Took the little Apple in for her 9-month checkup on Friday with her new pediatrician. The little Apple tipped the scales at 20 pounds and 2 ounces (75th percentile) and measured 29 inches tall (90th percentile). Everybody, doctor and nurses, was delighted with her incredible thighs and sausage-link legs. Other than a few rough patches left over on her arms and legs from the hives she had last week, she is the picture of rosy health. (About that: I am thinking she might have very sensitive skin, the beginnings of eczema…will need to watch that closely).
Since I had been stretching out the Apple’s vaccinations, she was up for her last shots of PC and Hib and her 2nd shot of IPV (Polio) at her 9 month checkup. Dr. Yam told me I could get just 1 shot, just 2 shots, or all 3 of them, my choice. Since the PC shot is extremely painful (no one knows why, the needle they use is the same), the Hib is medium-painful, and the IPV a piece of cake, I decided to get it over with and do the PC and the IPV that day, and to come back and get the Hib at 10 months.
Oh boy. She had cried at her shots in the past, but this time, it was heartbreaking.
The IPV shot went fine…I breastfed her to distract her from the needle, and when the shot went in, she didn’t do much more than bat an eyelash. But the PC shot, on the other hand, was traumatic. She gave one loud cry, then opened her mouth in pain and her entire little body went rigid, and she held her breath for so long that her face turned blue. When she finally exhaled, it was to scream bloody, terrible, gory murder. Ugh. My heart was broken as I comforted her by bouncing her and rubbing her back and saying “Shhh, Mommy’s sorry, Mommy’s sorry” into her ear. I hated myself for not being a strong enough Mom to choose the no-vax route and spare her the pain, not to mention the risks.
I have already experienced the little Apple with a bout of whooping cough, and secretly, I wonder if it was my fault that she contracted it because I had delayed her shots. At 5 months, when she contracted pertussis, she would have had two shots, not just one, had I chosen to keep her on the recommended AAP schedule. While no one knows whether she would have avoided it altogether with two shots, a baby with pertussis is not an experience I would wish on ANYONE. And because I do send my baby to day care, I’ve reluctantly decided to proceed with getting most of her required vaccinations by 12 months, just on a stretched out schedule. I still won’t do the Hep B until she’s much older, however.
Guilt is a tough thing to live with…theoretically, I have access to all the best holistic tools (Aromatherapy, herbs, Homeopathy, and a plethora of smart holistic NDs and CHCs in the Bay Area), but practically, I doubt my own ability to use these and while I have personally witnessed the efficacy of these remedies, I do doubt their speed in an acute situation. So….that is why I vaccinate. Not so holistic after all.
I had brunch with a friend last weekend who reads my blog sometimes, and we laughed about the fact that I may be a big talker and may badly desire to be “crunchy-granola,” but really, I am a lot more on the conventional side than I care to admit. I am open to hearing other holistic Moms’ perspective on this…how do you keep a baby off of vaccinations AND in day care, AND healthy?