SAN DIEGO — On World Prematurity Day, a Southern California mom is sharing her story about having a premature baby who is now hospitalized with RSV.
The three-month-old has been at Children's Health of Orange County for more than three weeks, but his story is similar to other families whose children are being treated right here in San Diego.
Hospitals across the nation are dealing with a rash of RSV cases.
Often times, they're treating babies who were born premature, since they're more at risk because of their compromised immune systems.
To mark World Prematurity Day, local nonprofit Miracle Babies delivered care packages for families at Rady Children's.
The organization provides support and services in both San Diego and Orange Counties, everything from daily essentials to rides, even mental health care.
Last year, one in ten babies in the us was born premature.
“They are such a blessing,” said Beatriz Barragan. Barragan is one of the moms they've helped in the past.
Her youngest son Ezekial was born at 30 weeks, and spent the next 55 days in the NICU.
One month after going home, he's now back in the hospital with RSV. "He's three-months-old and he's been here for 22 days," she said.
In addition to RSV, Ezekial was also diagnosed with pneumonia and rhinovirus. Barragan says she knew something was wrong when he stopped taking milk.
"He's a really good eater. And I would wake up every two to three hours and think why isn't he eating. Me bringing him in potentially saved his life," said Barragan.
Beatriz has been chronicling their journey on Instagram, in hopes of spreading awareness about both premature babies and RSV.
RSV, or respiratory syncytial virus, infects the lungs and respiratory track. In most cases, it will appear as a common cold, and go away on its own. But, for babies, especially those born premature, it can be more serious and lead to breathing issues.
In Ezekial's case, he had to be intubated for 21 days. Doctors just removed the tube on Wednesday.
"It just seemed that he was starting to be more distressed and more exhausted and he wanted to rest but every time he rested he would stop breathing for a few seconds, so it was starting to become very scary," said Barragan.
Barragan wants other parents to follow their instincts if they feel like something is wrong with their child. She also wants those who may be experiencing what she is to know they're not alone.
That's something she learned 17-months-ago when her oldest son Miguel was born with a lung tumor.
He was put on life support and spent 75 days in the hospital.
Barragan posted his story to social media as well, and joined online support groups to cope.
"I've connected with a lot of families and I've learned we're all going through something," said Barragan.
These days, Miguel is doing much better, though he too recently had RSV.
He and his older sister are patiently waiting for their baby brother to return home, which Barragan hopes will be soon.
"I don't wish any of this on anyone, but I do believe things happen for a reason."
WATCH RELATED: Increase in RSV, Flu, and COVID-19 in San Diego, hospitals are well prepared (Nov. 2022).