Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Great Vaccinate Debate

If you read me often, you know I'm often sitting on the fence. On just about everything. In fact, the only thing I've ever made a quick and firm decision on was my husband.

My waffling frustrates my poor husband to no end. "Just make a decision! Just do it! Make it and stick with it and don't keep going back and forth and making me nuts!"

It's not that I don't want to make a decision, I just really, REALLY want to make the RIGHT one. But in not making a commitment to a plan, I end up making bigger mistakes than if I had just gone with my first choice. And I often end up disappointing others.

The thing that has been keeping me up the past 5 months is vaccination. I know it's all the rage now to blame vaccinations for your kid's problems, but my indecision is not based on any of this. With my first-born, we vaccinated without giving it a second thought. (Well I may have had a tad of apprehension, but there was never any information that suggested differently.) Nate has been through so much in the NICU and taking narcotics to keep his seizures at bay -- one more medical intervention didn't seem harmful. After all, he was so strong to beat that stroke, what was there that he couldn't beat?

With Lucy the game is different. She went from being a regular poop machine, to being a constipated mess after her two month shots. She got her first cold after her two month shots. All these weird "coincidences" didn't seem normal to me, since I was breastfeeding. Wasn't her immunity supposed to be better because of boob milk? Wasn't she supposed to breastmilk poop through her clothes the way her brother did?

After that first shot, she didn't poo regularly until she started solids. That first bit of fibre had her cleaned out -- 5 poops in one day. But even now, we often have to hold her legs up into her chest to help her get the poop out. It makes me sad.

So you would think that I would have had the sense to skip the 4-month shots. Nope. I did delay it somewhat, but I didn't skip it. I researched until I was blue in the face. All I found were MMR=autism sites or pro-vaccination information. I got the feeling that vaccination was one of those "damned if you do, damned if you don't" scenarios.

Did I want to expose my daughter to something that was potentially making her ill? No. Yet, on the other hand, the options of not vaccinating are often (threats) of death. "If you don't give Hib, your child could DIE of meningitis" or "If you don't give Prevnar, your baby could DIE of pneumonia!" Who wants that on their hands?

So we made it to month 7 without going in for vaccinations. The Dog and I talked at great length as to whether or not to continue. Diphtheria, Polio and Tetanus are not illnesses I'd like my child to have, or any child for that matter, so I was for vaccinating her in an effort to eradicate these illnesses. (Well, Tetanus is not a person to person illness, but causes lockjaw. So that one I sort of get.)

The problem is that the vaccines are not really available separately. So you go to the doctor and have to vaccinate against whooping cough (Pertussis) too. And now, you also have to get the Hib (Haemophillus Influenza?) -- the one that causes meningitis. But also, there's another form of meningitis that it doesn't cover, so they want you to take a different vaccine for that too.

OMG! It's all so overwhelming! So when I finally took Lucy to get weighed and measured Tuesday (16 lbs, 25.5 inches) I had a discussion with the doctor. He is old school, so I guess we should have known better. I said no to only the Prevnar. I should have said no to all of them. I am wracked with guilt.

I told him that Lucy had been ill. He took her temperature and a good look and determined her to be well enough to get the vaccines. I forgot to mention that Nate had started with a cough and a runny nose Monday. I should have said no. I should have said NO!

I thought she could handle it, and now I'm afraid of what I've done. She was extremely restless the rest of the day. She woke up every two hours at night and by dawn she was completely ill. Last night she could not even breathe, she was so congested. She spent the night attached to my boob to get the bit of rest she could. I was breastfeeding on and off for 7 hours.

My doc's office passes it off as a bug she picked up. Sure. Perhaps I'm making a big deal. But my gut tells me I'm not. I made a decision from a place of fear. One should never do that. I didn't listen to my gut. And now I have no idea what I may have done to her health for the rest of her life.

Ever wonder why so many more children have anaphylactic allergies now? Peanut allergies that we certainly never knew growing up? Skyrocketting asthma rates? Coincidentally, the pertussis vaccine wasn't given with these other vaccines until the 90s. With the promise of one less illness, we opted for a shot. Just go read up at the Vaccine Risk Awareness Network -- you won't think the rare chance of contracting whooping cough seems as bad as the potential side effects from the shot.

