Candice Turner's world was turned upside-down the day she was told she had contracted the listeria virus. Here, she shares her story of grief, hope and finally joy, after the birth of her daughter Laena-Mae Turner, now five years old.
“You have contracted the listeria virus and your baby won’t make it to full term.”
These words pierced my heart, and an agonising pain rushed over me that left me light-headed; dazed. The doctor continued, “You need to go onto immediate treatment. The medication will cause complications and we recommend the best course of action is to terminate the pregnancy.”
This news hit me like a freight train. My hands were trembling, eyes welled up with tears. Sitting there, in a hospital in Cologne, listening to the doctors and my then fiancé discuss my fate in German, a sense of urgency came over me. “No!” I cried out. “I will not terminate, I will find another way.”
Two weeks later, I boarded a flight on Christmas Eve and left Germany, as well as my fiancé, and I made the journey back home to South Africa.
I will never forget the doctors who assisted me upon my return. My father made contact with a phenomenal paediatrician, who had actually written a paper in Poland on Listeriosis and she was hopeful we could treat my baby if we acted quickly. She and my gynaecologist, monitored me throughout the remainder of my pregnancy and when my daughter was born, blood tests at birth confirmed she has the Listeria virus in her blood stream and she was immediately admitted to NICU and began treatment.