Katie, Clara’s mum, says ….
30 weeks into my pregnancy with Clara, my second child, I was informed in a phone call that I had contracted CMV in pregnancy. I had been feeling feverish and fluey for a few weeks by this time, and went to hospital when Clara’s movements changed, which led to a blood test which highlighted poor liver function, and a TORCH screen which confirmed my primary CMV infection.
Besides the brief phone call I wasn’t provided with any more information, and so I consulted Google, and what I found terrified me. We were referred to foetal medicine but, in the interim, which was only five days but felt like five years, I turned to CMV Action for support. I was lucky to be put in contact with a number of supportive people who really helped me, especially Rebecca Blinkhorn. The support of the charity (and Rebecca in particular) kept me sane as we went through extra scans and weeks of uncertainty.
When Clara was born, she did not exhibit any symptoms of congenital CMV but a urine test confirmed that she had contracted the virus in utero. The paediatrician on the ward urged me not to breastfeed her, but CMV Action provided me with information showing that it was, in fact, safe to do so in a full term infant.
Due to her congenital CMV diagnosis, Clara was seen by a paediatrician during her first year, but she has now been discharged from this service. She continues to have regular hearing and sight tests.
Clara is now almost four and remains asymptomatic. We are aware of how lucky we are that she appears to be unaffected. We wanted to share her story so that those people receiving a primary CMV diagnosis in pregnancy can see the spectrum of congenital CMV.
We will continue to raise awareness of CMV and of the work of CMV Action and we will always be grateful for the support we received from this wonderful charity.