Portia is stubborn, strong-willed and fiercely determined. It’s what gives her an edge in life. In 2007 I was pregnant with my third child, and a broken toe brought me to my family doctor (which turned out to be a blessing in disguise). A couple weeks and blood tests later, I found out I had a first-time, active CMV infection. Following amniocentesis at 15 weeks, we also knew that Portia was CMV positive.
Because we learned early in the pregnancy, we were able to be PROACTIVE, rather than simply reactive. I contacted Dr. Stuart Adler, who communicated with my fetal/maternal specialist to coordinate two Cytogam infusions. I believe those infusions played an important part in Portia’s success story. She was induced one month early due to slowed growth and movement. Weighing 4lbs 12oz, she was born with many of the classic symptoms: enlarged liver and spleen, petechia, low platelet count that required a transfusion, plus microcephaly and mild brain abnormalities. She was in an isolated room in the NICU for 10 days, with an IV placed in her forehead because that was the only place the nurses could find a good vein.
A few days after Portia was born she started a six-week treatment of Ganciclovir, which I gave her twice daily through a Broviac line. From birth, she was involved with early intervention programs through the school district, she was monitored by various neurological and developmental specialists, and she received regular vision and hearing tests. Through the infant and toddler years she was a bit slow to meet developmental milestones…but she got there. She still has a lazy eye that was resistant to full correction, and at age seven, she began to lose hearing in one ear. Portia will always have to work through some developmental struggles, but she’s an incredibly smart, funny and affectionate kid who continues to excel at whatever she puts her heart into.
Today, she is a petite 11 (and a half!) year old who loves competitive gymnastics and continues to amaze me every day. Portia is my success story, and I will forever be thankful that I was tested for CMV during my pregnancy because it gave me the opportunity to proactively fight the virus before she was even born.
--Submitted by her mother, Summer