“Our entire family has COVID”: Molly Grantham shares ‘surreal’ diagnosis while raising newborn –

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV/Gray News) – Our entire family has COVID.
Thats a direct way to say it, but I dont have any bandwidth left to beat around the bush. The past two weeks have been a surreal, quarantine-illness-filled-worldwhile living and raising a newborn. At 10-days-old, Hobie was the youngest person tested in Mecklenburg County and youngest presumptively positive case, according to the county health department. Im writing now because we are all okay.
Please know that: We Are All Okay.
But, it is nutty. I couldnt script the life weve been living if I tried: Parker got it first. Of the various visions I had about coming home with a new baby, none included the whole family in isolation with a potentially deadly virus.
Molly Grantham is a news anchor at WBTV, Gray Televisions affiliate in Charlotte.
I instinctively want to make a joke about that last sentence. As if its funny. Its not, but twisted humorwhile keeping myself positivewas my way of coping these last two weeks. If youre laughing, youre too distracted to scream.
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Our whole family has COVID. Thats a direct way to say it, but I dont have any bandwidth left to beat around the bush. The health department tells me Hobie is the youngest tested and youngest presumptively positive case in Meck County, but of the five of us, hes the one who came out most unscathed. As a family were crawling out of the woods and please know all of us will be okay. I felt it was important to write more details about what weve gone through the past two weeks to be transparent and honest with the many of you who kindly care… and… even more… in case our lessons learned can help you. Personal stories often resonate more than scientific facts. READ >> (link in bio). Few pictures here of the masked-up way weve been living inside our own home. Last photo is me watching my 10-day-old get a nasal swab from a nurse practitioner covered in protective gear, while his sister tried to calm him without being able to touch him. I, meantime, was in a separate car reviewing chest x-rays that showed nodules on my lungs. This virus is real. You can have an opinion on how to handle it, but dont politicize the virus itself. Its a public health issue. Ive been petrified watching my kids get sick, while caring for a newborn. Its a public health issue. Period. More in link. -Molly
A post shared by Molly Grantham (@molly_grantham) on Aug 2, 2020 at 5:34am PDT
To be clear, I didnt want to tell you guys until we were out of the woods. I didnt want to cause unnecessary alarm. I also didnt want to post something on Facebook, just to post something. It seemed insincere and wrong to falsely imply life was grandly perfect, when reality was difficult, scary, and in moments, a comedy of errors.
In our latest video medical appointment three days ago, the doctor said writing details about what our family has gone through might help someone else. Weve learned lessons. I understand, in a personal way, more about this virus and its myriad of symptoms. As my doctor said: This is not a political issueits a public health crisis. One your family has been living. Please help educate as best you can.
Education. Got it. I can do that.
So want to hear a crazy story?
While I was in the hospital having a baby, Parker got exposed to COVID. She showed no symptoms for days so when Wes and I returned home with Hobie, and all of us were hugging and kissing the baby, we were all unknowingly exposed. On Hobies third day of life less than 18-hours at home with him Parker started complaining of a sore throat and ears popping when she swallowed. Allergy-like feelings.
Normally, I wouldnt think anything about a sore throat. Only, wed just left a hospital and its multitude of warnings were in my head. I instantly wondered about COVID.
The next morning, I insisted she and Hutch get tested. We were going to the pediatricians office anyway for Hobies first appointment and it was easy: They stayed in the car and a nurse came to the parking lot and swabbed their noses. I half-thought I was being helicopter-parent crazy, but, whatever. Nothing lost if the test was negative.
Right? Right.
The pediatrician asked if shed been around anyone who had it. I said, No. At the time I didnt know my mother-in-law, who was watching them while we were in the hospital, had symptoms. The doctor said HOW and WHERE people are getting it almost doesnt matter. Everyone can get easily exposed.
The cat is out of the bag, she said. We should all be careful, but, theres a chance everyone will have it at some point. We hear of people every day who are positive and have no idea where they got it.
She told us to cancel my stepmoms visit to come help with Hobie and quarantine as a family until the kids results were back. Rest of the day was fine.
First and most importantly so glad Molly and her family are getting better. Second, read her account and learn.Third, do your part to slow the spread. Wear a mask, wait six feet part, wash your hands.
— Jamie Boll WBTV (@JamieBollWBTV) August 2, 2020
But that night Parker woke up in a deep sweat. Came to me crying, feeling nauseous, with her hair matted back from her forehead, wet and sticky. She slept on the floor, with soaked skin and one arm wrapped around a bowl.
She never actually threw up. (In case that helps when looking for symptoms in your own kids.) But she felt like absolute hell. Wes and I were up more with her that night than with 4-day-old Hobie.
