When I was fourteen weeks pregnant with my first daughter I noticed red spots on my chest.
There weren’t a lot but enough that after miscarrying my first baby, six months earlier, I thought I’d get it checked out. It turns out that this was the best decision I ever made because those handful of red bumps turned out to be chickenpox, a potentially lethal virus for my unborn baby.
It wasn’t a straight forward diagnosis because my GP couldn’t even be sure that this is what it was. He had not seen much of it due to the reduction of the infection because of Australia’s vaccinations against varicella, a viral illness caused by the herpes zoster virus (also known as the Varicella-Zoster virus).
Unfortunately for me, these immunisations weren’t a part of the schedule when I was growing up and I somehow missed contracting it within my youth.
After being inspected by the medical clinic’s team of doctors, I was referred on to my obstetrician who confirmed that I did indeed have varicella and that I needed to begin treatment immediately. Although it wasn’t severe for me, it was life threatening to my unborn baby if they subsequently contracted the infection, foetal varicella syndrome.
Luckily my obstetrician fit me in straight away, that very afternoon. He was thorough and sympathetic to my situation and outlined in detail what impact this ‘childhood disease’ as I had thought of it, could do. As the list of potential complications were listed to myself and my husband, my world turned upside down.