It was hot outside and I was irritated! Margo was up at 4:45am and by 8am was begging for a nap. Art was at work. Goldie was even a bit unusually unsettled. Even after flying out the door, we arrived late to the doctor’s appointment, smelling like sour milk and baby barf. I had forgotten about the time change and hadn’t had time to shower… living on the border of two states with different times zones for half the year is such a pain!
Anyway, we went to have Goldie’s six week check up .. but I’m a slacker and she was actually ten weeks old (this was over a month ago now). I wanted him to check her belly button, because I kept thinking maybe it was herniated because it was sticking out a little. It’s gone back in now! Funny, it’s like an innie-outie He checked her hips, heart, etc. and just as I was walking out the door he asked, ‘Are you planning to immunize?’.
Back up!!! Hold on, let me sit back down, Dr. Rassaby. Vaccines have been on mind on and off since I learned that I was pregnant with Margo. It’s the topic that keeps coming up over and over again with no resolution in my mind. It’s not a topic that’s stirring me up. In fact, I just can’t decide to either vaccinate or to not vaccinate. The bottom line is that I just need to make up my damn mind!
For the record, Margo did get a few shots when she was a baby, the DTP+ Polio, but then we stopped. These were shots that I would have had as a kid. They were not what the department of health would be considered as sticking to the routine. I wanted to hear what our Dr. Rassaby had to say. Normally, I wouldn’t bother listening to what a GP had to say about vaccines. I know they would say, ‘vaccines are good, blah blah blah‘. But, Dr. Rassaby is not your normal GP. He started the homebirth movement in Australia in the 1970’s. He’s had 4 of his 5 children at home. He’s an animal lover; him and his wife are the volunteer people you call in the middle of the night if you find a stray opossum, or wounded bird (animal rescue?). He has a yoga mat hanging in his office! I wanted to pick his brain about his views on vaccines. Unfortunately, Goldie started crying, and even boobs wouldn’t help, and Margo was whining that it was time to go home now. But, I still had to talk to him about it!
To my surprise, he was very pro-vaccines! He was also very willing to let a parent have their choice on whether to vaccine their kids and was not going to push his views on me. He was saying that while there can be reactions to vaccines, the breastfed babies actually handle vaccines quite well. But, then I said, yeah, but what about breatfed babies being able to fight off the diseases in the first place, without having to be vaccinated? He said that’s very true… but that vaccines are one of the greatest discoveries of modern medicine… Hmmmm….
Now, if it was a clear cut answer, like, ‘You must vaccinate your kid, or you’re doomed‘, then there would be no issue, everyone would have their kids vaccinated. In certain third world countries, access to vaccines would mean the difference between life and death. But, for us, in our sanitary, first world countries, there is much less chance of falling sick… much less chance, but still a chance. And, do you want to take the chance of having a very sick child? And, if you do choose to vaccinate, are you ok with a possible severe reaction to the vaccine, or ok with pumping them with some traces of aluminum and formaldehyde? The scientific studies show that although these toxic substances are included in the vaccine, they are processed in such a way that the levels are well below the safe level for infants. But, the fact is that babies do get sick and react from getting the actual vaccine! Vaccines are also blamed for causing autism… and I think a family even won a legal case on that one. But, then again, nobody really heard of autism 20 years ago, but we were certainly all getting vaccinated then… And, just because you get a vaccine, does NOT mean that you are safe from getting that disease. Just, less likely to get it.
Well, what’s funny (ok, not so funny), is that the second we got home from the doctor, was the second that Margo started feeling sick. In fact, we all got sick with this horrible, terrible flu! (All except Art!). It was really hellish and I wouldn’t have wished it upon anyone! So, that was it! The kids were going to get vaccinated! Right??? The flu vaccine is actually one that I know I would never get, but after dealing with two very sick kids (and myself being out of commission), I decided that if there was anything I could do to prevent having an extremely sick child, then I would do it. It’s easy to say that you wouldn’t vaccinate when you’re feeling healthy. But, get really sick and scared because your child is sick, and you think twice about it. Anyway, so my mind was made up. Then, I put it on the sidelines for a while and decided to make an appointment with the doctor as soon as we were better to get our vacs.
Fast forward a few weeks later when we’re all feeling fine and I still haven’t made the appointment with the doctor because I’m a slacker. A mother posted a picture of her son, on the attachment parenting Facebook page that I belong to. The poor little baby, maybe a little less than a year old, had had a severe reaction to the MMR/Meningitis/HIB vaccine. Huge rash all over his face, etc. She was only doing what she thought was best for her baby because they were about to move to a sketchy part of Asia… What would I have done if I were moving to Asia? Well, I was scared enough to visit America that I decided to give Margo a few vaccines… Mind is now changed again!
But, I’m an attachment parent hippie! I breastfeed my toddler, we co-sleep, I wear my baby, I let my babies cry in my arms and have emotional releases. Some people would assume that all parents like us would ‘risk’ not getting their kids vaccinated. So, why am I still on the fence about vaccines? Could there be a benefit to having them. Well, yes, there could. And, can something terrible happen, like a severe reaction… yes… Oh, somebody enlightened just tell me the answer!
I went to this ayurvedic counselor guy and asked him quickly about vaccines and he said that kids who have had vaccines seem to loose a certain light in their eyes and become a little dull! At the time, I hadn’t given Margo any vaccines, but I think if he could see her now, and, she was given two shots, I think he would agree that there is nothing dull about her! It’s very hard to get straight facts. There’s so much quacky information against vaccines out there, as well as too much government sponsored brainwashing ‘you-must-vaccine-or-else!’.
Still don’t know what to do… What are your experiences with vaccines? Are you against it and why? Did your kids get them and react badly to them? Did your kids get them and everything was fine? Will you ever come visit me even if you know that my kids are still, for the most part, not vaccinated? Whether a family decides to vaccinate their kids or not, I don’t think anyone can give a straight answer. But, what is important, is that people do their research and make an informed decision (and, hello, just google it, you’ll find everything you need… right? Is that why I haven’t made a decision yet?) Oh my…what to do? I’m going to bed, GOOD NIGHT!