So this is a new series which I am calling Real readers… Real stories. So before I publish any stories written by my awesome readers…. I’m going to go first!
Every woman who has had multiple pregnancies will most likely agree that they are all different. This is my story on how trying my third pregnancy was.
On 21st September 2009 I discovered I was pregnant with our third child. Everything was seemingly normal until I went for my 12 week scan. Later that afternoon I received a phone call from the specialist to say that the equation for Downs Syndrome came back high and to inform me that he had booked me in for the CVS test the next morning if I wanted to go ahead with further testing. Only about an hour later I received a phone call from my obstetrician telling me that the bloods I recently had taken tested positive to a virus. Something called Cytomegalovirus, more commonly called CMV. He told me that depending on when it was during the pregnancy I had contracted the virus would depend on how it could affect the baby. “I have you booked in to the neonatal diagnostic specialist at 11.30 tomorrow morning” he tells me….to which of course I nod my head forgetting that he can’t hear me nodding.
He told me not to go straight to Google as this just causes more confusion and gives you the worst case scenario. (I immediately ignored him and did exactly that!) This is the first thing that came up ..
“Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a common viral infection. In healthy people, it causes a mild flu-like illness that passes harmlessly within a few days. In certain high-risk groups, including pregnant women and organ transplant patients, CMV infection can be dangerous. CMV can cause hearing loss and intellectual disability in unborn babies.”
Oh.My.God… What the actual hell is happening? I wasn’t even sick for God’s sake. How did I get this? I then carry on to read this..
” Women can catch CMV during pregnancy and pass it on to their baby – this is called congenital CMV. Around one in ten infected babies will have lasting problems. These can include deafness, poor eyesight, intellectual disability, an enlarged liver or spleen, and a small head.”
Jesus Christ why the hell didn’t I listen to the Dr and not gone to Google. Shit!!!! How do I process all this.. Oh my frigin God. By this stage I am an absolute abomination… not to mention that in the meantime I had forgotten about the CVS test I was yet to have to rule out any Downs Syndrome. Needless to say the rest of that day was not well spent.
Next day we go in for the CVS first thing to which I truly don’t remember much of, other than me laying there squeezing my husbands hand and saying endless Hail Mary’s to myself. An hour after we left there we were at the hospital waiting for this fancy pants doctor. He turns up and is just gorgeous. Seriously the nicest man in the world. He goes into more detail over what this virus actually does and what it affects. If I had contracted this virus before 6 weeks I should be ok.. If it was between 6 and 12 weeks then we may have an issue. So then the process of blood testing follows to establish exactly when it was that I contracted this stupid thing. And so the wait begins.
Next day whilst out grocery shopping I get a phone call saying that the CVS came back all clear and there is no Downs Syndrome. Obviously I was relieved. One down. One more to go was all I could think. Later that day I was called by the hospital to tell me to come back in the next day. Great.. this can’t be good. And….. it wasn’t. Blood levels indicate CMV contracted between 6 and 12 weeks. Fuck. What now?
Well… we wait until 20 weeks and perform an amniocentesis to determine whether the baby has contracted the virus or not. I’m currently just 13 weeks. Then what happens after that?…….. What happens if the baby has it?……. Well, we establish how bad the damage is and then whether you choose to carry on with the pregnancy. ………… 7 (but turned out to be 8) more weeks of wondering WHAT is happening with this poooooor baby.
So for the best part of 8 weeks I continued on with my life as normal as possible trying to ignore this pregnancy. We didn’t even tell anyone, except for a very select few. I just didn’t want to know anything about it. If this baby might not survive I didn’t wasn’t any attachment to it at all. Didn’t want to know about it. Sounds horrible yes, but until you are in the situation you just don’t know.
During this time I learnt more about myself than I ever thought was possible. What I used to worry about I certainly didn’t any longer. What used to bother me doesn’t any more. It really does just seem like a blur to me. One of the nicer things that happened was I used to hear Amazing Grace all the time. In the most random places at crazy times. It was weird. I like to think it was my grandfather assuring me from heaven that I was ok. I had the strength I needed.
20 weeks eventually arrived which happened to be right before Christmas. The test was performed and the Dr seemed pretty confident. However, we still needed another week before we knew the results… and then because apparently the world ceases to turn during Christmas and New year we then had to wait the best part of another week before we got the results back.
The night before we got the call, I heard Amazing Grace again on the TV and I had this overwhelming sense of calm. For the first time in ALL those weeks I felt calm, so much so that I went ahead and told our other 2 children that Mummy was having a baby. They had no idea.
Next day at lunch time I got the call. Everything was fine. The baby has not contracted the virus. “Unusual for this to happen, usually what mum gets, bub gets…..You must have someone looking after you my girl” were the exact words from my obstetrician. I will never forget those words as long as my feet are on the ground. To this day I don’t know how to describe the way I felt.
The next day I rang my Drs office back and asked the receptionist to grab my notes and more importantly the results from the CVS that was taken back at 12 weeks. I needed to know the sex of this baby as we had some serious bonding time to catch up on. I needed to know for myself. My husband didn’t want to know so this was another little thing I had to keep to myself… Can I go another couple of months not saying anything?….Absolutely.
“Another pink one” were her words. I cried and cried…… and cried. I always wanted 3 girls and after all this I truly did not care but I was being given what I always wanted. After all this.
A very short 16 weeks later, after 11 scans and I don’t even know how many blood tests we were blessed with the most perfect baby girl ever.
6lb10oz and 48cm long and just divine. She would still need to have sight and hearing tests for a year or two as she was exposed to the virus, but all the doctors seemed pretty confident she would be fine.
Of course she is fine. Completely fine… and turns 5 soon. She is a constant reminder to me not to ever sweat the small stuff. The way my attitude changed after this experience was immense. Some things seriously just do not matter. Just love your kids, they are ALL a blessing.