In 1983 the number of vaccines given were 10. Now a child receives 36. THIRTY SIX vaccines that were never really tested in combination form. The website Generation Rescue gives loads of great information on all that traditional media and the medical community are not telling us.

A child would never really come in contact with all the bacteria they get in the combination of shots now given at 2, 4, and 6 months, at the same time. We don't give them more than one food at a time when they are starting out, yet we give them 6 vaccines in a day. Those vaccines have all kinds of additives in them, like aluminum. Babies used to have maternal immunity to these illnesses in the first year. Now, because we've all been vaccinated too, babies are not covered by their mother's immunity. Hence the schwak of early shots.

We tell ourselves, "If vaccines were really bad, they would tell us. They wouldn't give them." Maybe. But they are not testing them adequately before they put them out. If they were, they wouldn't suddenly discontinue/recall Mengigate or change the DTP vaccine formulation to be DTAP. Clearly they are finding things wrong and having to make amendments. I shudder to think of the reprocussions of all these young girls getting the HPV vaccine that's only been tested for 5 years or so.

If they work, why the outbreaks? Why the need for random booster shots? We don't know what the potential side effects of these government imposed vaccination regimes are. For every study that says MMR causes autism, a drug company is quick to pay for research that says that's not true. They put fear in our hearts. Your baby could DIE if you don't vaccinate. No parent wants that on their head. No one is looking at our standard of living in the West. Clean water, sanitation, good food, antibiotics (Not that I'm a fan of antibiotics either...) -- the chances of a child dying from these illnesses is severely diminished. I'm not saying it doesn't happen, but the odds are slim.

What is more likely to happen is that these bacteria will mutate, becoming super bugs. We saw it last year in Toronto when a child developed super-meningitis that was resistant to any treatment. They hushed the story up fast to avoid mass panic. The same sub-strain of Streptococcus pneumoniae 19A is causing drug-resistant ear infections. Interesting isn't it. What's that vaccine all the babies are getting these days to prevent ear infections? Prevnar?

Do I sound crazy? Sure. I was up all night researching things that I somehow never came across in past searches when making the decision to vaccinate. But I think Jenny McCarthy said it best on The Hour last week. During her "20 in 2" Q&A segment, she said something to the effect of, "Sometimes it takes a little crazy to get the job done."

Last year, I suffered a week of hell with Nate when he got the cold sore/herpes virus. There just happened to be nothing the medical community could do to help, so we got by thanks to my homeopath. Are we vaccinating our kids against chicken pox to avoid a week of hell? In return, what can of worms are we opening up. When we vaccinate, we interfere with the brain's natural way to boost immunity. That's why we are seeing a rise in neuro-immune issues like autism. That's why we are seeing a rise in dangerous allergies -- our antibodies attacking us incorrectly. It's all so clear to me now.

I am no longer vaccinating my children. I wish I'd made a firm decision about this before we went to the doctor Tuesday. I am making the decision in stone right now. I urge all of you to really do the research before you allow a doctor to stick a needle in your baby's chubby thigh.


Sorry, no post-Model wrap up. Couldn't get into it with Lucy only able to sleep on my shoulder and Nate refusing to go to sleep.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ah, the joy of the debate! I can hardly comment for all that is in my head over this one... but I must.

At 38 I do not have kids and probably would not vaccinate if I did (but with all the FEAR that is thrown at new mothers, who knows). My story is about trying to further my education.

An RMT does not need to be vaccinated to be registered with the governing body, but as a student, I am not allowed to graduate unless I participate in a community outreach program. What do you suppose they are asking me to do? Get shots, and LOTS of them.
MMR, Hep B, Tetanus, and Flu! Without these, I cannot participate in the program and graduate. But they won't take responsibility for it, they keep passing it off to the next person... "it's not us, it's them (hospitals, hospices, old age homes etc) that are requiring it". But they are not helping me either, because without actually saying it, they believe I am a risk.

Thank Goodness under our constitution, it is illegal to mandate anyone to receive an invasive procedure. Vaccinations come with the risk of death, and therefore are considered an invasive procedure.

So, they can't make me do it, but they can stop me from receiving my diploma! Not if I can help it.

We need to talk about this and keep the debate going... too many people are blindly rolling up their sleeves.

I am glad that you are brave enough, and that you have fear is natural. It's what's expected...

xox, shantih.