Tuesday, October 14, 2008

RSV & what does "sick" mean?

People don't seem to really understand what sick means when we tell them they can't come over if they are "sick". What we mean is if you have the sniffles or the remenents of a cough, DON'T COME OVER! I'm not trying to be rude but the dr specifically told us that you have to be symptom free to come visit. I'm sorry but we are listening to her over anyone else.

Why is this important? Because our babies are preemies. No, they aren't small anymore nor do they look ill. They actually look like any other 6 mth old baby at this point BUT their lungs are still underdeveloped & they still have a compromised immune system. This is very important to know b/c there is a virus called RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus) which to us or a full-term baby, would not do anything more than just give us a cough & a runny nose, much like the common cold. For our babies, it can mean DEATH.

Why? Our babies lungs look very different from that of a baby the same age that was born after 37 weeks gestation. Let me show you a picture of what our babies' lungs look like compared to that of a regular full-term baby. The 1st 3 pictures are that of our babies' lungs (not actual but you get the idea). The 4th picture is that of a regular baby. Scary to see how much less our babies have compared to them!

This is another good picture to look at. As you can see, they used trees to explain the difference between a normal infant's lungs (left) & a preemie's (right). WOW!

Finally, this is a photo of the airway when affected by RSV. On the left is a normal infant & on the right, a preemie. You can see how much LESS airway is open in the preemie's picture. SCARY!

Once RSV has been passed to one of our babies, hospital stay is a certainty. Actually, they would probably end up in the PICU (Pediatric ICU). There is NOTHING they can do to help our babies except to give them O2 to help them breathe. Again, something we don't want to experience.

How do we keep our babies healthy? By staying away from sick people! You may not even know you are carrying RSV & if you come over & infect our babies, you would feel very badly afterwards. Sorry if I sound so harsh but I have had to explain over & over again why it is important not to come over.

RSV is contracted through physical contact or vapor droplets in the air. This is why if Todd or I get sick, we will have to wear a mask anytime we are around the babies b/c obviously we can't avoid caring for them. RSV can also live on surfaces for several hours so you better believe I will be Cloroxing all surfaces at least once a day!

We are also hoping that we get the RSV shots but if we don't that means we are really going to be strict about who comes over & where we take the babies. No crowded places is a definite no-no. We will basically be on house arrest which is NO BIG DEAL if we can keep our babies healthy. The shots will buffer the effect, not prevent them from getting it so we are hoping & praying that we are approved!

Mommies, if you have experienced RSV w/ your little one, I would love for you to leave a comment so others can be educated from a 1st hand experience. I do not want my babies in the hospital. They started their lives there & I would like to keep them out as long as possible!

**THANK YOU to all the mommies that have left stories of their experiences w/ RSV. I can't believe how critically ill a full-term baby gets! I can only imagine what it can do to our trio.


Brittanie said...

Wow, I really don't blame you for being extremely strict. By what age should their lungs be as developed as full-term children?

Loads of prayers for you and your babies that they stay healthy this winter!! (hugs)

Aimee said...

My son was 2 1/2 months old when he got RSV - he was not a preemie! He was hospitalized for three days, and fortunately was o.k. Unfortunately though, he has asthma. They attribute this asthma to him having RSV at such a young age. They say that he will most likely outgrow the asthma by the time he is 6, but for now it's almost guaranteed that we do breathing treatments in the winter.

I say all of this to say that it is VERY serious!

Astrid - I hope that you sweet babies stay healthy during this season!

Surviving Triplets said...

Aimee ~ THANK YOU so much for your comment! I can't believe how sick your precious baby got. Poor thing!

Brittanie ~ I believe that by 2 yrs of age, their lungs are comparable. We are on the cusp of the curve for not getting shots for next year also.

Jen said...

We got the shots last year, but insurance won't cover it for this year. I plan to be a little strict and sent out a letter (and posted it on my blog) to family and friends.

My friend's son got RSV the winter he was born (he was born in Sept) and was in the hospital. He does have asthma that is attributed to him having RSV. He is 5 and still has problems with his asthma.

Hoping for a Healthy, Hospital and RSV Free Winter to you (and everyone else!).

Anonymous said...

My daughter is not a preemie, but she contracted RSV last winter when she was 13 months old. YOU DO NOT WANT YOUR BABIES TO HAVE THIS VIRUS!!! Although I was lucky that she was not hospitalized, she was miserable. There truly is nothing that you can do for them medicine wise. This virus just has to run its course.

