Reese - North Carolina
I started feeling sick about 10 or 11 weeks into my pregnancy. Everything could have been brushed off as typical symptoms of pregnancy (exhaustion, mild nausea, etc.), however I also had high fevers. I told my OB/GYN about the fevers, who then talked to a maternal fetal medicine specialist regarding what needed to be done, if anything. I am extremely thankful that conversation took place, and I'm absolutely convinced that it saved my daughter's life.
Since I also had an 18-month-old in daycare at the time, the doctor suggested testing me for CMV and parvovirus, which are common infections in daycare settings. The test came back positive for CMV. They then decided to run an avidity test to see if this was a recent or old infection, and that test indicated that it was not only recent, but also a primary infection. If you've read anything at all about CMV in pregnant women, you know this was the scariest news we could have received. I not only had CMV in the first trimester, but it was my first time having had it.
My team of doctors sprang into action with research and planning that I'm convinced saved my baby's life. Within a week of diagnosis I was receiving CMV specific IVIG infusions, which I would continue to receive every month until delivery. When amniocentesis showed that my baby had indeed contracted the virus from me, the dosage doubled. My doctors got on the phone and argued with my insurance company until the costs were covered. I had ultrasounds every two weeks and a fetal echocardiogram to monitor her development and progress.
Reese was born on August 4, 2010 with plenty of planning in place. The room was full of medical staff. With no obvious symptoms, she was tested again after birth and was indeed positive for congenital CMV infection. In the first few weeks of her life, she had bloodwork, hearing exams, eye exams, and a head CT scan. Everything was perfectly normal.
Reese is thriving today. She still has hearing exams, which she continues to pass with flying colors. My hope is that one day CMV status testing will become routine for expecting mothers, and education about it will increase, particularly in mothers with other young children. I had no idea that I needed to be cautious around my toddler (not sharing food, vigilant hand-washing, etc.) and if I did, I certainly would have adhered to that advice. I also feel extremely lucky that my team of doctors knew what to test for and how to treat it-- this should also be common knowledge amongst medical personnel.
I'm excited to share my story in hopes that we can spread the word about CMV and stop this from even being an issue in future pregnancies.
--Shared by her mother, Lee