saba's first year
We had a perfect pregnancy with Saba & an easy natural birth. Saba was a very healthy little girl who had a loving, cheeky & strong-willed personality. She started walking independently at 11 and a half months and was able to say ‘Mumma, Dadda & Nanna’ along with meeting all the other developmental milestones for her age. She was very ‘knowing’ and hardly ever cried. Saba slept well and enjoyed the company of her older brother Cooper and was beginning to socialise with her friends. Saba would light up a room with her beautiful smile.
what went wrong
In the year of 2010 the WA Health Department put out a letter to families promoting the flu- vaccination for children from 6 months – 5 years of age. We followed this advice and decided that it was in our best interest to protect our children from the flu virus. So on the 19th April (exactly a week before Saba’s 1st birthday) at 12.30pm we went as a family to our GP to receive the flu-vaccination & the type we received was ‘Flu-vax’ by CSL.
That afternoon Saba presented normally, was playing & was very happy. She had her 1.45pm bottle of milk and went to bed at 2pm (like normal) and slept for 2 hours. That night she ate all of her dinner, drank her bottle of milk & was then put to bed. It was at around 8 pm that evening that she could be heard on the monitor making a soft continuous moaning noise. When we checked on Saba she was very limp, pale & had a temperature of 40.2 degrees. We then called the ambulance who arrived and she was rushed to Princess Margaret Hospital. We spent the next 2 hours in the Emergency Department and then were sent to the ward but Saba was still having seizures and it was not until 4am that Saba was taken to the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit of Princess Margaret Hospital.
In ICU Saba was intubated (put on life support) to breathe, had a tube put up her nose into her stomach for milk and medications. She was put on anti-seizure medications, blood pressure medications and many different antibiotics. Blood tests were taken and they did a MRI and cat-scan which showed us that Saba had suffered severe brain damage and multi-organ failure.
The following morning we were taken into a room in ICU and told that they didn’t expect for Saba to live and that if she somehow did, she may never walk or talk again. We rallied together in support and held strong belief that Saba could do this, that she was so strong in spirit that she could make it. The next day her blood results showed that her organs were responding more positively and then a few days later Saba began to breathe by herself. She had decided to pull through!!
Since the original incident, Saba has been admitted into PMH 40 times for mainly respiratory (breathing) problems, seizure activity that we cannot get under control or for general virus’ that she just cannot handle without medical assistance. We also almost lost her in September 2012 with a severe bout of pancreatitis (from one of her anti-seizure medications) whereby she spent six nights in ICU.
Saba has been diagnosed now as having cerebral palsy from an Acquired Brain Injury caused by the flu vaccination (‘Flu-vax’ by CSL). She is a spastic quadriplegia (GMSCF level 5 – the worst) has epilepsy and respiratory weakness.
beginning saba's rehabilitation
After 11 days in ICU we were moved to the ward to begin rehabilitation with our little yet ‘very different’ princess Saba. We began the busy timetable of physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and many other interventions at PMH.
Saba now has a very intense rehabilitation timetable which includes seeing a private physiotherapist, occupational therapist, speech pathologist, chiropractor, naturopath, hydrotherapy sessions, massage therapist, vision specialist, conductive educator and acupuncturist which we are able to access through fundraising. Saba will need to access these therapies for the rest of her life.
Saba also needs 24/7 care & can never be left alone as she is totally dependent for all care requirements including all of her daily living activities. Our need for help in the home & specifically the assistance with Saba’s care & mobilisation will only increase as Saba grows older & bigger.