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Since March last year my fiancé and I were very careful about not contracting Covid-19. Being pregnant during the global pandemic was scary enough, but then the World Health Organisation announced that pregnant women were “vulnerable” due to our immune systems being compromised. The last thing I wanted was to test positive when it came to giving birth, the thought of doctors in hazmat suits performing my C-section scared me.
Maddison was born, and all went perfectly. Although we were extra careful (especially during the newborn stage) unfortunately, my fiancé’s work requires him to be out and about. When Maddie was 7 months old, my fiancé got sick.
We went to test for Covid the next day and the result came back positive for him, negative for me. Maddie was showing no symptoms. “Do Maddie and I go live somewhere else now? If we do, will we potentially pass it on to other family members?” It was very confusing to know what the right thing to do would be. Because our families had only received one vaccine or none, we decided it would be best to stay together and limit contact.
Dom had moments where he felt fine, and then moments where he was sick. I created a “Covid home-care schedule” which included recording temperature, oxygen levels and heart rate 3 times per day, nebulizing, taking our vitamins, doing nasal saline rinse, face steaming and oxygen therapy. We were very lucky to have family who rallied around for us and made sure we got a good thermometer, oximeter and oxygen machine. Even though we did not necessarily need the oxygen machine, it certainly helped.
I focused on creating a peaceful and stress-free home environment; I cooked nutritious meals and made sure we only watched comedies when we watched TV (I strongly believe that a comfortable, calming, stress-free environment helps enormously with recovery)
On my Fiancés Day 5, Maddie started coughing and had a runny nose. I panicked. I knew babies didn’t get as sick as adults, but maybe my child would be different. If she needed to go to the hospital would I be able to be with her? I called the paediatrician and set up an appointment immediately. She looked at Maddie, and told me there was no reason to do the Covid test, she definitely had it. She prescribed Cortisone and antibiotics for both of them.
Maddie responded so well to the meds, she was hardly sick at all. Dom struggled, but by day 10, he was out of the woods. I was exhausted from nursing the two of them for 10 days but thought maybe I have a supersonic immune system and got away with no symptoms. On day 10, I got a tremendous headache. I knew it was impossible that I had dodged the bullet. I went to the fridge and got out the strongest smelling thing I could think of, Hot English Mustard. I took a whiff, and what used to burn my nose and make my eyes water had no effect whatsoever. My cup of Rooibos tea tasted like pond water. I went to be tested, and, of course, I was positive.
The night fevers were by far the worst symptom I had, temps going up to the 40’s and hallucinations. Dom now had to take care of Maddie full time while I recovered. I am so grateful at we were not sick at the same time because we definitely would not have managed. On day 5, I felt it in my chest and we made the decision that it would be safe now to send Maddie to my parents, as we were technically no longer contagious. She went to them for 3 days. At one stage, I thought I might have needed to go to the hospital because my fever would just not break. I decided that I would give it one more day and if I woke up not feeling any better I would go. The next day I woke up feeling a lot better!
The news was telling us nonstop that there were no more hospital beds left, no ventilators and no oxygen. They were at capacity and people were dying in waiting rooms. Social media pages were full of RIP’s and people asking for advice on how to get oxygen. I found that the best thing to do was focus on the positive; we have medical aid; we have an amazing support system and so much to be grateful for.
So much of how we experience anything comes down to the mindset, I fully believe that seeking joy and staying positive can help you overcome absolutely any hard time. We are forever grateful to the doctors, family, friends and community who supported us. No one blamed or shamed us for bringing Covid into our house with a baby. I really hope this sense of community continues as we move into our daily lives after Covid.
Please stay safe, please stay healthy. Take this virus seriously and support those you know who are struggling with it.