Even when you’re sick, the first thing on your mind is your child’s welfare. Read this mom’s story on the measures she took to protect her baby from Covid.
What can you read in this article?
- Isolation – the real struggle of being away from her child
- How she was able to protect her baby from Covid, despite being exposed to Covid-positive people at home
- The lesson she wants us all to learn
I am April Anne Silla, a mom and hospital pharmacist by profession. This is about an experience that we’ll never forget and hope to never experience again.
Both my husband and I tested positive for Covid-19. It was really depressing that had to isolate ourselves from our one-year-old daughter but it is for her own good especially since she is not vaccinated yet.
Last January 3, my husband woke up experiencing colds. That was unusual for him so we decided to do a Covid antigen testing and to our surprise, it turned out positive.
(Disclaimer: You should have it done by a professional or have someone who is a professional to guide you when using the Covid antigen kit like a medical doctor, medical technologist, etc.)
My baby and I were tested next and thankfully, we both turned out negative. At least, that’s what I thought. I had to repeat the antigen testing with our helper who also turned out to be Covid-positive that day.
There was a lot of pressure that I was the only one left negative to take care of our daughter but without hesitation, we reported the result to each of our employers who scheduled us for confirmatory tests with RT-PCR.
After 48 hours, my husband was eventually confirmed to be positive. But even before our results became official, I already told them to isolate themselves in our home while I and my baby went to my parents’ house.
At first, I didn’t worry because my husband and our helper had already gotten their Covid shots. However, thinking about my baby’s exposure to them worried me a little bit, so I told myself that I should still observe her for 3 to 5 more days. I told them that we must be cautious so we all wore face masks even inside the house.
Isolating from baby
Days passed but my daughter didn’t show any symptoms. However on January 5, 3 days after our last close contact with my husband, I experienced colds and an itchy throat in the middle of the night.
I decided to repeat the antigen test, but I still tested negative so I thought that I was just being paranoid and decided to continue sleeping beside my baby and my sister.
Hours passed but when I woke up, I still felt sick. I still had colds and an itchy throat, and I also started feeling a little warm. So I asked my sister to take my temperature and poof! It was 37.9 degrees Celsius which is equivalent to a fever. I knew that it is wasn’t normal so even though I was already exhausted with the testing, I still tried it for the last time, and sadly, the result turned out positive.
Hurriedly packed my things, and with a heavy heart, left my daughter in my parents’ and sister’s care and went back home to isolate myself from my husband.
I cried a lot when I got home and both of us didn’t know what to do so we calmed ourselves and contacted my employer who also scheduled me for an RT-PCR which eventually confirmed my positive result after a few days.
Goal: Protect baby from Covid
The next thing I did was to reach out to my baby’s pediatrician and tell her about the incident. I asked her about what the next step was for our baby and she told me to just observe her for a few more days.
Read articles about mommies getting vaccinated and passing antibodies to their babies through their breastmilk, so I never stopped pumping for my baby’s milk and completed the Covid shots including the booster dose earlier this year.
I did this continuously since she had stopped latching to me directly, but I still wanted to provide her with the antibodies she needs.
I still confirmed with her pediatrician if I can still pump my milk and give it to her when I was sick and she gave me the go signal to do so.
During the isolation, we have all the time to keep ourselves busy yet just thinking about our baby alone was already exhausting. I am exclusively pumping for her milk for several months already, and I must say I am not even giving enough.
I used to pump around 100 to 150 mL a day, just enough to provide some protection while she’s still unvaccinated. But this experience put so much stress on me, leaving me to produce barely 50 mL per day.
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The first few days were really bad – like crying all day bad – but thinking about my baby’s needs encouraged me to keep going and do better when it comes to pumping.
I purchased a better wearable pump online, took my prescribed medicines while checking if it is safe to take while lactating, took my vitamins and supplements, drank lemon-ginger tea for my sore throat, and pumped almost every 2 hours which eventually increased my waning breastmilk production.
I also purchased pulse oximeters for us and our baby along with the medicines needed for our baby online, in case the symptoms will show up later. Those few days challenged me to provide for my baby’s protection while my family was observing her for 3 to 5 more days since her last exposure from me.
Those days also made me eager to recover so I can be reunited with my baby sooner. As a healthcare worker in a hospital, I isolated just for 8 days (I extended for 3 more days due to my late-onset symptoms) and on my 11th day, we decided to test once more to see if we were already negative, and thank God we were indeed.
To be on the safe side, we availed of deep cleaning and disinfection services for the entire house before picking up our baby to be with us again. We had some adjustments to do because our baby barely recognized her daddy on the first night she came back home. But she eventually recognized him days after.
Lesson: Don’t be complacent
It was really an exhausting experience but it strengthened our faith in God and made our relationship stronger as a family. My husband and I were infected but thankfully by having the presence of mind and taking the necessary precautions, our baby was spared from the infection and stayed healthy despite her exposure to all of us.
When I think about it, there’s no one else to blame but us, the parents, because we became complacent during the holiday celebrations. Everyone should be careful wherever you are – may it be in the workplace, celebrating with your relatives and friends, or just dining outside.
So, to all the parents out there, may our experience serve as a lesson to remember. Wear your masks, wash your hands regularly, isolate immediately when symptoms arise, consult your medical professionals about your symptoms, and always prepare for times like this because you never know when you’re going to have it. Protect yourselves so you can protect your loved ones too.
I’m really thankful that God never left our side and gave me a great husband who never stops taking care of us and gives me the strength and courage whenever I need to face obstacles like this one. Also a big thanks to my family for always being there in good and difficult times. Thank you so much, Amma, Appa, and Myta.