Hand to Hold's Official Blog: Written by Parents for Parents

How the Grinch (aka RSV Season) Stole Christmas

It’s that time of year- family gatherings, gift giving, Christmas parties, and church services. The season of joy. But what happens when your medically fragile child is stuck at home, leaving you and your baby isolated during this joyous season? How do you answer those nagging questions from relatives eagerly awaiting to pinch those cute little cheeks?

When our son, Pierce was born at 23 weeks gestation back in April 2011, we were focused on one thing and one thing alone: getting him home as quickly as possible. We had such tunnel vision that we never looked far enough ahead to think what it might look like to have a child with severe chronic lung disease at home just in time for RSV season to hit.

Oh, RSV season. Each year you bring your germs and terrify preemie parents around the world. You snatch away our opportunities to show off our babies and replace them with fear. You are the reason our babies endure painful Synagis shots each month. And you, you are the reason so many babies are admitted back to the hospital each year. RSV season, you truly are a grinch!

This year will be our second Christmas spent in isolation. That means no large family gatherings. Limited opportunities to show off Pierce’s new skills. No hugs from aunts and uncles. No Christmas parties or dinners.

And trust me, every Who down in Isolation-ville is feeling the drain.

Every day I read blog posts from parents who are keeping their babies quarantined this Christmas. And so I thought, maybe I’d share with you all a little way to find joy this holiday season despite the Grinch’s presence.

5 Ways to Enjoy the Holidays While Stuck in Isolation

  1. Be sure to clarify your “isolation rules” this Christmas. My husband and I sat down before Thanksgiving and figured out the best way to address family gatherings and functions. We knew taking Pierce was not an option (per his pulmonologist) and we made that clear. We clearly limited visitors to immediate family only and even then, limited the amount of people that could be around Pierce each day.
  2. Make new traditions with your family. We scoured our brains for activities that Pierce could participate in without being exposed to germs and landed on this: multiple trips around town to see Christmas lights. He even got to drive along a Nascar Speedway while viewing the lights. (Ok, last year this one was more for us since he was practically a newborn, but this year, I’m sure he’ll love them!)
  3. Skype in to those family gatherings and let the aunts pinch those virtual cheeks all they want. Hey, best part of it is that there’s no sanitizer required.
  4. Take the opportunity to enjoy the simple things. Our Christmas looked a lot more simple last year, but we found that since we weren’t driving around the state or busy cooking, we had much more time to do little things like bake cookies, watch movies, read magazines, or play board games.
  5. Spend time reflecting on the miracles you’ve witnessed. There’s no doubt about it, our babies are all miracles. Many of them have overcome overwhelming odds. Since you’re isolated from the hustle and bustle, use the quiet time to relish the moments with your sweet one. They won’t always be this little forever. Their lungs won’t always be this fragile. Enjoy them right where they are and don’t, don’t wish it away for one second. Far too soon they’ll be out of isolation and Christmas will grow busy again.

What tips do you have to combat the “Grinch” this Christmas?

Lindsay Franks About Lindsay Franks

Lindsay Franks (NC) is the mother to Pierce, a 23 week preemie. Despite the odds, Pierce overcame a 4.5 month NICU stay. Today he is a healthy and thriving toddler. Pierce works hard in daily therapy, but has already come so far. Lindsay blogs about her family on her Little Baby Pierce. In addition, she founded and runs Pierce's Project, a non-profit that supports families of micropreemies in the Charlotte, NC area. You can find her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.

Comments

  1. These are great tips. We were SO isolated that first holiday season (our 26 weeker came home from her 135 day NICU stay at the end of October) and we lived in a snowy climate, so I don’t think she went anywhere other than the doctor until March. We missed Thanksgiving and Christmas, though everyone thought we were just being “overprotective” but I wasn’t risking a single runny nose on my girl.

    She’s 4.5 now and to be honest, I kinda miss that season of quarantine. Things are SO busy now!

  2. We were in isolation the first year our 24 week twins came home. Our close family came to our house for Christmas, but we had to miss the extended family Christmases. Now our twins are 2 1/2 and are no longer isolated. While I enjoy visiting with family and showing off our cute kids, I do miss the quiet and calm of being able to stay at home.

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