Here is the truth: I was petrified. Parker and Hutch have had nighttime sickness before, but those past moments werent during COVID. This world in which we live can make you paranoid. It can make your mind go down dangerous rabbit holes. Every horrific headline Ive read and reported on, reappeared in my mind. Watching Parker toss and sweat, combined with having a newborn with zero immune system nearby, combined with middle-of-night-hazy-unclear-thoughts it added up to awful. Id feed him, then go wipe her forehead with a cold, wet paper towel, then try to dig myself out of a bad mental ditch. I was calm and patient all night long on the outside; a floppy mess of fear-filled, limp feelings inside.
And then
Thank God
Her fever broke the next morning.
She woke up. She looked at me, staring back at her.
Mommy I feel better.
Thats all she said. She knew. She knew simply by looking at my face peering into hers, how the night had ripped us both apart.
By that afternoon, she was back to riding her hoverboard in our house, feeling good.
But also by that afternoon, Wes had lost all sense of taste and smell. He felt lethargic. He called around and took the next available appointment to get tested, days later.
Even if Parkers was a stomach bug, the one symptom that defines coronavirus is no taste; no smell. We had to assume Wes was positive and felt grateful wed been in family quarantine. Hutch and Hobie felt fine and I felt tired, but Id just had a baby. Of course my body ached. Of course I was exhausted. I could taste and smell and thought nothing of the other post-partum like symptoms.
Days later, Parkers test came back positive. Hutchs was negative, but the pediatrician said to assume it was a false negative or a bad swab, and to consider him presumptively positive. Wes was still down and out with exhaustion. I told her I hadnt had any major symptoms.
Through a video conference call, she said Hutch, Parker, and Wes should stay in one part of the house and Hobie and I should quarantine in another room away from them for the next few weeks.
Keep Hutch away from Hobie in the same house?
I thought she was kidding.
She wasnt. And if we had to see each other, she said, just make sure we all wore masks within our own home. There wasnt data on newborns and COVID yet. Anecdotally, they werent seeing many cases (comforting to hear), but we needed to protect Hobie as much as possible.
The logistics of staying separate from two kids, while Wes worked remotely in a home office while fighting COVID, with me trying to feed a baby in one room while also getting lunches and meals and trying to parent P and H through walls I mean just not realistic. We stayed apart for about a day, but eventually turned to wearing masks.
Meantime, my body aches were getting worse. I also had a pounding headache that wouldnt go away. It didnt seem odd. The responsibilities being managedwhile making sure to feed a baby every three hourswould hurt anyones head. There was nothing, I told myself, to worry about.
The Mecklenburg County Health Department started calling. We were on its radar.
Youre breaking our protocols, multiple nurses said with light laughs. We dont have many families with a newborn in the records. We just want to make sure youre taking care of yourselves.
I was honest in my reply: We were doing the best we could.
The Health Department nurses were kind. They gave me cell phone numbers to text for information. They kept calling, various nurses, and I kept nodding at the phone as if they could see me as if that would make the calls go faster. I wanted to stop answering everyones endless questions; the same endless list of questions Id just answered for someone else. Hobie was crying and Hutch and Parker were fighting. Family members wanted updates. Dishes needed washed. What were we doing for dinner? Laundry was spilling into the hallways. Everyone else needed me and I wanted to stop picking up the phone.
Another 24-hours later, Wess test came back positive and Hutch had a fever. Low-grade. 100.7. I called the pediatrician.
Assume he has it, she said. His symptoms are just a week late. Mollyyou need to get tested.
But I dont have a fever, I told her.
Needing to have a fever is a misconception with coronavirus, she said. Youre high risk with a newborn and three of your family members are now for sure positive. Go get tested.
Easier said than done. I called hotlines and clinics; appointments werent available for days. Right at the point of tipping-point frustration, the Health Department called. Again. Just to, thankfully, check-in. Bless the nurses who have to deal with impatient patients like me. I asked her where to go.
She told me about a drive-up clinic on Freedom Drive at the newly-constructed Michael Jordan Health Clinic in west Charlotte. You didnt need an appointment, she said. You didnt even need a primary care provider. It was open Monday-Friday from 8a-noon. Get there early, she added. There is usually a long line.
The next morning I was the 28th car in line at 7:30 a.m. The reporter in me counted.
It was organized and moved fast. The nurse practitioner who approached my vehicle, Courtney, had the best bedside (car-side?) manner imaginable. I started coughing while telling her my situation. I really was, I realized while barreling through facts, simply exhausted.
So your whole family has it? she asked.
Everyone but the baby, I replied.
Call your husband and have him drive the baby here, she said. I am giving you a rapid test, and then Im taking you inside this clinic to get a chest X-ray. You dont sound good and I want your newborn tested as well.
