This is our
In 1997, I was six months pregnant
with my second child. My son Shadley
was a student at Jefferson Elementary,
where I volunteered as a room mother.
One day, after volunteering with
my son's class, I came home feeling
just awful. I was so tired I was
sleeping 23 out of the 24 hours
of the day, and I had a mysterious
I called the school and the teacher
told me that several children from
the class had come down with fifth
disease. I had never heard of this,
so I called my obstetrician to
make sure everything would be ok
with the baby. My doctor told me
there was nothing to worry about.
At my next ultrasound, I found
out what every mother fears - something
was wrong. The monitor showed an
excess of water in the womb. My
doctor referred me to Ohio State
University Hospitals, where I was
admitted to the fetal clinic.
For the next three weeks, I traveled
back and forth and underwent literally
hundreds of tests. They finally
diagnosed parvovirus B19 - a viral
infection that was transmitted
to the baby from my exposure to
fifth disease in the classroom.
Nearly half of all adults are immune
to fifth disease because they have
previously been exposed.
The doctors told me our only hope
was a fetal blood transfusion.
After the second transfusion, we
were in the hospital waiting for
the results and our son Shadley
turned to Darron and said, 'Look,
Dad, I see an angel.'" A few minutes
later the doctor came in and gave
us the news - our baby was dead.
I decided at that moment that Shaylee's
death would not be in vain. Darron
and I held a fundraiser to educate
others and raised more than $2500
for the fetal clinic.
We have passed out fliers and brochures
to doctors, distributed information
at parades and talked to everyone
we know about this disease so they
will be armed with the knowledge
to ensure this doesn't happen to
We have been blessed with more
children - and hope to share our
blessings by passing on our knowledge
That is why we have joined this
effort to educate all Americans
about the risks of fifth disease.
If you believe you may be at risk,
please talk to your doctor.