Didn’t See That Coming: A New Virus and A New Roadblock

sea waves

A little over a week ago, my morning alarm went off, and I rolled over in bed to see a new alert on my phone. A new test result from my previous day’s bloodwork was back. I wasn’t concerned, but I promptly logged in to see my results out of sheer curiosity.

Cytomegalovirus IgM Value – Positive

Standard range: 0.0-29.9 AU/mL

Your Value: 41.6 AU/mL

Alright. Not a big deal. The doctor said most people have this virus. So, nothing to worry about.

Then I scrolled down further…

Cytomegalovirus IgG Value

Standard Range: 0.00-0.59 U/mL

Your Value: <0.20 U/mL

Absence of detectable CMV IgG antibodies. A negative result generally indicates that immunity has not been acquired.

What the heck does that mean?

After a good amount of research, I came to learn that these results indicate I’ve been recently infected for the first time in my life with CMV. While the original driver of me getting this test was to ensure my future donor was compatible (i.e., if I had never been exposed, I could only have a donor whom had never been as well), there was the added consideration that being exposed for the first time around or during pregnancy can cause complications (even as serious miscarriage, stillbirth, and child loss).

I also learned that according to the National CMV Foundation, 91% of women don’t know about this virus that 1 out of 3 pregnant women pass to their unborn child. Approximately 1 of 200 children are born with congenital CMV every year, and every hour, one child is permanently disabled as a result of contracting CMV. For anyone interested in learning about this common but covert virus (most carriers are asymptomatic, sound familiar?) that can cause all sorts of issues, I highly recommend perusing the National CMV Foundation’s website. This is where I learned that for people, such as myself, who have newly been exposed to the virus and have not built up immunity, it is highly advised to wait 6-12 months before trying to conceive (after receiving another CMV test that shows immunity).

Now, you might be wondering how I’m writing this post in a cognizant form, being this is some not-so-great news. For the sake of transparency, as soon as I saw this whole “6-12 month” waiting period, my heart felt like it had been thrown into a woodchipper. That analogy is courtesy of watching “Fargo” for the first time with my wife this past weekend, due to Netflix claiming it to be a “comedy” and a sense of obligation since I have dear family in North Dakota, don’tcha know. Whew- that was a dark comedy.

Anyway, it was a grim preview of a change in plans, but I didn’t want to assume anything until I received confirmation from my doctor. So, around 5 am that morning, I emailed her, sharing my concern over what I had read (while stating it diplomatically because she’s the professional, not me), and essentially asking if it’s worth me proceeding with this surgery in two weeks if the CMV results indicate we should not even attempt to conceive in January as planned. As you can surmise from my previous post, I do not want to go through the pain of that procedure again in two weeks, only to have it repeated in 6 months before we officially begin “trying.”

After voicing my concerns, I worked out as normal and got in the shower, but everything felt darker and heavier. When Megan woke up and popped her head around the shower curtain while I was shampooing my hair, she could tell something was awry. I begrudgingly told her the tentative bad news, and to be frank, it was a rough day. Honestly, every day since has felt a little bleak.

Today I finally heard back from the doctor, and she agreed it would be safest to postpone my polypectomy to mid April, retest my CMV levels, and move forward from there. Luckily, we’ve had about a week to anticipate this call, which has made the response a little smoother. However, when my mom called me today after I texted her the disheartening news, tears fell.

She lovingly reminded me of the first time I took my driver’s test to make it almost to the end and ultimately fail. In my sixteen-year-old self’s defense, they had recently installed a traffic light on an intersection I had known my whole life, and I was so damn focused on keeping my speed at precisely 45 mph, I didn’t see it (or its red light) until the instructor had to tell me to stop. I never thought looking back on that humiliating moment from fifteen years ago would bring me solace, but my mom’s point was that she felt bad that I was so discouraged from failing. However, she felt it happened for a reason and perhaps that delay in my obtaining a driver’s license avoided an unfortunate event.

thoughtful lady meditating in nature

We never really know, do we? We can only trust.

So friends, even though we’ve had a week before writing this post to process, our hearts hurt. I’m very, very sad that an already lengthy process is being prolonged even further. That instead of December or January, we can only see May (at the earliest) to officially “begin” the process. I recognize with the recent upticks in COVID alone, this might be for the better. Also, there’s no way I would want to risk our future child’s health just for the sake of my “ideal timeline.” Ultimately, it’s better to know these things up-front. And in the end, I will be compatible with more donors —Hey there, fellas 😉 (my wife probably won’t appreciate that joke). Nonetheless, it’s hard not to feel disheartened when something you were envisioning gets pushed back…especially when you feel like time’s-a-ticking.

All of this is to say that there likely won’t be another Mom Squared post for a few months, which further saddens me. Instead, I’m going to focus on some continuing education, new business endeavors, home projects, and quality time with my wife and pups.

Thank you for the support thus far, truly, and I look forward to writing another Mom Squared post when the rest of the world and I are hopefully in a much healthier place. Until then, please be safe, stay well, and have faith.

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