I'M PRO VACCINE, BUT I DON'T VACCINATE MY BABIES: THIS IS WHY
This is a post that his been sitting in my drafts for nearly a year. It’s one I add to here and there, and then go back and erase half of what I wrote a few days later, then come back to it a month down the road when I think I’m ready to open up, but yet again, I can’t make myself hit “save & publish”. The mere thought of others reading it, dissecting my opinions, picking apart our experience… it triggers a lot of anxiety for me. I mean I can’t imagine why? I’m sure it has nothing to do with the fact that the internet is full of people who post memes or articles that say things like…
“If you don’t vaccinate your children you don’t deserve them.”
“Idiot moms not vaccinating their kids thinking dr google knows more than an actual MD.”
“How selfish do you have to be to not vaccinate your kids?”
…and the list goes on. I kind of get it, I do. There are some extreme “anti vaxxers” if you will, but that doesn’t mean every parent who chooses not to vaccinate their kid falls under the same category.
It’s hard for me to say that I’m (facebook) friends with many people who share things exactly like the above. Emphasize on the “facebook”, because I imagine if they thought I was one of those crazy, selfish, extremists who doesn’t vaccinate her children, they probably wouldn’t’ want to be my friend. I mean I’m just a horrible irresponsible person and mother who doesn’t deserve my kids. Right?
And for a few reasons… one being - I love my children more than words could ever describe. After all, their tiny little bodies once called my body home. We tried for months to conceive them. We prayed for them. I gave up caffeine, sushi, and really good cheese for the better half of a year for them. Their heartbeat beat inside of me and only me. I kiss every booboo. I pour every cup of milk. I cut the crust off of every PBJ. I snuggle every night until their eyes are too heavy to keep open. I rub the upset bellies and the bumped noggins. I show them the bugs under the rocks, how to blow bubbles with their straw, and plug their nose in the bath. Me. Their mom. I do that, no one else, and I assure you it’s not because I’m lacking in the love or selflessness department. I’d give my life for my children. I will fight for them until the end of time, and that’s exactly why we went from being a fully vaccinated family, to a delayed vaccines family, to a very VERY delayed vaccine schedule family.
Now I know, you’re thinking here we go, another crazy anti vaxxer. Blah blah blah, but I assure you…
I’M not an anti vaxxer.
I believe with every fiber in my being that vaccines serve a purpose. They were created to fight deathly illnesses and diseases, and maybe make the big Pharma some big money (you can’t deny that) but that’s another story. I understand their purpose, I promise you I do. It’s why we started out vaccinating Finn, and it’s why Hudson will start his vaccine schedule when he reaches 3 years old.
I’m not sharing this to give you a laundry list of reasons why vaccines are poison. Frankly, I don’t think they are, and I’m not going to breakdown every single unpronounceable ingredient listed in the vaccine inserts. That’s not why I’m writing this. My purpose is to share our story. Finn’s story.
One that only a few who are close to us have heard, and I realize it’s one that many won’t agree with me, some of you will judge me, and maybe me call me crazy. That’s okay. I think I’ve reached the point where I’m just okay with that, because you didn’t live it so it makes it hard to understand. Honestly, I’m sure if I hadn’t lived it I probably wouldn’t understand either.
My pregnancy with Finn was perfection, aside for some serious indigestion from that thick head of hair he was growing, it was a by the book pregnancy. Followed by a by the book delivery. He was born eight pounds eight ounces of pure deliciousness and completely healthy. I scroll back through endless videos on my phone of him at two months when he first learned to coo and sing with his sweet little voice, and my heart turns into an actual puddle. It was also at Finns two month wellness check up that he received his first set of vaccines. That night he had his first adverse reaction. Nothing too extreme, just spiked a pretty high temp that we couldn’t get to come down and he was a little lethargic. After about three days he started to perk up, but it was hard for us to pinpoint which vaccine caused the reaction because he received six vaccines that day. SIX. In his tiny little twelve pound body, he was injected with six different vaccine doses. After seeing the pediatrician she recommended we start a delayed schedule to avoid it happening again. I was on board with that. I wanted him to be vaccinated and protected, but I also didn’t want to cause him harm.
