More than a shot

I took a pregnancy test today.

I had to take the test before I got the MMR vaccination which contains a live virus. Back in the 1990’s, when I was pregnant, my titer showed I was not immune despite receiving the shots in the 70’s.

I decided to get a booster shot because of the recent outbreak and my love for international travel. I might want to go on a mission trip in the next couple of years which will also take me off the beaten tourist trap path.

I started to think a bit more about vaccinations, more specifically the MMR vaccination. With the measles outbreak, I saw a lot of hateful comments made towards the anti-vaccination folks. I saw babies that wore shirts in photos saying, “I’m vaccinated because my parents aren’t morons”. I found this to be offensive because I’m sure most parents that don’t vaccinate are not morons.

Perhaps my opinion is not popular, but stick with me for a moment.

I had my first baby in 1998. In 1998, an article was published in a medical journal linking the MMR shot to autism. It caused a huge scare that I believe hasn’t been fully eradicated to this day. At that time, I was more fearful that my children would be severely autistic like my brother than to get measles, a disease that I’ve never seen anyone contract in my lifetime.

Later, after the article was published, we were told that the link was a sham. Being a very logical person, I wondered what kind of medical journal would publish crap research findings. Can anybody publish any research article that they want in a supposedly reputable medical journal?

I also thought about conspiracy theories. Here you have huge pharmaceutical companies making big money off of vaccinations pitted against a small probably under funded research doctor. Of course there wouldn’t be a link. Follow the money. What were concerned parents supposed to believe? You can’t just erase something you already saw. Shame on the journal for publishing the article in the first place if there were so many issues with the study’s validity. It caused so much unnecessary fear.

It was horrifying and I struggled with making the decision to have my children get the required vaccinations. I am happy to say that my children are fully vaccinated. I thought the best way around it was to vaccinate my children with the MMR shot after they safely passed the age when most cases of autism are diagnosed.

I feel angry with people who quickly judge others for not vaccinating. They are usually not morons, they might just be fearful like I was. My babies were born at the height of the autism linked to vaccinations scare.

I think that most people who choose not to vaccinate have their reasons not to. It is not lazy parenting. Believe me, it is a lot more work to choose not to vaccinate. I did receive some criticism for doing things on my timetable. But even if there was a small iota of a chance that vaccinations caused autism, I needed to be careful. Where those people that shamed me going to come in my house and take care of my child if he/she became autistic?

I honestly don’t know if I would have the strength to live through it again this time as a parent.

I have a lot of respect for people that grew up with a special needs sibling that end up becoming a special needs parent. I don’t think I have the courage to fight that battle twice.

I get angry about talk of forced vaccinations. Shouldn’t parents have the right to make that choice for their child?

I think pro-vaccine people would be more successful listening and being empathetic to the concerns of parents who don’t want to vaccinate. Don’t treat them like they are a bunch of morons because that won’t get you anywhere. Morons blindly follow. But educated people question and try to make the best decisions they can.

I am pro-vaccination, but I strongly believe that the parents should make the decision and be treated respectfully whatever they decide.

 

 

Inoculation

Today I got inoculated. I like the word inoculation, it sounds so much better than shots, immunizations, or vaccinations. I just don’t like the action.

Since Paul and I are going to Thailand in a few months, we decided to book an appointment with the travel nurse. I only ended up getting 2 shots, Hepatitis A and the flu shot. What happens if you have to sit next to someone for 20 hours on a plane that has the flu? A ruined vacation..

We got a prescription for typhoid pills that we can’t take with alcohol…so no drinking for 10 days. I’m already going to use that as an excuse to not attend a party that I really don’t want to go to.

The Wisconsin immunization registry pretty much pulled up a blank on us. It registered our Tetanus shots from 2012, that’s all.

We both had chicken pox. My mom said I got it really bad in 4th grade. I had chicken pox in my mouth. My eyes swelled shut. I still have a few scars. I think that Paul even had a small pox shot.

I don’t think I had my last MMR shot. There was that couple years that I didn’t attend school. I vaguely remember needing to have a booster and telling my mom I didn’t want it, so I didn’t get it. That is how I remember it, but I’ll admit my memory of my high school years is a bit hazy now.

My mom suspected that the MMR shot caused my brother’s autism back then. Of course, that is not saying much. She questioned every little thing she did and didn’t do back then.

I have always been on the fence about shots myself. This is the first time I’ve ever had a flu shot. I don’t like taking medicine. I wanted a totally natural childbirth. To tell you the truth though, if it was as natural as I wanted it to be, I probably would’ve died. I hate taking medicine unless it is absolutely necessary.

The whole vaccination autism scare came out in full force when my oldest child was born. What was I to do? What if it did cause my brother’s autism?? What information do I trust?? Do I trust the huge pharmaceutical companies?? Do I trust the doctors that are supposedly getting big kickbacks from the drug companies for pushing vaccinations??

What do I do when it affects my family??

To tell you the truth, I really don’t have an opinion whether or not vaccinations cause autism. It didn’t even matter to me. What mattered was that if there was even an iota of a chance, I felt that it would be prudent to be cautious. My children received all of their necessary vaccinations, but on my timeline.

Some people looked down on me for the decision I made.

Did I know that I was hurting my children??

Did you know what it was like living day to day with a violently autistic brother?? Did you see how this tormented our family?? No, because I never bothered to tell you…

It was the late 90’s and early 2000’s…we didn’t know. We still don’t know. I didn’t want anything happening to my children. I didn’t want them to get autism. I didn’t want them to get measles.

I think that I made the best decision with the information I had available to me. I am still hesitant to trust other people when they try to tell me what is best for my children.

All these thoughts whirled through my head as I was nervously waiting to be inoculated…