CULVER CITY, Calif. - “Shame on us for kind of thinking: this wouldn't happen to us,” says Julie Stephenson, who is sharing her family's story in hopes of sparing another family from enduring what they went through.
Up until October, this now-family of four had done everything right to avoid getting COVID-19.
Julie and Matt Stephenson had just been blessed with their second healthy baby boy.
The couple thought an afternoon get-together with the baby's grandparents wouldn’t be a problem.
Their pediatrician signed off on the visit – as long as all coronavirus precautions were taken. So, the Stephenson’s, including the family's oldest son, 3-year-old Van, made the road trip from Culver City to the boys’ maternal grandparents’ home in Riverside.
But despite knowing the risks, they didn’t wear masks.
“We all assume you're all being careful,” says Julie.
Little did they know, Julie’s dad was developing a sore throat, but “he didn't think much of it especially where everyone talks about a fever.”
Eight days later, Julie’s dad tested positive for COVID-19.
“It sent fear through us,” says Julie.
That next day, Julie’s husband also tested positive.
“And then every five days, one of us got it,” says Julie.
Yes, that means Julie, her 3-year-old and 3-week-old all had been infected.
Their symptoms, as she documented, included a sore throat, headache, body aches, sensitive skin to touch and a runny nose. But that fever health officials warn of: “None of us, except my 3-year-old, had a fever,” says Julie.
As for baby Cy, he struggled with congestion and, therefore, had trouble nursing. Thankfully, his symptoms didn’t get worse.
Everyone has since recovered and the Stephenson’s are once again a healthy family, but now one with a powerful message:
“You can't let your guard down. Wear a mask. Be vigilant,” says Julie, especially as we approach the holidays.