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A Pox On Your House! - Karen's Musings
Random Rambling
A Pox On Your House!

Last Wednesday, we rushed home from work, fed the babies an hour early, changed them into PJs and ... packed them up and took them off to the NICU.  Weird, I know, but not to worry, they weren't sick.  We were there for a "NICU Social" for current NICU parents and NICU "Graduates".  We were invited back by the new NICU Social Worker, and though I'd debated whether it was wise to go to an event from 5:30-7:30pm (the babies' bedtime is 6:30/7pmish), we decided that it was worth a try. 

The babies did really, really well.  We arrived early and went up to the NICU to show the babies off and they got oogled at before we went down to the conference room where the social was being held.  There were a lot of families there, including about 5 current NICU families and maybe a dozen NICU "Graduate" families.  We were the only triplets, there were a set of twins, and the rest were singletons.  I think the gestational ages ranged from 25 weeks to 35 weeks.  The graduates ranged from a couple months old to 3 years old, so we were by no means the youngest ones there. 

There were a lot of NICU nurses that came down to spend some time with all the yummy babies, and they were so impressed with the triplets  and how well they're doing.  The babies spent their time crawling all over the tables and showing off all their tricks.  When Sam got fussy, I nursed him and Seth held the girls who both fell asleep in his lap.  If I hadn't been nursing Sam at the time, I would have taken a picture, because it was truly precious.

All in all, it was a wonderful opportunity to talk to some current NICU parents and tell that that there IS life on the other side, to talk to a set of new twin parents and let them know that life DOES get easier, and to show off our beautiful, thriving, and healthy babies.  I'm so proud of how far we've come.  We also got an opportunity to make suggestions for future outreach opportunities, for how the NICU staff can approach parents in the future to better serve them, and also to volunteer for planning committees for outreach programs in the future.  I was so pleased to be at this event.  The nurse educator who was there now knows that I'm on the board of the local Parents of Multiples Club and that she can direct any twin/triplet/quad parents in the NICU to me for support/help/questions, and she knows that I want to be involved with additional outreach projects in the future.  All in all, it was a good night.

But the next day... I got a call.

My nanny called me and said, "I think Abby has chicken pox."

"What?  Wait, Wha!!?"
"I think Abby has Chicken Pox"
"Chicken Pox?"
"Yes, I think she has Chicken Pox."

Now, you may not remember, but this is decidedly not good.  Because I am not immune to chicken pox.  I have had chicken pox twice, I have had the chicken pox vaccine twice, I am still not immune to chicken pox.  How do I know?   Because Ye Old Fertility Clinic drew a Varicella Titer as part of my Infectious Disease bloodwork way back before dinosaurs walked the earth and made me sign a big gigantic waiver in order to proceed with treatment.  I promised never to sue them if I got pregnant and ended up with chicken pox while pregnant.  I figured the odds of getting pregnant were pretty slim and the odds of getting chicken pox were pretty slim, so the odds of both happening at once were really tiny, so I was pretty safe in signing that waiver.  As it turned out, I did get pregnant (twice, though as we know, one of those times didn't work out), but nevertheless, I did not get chicken pox, so my bet still paid off in the end.

I.  Freaked.  Out. 

Not only was I worried for me, but I was worried about all the babies we'd exposed the night before and the parents of babies in the NICU and...  Oh boy.  I know I couldn't have known, but sheesh, this was decidedly NOT GOOD.

I rushed home, took a look, and breathed a sigh of relief.   Though my beautiful baby girl was clearly unhappy, running a fever, and out of sorts, she did NOT have chicken pox!  She very definitely had Hand Foot Mouth Disease!  And I knew *just* where it had come from.  A week and a half earlier, we had visited Jess, Jon, and their Five Little Monkeys and the next day, Jess told me that she was really sorry, but her five little monkeys had the coxsackie virus!  Whoops!  We thought we were in the clear, since none of our kiddos had turned up with it by then, but I guess not.  A pediatrician friend of mine down the street came up to confirm the diagnosis and after she did, I called my pediatrician just to let him know and make sure that he didn't want to see it for himself.  He gave me the run down, told me to expect 2-4 days of misery, and told me to treat the symptoms (e.g. fever) as best I could, but otherwise said to hang in there as the others got it, whcih they likely would. 

Poor Abby had a fever all the way until Sunday!  Poor baby!  :(  But, fortunately, none of the other babies managed to get her virus.  Amazing!  I did have to talk to the NICU social worker to give her a heads up about the virus, but at least I didn't have to tell her that there was a chicken pox scare... that would have been MUCH worse!  But life is good again, and everyone is healthy.    Hooray. 


