A mother in England who was pregnant with twins says she decided to save one baby's life at the cost of the other.
According to the Daily Mail, Dwynwen Davies, 30, contracted slapped cheek syndrome while pregnant, and because she was not immune to the virus it was passed on to one of her unborn twins, Martha.
Davies, of Lampeter, South Wales, was offered the option of giving Martha a potentially life-saving blood transfusion, but one that could kill her healthy twin, Cadi, so she declined treatment.
Unfortunately, Martha died in the womb at 28 weeks, but Cadi was born seven weeks later by cesarean section.
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"I couldn't risk losing both of my girls – I just had to hope that Martha would pull through without treatment,” Davies was quoted by Mirror.co.uk as saying. “It was a terrible decision to make but with doctors advising against a transfusion, I knew I had made the right choice.
"Sadly, I was told Martha had no heartbeat at my 28-week scan. I then had to carry both babies for another seven weeks.
"The birth was bittersweet. I had two babies but only one was coming home with me. I had Cadi in one arm and Martha in another. It was heartbreaking to see such a perfect baby who would never have a future.
"I'm extremely lucky that I have Cadi but that doesn't stop the grieving or ease the pain of losing a child."
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Davies caught slapped cheek disease from a child at the nursery she owns. Children are commonly affected by the disease, which causes a red rash on their cheeks, and is often worse than a cold. The Parvovirus B19 can also cause severe anemia in unborn babies.
Tests revealed that Davies was not immune to the virus and a 17-week scan detected fluid in one of her daughters.
"I was then given two scenarios: Either my baby would fight the infection or it would continue to fill up with fluid until the heart stopped,” the mother of two said. "To know there was a child drowning inside of me was horrible. I felt helpless in my own body as there was nothing I could do to save her, it was awful. I just hoped and prayed they would both make it."
The fluid was gone after three weeks but by week 24 of the pregnancy Martha was in critical condition.
"I was offered a blood transfusion but because I was having twins it was too risky,” Davies said. “I couldn't risk losing Cadi and doctors couldn't even guarantee that the transfusion would save Martha. I opted against it and trusted the doctors' advice.”
Doctors told Davies four weeks later that Martha had died.
"They couldn't rule out that the virus wouldn't attack Cadi too,” Davies said. “I was a nervous wreck. I carried on with my pregnancy and just prayed that my second baby would survive.
"Knowing that one of my girls was healthy was a relief but it didn't stop the pain or grief I felt knowing I'd lost Martha.
"I wish I had known the dangers of slapped cheek syndrome while pregnant. I hope by sharing my story that other parents will read about the devastating consequences the virus can have."
Cadi is now six months old and Davies, who has another daughter named Delun Mair, has set up “Martha Aur Appeal,” a campaign to raise awareness of slapped cheek syndrome.