Mid September 2020 we were absolutely over joyed to be expecting again since our miscarriage just months before. This was a very anxious pregnancy but our 12 week scan came and to our complete relief it was a straight forward scan, clear bloods and classed as a healthy low risk pregnancy. I was so happy and relieved. I decided since my first 2 scans had gone well, I was feeling movement, everything seemed good and my scan was smack bang in the middle of the day when Michael was working that I’d go alone to my 20 week scan.
I was so excited to see bub, we were half way and had started planning our new life that was to be a family of 4 in our new house in just 20 weeks time. I was excited for the sonographer to write the gender on a piece of paper for me. We had a gender reveal photo shoot planned for a few days time.
I know the morphology scan is lengthy but we were an hour in and I could tell something wasn’t right, a more experienced sonographer was called in. They started to ask questions about my 12 weeks scan and bloods and if they had come back normal or not. They barely said a word. My heart broke. I knew something wasn’t right. They didn’t tell me much, just that they had seen abnormalities and to expect a call from Brisbane for another scan.
Between balling my eyes out I raced home to call my midwife, I’m lucky enough to be part of the public system MGP program so I have my own midwife on call 24/7. I choked out the words to her that they said it wasn’t good and I’d need to go to Brisbane. I asked her to keep an eye on the results and call me as soon as she knew. 5:46pm she rang. Call it mother’s instinct but knew everything was not going to be okay from this day.
My midwife informed me there was multiple abnormalities including a cleft lip/pallet, not enough amniotic fluid and fluid within bubs body that shouldn’t be there.
It took Brisbane a week to call to book me in. But they then had me down there the following week.
Tuesday the 9th Feb, 21 weeks pregnant.
The doctors were lovely and amazing, she did a scan first and found more abnormalities than Gladstone had, including issues with his heart and brain, told us it wasn’t looking good. They’re not allowed to ‘suggest’ a termination but the word was being heavily tossed around the room.
We opted for an amniocentesis. This (we had hoped) would tell us what condition Finn had and give us a better of idea of life expectancy based off other babies with the same condition.
The amniocentesis was a horrible horrible procedure, I think id prefer to be a little vague so not to scare anyone off from having it done. Results for this take 1-2 weeks. Gosh I was praying it was closer to 1 than 2 weeks. So off we went back 600kms home to wait.
On the Friday I received a call saying the preliminary results were back, ruling out downs syndrome which we kind of already knew. It was the other results we were really waiting for.
2 weeks wait and we finally got the call. NO abnormal results. No chromosomal issues. No answers. They asked us to return to Brisbane for MRI on Finn’s brain.
We had nothing to go off, so instead we decided to look at if our little man was really going to survive. So another 2 week wait, 600km drive and we were back again at the RBWH 25 weeks pregnant having a MRI on our little boys brain. Results to follow the following morning.
Wednesday the 10th March.
We made the heart breaking decision that termination was the best thing for Finn and our family. Finn’s brain had not developed any more since our first scan in Brisbane, his heart was struggling, he might have made it to full term by some miracle but the doctors explained how little quality of life our little Finn would live. He would not be a well boy. We did not do the termination on this date. We had a family holiday to Fraser Island booked and we wanted to take Finn on our holiday with us before we had to say goodbye. Fast forward another 2 weeks.
Wednesday the 24th of March.
28 weeks pregnant and we flew this time the 600km back to Brisbane for the termination process so they could fly us back home again that afternoon. Once again I’m going to be a little vague with the termination process because it’s quite similar to the amniocentesis but it was a 30-40 minute procedure that involved giving Finn some anaesthetic and then medication to put him off to sleep. One of the hardest days of my life but there’s been a few of them in the last few month so I can’t actually decipher which is worst at the moment. We flew home that afternoon of the procedure and were sent straight up to our local hospital for some progesterone blocking medication. We were to then return to hospital again Friday morning to start the induction process to birth our little Finn.
Friday the 26th March 2020 at 4:07pm our hearts broke a little more as our Finn was birthed into the world. We spent 24 heartbreaking, beautiful hours as a family cuddling him.
The hospital staff were amazing, it was the most beautiful horrible experience in the world.
I will forever hold the Gladstone maternity ward and my midwife very close to my heart, they made such a horrible experience just that tiny bit more bearable.
So what caused Finn’s abnormalities?
Saturday afternoon just after we got home from the hospital they rang to inform us that the results of Finn’s blood that they had taken on the Wednesday in Brisbane had just come back.
Finn had contracted Cytomegalovirus.
Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a common virus. Once infected, your body retains the virus for life. Most people don't know they have CMV because it rarely causes problems in healthy people, most people don’t even know they have it. But if you're pregnant or if your immune system is weakened, CMV is cause for concern. Women who develop an active CMV infection during pregnancy can pass the virus to their babies, which can then be fatal.
A common virus, that I had no idea I had, (that I had no idea existed) had paced from myself to Finn in the womb.
A virus took our Finn!
Please, if your thinking of getting pregnant, ask your doctor to test for CMV. I had no idea, but you can.
To learn more you can head to the following link CMV Screening and Testing
Kara Delaney 🌻