JEFFERSON COUNTY, Tenn. — A 6-week-old baby girl and her mother are thankful to be alive. Ten days after she was born, they were both diagnosed with COVID-19.
Lennon Grindstaff made an unforgettable entrance at the end of 2020. Her mom, Taylor Grindstaff, remembers December as a whirlwind.
"[We] got rid of that terrible year with the greatest blessing we could have," Taylor said.
Lennon was born a little premature. After coming home from the hospital, she had to go back, for a week-long NICU stay.
The staff was tasked with getting her health levels up to a place where she could go home and thrive. Taylor explained that this pregnancy and delivery was much different from when she had her son Brayden eight years ago.
"I had no idea what I was walking into, and I was just very supported, very cared for," Taylor said, referencing the nursing staff at East Tennessee Children's Hospital.
At only 10 days old, Lennon started getting congested and Taylor woke up with no taste or smell. At a visit to the pediatrician's office, Taylor suggested a COVID-19 test.
They were both tested, and the results came back as positive.
"I was already kind of in a state of anxiety, and then you get that on top of it," Taylor said.
All of a sudden, Taylor, her husband Nicolas and their 8-year-old son were quarantined with a newborn.
"So it was just a lot at once," Taylor nodded.
She scoured the internet for answers, looking for other families who may have experienced this same situation. The results came up empty, and were mostly extreme cases.
"It's such a new virus, there's not research, there's not data that can support anything to give you any kind of peace of mind," Taylor said, referencing what Lennon's pediatrician said.
But, there was a plus side to both mom and baby having the virus at the same time.
"I breastfed throughout the whole experience, so because I had COVID at the same time, my body was making antibodies, and so she was receiving that through my breast milk," Taylor said.
They also used a humidifier and medicated drops to help with Lennon's congestion. Overall, both of their symptoms were mild.
Now, both are all better, with no lingering symptoms. Taylor has full faith Lennon will grow up to accomplish whatever she puts her mind to.
"She can overcome anything that ever comes in her way, because she already has, you know, she's she's six weeks old and she's already overcome so much," Taylor smiled.
With a whirlwind entrance like Lennon's, Taylor is confident that her life pages will be filled with strength.
In Tennessee, just 5% of all COVID cases are kids under the age of 10. That includes infants. More than 37,000 children in that age range have gotten sick and four have died.