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preemie in nicu & they're pushing vaxes

1603 Views 35 Replies 18 Participants Last post by  boscopup
this is kinda unstructured. i hope it makes sense.

my preemie will be 2 months old on saturday and he is still in the hosp. he was born 14 weeks before his due date, so by gestational age he's only at 34 weeks. the neonatologists want to vaccinate him with everything full term babies are supposed to get at 2 months, even though he's not even supposed to be born yet. he's only 3 ½ pounds! the whole situation is making me so nervous.

before he was born i was so confident-planning a hb with a direct entry midwife (in a state where they're not legal) and planning to avoid the whole vax issue in the short term by avoiding the hospital (for the hep b) and in the long term by finding a sympathetic ped. i was just starting to better inform myself on the issue and look for a ped when i was put on bed rest in january (after obtaining a ob/gyn from an emergency visit to the hosp), thinking i had several more months to go, but since my baby was born in february i have not had the time/energy to look for a ped. well, the one ped who might have okayed delayed vaxes is not accepting new patients. anyway, a lot of my confidence has been shaken first in the early birth-it was not supposed to happen to me! i did everything right and better than most people, ya know? i was so sure that i'd have my hb and everything would be perfect. and in the last two months we've been through so much, and i've had so many scary moments, and not even knowing if he would survive at first. my point being, i am not one to have a lot of confidence in doctors, but knowing that my son would probably not have lived if not for their care, i am less confident in my ability to parent in the way i want to, i.e., vax-free, or even delayed vaxing.

in particular, since he basically lives at the doctor's office, i am afraid of a confrontation with the doctor(s) and having him suffer because of it. not that i think that poorly of my doctors, but i guess the fear is there anyway. also, they like to emphasize that his immune system is not like that of a full-term baby so he's more susceptible to catching stuff. he's already had a rotavirus and a staph infection.

so all that is mostly just rambling, and what it comes down to is that i am terrified of vaxing him at this point, and would only even consider the prevnar and dtap (not the polio or hep b) but i don't even want to do those BUT i am also scared that because he's so fragile that he would catch something that i didn't vax against and then i would have to live with that. (to clarify: if he had been full-term, it would've been a risk i'd be comfortable with.)

i have to come up with something to tell them when i go in tomorrow and they want me to sign the consent forms. can anybody give me any assistance? reassurance? advice? has anyone here not vaxed their preemie? i think at the least i'll tell them i'm not ready to make a decision and share some of my concerns with them. i can only put if off for so long-they've been on me to give consent for several days now. i'd like to make it through the hosp stay without vaxing, but the end is still 3 to 6 weeks away.
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Vaccines have not been tested on preemies. Last I looked into it the official stance was that preemies should be vaxed at ADJUSTED age. So no way no how I'd vax at this point.

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Originally Posted by Happypants
can anybody give me any assistance? reassurance? advice?
Do you want sugarcoated information - or do you want information which may be disturbing, but it would be the truth? What you won't hear from the hospital.

Originally Posted by Happypants
i have to come up with something to tell them when i go in tomorrow and they want me to sign the consent forms.
You don't have to "come up" with anything. It's your child - you tell them no if you don't want your baby vaccinated and tell them you don't want to be harassed about your decision.
IMO Keep saying NO NO NO! until he is older and then you can always reevaluate... There is another post that's up in the Vaccinations forum with an awesome reading list for vaccination info- maybe you could check out those links/books while stalling them... Good luck!
DTaP is probably the most reactive vax they give children (although Prevnar might be taking over that spot), so there is no way I would let them give that to my preemie. The doctors are telling you that his immune system is not fully developed - this is EXACTLY why you should not vaccinate him at this point. If his immune system can't handle an illness, how is it supposed to react "appropriately" (develop antibodies) to a vaccine? It makes no sense to say that his immune system doesn't function properly, then to insist that he will develop immunity after vaccinations. Besides, you need 3 doses of both to be considered immune, so even if you get the shots right now, your child will be just as likely to catch any of those 4 diseases as if he hadn't been vaccinated at all, plus he'll have to deal with all the ingredients of the vaccines.

You are this child's mother. You don't have to explain yourself to them. Tell them you have a religious conviction against vaccinating, if that makes it easier for you. Don't elaborate. Tell them it isn't up for discussion. They won't really care what your concerns are, because they will think you're an uneducated woman who believes stupid things she reads on the internet. They have already made up their minds about vaccinations, so trying to explain your concerns to them will only result in them talking to you like a child and convincing you to vaccinate. I'm not saying that to be mean to you - that's what they would think about ANY of us.
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I can't sugarcoat stuff for you so let me tell you the story of one of the cases I was involved in.

