The year 2020 has been a whirlwind of emotions for everyone. A contagious, frightening disease is spreading like wildfire and you think, “there is no way I will get it, I’m staying home and doing everything I should.”
When this pandemic started, my daughter was 4 months old. I was doing everything in my power to be safe and to not expose myself. Still to this day, I have not been out of the house much. I do grocery pick up, drive thru coffee, and use Postmates an insane amount. Even when I did leave, I would use hand sanitizer when handed something through my window and vigorously washed my hands when I came home.
One recent morning, I woke up and felt terrible. I had chills, fever, sweats, nausea, vomiting, and aches. I immediately knew something was wrong. I have been a teacher for the past 8 years and rarely get sick anymore. My immune system is rock solid (so I thought.) Since COVID cases have been rising so much in Arizona and because of the severity of my symptoms, I went to urgent care to get a test done. They warned me that supplies were limited, and they were only testing patients they thought truly had it. After being evaluated, I received a COVID test. The doctor stressed that it would take 5-7 days for results and I should treat myself as if I have it. That also meant taking precautions around others, my husband, and daughter.
I have been breastfeeding my daughter since she was born. She was also one of those babies that decided she would refuse all bottles and only accept mom as her source of feeding. I was terrified to feed her and even be near her. I did what the doctor said and acted as if I did have it. I wore a mask around the house, tried to limit my interaction with her (which was very difficult because my husband works full time at home), and always washed my hands and arms before nursing. She was such a trooper and was just very curious about the mask I was always wearing. I thought I would traumatize her but it didn’t seem to bother her. I called her pediatrician to ensure I was doing everything I could to limit her exposure, which I was. The pediatrician also gave me some positive news about her receiving antibodies through breast milk and how not many babies have been diagnosed with COVID. This was reassuring, but I was still on edge. I was constantly taking her temperature and was sanitizing everything. Luckily, my symptoms never got worse from day 1, but I was doing my best to get rest and power through. My paranoia was through the roof. Finally, after the longest week, I received my negative test result.
It is a scary and uncertain time for everyone. My heart weighs heavy for all those who are not only ensuring their own safety, but caring for others as well. Stay safe, stay healthy, and wear those masks!