Friday was shot day at the pediatrician’s office [the same appointment wherein we learned we are failing spectacularly as parents due to the fact that our little one doesn’t point]. I hate shot day for all the reasons every mother hates shot day but this past Friday my stomach hurt a little extra when I learned he would have not one, not two but FOUR stabs to the leg. He normally gets a high fever and some other random assortment of scary side-effects after his shots [the vast majority of which I am assured by medical professionals are completely unrelated to the shots- just a coincidence. each. and. every. time.] so with four shots I braced myself for a difficult weekend ahead.
Except he seemed fine. The next day we began the morning with a lovely play-date with Murgdan and Gabriel [And while our kids did play, they mostly played around each other with bursts of accidental encounters including a brief but vigorous argument for the remote control- Gabriel won], and ended it with a third viewing of Inception. A good day. Huh. I thought. No fever. Maybe his bad reaction to vaccines is over.
I was wrong.
That night, I checked in on a sweaty, feverish baby battling, to put it delicately, a horrendous stomach bug. The next day he refused to eat or drink, instead resting in our arms whimpering. The nurse hotline advised me on warning signs and what to do. When I voiced concerns that it was vaccine-related she dismissed it immediately. No way. Just a coincidence.
The next day, when he began stumbling, I rushed him to the doctor. Within the course of 48 hours he went from 20.8 pounds to 19.5 on the brink of hospitals and IVs. Again, I was informed its not the vaccines. No way. Just a coincidence.
This coincidence stance frustrates me. I understand him getting sick one time unrelated to the vaccines, but each and every time? A stomach bug? Nausea? Rash? Don’t get me wrong- I think vaccines are important. I’m all for them. Do I love that you have to pierce skin to administer them? No. But until they develop the technology to administer said vaccines through baked goods, this is the way its done. I don’t like it, but I get it. What I don’t understand: Why do we have to administer so many damn vaccines at once? Why can’t we spread them out over the course of weeks or months? I am thankful that as scary as his sickness-post-vaccines tend to be, he does get better, but why is there this emphatic dismissal of my concerns when I tell them that he gets sick each and every time from vaccines- and an insistence that its unrelated purely coincidental? Side-effects can be funny things. You wouldn’t think one could be allergic to breastfeeding? But you can. Why is it outside the realm of possibilities that vaccines running through a tiny body might produce a side-effect in a particular child?
Slowly the clouds are parting. Today he ate a tablespoon of yogurt and a small bowl of rice; its better than yesterday and I hope tomorrow will be better than today. I’m thankful he avoided the hospital thanks to my doctor’s idea to feed him gatorade via syringe bit-by-bit for two hours until he finally had a wet diaper. Really, I’m grateful. But the thought of his fifteen month
wellness visit shot appointment is making me feel sick. When he was born, I was sick and while they told me there were fairly certain he was okay, they did a ridiculous amount of tests involving needles to protect their liability make sure. A kind nurse suggested quietly that I refuse the Hep A vaccine at the hospital since Waleed had clearly been through enough in his short life and I could get it done later. No one at the hospital so much as blinked when I refused it, but my doctor’s office? They have a notice on their website that if you don’t want to go with the traditional vaccine schedule you’re welcome to go elsewhere. In fact, every doctor’s office within a fifteen minute drive of me does not tolerate alternate vaccine schedules. Like I said, the one time I tentatively brought it up, you’d think I told them I hunt koala bears for a living.
Maybe his sickness post-vaccines is related. Maybe it’s not. Today, one grandmother theorized this could be due to the blueberries I fed him, while another thought it might be because we didn’t feed him enough rice. Everyone wants a reason- a why. Maybe that’s me- a mother wanting to lay blame at someone’s door, to find a reason- in this case, vaccines.
How did you handle, are handling, or plan to handle vaccines? Any insight on this topic appreciated.