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Apr 23 2014

Why I Changed My Mind About the Tdap Vaccine Booster

By at 11:22 am

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I’m entering into my ninth month of pregnancy; I’ve lost all verbal filters that I normally employ and for the most part I either explode or cry. I wasn’t this bad when I was pregnant with the boys (although I was still, admittedly, super crazy) and perhaps it is a combination of managing my 4-year-old’s emotions and chasing after my toddler with fierce hip pain and heartburn, but I want to verbally assault anyone who even looks at me wrong. I’m cranky. So that’s where I’m at.

Around my 27 week prenatal visit my midwives gave me a generic CDC handout offering me a Tdap (Tetanus/Diphtheria/Pertussis) booster. The standard guidelines are for the vaccine to be boostered every 10 years and the sheet also said “or with each pregnancy.” Since I was boostered 18 months ago when my second son was born I felt like it was overkill to do it again. I asked both the midwives and my children’s pediatrician what the rationale behind the “with each pregnancy” was and neither had any convincing talking points. The midwife said, “there may be waning immunity during pregnancy.”

I am not one to decline vaccines. My husband is a doctor and we both have Master of Public Health degrees. But I like to educate myself about the options and make a decision based on current evidence-based research coupled with our personal family circumstances (or, like, just go with the opposite of anything Jenny McCarthy says). The information provided wasn’t compelling enough for me to vaccinate myself again. I had just finished up 20 weeks of painful progesterone injections and have bruised hips to show for it. More needles? No, thanks. Read the rest of this entry →

Mar 24 2014

If You Don’t Vaccinate, Keep Your Kids Away From My Baby

By at 4:39 pm

vaccine

I’m a pretty laid-back parent about most things. My kids eat dirt, play with (plastic) knives, and spend a lot of time on the counter helping me cook. I rarely think to warn others when they have colds (I’m trying to remember!), because I would never expect the same. Colds are a part of life, and will probably help them in the long run, as frustrating as they are now. My kids run around, make messes, get sick, get better, and generally (I hope) have a lot of fun. (It’s not always fun for me, especially the mess part.)

But yesterday I did something totally not laid back, and to date, totally out of character. I e-mailed the director of their daycare to check on the vaccination policy, essentially to make sure that it required all the kids to be current in their vaccines (with exceptions for medical or religious issues.) My girls, who actually attend the daycare, are totally up to date, and I’m not worried about them. But there’s a little guy as well, not quite 1, and not quite ready for the MMR vaccine, and he comes with me most days to drop off his sisters. And he’s swarmed by all the adorable preschoolers who just love little guys and want to love him with their hugs and kisses, which, usually, he loves. And there is a measles outbreak a couple of states over and a couple of little ones (also not quite 1 and also not quite ready) are really, really sick.

I don’t want my little guy to get really, really sick, and the thing is that he could. He easily could right now, as the number of unvaccinated children is growing and growing. If one of them was carrying the disease (possibly without showing symptoms) and came into contact with my vulnerable little guy, that could very easily be it for him. Too easily. This time, it wouldn’t be an annoying and even deeply frustrating cold, or fever, or even something worse that would be rough for a while but he would ultimately recover from without any lingering effects. Not necessarily. Measles, for some kids, are really really bad. Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 17 2012

News Roundup: Talking to Kids About the Shooting & More

By at 4:45 pm

All the parenting news you probably didn’t have time to read this week.

- Tips for Talking to Children About the Shooting. It’s a daunting task at a scary time, but if your kids have heard about the shooting in Newtown, CT and want to talk to you about it, here are some pointers for steering the conversation. (New York Times)

How Older Parenthood Will Upend American Society. Judith Shulevitz examines the effects of older mothers and fathers (spoiler alert: fertility decreases as you get older, for men and women!). (The New Republic)

Good Lovers Make Good Parents. The same things that make you and your partner romantically compatible translate into making you good moms and/or dads. (New York Daily News)

-The UN Environmental Program is debating whether to ban a vaccine preservative that some worry may cause autism. The preservative was taken out of vaccines in the US and Europe a decade ago and has not resulted in lower rates of autism. (NPR)

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