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A Light in the Darkness

Bassi Gruen

“Your child will be a Frankenstein.” The doctor’s voice is cold and flat. “I recommend you terminate the pregnancy immediately.” The chilling pronouncement is followed by more words, an avalanche of words, each one ripping dreams and planting terror. “A baby born with CMV can experience endless problems. She may have hearing loss, vision loss, mental disability, autism, an undersized brain, cerebral palsy, and seizures. If she survives birth that is. Many such babies don’t.”

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

The Greens were back in the States, visiting family, when Tziporah started feeling flu like symptoms. The baby growing within her was moving less and she was concerned. Upon return to Israel, she performed a routine ultrasound and the doctors were alarmed at the amount of fluid they saw in her abdomen. They examined her further and became more concerned. There was an abundance of amniotic fluid, a cyst in the baby’s abdomen, and an enlarged liver. Such symptoms can point to several different conditions – all of them fairly horrible.

The Greens consulted with Rav Shmuel Fuerst the noted posek based in Chicago, who advised them to do specialized testing since some of the possible conditions would need to be treated from the moment the baby was born, requiring advance knowledge.

Testing revealed that the Green’s unborn child had a virus known as congenital CMV. While most people will have CMV in the course of their lives (see sidebar), when an unborn baby contracts CMV it can have devastating, even fatal, consequences. There was more testing, more consultations. The doctors gave them dire predictions and pushed them hard to prevent the baby from ever having to suffer. The Greens spoke to their Rabbanim who gave their unequivocal response – this child was a live being and they were going to fight for her until the end.

 

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