RSV Real Talk: What I Want Parents to Know About RSV

Published on: April 17, 2024
2-month-old baby sleeping.
Ahmad at 2 months old

By Tasha Wright, Associate Director for Sanofi's Volunteer Program under Corporate Social Responsibility

I had my first child when I was still a child myself. I was seventeen and hid my pregnancy until I was seven months along. I feel like I did everything wrong during that pregnancy – I just wasn’t ready to accept it – but I was still blessed to have a happy and healthy baby boy. Even so, when I became pregnant with my second child, Ahmad, almost ten years later, I was determined to do everything “right.”

When Ahmad was first born, I kept him at home, protecting him from both the cold weather and germs and sickness. I also breastfed, I ate healthy; I was doing everything I could for the health and safety of my child. Or so I thought.

Ahmad’s older brother was going to and from school, which must have resulted in him picking up a bit of a cold. I don’t remember the rest of us being sick, but suddenly Ahmad was. He was cranky and his temperature was fluctuating up and down. The doctor advised us to keep him hydrated. While I did my best, I started to get really concerned when I realized that Ahmad had gone the entire day with a dry diaper, which was an indication that he was dehydrated.

After hearing that, the doctor told me to take Ahmad to the emergency room. Once we arrived, he was admitted because his oxygen levels were extremely low. The doctors ran tests and confirmed he had RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) infection. Honestly, everything after that was a blur. Ahmad would spend his one-month-old birthday in a hospital hooked up to breathing machines. He was so, so little, and I felt so, so helpless, and like I had failed as a mother.

Luckily, he recovered after three days and there are no lingering effects of his infant hospital stay. Ahmad is now a happy and healthy teenager. He's an athlete, a scholar and is just an awesome human being. But even today, whenever he’s sick, my mind goes back to that little, vulnerable baby in the hospital. I guess experiences like that just stay with you.

I hate the idea of any other parent going through what we went through, which is why I’m passionate about sharing my story. It’s so important for other parents to learn about the risks and signs of RSV and know what to do if their baby gets sick.  I encourage all parents and parents-to-be to visit to learn more about RSV, and to of course talk to your pediatrician about how to help protect our little loves.