Sometimes sticking to your guns is hard

I took Tia to the doctor yesterday for her 4 year exam.  I made the mistake of telling her the night before about the appointment, which caused much consternation and dread as she knew they would have to examine her ears.  Shots?  No – she wasn’t scared of those.  But the doctor taking a tiny peek inside her ear canal caused hyperventilation.

She did not dissapoint in the drama department with the ear exam came.  She screamed bloody murder.  She kicked, she flailed, I had to lay on top of her to keep her still.  The doctor was able to see inside enough to know that Tia’s eardrums are, indeed, no longer visible due to wax build up…again.  But, because she seems to be hearing fine at this point and cleaning out her ears without sedation is out of the question, we let it go.  We will probably have to have her sedated again next year before she starts kindergarten.

Cleaning out that girl’s ears is getting expensive.

After we talked a bit, the doctor told me that Tia would be receiving two immunizations, then she packed up her stuff and left.  I didn’t think to ask her what the immunizations would be – I should have.  It was my mistake for not asking…and maybe her mistake for not saying it in the first place.

Just before the nurse came in to administer the shots, I checked the sheet and noticed that one of the shots was the chicken pox vaccination.  This is a vaccine that Lee and I have decided, for the time being, to pass on.  (we are skipping or delaying several vaccinations.  You can read about why we decided to do that here.)  So when the nurse came in, I told her that I didn’t want Tia to receive that shot.  Her eyes narrowed and she got a peeved look on her face.

“It’s a $70.00 shot and I’ve already drawn it up.  It is only good for 30 minutes after it’s drawn up,” she said.  And my heart sank.  I honestly didn’t know what to do.  So I asked for a minute to think about it.  I wasn’t able to get in touch with Lee so I called my mother-in-law and got her opinion, then the nurse came back.

I felt really terrible, but I couldn’t justify giving Tia the shot simply because I didn’t want to waste the vaccine.  Had I known before the doctor left the room I would have declined the shot earlier, but the circumstances left me to decide what I felt was best for my child.  So I declined the shot.

To the nurse’s credit, though she was obviously annoyed, she did not treat me poorly and was very forgiving as I apologized profusely.  She did want to know why I wasn’t comfortable giving Tia the vaccine and I explained to her that I just don’t think it’s a warranted vaccination and I want to wait until more research is done on the long term effectiveness of that particular vaccination.  At this point, it’s considered to only be effective for up to ten years, which means kids are going to need booster shots likely for the rest of their lives whereas if they would only receive the chicken pox in childhood they would build up an effective immunity.

Now, the obvious dilemma in not giving them the vaccine is that it will be extremely difficult to expose them to chicken pox in childhood since almost everyone is being immunized.  Which means that sometime down the road we may have to vaccinate them.  But this is a shot that I have no problem holding off on and waiting until more research is done.  If we have to give it to her later, then neither Lee nor I have a problem in doing that.

She may not be too happy with us, of course, but we’ll cross that bridge later.

Yesterday, however, I felt terribly guilty and even a little embarrassed.  While the nurse was patient with me, I imagine I was discussed as one of those crazy paranoid mothers after I left.  And I’m really not a crazy paranoid mother.  But I am an aware mother and I hold firm to the fact that, ultimately, I am responsible for these little lives placed in my care and it is more important to me that I stick to my guns and fight for what I feel is right than bend on my convictions so that the doctor isn’t out a $70.00 vaccination.

Thankfully, my husband confirmed my decision when I got home…

What are your thoughts?


To the right you will notice I’ve added a banner for this Saturday’s Help Haiti Live benefit that’s being put on be Compassion International.  It is a one night, two city concert being broadcast from both Los Angelos and Nashville.  If you are in either of those areas you can purchase tickets and see the event live.  If you are nowhere near, then you can watch the event live via the lovely internet.  Consider taking part and contributing to the fundraiser they are sponsoring to continue the work of rebuilding Haiti.

On Immunizations

So, it’s been awhile since I discussed immunizations on my blog.  Some of you will remember reading about my concerns with the current immunization schedule promoted by pediatricians, which I wrote about here, here and here (the second post is particularly lengthy as I was in the middle of my quandry on what to do).  Lee and I took quite a journey in our decision on how to vaccinate Landon and how to continue vaccinations for Sloan and Tia.  I’m still on that journey a bit, actually.

For the most part, we’ve stayed true to our convictions with Landon and we’ve vaccinated him completely different than the first two.  He has not received more than two vaccinations at a time since his disasterous two month check up, except in the case of the MMR vaccination, which is a combo of three that my doctor was unable to split for us.  But, when he had to receive the MMR, he received no other vaccinations on the same day.

This was a very comfortable schedule for me.  It meant we had to return to the peds office a little more frequently as I wanted at least a month in between shots in order for his little body to be able to process the inoculations properly.  But, despite the fact that we delayed and held off on a few shots, Landon is now, at 20 months, completely up to date on all his vaccinations.  And I feel like we did it on a schedule that was healthier and safer for his little body.

The only vaccination he has not received, however, and the one he absolutely will not receive, is the chicken pox vaccination.  (Well, that and rotovirus, which I just think is the most ridiculous vaccination they’ve come up with yet).  I listened to a recording yesterday, which discussed the dangers of the chicken pox vaccination and it further confirmed to me that Landon will not be receiving that shot.  And at this point, Tia will not receive the booster for it, in the hopes that she will get a mild case of the illness when she is young.

It makes me sick that Sloan has received all the chicken pox shots, knowing what I do now.  I wanted to attach the recording to this post, but couldn’t figure out how to do it.  If you’re interested in hearing it, leave me your email and I’ll forward it to you.

My concern with the chicken pox vaccination is the fact that it is not proven to be effective for lifetime immunization.  It’s only shown to be effective for about ten years.  Which puts children at risk for getting chicken pox or shingles later in life, which is much more dangerous and serious than getting it as a child.

So children will now need boosters for the chicken pox for the rest of their lives.  Where is the logic in that?  Getting chicken pox naturally, however, is proven to give a lifetime immunity to the illness.  And, given the fact that the mortailty rate of chicken pox is extremely low, the vaccine seems unjustified.

This recording gave an explanation for why the chicken pox vaccination came into effect that I found interesting.  I’m not sure if there is complete validity in this explanation, but I think it’s worth knowing and researching more (which I will be doing).  The doctor speaking gives the explanation that the chicken pox vaccination was originally developed for leukemia patients as it was extremely dangerous for them to get chicken pox due to their comprimised immune system.

But pharmaceutical companies would not make money if only cancer patients were innoculated, so they began innoculating all children.  Now, do I think that doctors are vaccinating all children simply because of a money issue?  No, I don’t.  I don’t believe that those in charge of implemeting these immunizations are soley out for the dollars.  I do think, however, that there are factors that played into the decision to make the chicken pox vaccination mandatory that had more to do than protecting children from a childhood illness that is not known to be fatal.  I also think that making an immunization like the chicken pox mandatory is a bit hasty given what little they knew/know about it’s long term effects.

It makes me angry that enrolling my child in school will now be more difficult simply because I am making the choice to do what I think is best for him.  Vaccinating for the chicken pox is, in my opinion, unwarranted and unnecessary.  I do not feel like it should be a mandatory shot.  Parents deserve the right to decide whether or not to vaccinate their children for something as minor as the chicken pox.  Putting us in the position where we feel threatened is unfair.

So what are your thoughts on vaccination and on the chicken pox shot specifically?   I know this is a heated topic and people feel strongly about both sides.  I hope there can be some discourse in the comments and that we can be open to differing opinions.  So give me your thoughts!  I really want to know what others think…