Friday, September 21, 2007

Jenny McCarthy on Oprah .. one size does NOT fit all

Someone mentioned that Tueday's show was to have Jenny McCarthy speaking about her son's autism diagnosis. I set the DVR since I know a number of different families who have kids that have been put on the spectrum.
At one point she talked about vaccinations and about how her son's MMR vax was the start of his symptoms.

All of a sudden I found myself a sobbing mess remembering the nightmare of the NICU and the Doctors trying to convince me to sign the waver for the girls to get their first round of shots.

They had been in the NICU for about a month at that point .. weighed around 3 and 4 pounds. They were still having episodes of apnea and bradycardia and just looked so small and weak. At that point they should have still been growing inside me but here the doctors were telling me that it was imperative that they get the vaccinations started. They looked at me like I was crazy when I didn't just sign on the dotted line
(the dotted line that absolved them from all responsibilty if the girls had a horrible reaction to the shots given. The dotted line that said, "hey .. there's a possibility that these shots could make them really sick ... there's a possibility that these shots could cause irreversible harm)
It seemed to anger them. The whole, "Great .. another mom who knows how to google" thing.

My mommy gut said no. Plain and simple.

I had read numerous books about the dangers of vaccines while on bedrest. A lot of sleep was lost. I went back and forth with my decision. Vaccinate .. not vaccinate .. vaccinate .. not vaccinate.
In the end .. for our own reasons, we DID decide to vaccinate. (although we refused the flu vaccine because of the mercury content... scary... and the girls waited for their MMR vax which we did a tad delayed)

SO .. I have nothing against vaccines. I DID have something against giving them to babies who weren't even supposed to be born yet.... babies who were still hooked up to tubes and monitors, kept warm in isolettes, and who needed 24 hour medical staff watching over them.... babies who still sounded alarms to alert us that they had stopped breathing and needed to be reminded to take a breath.

The doctors pestered me every time they saw me there. One day it got so bad that I just broke down. We're brought up to respect authority. Brought up to trust our Doctors. I felt bad for "giving them a hard time" but I knew that something inside me was screaming to hold firm. Luckily we had an amazing nurse practitioner who took me aside and told me that I was their mom and only I could make decisions for them. I was their voice, and if my intuition was telling me that something was wrong .. I needed to listen to it because I was connected to them in a way no one else would ever be. She saved me that day and I always hear her voice in the back of my head when I'm in situations like that. She gave me so much strength.

Five weeks and a couple pounds later we signed the consent forms. That was the night before they came home. Reese ended up getting very sick from the shot and needed oxygen administerd to keep her with us. I can't help but think what could have happened if we had allowed them to give the shot 5 weeks earlier.
Scares the hell out of me.

The CDC gave a statement for the show that is a change from what they have been saying in the past. In a nutshell, the past statements were that there was NO link betwen autism and vaccines. End of story. On Tuesday they wrote, "we don't know what causes autism, current science doesn't support vax/autism connection, but we don't know and we're still looking into it."
Huge change .. very encouraging.

Below is a quote from the show. The last paragraph basically sums up what I have been feeling since that day in the NICU.

In recent years, the number of children diagnosed with autism has risen from 1 in every 500 children to 1 in 150—and science has not discovered a reason why. Jenny says she believes that childhood vaccinations may play a part. "What number will it take for people just to start listening to what the mothers of children who have seen autism have been saying for years, which is, 'We vaccinated our baby and something happened."

Jenny says even before Evan received his vaccines, she tried to talk to her pediatrician about it. "Right before his MMR shot, I said to the doctor, 'I have a very bad feeling about this shot. This is the autism shot, isn't it?' And he said, 'No, that is ridiculous. It is a mother's desperate attempt to blame something,' and he swore at me, and then the nurse gave [Evan] the shot," she says. "And I remember going, 'Oh, God, I hope he's right.' And soon thereafter—boom—the soul's gone from his eyes."

Despite her belief, Jenny says she is not against vaccines. "I am all for them, but there needs to be a safer vaccine schedule. There needs to be something done. The fact that the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] acts as if these vaccines are one size fits all is just crazy to me," she says. "People need to start listening to what the moms have been saying."

We all need to stop working against each other and come together for the sake of our children.

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