My name is Fiammetta from Milan (Italy): In June 2018, I became pregnant wishing to give a sister to my first son, as confirmed by a fetal DNA test. My dream was close to be realized! But on September 24, I was told to be positive to anti-CMV IgM and IgG, and the avidity of IgG was very low. Although the meaning of these results was ignored by me, I felt that a dreadful problem was initiated. Suddenly I cryied…much.
My gynecologist addressed me to the Virology Center of Pavia, where the tests confirmed the diagnosis of a periconceptional primary infection. A nightmare was begun. A merciless virologist spoke about statystical data and high risks of having a severely damaged baby if the virus would have been transmitted. An amniocentesis at 20 weeks of gestation and, if positive, a subsequent cordocentesis were suggested.
By internet I was informed about the immunotherapy for the prevention of fetal CMV disease. In spite of the opposite view of the gynecologist, I went to Rome to be treated with immunoglobulin against CMV by Prof Nigro in the 16th week. Unfortunately, after 3 weeks (the amniocentesis was anticipated to the 19th week after Nigro’s suggestion), my daugther was found infected (about 2 millions of CMV DNA copies/ml). The cordocentesis showed low levels of platelets and high values of CMV DNA and IgM in the blood of my daughter. The Fetal Magnetic Resonance (FMR) showed slight ventriculomegaly but not cortical abnormalities. However, the gynecologist of the Mangiagalli hospital in Milan wrote on a shit (to mark the value) that the percentages of a unfavorable severe outcome were 98%. Moreover, she said that there was just another day for the option of a legal abortion.
I and my husband were desperate but, based on the absence of cortical abnormalities and previous similar cases, Nigro told us that the immunotherapy would have allowed to have a healthy baby. After a long walk and discussion, we decided to follow Nigro’s therapy. I went to Villa Mafalda in Rome to be treated with other 7 infusions of CMV-immunoglobulins, the cost of which was mostly supported by a private insurance. During infusions, speaking with Nigro, I had the only serene moments in my pregnancy: all my doubts received an adequate answer, and I was reassured in a clear, honest, and scientifically-based way. Moreover, I felt there was a sense of humanity.
Other FMRs showed a slight worsening of the cerebral alterations (bilateral ventricular cysts, intraventricular septs, ependymitis, iperintensity of the white matter). However, on January 9, 2019, the neuroradiologist called us the say that the progression of the abnormalities was stopped. We weepd for joy. One doubt persisted: was our baby able to hear?
On March 6, at 39 weeks Flavia (2,995 g., 34 CC, 9 Apgar score) was born in the Mangiagalli hospital, after a cesarean cut following Nigro’s suggestion. I embraced soon my daughter, did never leave her and gave my milk. Although CMV was present in blood, saliva, and urine (1,800,000 c/ml) and slight signs of germinolysis and septs persisted at MR, all other tests (ultrasound, acustic, and visual) were repeaditly normal.
Today Flavia is a cherful 22-month-old girl: she runs, speaks, and wants to eat by herself. Of course we follow all the established checking for congenital CMV infection. Sincerily, I think that if I did not meet Nigro, maybe Flavia would not be with us, and I would have a wound for long…
Before the discharge from the hospital, the gynecolosit of the Magiagalli wanted to meet me and my dauther: she congratulated us and said “your dougther is within the 2% of the favorable outcomes”. Maybe this is the same point of view of the San Matteo (Pavia) virologists. No comment.
I think that the story of my daughter Flavia might be considered a success for all pregnant women who do not want to wait for months until delivery, but do anything to help their babies…