18 comments or Leave a comment
allah_sulu From: allah_sulu Date: July 15th, 2008 04:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
Glad it wasn't chicken pox or measles.

Keep in mind that this is also going around (Richard is recovering), and also isn't chicken pox or measles.
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: July 15th, 2008 06:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks for the heads up.
teacup9 From: teacup9 Date: July 15th, 2008 04:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm so glad you enjoyed your NICU reunion. I hated our NICU so much and we were only there for seven days. I can't imagine anyone inviting us back.

And Baruch Hashem you little Abby is all right and gets over foot and mouth quickly.
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: July 15th, 2008 04:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
We were there for 24 days. If we'd hated it, I don't know what I would have done. I specifically delivered at the hospital I delivered at because I knew we'd have a NICU stay (though I was figuring on 7-10 days in the NICU, not 24) and I knew the NICU there was excellent and set up in a way that was very good for multiples (e.g. they were all kept in the same room, next to each other, never moved or separated, etc.). Had I delivered at the other hospital I could have delivered at, I would have been probably happier with my postpartum nurses, but MISERABLE with the NICU.

B"H about Abby, yes. Eliana is now sick, poor thing, but with something completely different. :(
kalki From: kalki Date: July 15th, 2008 05:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
wow! I'm so glad she didn't have chicken pox!

I think that NICU night was awesome. I hope that there is something to help us when our babies come, b/c I'm sure they'll need the NICU time. And it seems so scary.
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: July 15th, 2008 05:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
Truthfully, the NICU needn't be scary. If you want to talk about the NICU in detail ahead of time, I'll be happy to do so. Why don't you give me a call one evening (it's probably easier to talk about verbally than via LJ) and we can talk through some of your concerns and I can give you some ideas of what to expect. I'm certain I've given you my phone numbers before, but if you can't find them, email me and I'll give them to you again. karen_cohen [at] comcast [dot] net

Edited at 2008-07-15 06:27 pm (UTC)
mabfan From: mabfan Date: July 15th, 2008 05:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm glad to hear it wasn't chicken pox.

I have to admit that this is the first time I've heard of someone who can get chicken pox twice. I had it once as a kid and I assume I'm immune now.

Isn't there a vaccine now for it?
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: July 15th, 2008 05:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've had chicken pox twice AND the vaccine twice. Generally speaking, if you've had it once, you're immune. I am a freak of nature. My mother has had it three times and my brother has also had it three times. We just have some faulty immune systems or something.
either_or From: either_or Date: July 15th, 2008 05:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
phew! close call!
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: July 15th, 2008 06:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
no kidding!
yeishlitikvah From: yeishlitikvah Date: July 15th, 2008 08:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
OMG glad your standing on the other side of the NICU and offering support to others. Isn't it sad/scary/funny/amusing when you go OMG I THINK SHE HAS X whoosh sigh it's only y..
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: July 16th, 2008 03:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
yes, it's nice to be standing on the other side.
real_bethy From: real_bethy Date: July 16th, 2008 01:31 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm so glad that the NICU sit went well and that you were able to bring some hope to other parents.

I'm also glad that Abby doesn't have chicken pox! Whew! I haven't heard of someone having hand/foot/mouth disease before but I'm happy to know about it now so that I can reduce the risk when I may be in a situation where there may be a chance of it.

I've also never heard of someone not being immune to chicken pox after their second bought. I had it twice, but I'm immune now. I'll consider myself lucky!
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: July 16th, 2008 03:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
coxsackie virus is really common in little kids.

Most people are immune to chicken pox after a first bout. It's very, very, very rare to even get it a second time.
From: mattclearing Date: July 16th, 2008 02:14 am (UTC) (Link)
No chicken pox immunity??? Between that, the migraines, and various other issues, the odds just boggle the mind. Glad this episode seems to have worked out okay, at any rate.
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: July 16th, 2008 03:09 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm a freak of nature, what can I tell you?
jeannegrrl From: jeannegrrl Date: July 16th, 2008 04:01 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank Gd it was "just" that. Still, having had it run its course in this household, it's not so much fun.

When Alexander had it, he was laid up for almost a week, but Jacob had only a day of feeling lousy. It just hits kids differently.

I hope it stays contained to poor Abby and that she has as mild a case as is possible to have.

Big hugs.
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: July 16th, 2008 02:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
It did stay contained to just Abby and aside from four days of fever, she had a pretty darned mild case.

Now, of course, Ellie's got some other virus, poor kiddo. :( Fever and general ick, but definitely not coxsackie.
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