'I had COVID when my baby was 10 weeks old. Here's how I coped.'

Lawyer and mum-of-two, Kylie Joiner, felt a growing sense of unease towards the end of 2021 as Omicron case numbers climbed in Victoria.

"We had been through two years and seven very strict lockdowns so this new COVID 'normal' world with no restrictions was a very scary place for me," Kylie says.

"In December, as case numbers doubled every day, so did my anxiety. I had a newborn at home and I knew how vulnerable he was. 

"My two-year-old Thomas was at daycare and we were used to him bringing home viruses, but with COVID, it was this fear of the unknown. I was less anxious about catching it myself but I was worried about what would happen to our little baby Teddy."

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Video via Mamamia.

Kylie spoke to her GP about her fears, because she could feel her mind running away with the stress of it all.

"My GP reassured me that if COVID ended up coming into our house, I would instinctively know how to cope given we had dealt with plenty of daycare viruses before. He also reminded me of all the resources - GPs, doctors, hospitals, hotlines - that were available to me if I ever needed them."

To limit their chances of contracting COVID, Kylie and her husband Duncan scaled back as many activities as they could, outside of the essentials. 

"We also considered removing Thomas from daycare but in the September lockdown, he had been bouncing off the walls at home and we wanted to keep his routine as normal as possible," she says.

"It was a tough decision though as it felt like we were playing Russian roulette with our family's health. I would think, 'Is today the day we'll get it?'"

As Omicron case numbers continued to skyrocket, Kylie and Duncan prepared as best they could.

"We scrambled to get our booster vaccines and stocked up on RAT tests, feeling like we had done everything we could. When we found out that there had been an exposure at Thomas' daycare one Wednesday, we still held out hope that we had avoided it. But at 1am that Sunday night, Thomas developed a nasty cough."


Thinking it was croup, a common upper respiratory infection in kids, Kylie booked in to see her GP on Monday morning, who was still seeing patients face-to-face. The GP organised some medication and arranged a PCR test for Thomas. His results came back positive on Tuesday. 

"My first thought was, 'Oh no, we've got it now', and I felt a lot of mum guilt about allowing the virus to come into our home. The next day I developed symptoms and returned a positive RAT test, shortly followed by baby Teddy on Thursday.

"Teddy had very obvious symptoms, and he had the strongest 'positive' line on his test. Duncan was testing every day, and we began thinking he was super immune. But on about the sixth RAT test, he showed up as positive, so he had to remain in isolation for another week."

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With so many unknowns and two unwell kids at home, Kylie and Duncan decided to just take each day as it came and see how everyone was feeling.

"We took it day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute," she says.

"Our focus was to try not to think about the big picture worries like, 'Are we going to catch long COVID?,' and we did what we could to keep Thomas happy and busy. 

"Thankfully, he wasn't too sick and only had mild symptoms for a couple of days. Teddy had the same cough, low-grade fevers, and a congested nose. We relied upon the FESS Little Noses saline spray and Snotty Boss 'snot sucker' and I just kept on top of breastfeeding to ensure he was hydrated. Duncan and I were the worst off, but overall we felt lucky as we only had mild symptoms."

Logistics wise, the couple made use of streaming services and home deliveries.

"We threw out our desire to be 'perfect parents'. We ordered groceries online, helpful grandparents dropped food off for us, and we relied heavily on UberEats. We used Netflix and YouTube for Thomas, as if he wasn't crying or throwing tantrums then I was all for it! "

Something that surprised Kylie was the support offered by the COVID Positive Pathways service offered through the Victorian Government.

"Once we registered our positive results, we had to log on with our symptoms each day. Over the seven-day isolation period, we received two to three phone calls from the service to check up on the family and especially Teddy," she says.

"One day I was busy with the kids and missed a couple of calls. They left a message to say they would send someone out to our home to check we were okay if I didn't call them back! I felt lucky to have that level of community support." 

Kylie and Duncan in 2018. Image: Supplied.

Now that the family have recovered and are back to a semblance of normal life, Kylie feels confident that if it happens again, they will deal with it.

"I was so anxious about catching COVID and now after we have had it and been okay, I feel much more relaxed," she says.

"Of course, I have friends who have suffered much worse than us and everyone experiences it differently, but for now it is like we can live our lives again."

For other new mums dealing with COVID diagnoses and wondering how they will cope at home with little kids, Kylie recommends chatting to your GP, and throwing the parenting rule book out the window.

"If anyone is super anxious about COVID, I’d say seek help if you need to and find a GP who does face-to-face consults. Also, never underestimate your ability or gut instinct as a mum. 

"And if you had asked me before I became a mother, how much screen time my kid would have, I would have put my foot down and said absolutely none. But you just do what you have to do to do to stay sane in a situation like this."

Have you been diagnosed with COVID while at home with a young baby? How did you cope? Tell us below.

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Feature Image: Supplied.