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Mom's Instinct Saves Newborn's Life After Midwives Ignore Signs Of Group B Strep

Anna Santos-Witkowska, a young mother, saved her baby boy Oliver from a fatal malady by trusting her motherly instincts. She identified the symptoms of strep B infection right in time, which otherwise could have been fatal to her infant. The nurses and hospital staff couldn't appreciate her enough.

The 29-year-old mother sensed that the baby had trouble breathing because he was pursing his lips. His pale nose was particularly a telltale sign that something was wrong, and she complained about it to the midwife. Despite assurances that her baby was fine, she would not settle down, and her anxiety reached new heights when the baby could not latch onto her breast. The nurse on duty attributed it to a requirement of a nappy change.

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Nevertheless, she did not settle because of her difficulty to breastfeed. Hence Anna called the midwife for the second time; she persuaded the nurses to examine him again.

After everything, the mum was right! The little boy, Oliver, was diagnosed with a collapsed lung, pneumonia, septicemia, and infections of liver and kidney. Subsequent tests identified Anna as a carrier of Group B Streptococcus (GBS), leading to the cause of these infections. Mommy is the hero!

If she were late by a whisker, the baby would not have survived. The virus would have spread to the brain, but it was stopped at the spine using antibiotics. An Ealing, London native, Anna said, “I think mother's instinct had a huge part to play, and maybe I was extra anxious with being a new mum.”

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Group B Streptococcus (GBS) is a widespread bacterium carried by 2 in 5 adults in the UK, often in the gut, and for 25% of women, in the vagina. Carriers of GBS are often unaware that they have the bacterium inside them as it doesn't cause any symptoms, but it can be fatal to newborn babies. In the UK, pregnant women are not routinely offered to test for Group B strep by the NHS, but expectant mothers can pay £35 for a test.

The primary school teacher discovered her pregnancy in October 2018. It was a normal one until her water broke on 21st June 2019, and it turned out to be a high-risk case due to reduced fetal movement. Thereafter, Anna went into labor for 39 hours before her delivery. She thought she had a healthy boy of 8lb1oz and was free to leave after 5 hours, but fatefully, it turned into a week of medical attention and stress.

She recalled that she was warned by the doctors, “Babies are at higher risk of infection when they surpass the 18 hours of mother’s water breaking."

It was shift time, and the former nurse was about to leave when Anna requested to check for the second time. Two nurses who attended the baby soon discussed oxygen levels dropping below 80%. The doctor was summoned, and he promptly moved Oliver to the neonatal unit and ordered X-ray, blood tests, and lumbar puncture, which led to his diagnosis.

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T R U S T Y O U R G U T This past October, when G was around 6 months old and starting solids, she also began to develop eczema. It was heart breaking to see her so uncomfortable with itchy irritated, cracking skin. We didn’t know if it was the colder temperatures, dry indoor heating or something she was eating that was causing the problem. We went to the paediatrician and were prescribed steroid cream for her face and body. We were told there’s no other solution. I’d use it for a week or two and it would help - so I’d stop applying, but then the eczema would flare up again. One time I accidentally applied too much and my poor baby girl threw up for the next few hours. Her little body was having a reaction to the powerful drugs in the steroid cream. It was horrible. I felt like I was failing her. I knew I had to find a proper solution. I dove deeper into research. There were SO many mixed messages. 🤷🏼‍♀️ Doctors saying food has no impact on eczema, and then articles citing links to dairy, wheat and egg intolerances. G had been eating organic egg yolks as an early food - and she loved them! Apparently eggs used to be recommended only after the age of 1, but now they’re considered a perfect first food because of their high nutrient content. No one could give me a straight answer. What is causing my daughter’s skin to be so horribly irritated? So I trusted my gut. Enter motherhood lesson number 1 💫 I cut out the eggs. Within a few weeks, her skin was almost back to normal. Through my research I ended up connecting with Henrieta, creator @charlottesbumbutter who is an absolute wealth of knowledge about baby skin. Henrieta’s story is similar - her baby had horrific eczema and she wanted to find a solution other than toxic steroid creams. Her local Toronto company was born. I am officially obsessed with her all natural (and edible!) bum butter. It’s the best I’ve found. Thank you Henrieta for doing all you do! If you want to try @charlottesbumbutter, use the promo code “BelleMama” for 15% off. Here’s to trusting your gut instincts ❤️ ✨ When was a time that you followed your intuition? . #notanad #supportsmallbusiness #eczemarelief #babyskincare

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Anna feels grateful that her child is safe now, "The midwife who helped me the day Olly was born came to see me a few days after I gave birth and told me she was so impressed by my mother's instinct and that I'd saved my son's life.

Thanks to timely treatment, Oliver is discharged from the hospital. However, due to all the havoc, Anna suffered PTSD. Northwick Park Hospital respects mother’s intuition and so do we all!

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