As her 6-month check-up approached, we discussed whether or not we would vaccinate. I knew I would not administer anything prior to 6 months, but if I could stretch it out to 1 year, all the better! By the standard schedule, by 6 months of age, infants receive up to 18 vaccinations/boosters; the Dr. Sears schedule is a less aggressive option, but that would still be injecting her with 10 vaccinations over her young 6-month lifespan. When I was her age, it was just five, and they were spaced out over a couple of months. On the docket for consideration at her 6-month check-up was HepB, RV, DTaP, Hib, PCV, IPV, and the flu shot. Makes my head spin.
Let’s back up for a moment. The research, the consideration, the evaluation….it all began before she was born. We ruled out all vaccinations and interventions at birth. No HepB, no Vitamin K, and we even said no to eye ointment, a pacifier, and sugar-water or formula. Her 2 month check up arrived (June) and then the 4th month (August) … during these, both schedules called for vaccinations. We opted for none. I am grateful that we have a facility that understands our concerns and supports our desires. Of course, they would like for us to follow the standard, or Dr. Sears, schedule but they do not push it. They provide us with their insight and education and leave the decision to me. At all visits, we are simply asked, “Will we be updating her vaccinations today?”
On her half-year birthday, Miss Connie received her first vaccination. We opted for the DTaP shot. I weighed this heavily. My research on this vaccination revealed that the ingredients within include formaldehyde and aluminum. I don’t know about you, but the idea of willingly injecting these poisons into my child scared me.
Cody encouraged the vaccination. Yes, my husband. The same guy many of you may have seen sharing “anti-vaccination” articles and statements on Facebook. He is braver than I. He owns his position and puts it out there for persecution. I am more reserved in what I post to my Facebook wall, as well as my position on vaccines. While we both share concerns about the quantity and frequency of the current vaccination schedule, I am almost (almost) convinced we could survive in our own little world without them at all. Cody, not as much. He believes some are necessary.
We opted for the DTaP shot because of the P in DTaP—Pertussis, a.k.a whooping cough. This is a concern with infants, especially with cold and flu season approaching. While I don’t think I would have been able to miss or ignore the symptoms of P, I do want to shield her from unnecessary illness or hospitalization.
This did not make it any easier for me. I was emotional. It weighed heavily on me that entire morning as I prepared to head to the clinic. Within my vehicle, I turned the radio off and prayed out loud for almost the entire duration of the 30+ minute drive. I prayed for her health and happiness. That the immunization would do as it was intended. That she would not suffer any side effects that would alter her disposition, ability, intelligence, spirit, or mobility. I prayed over and over for these things.
During the visit the nurse asked the usual question, “will we be updating her vaccinations.” I hesitated. I could hardly choke out the word “yes” and quickly followed it up with “just one, just the DTap.” There was a combo option, DTaP and polio with something else…. no, just the DTaP which is already a mixed and a multi-vaccination concoction. When the time came for the shot, she asked if I had a preference of which leg. “Neither,” was my answer, followed by, “it doesn’t matter.” I held her in my lap, I held her close, and I prayed again. I fought back my anxiety and tears. I flinched at the action of the needle moving toward her. As the needle stuck her, a tear fell and with her wail, many more followed. I tried to soother her as my heart broke. For some, this must seem borderline crazy or dramatic. I don’t consider myself to fall into these categories with any frequency, but that morning, I did wonder if the nurse thought I should be medicated myself. I am sure I am not the only nervous mother. She is my baby. My perfect, sweet, loving, smart baby. Any decision I make with good intentions, I would not want to alter her in any way. The nurse departed, I got Connie dressed and pulled myself together. A bit of relief came that it was over, but much still lingered as I concerned myself with any side effects.
She was her normal happy self when we returned home. At 10:30 am the nanny arrived. They played for a while and I could hear her babbling. She had lunch around 11:30 a.m. and then napped. She woke after about an hour, then went back down almost immediately after fussing and taking in 3 ounces. She fussed a bit in the crib, the nanny soothed her, and she was back out. She slept nearly 3 hours. An effect of the vaccination, or just tired? I don’t know (it is very unusual for her to sleep that long during the day). I do know I worried the entire day watching for anything “off”. She sailed through the rest of the day in good spirits following her long nap. Her over night sleep pattern was normal and I felt further relieved. The day after she also seemed her normal self aside from some slight fussiness and what might be another tooth coming in. We are now two days post vaccine and everything seems OK.
With a Google search, you can find several resources that will tell you vaccinations are 100% safe, that they do not cause injury, and that they are necessary. You can also find thousands of groups and individuals sharing their personal beliefs and fears of over-immunization, raising awareness of the chemicals, poisons, and preservatives included in vaccine cocktails, and you’ll find countless people who wish to not vaccinate their children. There are always two sides to every case. I have not ruled out vaccinating my child. I have decided however to be diligent in researching and evaluating the various vaccinations and coming to decisions I can live with. We will forego many of the recommended shots. Others we will get. As her parents, who hold her health and welfare paramount, we reserve that right. With states like California and Mississippi mandating vaccinations, I wonder how long we will have that right.