Meningitis claimed the life of my baby Alexis


Our Daughter Alexis was born January 14, 1998. She was our third child born in Louisiana. She was an added blessing to our home. She was so very beautiful as any baby would be. She weighed 8 lbs. 2 oz. She was very healthy. My husband and I brought her home 2 days later. From then on she never cried, except when hungry, and she also slept through the night.

On February 3 being two weeks old we took Alexis to the hospital. She was running a temperature and was also vomitting everything she ate. That day my daughter was seen by two family doctors and also the "acting" head of pediatrics that day. One doctor told me he was going to admit my daughter to the hospital for further testing but had to get another opinion. As the Head of Peds. came in, he checked my daughter out and asked me several questions about her. Then he replied, "she looks too good to poke", so he was not going to admit her. He sent us home with the diagnosis of a stomach flu and told me if the symptoms did not go away, to bring her back for testing.

Five days later, February 8, we all woke up that morning and resumed our daily schedule of breakfast and normal chores around the house. I noticed my daughter had begun to run a temperature again and was making a humming sound. That humming sound continued even when she was sleeping. I didn't know anything was wrong. I was unaware that this humming was one of the symptoms of meningitis. I thought maybe she had found her voice. I put Alexis in her car seat on our countertop so I could watch her as I cleaned the dishes. I had talked to her the whole time, and noticed she wasn't even following anything I was doing. I sent my husband to the store to get a thermometer. I held Alexis and talked to her and she still seemed as though she was not hearing me. My husband came home and I took her temperature and it was 102.5. I told my husband that we needed to take her to the emergency room because something was wrong.

We left after we took our kids to our neighbors, and headed for the E.R. She was seen with in the first five minutes we were there, which is very unusual for a military Hospital. As I went into the back, and layed her down on the examining table, I noticed her skin had become gray and her "soft spot" had begun to buldge. Immediately I notified one of the doctors and told him. He in turn called the Chief of Pediatrics to ask whether or not he should do any testing on her. Well I assure you that the doctor was there at the hospital within five minutes. He told me he was going to do a spinal tap, and that I may need to leave the room. Well since the E.R room only allowed one parent to stay with the child, I left to get my husband so he could be with her as I made several phone calls to my family.

We waited an hour before we got the results of the spinal tap they did on her. The doctor took us back to the Pediatrics Care Unit to explain to us the results of the test. The first thing he said was,"I'm glad you brought her in today, she has meningitis, however I do think that we have caught it in time before the infection could do any damage." I was a bit shook up when he told me what meningitis was, and the damage that could be done. Alexis somehow contracted streptococcus pneumonaie, a deadly form of bacterial meningitis. He also told me that she was going to be flown by helicopter to LSU Medical Center, two hours away, and that we could not accompany her.

My husband and I drove to the hospital to be with her that night. As we went into the PICU unit where she was at, the nurse stopped me and informed me of what had happened to her on the way there. She prepared me for what I was about to see. She said Alexis had suffered some seizures and stopped breathing so the doctors had to hook her up to a ventilator to breath for her. I immediately asked to see her so they took me to her room. She had I.V.'s in almost every part of her body, to include her feeding tube and ventilator. She was sleeping peacefully from all the antibiotics given to her.

I remember that night as if it were yesterday. I stayed with her that night, watching the monitors as they constantly went off. The nurses kept telling me to get some sleep but I couldn't. My daughter was in critical condition. I wanted her to know I was there.

A week later an MRI was done on her brain to see how much damage had been done. The results came back the next day. We were told that there had been extensive brain and spinal cord damage. Sadly we learned our daughter would remain a vegetable for the rest of her life. Our little girl would never experience feelings or emotions, or ever know any of her surroundings. She would depend on life support the rest of her life. My husband and I were shocked and in total disbelief. We requested another opinion, and again an MRI was done. Those results convinced us that our little girl was not going to get any better. The results showed that her brain had began to deteriorate.

Two weeks later a Cat scan was done. My daughter had suffered a substantial amount of damage. The infection had dissolved almost 90% of her brain. We searched everywhere for information. Her doctor gave us tons of information that she herself looked up. We hoped and prayed to find something to give us hope that maybe our daughter would get better. But were devastated by what we read. Meningitis is such a mean "bug". It did so much damage to her that it would have taken more than a miracle to overcome.

We spent all the time with her as we could possibly have. We hung onto hope that was never there. And we found peace with our decision to let our daughter go onto a much better life with our Lord. Our daughter Alexis died March 29, 1998. She touched so many lives during her short stay here on earth. The nurses absolutly adored her. We made more than one difficult decision. We also made the decision to donate her 4 tiny heart valves. She helped make life possible for 4 other babies to live. We will always cherish the precious little time and memories of our Little Angel Alexis. She will forever be remembered in the hearts of many family and friends who have also shared the tears we have shed. I know my heart will go on especially when there is a sweet little Angel watching over it.

Mommy Loves You Sweet Angel Alexis

Please visit all my pages

Photos of our sweet Angel
Poem~ Sweet Angel Alexis
A Letter to my daughter before she died
Support Resources for grieving parents
Poetry & Inspirations for the Healing Heart
Poem~ We Know God Always Cares By Ray Kull
News article about our daughter
Alexis' awards page
My Webrings
Meningitis Foundation of America
Our Angels Remembered ~ Memorial Tributes


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Facts about Bacterial Meningitis from the Pediatric Database

Incidence of Bacterial Meningitis
*0.5/1000 live births

Age of onset
*newborns and ages 3-8 months of age

*closed communities, households, day-care centers, classrooms.

Clinical Features

*minimal & subtle (high suspicion)
*seizure (40%)
*bulging fontanelle (33%)

apnea, cyanosis, diarrhea, disinterest in feeding, jaundice, lethargy, respitory distress, vomiting and temperature instability.

Imaging Studies

CT/Ultrasound (for complications)
*brain abscesses
*subdural effsions

You can learn more about the signs and symptoms of meningitis by contacting the Meningitis Foundation of America

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