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By Erin and David Harris
| June 21, 2019
There is nothing more perfect in the world than a brand new baby. There’s so much anticipation and excitement. When our youngest daughter was born, her first cries were music to our ears—but we never expected those cries to take such a scary turn just 10 days later.
When we found out Emma was on the way, it was a dream come true. Our oldest daughter, Katie, had been praying every night for a baby sister. We were absolutely over joyed, but I also was very aware that Emma would be born during cold and flu season. I knew we would have to be extra vigilant, and that we probably would be spending all of our time at home. Visitors would have to wait a few months to meet her. Germs and colds are a part of life, but we took every precaution—so I was unprepared to hear our pediatrician say that Emma had RSV at 10 days old and needed to go to the ER.
We were scared to death for our little baby, so new to the world. To watch her struggle to breathe through her congestion was so awful. We watched nurses attach the tiniest of monitors to Emma’s chest, and wrestle a pulse ox monitor onto a little foot, which only 10 days earlier was kicking me, ready to come into the world. We were supposed to be her strongest protectors, but in those moments she needed the care and attention of nurses and doctors. I didn’t sleep at all that night. I watched this eight pound baby lying in a crib in a nest of blankets, fed her around wires, and prayed.
Thankfully, Emma was able to go home the next day. She amazed everyone who met her. They all fell in love. Our little bull was going to be ok. We had to call our pediatrician daily for a few days to keep the office updated. Any change and this sweet baby girl would have to go right back to the PICU. We watched for a fever. For weeks, any little noise that seemed out of the ordinary from her would make me panic. I was beside myself with worry about what her big sister may bring home from preschool. But the thing is, we couldn’t stop living. We have to raise two healthy and well-rounded girls. Katie has to go to school, and Emma has to leave the house. We’ve continued living our lives, but with the extreme amount of knowledge about cold, germs, and the effects they can have on the youngest among us always in the back of our head.
We want to thank you for the work you are doing that will help the most delicate little miracles in our lives. I hope there’s a day that a scared mommy never has to watch a nurse suction their tiny little baby. Motherhood is scary enough, but your work may help it not be as scary.
Dave and Erin Harris
Sponsored by Pfizer
Dear Scientist, my baby went to the ER with a potentially life-threatening illness. Is a vaccine on the way to help future infants?
The Harris family was home with their newborn for only 10 days before she contracted a severe illness caused by respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Scientist Kena Swanson and her team are developing a vaccine that could prevent RSV disease.