In a homeschooling house full of 7 kids & 3 guniea pigs....there is never a dull moment! A lot of people show genuine concern for us and want to know how we are doing, as the road we've left behind was not a pleasant one. So, here I am, to tell some of our stories...share some of our days...and open up a part of our world to you! Come join us on our journey so you won't miss the moments that take our breath away!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Our Vaccine Journey (part 1)...

Dare I write about such a controversial topic?  Ahhh....yes, I MUST.  I have felt very drawn to write about this topic for such a long time and this past week it has been screaming at me!!  I have commented about this topic more times than I can count recently on different group pages on Facebook and people have even tried to have me banned simply for stating facts (they didn't like their opinions challenged) but this has been such a popular question lately... 

"Should I vaccinate (my 2 month old)?"

I responded to those posts with FACTS.  I didn't give my opinion, nor did I tell MY story, but for those who are genuinely is our story.

Now, I've been a mother for 15 years.  I never asked this question, well, not for a long time anyway!  This was a no brainer, right?  I mean, this is what our society does.  We vaccinate our children.  We vaccinate against all these horrible and life threatening diseases and who wouldn't want to protect their child against these horrific preventable diseases?  I mean, have you seen the pictures of kids with polio?  Have you seen the pictures of kids dying with whooping cough?  Measles, Mumps, Rubella...oh my!!   Who questions THAT?  Who would NOT protect their child from that!!!  Now, I do remember when it came to the chicken pox vaccine our pediatrician admittedly didn't know much about it, it had only been available for a few years at the time.  I remember her saying, it "may" need a booster or it "may not", we just don't know yet, she told me.  Hmm...this was the very first time I questioned a vaccine.  Wow, you want me to inject my kid with something but your telling me you (as a medical society) don't know much about it yet?   I opted not to get until they knew more about it and there were no questions asked about my decision.  We continued with all the other vaccines, right on schedule!   Our pediatrician said these vaccines were necessary and she informed me of the benefits...I always agreed.  Sure, it always made sense and there was no question about whether I should or shouldn't vaccinate my kids.  To be honest, I think I was so naive that I don't think I realized there were people that didn't vaccinate.  This continued on as I continued to have more children. Years down the road, a friend who had a child the same age as one of my children (by this time, I had just had my fourth child) mentioned that she didn't get the hep B vaccine for her girls because research showed that it causes infertility in girls.  CRAP!  Really??? Oh my, I had my girls vaccinated with it! What have I done?  I had NO clue!  Really?  My pediatrician didn't tell me that!!!  She went on to say that really, there was no reason to vaccinate against Hep B anyway, since it's only transmitted through sex and sharing needles with an infected partner.  Ohh...well, uh, yea...I never thought of it that way but, yeah, that makes sense Hmm.. why didn't anyone remind me of this fact, gah...wish I would have thought about it that way.  but wait, really infertile? do I need to worry about my girls, ugh, what have I done?  I admit, I have never done the research about any link between the Hep B vaccine and infertility in girls.  Now, this person was no anti-vax freak or anything...she just didn't have her girls vaxed with this one vaccine.  Her children are all vaccinated against everything else, except chicken pox, she went to a chicken pox party for that....CRAZY I tell you, who in their right mind would purposefully infect their kids with chicken pox.  Anyways...

Still, I went on to fully confidently vaccinate all of my children, including now Emu and Duckling.  Now....when it came to that Hep B shot, I opted out of that ONE.  I mean, I have no idea if it "can" cause infertility and that didn't sway my decision, but lets be honest, I don't envision my children having sex or sharing least until they are old enough to make the decision themselves if they will be at risk of this disease and if they want to get vaccinated against it, they can make that choice, right after I give them a talkin to for putting themselves in that risk category ;)

Most may know, but Duckling, my precious baby girl was born deaf.  She had her fair share of problems, that's for sure...but despite all of this she was a healthy, chunky baby at 4 months.

