When Chloe was pregnant with Fin she was unaware she caught CMV (cytomegalovirus) in the first trimester. 80% of the population have had CMV, most unaware they have it as it presents as a common cold.
It’s not harmful to anyone who catches it, but if it is contracted whilst pregnant it is damaging to the unborn baby and their development. Chloe hadn’t contracted the virus prior to this pregnancy, so she had not built up an immunity and so passed it onto Finley.
Chloe was tested throughout her pregnancy as they picked up a few abnormalities. Had these symptoms been put together, they may have known it was a common side effect of CMV pregnancies. The family didn’t actually know about it until after he was born with a red rash, which is when it was first picked up and then confirmed by tests.
CMV was tested for by the TORCH screen during pregnancy at 20 weeks, but it showed Chloe had antibodies of the virus in her blood, so they assumed the CMV infection was from prior to the pregnancy. It was established after Fin was born that the virus may have struck at around six to eight weeks into her pregnancy:
“Because we didn’t know anything about it we thought Fin was a healthy child until a few days after he was born and then we were transferred to St Marys to the infectious diseases unit, where Fin was given just a few days to live. Ellie and Conor were told to say their goodbyes, and our families came up to say goodbye, and we were offered to be transferred to Demelza for end of life care.
"We all expected that once Fin’s oxygen was turned off, he would fall asleep, but he never did. Eight years later, he’s still going. It was absolutely gut-wrenching to go through that because Fin is my first child.”
Fin is registered blind with CVI (Cortical Visual Impairment): "We think he’s got some vision, but where he’s brain-damaged we wouldn’t know he can’t translate what he’s looking at and obviously he’s non-verbal so he can’t tell us, but he has his own way of communicating: he moans if he is unhappy or shouts and makes a few verbalisations if he’s happy.”