Something happened that I never in a million years expected. This story begins last Wednesday when I noticed that Vivi was developing a cough that the other kids had been passing around (thank you school germs.) Vivi is my fifth baby and I’ve had several years experience with my babies having coughs, colds, congestion… the flu. I figured this was just something I need to monitor and would pass in a few days. I’m breastfeeding and those antibodies that your milk makes normally covers your little.
Fast forward to Sunday night. I walked passed Vivi in her baby swing and did a double take. She was grey. Like, her coloring was grey, her eyelids were dark grey and so were her lips so I pulled her out of the swing and she was limp like a rag doll. I told Derrek that something was wrong and we called 911. I unzipped her slipper and started rubbing her and trying to get her coloring back to normal. She started moving a little and making an effort to open her eyes. By the time the EMS came, her coloring was getting back to normal. They checked her heart rate, said she had a little cold and it could have been the way she was laying in her swing like her airway had been blocked. They didn’t think we needed to take her to the hospital. By this time, I had called my midwife and she agreed something was up. She encouraged us to get an Owlet so we could monitor her breathing and oxygen levels.
I literally stayed up until 4:30am Monday morning just staring at Vivi. She was nursing normally, pooping and peeing like normal. But her breathing looked different on the monitor. Her oxygen levels were showing lower than normal but not dangerously low. I woke Derrek up and he held her until 6am while I slept. When I got up, I noticed she looked grey again, wasn’t breastfeeding and her eyes looked glazed over and told him something was wrong, I couldn’t shake the feeling that something wasn’t right. I FaceTimed my midwife and my friend Haley who’s a Pediatric nurse practitioner and they both said something was off and I should call 911. Derrek called them and we met them at the door and asked them to take us to the hospital. They checked her in the ambulance and didn’t say something was wrong but they would take us anyway. It was the longest ride I’ve ever taken and they didn’t turn the lights on to get us there quickly. It made me feel like I was overreacting and everything was going to be fine when we arrived at the hospital.
When we walked into the ER, it quickly turned into a very intense arrival. Nurses and doctors surrounded her taking blood samples, getting her on oxygen and checking her from head to toe. They even did a flu and RSV swab. We watched helplessly and waited for results. Within 30 minutes, the doctor came back and told us she tested positive for RSV, they were waiting on an open room in the PICU for her and she was being admitted. I broke down and lost my mind. I couldn’t believe it. She has RSV? I just prayed and cried and prayed and cried and held her little hand in mine in the ER. I felt like a bad mom, I should have kept the other kids away from her better. I shouldn’t have let anyone hold her. But, I didn’t know a lot about how RSV works.
RSV is something that 90% of children will have but children under 2 should be monitored closely for. It’s also known as a common cold. It works differently in small children than it does in our bodies. We are able to fight it off but littles have a harder time. The heavy breathing can take a toll on their bodies and cause oxygen levels to decrease significantly like Vivi’s did. Also, the mucus if not suctioned can settle into their lungs and lead to respiratory issues. There’s no treatment, just monitoring and it normally takes 7 days to pass.
Once the hospital had our room ready in the PICU we were taken upstairs. It was scary seeing her hooked up to all these monitors, having oxygen tubes and there was nothing I could do to help her. Vivi looked so tiny and fragile I just sat down and cried again. I feel like I let down my little girl and it breaks my heart to think about. I honestly feel like if I had known more about RSV I would have been more proactive at keeping her separated from the others.
Once the oxygen started helping her breathe, she looked so much better. Her coloring came back and she looked like herself again. The reason she was admitted is because she couldn’t breathe the way she needed to on her own. In the PICU they have been monitoring her oxygen and also suctioning out the mucus so the virus doesn’t settle in her lungs. They do this before every feeding so breathing through her nose when she nursed doesn’t push it down. She came into the PICU and was put on 2 liters of oxygen. It’s been four days and they have weaned her completely off the oxygen. She has also had a huge reduction of mucus production which means that the virus is almost finished running its course. The saline breathing treatments and suctioning they are doing through her nasal cavity have helped her clear it out even more quickly.
I am so thankful for knowing something was wrong when I walked passed her swing. I am so thankful for the people in our lives who told us to go to the hospital. I am so thankful for the amazing staff in the PICU who have been so helpful in not only caring for her but respecting us and our lifestyle choices. I am so thankful for all of our friends and family who have stepped up and helped with the kids so Derrek could come up here and be with us. I am so thankful for the ability to stay by her side this entire time. I am so thankful we caught this before it was more serious and she just needs her oxygen to stabilize before we can go home.
Y’all, if you have babies under the age of 2 I highly recommend you have them tested for RSV if you see them with an abundance of mucus, erratic breathing or cough and not being able to feed like normal. If you see them with basic cold symptoms, just have them tested. Just to be safe. If not and it gets to far it could be fatal. I have never been so scared in my life like I was when I saw my baby grey and limp. If you feel like something is off then you need to just go and have your little one checked. This is more than just the article that floats around on Facebook warning “don’t kiss my baby.” There are germs everywhere and it doesn’t just happen from kissing. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been vaccinated or not or breastfeed or not. It can happen to any child.
Vivi is healing and has had a dramatic improvement within just a few days. Once she is weaned from her oxygen for 12-24 hours then she can go home. Until then we are residing in the PICU. Please continue to pray for her as many of you have been doing. We are so appreciative of the many prayer warriors and people who have checked in on her.