the one where i feel like a tool for signing on the X

when it comes to medicine, i'm not a big interventionist.  we had a natural childbirth with james, opted out of the eye ointment and vitamin k shot, and decided against circumcision.  i like homeopathic medicine and natural remedies.  we don't get flu shots.

we do, however, vaccinate our kids.  measles and whooping cough are nothing to mess with.

while i truly hate the idea of a potent cocktail of live and dead viruses coursing through my kids' little bodies and developing immune systems, i'd feel so much worse if they got sick from a preventable illness, made other people sick, or died.

i don't even want to think about that.

the hepatitis vaccine seemed like a good one to delay.  although hospitals try their best to pressure parents to vaccinate newborns before they go home, hepatitis B is spread through sex and needles. vaccinating my new-to-the-world infant (or toddler for that matter) against hepatitis B did not seem worth the side effects or toll on their developing immune systems.  waiting until kindergarten seemed entirely reasonable.

and then, today, at dylan's 2 1/2 year check up, the nurse came in and said that she was giving dylan two shots:  the Hib vaccine and the hepatitis A vaccine.

"oh no," i said.  "we're delaying the hepatitis vaccine."

"she's already had the first dose."


the nurse waived dylan's immunization chart, containing my signature.


apparently, there is a separate hepatitis B vaccine, that to my knowledge, neither child has received, but evidently, i'm not all that informed about such things.

i'm the mom who signs at the X and asks questions (months) later.

not wanting dylan to need to repeat a vaccine in the future that she'd begun without completing, i consented to the second dose.  we talked with the nurse about our chickens to distract dylan, and when the needles plunged into her little legs, her big, beautiful eyes got even wider and welled with tears.

"mommmmmy!" she pleaded, as if to ask, "how could you let this happen?

later, when dylan woke up from her nap, sweaty and crying in a puddle of vomit, i felt truly awful and guilty. 

that's motherhood, some days.

we make mistakes.  we can't prevent all hurts.  but we pull our kids close, wipe their tears, and cuddle up snugly on the couch. 

and we run a big load of laundry.

in cheerier health news, we found something that works on dylan's eczema even better than bird oil:  visit my review blog to enter to win ancient minerals magnesium bath flakes.

image:  unicef sverige


Kelly Irene said...

I am so sorry and know that gut-wrenching feeling when your baby is so miserable and you "could have" prevented it. The Hep B made Adeline more sick than she has ever been before or since, and we still have one more to go :( I hope you and Dylan are both feeling better today.

Katherine said...

We don't do either of the Hepatitis vax, nor the rotovirus, but we do the rest. We don't do flu shots either.

Before we took our first daughter to a pediatrician, we took her to a family doctor. They were supposed to do the heel prick for the 2 week visit after she was born. The nurse warmed one foot and then the doctor pricked the cold one. They then fought to get enough blood on the little spots for the test. They had to re-prick her heel 2 more times to get enough. Of course, the entire time, my tiny little Cecilia was hysterical and nothing I did made any difference. I doubt she remembers anything but it was a traumatic experience for me. It really upsets me now when anyone tries to do the heel prick and doesn't do it right when it could so easily be done with so much less pain for baby and parent. I cannot forget seeing her cry though and I could do so little.

Hope Dylan is feeling better and I hope you are feeling better too.

Liz Dooley said...

We're on the exact same page with vaccines --- delay when it makes sense to delay and otherwise, just hold him close and wipe his tears. It's one of those parenting subjects on which I can't find completely conclusive information, so I just found the most open minded pediatrician I could, and try to trust her judgment.

I really like your point about not wanting them to get others sick as well. Steve & I, while totally supportive of the decisions of others, have also been thinking a lot about how vaccinating Martin might be hard for him, but maybe what's best for the greater community of children.

Very timely post since we have shots tomorrow --- thanks!

suzannah | the smitten word said...

not getting other kids sick has been on my mind as i see reports of measles outbreaks--even locally. it's scary.

this appointment i think was the hardest because they were the first immunizations for dylan since she weaned. i alway just breastfeed my babies immediately after to calm them down, and this time i felt so helpless...

Misty said...

ahh yes. btdt w/ the sign then ask!!!
i hadn't thought of how being weaned would be a whole new element for the post vax days!!!
i'm like liz dooley in that i don't find complete conclusions either way, but i went the other direction and have just chosen to wait to inject my kids w/ the stuff. sometimes i wonder if it's the right thing to do, and i certainly pause at the thought of others getting sick b/cs of my own kids. but then, too, we plan on homeschooling and don't use daycare so i guess i'm just not sure.

Jenney said...

Have you read "the vaccine book" by dr. sears? it is a GREAT read. I did a whole post on it a few weeks back...well not on the book but on vaccines. His book tells how common each disease is, how the vaccine is made, and how to delay if you want to delay. Except that he does recommend gardisil for teenage girls (NO WAY) we agree with him and are using his delay schedule with our youngest two. Too late for the firstborn...guess they are always the guinea pigs.

Kelly Miller said...

Poor Dylan, and poor mama. I hate when they look at me with betrayal in their eyes after a shot.

But don't beat yourself up too much. You learned a valuable lesson and I guarantee you won't be signing on the X without major questioning anytime soon.

Many mothers will never learn that lesson.

Mel said...

Sometimes we have to be cruel to be kind. I, too, remind myself of that now that we are dealing with twice daily injections for Mr 10 who was recenlty dignosed with Type 1 Diabetes.

You are a good mother!

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