I know. Just from the title, it’s evident that I shouldn’t even be approaching this hot-button debate topic.
But the whole issue has been really weighing on me. I know I will feel better if I at least write about it. None of what I’m about to say is a judgement on either side of the issue. These are just my thoughts, as I process what’s right for Gregory and for our family.
What sparked the issue? Gregory’s 4 month appt., where he gets vaccinated FIVE times, is supposed to take place tomorrow. And I just cancelled the appt. and switched doctors.
Explanation of the first: we are trying to figure out a few insurance related issues. We took Gregory off of Jesse’s health insurance during open enrollment season in December, planning to put him onto my UD health insurance. However, when we decided in Jan. that I shouldn’t finish my thesis this semester, that option closed. So, here we are, with no insurance for our precious boy! Luckily, we did set aside hundreds of dollars in our medical fund that we have through his work. All pre-tax money. And we’re also saving $150/month by not paying for his insurance. The out-of-pocket cash expense of a pediatrician appt. for someone with no insurance? $120. Even if we go to one appt./month, we are saving $30 + the $20 copay. And we have the medical expense fund to pay for that.
Regardless, I actually went ahead and applied for Texas Medicaid for G. Because I didn’t work for a few months, we BARELY qualify. Who knows, he might get it. Our tax dollars are paying for it, so, I figure, why not? We are still waiting for whether they approve our application.
Explanation of the second: We are switching doctors because, while I like ours, the office policy is the AAP’s schedule for vaccinations. They will go with Dr. Sears’ schedule, but if you decide to omit any of them, they ask you to find another Dr.
Originally, I had no problem with G getting every single vaccination, so we went ahead with this Dr. But then, G had a pretty noticable reaction to his 2 month vaccinations. Nothing major or serious, just a fever and 2 days of high-pitched screaming as his body fought off everything.
Since then, I’ve been doing a lot of research about how each vaccine is made. Nothing I read made me go, “WOAH! NEVER AGAIN!”, but it did give me pause. I won’t go into it here– it’s gross and technical– but it involves things like someone else’s DNA and monkey blood being injected into a baby.
Dr. Sears’ book was an invaluable resource during this process. I like that he doesn’t explain one side of the issue, mostly because he isn’t on one side or the other. He says things like, “If a parent tells me they aren’t going to vaccinate their child until they’re 2, I say, ‘Great, you’d better be planning to breastfeed them until they’re 2!'”, allowing for the possibility that it might be the right move for some families. He outlines alternative approaches, such as not getting the chicken pox vaccination until the child is a teen and has a blood test verifying whether or not they’ve been exposed and contain the antibody.
He also explains the gravity of the situation if enough people stop getting vaccinated. For instance, Rubella, part of the dreaded MMR vaccine, is extremely damaging, even lethal, to unborn fetuses. I actually grew up next door to a girl whose mother was exposed to Rubella while she was in utero. She was born deaf as a result. I know that if I chose NOT to get G vaccinated “as a precaution” without undeniable evidence of ACTUAL harm coming to him, and another child died as a result, God have mercy on me! Not to mention that if G were to get Pertussis right now, his odds of survival are extremely low.
So, for me, it’s not IF I choose to get G vaccinated, it’s when and how.
Part of me feels like waiting until G isn’t breastfeeding anymore. Breastmilk is POWERFUL stuff, as evidenced by our recent encounter with the stomach flu. That bug was SUPER contagious. Jesse and I were extremely careful, and he got it. Even our dog got a case of diarrhea as a result (the.grossest.thing.I’ve.ever.encountered.period.). G, the kid who puts everything in his mouth? Not a sniffle. He was a bit cranky, probably due to the fact that his parents were vomiting all around him and couldn’t play. But nothing. SAME exact scenario with the Unruhs, who are also breastfeeding Jonathan.
Then again, if I wait until after G’s weaned, I’m bombarding his newly weaned immune system. Perhaps it would be better to vaccinate now, before his body is fighting normal things, like the common cold, on his own.
The stomach-flu saga also showed me that, while things like Rota-virus aren’t too harmful (just a bad case of throwing up for several days), I don’t want to go through that with him! What’s more heart breaking than watching a kid who’s unable to understand why they feel so so so crummy, for days on end? Not to mention how they are at such risk for severe dehydration? G would be hospitalized if he got it right now. Add onto that the nearly 0% chance of them having side effects from the vaccine (it isn’t even a shot), and I know where I stand!
I haven’t completely made my decisions yet. But I have switched to Courtney’s Dr., who is willing to work with it, in the event that I decide to be selective.
Thanks for listening! I feel much better 🙂