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Taya Alexis Boyd's Story   — Kimberly Boyd

I was tested in the last few weeks of my pregnancy as a result of switching doctors. My test results came back positive and my doctor said it was no big deal and that the only difference it made was that I needed to be treated with antibiotics during delivery. I was also infected by my daughter's father with herpes. I was induced the day after I was due so that we wouldn't have to worry about an outbreak and I could deliver vaginally. After four and a half hours of induced labor, I gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby girl. She was discharged the next day with a clean bill of health.

The next 5 weeks were pure heaven. I would take her for long walks. I loved to show her off. On Thursday, Dec. 17, 1998, she was used as the baby Jesus in a performance of "The Lamb" at my brother's Baptist church. That night, after we left the performance, she began crying inconsolably. By the time we got home she seemed like she was hollering at me. I finally got her to stop crying but she was breathing a little oddly. I laid down with her in my arms and dozed off for a little while. Before this she had showed absolutely no signs of illness. When I woke back up she was still breathing strange so I knew there was something wrong and I took her to the emergency room. This was only 3-4 hours after she began acting strangely. The doctor who first saw her knew there was something terribly wrong. Almost immediately he did a spinal tap. We knew then that she had meningitis but did not know it was a result of group B strep. They decided to helicopter her to a children's hospital about 2 hours away. The put in a breathing tube and she had begun having seizures before she left.

The drive to the hospital was the longest drive of my life. We finally got to see her around 9am Friday morning. She was having very regular seizures and her head was swollen to almost twice it's original size. She had wires and tubes everywhere. It just broke my heart. Later that day the doctor told me her illness was caused by group B strep and we just had to wait and see how she responded to antibiotics. Unfortunately it was just to late.

On Saturday morning the doctor told me that there was nothing more that they could do for her and if her heart stopped did I want her resuscitated. I told him immediately that I did not. He then told me that I needed to think about when I wanted the breathing tube removed. I hadn't slept for days and couldn't deal with that decision at that time.

That night I asked that she not be given any medications except those to control her seizures and other comfort measures. My brother and the pastor from the church came out to visit that night and we all prayed. After everyone left, my mother gave me a tranquilizer and I finally fell asleep. This was the first sleep I had gotten since she became ill. I woke up right after shift change. When I went back in to see her the nurses had put her in the little knitted gown that they had given me for her going home outfit. She was having seizures every 5 minutes by now and absolutely no medication could control them anymore. At that moment I knew I had to let my little angel go to Heaven. I told the doctor I wanted the breathing tube removed. The doctor was very kind. He had the nurses remove all the tubes and wires except the breathing tube and cleaned her up and put her in a sleeper and cap. I was then able to hold her and they removed the breathing tube. She continued to breath for about 5 minutes and then just stopped.

I held her for another half an hour, said my good-byes to her, and then left. It was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. I still walk through each day in a daze. I wish I had known how serious this was when I was tested.

Kimberly, mother of Taya Alexis


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