I found out I was pregnant just after my 21st birthday in May 2003.
I wasn’t sick or felt ill. As far as I knew, the pregnancy was going fine. As this was my first pregnancy, I didn’t really know how it should feel.
On Jan 29th, 2004, I woke up and had the strangest feeling. I felt like I had to go to the hospital straight away, I didn’t know why but I just got up and went.
I arrived at the Princess Royal Maternity at 9am. I can remember vividly I had to wait out in the hall as the fire alarm was going off…weird.. (will make sense why this is weird later).
Finally I was seen and had a scan. I knew instantly there was something wrong – doctor after doctor came in, but no one would tell me what was going on. I was told I was going to have an emergency c-section as my baby wasn’t coping very well – the next I knew I was being prepared for surgery. I told my mum that soon she will be a gran and after that everything a sort of blur for a while.
I remember slipping in and out of consciousness, but what I will never forget is the look on everyones face – I knew something wasn’t right. I remember seeing Aimee-louise before she was taken to the NICU, and I can remember thinking she had meningitis as she had these purple spots all over her and a fish tank type bowl on her head.
Later that day a male doctor came to see me and told me that he wanted to do a test for a virus called CMV and that he had treated an older boy 15 years ago, but the Princess Royal hadn’t seen a baby born with CMV in 25 years! At that point I didn’t know what to do, what was CMV and why me?
I had a lot of questions but no body had any answers.
The male doctor came back and told me that the test was positive and that Aimee-Louise wouldn’t last 24 hours and I should say my goodbyes. It was at this point I asked for another doctor and a second opinion. It seemed the doctors had given up hope and they were not willing to even try.
I met doctor Lesley Jackson soon afterwards, who said she didn’t know what CMV was but she was emailing American doctors after researching on the internet and I was to have hope!
I spent all the time I could with Aimee-Louise while the doctors tried to figure out what CMV was. No one seemed to know. I can clearly remember now a big sign on her door stating she was under quarantine and an even remember a cleaner refusing to come into the room as she deemed contagious. I was so mad.
After Dr Jackson completed all the tests, she told me from research from America, there was a chance of brain damage, lose of sight and hearing and severe disabilities.
More doctors came and went and yet Aimee seemed to pass every test with flying colours. Dr Jackson even ran one test twice as she was so sure Aimee’s brain would be damaged.
I can still remember her running down the hall screaming its negative!!
Aimee-louise was such a fighter but in the end the constant blood tests and prodding and pocking at her was too much.
On Feb 17th 2004 I switched off Aimee’s life support machine, just as the fire alarm went off!!
19 days with my wee girl just wasn’t enough.
I remember a lot about the hospital and her cries when a certain doctor came in to take more blood. It was as if she just knew.
The reaction to people with the cmv baby as no one had a clue what it was or how I got it, the doctors that came to take pictures of this cmv baby for research and to basically have a look!!!
Dr Jackson was amazing and asked me for a special picture of Aimee which still is there to this day in the NICU. Everyone grew attached to Aimee and some staff were very upset when we lost her. It just seemed that this CMV was seemingly incurable.
A few months later I had a phone call from Dr Jackson to ask me for all my research I had on CMV as another wee girl had been born with this. The Hospital couldn’t believe it and nor could I. They were able to save this wee girl because of what they had learned and seen from Aimee.
I am so glad this wee girl is alive and doing well but in another way I think well what if they knew more about cmv, could they have save Aimee?
The parents of the baby sent me a thank you card and said I had help save the daughters life and they were forever grateful.
I have never meet the other parents but this year, through the CMV Action face book page, we both connected virtually after commented under the same post. It’s strange how things work out sometimes.
I still don’t fully understand “why me” even after all these years, how did I catch CMV and why wasn’t I warned about CMV in pregnancy.
My son was born a year later. I was tested again for CMV and it was, of course, positive. My son was born fine as I had the CMV antibodies.
I wish CMV Action was around in 2004 when I had Aimee. The doctors didn’t even know what CMV was. I remembering feeling very alone and and had no support.
I had since planted a tree in Aimee’s memory.
Recently the council tried to remove my baby girls memorial tree so I have had to fight the council to keep it there.
Although 10 years have passed, my beautiful angel Aimee-Louise will always be in my heart. We need to raise awareness of CMV and change lives.