A TV news anchor from North Carolina chronicled her family’s battle with COVID-19 after they all contracted the virus just days after she gave birth.
Molly Grantham, who works with the Charlotte CBS affiliate WBTV, shared the harsh reality faced by families infected with coronavirus last week.
‘This is not a made-up, fictitious illness,’ Grantham wrote in a now-viral Facebook post on Sunday.
‘It’s real. I watched my 10-day-old get a nasal swab from a nurse practitioner covered head-to-toe in a protective suit, while his 9-year-old sister tried to calm him without being allowed to touch him.
‘This, while I was in another car reviewing X-rays with a doctor, looking at nodules on my lungs.’
Grantham’s newborn baby is reportedly the ‘the youngest person tested in Mecklenburg County’ and ‘youngest presumptive positive case’.
The frightening ordeal began when Grantham went to a Charlotte-area hospital on July 14 to give birth to her youngest son, Hobie Michael.
When Grantham and Hobie first arrived home from the hospital, the family smothered the baby with hugs and kisses to welcome the newest member.
But unbeknownst to them, the couple’s nine-year-old daughter had contracted the virus while Grantham was in the hospital.
The young girl, named Parker, was initially asymptomatic before she began complaining of a sore throat and her ears popping when she swallowed less than 18-hours after they reunited.
Grantham initially brushed off the symptoms as allergies, but the coronavirus was fresh on her mind after spending hours inside a medical center.
Out of precaution, Grantham took Parker and her oldest son, five-year-old Hutch, to get tested at the families’ pediatrician but didn’t believe they could be infected.
‘I half-thought I was being helicopter-parent crazy, but whatever. Nothing lost if the test was negative,’ she wrote.
The pediatrician instructed the family-of-five to cancel any planned visits and quarantine together until the children’s results came back.
Grantham spent that night comforting her daughter, who was nauseated, sweaty, feverish and restless.
‘[Parker] came to me crying, feeling nauseous, with her hair matted back from her forehead, wet and sticky. She slept on the floor, with soaked skin and one arm wrapped around a bowl,’ wrote Grantham.
‘She felt like absolute hell. Wes (her husband) and I were up more with her that night than with 4-day-old Hobie.’
‘Here is the truth: I was petrified,’ she wrote. ‘Every horrific headline I’ve read and reported on, reappeared in my mind.
‘Watching Parker toss and sweat, combined with having a newborn with zero immune system nearby, combined with middle-of-night-hazy-unclear-thoughts… it added up to awful.’
The family was optimistic when Parker awoke the next day feeling ‘better,’ but the ordeal took another turn when Wes admitted he couldn’t taste, smell and felt exhausted. He, too, got tested.
‘Even if Parker’s was a stomach bug, the one symptom that defines coronavirus is “no taste; no smell.” We had to assume Wes was positive,’ she wrote.
Grantham felt body aches and was exhausted as well, but she blamed those feelings on postpartum-like symptoms.
Later, a pediatrician confirmed that Parker contracted COVID-19 but Hutch’s results came back negative.
The family was told to assume it was a false negative or a bad swab, and to consider Hutch ‘presumptively positive.’
Over video call, the pediatrician recommended Parker, Hutch and Wes quarantine in one part of the house while Grantham stayed with the baby in another.
‘Keep Hutch away from Hobie in the same house? I thought she was kidding,’ wrote Grantham.
But quarantining and wearing masks inside the home proved too much for the family. Grantham admitted it wasn’t ‘realistic’ trying to ‘parent P and H through walls.’
After one day, the family began normal interactions again despite Grantham’s body aches getting worse and a newly developed ‘pounding headache that wouldn’t go away.’
Then, Wes’ COVID-19 test results came back positive and Hutch was hit with a 100.7F fever.
‘Assume he has it,’ a pediatrician told Grantham about Hutch. ‘His symptoms are just a week late. Molly—you need to get tested.’
Grantham pushed back at first – she didn’t have a fever and hadn’t experience symptoms like her family.
‘Needing to have a fever is a misconception with coronavirus,’ the pediatrician told Grantham.
‘You’re high risk with a newborn and three of your family members are now for sure positive. Go get tested.’
Grantham visited a drive-thru clinic to undergo a rapid test and was told by a nurse she would need a chest X-ray after a sever cough interrupted their discussion.
The nurse also suggested 10-day-old Hobie get tested, too.
Grantham was diagnosed with COVID-19 and pneumonia. Hobie’s test came back negative.
Like Hutch, the family was told to assume Hobie was positive when they returned home.
‘More than 10 days later, Hobie has not shown one symptom. I have watched him like a hawk. Over-studied every breath while watching his tiny rib cage rise and fall,’ wrote Grantham.
Since then, Grantham has been treating her pneumonia and COVID-19 symptoms while on maternity leave.
In a final note, Grantham revealed that the entire family is gradually recovering.
‘Relief is an underrated sensation. It covers me right now as I watch the kids argue and Hobie sleepily smile and Wes feel okay,’ she wrote.
‘And yes… I am getting my energy back. Not there 100% but it is a beautiful feeling to know we’ll be okay.’
Finally, she urged people to be cognizant of COVID-19 symptoms and to beware of misinformation.
‘Be careful. Share the lessons. Symptoms range from almost anything mild to anything notable. Just, please, be smart and only spread factual information,’ she wrote.
The United States continued to struggle with the COVID-19 pandemic as the country records more than 4.8million cases and 160,000 deaths.
North Carolina has managed to avoid becoming a COVID-19 hot spot during the last six months, but still recorded a number of cases and deaths.
As of Friday morning, North Carolina health officials counted 132,000 confirmed infections and a death toll of 2,159.
Mecklenburg County, which was mentioned in Grantham’s Facebook post, has amassed 21,876 infections and 225 deaths.