Rebecca Marshall
Rebecca Marshall

We're putting our bub in quarantine

I AM 35 weeks pregnant.

My partner and I have decided to quarantine our baby girl from anyone who has not had the whooping cough vaccine for the first eight weeks of her life.

We didn't do this with our four-year-old when he was born, simply because it was not an issue then.

Recently, however, there have been many media reports about the highly contagious disease and an alarming case rise in our corner of Queensland.

This new information has made a hard decision easy.

Already this year, Queensland Health has reported 257 cases of pertussis (whooping cough).

A total of 8841 cases were reported in Queensland during 2011, up from 8220 in 2010 and 6218 in 2009.

We have had advice from the specialist medical professionals we are seeing that whooping cough is "rife" on the Sunshine Coast and is spiking here, for some reason.

The way I see it, I will spend about a week in hospital; I will spend probably at least four weeks (or perhaps the rest of my life) in zombie land, adjusting to a drastically different routine at home, which only leaves a matter of weeks before we can visit the doctor for her vaccinations.

I understand this will only give her partial protection (ahead of her four and six-month shots), but at least it's a start and at least the risk will be somewhat lowered.

Practically, what will it mean?

Will I agonise over the fact that I can't take my new baby girl into work to show her off when she is a month old?


Will I wish that I could see how I handle the new experience of loading up the car with a five-week-old and associated paraphernalia while going on my first solo trip to a shopping centre?


Will I feel silly or ashamed if I am forced to turn away visitors who drop by to see the baby during the quarantine period, and they have not received the message we have been regularly communicating to our family and friends to either stay away or get vaccinated?


But, you know what? Those things can wait.

Like anything to do with parenting, it's about tempering the panic, approaching the issues and anxieties of the day with maturity and responsibility and doing what you feel is right to ensure your particular brand of peace of mind remains intact.

It is indisputably better than the alternative - watching a tiny baby choke and struggle with the simple act of breathing as she turns blue from incessant coughing.

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