It’s been awhile since I posted something, and this time it’s not just because I had forgotten or didn’t have the time. This time we were hit with some news that truthfully, for a while I didn’t know how to even begin writing about. Not long after finding out I was pregnant, Kayla devoloped a rash on her arms. I wrote it off for a few days as nothing until it seemed to change and not improve. I eventually called her doctor and found out that Fifth disease was going around and after talking a bit with the nurse, we were reasonably sure that’s what she had. (The next couple days just confirmed it)
By chance, I mentioned I was pregnant while on the phone with Kayla’s doctors office. I was a bit wary when I was asked how far along and to call my doctor right away to let them know I had most likely been exposed to Fifth disease. I knew nothing of this childhood illness so I was a bit concerned it required a call to my midwife’s office. I called them up after I finished discussing what to do for Kayla, and left a message with my doctor. While I was waiting I looked up exactly what this “Fifth disease” was online.
For those of you who don’t know what it is, it’s a mild rash illness that occurs most commonly in children. It’s real name is Parvovirus B19 but is called Fifth disease as it was the fifth of the classical childhood skin rashes. Overall, it’s not that big of a deal. You are contagious before you get a rash and Kayla didn’t show any of the symptoms they list associated with it like a fever or cold like symptoms until she randomly got the rash. She did seem to scratch a bit when the rash was at it’s worse, but not horribly and we just used a bit of rash cream to calm the itch. At least now that she’s had it, she’s developed immunity and we’ll never have to worry about it again.
You can see why it’s also called “Slapped cheek disease”
If it’s not that big of a deal then why was I told to call my doctor? Well apparently one of the things the parvovirus does is block red blood cell production. In an otherwise healthy child, or adult who isn’t immune, you have enough red blood cells to get you through the admittedly long run the disease takes on your body. In a pregnant woman, the virus can pass to the baby and can infect them as well. This can lead to anemia in the fetus, and in some cases; severe anemia, hydrops fetalis, and miscarriage. The chances are low, mainly because 50% of adults are immune, it still has to pass to the baby and then it would have to be a severe case in the fetus for anything majorly wrong to occur. However, chances of problems are a bit higher while in the first trimester, and I had just found out I was even pregnant.
My doctor scheduled a blood test when I came in at the end of the week for my first sonogram on June 17th. I was fairly confident that I would be immune and didn’t worry overly much about it. It was more than two weeks later that I came in for my regular doctors visit that I was told that I actually tested positive for the virus. I figured they would call me with results, so I had assumed I had tested negative. As she was going over the information, I was trying valiantly not to bust out crying when slammed with the news that I would have to go see a “Maternal Fetal Specialist for high risk pregnancy’s” for about 10-12 weeks. Even knowing the risk is low, having it put that way, and calling out the specialist is such a manner about knocked me off my seat.
So on top of some pretty horrible morning sickness and food aversions, I had a worry about what exactly was going to come of this seemingly mild illness I had caught. Kayla was already over the rash, it was like it barely even phased her, but it was just the beginning for me and the baby. Going to the specialist gave me some more information, but left me feeling a bit helpless. Because I was only 10 weeks pregnant on my first visit, there really wasn’t much they could see in regards to if the baby was infected. The could check for a build up of fluids, or if the baby seemed to be in distress, but they wouldn’t be able to check for anemia until I was at least 16 weeks. If the baby did end up showing anemia severe enough to warrant a problem, they could do a blood transfusion through the umbilical cord but not until I was about 20 weeks pregnant. (They would do it a few weeks earlier if it was absolutely needed though)
Some days I didn’t even see the point in going because even if they could tell anything, nothing would really be able to be done about it until I was almost out of the danger zone. I was worried and frustrated for the longest time. This baby didn’t give me much time to worry about it though as I seemed to be constantly sick and now as I’m 18 weeks, have had a total of 5 sonograms, and have only 2 more visits to the specialists before I can stop being monitored with no problems having been seen in all this time, the tension is slowly leaving. I’m still sick, thinking or looking at certain foods makes me frown in disgust, and the baby didn’t cooperate when we tried to find out the gender, but at least this is soon to be off my plate.
Since nothing has shown to be wrong, I’m going to take the two sonograms over the next couple weeks as just excuses to see my baby (without wanting to give the stinker beatings for making me miserable) and hopefully find out the gender.