Let’s Talk Vaccines – Unheard Mother

One thing I have tried the last few years not to talk about are vaccinations. When I first became a mom almost 10 years ago (wow…) I was 21 years old, lived in Ohio and the whole “going to a doctor” with a baby was completely new to me. I was clueless and young… and so I did everything the Dr. order. EVERYTHING. Those who follow my blog know some of the battles we faced with our 1st born in regards to vaccines. We battled high fevers. Rashes, bumps, soreness, ear infections and a constant issue with congestion. It got so bad at one point, after a 104+ spike in fever after a vaccine around 6 months (I believe he got 4 at once that visit), as a worried mom I called my Dr. asking if this was normal… that Caleb kept battling these things… despite our efforts to keep him home, well… etc… He was not in day care… I did not leave often… and yet, always sick. She assured me “Oh yes, totally normal.” In my gut though I did not feel this was right. Why was my baby always sick. Why was he battling ear infections EACH shot he got. Why was he congested in struggling month after month. At around 1 year old we even had him tested for allergies because we could not figure out how to keep this little guy well. It was so frustrating and consumed me constantly.

I then started to do some home work myself. I spoke to a few older mothers with much older kids, got their opinions. I read so many websites I cant even count. I watched documentaries. I asked questions… It was an on going journey of research that honestly went on for YEARS in my life… at one point I had to put my foot down and make the decision to stop vaccinating until I was comfortable and knew it was safe for my child.

All a mother ever wants is the best for their child.

We live in a constant state of fear it seems as moms these days. I remember after having my 2nd born (I was 23). Dr. after Dr. telling me the huge risk I was taking not to vaccinate Taite. How this could happen, or that.

I remember one Dr. in fact telling me You have to get these shots. Or your baby will die.

Im not even kidding. She said that to me.

Dr’s over the years, as my children grew and we still declined the vaccines, would continue to throw fear remarks at me… and would even bring up the whole “school thing.” You cannot send them to school or daycare without vaccines. I guess its a good thing we wouldnt need to send them to either but regardless, that is a lie in itself.

As a mom who does not vaccinate… I get constant remarks by others on how MY child is putting THEIR child at risk. Their vaccinated child… who is vaccinated against these things…. so why would my unvaccinated child put their vaccinated child at risk? It is a constant back and forth battle… and after honestly loosing friendship over this subject, I began to keep my mouth shut and try to stay neutral if all possible.

Do we vaccinate?…

Not right now, no.

Are we anti-vaccine? No. In fact last year when Owen was bit in the face by a dog… I had to make a decision on a vaccine. Tetanus. Which he got that day. I don’t know if it was the right decision but in that moment, I felt it was best. So he got it.

When I was in labor with Reed and he was born… a nurse looked at me with a sheet to sign consenting to give my 6 pound baby HEP B Vaccine… I looked at her and said “No Shots.” as they continued to mess with my girly parts and clean things up. A mom after birthing a baby is handed forms requesting permission to give their baby who has been out of the womb for all of 2 minutes, a shot. Why?! Have you read the risk of Hep B? I never did. Nor was I ever told. Did you know that “hepatitis B is a primarily blood-transmitted disease associated with risky lifestyle choices, such as unprotected sex with multiple partners and intravenous drug use involving sharing needles—it is NOT primarily a “children’s disease.” - yet they feel the need to give it to EVERY newborn born?

The thing is. I think vaccines have their place. I think they have been used for good in some situations… but in many cases I think it is TO MUCH too soon. Why so many, so fast? Why not spread them out a bit… If you look at this chart you will see around 6 mo. of age babies are pumped FULL of vaccines… tiny little bodies full of this stuff… it cannot be good and the dangers are real.

*Taken from the CDC website*

We each as mothers have to pray… do research…. and make a decision in regards to our child’s health care. No one should bully us into anything and often times when I went to Dr’s I felt bullied… unheard and disrespected.

I have mad props for any Dr. out there. The amount of schooling they are put through… the time they spend working… its hard… and I know they work for that and desire the best… and I am thankful for wise Dr’s who are used all over the globe to save lives and fight childhood illnesses that would otherwise kill. I am thankful for health care…. but what I am not thankful for is when I take my child into a Dr’s office and they act as if I am not worth hearing.

