Doctors suspected that she contracted it after being kissed on the lips by someone with a cold sore. No one is sure, especially since parents didn't test positive for the virus. Perhaps, someone touched her hand and she put her hand to her mouth. But saliva was exchanged somehow and it killed her.
Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus. About 65% of people have it in their bodies and it may not cause them any problems., They may not be aware of it or have a visible sore, but the virus is still in their saliva..forever.
Herpes simplex virus is so highly contagious that mothers who have herpes, even if it isn't active at the time they give birth, deliver their children via a surgical birth, a Cesarean, in order to avoid contaminating their baby.
Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) is extremely serious in an infant and can lead to severe infections including meningitis, encephalitis, brain, lung and liver disease, and sores on the skin and in the eyes. Babies don't stand a chance to fight it off because they are extremely fragile the first 2-3 months of life.
Now that I've given you this "horror show" entrance of Baby Mariana's story, let me tell you what the doctors say:
1. Isolate your child for 2-3 months, especially if they are premature.
2. Everyone has to sanitize their hands.
3. No one, no one can come in if they're sick.
4. No kids.
5. No kissing on the lips. There's never a reason for a baby/child to be kissed on the lips.
6. No holding. Peer over the crib and admire baby. Baby doesn't know you're there. The visit benefits you and parents.
I know it sounds cruel. Grandparents wait "forever" to see their grandchild and you're keeping them from her. My solution? I got my ob/gyn and my pediatrician to write the grands a letter advising them against visiting until The Kid was 3 months old. I won't go into detail about the in-laws, but my parents were fine. We sent everybody pictures.
Here were my "please, oh please" to my friends and family who wanted to help.
1. Call me and ask what I need. I have "baby brain" (and actually, I had chemo brain at the same time...what is my name???), so ask me what size, flavor, color of box, etc. I won't be shy. I'll tell you what I want and need for any/everybody. If it's too much, let me know. You have a life, too. I can take it.
2. Please don't ask to come in unless I've just put baby down and I'm desperate for a shower. Ask me. I may not have the presence of mind until you leave to realize that I missed an opportunity. I may actually need you to make me something to eat while I shower. I don't remember when I last ate.
3. Yes, you can take the 3 year old to the park while baby's sleeping so I can just "get horizontal" for a moment.
4. Yes, please come take the 3-year old to preschool for me or pick him up. Bless you, you're an angel.
5. I so love your roasted chicken. Could you bring it in a container I can just throw away?
6. Don't be offended if I offer you nothing. The only people I can muster the energy to feed are baby and the other kid(s) and that's getting a little iffy.
7. If I don't tell you that I love and appreciate you, just know that I do.
8. Please don't give me any advice. I'm making my own mistakes. I can finally see my toes and realize I look like a Neanderthal and I'm ashamed. I know I shouldn't be, but I'm ashamed. I don't want to feel worse by your hints that I'm not doing things "quite right".
9. I don't want to share my baby with anyone and I don't know how to tell you that. I sound paranoid and selfish and just plain nuts. The fact is I'm unsure of myself and I'm afraid. I can't tell you that. It's too scary to hear the words come out of my mouth. Please wait until I'm ready. Please don't ask. You've done so much for me that it will be hard to say, "No", but I will. I trust you to not to hold it against me.
10. Once we're passed the isolation period, we'll get together and you'll get to schnuggle the bunny all you want. I'll likely have questions.
New parents. Don't be bullied, manipulated or made to feel whatever. I won't like that.
Just do the best you can, Mom and Dad.
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