 years to 2004 and when I mentioned my GBS to my midwife she marked it on my notes and didn’t question it. I had a consultant appointment at 37 weeks but he said it was pointless to re test as it can be present one week and not the next, again no questioning it.
My first labour was relatively quick, at 6 1/2 hrs, so I was only able to have one lot of antibiotics instead of the recommended 2, but my baby was checked over and I was told what to lookout for. My baby was checked again before we were discharged.
My Second pregnancy exactly the same happened, no questioning the GBS. My son was born after 45 minutes of labour so no antibiotics were given to me. He had to go up to the SCBU(Special Care Baby Unit) for blood cultures and we had to stay in for 4 days to get the results while he had antibiotics as a precaution each day.Thankfully he was fine & didn’t have an infection.
Both of my children were born at the same hospital, I didn’t have to fight or argue with midwives and the consultants were fully on board with treatment, I had a positive experience.
I had never heard of GBS before it showed up in a urine sample during the middle of my pregnancy. I was advised that I would need to have intravenous antibiotics as soon as my labour started to help prevent it passing on to my son during delivery.
I felt I was given lots of information once they knew GBS was present but I was very surprised to find out that this information wasn’t given out to all pregnant women. I had the antibiotics as planned during my labour and my son was born at 37 weeks, perfectly healthy weighing 5lb 6oz
After my private negative GBS test in the beginning of my pregnancy I thought it was one less thing to worry about, little did I know that GBS can come and go as it pleases…
At 36 weeks my labour started, being my 2nd child I recognised the signs and knew to get myself to the hospital. I was 3cm at the time but because I was early they kept me in.
After 3 days with no progress they took some swabs and discovered I was now testing positive for GBS. I was reassured that it wouldn’t be a problem providing myself and baby had the relevant antibiotics.
On day 6 things rapidly progressed to 6cm with very strong contractions by this point I was exhausted by the weeks ordeal. The following day I was exactly 37 weeks meaning my baby would be full term, I was only given 1 lot of antibiotics prior to giving birth.
After the birth of my baby, Niamh, I noticed the grunting sounds she was making whilst breathing, I mentioned it to the next midwife I saw not thinking much off it. She called the pediatrician in and Niamh was taken straight off to the NICU ward. I was alone as my mum and partner had gone home to rest, I had no idea where to go and was alone in a delivery suite half naked, bloody, with no baby. I dragged myself up, got sorted and ran to find her, when I arrived she was in an incubator, hooked up to tubes, laying on her stomach, it was so difficult to see as a mother, especially at such an emotional time.
After X rays were taken it was clear she had lung pneumonia likely as a result of the GBS. I was very cross with the hospital as had I of been given more antibiotics earlier on in labour this may not have happened.
The care was fantastic in the NICU, Niamh was having my previously expressed breast milk pumped through a tube in her nose that went down to her tummy. When she was out of the incubator she couldn’t latch on due to how uncomfortable and poorly she was. The infection also caused bad reflux meaning she was sick fairly often. She was having IV antibiotics and had to be on those for 7 days. Luckily on day 4 she was allowed on to the ward with me by which time we were feeding her milk with a very small cup generally used when still trying to encourage breast feeding.
Unfortunately Niamh never learnt to latch straight onto the breast so on day 6 of antibiotics we fed her with a bottle.
By day 7 we were allowed home with our healthy baby girl but 7 months on we have noticed any cold tends to lead to a chest infection. Whether there is a weakness there due to the strep B virus, I’m still unsure.
This post is our way of trying to spread GBS awareness.
These are our stories, we don’t want anyone having to have the bad experiences that some of us faced.
WHY GUESS? TEST!!