At five months Finn was crawling and I swear it was like I blinked and a week later he was standing and scaling the couch. By eight months his chunky little legs were walking unassisted, and at one he was saying words like “dadda”, “go”, and occasionally “momma”. Finn was thirteen months old in video below, and it’s one that is still hard for me to go back and watch. As much as I love the sounds of his voice and seeing the smile on his face, it also breaks my momma heart to think of what we lost.
Well let’s go back about two years ago… around twelve months is typically when the MMR (mumps, measles, and rubella) vaccine is administered, but because Finn was on a delayed schedule he got his at his fifteen month wellness check. It’s a combo vaccine, one that can’t be split, and the one shot I was the most nervous about. The one that I read about endlessly the weeks leading up to the appointment. It’s also the one that has the highest number of reported injuries to VAERS.
What is VAERS?
The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System.
Why is that a thing?
It was created due to the number of adverse reactions people were having to vaccinations. That’s right, even though so many extreme “pro vaxxers” (yes there are extremists on both sides) believe that all children will react the same and all vaccines are 100% safe - this is not the case, and honestly, it blows my mind to hear people say such a thing.
Let’s change the story a little bit here:
Linda is suffering from severe postpartum depression, so she talks to her doctor and he puts her on the antidepressant - Zoloft. A few days later she’s feeling better. Weeks later she’s back to herself. Zoloft was exactly what she needed and she’s doing great with it! Her friend Sally comes over for Taco Tuesday and tells her she’s been suffering from depression since losing her mom. Linda tells Sally she should talk to her doctor about taking Zoloft because she saw great results with it, so Sally does exactly that. A few weeks later Sally picks up her prescription crossing her fingers it helps. A week later she’s feeling even more depressed and now anxious. Two weeks later she’s having suicidal thoughts. Why? Because thoughts of suicide is one of the first side effects listed with Zoloft. Although it might not happen to everyone, it didn’t happen to Linda, it does happen to some, and why is that?
BECAUSE NO two people are the same.
The same goes for vaccines. There are many children who have no reaction whatsoever to vaccines, but that doesn’t mean that my child, or your neighbor’s child, won’t have an adverse reaction.
It was about 4 hours after Finn got the MMR that he yet again spiked a high fever along with a red hot lump under the injection site on his little leg and slightly swollen cheeks. A “normal” reaction. We saw the pediatrician, she advised us to watch it. A few days later the swelling went down, the redness decreased, and his fever broke. You know what else happened? Finn stopped talking. He didn’t utter another word. He couldn’t even stick his tongue out anymore. He didn’t grow for 10 months. Not even the slightest bit in his height or weight. It was like everything stopped. I knew down to my core that something was wrong and so did our (very pro vaccine) pediatrician. Cognitively he was growing and developing as he should, just as he was with his gross and fine motor skills, but his speech was completely gone, and paired with his lack of physical growth our pediatrician finally said we should make a report to the VAER system. I remember the conversation like it was yesterday. Finn was sitting on the chair in his diaper trying to unzip my bag for gold fish crackers and I was leaning against the exam table, arms crossed, trying to keep myself together after I felt the rush of guilt come over me when she said “I think it’s time we consider reporting it to VAERS”.
How could this happen? I’m his mom. I was his voice. I told them to give him the very vaccine that was likely the cause of all of this. It was unimaginable, and I wanted it to be anything but that, so we rolled everything out first. Although none of these would explain his stunt of growth, we did hearing tests, developmental evaluations, and later a speech evaluation.
