My Journey Leaving The Vaccination Movement
Cutting and pasting some info in here from another post I did about our experiences with leaving the vaccine movement.
I was a pre-vet major, very heavily influenced by pharma and vaccines as that was a very large portion of my undergrad degree. I had no problem spouting off "facts" about vaccines, medication, and even the necessity of milking dairy cows in order to drink their milk so we helped them avoid mastitis...
Graduated college, having dropped the pre-vet qualifications in my last year and just sticking to animal behavior, got my first puppy as a grad gift from the hubs (bf at the time) and well that became two pups since my parents wanted one too. Witnessed my first vaccine failure as they contracted kennel cough, followed by autoimmune induced by over-vaccintation, and spent the first year in the animal ER and over $10k in vet bills. Began to rethink the entire medical model at that point and slowly transitioned to grain free, then homemade and eventually raw diet for them, and learned about titering and homeopathic as well.
Fast forward 6yrs, I'm married and pregnant. I took the steps to find a practice that had midwives knowing I wanted alternative care. Spent some time reading about delayed/selective schedules, but always had other things going on, and still wanted to believe in the system so I didn't move completely away. I settled on no vit k, no eye ointment, and no heb B in hospital - delayed that to the first visit. Upon initial meetings with the ped, we discussed an alternative sched and she was fully on board.
At her 2mo WB, I was basically cornered into giving her everything on schedule: Pentacel, PCV, Hep B, Rotateq oral. There was a resident doc with the ped, and she took special care to use her "concerned doctor" tone in describing to me all the horrible things that were going to befall my LO if I didn't immediately vax her. It was 2 against one, I couldn't even remotely ask for a delay. DD became extremely lethargic, didn't nurse for almost 6 hours following her vaxxes (UNHEARD of for a baby who nursed every 45 mins to 2 hours) and when she woke from what seemed like a comatose sleep she began screaming.....a scream that I will never forget and never want to hear again. It was eery, high pitched, unearthly....just horrible and nothing I did made it stop completely. She would whine, lip quivering while she nursed, and only slept for 20-40 mins at a time and was back up to scream. This went on for over 2 weeks. (@Taximom5 - yes, it is animal like and something you never forget.) During that time she also vomited profusely and had major blowouts which lasted a few days. I later read these were side effects of the Rotateq...funny, the same side effects of rotavirus itself. She began to break out in a rash, very random across her body, but a large portion concentrated on her cheeks. I do not have a single picture of her between 2mos and a year where she doesn't have bright red bumpy cheeks - but she was born with perfectly smooth skin. She was a bit disoriented and not quite herself for 2-3 weeks following, but slowly her normal behaviors resumed and other than the rash, the other issues subsided with time.
All of these were reported to her pediatrician and during our visits she seemed to be typing up a storm as she asked about the reactions and even verbally agreed that they were pretty bad and that we could proceed slowly in the future (aka delayed as I had wished to in the first place).
At 4mos she was getting over a cold and we opted to do a "shot visit" at 5mos and at that point it was just the pentacel - I refused the others. Same reactions, same seemingly concerned response from the ped.
All along I expressed concern about what I felt were food intolerance to dairy in my diet while nursing. I was told that it's virtually unheard of for babies to be allergic to dairy, and that when they are, they all outgrow it by 3 but there was no reason to change my diet because *she* did not suspect dairy issues in my child and refused to send her for testing. I cut out dairy on my own at 12 weeks, lo and behold that diaper blowouts were a thing of the past and the fussing after nursing was no longer an issue. When telling this to the ped, she claimed it was just coincidence.
At 6mos DD had a physical reaction to eating oats - bright red ring around her lips. I was so angered by the dismissive nature in the past that I didn't bring it up at her well visit. At 10 mos she ate some apple crisp the night before a long road trip to see family. I noticed she looked a bit puffy at bedtime but we also had grandparents over and she was tired. At 3am when we woke up to embark on out trip and change her diaper, she was covered head to toe in hives, both eyes swollen and red and she was visibly puffy all over. I called the 24 hour on-call number and described in great detail her reaction and her previous reaction to oats. I didn't even ask for her "medical opinion" or "expertise" on allergic reactions or for any diagnosis - I simply wanted to know if there was a dosage for benadryl that would be safe to give an under 2yo based on her current weight. The response? "Oh this is a non-specific viral infection and it will pass in 7 days, and if it continues beyond that make an appointment with your regular doctor". ??? I was appalled that my child was borderline anaphylactic and BECAUSE I mentioned food, a not so common food for allergies at that, they were completely dismissive of me. Perhaps it was the lack of fear in my voice (DH is an EMT, I went through the EMT training as well) or the fact that I sounded like I knew what I was talking about and she didn't like that....but wow. It's a damn good thing we are medically trained and that I am aware of holistic alternatives and happened to have Rescue Remedy on me and was able to bring down the reaction on my own. I told the ped about it when we got back from vacation and she had no comment.
We had a 6mo, 9mo and 13mo visit where we did refuse all vaxxes. Following the 6mo visit, she was a bit taken aback that I came to that decision and was very abrupt in following visists. On our last one at 13mos she offered a catch up of all the shots we'd become "behind on" at that point. Knowing my DD's previous reactions, but bound and determined to get her up-to-date and make her own records look good, she was willing to inject my child with DTaP, Heb B, Hep A, Polio, Hib, Pneumococcal, MMRV (which she offered to "start early rather than waiting til 15mos), AND...she offered to throw in a seasonal flu shot in that visit if I didn't want to come back for that one....
Needless to say we stopped going and received a letter at 23mos that if we did not show up for a 2yr well check that we would be removed from the practice. I was ok with it because we'd already left for an ND and were quite happy with the care there.
Her last vaccination was in 2011 at 5mos old.....she's just shy of 33mos and still battling the skin issues and food intolerances that followed. I wish I could take the vaccines back and start from scratch with her, but I can't. All I can do is trust that we've done the research, done the right thing by stopping when we did, and not vax her or any future children and hope to NEVER have to hear that scream again.