CRADLED in her mum’s arms, 10-week-old Esmé Granger is finally home after a nightmare start to her life.
The Washington baby was delivered by emergency Caesarean and spent her first nine days in special care with breathing difficulties.
She had only been home for a matter of weeks when she was rushed back to hospital where she fought for her life against pneumococcal meningitis and septicaemia.
Mum Amy and husband Guy mounted a bedside vigil while their new-born baby underwent life-saving treatment.
Amy, 30, said: “We had had her home for three weeks. I woke up one morning and she was moaning in her Moses basket. There was clearly something very wrong.
“She was rigid and her neck was twisted. She was awake but unresponsive and she couldn’t recognise our voices.”
Amy, who is also mum to Isobel, three, took her baby to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Gateshead, where she said she had the “worst day” of her life.
She said: “Once we were in hospital, she kept having more and more seizures. At one point, there was a consultant and four doctors in the room. She didn’t have a temperature, so didn’t have the sign of an infection. They thought at first she may have a bleed on the brain.
“She was too fragile at that time to do a lumbar puncture, which would have tested for meningitis.”
The Usworth youngster was transferred to the RVI’s intensive care in Newcastle until she was strong enough to be tested for the disease, tests which proved positive.
Amy said: “Because she had been poorly when she was born they did tests on her immune system. They don’t think the two are linked. They just think she has been really unlucky.
“Everyone kept asking how I was feeling but you have to be all right, for her.”
After treatment, Esmé is a happy, healthy 10-week-old but her battle has inspired Amy to help others.
She has teamed up with a group of mums to form Mums on the Run who will take part in next year’s Great North Run to raise life-saving funds for the Meningitis Trust.
Each year, one in 10 people who contract bacterial meningitis will die and 15 per cent of survivors will be left with life-changing after effects.
Amy, who is on maternity leave from her job at Santander Cards, said: “We have been extremely lucky. If we hadn’t got her to hospital when we did, I don’t think she would be here today.
“We don’t think Esmé will have any long-term effects, but not everyone is so lucky.”
* To sponsor the Mums on the Run visit http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/MumsOnTheRun2013
* For more information on The Meningitis Trust visit www.meningitis-trust.org.