Last night I made the decision to take Taite into a very well known Urgent care for children in Atlanta. It is one of the highest rated and I have been there before. Because it was after 6pm we could not see Taite’s regular Dr… and the thought of waiting until morning and facing a Dr’s office with 4 young children, risking Reed being exposed to something in the Dr’s office… was not appealing to me. So I went to the urgent care while Travis stayed home with the other 3 boys.

Got to admit this little guy is so handsome even sick. #choa #sick #feelbettersoonTaite had been battling a fever for 7 days now. Off and on. One minute it would be 103. The next 99.9. One day he’d be fine, wanting to play. The next wouldnt even move from the sofa. Complained he had a sore throat and was obviously not feeling well. I am not one to rush to a Dr’s office… but yesterday Taite continued to feel bad and when I looked into his throat he had bumps all over the back of his tongue. I had never seen anything like it. It looked like his taste buds had become inflamed? very odd looking. It freaked me out enough to take him in.

As soon as you are seen for anything in regards to a child. One of the 1st questions you are asked is “Is your child up to date on their vaccines?” – If you respond “no” – you are then asked “Why not?” – and given looks. I have seen many nurses, doctors, etc… and each and every time, I get a look. The only Dr. who has not given me “a look” is the Dr. we see for their primary care. She has 2 boys and is very open minded and respectful.

After you explain that you do not vaccinate and the scribble a bit more on the clip board, they then do the general test. They checked Taite for strep (isnt that a fun test?) – and then we are sent to a room to wait results.

Strep Test, negative.

The Dr. then comes in to talk to us… and was so impersonal… and I realize she sees lots of people… but they could at least be kind… and smile or something.

She then goes on telling me that because Taite is not vaccinated they wanted to run lots of test to rule out possible infections. At this point I asked the Dr. could this possibly just be Influenza? She told me “No, theres no way its that. Its not circulating right now.” I then told her “Well… a close friend of Taite’s who he just saw less than a week ago was tested for Influenza B after having Xrays and blood work that all came back negative… yet after a respiratory type test she in fact had it.” She looked at me with surprise and I am not even kidding, acted as if I was telling her a story and dismissed the notion immediately.

She then told me that Taite needed to have 2 chest X-Rays. Blood drawn as well as a test for pertussis.

In the moment, as you sit in these Dr. rooms… you often times feel at a loss. Here I was with my child who was sick but not deathly sick. I knew he was ok I just wanted answers… and here this Dr. is wanting to torture your child running all sorts of test that honestly did not needed to be run.

Lets take a look at all these “vaccines” and possible “illnesses” Taite was tested for:

RV – Rotavirus – We actually have had this – Horrible experience … Taite had no signs at all of this at this moment though. Rotavirus is a pretty easy one to weed out.

DTAP – Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis – Taite clearly did not have Tetanus, Pertussis while it can seem like a common cold at first, this to me did not seem at all like Pertussis aka Whopping cough. He most def. did not have Diphtheria according to the symptoms listed from the MAYO clinic website.

HiB – Haemophilus influenzae type b – Symptoms for this include fever, lethargy, vomiting and a stiff neck. Taite had a fever bu the rest could clearly be weeded out.

PCV – Pneumococcal Vaccination – Most symptoms were similar to the above. Rapid breathing. Chest Pain. Those two things alone Taite did not have. He was breathing fine. No Chest Pain.

IPV – Polio – Symptoms include Fever, Sore throat, headache, vomiting, fatigue, back pain or stiffness, neck pain or stiffness, pain or stiffness in the arms or legs, muscle weakness or tenderness, meningitis. Taite had a slight fever and a sore throat. Both very common in many many things but he had none of the other symptoms of Polio.

MMR – Measles, Mumps, Rubella, and Varicella – He clearly did not have Measles, Mumps, Rubella or Varicella. Varicella btw is Chickenpox.

HEP A & B – He had no sign of these either. Feel free to look up all the symptoms of these vaccines Ive listed above if you want. It really is good to familiarize yourself with the symptoms.

My head hurts honestly from the amount I have read up on vaccines. I get tired of reading about them – and it is a battle I do not ever enjoy.