They all came back the same: normal, except for his speech eval. That one came back with a note - “severe childhood apraxia of speech suspected: cause unknown”. Cause unknown because a year prior he was a talking little boy who could string sounds together, but at the time of the eval he was completely nonverbal. At that time I had no clue what apraxia of speech was, so the speech language pathologist sat down with us and explained in layman’s terms, which is another post in itself, but in a nutshell it’s when a child has the brain capacity to think about what they want to say, but they’re missing the connection that sends that message from their brain to the muscles of their mouth. In turn, they’re unable to properly move their mouth to put out sounds. It was a lot to digest and it was beyond confusing, because if you google CAS you’ll find that it’s usually paired with other cognitive delays/genetic disorders (he has none of those) or happens after severe head injuries, swelling on the brain, traumatic births, strokes, or infection. None of which have happened to Finn, that we know of. Now, I’m not a doctor and I won’t pretend to be, but if you ever get the notion to read the inserts of a vaccine pamphlet you’ll find a few of the causes I listed are side effects, and they’re listed as side effects because someone has experienced them, so you can make of that what you like…
Finn was about two and half when he started to pick up on the growth charts again. He gained some weight and slowly shot up in height. The only thing suggested for his loss of speech (or suspected apraxia) was speech therapy, which we started shortly after his second birthday. Finn attempted to say his first word (again) just before his third birthday, and at three and a half he has a pretty wide vocabulary and is getting more vocal with us every single day - something I thought might never happen.
Now, I’ve had long (and tearful) talks with our pediatrician and our SLP, who never gave Finn an actual diagnosis of CAS because she thought the circumstances were a little muddy if you will, and I think we all have come to a mutual agreement that something happened. Something was wrong. There is no test they can do to confirm it. It doesn’t matter if we report it. We have no “factual” evidence. No person who can look into Finn’s eyes like a crystal ball and tell us if his loss of speech and stunted growth were caused by a vaccine injury, but what I can tell you is that I don’t believe in coincidences. I know my child. I know what happened after he received the MMR vaccine. I watched the little boy that he was disappear right in front of me, and I can’t explain to you how debilitating it was as a mother to feel like it was so completely out of my control.
I looked into Finn’s eyes that year more times than I can count, wondering what it was he wanted to say to me, hoping if I listened close enough maybe I could hear his thoughts. I clung to the one and only dream I had of him uttering the word “momma”. I laid in bed with him every night praying he’d find his voice again, asking God to help me and guide me to do whatever I could to make this better. I remember losing faith. Feeling like we’d live in this silence forever, but He heard me, and it seems like so long ago now that we have our verbal little guy back, but it was one of the hardest years of my life.
There’s not a doubt in my mind that his body and his brain needed that time to heal, and when they finally did things started moving forward - he started to grow, he found his voice again. I know it sounds crazy, I KNOW! It sounded crazy to me for a long long time, but I came to terms with it and I wholeheartedly believe his tiny little body in all of its being couldn’t handle the vaccines that he was given.
He had the unseen reaction that we least expected
…and that scares the hell out of me, and it’s exactly why we’re waiting to give Hudson his vaccines, and it’s why Finn won’t ever get the second dose of his MMR, because although I understand that they serve a purpose, I also know that all the purpose aside, they DO have potential adverse side effects. It’s why VAERS is in place. I experienced it first hand, and as a mom I don’t want to ever watch my child go through that again. It doesn’t mean I think vaccines are poison. It doesn’t mean I think I know more than Dr. Joe. It just means that I did everything I could to get educated. I did my own research (on the cdc website) and I got informed, because as a mom that’s my responsibility, and to assume all vaccines are entirely safe and will effect every child the same - that’s not being informed, that’s being naive.
So next time, before you bash the mom who isn’t vaccinating her babies, I hope you think of Finn’s story. I hope that maybe, if nothing else, by reading this it will help you understand that it’s not all black and white, and I hope you'll find a way to show even the slightest bit of compassion to the mom who chooses not to vaccinate her children, because you didn’t know my story, and I’m sure