I Planned to be a “Crunchy Mom,” Then My Baby Was Born Sick

I Planned to be a “Crunchy Mom,” Then My Baby Was Born Sick December 20, 2018

I use to believe vaccines were toxic and GMOs caused cancer. Cabinets in my house were filled with oils, balms, and rubs to treat various illnesses. My husband and I ate organic food from trendy co-ops. During my pregnancy, I planned to be a natural, crunchy mom. However, my child was born with several brain abnormalities and congenital heart disease. In order to save his life, I had to throw away my crunchy beliefs and start trusting science.

When I got pregnant, I wanted to use a midwife and have a doula. My husband and I discussed homebirth options instead of hospital birth. I believed medications given during labor could damage his brain. In order to reduce that exposure, I decided I wanted to have a natural childbirth.

Friends began to talk to me about vaccination. I watched the documentary Vaxxed. My bookshelf filled up with books on vaccine dangers. My husband and I sorted through the literature. We thought we were reading scientific studies. I believed the anecdotes shared in the movies and books of parents. We agreed that our son would not receive numerous vaccines.

I surrounded myself around friends that drank anti-vaccine kool-aid. My social media feeds were filled with vaccine injury information. I believed the conspiracy that the FDA pushed out vaccines without proper testing. My friends and fellow anti-vax allies convinced me that mercury and aluminum in vaccines caused autism.

When I was around my pro-vaccine friends, they rolled their eyes at the information I shared with them. My brother, a scientist, tried to educate me about the safety of vaccines. However, the information went in one ear and out the other. I truly believed the companies making the vaccines didn’t care about the diseases. The books and documentaries I watched brainwashed me. I didn’t trust anything related to science.

Then my son came into the world. Despite no indications of illness in fetal ultrasounds, my son was born with neurological abnormalities. He also had a congenital heart defect. Additionally, his brain never formed a pituitary gland. Instead of thinking about after birth vaccines, I spent my first weeks of motherhood at his hospital bedside.

He needed machines to breathe and eat. Lights were needed to reduce his jaundice. Doctors diagnosed numerous hormonal deficiencies. We got a crash course in adrenal insufficiency, hypothyroidism, and growth hormone deficiency. Our doctors told us he would never be able to go off these medications and survive.

At this point, I started to trust science. I watched his life improve. As his hormones stabilized, he started to eat on his own. He began to grow and thrive. I hated that he needed synthetic drugs. However, when your only option is medications or death, most logical parents will pick medications.

As I began to learn about my son’s diseases, I realized scientific advancements made his life possible. Children born with my son’s diseases until the 1980s died prematurely. Growth hormone replacement therapy wasn’t standard until that point in time. Had my son been born before the 1970s, he likely wouldn’t have lived beyond his childhood.

Scientific advancements in hormone replacement made it possible for my son’s endocrine system to survive without a pituitary gland. With regular labs and testing, his hormone levels could be monitored and controlled. The fact that science had discovered a way to mimic the endocrine function through medication meant my child could live.

When my son stopped eating by mouth, we had to place a feeding tube. Surgeons had created methods to bypass the mouth by placing a button directly into his stomach lining. When his stomach stopped working, the same surgeons were able to bypass his stomach and feed his intestines. My son grew in length and weight.  None of that would be possible without science.

By age three, his congenital heart defect got worse. Through ultrasounds, doctors monitored the pressure inside his heart. When his heart began to fail, we knew he needed to have surgery. Surgery meant he needed to be on a bypass machine and ventilator to keep him alive. His life remained supported while surgeons fixed the abnormal valve in his heart.

Throughout this journey, I learned the importance of vaccines for children with immunocompromised systems. My son’s vaccines were all late due to his illnesses. He could not be around anyone that wasn’t properly vaccinated.

Unfortunately, he contracted pertussis at one year old. He had been exposed to the disease. Because he spent so much time in the hospital as an infant, his vaccine schedule got delayed. Pertussis was horrifying. When he coughed, he vomited all over himself. His respirations were fast and inconsistent. His body temperature spiked over 104 degrees. There was nothing minor about whooping cough.

After his illness, I realized I was wrong about vaccines. Vaccines prevented children from suffering through diseases like pertussis, rubella, measles, and rotavirus. Children mortality greatly decreased with the introduction of vaccines into our society. My son’s disease could have been prevented with proper herd immunity. However, the anti-vaccine movement reduced the rates of immunized children. Herd immunity had been compromised.

