I have adopted 2 children a 3year old and a newborn. My 3 year old tested positive for the Hep C antibody but has always tested negative with the HCV pVR test. The doctors say he is clear or never actually had it just did not dump his mom's antibodies for some reason. My newborn little girl can't be tested until she 18months old because she will have the antibody naturally from the Mom. I spoke with Birth Mom who said during her pregnancy she WAS NOT ACTIVE> I am not quite sure what that means. Does this eliminate the chances that my baby girl will have the virus???? Also I have noticed that both my children seem to have a weak immune system. I have had them both tested for HIV and they are both negative and from what the hospital tells me Mom was negative as well. I wonder if the Hep C has anything to do with their immune system or could it be related to the Heroin use from their loving birth mom?? THanks in advance for all of your wisdom. I pray for all of you daily.
Although they used to think so, there's no such thing as "active" or "not active" HCV. HCV is always active. It's just that some people are sicker with it than others. Generally, women do well during pregnancy. I read somewhere (NYT?) about fetal exchange of liver cells that improves histology on the mother's liver, but that's not your question.
If she had HCV during pregnancy, then it was in her blood and transmissable. STILL--it's very, very, very likely that it did not go to the babies. There's like a 5% chance or less that happened. I had two pregnancies when I didn't know I had HCV and neither child has it.
As far as HCV and immune systems. For those who have HCV, their immune system is constantly at work dealing with the HCV. But that doesn't really tell you if the kids have it or not. There can be so many reasons the children could have compromised immune systems. Lots of small children do. There's an onslaught of germs and viruses from the environment and if they didn't nurse after birth that would decrease their immunity for one thing (at least that's what I was taught when I had my children, although it's been a while now).
So, Scared Mom, try to relax and enjoy your children and don't worry too much. There is always something to worry about when you've got kids (mine are 22 and 15 now) that you will spend the rest of your life worrying about something if you let yourself. I'm sure they are wonderful little people who are fun to play with and who can show you how to appreciate things you've taken for granted since you grew up.
I know this may not put your mind at ease, but other than waiting and testing, and hoping for the best, I don't see what else you can do.
Thanks for your advice. I am feeling very blessed that my little boy the 3 year old does not have the virus so I shouldn't be complaining. My little girl is such a blessing and has overcome so much as well. I hate the thought of her getting sick. I think that their prematurity might also have something to do with their immune system. My 3 year old was 2 months preemie and the baby was 3 months preemie. Mom had no prenatal care and continued Heroin and Methedone use through both of the pregnancies. I just hate the thought of her sins damaging them for life.
Hi Scared Mom;
I am sorry that you are going through this, I can't begin to imagine how stressful it must be. But take comfort in knowing Mother to infant transmission is very low. And it is possible for the baby to have the HCV antibodies ( test positive ) But never actually have a viral load > EVER!
I personally know of a women who had a baby 3 years ago. He tested positive for HCV. The PCR ( viral load ) was done at 2 years old and no viral load > Zero! The chances are so slim, please try not to worry.
As suggested, try to just enjoy these little people as much as you can. I admire you for adopting these babies.
THanks so much for your input. I just wish other people knew more about Hep C and more of these kids could get adopted. So many kids may or may not have this virus but they still need homes. The stigma on Hep C is such that people who don't understand are scared to adopt these kids.
My doctor is very optimistic that my little girl will be just as lucky as her brother and he does not seem worried at all. I am always nervous how people will react if I tell them but I feel like for their own safety I should let anyone who may have direct exposure to her blood know what they may be up against. I have to say that I have yet to get a negative response expecially from people in the health field. They don't treat her any different than my natural children that weren't exposed to anything. I am very glad to have a place to discuss my fears and my triumps. I love that so many people have experienced this virus in diferent ways. This virus doesn't care who you are or where you come from. It will get just about anyone and I know with God's help all of you guys can live a fantastic life as well as my little ones.
I would definitely suspect their premature status as being the cause of their immune system deficiencies. (OK, so I'm not a doctor, but I play one in my own life *ggg*). It's hard on a body to come into the world early.
Good luck with your babies. Love 'em. Hold 'em tight. Mine are so big now--they're still squeezable, but it's not the same. :)
Contract hep c in '77 and had 3 beautiful and extremely healthy children. None positive. Scare me to death almost. Very rare to transmit through mother. God has ways to protect babies in the way we are made up.
hi worried but very blessed mom, you have some great advice above from the others here...
