Tuesday, August 3, 2010


To vaccinate, or not to vaccinate, that is the question.

Or more like my eternal dilemma. A nurse at one of my appointments encouraged me to do a little research when I told her we weren't vaccinating at this point. I love that it is assumed the people who aren't all aboard the vaccination bandwagon haven't done any research. The facts are these, I have research leaking out of my eyeballs and I still don't know the right answer. I think that's because there is no right or wrong answer. Both sides make good cases. Both sides contain fear inducing statistics. I think you have to trust your instincts and just because your instincts tell you it is right/wrong to vaccinate your child, doesn't mean that someone else is wrong if they choose to do the opposite. Maybe that child is around more situations where they would come into contact with disease. Maybe that child has an unknown allergy to some of the fun stuff they mix in the vaccines.
Heavenly Father gave us insight in to our particular children and we will receive promptings and answers for them. (Sometimes I wish they were hand written.) I know the government looks at vaccinations for the good of the community and thinks of the number of vaccine related injuries as acceptable in keeping the whole safe. However, River is my priority. I care about his good and I don't feel selfish for thinking like that. I hope every parent does.
Enough with my soap box. There has been a rather big outbreak of pertussis and despite our decision to not vaccinate at this time, we were both getting the feeling we needed to get River the DTaP. We are about to do a lot of traveling and he will be more exposed than when at home. I felt sick to my stomach researching the ingredients of the vaccine and the many reported reactions to it, but when we prayed to see if River would be okay, we felt peaceful. We decided to go through with it and within 24 hours of receiving the shot, River had labored breathing, a chest cough, a fever, throat swelling and sores in the back of his mouth.
Scary. I take my never been sick, healthy baby boy in to the doctor's and I come out with a hot mess. I was angry at first and completely doubting myself and my decision. Having a few day behind me now, I can say I think we did the right thing. We were prompted to have River receive this vaccine at this time and although he had a reaction, who is to say he might have been exposed to something much worse had we not. As much as I hate it, we can't know everything. We have to make the best decisions we can, trust in them and move on. The back and forth limbo is hell.

If you've managed to read this far (attention span is a hard thing to come by these days... a result of vaccinating?... who knows) I want you to know River is one tough cookie. The nurse said, "Prepare to hear him cry louder than he ever has." and then gave him the shot. He just turned to me, scrunched up his face and gave one loud UGHHH and then started sucking his thumb. Within 30 seconds he was smiling.

Anyway, one week later and he is doing much better. Everything is gone, except for a bit of a cough lingering. Ironic, since we did it to protect him from Pertussis (whooping cough). I am also recovering and am wondering when they are going to make a Mother's Guilt vaccine.


susan said...

Heartbreaking to hear how you are struggling with the immunization ordeal. I am far from an expert since I don't have any first hand experience, but some tell me there can be some of those same reactions to cutting teeth too, since you said he has one hiding back there. So maybe he had a double wammy. Also, being a school secretary for 20+ years leans me in the direction of immunizations being a good thing. But I know how some feel about waiving having them done and they give good arguments too. The picture of his chubby little leg with that bandaid on it made me kiss the screen of my computer on his booboo, and how about that designer bluejean diaper lol. :)

annette said...

It's heartbreaking to see your little one sick, especially at an age when he can't verbally express himself.

Put the mother's guilt to rest. Obviously I'm on the other side of the vaccination debate, but I 100% respect the parents' right to choose for their own children. You know what's best for your baby and I can tell all the way up North that you're an amazing mama.

As long as the side effects are relatively benign, you have nothing to worry about. Your little guy got through it like a champ and you don't have to worry about him getting that much nastier disease. Besides, as the poster before me said, teething can do much much worse to the guy. Lil G has had terrible flu-like symptoms for days waiting for molars to cut.

Jessica Fields Rudder said...

I'm pretty sure whiskey was invented as a cure for Mother's Guilt.

Of course, I feel guilty if I pick up a candybar, realize it's broken, put it back down and get a different candybar of the same type. Poor little candybar. Now it thinks no one loves it. :( That's why I usually end up eating candybars in twos.

On a more serious note, you guys did a whole lot of research and praying and made the best decision you could possibly have made. The people that should feel guilty are the people (on either side) that don't put any thought into it and simply do whatever the prevailing feeling is in their community/social group/whatever.

Well, even they don't really need to feel guilty. They should probably just be a little bit more proactive when it comes to their babies.

c jane said...

I am assuming you know that River is beyond handsome right?

And because you can't assume this: thank you so much for this post. A mother who prays and listens to the spirit for what is best for HER child is the kind of mother I hope to be. Thank you for your example.

Ganine said...

You know your son and you do what is best. My only advice when it comes to vaccinations is if you are planning on traveling out of country I would encourage it.
But, you have nothing to feel guilty about. He is a great kid and when they are that little you never quite know what it is they are getting, they catch everything.