A baby was born here, 12 weeks prem. Which isn't that much less than yours I guess. The day the baby was supposed to leave the hospital, they wanted to vaccinate him just before the mother took him home.

She didn't want to, but they pressured her so much that she did, but she did something very wise. She made them monitor him for 48 hours, and keep him in hospital for another 48 hours after the shots. They gave them to him in the afternoon. That night, he started seizuring, bradycardia, the works. All monitorred on a computer link up, and all.

Naturally he was back in picu and it was red alert for some days.

The boy was later diagnosed with spastic quadriplegia which he didn't have before. Now, here's the clincher.

I was brought into the case (which was headed by one of this country's foremost lawyers) at the last minute because they were going nowhere very fast. It took the lawyer three goes to get all the files. I'd go through them and say "no, they aren't all here, coz they mention this test here, and I can't find the results.

After I had all the files, it took me a week to figure it out, and I figured it out by putting all the test results, major events, and key clinical episodes on to date lines drawn onto clear plastic using the same scale (one metre wide...) , and pinning them on top of one another so that it formed on large graph. When I stood back and looked the pattern hit me like a brick.

This babe had had blood transfusions every four weeks prior to the vaccines, and when you looked at his test results they would normalise after the blood transfusion and then turn down, and then he'd go into crisis and have another one.

Just before the vaccine, his test results were in crisis mode again, yet no ped noticed... but even the nurses notes commented that he wasn't feeding properly and wasn't himself. But no-one took any notice. They vaccinated a very sick child who should never have been vaccinated.

At that time, a US vaccines expert who have gone over to the "other" side happened to be in the country and he reviewed all my work, and we went to the lawyer together and he verified that my assessment was accurate.

The problem was that we didn't quite know how to approach the case, and in the end I suggested a risky strategy. I said to the lawyer... "Look the way I see this is that there were FIVE paediatricians on this case, and I bet they all thought someone else had looked at the tests and no-one had. I bet they just looked at what the previous ped had written and bounced off that, so my feeling is to ask the court to abandon the case for medical misadventure on the basis that having had the files professionally reviewed, you will file for medical neglect and bring all five paeds to account for medical negligence.

She did that.

A week later, I had a call from her and she said "Guess what?"

"What.." I muttered.

"I have a check in my hand" she enthused.

"So, wasn't that the aim?" I replied.

"You don't understand" she replied."Normally if we win these cases, we have to set up a trust, sign on trustees, and they put us through months load of garbage before we ever smell money."

"So....?" I said.

"So," she said, "They've obviously gone through the files and realised that we'd win the medical neglect case hands down and they are trying to buy the family off."

She went back to the family and asked what they wanted to do, and they were happy to be bought off.

Shame really. It would have been nice to have got some real justice.


What I am saying to you in all this is that you have to be really careful.

If you are pushed into agreeing to vaccines, make them sign a form saying he is healthy enough to have them.

Make sure that the apneoa monitor has been silent a few nights.

And make them keep him in hospital for however long you need them to afterwards, because that way if things turn to custard then YOU won't be the primary suspect in a potential crime scene. Many of the USA cases I've worked on have involved Shaken Baby Syndrome, because sometimes, particularly in premies, vaccine reactions show up as haemorrhages in the brain and retina, rather than what happened to the child on the above mentioned case. And when haemorrhages are involved, the last person with the child is usually investigated for murder.

This is your child, and you have to make some decisions, not just for himself, but for yourself as well.

Those decision as you are already feeling, are very hard ones, because they involve fear of death, either from the disease or from the vaccine.

It comes back to your philosophy, your faith, and how much you want to do things the way you want to. And whether you will allow the fear to continue to rule your decision making.

You have to really ground yourself, and when you do that with your husband you will know what you want to do, and hopefully why. When you know that, try to follow it with single purpose. Be quiet, polite but firm. If you are railroaded in spite of what you want, then insist on certain things, and make them adhere to them.

so make decisions, but also make contingency plans in case Plan A falls through.
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I just wanted to remind you that most vacc's won't even be effective until after he has had several boosters by which time his immune system will be much more developed (if unvacc'ed). It seems a horrible waste to take such a chance when it won't even be effective for quite some time.
You are going through a rough time! Congrats on your wonderful new baby (not quite brand new, but new) !

ETA: He probably caught some of his infections because he is in hospital. There was an article just the other day in the news about rotovirus running rampant in a newborn ward. IMO once he comes home he won't be exposed to half the stuff he is now.