and, like I always had for everyone else, she got those 4 month shots although she was a bit late getting them. Not long (days) after getting her 4 month shots, things drastically changed with her health.  She went from a chunky, healthy baby girl to projectile vomiting, losing weight, she began suffering from numerous ALTE's .  Let me tell you, there is NOTHING more fearful than thinking you've just watched or found your child dead.  I wasn't the only one to witness these accounts and they didn't only happen at night!  You'd be holding her, sleeping...then all of a sudden, she'd stop breathing.  You'd she breathing?? Give her a gentle shake...she's not breathing!  She'd go limp & lifeless.  OMG...she's not breathing.  You'd stimulate her, not as gentle.  Your heart skips a beat, inside your screaming, OMG, she is NOT breathing....then.....a big breath.  Oh MY GOD, what the hell was THAT!  We co-slept.  There were times I would just instinctively wake up to "check" her.  We all do it, you know you do.  You wake up and just make sure they are breathing.  I'd usually just give her a little nudge, you know and just make sure she startled.  Once, I nudged...nothing.  I nudged a bit harder...nothing.  I put my hand on her chest.  It's not moving.  I give her a gentle shake.  Nothing.  I shake her a bit harder...nothing.  Lifeless and limp.  completely unresponsive.  OMG, she's dead.  I roll her over...not sure why.  I scream's like a dream, a bad horrible dream.  and then finally, she takes that famous deep breath and then she's fine.  Another time...she's in my parents bed.  I hear my dad (a former EMT/Firefighter).  She's not breathing.  She's purple.  OMG, is she dead?  I run into the room...this isn't happening AGAIN!!  Ahhh...the famous BREATH!!! one could find anything "wrong" with her, we must be crazy because she always checks out fine.  After this third episode I had  a snuza baby monitor.   over nighted to us and yes, these frequent episodes continued for a few more nights (not every night)  but the alarm did go off and they were not as severe.  She was more easily stimulated.  After the initial "surge" of these episodes those first few weeks, they faded...sometime soon before her first birthday they became a thing of the past (although, now at age 5 she still doesn't sleep thru the night and it makes me wonder if apnea wakes her up).  Never once did I, nor a doctor associate these episodes with her vaccines she had gotten a few days before they started to occur.  She went on to continue to lose weight and was just a "sickly" baby girl.  She diagnosed with severe food allergies so I still never connected her new found problems to her getting those 4 month vaccines.  I mean, she was so deathly allergic to eggs (thank you blood test)  that a bite of one would kill her and this explains everything right (even though she was only 4-5 months old at the time and she had never eaten egg that would have triggered these things to happen, seriously, this NEVER occured to me at this time...what was I stupid??)  We had to carry epinephrine (and not a epi pen, she was far too small for one of those).  I never had to eliminate anything in my diet even though I was breastfeeding (all the more reason I should have never bought that this egg allergy is what triggered all of the ALTE's she was having), but just had to make sure and egg never got to her mouth.  I never got her next set of vaccines.   I never got any of the other kids next dose of vaccines either because at the same time Eagle was in the midst of his Autism diagnosis and  the pediatrician highly suggested, it was time to start Autism diagnosis on Emu as well.  I know, I know...he was only 2, but trust me the signs were there and we already had Eagle's unofficial diagnosis, which put him at more of a risk of having Autism as well (and let's be honest here...sometimes you don't need a test, kwim?)  It was just better to get his diagnosis as well.  All this was happening in the wake of Jenny McCarthy and her beliefs with the link between Autism and Vaccines.  I began to question that maybe my boys had Autism from the vaccines.  But, until I felt better about the whole Autism thing, I was not getting another vaccine because this has me a bit freaked out. 

Now it's 2009, I still have not vaccinated another child.
In the past year Duckling has undergone extensive physical, occupational and speech (for feeding problems) therapies.  She stopped growing and she was so small she had to have her high chair specially adapted so that she would fit in it.  She did not roll over or sit up until she was 10 months old.  She celebrated her first birthday weighing in at 14lbs 11oz and 25 in long.  She was still wearing 0-3 mo clothes with room to grow.

Sleep Study at 10 months

1st Bday with a pair of 6 month pants that came up to her underarms

She underwent extensive testing for the first two years of her life at two different hospitals with two different sets of specialists and yet despite her size, no one could find anything wrong with her.  At this point, I'm  still not questioning those vaccines to be the cause of Duckling's problems, no one is.  I believe it was around this time that Emu's stunted growth was also discovered so we just had a lot going on. be continued