Congenital Cytomegalovirus (Congenital CMV) - never heard of it? Neither had I or my family until it cast an ugly shadow over what should've been one of the happiest times of our lives.
My wife was diagnosed with cmv during her pregnancy for our first child. At 24 weeks we were told that Laura had unknowingly acquired a primary CMV infection during the first trimester of pregnancy. We still had no idea what this meant or how serious a situation we were being confronted with but as the picture began to emerge so began one of the most stressful periods of our lives.
We were told that a primary infection during this stage of pregnancy resulted in the greatest risk of transmission of the virus from Mother to baby and that if the virus had been transmitted at this early stage the list of possible complications was large and frightening.
There is a huge range in the severity of problems that children with congenital CMV experience and many children will have absolutely no problems at all.
From that point onwards we were regularly scanned and tested and sent to various specialists. We were offered an amniocentesis as the only way to definitively establish whether the baby had congenital CMV or not. We decided against this due to the possible risk posed to the baby and instead had to endure a further four months thinking of every and all possible worst case scenarios we had been presented with.
The uncertainty of the situation was the most difficult thing to deal with. The baby may or may not have contracted the virus. The baby may or may not suffer complications as a result. If the baby has contracted the virus which has resulted in complications these may or may not be life threatening or life limiting.
Our story had a happy ending and the experience has given us a great sense of perspective and huge appreciation of how fortunate we are to have a healthy and happy family, but it could have so easily been a very different outcome.
Myself and three very good friends - Ryan Meek, Ryan Price and Dan Cousins - are taking on the Spartan race, a 14 mile obstacle course race on the 6th of October 2018 in order to raise funds for CMV Action UK.
CMV Action is a UK organisation of parents and volunteers who have come together to raise public awareness of Congenital CMV and to campaign for better prevention measures within our health service.They offer much needed advice, support and friendship to anyone affected by Congenital CMV.