Hello New Friends!
Our little Dolly had RSV last month. At 6 weeks old she was inflicted with one of the top 2 viruses every mother would hope their new baby would avoid getting in the winter months. But, knowing our Sovereign God had a plan, we took each step through this virus trusting Him. I’ll tell our story and then share some thoughts on symptoms and helps for taking care of a baby with RSV.
Once upon a time a beautiful baby girl named Dolly was born on Christmas Eve…yep, that’s right- Christmas Eve! But, that’s another story for another time. Dolly was a healthy and strong baby girl weighing in at 6lbs 13oz and 19 1/2 inches long. We brought Dolly home from the hospital the day after Christmas and older sister Princess and toddler brother Spidey-Boy were IN LOVE. They also had terrible colds! As much as Dad and I would’ve liked to keep the sneezing away from Dolly, the hugs and kisses were inevitable. When Dolly was a month old she started with a little sneeze and a cough. A few days in she started gagging more after nursing and her nose was getting VERY stuffed up. Then came the coughing…maybe it’s whooping cough? So I listened to some examples on youtube. Nope, maybe it’s just a cold? Well, my mommy-instincts led me to the doctor. When she was there she didn’t cough and didn’t do her “gagging episode” so he deemed it just a cold. (Don’t you HATE when that happens!?) After two more nights of no sleep, sucking out her nose, the gagging and vomiting, vaporizing and using hot-shower steam…I finally decided to bring her into the E.R. She was starting to have gagging fits so bad that her face was turning colors. I was trusting the Lord, but I was also starting to get scared. I decided to forget what the doctor said and in we went. One thing I did that I would recommend if you have a smart phone is to video tape or voice-record what your child is doing to show the doctor- sometimes kids symptoms are sporadic and it helps so much to have “proof” to show. So with sick, sad baby in tow
my mom (we’ll call her Super-Mammie…Mammie is what my kids call her instead of Grandma. I think it’s super cute- don’t you?) Super-Mammie drove us to the hospital while Daddy stayed home with Princess and Spidey-boy. When we got to the hospital Dolly gagged, turned colors and vomited all over the E.R. bed. Even though the doctor didn’t see it I recorded it on my phone. When I showed it to her, she immediately called for an RSV test and asked them to get a room ready for her for monitoring overnight. At that point I would’ve thought I’d be nervous about having to stay at the hospital with her, but because we already had such a horrible time at home the last few days before that I was SOOO happy to hear she’d be staying at the hospital. The next few days were all a blur and felt like one big long day. With not getting any sleep except for an hour here or there during the night and day I sometimes didn’t even know which way was up. Amazingly though the Lord kept me strong and able to care for Dolly. With RSV there is no medication that will help the virus, so they were just monitoring her breathing (apnea can occur in small infants with RSV), giving her oxygen through a nose tube (to help her breathe during her coughing fits), and suctioning out her nose (with a super awesome wall suctioner-I wish I had one!), and the first night giving her IV fluids to make sure she wasn’t getting dehydrated from throwing up. She ended up losing her voice and sounding like a small kitten when she cried (I think that was the saddest part) and got Bronchiolitis (which is a common thing for RSV babies). On the third morning the doctor came in and said we’d be able to go home. It was a little bitter-sweet because although Dolly was over the worst of her symptoms she would still be needing constant care over the next week while she continued with coughing and needed nose suctioning. I knew we’d be leaving the safety of the heart and breathing monitors and I would be thrown back full swing into caring for 3 kids, a husband and a home when walked out those hospital doors. But, God was and is faithful! The Lord worked through the amazing help of my husband, sister-in-law, mom and other friends AND the transition went so smoothly. Dolly slowly got better and better each day and after about a week stopped gagging with her coughing spells and then after about 2 weeks didn’t need her nosed sucked out any more. Praise GOD!
Trials are a funny thing…if I saw someone else going through this situation I feel like I would’ve thought it was way worse looking from the outside then what it actually was. Although it was scary at times and somewhat overwhelming, by the GRACE of God it was manageable and not only that, but there was a PEACE that I almost couldn’t explain through it all.
Walking away from this experience I am reminded of Romans 8:28- “God causes all things to work together for GOOD for those who LOVE Him and are called according to His purpose.” I am so thankful for a loving, Heavenly Father who sustains me and gives me grace to face whatever circumstance I am in and for watching over Dolly and making her well again. I am so thankful for my wonderful Savior!
WHO: Anyone can get RSV, but for adults and older kids it shows up like a common cold. It’s mostly concerning for young babies.
WHAT: Respiratory Syncytial Virus – it is an airborne virus that gives the appearance of a common cold and is the most common cause of lung and airway infections in babies. RSV usually happens between fall and spring.
- Bluish skin color due to a lack of oxygen
- Breathing difficulty or labored breathing
- Croupy cough
- Nasal flaring
- Rapid breathing
- Shortness of breath
- Stuffy nose
Babies who have had RSV-Bronchiolitis are more apt to develop asthma.
TREATMENTS AT THE HOSPITAL:
- nose suctioning (wall-machine and saline)
- iv fluids
- possible breathing treatments
- nose suctioning with a bulb syringe and saline
- humidifier (preferably cold mist)
- running a hot shower in the bathroom with the door shut
- cool outdoor air
- checking for wet diapers (dehydration)
- keep baby sleeping propped up (swing or bouncy seat)
- nurse or bottle feed in small increments if the baby is coughing or gagging a lot
- Don’t burp the baby with their chin bent over your hand…keep their neck up straight for optimal breathing
tip for suctioning their nose:
put 2 drops of saline in each nostril…wait 15 seconds and then block off one nasal passage and suction the other (you will get a lot more out that way). Make sure you are pressing as much air out of the syringe before sucking so you get the most suction while it’s in the nostril. Repeat on other side and keep doing this until all/most snot is out. You may have to repeat every 5 minutes if it’s bad enough. (especially after feedings or after just waking up) Also, (even for older babies) swaddle their arms in with a blanket before suctioning to lessen the difficulty and to avoid hurting the child if they make a sudden movement.
Call your doctor immediately if your baby is having trouble breathing. It’s also best to get your baby in to see the doctor if they are having the other symptoms as well. Most hospitals can test for RSV with a simple cotton swab of their nose.
I also highly recommend recording your baby’s instances of coughing, etc to show the doctor when you go in or to play over the phone for the nurse. Remember that you are in charge of your child’s care, so if you are concerned it’s better to play it safe with a small baby and just bring them in. I am SO glad I did!
This is not an exhaustive explanation of RSV, so please talk to your doctor or go to webmd.com for more information.
Any other questions post here and I will be happy to respond!