I realize children die of some of the above. I realize whopping cough is a big deal! I realize children have been crippled and killed by polio and measles is no walk in the Park. Each disease has its risk and there is reason to be concerned if a child EVER contracts them. We live in a fallen world with diseases… with illnesses.. with terrible things happening to children. Cancer… car accidents… abusive homes, etc… we live in such a broken world and yet we cannot live by fear. Just as the concern for these illnesses happening, there is also reason to be concerned with the many countless risk that come with vaccinated children, esp tiny lil humans aka babies… those risk are also VERY REAL.

This situation was just frustrating…. and yet, I went ahead with the test… At that moment I remember just feeling annoyed… and didn’t want to fight this in front of m 7 year old… There are times you just go with the flow and ride it out.

All test were normal.

After it was all said and done, the Dr. said “Well… maybe it is the flu.” – and sent us on our way.

The only thing to me that made sense was the Flu. The entire reason I came in was to be given an explanation as to why Taite had bumps on his tongue… only to be ignored and not even given an answer. I did my own home work and found out what they were… and apparently it is common to get those tongue bumps with fevers and colds… The Dr. never explained this to me. I had to research it myself on google, website after website.

The trip was pointless.

The only thing it revealed to me was how awesomely strong Taite is. Who did not cry the entire time. Even after having a needle put into his arm to take blood, that kid didnt even flinch!! He was a champ and such a joy to be with those 3 hours we waited.

It is another lesson learned.

So to all the moms who may be reading this.

Hear me out.

I don’t think less of those who vaccinate. I don’t think I am better. I do not hate Doctors… although at times I hate how they treat me some times. I do not think one way is the only way. I have lots of close dear friends who vaccinate and I love them still the same. I dont shun people who vaccinate. I dont hang out in unvaccinated circles with hippies and sip on kefir, wearing a sling and showing off my cloth diapers. While I may have done many of those things haha I am very open minded… and very understanding to peoples choices. I respect people for their own ways and understand it is a decision we each have to make.

Thankful my child is well.

I just wish people… Doctors included, could respect a mothers decision more. Not judge. Understand. Listen… and make sure that mother leaves heard.



13 Responses to Let’s Talk Vaccines – Unheard Mother

  1. Laura says:

    As frustrating as Doctors offices can be sometimes, I know that I always get peace of mind knowing that they have the knowledge rule serious things out. I think a mother’s intuition is good, but I also know that I’m not a doctor and have to trust ours when it comes to my children and their health. As far as vaccinations, our children have never had issues thankfully, and I have peace of mind knowing they are safe from things that could be serious or life threatening. We all do our best for our children :)

  2. Julie Gudger says:

    I am so on board with you. It sucks that Doctors are so inundated with patients that they can’t take the time to sit and ask questions and HEAR the answers from patients. I blame the insurance companies for this…

    I am sure I am going to run into these things when my little one is born, already trying to prepare myself. “Yes, I have a voice, no you can’t tell me what to do” This is still a free country, I hope.

  3. Libby says:

    As a mom to 6 boys, 7 and under, I can say I couldn’t agree with your posting more. We have created our family thru biological children, adoption, and foster children. Even though we have chosen to “postpone” immunizations for our biological children because of the horrible reactions to the first set of shots, we have been told that we can only hold a certain foster care license to protect the foster children from our children who aren’t immunized. What I don’t understand is if they are immunized why do they need to be protected. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and your heart on this posting. I think it’s so important for all of us to respect each others decisions rather than put each other down.

  4. Stephanie Gildenmeister says:

    We have decided not to start vaccinating Natalie until she is after 1 year old. I will give her the bare minimum my school requires for kindergarten and that’s all. I had to switch pediatricians right before her 2 month well baby because I happen to read their policy on vaccinations on their website and was blown away by how they called mothers who choose not to vaccinate SELFISH because you are putting everyone else at RISK and your baby could DIE and on and on! Also they said that they would NOT continue to treat child when the parent would not conform. Basically I knew that if I went to that appointment (a brand new mom who has done everything to try to protect and do what’s best for her baby) would be told that I was a horrible mother and “kicked out”. I immediately spoke to a friend that I know who doesn’t vaccinate and quickly switched to her ped! Of course the new doctor explained the risk but didn’t pressure me! I did say that eventually I will give her some vaccines but not til I am comfortable. I signed a release form and that was it!! No belittling, name calling, mean looks or anything! Praise God I am so glad I switched!!! I told my mom that I think it’s interesting that (this was when Natalie was 2 month) that 8 months ago when I was pregnant that people would think it was perfectly acceptable to ABORT AND KILL my baby but then at 2 months I’m a horrible mom for not pumping her full of chemicals?? I’m the parent and I have the right to decide what is best for my child!!

