North Carolina News Anchor and Her Family Sickened by Coronavirus Days After She Gave Birth
“I've had some sleepless nights watching my baby breathe,” Molly Grantham tells PEOPLE
A North Carolina news anchor, her husband and three young children were sickened by the novel coronavirus within days of welcoming the newest addition to their family last month.
Molly Grantham, 43, who works for local Charlotte station WBTV News, revealed earlier this month in a lengthy Facebook post that her entire family — husband Wes, daughter Parker, 9, son Hutch, 5, and newborn son Hobie, who was born July 14 — had all contracted the virus, yet experienced very different symptoms.
“The past two weeks have been a surreal, quarantine-illness-filled-world…while living and raising a newborn,” Grantham wrote at the start of her post, which has been shared over 64 thousand times since August 2, stressing that she and her family members “are all okay.”
“At 10-days-old, Hobie was ‘the youngest person tested in Mecklenburg County' and 'youngest presumptively positive case,’ according to the county health department,” she continued. “I couldn’t script the life we’ve been living if I tried.”
When Grantham and her husband Wes first came back from the hospital, “nobody really had symptoms,” she tells PEOPLE — including her mother and father-in-law who had been staying with Parker and Hutch and had tested negative for COVID-19 before their stay.
Even when her mother-in-law abruptly developed a fever and left, Grantham says she “didn’t think anything of it.” (Her in-laws tested positive upon returning home to Kentucky, but are doing fine now.)
However, after Parker came down with a sore throat, Grantham decided that out of an abundance of caution she would get her older daughter and Hutch tested.
“Even at the time I thought I was nuts, because they weren’t experiencing anything,” she explains. “And then that night was when Parker got really sick overnight. And that’s when I was so grateful I’d have already had the test in the works.”
Although Parker’s fever broke the following morning, Grantham’s husband had lost his sense of taste and smell, after which the family had no choice but to assume that the virus “was in our house.”
When their test results came back days later, Parker had tested positive, but Hutch did not — although Grantham says the doctor told them to assume it was a false negative.
Even though doctors recommended that she and the newborn should quarantine on opposite sides of the house from the rest of the family, the arrangement wasn’t realistic, and after about a day she took to wearing masks indoors.
“I was more frightened not knowing about the baby,” she tells PEOPLE. “I felt the rest of us would end up being okay. I didn’t even think I had it. I wasn’t worried about me at all — which was a mistake.”
By this point, Grantham was experiencing allergy-like symptoms, body aches and a headache. But since she never had a fever or lost her sense of taste or smell, she assumed her body was merely responding to having just given birth.
“It screamed just being tired. It screamed mom, it screamed postpartum,” she tells PEOPLE. “And by the time I finally got tested, you know, I think it had been pretty far gone.”
After her husband’s test came back positive, Grantham and Hobie got tested. In addition to having coronavirus, an X-Ray also showed that Grantham was suffering from pneumonia. Although her newborn’s test came back negative, health officials told the family to assume it was a false negative.
Since then Hobie, who is now 3 weeks old, is dealing with congestion, but Grantham tells PEOPLE that her son “is absolutely going to be fine.”
“I'm not worried. I'm very conscious,” she adds, noting that she is keeping a close watch on his breathing. As for her husband and Parker, Grantham, who is still recovering from pneumonia, says they’re “a hundred percent good.”
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Although it was unquestionably a “difficult two weeks,” Grantham, whose latest book is appropriately titled The Juggle is Real, says she “absolutely” feels lucky.
“It’s like Russian Roulette,” she tells PEOPLE of the global health crisis. “You don’t know how it’s going to impact you.”
“I've had some sleepless nights watching my baby breathe, not knowing exactly what I'm looking for. But we never had to go to the hospital and we're all going to be okay,” she adds.
As for why she decided to open up about her story, Grantham stresses that she wants to make it clear that COVID-19 is a “public health issue, no matter what your political views are.”
“To assume that this is just a political issue, not real, made up, a hoax, is false,” she tells PEOPLE. “It is impacting children and I am living proof of watching it spread through my home.”
Grantham also hopes that her story will help spread the message that children “are not immune” to COVID-19, and that everybody’s experience with the virus is different. “Everyone in our household had different symptoms,” she says. “So if you go through the list, nothing is necessarily the same, even though they're all connected.”
Another piece of advice for moms? Don’t write off your own symptoms.
“Pay attention to your own body,” she says. “Because a household generally doesn't run if mom's not able to help.”
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