I am planning on writing a series of posts on vaccination throughout the year. It's one of the topics I feel very strongly about, and have a surprising amount of information on.Vaccines are a huge part of society, whether we realize it or not. Vaccines are always changing, as is the research done on them. New information is always being made available.
Note: I do not think I am a better parent because of my choices. Every family is different and believes / requires different things. I am not writing this article to change any minds, I am simply writing it to put my perspective out there. I am not a doctor nor come close to one. My observations are made through experience and research.
I am not pro-vaccine. I am not anti-vaccine. I am pro informed decision. Vaccinating A is something that just doesn't sit right with C or myself. We think we are making the right choices for our family, and we will defend them if need be. I don't feel that not vaccinating my daughter will put her life in extreme danger. C and I did not make our choice lightly, we are still open minded and will consider what A's pediatrician has to say. However, my questioning of vaccines started in May 2010 because of my then 6 month olds reaction to the Rotavirus vaccine. I am currently in the process of getting her medical records and we are reporting the incident to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (http://vaers.hhs.gov/index).
At the end of the 3rd week in May, A was to be given her 6 month shots. We went to the Department of Health in Titusville, Florida, and she was given Rotavirus, DTaP, PCV13 (pneumonicoccal) and IPC (polio). A was real irritable after the injections, and slept a lot. The irritability continued for the next few days, and then came the hives (on her tummy), the diarrhea, 104 degree fevers, and vomitting. Forceful, clearly painful projectile vomitting. She started to get listless, even falling asleep in the bathtub during a bath. We brought little A to the E.R. where she was admitted. Ghostly pale, severely dehydrated with her highest temperature at 104.3, she wouldn't even take a bottle of Pedialyte. When she finally did, it came back up (on me, every time) within 5 minutes. It was also accompanied by 20 minutes of heart-breaking screaming. It started before the E.R. and continued to happen well after we returned home from the hospital. A was pumped with fluids for 3 days before we were released. She still wasn't herself, and was waking up screaming every 40 minutes. It was a very hard time for everybody in the house, because nothing would comfort A at all. The screaming stopped suddenly in mid June, and she was starting to finally get some liveliness back. The doctors at Parrish Medical Center had ultimately diagnosed it as "unknown". Unknown??! How can doctors not know? That was very frustrating for me. It wasn't until I did process of elimination that I figured it out. Nothing in our daily life had varied, except she had gotten her vaccines a few days before the serious reaction. But at first, the thought of them didn't even cross my mind. I started doing research on the vaccines she had been given, and I am now 99% positive that A had a reaction to the Rotavirus vaccine, or caught it because it is a live virus vaccine. Her symptoms were in line with reported reactions to that vaccine. http://www.druglib.com/druginfo/rotarix/side-effects_adverse-reactions/ What the hell is going on here? I was really wondering. It brought me back to my own past, which I was totally forgetting.
When I was in first grade, it was 1996 and 5 turning 6 years old. To get our vaccines, the children would line up single file and walk to the basement cafeteria area. We would all take our turns sitting down, getting the vaccine, getting a band-aid, and getting sent back upstairs to our classroom. That time it was the Meningitis shot. I walked up the stairs and remember my throat starting to tingle and get tight. I walked in the first room to my left at the top of the stairs and went to sit down on the rug for story time, except by that point I couldn't breathe. The last few things I remember is being picked up by my teacher, brought to the nurse, and then being loaded into an ambulance. I stayed at Hasbro Children's Hospital for a week. They say I was allergic to the mercury in the vaccine.
After the incident, I promised myself that I wouldn't blindly agree to anything regarding A until I had the chance to educate myself on what it is, its ingredients, the benefits, the risks, and plain ol' whether I feel alright with it or not. I am her mother, who has her best interest and well-being at heart. I am her protector, and I will do so from anything potentially damaging. To me (after all the research I've done on disease infomation + control, vaccine history + ingredients, and adverse reactions), the risks outweigh the benefits. A is very low-risk. I am a stay at home mom who is with her 24/7. When I start my classes in February, she will be going to a home daycare run by my aunt. The only other children in her daycare are two other toddlers, one being A's cousin. We eat lots of fruits and veggies, supplement and overall do not consume much processed sugar.
I don't not vaccinate A because of that one reaction. In actuality, that one reaction started me on my quest to make the most informed decisions as possible. I feel that after all of my research, and in my gut (and heart!) I am totally making the right decision - for US. I do not think everybody should stop vaccinating their kids. They obviously are proven to work. But remember to do your research. There is so much information out there that you will have no clue existed until you look. You are in control of your kids vaccination schedule. If it feels wrong to you, then it probably is! Be your babys biggest advocate because you are all they have. xoxo, S