Infant Meningitis Awareness!

Let me take you back to December 31, 2009. Hayley was 1 year, 2 months at the time and was seriously ill. It started out as a common cold but then quickly accelerated into a much worse illness. She had a very high fever of 104 and we immediately took her to the doctor. The doctor ran all sorts of test, including a series of skin tests and blood tests to see the cause of her problems. We went home to await the results. The next day, her fever was still high but had decreased somewhat, so I was being to feel somewhat less anxious. That is until the phone rang at 10:26 pm on New Years Eve – 2009. 

The doctor called to tell us we needed to immediately go to the emergency room for her to get checked out. I was scared to death and all I remember saying is, “What is going on? Is my baby going to be okay?” We grabbed her from a sound sleep and arrived at our local hospital at 11:03 pm. Yes, you remember these exact times when something like this is happening to you! When we checked in, they told me that the tests came back positive for meningitis and they would need to start her on a very high dose of antibiotics intravenously. They did tell me that there are sometimes false positives but they wouldn’t know the answer until the next day, so they needed to start the antibiotics. The nurse said it was better that we do it, just in case it is truly meningitis. My face went blank and I believe I went into hysterics. My baby.. My only child.. I can’t lose her!!

That night was one of the worst nights of my life. She had to sit with an IV in her for over 3 hours. I remember looking at the clock and telling my husband, “Happy freaken New Year.” We ended up going home that night and Hayley instantly went to bed.  I couldn’t sleep.  I couldn’t eat.  I needed to know she was going to be okay. At 2pm that afternoon, we got  a call telling us that the test was indeed a false positive. I wasn’t mad at all. I was completely relieved. The doctors did what they had to do: what they thought was the right course of treatment. I was just happy that my baby was going to be okay.

Unfortunately, for many infants, one of the leading causes of death aside from injuries and neonatal complications is menigococcal meningitis.  Bacterial meningitis is a serious infection of the fluid in the spinal cord and around the brain. 1 in 16 children will die from it! Of the many that do survive, many will live the rest of their lives with learning disabilities, amputations, blindness, and paralysis.  Infant meningitis accounts for 35 percent of the 2,500 + cases of menigoccal disease in the US each year.  

The Meningitis Angels was started as a wonderful non-profit organization by Bob and Frankie Milly whose son, Ryan, was taken from them at the tender age of 18 from menigococcal meningitis. They created this group to provide support to families whose children have been afflicted with this horrible disease. They provide valuable information on prevention of not only this disease but many others that effect children. They truly are a fantastic group.

We need your help now! Vaccines have made great progress in the helping spread many childhood and infant diseases. There is one FDA approved vaccine that we need to help get more exposure- the meningitis vaccine. We need the Center for Disease Control to start taking a notice of it and recommending it to their patients. We need the doctors to include the meningitis vaccine with the regular routine child’s vaccinations.  Please sign this petition to help get the word out about this important vaccination for those with infants two years and younger. No infant deserves to die in such a cruel way when a preventable vaccination is on the market. 

Click here to sign the petition:  Project Infant Now. What a truly important cause that could save those inflicted with this terrible disease.

* I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central and Meningitis Angels. This campaign was made possible in part through support provided by Novartis Vaccines. A small donation to a charity of my choice was made in my name from Mom Central as a thank you for participating. All my opinions in this posting are 100% my own.

Be Sociable, Share!


  1. Mama B says

    Wow, chills. That's so scary. Thank you for sharing, more parents need to be aware of how fatal this illness can be.

  2. Carol from Retail Therapy says

    Wow – this actually happened to our niece – before we had kids, so it has a much scarier meaning now that I have kids of my own. Thanks for sharing

  3. Rob - Look What Mom Found...and Dad too! says

    That is scary and I am glad that you did this post to make more people aware of how fatal and dangerous this disease is.

  4. MySentimentExactLee says

    There isn't much that scares me, but meningitis freaks me out. It can kill so quickly. I'm so glad your baby had a false positive.


  5. Sheri Carpenter says

    That is awful! I know I get scared to death when things happen with my kids. a year ago they thought my daughter had Lupus because of a false positive on a test and all I can remember is being so thankful and praying that no one else ever have to go through what we did. I am so glad everything worked out for you!

  6. Multi-Testing Mommy says

    I can't even begin to understand how scared you must have been. Thanks for this post – very informative!

  7. Ashley S says

    Wow, this is so scary! Glad to know she is fine now, but wow. I would have been totally freaking out and scared to death.

  8. OurFamilyWorld says

    This is so so scary! Thank you for raising awarness about this disease! It helps other parents raise healthier children

  9. About A Mom says

    Oh my! How frightened you must have been! I am so glad that Hayley is ok. Meningitis Angels is such a great cause!

  10. Sarah @ It's a Vol says

    My Dad's best friend's daughter died of Menengitis when she was 17. It was less than 48 hours from when she started feeling bad (cold like symptoms) until she died. It was awful. My parents had us vaccinated very soon after. I am so so so glad Hayley was ok. I think my heart stopped reading this… Thank you for reminding to me ask our doc at E's 1 year appt!!!

