Our COVID Scare

One Mom shares her family’s too close for comfort run-in with COVID

By Nili Zaharony

I want to start off by saying I believe in Covid and deeply feel the collective struggle through this pandemic as both a human and a mom.

 

This pandemic has been exhausting and overwhelming in every sense. I am thankful that, 8 months in, we have remained relatively intact. We have been safe, worn masks, and socially distanced though admittedly our circle has grown some for the sake of sanity and emotional welfare.

 

One recent Saturday evening, we’d just finished dinner and the kids had retired to their Duplo blocks and coloring table. I was still sitting at the table, digesting and enjoying a rare moment of quiet.

 

I was scrolling through my email when I saw a message from our daycare director. An email at 6:15 pm on a Saturday is not the typical time for parent communications to go out.

 

Sure enough, there had been a positive COVID test and exposure at the daycare. They couldn’t tell us who, but informed us they would preemptively close on Monday to await further instructions from the State Health Department.

For any family, especially with small children and a very involved grandmother who happens to be high-risk, this is a stressful notification. Let’s add on that I am also 29 weeks pregnant.

 

I’ve never struggled with anxiety in the past, but the threat of this pandemic has put me in a different headspace than with my two previous pregnancies.

 

Our night played out a little something like this…

 

  1. My heart racing, I immediately told my husband then sat to process the news.
  2. My 2-year-old was being especially cuddly so we sat on the couch together. I then realized his head felt a bit warm. We haven’t had so much as a runny nose in the house since we originally went into lockdown back in March. We checked and, sure enough, he has a fever of 100.7. 
  3. I called the pediatrician’s nurse line and gave them our information to await a callback. 
  4. I sent an email to the director of the daycare to ask if either of my children were in the exposed pod and to plea for an answer on the basis of third-trimester pregnancy anxiety. 
  5. I called my OB’s emergency line and gave them my information for another callback. 
  6. A pediatric triage nurse from the hospital called and we talked through my son’s symptoms and what we should be doing as a household. She told me to call the pediatrician’s office first thing in the morning so we can bring my son in for a COVID test.
  7. The decision has already been made at this point to quarantine until we know more. 
  8. I get the callback from the OB and he tells me that I need to immediately pass the primary care of my son over to someone else in the house and try to distance myself as much as possible while keeping an eye out for potential symptoms. I would not be allowed to return for my routine appointments until we have a negative test. 
  9. I get a call from a very sympathetic daycare director informing me that neither of my children were in the exposed pod. 
  10. I take a deep breath and realize there is nothing else I can do at the moment. I go downstairs, make some tea, and work on lowering my heart rate which has been racing since the initial email and subsequent fever. All of this while we’re trying to bathe the children and get them to bed.

I called the pediatrician first thing Sunday morning and my husband took my son in for a COVID test. We had to wait 1-3 days for the results. We felt a small peace of mind since my son had woken up that day feeling fine and full of energy. We went back to our “Gan Bayit” days (the name of our home-pre-school from the original closures back in March). We baked muffins, went for a walk, did some art projects, and had free play. My son was back to his normal energetic and slightly crazy self but we were still quarantining until we had the test results.

 

The challenge with quarantining with small children, aside from keeping them busy and doing your best to not all drive each other insane, is that the household needs to keep running. Monday is my usual grocery day and I’m someone who has never trusted grocery delivery – bad experiences and I’m insanely picky about my produce. We got a recommendation from a local mom for the Harris Teeter express shopping and, not really having any other choice, I spent an hour figuring out how to fill up my shopping cart and buy what I thought I would need for the week. I am happy to report that their selections pleased even my pickiest of tendencies and, if I am ever again in a position where I can’t go to the store, I will use this service. My husband went that same evening, they loaded up his trunk and we had our groceries for the week. One less thing to worry about.

 

Monday was another “Gan Bayit” day and the kids were in good spirits. I did have to keep explaining to the 4-year-old why we were staying home and not allowed to see her cousins or grandmother but otherwise we had a fun day.

 

Tuesday morning, I’d prepped for another day at home with the kids and was sitting at the dining table with my breakfast when I got the email that my son’s test results were in. I checked immediately and let out a huge sigh of relief when I saw in big printed letters across my phone, “SARS-CoV-2 Not Detected.”

 

Deep breath. At this point, I called the daycare to see if I could bring the kids in. They asked that we keep them home one more day which at this point I was happy to do. I certainly didn’t want any other parent feeling the stress and anxiety that I had felt in the past couple of days. No longer having to quarantine, my husband agreed to watch the kids for 30 minutes so I could run to the chiropractor for an adjustment. The minute we got the good news, the release of cortisol in my body triggered an almost immediate headache!

 

I hopped in the car, with a smile on my face despite the headache, and went to the chiropractor. It was 30 minutes to myself and an adjustment that always leaves me feeling lighter and looser (not a common feeling in the third trimester).

 

Coming home, the kids had already had a Stem activity (sink or float) and were finishing up reading stories and singing songs. My husband disappeared into our home office and the kids and I went for a long walk in the neighborhood. We came home, ate lunch and the kids went upstairs for theoretical quiet time. They’re great nappers at daycare but positively useless for me. I managed to lay down for a little bit, but ultimately gave up as the shouts from their room were deafening. They were just playing but we apparently have very different definitions of quiet time.

 

We came down for a snack and the kids played in the backyard while I rested in the screened-in patio. We all looked forward to a return to routine (and daycare!!!) the next day. I enjoyed watching them play and entertain themselves while I nursed a cup of Ginger Peach tea.

 

My peaceful state lasted precisely 8 hours. At this point, my son attempted the “off-limits-to-him” monkey bars. I watch him fall to the ground, feet first then butt. And then he rolls backward and sure enough smacks his head on the wooden bar at the base of the playset. I “ran” to him as fast as I could, not an easy feat these days. Picked him up and took him to sit with me on the patio. He asked for ice for his head and his big sister went to get dad so he could get us ice. We sat together for about 30 minutes, constantly icing his head and me starting to stress that I needed to be getting dinner ready. I walked inside with the intention of putting him on the sofa to rest while I made dinner and instead walked into the office and informed my husband that I was taking him to urgent care. I put on my shoes, sent my husband the recipe for dinner that night (because I am still mom after all and the family needs to be fed), and rushed out the door.

 

Urgent care heard “head injury” and sent us to the Emergency Room. There we spent the rest of the night as he had neuro exams and a head CT. He definitely had a concussion but we were concerned about a brain bleed and potential emergency surgery. Eventually, they came in and offered my starving child a sandwich. As I watched him scarf down the food I knew he was going to be just fine after a good night’s sleep.

 

I’m happy to report that he is indeed fine and has returned to his crazy self. I do question the pediatrician’s assertion that kids are pretty good at self-regulating especially following a big injury but my little boy is back to his usual self and that’s what matters.

 

I have two conclusions from this week.

  1. This is my official induction into the club of Boy Moms. 
  2. I deserve a medal for not going into preterm labor from stress. 

 

Now, it’s time to take a nap.

Nili Zaharony
Nili Zaharony

Mom of two children and one on the way, due in January 2021.

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