support if your babe did get a vaxed-for illness? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 03-17-2010, 09:26 AM - Thread Starter
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I made a very informed decision not to vax my kids.

When ds was 4 months he got HiB (hemophilus) and had pneumonia (and a 'suspected' meningititis - no symptoms but there were signs he might have had one and recovered from it before they could test).

Despite the fact that NZ is a pretty liberal country when it comes to vaxing we were still given a huge hassle at the hospital - public health came and interviewed us andtried to bully our whole family including 2 yr old dd take these intense antibiotics (for those who don't know HiB is a largely harmless bug that lives in the nose of lots of people and only makes immunocompromised sick).

Plus we now get written up in the official records because there are so few cases since the vax was introduced.

Ds was on IV antibiotics in hospital for 10 days and have to have an x-ray and lumbar puncture. He's since recovered totally and is a super happy, calm, baby reaching all his milestones.

So. . . I feel a bit crap about it all still. I'm grateful that there are antibiotics because he needed them. I'm still sure vaxing isn't going to do anything good to my children's immune systems.
But. . there's a little voice in my head that says stuff like "think how expensive/damaging/etc 10 days of IV antibiotics is!". And I feel like I let down ds somehow - like my breastfeeding wasn't enough immunity when it should have been

o. the mama guilt.

finally midwife mama to my home-birthed nurslings: Noemi Sakura 16.10.07 & Seder Pádraig 13.7.09 and partner to their lovely daddy
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#2 of 5 Old 03-17-2010, 12:01 PM
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So sorry you are feeling like this mama. Here's the thing....everything has risks. Vaccinating has risks, not vaccinating has risks, and all we can do is make an informed choice weighing the risks and benefits of both sides given our own personal circumstances. Sounds like you did just that. The reality is that un vaxed kids can and will possibly contract VPD's. Some will get very sick, others won't. I'm sure having your 4 month old come down with HIB and have to be hospitalized was horrifying and scary...I can only imagine! But you can't predict that if you had given the HIB vax, that your baby wouldn't have had an adverse reaction or how it would have affected his immune systme in the long run, or perhaps he would have come down with some other strain of HI?? You can't possible know. The fact that you were bullied is terrible, but not surpising...would have happened in the US too. I know you feel guilty, but given the fact that you made an educated informed choice, I think you have no reason to. With that being said, I know I would...I feel guilty about medical choices I have made for DS, even though when I made them, I did what I thought was best for him at the time. All one can do is learn from each experience and move on. I hope you can find peace with this

If the people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny." Thomas Jefferson.

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#3 of 5 Old 03-17-2010, 08:05 PM
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Maybe you can change the take-away lesson you learned? It's hard to let go of guilt, especially where kids are concerned, so I'm not saying that's an easy thing to do.

I'm coming from the perspective of a parent to a kid who gets sick a lot more frequently than most kids, but I haven't had to deal with annoying official people, which would be a truly stressful experience.

There are two lessons I've learned from my son getting sick a lot. The first is practical ways to support him through illness. I surely wouldn't have been equipped, when he was 4 months old, to figure out something tricky and potentially very serious, but over time I'm learning more, some of it general, some of it about him specifically.

The second is why, why does he get sick so much more than other kids? Maybe it was just a bad timing/transient vulnerability that allowed your son to get sick when most wouldn't. I really believe that exists--we don't have guarantees, no matter how carefully we make decisions and how much we learn. I know I can't completely ensure my kids' health, and even doing the best we can, we don't have complete control.

The other possibility is that there's a particular weakness that you're dealing with. My son's illnesses are related to my health, our health together, it wasn't completely obvious but I've had nutritional deficiencies out the wazoo. An easy one to consider, you being in NZ, how are you for selenium? It's important for immune function and I understand the soil is quite low in selenium there. For DS, zinc and vitamin D and vitamin A were all players, all quite low in the two of us, it just manifests differently in me. Maybe something interesting will turn up from a problem-solving perspective. And if nothing turns up, maybe it's Answer A, a non-repeating, transient vulnerability that's basically bad luck.
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#4 of 5 Old 03-20-2010, 01:19 AM
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I understand. DD2 never had a chance, she got exposed to pertussis literally at birth. Dh had it and we just didn't know yet, I sent him to the ER for the first time when she was 4 days old. We didn't get hassled then because she was too young for DTaP, and that was back when the booster for adults had just come out so it wasn't as heavily marketed as it is now. I do get the comments when providers read through her history and then get to the part where we still don't vax.

It took me a long time to be ok with everything, your baby is still so little, I'm sure you are still processing everything. Our life just seemed so surreal for so long.

DD2 does have lingering effects that exist even at 3.5y of age. She had been O2 dependent until she was 7 months, that next winter she went back on O2 with RSV, she also has been on inhalers since shortly after her 1st birthday. Every cold goes straight into her lungs. This is the first winter in her entire life that she has not been sick nonstop, she has FINALLY just reached the average of 6-12 illnesses a year, before then she was always haboring something. She gets pneumonia at the drop of a hat, and got RSV again this winter and could of gone back on O2, but I made the parental decision not to. Hello, keeping O2 on a 3 year, I think not!

This is what I do know. She does as well as she does today because of all the things I did/do. Because she was BF, because we did alternate treatments along with conventional. It could of been much worse. Today I have my child, she is a big, strong, happy girl. She was delayed as a baby because of lack of chest tone due to lung issues but today you would never know anything. Diseases still happen despite all the things we do or could of done. We could of been a vaxing family and still gotten pertussis, you guys still could of gotten HiB. DD2 got directly exposed to HiB as a 12 month old, our two babies were grabbing each others toys at a soccer game, less then 48 hours later the other baby was lifeflighted across the state, and was very ill for a long time Scared the crap out of me, but I think that was the ONLY illness DD2 has ever been exposed to that she didn't get. That baby had been vaxed. Instead of beating ourselves up about the what ifs, we need to think about how we did make it. I spent a long time beating myself up over things that I couldn't change, and that benefited no one.

There is no way to happiness, happiness is the way.
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#5 of 5 Old 03-22-2010, 06:56 PM
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Fortunately for you, Hiliary Butler lives in NZ. She has two books out and you can write to her via her website; she used to be a member here.

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"It should be a rule in all prophylactic work that no harm should ever be unnecessarily inflicted on a healthy person (Sir Graham Wilson, The Hazards of Immunization, 1967)."
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