ETA/again: Let us know how it turns out, and if they give you any crap ask to see the patient advocate. I think most hospitals have one. They are there just to assist the patients and ensure they are treated well.
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thanks everyone for your responses! i wanted to say that i've read them and will respond more elaborately later when i have more internet time. whew! i already feel better.
Hey there. Just wanted to say mine was 15 weeks early and i never gave her one vaccine and she's healthy as can be. They pushed me too but i kept saying no, not up for discussion.
My DS was 9 weeks early, and my second regret is getting him vaxed according to birth age instead of adjusted age (first regreget is getting him vaxed at all!). If you do decide to vaccinate, I'd seriously wait until his corrected age to get them.
Allow me to add a very wise phrase that Mamaverdi mentions (and a DR. gave it to her) I'll paraphrase- Do not ask, do not explain, simply tell them what they can and can not do. You're the mom.

Since you're obviously not comfortable vaxing at this point, just tell the doctor you will be delaying his vaxes until he's two months adjusted (and that it's not open for discussion)--that should get the doctor off your back enough for you to have time to do some more research and feel more comfortable with whatever decision you make. Good luck, you can do it!

Originally Posted by caedmyn
Since you're obviously not comfortable vaxing at this point, just tell the doctor you will be delaying his vaxes until he's two months adjusted (and that it's not open for discussion)--that should get the doctor off your back enough for you to have time to do some more research and feel more comfortable with whatever decision you make. Good luck, you can do it!

nak -- do not let them vax! I told them what the pp suggested and they were a bit miffed, but still ok about it and I didn't have to worry so much about some vax happy nurse injecting my babies when I wasn't there "for their own good." There is a real reason why preemies are 4 times more likely to die from SIDS! Don't let them vax, and don't let them get synagis either! My 11 week early twins are currently the healthiest babies I know(and it ain't genetics!). Not vaxxing and giving them as much breastmilk for as long as you can are the two greatest gifts you can give any child, preemie or full term.
Remember, vaccines haven't even been shown to be effective! They are a baby-killing load of crap that make baby-killing quack doctors rich!
My healthy FT baby cousin Alissa was killed by vax at 7 months old, of course they just call it SIDS -- her parents are a pediatric aenesthesiologist and a registered nurse, brainwashed to never question vaxes
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Originally Posted by twins10705
My healthy FT baby cousin Alissa was killed by vax at 7 months old, of course they just call it SIDS(

VAERS data (deaths) searching:



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today dh and i spoke with the doctor regarding vaxes. she brought it up after talking to us about another issue. she is very pro-vax (no surprise) but she did acknowledge that we have some decisions to make, before we even indicated that we didn't want to vax. actually, i never indicated that we didn't want to vax, but listened to what she said the risks to vaxing and not vaxing are and at a later time, when pressed, i'll tell her that i want to delay. at least now i've heard what she has to say about it and maybe she won't try to convince me otherwise.

now dh and i have to get on the same page, though, because he wants to do what she says since she seems so reasonable (very pro-breastfeeding, babywearing, etc). at least now i'm not so worried about confrontation with the doctor. i'm still very uneasy about the whole thing, though. it does help to hear from y'all and to know i'm not crazy for not wanting to do it.
You've gotten much good advice, so I just want to add that *IMO* if I ever have a premmie, that will ONLY reinforce my stance of no vaxes even more...the gods themselves couldn't command me to vaccinate a premmie. It's just too dangerous. All those chemicals, when her little body is already way. Keep your resolve, do whatever it takes to get your DH on the same page and don't let ANYONE take away your parental rights to be a parent!
My baby was in the NICU for 61 days, and just came home a week from yesterday. (She was 13 weeks early, 2lbs 2 ounces)

I had two doctors on her case while in there, and they PRESSED so terribly, and one even 'hinted' around that if I did not vax, that her homecoming would be delayed!
: I almost even signed those forms, but I didn't thanks to DH and my mom.

My mom called our ped (who takes care of everyone in my family) and he faxed over to us a prescription slip that said, "Dr. Brown will be conducting all well child visits for Cynthia, also recommending innoculations to be delayed until further notice due to extreme prematurity."

He agress 100% that even IF I say okay to vaccinations, that it is in her best interest to wait until she's older (6 mos) and at least 8lbs.

That shut her NICU doctors up!

I loff my ped!
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We have vaxed on schedule up until this point. Ds is healthy, happy, and I feel confident in dh's and my decision. We won't be doing chicken pox and have let our ped know. He wasn't thrilled, but he isn't holding it against ds as a patient. Just do what you feel is right. If that is not vaxing, then don't. If you want to delay, then delay. If you want to fully vax, then do it. I think, if I could do it again, I'd probably do them based on adjusted age, but I don't really regret vaxing on actual age.

I fully vaxed as well, not at adjusted age, and we did synagis as well for two seasons. My daughter is a happy, healthy, thriving 19 months. Just to put it out there that the choice is up to you and you should not in any way be pressured to vax if you don't want to. I would look into synagis and make a separate choice about that. It isn't the same as other vaxes, and RSV is a very serious threat to a preemie's health.
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