It has only been three weeks since Faye was born and we already experienced a series of illnesses that could be more manageable if it was spanned across one year.
Meyer came home from work on 26th May 2014, trembling in cold and running a fever of 40 degree celcius. His fingernails turned blue and they were numb. He suffered four days of high fever before it finally broke. Then, his hands started to itch and hurt with rash. At that moment, we did not know he had contracted the infectious Hand, Foot, Mouth Disease. I assured him it was Roseola – the aftermath of a high fever usually found in children. We then decided to have him checked at the doctor’s since the pain never quite subsided. A quick look and he was diagnosed with HFMD.
Naturally, I was worried for myself and the children. Yet, I cannot do much to nurse my husband in case I contracted it from him. Faye was only into her second week of life and had been fighting her own flu and cough virus at that time. She was vulnerable. So was Ewan who was nursing back his health from his month-long bronchiolitis. Thankfully, we made a wise decision to send Ewan off to my dad’s when Meyer was feeling slightly sick over the weekend. And my ever wise and far-sighted husband quarantined himself from us when he started running the fever. We were so lucky we were free from HFMD when he had it for a week.
Everyone said adults suffer more the effects of HFMD than children. It is more painful, more itchy and more of everything.
The suffering is actually mental when you have children. Whatever pain you might have from the blisters is nothing compared to the worry and burden you have to carry. You worry if your other half might get it. You worry about the health of your children. You worry about the hygiene standards of your confinement nanny. You worry about your family’s well-being but yourself. It drove me crazy that Ewan was away from home, that I couldn’t lie on the same bed as my husband, that Faye might get it somehow from Meyer’s nasal discharge or saliva.
Throughout this time, Faye and I were down with flu and cough. Our fears of her ending up with bronchiolitis or pneumonia made us rushed her to NUH A&E. We were worried because she was born before term and the doctors’ concern were always centred around a pair of under-developed lungs. We did not want to take any risk with our 2-weeker. Gladly, her phlegm hadn’t reached her lungs. It can still be controlled with salt water nasal spray and breast milk.
Then, we saw the light at the end of the tunnel. We couldn’t wait to have Ewan back home with us and finally BE A FAMILY! Little did we know, the light was short-lived.
On 6th of June 2014, we brought Faye to the Pediatrician. We visited the gynae’s office and round the day off with dinner at Great World City. I started feeling lethargic the next day and the fever came. I self-medicated with Panadol for 2 days since there is a controversy on Peppermint oils lowering milk supply. Peppermint application could have brought my temperature down but I really do not want to risk a low milk supply for growing Faye. Thank goodness my fever broke in just 2 days! Yahoo!
However, on Monday, we noticed some green gunk forming in the corner of Faye’s eye. Not only was Faye showing symptoms of a viral infection, I started seeing spots on my hands and feet. We made appointment to see our General Practitioner on the same day to find out what was wrong with us!
Faye was diagnosed with an eye infection. She had plugged tear ducts and the virus from her flu found its way up her nasal passage into her eye. She needed antibiotic eye drops. This poor baby hadn’t had a healthy start in her first month of life. The only thing I could give her were antibodies from my breast milk and I do not intend to skip one feed to take a breather. She needed to get well and I shall persevere.
Then my doctor said, “There is a HFMD outbreak right now. You mentioned you went to the PD on Friday? I think you might have gotten HFMD from the PD.”
What? Say What?
I? Me? Mummy? May? I contracted HFMD?
When is this all going to end? How in the world will I feed Faye? Meyer and Ewan has to move out of the house? Will the confinement nanny contract it from me and pass it to Faye? I played and hugged and touched every single one of my babies when I had fever… Everyone at home is now susceptible to this contagious disease. I felt totally helpless. What a horrible confinement period with every single person down with a different set of illness.
There is no sure way of keeping absolutely clean so we can only do it at best.
Imagine: you remove one glove with the other hand that’s still gloved – clean. You remove the other glove with the other hand that’s un-gloved – unclean.
Imagine again: you remove your gloves to oil your hands and feet, alternating between Thieves and Purification. However, you cannot do that with gloves on. You have to do it with your bare hands. Which means, the body of the bottles are unclean.
Imagine once again: You pump out your milk into a sterilised bottle – clean. You put your shirt back on after you are done pumping and place the expressed breast milk in the refrigerator – likely unclean because your shirt might have the virus as well!
Although I looked calm and collected. I was feeling really helpless and flustered inside. A simple latch from Faye could have her filled up in 20 minutes but I had so much trouble expressing because of all the pressure I was facing. I could not pump any more than what she needs. Which meant that there wasn’t any extras in the refrigerator. Every time I pumped, she would have downed them by the next feed. So, I decided to leave the EBM under room temperature conditions since it could last for four hours after each pump. It will save a lot of time and hassle to warm up the refrigerated milk. It upsets me that Faye is crying a lot more this week than she had ever been.
Just when I was getting the hang of things, my breast pump suddenly decided to stop pumping. It had overworked itself. I need to think on my feet. How am I going to feed her? A quick call to my doctor had me decided to latch her directly despite everything. I do have a small tin of formula in the cabinet but really… the antibodies from my breast milk are going to be so much more beneficial than just simply filling her tummy with formula milk.
The doctor’s advice was to continue pumping to minimise contact between Faye and I. If I wanted to latch her on, I must try not to touch her. He did add that if she was going to contract HFMD from me, she would have gotten it already. So, I sat down and I began to think. There must be a way!
Steps to direct latch without touch:
1) Wear a mask
2) Wear hand gloves
3) Clean breasts thoroughly
4) Place a towel over my body
5) Put a pillow on top of the towel
6) Line the top of the pillow with a blanket
7) Nanny to latch baby on and place her on top of the pillow
8) Hands-Free Latch
Fortunately, it worked out fine!
We are all deflated at home. It would have been such a different story if everyone had been healthy from the start. My boys are finally coming home tonight. I hope my wish to see the rainbow after the rain isn’t far-fetched.
And… I dread the day my children might be diagnosed hfmd-positive.
Young Living HFMD Protocol:
1) Purification and Thieves
2) NingXia Red
Young Living Bronchitis and Inflammation Protocol:
– Eucalyptus Globulus
Young Living Baby Cough & Flu Protocol:
A stay at home mum, blogging to widen her social life. We want to echo the sound of love through our lives to inspire other mothers alike.