Little by Little

Last night, Greta received her first of five injections of the Synagis medication. For those of you who aren't familiar -- Synagis is a shot that helps protects a baby's lungs; specifically, it is to protect a baby from respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). RSV is the number one cause for hospitalization for babies under a year. SCARY. According to the Synagis web site, Preemies and babies born with a heart or lung condition are at higher risk for severe RSV disease, which could lead to serious lung infections like pneumonia and bronchiolitis. It is estimated that the annual infant death rate due to RSV is 10 times greater than that of the flu, with up to 400 infant deaths from RSV each year in the U.S.

We've gotten some flack from friends because we don't take Greta to football Sundays, BBQs or other casual soirees. We don't parade her around town. She doesn't shop at the grocery store or Target, and the mall is also off limits. I run errands when she is with her grandma or Daddy so that I don't have to tote her around and expose her to needless germs.
We limited visitors when we first got home but have since opened our doors to those who aren't sick or haven't been around sick people/children. We don't take her to parties or get-togethers with friends. We wash our hands. A LOT.

Really, we're not crazy. We're just following doctors' orders.

Back in the day, when Eric and I had conflicting viewpoints on things, we decided that the determining factor would be the advice of our pediatrician. We figured the neonatologists and pediatrician had more experience than we, and, after all, we didn't spend all that time and energy choosing a pediatrician just to throw his advice out the window. And here's the dealio, folks. Greta was born 7 weeks early at 4 pounds, 12 ounces. When you bake your holiday cookies in a couple weeks, check out that bag of unopened sugar. Greta was smaller than that. (Side note -- she is now 11 pounds, 2 ounces!)

Preemies have compromised immune systems, and therefore have a higher likelihood of getting sick. Yes, she needs to build up immunity to germs, but right now during RSV-season (October - April), it's not worth chancing it. Greta, fortunately, has not gotten sick since being home from the hospital. If there is anything we can do to keep it that way, we're going to.

The Synagis injection is one of the pre-cautions we've chosen to ward off nasty RSV. Our insurance company first denied us coverage, but many a phone call later, and thanks to our incredible pediatrician who appealed the denial, we were finally approved for the injection. Thank God. Otherwise, the injection costs about $1k per month.

You do the math. Five months of the shot. A thousand bucks a pop. That's $5,000. So... A little hand washing, keeping the little chica out of public places, limiting her exposure to unnecessary germs? SO WORTH IT.


Niki said...

Hi. I stumbled upon your blog. I don't know you, and you don't know me, but I just wanted to comment on what your friends may say to you about sheltering your baby as to not get exposed to germs, specifically RSV. My daughter, who is now 21-months-old, got RSV when she was 5 weeks old because we didn't limit visitors. My husband thought I was being overprotective and OCD, and my friends also gave me crap about it. I wish I would have listened to my gut instinct. She's fine now, and was better within months, but keeping the visitors away until after RSV season would have saved her a week long stay in the PICU, not to mention me the heartache and guilt of the whole ordeal. We almost lost her a few times during that week in the hospital. She was not techinically a preemie, although small at 4 pounds 15 oz (she's a twin), but born at 37w 2d. Keep visitors away and her out of those stores. You'll be happy you did.

Life as a Beach said...

Amen, Mama. You know you have my complete support! It is not worth the risk. Greta has all the time in the world to meet everyone. Well, maybe not me, but you know what I'm saying. And I know there are millions of trips to Target in her future when it is safe! Trust me, seeing your baby in the ER with IVs and a little hospital gown is something I don't want anyone I know and love to ever have to go through. You're doing a great job.

BubbaandPeach said...

Hey girl you know we support you and Walt. I didn't know they had an immunization for RSV - that is fantastic! I admittedly am not a huge germa-phobe but I work in a hospital and unfortunately it is everywhere. I DID get the flu shot for me and the kids after being knocked down for 5 days last year. Luckily the kids did not get it. It is very scary when they get sick and I don't blame you for wanting to protect her. Good for you for being a mama bear and getting insurance to pay - no easy feat I'm sure.
Can't wait to see Greta hopefully sooner than later!