Young mum Hayley Etheridge was 35 weeks pregnant with her second son, Vito, when docs delivered the devastating news.
The 22-year-old from Prestwich, Greater Manchester, said she couldn’t be sure how son Baylie-Grey contracted the infection but that it may have been passed on through a kiss from a relative.
She is now calling for more awareness about the virus after both her youngsters were exposed to “terrifying risk”.
Hayley scrambled little Baylie to North Manchester General Hospital after a rash broke out over his face and he became unusually tired.
“They told me that if the virus spread to his eyes that Baylie could go blind”
The HSV-1 Herpes strain can be passed on through the exchange of bodily fluids, skin-to-skin contact.
It has minor consequences in adults but can be deadly for young children and toddlers.
Recalling the traumatic experience, Hayley told Manchester Evening News: “When doctors told me it was herpes I was shocked, people assume it’s always sexually transmitted but it’s not.
“I remember sitting and crying talking to the doctors, asking them my questions and getting answers no mother wants to hear.
“They told me that if the virus spread to his eyes that Baylie could go blind – I was absolutely terrified. I had no idea that a simple cold sore virus could be so dangerous to a child.”
Shocked mum Hayley said the ordeal became even more terrifying when docs at the hospital noticed she was heavily pregnant, warning her that she needed to be treated immediately.
Medics told her that if she had caught the virus from Baylie, there was a strong chance she could pass the virus to her unborn son – and the consequences could have been lethal.
She added: “Doctors told me that if I passed it on to my newborn baby it could cause blindness, brain damage or he could even be stillborn.
“I was sat there thinking I have one child in a really serious situation and now I am being told my other baby could die. I have never been so scared in my life.”
Horrified Hayley had to be kept under constant supervision throughout the rest of the pregnancy as docs couldn’t determine if the virus had been passed on to her unborn baby.
Luckily, son Vito, now two, was delivered healthy in May 2017 and he Baylie, now five, are both thriving.
The mum-of-two thanked hospital staff for looking after her throughout the ordeal and she is now campaigning for mandatory testing across the UK for all pregnant women, using the Western Blot test.