A Sydney mum has shared a distressing video of her newborn with whooping cough fighting for every breath to show just how scary and dangerous the disease can be in those too young to vaccinate.
Sandra Tee tells Babyology she and her husband Tugrul have been taking shifts to keep watch over their five-week-old daughter Heidi so as to catch any ‘silent episodes’, where the persistent cough is replaced by heart-wrenching quiet as their little girl stops breathing.
She says we need to keep pushing for high vaccination rates so other babies aren’t put at risk and other families don’t have to go through the same nightmare.
“This is my 5 week old baby during an episode where she chokes and stops breathing… If we weren’t in hospital and sitting watching our baby 24/7 the outcome would be fatal,” Sandra writes, in a heartfelt plea that accompanies the video.
“Please don’t ignore the warning signs – our baby girl only had a slight cough to start. Please share this to educate more people on the importance of vaccinations.”
The video has been viewed more than 200,000 times in less than 24 hours since being posted. Take a look for yourself.
Sandra tells Babyology their three-year-old son Lincoln, who is fully vaccinated, was diagnosed with whooping cough just 10 days after his baby sister was born.
“There were many other kids in his day care class who were positive so we were notified and took him to get tested,” Sandra says.
Sandra says they were all put on antibiotics as a preventative, including Heidi but it wasn’t easy trying to explain to Lincoln why he couldn’t get too close to his sister.
“We tried to keep the kids separate as much as possible but it is very hard to tell a toddler adjusting to a new sibling that he can’t go near her,” Sandra says.
When Heidi was three weeks old, Sandra says she noticed her daughter was developing an occasional cough that was worse after feeds.
“We had to pick her up and pat her back when she coughed because it started to sound like she was choking,” Sandra says.
The day after Sandra pushed for doctors to test her precious girl for whooping cough, Heidi coughed and then went blue as she stopped breathing.
Thankfully Tugrul, a trained firefighter, began CPR and was able to bring her back with just one breath.
“She got worse the next few days and started having apneas where she would not even cough – just made a very tiny noise and, when I looked at her, she’d stopped breathing, turned red then deep purple and blue,” Sandra says.
“This is the scary part because the first time it happened nurses and doctors rushed in, and at first oxygen couldn’t get her going so they all got a bit panicky and got a crash cart ready to start working on her.
“We couldn’t sleep as we spent every minute watching her to make sure we didn’t miss a ‘silent episode’. We have been taking turns sleeping and watching her. The nurses have been brilliant.”
Heidi still has a way to go until she is completely out of danger, Sandra says.
Health NSW shows there have been a total of 6,487 cases of whooping cough recorded in NSW so far this year, compared to 5,761 cases recorded by the end of August 2015.
From August 1, 2015 to July 31 this year, there have been 2444 recorded cases of whooping cough in children aged four and under.
Babyology recently reported on Victoria’s success in halving cases of whooping cough in babies after the government reinstated a free vaccination program for all pregnant women and their partners, as well as parents and guardians of newborns.
In NSW only pregnant women in their third trimester can get free vaccinations against whooping cough.
(bottom two images via Writing with Light Photography)