Saturday, August 11, 2007

Vaccinations, Eye Goop, and Eric

For the past few days I've been doing a lot of research on vaccinations for the baby. I've never really thought of myself as a "crunchy" mom, or imagined that I would be so intent on researching all of the details of standard procedures for newborn care... but I find myself being so.

What I've learned so far and what I know I won't do: First of all I learned that they are now routinely giving every newborn a Hep B vaccination at birth. I really can't understand why this would be done, since hep b is spread through sexual contact and IV drug use only, unless the mom is hep b +. Since I am not Hep B + I will be refusing this vaccination for my child. Two things that really bother me about this vac (other than injecting useless medicines into my child) is that the immunity provided by the injection is projected to last about 10 years (and I don't imagine Lily will be sexually active by that age, or using IV drugs!) and also that it seems that in order to make sure my wishes are followed (and Lily not vaccinated) I will have to make sure she is always watched over by myself or her dad. I really hate feeling like I have to worry about them doing things I refuse to my child!

Next, they also routinely put antibiotic ointment into the eyes of every newborn (this is actually law in most states) which is to protect against blindness caused from being infected with Gonorrhea or Chlamydia while being born. Since I have ben tested for both of these STIs and do not have them it seems like a useless thing to do. What's the harm, you might ask... well, first of all it further clouds the baby's vision, often causes swelling and puffyness, and generally I can't see any justification of putting this medication in my baby's body when there is no risk or reason for the treatment in the first place.

Last, they routinely clamp the cord immediately after the birth of the baby and then cut it (immediately). Current research has shown that waiting until the placenta is delivered and the cord stops pulsing prevents anemia in infants and if nothing else, can cause no harm. I would like to donate Lily's cord blood, but they will only be getting what is not infused back into her naturally while the cord is still working with her circulation (sorry... she deserves all her blood).

Things I'm considering:
1) Delaying immunizations: I have been reading compelling research about delaying vaccinations for at least some time. First of all, I will be breastfeeding exclusively, and hopefully, for Lily's first year of life. My natural immunities seem to be just as effective (looking at research) as immunizations, and furthermore... they put a lot of scary stuff into immunizations (like aluminum, mercury, cellular tissue from primates, and other scary additives). Also, it really seems excessive, the number and amount of immunizations they give to babies, 32 injections by the age of 2. There has been some evidence of risks... and well I think the research I've read points to delaying until she's bigger and has a more developed immune system of her own. I read suggestions that immunizations should be delayed until the age of 2 (which is BTW the standard of care in Japan, just recently changed from a more like ours schedule) and may consider this route. I've also read that it is best to have only one immunization given at a time so that if there is a reaction it will be possible to tell which one she's reacting to. There is one immunization I am certain I will not get Lily until at least 10-12 years of age, and that is the chickenpox vaccine. Chickenpox is a very mild illness in young children (and I will try and find a chickenpox party for her to attend) and having CP confers lifelong immunity. The vaccine, on the other hand, does not confer lifelong immunity and often wears off in early adulthood... CP in adulthood is a serious disease with a much higher mortality rate, and often becomes Shingles, a very painful illness. So the CP vaccine is out. Others... I'm not sure of yet. Still doing research and I want to make sure I make the best, and safest, choices for my sweetie.

2) Vit. K shot after birth: This one is tough... the UK has produced some very compelling studies that show a link between the Vit. K. shot given at birth and increased rates of childhood leukemia. The oral dose of Vit. K does not show the same correlation. I have to find out if the oral dose is available at the hospital I will be giving birth at (or another hospital my OB has privs at). Or I will start taking vitamin K supplements to make sure Lily won't need supplementation at birth. (Vit k, BTW, is given to help clotting and prevent hemorrhages).

3)Making sure Lily is never away from Eric or I. Since I am planning to opt out of at least the eye goop and Hep B shot (possibly vit K), I have to make some preparations to insure my wishes are followed. First I have to make a detailed birthing plan which states that Lily is not to have these interventions (as well as delayed cord clamp/cut), second, I have to check with the hospital and make sure I will have the ability to never have Lily "taken for observation" if she is healthy, and that Eric, or I, will have the ability to be with her at all times if she has to be taken to the nursery at all. It seems that some hospitals do not allow this :( so this week I'm gonna be busy asking questions :)

4)Will I be able to find a Ped who will work with me on selective/delayed immunizations? I knew it was time to start interviewing peds... I guess now I'm just making my job a little more complicated (TG I'm not working anymore!).

Other than that.... Just trying to get things ready for Lily to come. I haven't been working for a few weeks now (and my bp and other health things have improved greatly since then) and am keeping myself reasonably busy.

It's still hard not having Eric around, but he's due to return in 2 weeks (YAY!!!) I can't wait to have him back... I think I'll feel much better then.

It's really hard being alone during such a large chunk of pregnancy. I worry that it will make things harder for him, as far as preparing for fatherhood, that it will hurt our relationship (he's also been gone a large chuck of our history now) and that his absence will prove a difficult hurdle for us to reconcile. I'd be lying if I didn't say I had other concerns as well. I've never been a jealous person, and I'm not sure its really jealousy, but I have sometimes worried that he would find someone else (or re-find them) and abandon Lily and I. Even if that happened, I know he would say he'd "still be there for us," but in all honesty... we need him to be there for us as a daddy and partner (even if part time) and... well I just don't think he'd be there so much if our relationship ended (particularly before he bonded with Lily).

It's strange to feel so... vulnerable and needy (I guess)... when I've made it a point to be self-sufficient (to a perhaps unhealthy degree) for so long. The thing is, if I am honest with myself, I DO need him (and so does Lily). I need him to be there when Lily is born, to support me, to make sure Lily is kept safe (and ungunked), to ease my fears... well, just to help me through this somewhat scary experience. Sure I could make it alone (I'd have to)... I just don't want to have to try, damnit! (TG it seems likely I won't have to try, too :))

Well, those are my thoughts for the day (or last couple). I'm still researching all this baby stuff and will post again soon.