If Ashley Pool had never seen the other mom’s post in her Facebook feed, her baby might not be alive today.
As KBTX News reports, the mom from Bryan, Texas, was looking at Facebook one day when she came across a tragic post from another mom. Presley Trejo wrote about the death of her infant daughter, Emerson, from the herpes simplex virus (HSV-1).
Presley described how quickly the virus attacked her daughter and how she had to pull the plug on Emerson’s life support when her baby was only 12 days old.
“People need to know about this sickness,” she wrote. “This is a serious and dangerous illness. Do your part, stop kissing babies and start washing your hands. These babies don’t deserve it.”
I know my family and I have been quiet about what exactly happened to our sweet girl. I wasn’t going to say anything yet…
Presley’s story isn’t unique. Other heartbroken parents have shared similar stories. Abigail Rose Friend lost her daughter, Aliza Rose, at 8 days old and shared a similar warning about how Aliza caught the deadly virus when someone touched or kissed her.
According to the New York Department of Health, about 70 percent of U.S. adults are infected with HSV-1 and can shed the virus in their saliva even when they don’t have a cold sore. While the virus is relatively harmless in adults and older children, it can be deadly for newborns.
Symptoms of HSV-1 in newborns may be mild at first. Within two to 12 days of exposure, the baby might have a low-grade fever, small blisters, or poor feeding. However, the illness can get more severe very quickly and the baby may experience seizures, a high fever, and lethargy.
If a newborn contracts HSV-1, he or she will need to be hospitalized and receive a course of IV antiviral drugs. Even with prompt treatment, HSV-1 can cause brain damage or death in a newborn baby.
Only a week after seeing Presley’s post, Ashley’s 6-week-old daughter, Reagan, fell ill. Doctors immediately began treating the newborn but weren’t sure what was making Reagan sick. Ashley told KBTX:
“They did blood work. They swabbed her, they did a spinal tap, started on the medication right away.”
Ashley had a cold sore at the time but had been careful not to kiss her baby. As the doctors struggled to figure out why her daughter was ill, Ashley remembered the post she had seen about HSV-1. She told KBTX:
“It was fresh on my mind, so it was just a godsend that she posted it when she did.”
After recalling Presley’s post about HSV-1, Ashley pushed doctors toward the right diagnosis for her daughter.
The mom says that Presley’s story saved Reagan’s life. She told KBTX that she wanted Presley to know that Emerson did make a difference in the world:
“How do you tell a mother, ‘Thank you for sharing your story of losing your newborn baby to save mine’?
Little Emerson, her short life here was worth something. It was worth something more than we could imagine, she was saving babies. Who else might she save?”
Ashley is now echoing the advice of other moms who have seen what HSV-1 can do to infants. She’s warning parents to make sure people wash their hands before handling a baby and not to allow anyone to kiss a baby.
Reagan is now 4 months old and is still on medication to combat the virus. Her mom told KBTX how grateful she is that her daughter is healthy and on the road to recovery:
“If you have children, you know how much you love them. We had only had her for six weeks and I couldn’t imagine her being taken away from us that quickly.”