Today was shot day.
Not an easy choice. I’ve worked with students who have documented adverse reactions to immunizations. I’ve been to the funeral of a 9 year old who had PDD and seizures as related to her immunizations (Dept of Health and Human Services agrees with this statement to the tune of enough money that the family could afford to care for their daughter with round the clock in home care and tutors). Scout’s job predecessor has a son who was developmentally normal until a week after his second round of shots and he’s been exhibiting PDD/ASD traits ever since.
And I *know* there’s not supposed to be an autism/vaccine link. I know this. However. In my tiny tiny sample size, I know that when there were preexisting conditions of neurology or prematurity or general “not normalness” that adverse reactions have happened.
It’s difficult to find good information about it too. Everyone has a very strong bias, indicating that you will harm your baby no matter which choice you make.
I wanted to be able to follow the CDC schedule. I wanted to have no questions. I also wanted the sick feeling in my gut to go away when I thought about it. I wanted my mommy lion intuition to quit going off and just let me follow the damn schedule no questions asked.
I spent two years before Alex was even born struggling with this issue.
My opinion boils down to this: I think it’s a lot to ask a little body that is learning how to eat, sleep, poop, move and communicate to also fight off diseases stuck directly into his little body.
I wish I could find solid information on WHY the CDC recommends the schedule they do. I found stuff on HepB and based on that, we decided to pass on it for now (Scout and I have both been vaccinated, my tests came back negative, we believe we can limit Alex’s exposure to drug needles and infected semen for a few years (and if not, then our family has issues the vaccine will not cure.))
We didn’t start shots till today – 4 months – rather than 2 months. This was really based on we were driving cross country at 8 weeks, and regardless of big picture outcome, we just couldn’t put the baby and ourselves through one more thing at that point. No one wants to not feel good on a long drive, and that drive was hard enough on us all anyway. This way all of our records would be in the same doctor’s office as well. Our insurance cards didn’t show up till 3 months, and it took me another week to call the ped to make the appointment and they just put it off till 4 months.
Today we did the HiB and PCV (Prevnar). Here is why:
Our 1st ped (who we loved and adored) said that when he was in his residency that he tested for meningitis in the ER so often that he could do the spinal tap in the dark with his eyes closed b/c he did several per night, every third night (when he was on call). He said that it’s just the worst feeling in the world to pull out a syringe of pus because you just know how bad this could get for the family. Now that the vaccines are in place (roughly 15 years later) he told us that ped residents fight over the spinal taps b/c they know they need the experience. The cases of meningitis have drastically shrunk, according to what he’s seen. I liked this anecdote, and it was more meaningful to us than statistics. Our ped today was of the same era and felt the same way about what she’s seen. Said she can still vividly picture the first case of meningitis she diagnosed. So. HiB and PCV it was. She said HiB has virtually no side effects and PCV is 1/4 with some fever etc. She would prefer to do all the vaccines on schedule, but was supportive of this b/c while you don’t really see DTaP or Polio, you DO still see meningitis, so there’s more of a sense of urgency to do these vaccines.
We will do this modified CDC immunization schedule:
HiB and PCV (Prevnar) at months 4, 6, and 8
DTaP and Polio at months 5, 7, and 9
This will put us on schedule by month 9.
We didn’t have to make a decision about the Rotavirus (Rotatec) because he’s already too old for it. (Which I totally didn’t realize before we went to the ped today).
For the record, I think vaccines are a God send. My grandma had Polio on her 9th birthday, and spent the rest of her life with one foot smaller than the other and weaker on one side of her body. She also suffered from some post Polio syndrome problems when she was much much older. I am grateful for Salk vaccines and such. I just question why we need to pump them into tiny ones when the threat of the specific disease is less – wouldn’t we be just as safe from Diphtheria and Whooping Cough doing them at age one or two? I don’t know the answer to this, and I’m going to go ahead and do the vaccines close to on time anyway, but I still wonder ….
If Alex were a formula fed baby in full time day care, our vaccination choices would be the to the letter of the CDC schedule, but as I am spending hours a day pumpin’ the mammar-ade and he’s home with me all day, and I’m doing an okay job of eating a decent diet of food to siphon through to him in milk, we believe we are supporting his little immune system pretty well, and the vaccines are another tool to keep him healthy.
And as for today. Kaiser Alex was a real brave champ. He voiced his displeasure of the whole shot thing, but nothing like meltdowns we’ve seen. We’re 4 hours post vac and one dose of Ty1eno1 in and so far so good. He’s even taking a little nap!