I would only add some precautions in order to be on the safe side. i would have her blood checked once a year for either the "VIRAL HEPC PCR" or the "VIRAL HEPATIC PANEL" (liver function tests) specifically the ALT and the AST just to make sure that it stays non detectable or better yet non existent...
the ast and the alt must stay in the normal ranges to indicate a healthy liver... if they are high it indicates that for some reason our liver is having cell death...this is a heads up that the virus could be around and causing problems...
if this happens follow up with viral pcr to check if it is detectable for some reason...
also it could be she contracted it from mom (very unlikely), but possible and her own immune system is fighting it off and keeping it at bay...or better yet has "cleared" it...
i would think there is a possibility that her immune system could keep it undetectable for some time, but if she has a compromised immune system for what ever reason, in my thinking, the virus could re-appear. (IF SHE EVER REALLY HAD IT TO BEGIN WITH)
new studies (see below link) suggest that it is possible for the virus to stay hidden in our systems even if we show undetectable at the present time...and there is the possibility that she had it but "cleared" it on her own...and now you just need to make sure it stays gone!
but again transmission from the mother is VERY LOW...i think 6% chance or less is what I
I feel very lucky. I thinks it is because we are in a College town and surrounded by educated people that know how it is contracted. I have to admit I was afraid at first but after I studied up on how you contract the disease I wasn't scared at all. I know how to protect myself and my other children. I have had only 1 bad reaction from another adoptive parent that said I was putting my other children in harms way by adopting a child that might have HCV. I explained to them that my family has always treated blood with caution because nobody knows exactly what anyone has. My children know not to touch ANYONE"S blood and to get Mommy if ANYONE bleeds. I think ignorance is a disease I would worry more about catching.Needless go say that couple has yet to be selected for a child and I don't feel the least bit sorry for them.
Another urban Ignorance theory is that somehow HepC and HIV are connected. I have so many people that ask if they have HIV as well. I know that some of the behaviors that put people at risk for one virus also put them at risk for the other. But come on not everyone who has HCV has HIV and they are 2 totaly seperate things.
My family doctor is just so at ease with Hep C I wish the entire medical profession had her outlook. She said she would have better chances of catching Eboli then HEP C as long as you use Universal PRecautions. It's not the viruses that we know about that scare her it's the ones that we don't.
I'll say it again > God Bless you for your compassion on these litte ones!!! They are so blessed to have you as a Mom : ) I am sure you will all have a wonderful life together. You have changed their destinty and they've changed yours, as well.
Yes, HCV effects everyone and is not just a drug disease. I am happy to hear that the medical community is treating you well. That seems to be changing now.
I got diagnosed about 3 years ago and thought I would be resposible and tell my dentist that I had Hep C. Well, I came in for my regular 6 month cleaning and all the hygenist refused to clean my teeth! The dentist had to do it himself.
Then he asked when I would be treating with the interferon, I said no not right now, I have decided to wait. He really laid into me and treated me like some Bimbo without a brain; that desereved to be infected. Needless to say, I didn't go back there. God Bless, Sue
Thanks for your info. As a matter of fact the birth mom readily admits were she got the HepC from she has to face it everyday. she has Stage 4 liver disease and needs a new liver. I really think that she stayed off the Heroin until the last trimester because the Doctor said the baby never would have made it as sick as Mom was. It is so weird that the worst thing she could have done might have just saved my baby. Also the Bmom's HepC was kicking her but until she got pregnant and during pregnancy her liver levels went down and she looked great. Now she is realy sick again and needs everyones prayers. My prayer is for her to live long enough to straighten up her life so she may someday get to know these beauriful children.
You know, it is common medical knowledge that a mother who detoxes off of methadone while pregnant has a very high chance of miscarrying. Actually, most pregnant mothers on MMT need significant increases during their last trimester. I am certainly not advocating using heroin while pregnant nor becoming pregnant while using Heroin, but methadone may have been the only thing that saved your baby's life. That is a fact. It is also true that her mother could have gotten Hep C from sharing a toothbruth in jail, or tending to a husband's bloody wound, or sharing a ravor with a girlfriend or a zillion other things. She probably got it from needle use, but I want people to know that it is not all addicts who contract the disease. I also want people to know that methadone IS NOT interchangable with Heroin.
I know how worried you are and wish I could give you reassuring news. My son contracted it from me at birth. I never knew I had hep c till he was almost a year old and we were going to try for another baby and they tested me as part of the infertility process. I am told by all the docs that if the mothers viral load is over 1 million it is almost always likely the baby will get it. My son is almost 2 now and we are watching him closely monitioring him every 6 months. There has been a drastic drop in his viral load and we don't retest till May. I am praying everyday it will be 0!
Hello to everyone. I lurk around here once in awhile but have my hands full w/ the boy! Everytime I try to get online he finds something else for me to do. I think I am going to get treatment after this summer. He will be older then and a little easier I hope to care for.
Best wishes to all of you!
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