Pregnancy & Fifth Disease

Hi, my name is Tammy Delancey. Seven years ago, my husband Darron and I lost a baby to Parvovirus B19. I had never heard of this disease before. Awareness and a simple immunity test could have saved my baby's life. Darron and I are telling our story in memory of our daughter Shaylee Green and in the hope that we can help others avoid this tragedy.

This is our story.

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 rash.

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 anyone else.

We have been blessed with more children - and hope to share our blessings by passing on our knowledge to others.

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.

Fifth Disease - Pregnancy - Diagnosis & Treatment - Ask the Expert - Am I at Risk

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