Vaccines: Thumbs Up or Down?

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I gave birth to my daughter at home.  I made an educated decision to bring her in to this world with out the interventions I would encounter at the hospital. I took the “risk” to have a vaginal birth after a cesarean because I believe that birth is natural, beautiful, and safe. I did this because I believe the benefits of birthing at home out weigh the risks in a normal, healthy pregnancy.

I did a lot of research before I came to the decision to birth at home.  I weighed the pros and cons. The pregnancy felt long, but when the day finally came to bring my baby in to the world I knew I made the right choice.

As I said, I did a lot of research during this pregnancy. I learned more about pregnancy, birth, and parenting than I learned through out my four previous pregnancies. I am amazed at how narrow my focus was before my fifth pregnancy. I never really questioned what the doctors told me. Now, with my new wider view I am seeing clearly. Unfortunately, just because you can see clearly doesn’t mean you understand everything you are looking at.

I never researched vaccines. I knew that the number of people claiming that vaccines had harmed their children was on the rise. I was aware of the vax/antivax debate. But, I was never a part of that. I knew, with out a doubt, that my child was going to receive all of her immunizations. No, I am not “that mom” I am not going to put my child’s life on the line by exposing her to the dangers of measles, mumps, whooping cough, or chicken pox. Okay, I had chicken pox and it wasn’t so bad, but they say it can be deadly. I am not going against they. From what I hear they know what they are talking about. So, off to the doctor we went to get my baby her shots.

I dutifully held my baby down and allow them to jab her with a needle and inject….inject….wait! What the hell are they injecting. My mind began racing as she screamed her little lungs out. When her face turned some alarming shade of red I stroked her hair and reassured her that I would never hurt her, and this was actually being nice to her. I doubt she believed me. However, she won’t remember it and, thanks to those quick jabs she will stay healthy.  So, we left. I still felt like crap. It was awful watching her sleep thinking that at any moment she could succumb to one of the reactions I remember hearing about.

Two months later, it is time for her four month well-baby visit. She was so cute that day. She smiled and cooed for every one in the waiting room. I think her cuteness distracted the other parents from my three year old who was taking full advantage of the fact that the floor was so easy to scoot around on while laying on his stomach.  Maybe not, but she was pretty darn cute. The wait was horribly long that day. As we sat there in the in the office I was having flash backs from the previous appointment. I wanted to run. I imagined myself grabbing my son, and, like lighting, exploding through the exit with a such a flash those other parents would be blinded and confused. More accurately though, my chronic clumsiness would have probably caused me to trip over my boy while nearly dropping my daughter and diaper bag as I tried to escape. So, with fleeing not a viable option I started thinking I would just decline the shots.

HA! That’s what I would do! Just decline. How hard can it be to say no when they put the syringes on the table.

Hard. I ended up allowing them to inject my daughter with vials of unknown ingredients yet again. All of my other children survived, and so would she. Right?

The second we got home I started researching vaccines.  It was exhausting.  I was consumed by the information available on the internet. Then came the time to schedule her six month appointment. Unfortunatly, I was really busy and couldn’t schedule it right away. That is cool though, the delay allowed me to read more about vaccines and really get a handle on my decision.

Weeks passed and I still had not found the time to take her to the doctor. Every time I thought about scheduling it I suddenly became very busy.  My understanding of the great vaccine debate was not getting any clearer. The weeks turned into months, and now my baby is approaching nine months of age, and has not seen the doctor since she was four months old.

I honestly don’t know what to do. I know that her pediatrician is mainstream, and the group does not look at vaccines as a parent’s choice.  They also do not agree with homebirth. I have contracted switching to a new pediatrician, but I don’t know of any offices where I am likely to get anything but the same treatment, so I have simply avoided the whose situation.

Thankfully, my breastfed baby has never had an illness.  I have had no real reason to seek out medical care for my baby. However, I would love to have measurements to tell my family how much she has grown.

So, here is where I am with the vaccine debate.  First, I know that many pharmaceutical companies are motivated by profit; therefore, the health and well-being of my baby does not concern them. Second, I know that many pediatrician are also motivated by profit. So, while they may have concern for my child, they certainly won’t speak out against a product that keeps the patients rolling in every other month for the first year of life.  Third, the only person my child has to protect her is me, and my decision in whether or not to vaccination could have deadly consequences.

Let’s say, for a moment, that I decide against vaccination her any further. Now let’s say an outbreak of some vaccine-preventable illness happens, and while ky fascinated children don’t catch it they bring it home from school. If she caught said disease and died I aid take full responsibility.

On the other hand, let’s say I do vaccination her, and she has some terrible reaction and ends up with seizures, permanent disabilities, or dead! Again, I will take full responsibility for not choosing the correct path.

I have no doubt that vaccines have saved lives.  I have seen pictures of children in iron lungs because of polio. I am aware that the risk of vaccine reaction is said to be low. However, no one can tell me of my child will be part of that small percentage off children that will react negatively.  I gave birth vaginal.after a cesarean based on my knowledge that the risks were small. Yes, only a small percentage of women, will have complications during a vbac. But, I also knew that avoiding the unnecessary interventions made my chances of a healthy birth great! So, why can’t I just accept that the risk is small and get her damn shots?

I was thinking, since breastmilk is designed to protect infants from illness, I would simply delay her vaccines until she weans, and then we would start slowly with single dose vaccines.  I don’t know how practical that is, but I do believe that my milk will keep her well for now, and by delaying her vaccines I can allow her immune system to mature.

I am not looking for a great debate here. I am looking for insight. Why did you choose to vaccination or not? Did you feel an altered or delayed schedule was safer? Why or why not?  Please, keep this civil. I will not allow any posts that I feel are attacking other posters for his or her beliefs on this matter. All parents should have the right to decide what is best for his or her child.

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