  5. Dreawood says:

    Hey Steph, wow that is insane. I remember one time we took Owen to a Pediatrician when we 1st moved to GA… it was when he had the concussion… we were referred to this practice by a friend (who does vaccinate) – but because we were new I didnt really ask about all that.. just wanted a nice play to go, you know? Well we go and had to be sent to a hospital since he needed a cat scan. Long story short, while at this pediatrician i loved the look, the nurses and the way they worked their patients in and out… however when I called about a month later to have Owen in for a check up after the concussion, I asked her if they were ok with a patient not being vaccinated. They then told me “yes, we will not take anyone who will not get the vaccines.” So they would not even consider taking my child into their practice unless we agreed to get the shots. Ridiculous!! I totally understand places asking for a release form or waiver of some sort… but to refuse care because of a personal belief and choice is wrong. Lets just say, I never went back.

    When we lived in Ohio too I battled it even worse. The Dr’s up there were brutal to me… I think it only fueled depression in me honestly. Im glad you have found someone who is ok with you waiting on Natalies shots. Wise choice btw. :)

    And I agree on the abortion thing.

  6. liz says:

    ugh… such a tough discussion. i feel strongly that vaccines have many negatives, but then i get nervous to NOT do a few of them. i do agree, we live in a fallen world full of death, disease, and fear. it is part of being sinful. we will get sick- vaccine, or not- at some point in life. we were not created to live on this earth forever.

    it is still a difficult decision for me to make… and here i am with my fourth still trying to figure out what i should do. ;)

  7. Susan says:

    I liked your ending….thankfully your kids are healthy and I ditto that with mine as well. This is not an easy topic and seems to go up there with religion/faith etc… =) I chose to vacinnate probably mostly because I, too, was a young mom starting at 19 and I loved and trusted my doctor. I did. He was and is wonderful. However, fast forward to now and when my guys start their own families I will offer advice, only if asked, to do their “homework” before vacinnating. Because if I had a baby now, I definitely would not vacinnate at birth, probaby some as they got older but not all. Good post.

  8. Elizabeth says:

    Just wanted to respond to the questions raised about why immunized kids need to be protected. It is part of the herd immunity idea since vaccines cannot over 100% protection. Good info on this in this blog post: http://bostonwed-murakami.blogspot.com/2013/09/vaccination-laypersons-perspective_26.html?m=1.

    “Vaccines do not offer 100% protection (more like 90+% depending on your age, when you had the vaccine, and which vaccine we’re talking about). They don’t work for everybody, and they can wear off. That doesn’t mean that they don’t work at all. We’ve already seen what happens when nobody vaccinates. And if you happen to be one of the people for whom a particular vaccine doesn’t work, you’ll much prefer to be surrounded by vaccinated people than by unvaccinated people. That’s called herd immunity. You know what else offers herd immunity? Hand-washing. Washing your own hands is great, but you’re far better off if everybody else washes their hands too.”

  9. Karen says:

    You are an ignorant and foolish woman.

  10. Sarah Delaney says:

    Oh my goodness, totally agree. We took Lucy in for a high fever when she was 7 months old (to the same well known urgent care provider, I am sure). They put her through tons of tests based on the fact that we did not vaccinate. In the end it was just a virus but they actually wrote on the paper work under prognosis that her condition was lack of vaccinations. I was so annoyed…I did not know that ‘under vaccinated’ was an illness!

  11. Dreawood says:

    Sorry you feel that way Karen.

  12. Nell says:

    Oh Karen, you’re a rude person.

  13. Karen says:

    And Nell you are a nit wit. Its about time that Moms with next to no science educations stop spouting opinions on vaccines. Travel to a country without a solid vaccine progam and watch mothers cradling the bodies of their children needlessly slain by vaccine preventable disease and then tell me you don’t want to vaccinate.

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