Exclusive: Mother speaks out about losing week-old baby who died from cold sore virus

Exclusive: Mother speaks out about losing week-old baby who died from cold sore virus
Photo credit: Supplied / Abigail Friend.

Twelve months on from losing her newborn daughter to a common virus, US woman Abigail Friend is continuing her campaign to raise awareness over the dangers of cold sores. 

Just two days into her short life in May 2018, baby Aliza got sick from coming into contact with an adult with the HSV-1 virus.

The HSV-1 virus is the common cold sore virus which is fatal to infants until at least two weeks old. 

"By the time they [doctors] caught it, it had already spread to her brain," Friend told Newshub. 

She says it feels like her heart has been ripped out of her chest and her pain isn't going away after losing Aliza more than one year ago. 

Friend has been in therapy for the past few months, to help with her depression and anxiety. She was only 18 when Aliza died. 

According to the NZ Herpes Foundation around 80 percent of Kiwi adults have oral herpes. They warn that the virus can be deadly for newborn babies and can also cause a range of other serious health issues. 

Friend has been using a Facebook page, Aliza's Story, to warn other parents of the virus that can be fatal. 

She says that there is no way of knowing who infected her daughter, and believes it could have been anyone from family, to her close friends to hospital staff. 

Exclusive: Mother speaks out about losing week-old baby who died from cold sore virus
Photo credit: Supplied / Abigail Friend.

Her pregnancy turned high-risk when she went into early labour at 27 weeks, then again at 30 weeks and again at 32. 

Aliza was born at 39-and-a-half weeks by emergency C-section, weighing almost nine pounds. 

It was one of the most painful experiences Friend had ever been through, but the first time she held her, she says she fell more in love than she ever thought possible.

"My whole world was her," she says. 

The newborn started getting sick at a day-and-a-half old. She was sleeping a lot and didn't want to eat anything. 

Friend says Aliza started to turn a shade of orange and was having trouble breathing before retaining fluid and swelling.  

"The doctors never told us this was even possible so we had no idea what was causing her to get sick," Friend says. 

Medical staff had her on several machines and medicines, running every test they could think of. 

"One of the last ones they ran was for HSV-1 because it's so rare," Friend says. 

Exclusive: Mother speaks out about losing week-old baby who died from cold sore virus
Photo credit: Supplied / Abigail Friend.

Doctors told her on day seven there was hope that she would make it, but Friend felt like they were trying to make her hold onto hope that didn't exist. 

"The next morning they said she wasn't going to get any better and the machines were the only thing keeping her alive at this point." 

The medicines that kept her from moving, the IVs and the other machines were stopped and doctors said Aliza was either going to wake up or she wasn't. She never did.  

Friend, her mum and Aliza's father held her as they watched her life come to an end. 

"I was holding her as she turned blue and gasped for air and there was nothing I could do to save her. 

"I told her it was okay to let go because she had already fought so hard and I told her how much I love her and sang the song 'You Are My Sunshine'."

At 4:19pm on May 20, 2018 she died. 

Robbed of a life with her baby girl, Friend wants other new parents to be aware of the risks, still in immense pain after losing Aliza. 

"Stop kissing babies until they are at least a month old because that's when it becomes safer and always wash your hands before touching a baby because the virus can be spread from touching a surface or person with the live virus, and then touching the baby." 

Newshub. 

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