It took 2 weeks for her to start to feel better. She was weezing for 10 of those 14 days...couldn't breathe very well, ran a fever.

Please....if you are sick, wait to see the Trip's until the Spring!!! We do not want them to get sick!!!

Julie Konchar said...

3 of my five got RSV and it stinks. My oldest got it at 2 1/2 weeks old (he was born at 38 weeks, not a preemie) and was in the hospital for 5 days. He was then on supplemental oxygen for 6 weeks. He got it again at 10 mos. Another few weeks of ox. My twins (37 weeks) got it when they were about 5-6 months old. They both did great and didn't need to be hospitalized, although for all three they did neb treatments, so for us there WAS something the kids could take. Anyway, it is a yucky virus and if I were you I would just say no to any visitors. Really, it is the only way to ensure that someone isn't bringing it in. People are contageous with all sorts of crud before they are really symptomatic and if I were you I would have Todd change (shower?) when he comes home before he touches the babies. One baby would be a horrible thing to suffer through, I cannot imagine if all three of your kids got it.
Just my two cents.

Ivy said...

My son got RSV when he was six months old and he was born full term and very healthy, However we ended up in the hospital with him for six horrible days. THere is nothing like watching the pulse ox machine go crazy because your son is not getting enough oxygen and they ahve to put him in an oxygenated tent...So I totally understand your need to keep your babies healthy and happy! You go girl!

Raising Triplets in High Style said...

Hey Astrid - Our girls just got the Synagis shots this afternoon from our pediatric pulmonologist and I just wanted to add that hand washing is EXTREMELY important even for healthy visitors because the virus (and other nasty germs of course) are all over hands. Also, Synagis is not a vaccine - it's antibodies, a really great immune system booster. The only reason I'm saying that is because when I've called it a vaccine, people tend to think they can come visit (sick or not) and they think you can cart the triplets everywhere (like crowded places). Not true at all! I hope your little ones get the shots this year! Amy (catlover from TC)

PS - Where did you get those bottle propers in the post below? I've been very leery of propping bottles, but still considering it.

Surviving Triplets said...

Amy ~ Thanks! I will be sure to go back & correct the vaccine part of the blog. I didn't know!

The bottle proppers are called Milk Maid & you can google them. I was given our 3 by another triplet mommy on TC & LOVE them! I never leave when I prop the bottles as you can see by the pictures. I feel good about doing it too.

Family of 5 said...

You are a very good Mommy! Stand your ground girl! Your trips are amazing!

TAMI B said...


I wanted to say that your babies are beautiful. I am on JM and have been reading your blog! ( I have 2 kiddos of my own )

My DD had RSV at 11 months and almost died from it ( shes 7 now). We took her to the doc over and over and he kept saying it was just a virus, until 1 morning she turned blue and couldn't breathe. She was hospitalized for a week and is thankfully ok now ( she's 7). It was so scary!!

She wasn't a preemie. But still got it and it was horrible.


Anonymous said...

Just wanted to chime in here too. My kids were 24 weekers ( I have triplets) and luckily they never got RSV. We did have Synagis covered for two years which helped but it will not stop them from getting RSV. They are now 3 years old and have not contracted RSV yet. They are on daily breathing treatments once winter hits as a precaution.

Also, to really kill the virus (as well as many others) our pediatrican let us know that only straight alcohol will kill it. I have two big bottles from the drug store that I keep in spray bottles to use when needed.

g/g/b born 8-21-2005
my 24 week miracles

Surviving Triplets said...

Suzan ~ I'll be running out to get rubbing alcohol this weekend! Thank you for the tip!

BethE said...

My DD was born at 27 weeks and had the Synagis shots for her first two winters. This is our first winter without Synagis. We kept everyone who was even just feeling run down out of the house. We had bottles of Germ-X all over the house and DH and I even used them constantly. We'll be doing that again this winter, because even though she is 2 and a half she still has bad lungs.

Good for you for standing your ground! We had a sign on our DD's carrier that said, "DON'T TOUCH! It's RSV Season!"

The Lloyd Family said...

Hi! I just stumbled upon your blog and I love this post about RSV - I will be postin one ASAP too. We are going for our first Synagis shot in the morning. My boys were born May 3, 2008 - I didn't take a lot of time to look, but it seems like your trio may be around the same age. I too make my babies food. = )

I was reading a post further down about having 2 with the same placenta and 3 sacs. Ours were the same way. We were told that 2 are identical and 1 fraternal - but we think they're wrong because they all look so different! I need to look into the DNA link you posted. I'm going to add your blog to my blog list I'm trying to create tonight if I can finish.