  11. Myrah - Coupon Mamacita says

    I can TOTALLY understand what you went through! I found my 16 year old cousin (R.I.P) dead to Menengistis, while she was visiting us. IT WAS A VERY DRAMATIC IMPRESSION, one that will always be present in my life. She got a bad cold, she was taking the normal medicines for a cold, 24 hours later she passed away. Since it is contagious, everyone in the home had to be placed in treatment. One of the worst things was having to call my aunt in NYC with the news. That same week, there were 3 more cases in the area.

  12. Julie says

    This is really scary, but I have a little infant at home, so I am glad you told the story! Now I will know what to look for and what questions to ask! Hopefully I won't have to go through this!

  13. Couponista Queen says

    I nearly died as a newborn from meningitis. And when my brother was born he also almost died from it! It is very scary.

  14. royalegacy says

    I understand what you went through. When my eldest was just 7 months old, she got a high fever, and started going through convulsions. Scared the heck out of me. We took her to the hospital where she was tested for meningitis. We found that she only had a had ear infection. We were lucky, and I'm glad that you were, too.

  15. Ghada says

    Melissa, that is such scary thing to go through! I know exactly what you mean about remembering the exact time. Thanks for sharing your story and making us aware of the campaign

  16. CentsLessDeals says

    How frightening!! I had no idea this was something that would affect infants like it does!! Thanks for making us aware of this, I really appreciate it!

  17. Candice says

    Wow, Melissa…how scary! I'm glad everything turned out okay. Thanks for sharing this info!

  18. artsavesyou says

    I could not imagine having to go through that with my son. I am glad to hear she is okay and thank you for taking part in this campaign!

  19. MommyMandi says

    Your story hit home with me. 3 weeks after Baby C was born, she contracted Bacterial Spinal Meningitis from Salmonella. She was too young to receive a vacine to prevent it. The doctors have no idea where it came from, except that 3 days before she was admitted, I was already in the hospital with an E.Coli infection. As I lay in my hospital bed, I am video chatting with doctors at All Children's letting me know my baby will make it, but she may have side-effects, like the ones you listed. Baby C was in the hospital for 28 days, pumped with so many drugs, a picc line, and went through so many tests, including a spinal tap and MRI. Baby C is now almost 14 months old and by the healing hand of God, she has been completely healed.

  20. Two Little Cavaliers says

    I am so sorry you had to go through this scare with your baby. But glad the doctors did what they thought necessary to begin treatment in case it wasn't a false positive. I know so little about the disease and nothing about the vaccination so would have to do more research if I ever have a baby. It seems like it should at least be a vaccination that doctors have to explain to parents and give them the option for their child to receive.

  21. Camille says

    oh my goodness. how terrifying for you!

    thank goodness she was ok.

    the organization sounds like a wonderful one.


  22. Lilac City Momma says

    How very scary and sad for you and your family! Just last year, my daughter participated in a study at her doctors office for giving the menigococcal vaccine at an earlier age.

  23. Our Little Fam says

    What a scary story! You are such a wonderful momma and I am so glad that it was a false positive.

  24. Stephanie of Gumdrop Pass says

    Oh my GOSH — this post brought tears to my eyes. I'm so happy that everything turned out okay and that your little girl is happy and healthy.

    Thanks for sharing this — I'll head over to the petition right away!

  25. Kim says

    So glad Hayley is OK! I cannot imagine going through something like that! Thank you for this post, such an important message to bring attention to!

  26. Malika Bourne says

    I am so sorry that your little one and you went through this. I admire you for speaking out about how to prevent this from becoming a tragedy by immunizing for menigitis. Malika Bourne

  27. Maria says

    melissa, i have tears in my eyes. i am so sorry that you and your family had to experience such a horrific even with precious hayley. i can't begin to imagine. i started to cry when you said that you always remember the exact times when things like this happen. it is so true. i can so relate to that.
    i'm so happy that everything turned out okay. and that hayley is healthy. you've got an amazing attitude and it's awesome to hear you say you weren't even mad…just thankful. what an admirable outlook.
    thank you so much for sharing <3

  28. Janet K says

    What a terrifying moment for your family!! My husband and I were at lunch today and I asked him if he ever thinks about what would happen if we lost our boy. He said he thinks about car wrecks or people trying to take him, but not illness. He said since he's almost 4 and healthy then it doesn't cross his mind. BUT, this is my constant fear. We haven't really tried to get him out of our bed (he spent the first 2 years in his bed for fear of SIDS and rollover) and now I'm scared to put him in his room. I have to hear that he is breathing all night. Praise God that your girl was okay!!

  29. Amy says

    Oh my, I had no idea Hayley was that sick back then, what a scary experience for your family. I cried when V got her first ear infection this week, I cannot imagine. I am glad you had a happy ending. I have never heard of Meningitis Angels before, thanks for the info.