Monday, August 26, 2013

Delayed immunizations-or why we waited two years to get our shots

Last week we finally got our two year old her immunizations. Iris turned 2 back in July. She only got her immunizations last week, however. Well, she actually got a few in the hospital right after she was born. She didn't get the rest of them until last Monday, however. We did this for a few reasons. For one thing, she had a seizure after her first round of shots and that wasn't fun. We didn't want a repeat. For another thing, nearly every parent I am friends with who lost their child to SIDS lost their infant within 24 hours of their dTaps. Now, this did NOT apply to us since Toby died before he had the chance to get his immunizations. (He died at 7 weeks and would have had his the following week.) However, we decided that with Iris we did not feel comfortable, after doing our own research, that we felt comfortable getting so many immunizations at once.

The dTap information actually lists SIDS as a possible side effect in the back of the literature. I am NOT anti-immunization. I am pro-immunization all the way. I just didn't want so many at once on an infant so young who had already been having seizures after losing a baby who'd already died from possible seizure activity.

Iris was pretty pissed off about the shots. For what it's worth, I couldn't go in there with her. I sent my husband in there. I hid out at my mom's house the whole time. I'm a big chicken.

When Sam had his brain MRI back in the spring and had to have an IV sedation I took him. It was hard. I teared up. It wasn't that bad, though, because I could explain to him what was going on. We could talk about it. What I couldn't handle, however, was seeing Iris all happy and excited and having a good day KNOWING what was lying in store for her. She likes going to the doctor. She has fun there. Knowing that something painful was coming up for her and not being able to warn her made me physically ill. It literally gave me a panic attack.

One of the worst aspects of the day that Toby died was the fact that the day was so damn beautiful and perfect. If you've never been to our area then there's really no way to describe it. We really do kind of live in paradise here. Imagine bright blue skies, lush green valleys, beautiful mountains, rushing rivers, country stepping into a post card of the south. And then envision that in a horror movie.

I took a picture of Toby after his lividity started setting in. This was after his little body started turning pale and splotchy and dark and blue and red. I wanted to remember what it looked like because I was afraid that if I didn't have a reminder of what it really looked like then the image I conjured in my mind would be ten times worse than what it actually was like. I shared that image with a friend recently during an intimate conversation. Her remark was, "Oh no, and such a cheery little outfit he was wearing, too. And that just makes it so much worse."

That was part of it, too. The happiness of his bright blue summer outfit with the smiling dog on it set against the blood dripping from his nose and the paleness of his face and the horror of the tube in his mouth-that DID make it worse.

It's these conflicting feelings that make it difficult for me to face things like taking Iris to get her immunizations. I can make the appointments. I can pay the bills when they come in the mail. I just can't go in.


Jenny said...

Are you doing the vax's on the same schedule now? Or is it different? Doing them one by one etc? I delayed until two as well and well mine turns two next month and im not certain how I want to go about this.

Rebecca Patrick-Howard said...

Sorry it took me awhile to get back to you! We're actually spreading them out over a few weeks. We still don't feel comfortable doing so many at once. We wanted to see how she would react to them. We're not doing a flu shot for either one of our kids, either. Our oldest one actually does better with the flu than the actual shot itself. The whole thing is very traumatic. I am glad that once this hurdle is over she won't need anymore until she starts kindergarten...

Lisa said...

My son died at 7 weeks - his cause of death was diagnosed as epiglottitis; however, it was very similar to SIDS as he was healthy, went to sleep, and was dead when we awoke.

I am shocked though to read about the shots and the correlation to SIDS because Ryan, my son, had his shots the day before and I've known all along they had to be tied to it, but was told no by all the doctors. I don't often heard anybody talk about a correlation of SIDS and vaccines.


Rebecca Patrick-Howard said...

Lisa, this is a very fragile subject matter here. You'll find people on both sides of the line. I'm not sure how I feel about it myself. However, if my son had gotten his immunizations within 48 hours of HIS shots you can bet which side of the line I would fall on, no doubt about it.

If you study the dTap paperwork, you can see where it lists SIDS as a possible "reaction."

Opposers to this say that they have to list this because it *has* happened in the past but that there aren't any real studies to prove that they are associated. Doctors and researchers say that the link just doesn't exist. Parents whose children have died following the shots and truly believe the shot caused SIDS (and, of course, not all of them do) are adamant that the the link is truly there. Many do therefore delay it until their subsequent child is at least a year old.

I am so sorry about the loss of your son.