Take care and I'm glad I found your blog! = )


Surviving Triplets said...

HI Jessica! Thanks for finding us! We were born about 5 wks before your trio on 3-31-08.


StaceyH said...

Noah had RSV when he was only 6w old. He was crying for his usual 6am feeding but he wouldn't nurse, just kept crying. Then I noticed how his chest was sunken in. YIKES! We immediately took him to the ER. Luckily I was BFing so he amazingly took to the treatments and they sent him home that day. I had to do treatments with the nebulizer for about 3-4 days and he was bad to his old self.... but it was very scary!

steffie said...

We too are on lockdown! We made it through last RSV season and need to make it through another. It is SO important for people to listen to this warning. You can isolate yourself, not go anywhere, and limit you and your husband's activities...BUT if one person ignores your request and comes over sick you could have 3 babies in the hospital. I, too, have had friends whose children have had it and have heard horror stories. The virus can live on hands for up to 6 hours and hard surfaces for 12hours! I'm not sure if there is anything more contagious. I hope your friends and family understand the importance of this, because their decision to ignore your request could have life long consequences for your children. Good for you for taking a stand!

mommaceleste said...

I loved your post about RSV! You go Momma! I'm expecting spontaneous BBB trips in January and I too am really worried about RSV and how to get people to understand, including my DH that you cannot be sick around our babies! I may have to email you for info on where you got those pics so I can put something similar in my blog too! Thanks for sharing. I like following your blog! Celeste www.sweetpeaplusthree.blogspot.com

Little Mrs Sunshine said...

Right on - RSV is very serious, even for full term babies, let alone premature ones. My friend (IRL)'s baby was hospitalized due to RSV and not only is it dangerous but if they do get over it they are more likely to get sick after that it can really do a number on the immune system. You are doing a great thing by breastfeeding them, that helps on so many levels. I really admire you breastfeeding TRIPLETS. You rock! At this age, especially with them being preemies, I agree its best to keep them away from any sickness.

Melissa said...

I too stumbled across your blog and wanted to leave my personal RSV story.

My son was full-term and very healthy, but he got RSV when he was 10 months old. I had him into the pediatrician several days in a row because his wheezing was so terrible. My poor baby was just so sick. I'll never forget the day he was hospitalized. I was home with him and he was struggling so hard to breathe that I nearly called 911. There were times when he couldn't even draw a breath. I rushed him back into the pediatrician. She said his lungs were not moving any air and his oxygen saturation was so low that he would need to be taken to the hospital immediately by ambulance. We spent the next week in the hospital with a very, very sick little boy. His lungs were never the same after that bout with RSV- he developed a condition called Reactive Airway Disease. Thankfully, he is now a healthy 5-year-old, but I will never forget our scary RSV experience.

I applaud you for being vigilent and I hope that the family and friends close to you will realize how important it is to keep your little preemies healthy.

Something else to mention is that RSV does NOT effect adults the same way it effects babies. An adult might have a few sniffles or a slight cough, but that same virus passed onto a baby could be fatal.

Your babies are adorable, by the way!

Melissa :)

Angie said...

Quick question...if RSV is a virus then why do they give an antibiotic as a preventative measure? Just wondering since there is nothing but time that will get rid of a virus (unless you try homeopathic remedies and something like Elderberry syrup which is a natural anti viral) Someone asked me this and I don't have an answer, thought you or one of your readers might.

Lesley and Dennis Thompson said...

My son was a premie and ended up with RSV. We did the whole ER visit and short hospital stay but he as out of daycare and I was out of work for 2 weeks. It is really scarey and something I hope very few if no one has to go through!

Sarah said...

My full term daughter contracted RSV at 2 wks. We spent 10 days in the hospital and my BBB were 2 yrs old. It was absolutely HORRIBLE. I think being in the hospital with her having RSV was harder then being in NICU with the triplets. I don't know how else to explain watching your child struggle for every breath they take and knowing there is nothing you can do for it. I commend you for taking these steps!! Besides who else would be your childs advocate? :) Have a heathly winter!

Surviving Triplets said...

Antibodies can be injected to help fight the virus. There is no antibiotics that will help. There is a differnce in the 2. Hopefully that cleared up the confusion.

Astrid :)

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