Today the word that sums up the week that was is:
Arthur had his final vaccinations in the seemingly never-ending first year cycle this week. Every time he’s had a jab, right from those very first ones when he was eight weeks old, he’s reacted badly. Not the extreme but very rare allergic reactions you read about thank goodness, but still enough to make all of our lives miserable in the aftermath.
These latest jabs seem to have had a particularly lengthy impact. He had his MMR at the beginning of January: after I voiced my concerns to the nurse about the reactions he’d had previously she suggested that I might like to ask for these ones to be split up, delaying the boosters until his system had a chance to recover from the live MMR vaccine.
I gratefully followed her advice – one of my main concerns has been about the effect of the combination of vaccines on his system – and I’m glad I did. About a week after the MMR vaccine he developed a cold, which turned into croup (terrifying) for which he was prescribed a course of steroids, after which he developed vomiting and diarrhoea which resulted in him losing almost a kilo in weight. He had an on and off fever for about a month, and a niggling cough which still hasn’t quite gone away – and which has regularly made him retch and vomit over the past six weeks. On the basis that he had no actual fever we went back for the booster jabs this Monday (we’d already delayed them again once), and he then had 48 hours of feeling rotten with new cold symptoms and a fever. Through all of this he wouldn’t accept calpol – the smallest amount makes him vomit, something which is possibly our fault for trying to avoid it entirely in the early months – and was almost permanently attached to the boob.
I would still rather have all of these side effects than the potentially devastating effects of the illnesses he’s been vaccinated against – I am not for one second suggesting that I’d rather we’d skipped the vaccines. But I still can’t help feeling guilty for putting him through all of this – especially as with the most recent jabs he was fully aware of what was going on, pulling against me as we went into the nurses office.
I wish as well that I felt more able to speak openly about vaccination side effects without feeling like I’m promoting the anti-vaccination camp. Neither the nurse nor the doctor I saw whilst Arthur was suffering would really engage in conversation about his symptoms having anything to do with the jabs, even though the only times he’s been ill in his fourteen months have mysteriously coincided with vaccinations. I understand that they need to promote the vaccination programme, especially in the light of all of the damage done by Andrew Wakefield’s unfounded claims about the MMR vaccine. However I’m not sure a ‘one size fits all’ approach is appropriate – and as someone committed to vaccinating my child, I just wish I could have an intelligent conversation with a healthcare professional about my concerns.
Anyway. I’m not going to turn this into a rant. The whole vaccination trauma is over for us – at least for another couple of years – and what I’m left with now that Arthur seems to have recovered is an overwhelming sense of relief.
And on the plus side, this week’s feverish insomnia did bring with it some very cute middle of the night storytelling sessions. I’m strangely relieved to see that breastfeeding and books rather than calpol seem to be my baby’s medicine of choice!
I think the most important thing about vaccinations is the freedom to choose. I wouldn’t want to persuade anyone to be for or against vaccines. I have not vaccinated my children because a family member died due to an allergic reaction. People shouldn’t be judgemental about my decision just as I am not with theirs. I’ve done a lot of in depth research into vaccines and the pharmaceutical industry and am very pleased with my decision. #WotW
That must have been a very difficult decision to make, and I don’t think anyone could judge you for what you chose. There’s certainly a lot about the pharmaceutical industry that I’m sceptical about – and you’re right that it’s worth doing the research to be able to make an informed choice. Hopefully my decision will end up being the right one for Arthur.
We all just do the best we can for our children x
Oh, poor little Arthur. He really has been through it. My daughter sailed though hers, though Little Man reacted to all of his, especially MMR, though not as badly as Arthur, by the sounds of it. I know what you mean about voicing concerns, as these illnesses are clearly related and should be acknowledged, though like you, I still choose to vaccinate. Hopefully he’ll be on the up now, though and you can be ‘relieved’! Thanks for sharing with #WotW x
He’s much better now thank you! I think it’s going to take a while for his sleeping patterns to recover, but if that’s all I have to worry about then I don’t mind too much!
Ger Byrne told me about your site and thought I would like it, which indeed I do. So although I’m supposed to writing at this moment myself, instead I am procrastinating!
I’m really enjoying your musings. I too am an english teacher, an aspiring writer and a mother though not necessarily in that order. In the last weeks I’ve had 2 sick children, I have struggled a lot trying to find a way to have vaccinations broken up into smaller doses for our four month old. I’m site our local health nurse thinks I’m crazy (possibly true). Aside from all this chaos I’m also desperately to find time to write the book I’ve been working on! So anyway I just wanted to say hi to you and I look forward to reading about your mothering and writing journey
Thanks for your comments – I’m glad you like the blog! I’m very impressed you’re managing to juggle writing with teaching and two kids. I’m finding it hard enough being on extended maternity leave with just the one… It’s especially challenging when he’s sick so I’m glad to say he’s been much better this week – I hope yours are better too!
Good luck with it all,