Update: You can find part 3 here.
This is a follow up to my original post, Omicron Comes for Everyone: My Vaccinated COVID Experience. My family has been super-quarantined, more so than anyone else we know, and we still got COVID. You can read more about our experience, our quarantine, and our approach to COVID in the original post.
At the suggestion of some readers, I’m updating my experience in a second post, and will follow up with subsequent posts until we are all better.
Who We Are, and Our COVID Experience
As detailed in the original post, I’ll be tracking:
- Me: 38, female, good health, “normal” BMI, but with the health risk factor of recently having given birth (the postpartum period increases the risk of certain cardiovascular issues); fully vaccinated with Pfizer and boosted with Moderna
- Husband: 41, male, good health, “normal” BMI, family history of gallbladder disease and had his gallbladder removed in the summer; fully vaccinated with Pfizer and boosted with Moderna
- Preschooler: just turned 5, female, good health, “normal” BMI, has had her first vaccine as soon as she was eligible but not her second
- Baby: just turned 5 months, good health, very large for gestational age at birth and large for age now (two things that tend to correlate with good health); not vaccinated. I got both vaccines when I was pregnant with her, and exclusively breastfeed her, and preliminary evidence suggests both things may give her some passive immunity and anti-COVID antibodies.
Our nanny also has it, and so far has had the most symptoms and the weirdest symptoms, but ultimately her illness remains pretty mild. She is in her early thirties, with a chronic illness, and is triple vaccinated.
Day 3: January 8
- Me: My symptoms remain basically unchanged, except that my eye styes have gotten worse. I have also developed some weird red marks along every spot where the baby nurses. This is not mastitis or thrush; it’s some sort of skin inflammatory reaction that I attribute to COVID.
- Husband: Zero symptoms for now. But his symptoms tend to hit late in the day.
- Preschooler: Zero symptoms, but anxiety is still off the charts. She is worried her sister is going to die, that I am going to go to the hospital. She is scared of EVERYTHING.
- Baby: Continues to be the sickest of all of us. Last night was the worst, but this morning she seemed better. Very congested. We’ll see how tonight goes.
Day 4: January 9
- Me: I somehow both feel better and have more congestion. Not sure what to make of that.
- Husband: Mostly zero symptoms, but gets waves of profound fatigue.
- Preschooler: Zero symptoms, intense anxiety.
- Baby: Last night was the worst night of all so far, and now she has a cough. She is mostly fine during the day, but then gets sick at night.
Day 5: January 10
First, some observations that might be helpful: Our nanny and I today both got results of follow-up PCR tests. Nanny took her test on Thursday; I took mine Saturday. Both tests were negative. And while my symptoms have probably improved since Saturday, Nanny’s worst symptoms were after her negative test. Moreover, she first tested positive a mere two days before her negative test, which means her window of positivity was very short. Thus it’s easy to have a false negative. And you can have symptoms of COVID that are caused by COVID while still having a negative test. The data I have read suggests this is especially likely if you are vaccinated.
Our symptoms today:
- Me: Super mild congestion. No more fatigue. Just mild URI symptoms. All kinds of stomach issues.
- Preschooler: Normalish but having stomach issues. She has chronic eczema, and is suddenly having an intense outbreak; given that eczema is an inflammatory condition, I think it’s fair to assume COVID was a trigger here.
- Husband: More tired than usual, but otherwise symptom-free.
- Baby: Worse still last night. She woke up every 45 minutes gag-coughing, but has no fever and is fine today. The coughing seems related to post-nasal drip rather than breathing issues, and her pulse oxygen meter has consistently shown normal readings.
Nanny continues to be the sickest of all of us, but her symptoms, too, are relenting. I think we might be just a day or two away from getting out of this.
Part 3 is now live.
Thoughts and Responses to Comments
Thank you most of all to all of you who shared stories of losing babies at the end of pregnancy or at birth, and to those of you who offered condolences for the loss of our second daughter. Every tiny illness is triggering and frightening, and that will never go away. I have tried to respond to each comment, because each really means so much, but I know I missed some.
It means so much to hear from people who have survived this grief for a lifetime—those of you in your seventies and eighties who have sent me messages sharing that it never goes away, but that you do grow around it. As one woman said to me in her message: “First it makes you weaker. Then it makes you stronger.” I didn’t expect such an outpouring of people who have survived infant death, TFMR, and stillbirth. Thank you, from the bottom of my grieving heart.
So far, we have a “good” COVID experience. I’m grateful for that. But I’m also struck by how bad even good COVID is. I don’t think people who take this disease lightly have really thought about what it would be like to miss 5-20 days of work and daily life.
As it stands now, we are still without childcare, and will be until everyone can safely come together again. No childcare means no work. No work means no pay. And the work does not stop accumulating just because we stop working. My husband has a trial in a few weeks that will affect the course of several people’s lives. I am starting (or at least supposed to be starting) a podcast. We are going to playing catchup for a very long time when we go back.
Our house is a wreck. Our children have gone feral. My plants are displeased. Our cats have taken over the home. These are such minor inconveniences. But they are indeed inconvenient. They make life more stressful. And of course, we have a very young baby. So we’ll be fighting to regain a sense of normalcy while also dealing with chronic sleep deprivation, and as I continue to recover from giving birth/breastfeeding/all that being a new mother involves.
Feel free to ask more questions in the comments! Thank you to everyone who has expressed care and concern.
Finally, please remember: If you’re one of those “It’s just a cold!” people who goes out while sick, if you refuse to wear a mask, if you think it only affects the “vulnerable” and the unvaccinated, I want you to remember what vulnerable and unvaccinated looks like: