REAL LIFE

Mum’s warning after a common cold makes her unborn baby DEAF

She wants other mums to be more aware
Kelly Morton - Flamboyant Photography & Design

An Aussie mum is speaking out after a common cold while pregnant nearly killed her unborn bub.

When Rebekka Murray, 24, went for a routine 20-week scan, she was told that her baby’s bowel was showing up brighter than usual and that he could possibly have Down Syndrome. 

Along with her hubby, Reid, 28, Rebekka decided she’d keep the baby whatever the outcome. 

‘Then at our next scan it sounded like that decision could be out of our hands,’ said Rebekka.

The doctor told her that her baby’s head was very small and he may well pass away before he was born. This diagnosis no longer pointed to Down Syndrome, but it did mean their baby had an unknown condition that could kill him.

Devastated, Rebekka sought out answers. When a specialist asked if she’d been sick during her pregnancy, Rebekka recalled a cold she’d had early on.

‘It had wiped me out for a few days, but it was just a cold,’ explained Rebekka.

That’s when a specialist told her about the condition cytomegalovirus, or CMV. Blood tests showed she’d had it recently and had most likely passed it on to her unborn bub.

CMV is a common virus that once contracted, stays in a person’s body for life. Most healthy adults and children will show no signs or symptoms. However, it can be very dangerous to unborn babies.

‘I shook my head in disbelief. How could I never heard of this?’ said Rebekka.

With their unborn baby’s fate unknown, she and Reid faced another anxious wait until his 34-week scan. Once there, they were told their baby had stopped growing and needed to be come out as soon as possible.

On July 31 last year, their son, Jackson, was born a tiny 1.98 kilos.

‘He was then rushed to special care where the next few weeks were touch and go,’ said Rebekka.

Jackson was born a tiny 1.98 kilos.

After a month, Jackson was well enough to go home. But then the family faced a new challenge.

‘At four weeks he had a hearing test and the doctor couldn’t get anything from Jackson,’ said Rebekka.

Reid and Rebekka with baby Jackson. (Credit: Kelly Morton – Flamboyant Photography & Design)

A month later it was confirmed that their bub was profoundly deaf as a side effect of the CMV.

Jackson, now eight months, was fitted with hearing aids and will get cochlear implants in the future.

‘I’ve made it my mission to raise awareness of CMV among expectant mums,’ says Rebekka.

‘They need to be vigilant about washing hands and stay away from people with colds.

‘I still can’t believe a common cold has made Jackson deaf, but I know we were lucky. It could have been lethal.’

Find more great real-life stories in issue 12 of that’s life! magazine. Out now!

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