When I was pregnant with Preemie the furthest thing from my mind was premature birth. I had successfully carried two previous pregnancies to term and beyond. Why would this one be any different right?
WRONG! I was so very wrong. As I’ve told you in my earlier post, The Preemie in the Making, while attending a conference I noticed some clotting. I was only 26 1/2 weeks along and naturally this was worrisome. After several weeks of hospital bedrest Preemie insisted on making her appearance at 30 weeks and 2 days.
Thankfully the my obstetrician had given me steroids to help develops her lungs and she only needed to be put on room air for about 8 hours overnight. Preemie was doing well and getting stronger. Unfortunately our pediatrician was not an attending doctor at this facility so Preemies care was being overseen by the house doctors. Still we consulted with our pediatrician on every decision.
When the NICU nurses suggested Preemie be given Synargis, to prevent Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) which affects preemies, we called our pediatrician. Don’t get me wrong, the NICU nurses and doctors did an excellent job of explaining what Synargis was for and how dangerous RSV could be. I still needed the guidance of our pediatrician.
Our pediatrician not only agreed but insisted that Preemie receive a dose of Synargis. I didn’t fully appreciate how serious RSV was until a week later. A baby that had been brought into the NICU tested positive for RSV. That baby was right next to OUR baby.
You could see the panic set into the nurses all around. Each baby was tested for RSV and each parent was called to obtain permission to give the babies the Synargis shot. Fortunately for us Preemie has already received her first dose and tested negative.
The baby that had tested positive for RSV was whisked off to a private isolation room and all who entered were required to wear protective gear and masks. The baby was immediately placed under heavy duty care with special attention to the already delicate lungs. This could have just as easily been our little princess. Preemies are definitely small miracles. There is nothing stronger than #PreemiePower.
I am so thankful for the care and guidance of the many nurses, doctors and especially our own Pediatrician. For many months after I took Preemie monthly to receive yet another Synargis shot, until she reached six months of age. You wouldn’t think it in such a hot climate, but RSV season is a year round occurrence even in Florida.
So what is RSV? RSV is a common, seasonal virus contracted by nearly 100 percent of infants by the age of 2. RSV occurs in epidemics, typically from November through March in most of the U.S., but the “RSV season” can vary by geography and from year to year. This is why I was confused when we were told that it’s a year round thing here. And most of all, please remember, this isn’t just a Preemie virus. This can happen to any baby, even those born full-term. Preemies are just twice as likely to get RSV.
Some of the signs for RSV that all parents must be aware of are:
- Persistent coughing or wheezing
- Fever (especially if it is over 100.4°F [rectal] in infants under 3 months of age)
- Bluish color around the lips, mouth, or fingernails Rapid, difficult, or gasping breaths
We took specials precautions when we brought Preemie home to ensure that she didn’t contract RSV. We maintained her monthly Synargis appointments, we avoided large crowds, asked those that visited to wash theirs, and we were not shy about asking if any visitors were sick recently. After all this was our baby and our duty to protect her. We had to be very cautious and on guard at all times to avoid risking her health.
Parents should be diligent in asking everyone to wash their hands before handling the baby. It is also a good idea to avoid visits with young children and avoid large crowds. The risk for RSV in premature babies is a sad reality. Parents must heed the advice of medical staff and take all necessary precautions to protect their premature babies from contracting RSV.
Parents of premature babies already face a greater challenge in protecting their children. Preterm birth can come with complications, many preemies require special medical attention, in addition to their regular routine care.
Each year worldwide, 13 million babies are born prematurely, the leading cause of neonatal death. Most pregnant women don’t think to ask their healthcare provider about the risk of delivering prematurely and the potential consequences of preterm birth for their child. I know I didn’t give prematurity a first thought even, especially after carrying two children to term without issue.
Preemie spent eight weeks in the NICU and came home the day before Thanksgiving. She is now a healthy and happy one year old. Step by step and day by day she is hitting milestone after milestone. Armed with all the information I have now I am better prepared for all my future pregnancies.
If you are pregnant, recently had a baby or planning to have one, please make sure you visit www.RSVprotection.com for more information on how to protect your little one from this very serious illness. Get the facts about RSV by checking out this RSV infographic.
November 17th is World Prematurity Day. Do you have a Preemie story you would like to share? Leave a comment below! Be sure to share this important information with your friends and family using the hashtags #RSVawareness and #PreemieProtection.
Disclosure: This is part of a sponsored collaboration with Latina Mom Bloggers and MedImmune. All opinions are 100% mine. The disclosure is done in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 10 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.