My COVID test was positive.
The X-ray also showed I had pneumonia.
Courtney called in a strong antibiotic to the pharmacy.
You are doing what every woman I have seen is doing, she scolded. Youre taking care of your kids and family and ignoring yourself. Get the medicine. Go home. Go to sleep.
With my wrist appropriately slapped, and our quarantine calendar count starting over with a new 10-days, I went home and did what Courtney said.
Hobies rapid test came back negative, butlike Hutch days beforewe were told to assume he was positive. The thought crossed my mind that if the newsroom had seen ten days old on a press release about daily COVID testing statistics, wed probably try to track that family down and see if they wanted to share their story.
Yet, it wasnt some nameless, mysterious family. It was me. My kids. My baby.
The great part in all this is, even as I type now, more than ten days later, Hobie has not shown one symptom. I have watched him like a hawk. Over-studied every breath while watching his tiny rib cage rise and fall. He is a healthy champ, who also handled the cold-turkey switch to all-formula really well. He had no choice but to accept the new diet. The antibiotic in my body was too strong for him.
Turns out, it was also too strong for me.
Two days after starting the pills, I woke up in hives. Not just a little scratching a severe allergic reaction where my body was a walking red welt and my face looked like a swollen game of connect-the-dots. The doctor took one look through the computer screen and switched my meds. The second meds I started made me throw up. I stuck with them. Still on them now. Pneumonia is nothing to mess with and I need something, so, whatever. Im ignoring the nausea.
Lets just say photos of Hobies first weeks of life will make quite a scrapbook. Everyone holding him is wearing masks, and his mother looks like a large uncomfortable tomato-head. Its A) laughable and almost inhuman.
Lessons learned, that can hopefully help you:

  • You dont need to have a fever.
  • One family can have totally different symptoms.
  • Parker: Allergies and a fever.
  • Wes: No taste/no smell, lethargy.
  • Hutch: Cold and runny nose.
  • Me: Body aches, shortness of breath, headache.
  • Seems newborns arent getting it very often.
  • Hobie remainsso farunscathed.
  • Kids are not immune.
  • Read again: Your children are not immune.
  • No matter how careful you are…
  • Anyone can be exposed.
  • Pediatrician: The cat is out of the bag.
  • Other side effects can appear.
  • They can be worse than the virus.
  • For me, pneumonia.
  • Get checked. Dont wait.
  • Dont assume its something else.
  • This is not the flu.
  • One big difference is the incubation period.
  • Parker had it days before showing symptoms.
  • We had no indication.
  • She was around a handful of people.
  • All were tested and (thankfully) negative.
  • Before we knew results, we made a chart.
  • Who the people she was around, were around
  • Then who those people were around
  • Then who that layer of people were around…
  • If you want to be horrified:
  • Make a graph that starts with your daughter.
  • This virus is like a wave.
  • Just one case can wipe out many people.
  • Parker alone couldve infected dozens.
  • Long-term effects.
  • What are they?
  • Studies show issues could appear later.
  • Time will tell. Not sweating that today.

For now, Im just glad the fire is extinguished and the smoke around our family is clearing. I am usually eerily calm in crisis situations and am proud of surviving this one, but cant deny how rocked I was watching Parker sweat through the night or my vigilant round-the-clock watch over Hobie.
Relief is an underrated sensation. It covers me right now as I watch the kids argue and Hobie sleepily smile and Wes feel okay and yes I am getting my energy back. Not there 100% but it is a beautiful feeling to know well be okay.
As weve crawled back into the light, Ive been consumed thinking about the families who make up the growing statistics we see day after day after day. The people filled with pain and loss, who arent okay. Currently North Carolina has had close to 2,000 people die from COVID; Mecklenburg County itself has had over 20,000 positive cases, and over 200 deaths.
My heart breaks for those people. It did before; it breaks even more now having just a small taste of the isolation and loneliness.
This is not a made-up, fictitious illness meant to be politicized. You can have an opinion on how it should be handled; but dont fool yourself into thinking its not real. Its real. I watched my 10-day-old get a nasal swab from a nurse practitioner covered head-to-toe in a protective suit, while his 9-year-old sister tried to calm him without being allowed to touch him. This, while I was in another car reviewing X-rays with a doctor, looking at nodules on my lungs.
Its real.
So, be careful. Share the lessons. Symptoms range from almost anything mild to anything notable. Just, please, be smart and only spread factual information.
Crazy world were in. Please, please, please be safe.
PS: Ill share more photos of Hobies first few weeksall masked upbelow in comments. If Facebook lets me. If its being fickle, Ill have the photos on my Instagram as well (@molly_grantham). He is the greatest baby.
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