Sophie Noella Rose Bernier

Our Nightmare...

She woke up Wednesday, October 13th, as normal.  Such a happy baby girl, smiling away & so excited to see me. Our morning routine was the same as it has always indication of the nightmare we were about to endure. She went down for a nap about 11am & was sleeping soundly. Daddy came home for lunch about noon & she woke up & acknowledged he was home. Within half an hour, he noticed she was 'acting funny'.  In disbelief I told him, "What do you mean, 'acting funny'?  She was fine all morning." Then I went to check on her.  She just looked at me with this "Mommy, what is happening to me?" question on her face...she was quite warm & breathing rapidly.  I stripped her down, took her temp & put a lightweight sleeper on her.  Her temp was barely 102F (39C), so I wasn't too alarmed as she was teething & there were so many colds going around.  The breathing is what alarmed me.  I kept trying to tell myself 'Maybe it was just because of the fever...'

We went to the hospital & they ran tests, ruling out everything from tonsillitis, ear infection to pneumonia. They figured it was just the flu or a bad cold & we were released to go home.  Her breathing seemed to have settled down & she finally fell asleep, as she was so tired. She slept for about an hour again & when she woke up, she seemed so very pale.  Her erratic breathing returned & she just seemed to moan in pain. She was burning up at this point, but again the temp only read 102.4F so I gave her a tepid bath.  Her temp lowered a bit and I just put her in her diaper, wrapped her loosely in a receiving blanket & just held her. She opened her eyes and just stared at me with look of fear in her eyes and I knew then something was really very wrong and frantically told my husband we need to go to the hospital...NOW!

As soon as we got there, they rushed her in and began working on her...tubes, monitors, IV's...we were beside ourselves....what was happening to our healthy, beautiful, happy baby girl?  Then we were told we were being flown to Edmonton (4 hours away) with her & a specialized Peds team was being flown up for Sophie. No matter how much they worked on her, she just kept getting worse and worse.  Just before the Peds team arrived, she went into cardiac arrest.  They worked on her for over an hour to restart her heart but she just couldn't fight anymore. She fought with everything she had until the very end....Our little Sophie, passed shortly after midnight on Thursday October 14th, 2010.

I held her for hours afterwards, just rocking her...praying this was all some horrible nightmare...but our Little Angel had been called home, away from all her pain & suffering.  God answered our prayers, but in a different way.  He saw how much she was suffering and He took her home.  She was an angel on loanto us for a short time.

We found out later that day that it was caused by the bacterium, Neisseria Meningitidis, commonly found in Meningitis. Most adults carry it in their nasal passages & it occurs like a natural flora...sneezing/coughing could spread the bacterium but it is so very rare for it to turn in to Sophie's, Meningococcal Infection...Meningococcal Septicaemia...this is the infection of the blood.  It is only about a 1 in 100,000 chance of it becoming this kind of infection.  It carries a 75% mortality rate in infants under the age of 2 within a few hours of initial onset.  Even if they had caught it in time, there is very little they could have done.  Sophie would have never been the same & more than likely would have never, ever left the hospital. The infection got in to her blood and attacked every organ in her little body, shutting them down 1 by 1.  She fought with every thing she had.  If she had of survived, she would have suffered major damage to all her organs & they would have not functioned properly. She probably would have been blind, deaf and never have been able to speak.

Meningococcal Septicaemia typically causes a purpuric (purpley/reddish) rash that does not lose its colour when pressed with a glass ("non-blanching") & does not cause the classical symptoms of meningitis (ie stiff neck, high fever of 104F/40C or higher...).  This means the condition may be ignored by those not aware of the significance of the rash.

This is not what the little ones are vaccinated against as it is not meningitis. It is not contagious like chicken pox or the flu. My dad read that it is a gene they are born with that makes them more susceptible to septicaemia.

I pray they can find a way to detect this earlier, before any damage is done, so the mortality rate decreases. I pray no one, no parent, no child should ever have to suffer from this. It takes them so very quickly...

We feel everyone needs to be educated, to possibly recognize the signs so it may be caught sooner, so no little ones have to ever suffer from this.

We are staying strong as we know she would want us to. Hug your little ones close for us.

Rest In Peace our Sweet Baby Girl, our Precious Little Sophie 
"Babies Are Angels With Invisible Wings."


Sarah Bernier



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