The greatest fear parents face is something happening to their child. Some stranger stealing their baby away, their toddler running into the road, or their beloved child becoming sick and dying are all fears that keep us up at night. Tragically, new parents Nicole and Shane Sifrit had a mere 18 days to adjust to parenting, and all the fears that come with it, before having to face the unimaginable. Their baby daughter Mariana, born on July 1, just passed away after contracting meningitis HSV-1.

In her Facebook post, Nicole says:

“Our princess Mariana Reese Sifrit gained her angel wings at 8:41 am this morning in her daddy’s arms and her mommy right beside her. She is now no longer suffering and is with the Lord. Thank you to everyone who has followed her journey and supported us through this. In her 18 days of life she made a huge impact on the world and we hope with Mariana’s Story we save numerous newborns life. R.I.P. sweet angel.” 

Also known as herpes meningitis, the disease that took Mariana’s life is the same that causes cold sores. It can be passed in several ways, including from the mother to baby during childbirth. But Nicole (as well as Shane) tested negative for the virus. So Mariana’s parents are left to assume that their sweet baby girl contracted the virus from another person—someone who visited her, held her, or kissed her. And now they’ve chosen to share their tragic story publicly to help educate others about just how fragile newborn babies are.

“The first two months after a child is born are very critical, as a virus can rapidly spread and cause serious illness in newborns. This is why parents are advised to be particularly careful during those first months,” says Dr. Tanya Altmann, a pediatrician at Calabasas Pediatrics in California. Although Mariana’s case is extremely rare, the message Nicole and Shane would like to share is the importance of protecting newborns from germs. It’s crucial that parents realize just how vulnerable these tiny humans are in their first weeks of life.

According to, some tips to help keep baby safe from germs include:

  • Asking anyone who would like to hold or touch the baby to first wash their hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Avoid crowded places like malls, indoor playgrounds, etc. for the first 4-6 weeks and opt instead for an outdoor walk in the park.
  • Throw out any unfinished breastmilk, formula, or baby food as bacteria can develop and cause contamination.
  • Don’t let pets lick baby for the first 2-3 months. Also, wash baby’s hands if he or she touches the pet.

As parents, we need to do our best, but sometimes life gets tricky. My third child was exposed to the great outdoors and public places far earlier than his older siblings because that’s the life of the third child—being dragged everywhere. But if you can’t avoid going out, or if you’re handing baby off to relatives or friends who offer to help, you can still take extra precautions. Bring hand sanitizer with you incase a bathroom isn’t nearby for hand washing. And if you do have to take your 4-year-old to gymnastics, see if Dad or Grandma can stay home with the baby to keep germs at bay. 

We at Her View From Home would like to thank Nicole and Shane for sharing their story, and we send our sincere condolences and heartfelt prayers to them. We pray that they someday find peace in their healing process. Rest in peace, sweet Mariana. 

If you’d like to contribute to the GoFundMe page set up to help Mariana’s family with unexpected medical and funeral expenses, you can do so here.

Image via Facebook

Karen Johnson

Karen Johnson is a freelance writer who is known on social media as The 21st Century SAHM. She is an assistant editor at Sammiches and Psych Meds, staff writer and social media manager for Scary Mommy, and is the author of I Brushed My Hair Today, A Mom Journal for Mostly Together Moms. Follow Karen on Facebook, Twitter , and Instagram