A PETERHEAD couple are raising money for the neonatal unit at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary for its help and support during the birth of their daughter Kenzie, who is about to undergo a crucial six-month assessment.
Jacqueline Ives and Jamie McNeil became proud parents to Kenzie Ives McNeil on March 16, after an exhausting three days in labour.
Sadly, Kenzie picked up group B streptococcus while in the womb and was born at 5am after an emergency section. She was born making strange breathing noises, and when the neonatal doctor came to see her she was rushed to intensive care.
Jacqueline told the Buchanie: “We didn’t know what to think at the time. I was left in recovery as I had to have two blood transfusions and we were given a photo of Kenzie in her breathing apparatus.”
Little Kenzie was being treated for meningitis, and the night she was born, things took a turn for the worse.
Jacqueline continued: “She got really ill on her first night, and had to be put on a full ventilator and life support. I was visited by the doctor who took care of me when I was born with a heart condition. He told me that Kenzie had between 12 and 24 hours to live and that Jamie had to come through straight away.”
Suffering from the early on-set strep B, septicemia and severe pneumonia, Kenzie was given two blood transfusions and three platelet transfusion, as well as being treated for meningitis.
She made very slow progress and on day five, she was christened by Neil and Phyllis Cameron, the same day Jacqueline and Jamie got to hold her for the first time.
“It’s hard to believe but after that day she started getting better - even the nurses couldn’t believe the change in her,” said Jacqueline.
“On day six she was given a lumbar puncture in her back to test for meningitis of the brain. The test was negative and we were so relieved as it could have caused learning difficulties for her.”
Both Jacqueline and Kenzie spent 14 nights in hospital, making the trip home on day 15.
“I thought I was dreaming,” she said.
“I remember having her in the car seat and I couldn’t believe I was getting this little girl home. We were anxious to begin with as we didn’t have any of the machines or monitors to tell us she was OK.
“Jamie was so strong through everything, he always seen the positives.”
Jacqueline hopes to raise awareness of group B strep, and the common misconception people have about getting tested for it.
“A lot of people buy a test online which will tell you if you carry it or not,” she said.
“Kenzie had been unwell for quite some time in the womb and there was no way she could have been treated. Jamie and I were so mad at the beginning because we were sure that something could have been done about it but we were simply unlucky.
“One in four women carry strep B and it is rare for it to cause problems,” explained Jacqueline.
Little Kenzie will be visiting ARI on September 20 for her six month assessment, which will the look at the impact the infection may have on her long term development.
“It’s petrifying but they are hopeful that Kenzie won’t have any difficulties, when we take her to see her anti-natal buddies she’s just as big and cheeky as the rest of them. And she’s ahead with a lot of things already. Of course we would treasure her all the same but you want your children to have the best chance in life. I can’t wait to take her in and show the nurses and say - look what you’ve done for us!”
Jacqueline and Jamie have been selling fudge to their friends and family in the hope to raise £500 for the neonatal unit at ARI.
“The staff in the unit were truly amazing, the money will go to the Friends of Aberdeen Neonatal which provides equipment, it’s only a small gesture of thanks for what the unit has given us.
“There’s so many people that helped us through Kenzie’s ordeal and she truly is a blessing to the whole family. Whilst she was in neonatal there was a special prayer group held in Peterhead, Jamie and I both believe that Kenzie truly is a gift of god and an answer to prayer, she really is a living miracle.”
The couple are fast approaching their £500 target and bags of fudge are available from Vee on Love Lane until Saturday, September 17.