Couple tell of baby death heartbreak

JUST nine months ago Adrian and Caroline Grove were forced to endure every parent's worst nightmare and turn off their baby son's life support machine.

Craig Robinson

JUST nine months ago Adrian and Caroline Grove were forced to endure every parent's worst nightmare and turn off their baby son's life support machine.

Cayden was born on April 7 last year - eight weeks premature at Ipswich Hospital - but 22 days later he died.

The post mortem showed he died from Group B Streptococcus (GBS) - a blood infection that affects newborn babies - septicaemia and meningitis.


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Now, Mr and Mrs Grove, of Severn Road in Ipswich, who also have a two-year-old daughter, Megan, are determined to draw something positive from the tragedy and want to raise awareness about the infection that killed their son.

“Generally he was a well baby, with only a few breathing problems at birth, and considered a good weight for his size,” Mr Grove said. “We were just talking about taking him home when he fell ill. We didn't know what it was at first but he deteriorated quickly and needed help with his breathing.”

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Mr Grove, 39, said Cayden was then transferred to Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge, where doctors diagnosed GBS.

Within 24 hours they said the baby had little chance of recovery and his devastated parents had to switch off his life support machine.

“It all happened so quickly,” Mr Grove said. “Originally the doctors thought the antibiotics would sort it out. He was just 22 days old when he died and probably took his last breaths in my wife's arms.

“We don't know how he caught the infection - it can be passed on during labour or from hand to hand contact. The strength of it can also vary - but because Cayden was premature he was a little bit weaker so he couldn't fight it off as easily as he might have done.

“Its nine months since it all happened and it's taken most of that time to get our heads around it. We obviously still had to look after Megan and not try to make her feel like something was wrong.

“There were a lot of times when we had to try and keep it from her - after she went to bed we would sit and talk about it.

“We're not at the stage now where we break down in tears every day but certain things set it off. You don't know when it will be. Someone may say something or we might see something on TV. Christmas was quite difficult.”

Mr and Mrs Grove, 28 - who are expecting another baby in mid May - are now keeping their son's memory alive by helping to raise money for Group B Strep Support (GBSS).

They are holding an Autumn Ball at Ufford Park in September this year in aid of the charity and to raise awareness about the infection.

“We hadn't heard of GBS and I don't think many people have,” Mr Grove said. “GBSS have helped us tremendously and we want to give something back and take something positive out of what we've been through.

“We want to remember Cayden and if we can help people find out more information about the charity then that's even better. It would be quite easy to stay at home and do nothing but we don't want that.”

n The ball will be held on September 25 and tickets will be available to buy from March priced �40 each. It includes a welcome drink, three course sit down meal and half bottle of wine. There will also be an auction, raffle and entertainment from the Ed Zachery band. Anyone who would like a ticket can email: caydensautumnball@hotmail.co.uk.

n Group B Streptococcus is the most common cause of life threatening infections in newborn babies in the UK.

n It can be passed on during labour but it does not necessarily mean the baby will become ill.

n Each year approximately 230,000 babies are born to mothers who carry GBS.

n Of these 88,000 become colonised with GBS, 700 develop the infection and 75 die.

n In newborn babies there are two types: early (occurring in the first six days of life) and late-onset (which usually presents as GBS meningitis and occurs up to one month old or very rarely up to three months.)

n Of the survivors of GBS meningitis up to a half suffer long-term mental and/or physical handicaps.

n The great majority of survivors of early-onset disease do so with no long-term damage.

n For more information visit www.gbss.org.uk.

SOURCE: Group B Strep Support

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