A Breastfeeding Mums account of Coronavirus

My symptoms started with a really mild cough it wasn’t continuous, it wasn’t even particularly bad it was just very mild. If it wasn’t for the fact that I was already aware of Coronavirus and its many presentations I probably would have ignored it. I went to bed that night with some shoulder pain and feeling more tired than usual but otherwise not too much to write home about.

 I then woke up at 5am with the sheets completely drenched. My head was pounding so hard – I had a tight band all over my skull. My muscles were aching so much I could cry. For what felt like ages I lay there, not bearing the thought of having to move but I had to because I needed to get to a toilet- I needed to vomit!

I quickly took a paracetamol and checked my temperature – 38.2. I can’t actually remember the last time I had a temperature- I’m normally quite resilient. I went straight back to bed, the pain in my muscles and joints were unbearable, hoping I could sleep it off or lay still enough that it wouldn’t hurt so much. Without any exaggeration- I wanted someone to chop off my legs.

 With no one else to do mum duties, I had to force myself to get up and out and look after my child. Might have been one of the hardest things I’ve ever physically had to do. Later that day the worst symptom was the headache, directly concentrated behind my eyes- heavy and unrelenting- I don’t think I moved from the same position all morning but I was weirdly functional – I guess as a mum (especially to a breastfeeding child) you have to always be present and keep on keeping on. (I wasn’t prepared and hadn’t pre pumped milk so my husband could give him the bottle) It all felt like an out of body experience really.

By the afternoon my headache was unrelenting. I took my temperature again, it said ‘Hi’ I thought I was hallucinating, what did ‘Hi’ mean? I wondered if perhaps it was broken – it never occurred to me that it was so high that it couldn’t read it. I didn’t even think to take paracetamol. I literally just passed out where I was. After 20 minutes, I came around to my son screaming for me (my husband couldn’t keep him entertained for much longer) so I dragged myself up and tended to him. I finally took another paracetamol and 30minutes later retook my temperature; 41.3degrees- Woah- it finally dawned on me what ‘Hi’ meant. No wonder I felt so bad! Honestly, I don’t remember much of this day other than the severity of the headache and muscle ache.

 Fortunately for me, by the next day I definitely felt better. I took the paracetamol regularly. The headache persisted though not as severe. My temperature was up only once in the morning but I otherwise had a bit more energy. The mild cough was a little more present and a little less dry but largely unproblematic.

 The next few days I waxed and waned between bursts of energy and extreme fatigue. Most days I’ve slept when baby’s slept which I didn’t even do after I gave birth. Most days I’ve gone to bed early-trying to get ahead of the day to come. Most days I haven’t been able to do anything other than the basics. Its been difficult but as I largely get better the one symptom that remains is my inability to smell properly. My nose isn’t blocked; I just can’t smell or taste anything normally. Yes, it’s horrible not being able to enjoy a bar of chocolate but more noticeably I can't smell my son. Everything smells burnt and where my sons hair is normally my bed of comfort- it's now an unfamiliar smell and quite saddening. Although minor in the grand scheme of things, I do hope it comes back soon.

 

Testing

As you know, in the UK they are no longer testing- so I am not test positive but I’m 1000% sure I had the virus this week. What I experienced was horrible and given I’m not a wordsmith, I don’t think that my short piece can even do the virus justice. I’m young, fit and able bodied- I dread to imagine what it does to those less able.

 

Symptoms

I got the full thwart of symptoms but I must reiterate one thing. There is a lot of onus put on the cough being an important symptom of Coronavirus-but my cough was mild. And everyone I know had a mild cough. The cough was not continuous, it was just new. I didn’t have a coughing fit or necessarily 3 bouts in 24 hours but I was coughing. So I would encourage people with new symptoms (like a cough or a change in taste or smell) to self isolate for 7 days

 

Baby

It was very difficult to separate myself from baby as you can imagine. He had very mild symptoms of cough, runny nose etc. like a normal cold. Luckily he did not have a temperature but we still self isolated for a week. I didn’t have a mask to wear but I did wash my hands every single time. I coughed into my elbow and I disinfected the whole house and the surfaces daily and washed his bedding at very high temperatures in a bid to keep germs at bay.

 

Measures

  1. I would recommend to my breastfeeding mums- if you are able to pump in advance- do so now. Dust off your pump, make space in your freezer and start preparing for a coronavirus day. That’ll give you the much needed break you will require and it’ll help protect baby just that extra bit by allowing someone healthier to feed them.
  2. Make sure you have paracetamol on hand. Don’t overbuy- 2 packets of 16 is enough. You can take two, four times a day and that’ll last 4 days. 
  3. Plenty of water and nutrition. Even when you don’t feel like eating, if you’re not vomiting, forcing yourself to eat is important because that will help build up your reserves faster.
  4. If you have a change to your smell or taste- I would wash out your nasal passages twice a day- its called nasal irrigation and you can find videos online. It will help displace the virus (sticking to the nasal passages) causing relief of these unpleasant symptoms.
  5. Practice social distancing. Its so important to stop the spread of this highly infectious disease. It’s the right thing to do not just for you and your family but for humanity!

 

Take care Mums x


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