When I made this discovery, I realized I could no longer support the anti-vaccine movement. Science developed these vaccines to prevent children from dying or suffering permanent disability. The same way science helped my son survive his missing endocrine system, science saved lives with vaccines.

Today I am a proponent and advocate for all children receiving their immunizations. I speak out regularly against the anti-vaccine propaganda. Despite being called terrible names, I don’t stop fighting for vaccines. Vaccines are not filled with terrible toxins that poison our kids. I refute anyone that provides bogus data or conspiracy theory. I may have believed that all at one point, but I know the truth now.

Science has created amazing ways for my son to live despite so many health issues. Vaccines ensure he will not contract diseases that could kill his fragile body. Despite all the garbage the anti-vaccine community throws my way, I will always believe in science.

Pseudoscience believed by anti-vaccine proponents is one of the biggest risks to our public health. Please don’t believe their hype.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • TinnyWhistler

    I will point out that there are varieties of medically trained midwives out there that meet you at the hospital and can essentially act as an advocate that’s better informed than your partner is and more invested in you personally than the doctor is. My mom found them to be the best of both worlds when she had my siblings after a terrible experience with me. I know the lady she went to was some variety of legit nurse with additional pregnancy and childbirth-related training etc but I can’t remember the specifics off the top of my head.

  • Freodin

    There is nothing to add.
    It’s sad that for some people, it takes an (almost) catastrophe to change their minds. But it is also great to see that people are still capable of changing their mind at all.

  • Jim Jones
  • yes, my entire worldview has changed. I’m grateful I’ve witnessed first hand the amazing things science can do

  • I went through a phase of listening to pseudoscience, but fortunately my children have received all their vaccinations- I didnt go that far, plus in NJ kids can’t play school sports without vaccinations – my kids would have revolted lol.

    I am glad your son has access to excellent medical care!

  • Thank you! Yes, I didn’t fall too far down the rabbit hole thank goodness!

  • swbarnes2

    In the US, Certified Nurse Midwives are fully trained nurses with midwifery training on top of that. 95% of them work in hospitals, under the supervision of OBs. In that scope, caring for low-risk women who aren’t having issues, they are fine as providers.

  • Dee Coyle Tocci

    So sad for the manner in which you were brought to truth, but thank you for sharing your story. I hope your son is doing better after his surgery. Love from a pediatric nurse!

  • Catherine Spencer-Mills

    I had rubeola, rubella, mumps and chicken pox as a child – long before the vaccines for those illnesses were invented. All of my children and grandchildren are vaccinated. I get DPT boosters about every 7-10 years – usually after I cut myself working in the yard. Tetanus (the “T” in DPT) is endemic in the soil. That is, it won’t ever
    go away. Get your booster if you haven’t done so in the last 10 years. Adults can get these diseases – they are not just for children.

    I almost died of rubeola – also called “hard” or “German” measles – when I was 7. My temp went over 105 F three times. I remember being packed in alcohol and ice water twice, the third time I was not conscious according to my mother. I spent 6-8 weeks in a darkened room with no reading and no TV. At first, I didn’t care, but later it was really boring. I have permanent scarring on my retinas in spite of the care my family took. I find it reprehensible some parents will risk their children’s permanent health and/or lives by not vaccinating. So sorry to hear about your son’s health problems, but glad to hear about your increased understanding of science.

  • EllyR
  • persephone

    I had the measles at age two. My mother said she spent nearly two weeks afraid I was going to die. My sister got chicken pox from me bringing it home from kindergarten when she was only a few months old; my mother again spent days worrying that my sister would die.

    My grandmother was orphaned at age 5 by the Spanish Influenza in 1918. She contracted it, but survived; however, she was deaf for a year afterward, and she and her younger sister grew up in an Oddfellows orphanage.

    Why would I want to go through what my mother and grandmother went through? My kids got all the vaccinations, including Gardasil, and they get flu vaccinations every year. This has become especially important since I suffer from multiple immune disorders.

  • Beth H

    Proud to have you on the side of evidence reason!!

  • LMW1

    Pretty hard to feel sorry for this idiot, and it’s lucky she didn’t kill her child with stupidity. I’d say that this child lived DESPITE the best thinking of his parents.

  • excuse me? My son is fully vaccinated.

  • Pennybird

    Thank you for sharing your change of heart. It’s a hard thing to do. But with all due respect, after science has spent a couple of generations saying that vaccines save children’s lives – and we have all but eliminated many of those diseases here to prove it – why did it take your personal experience to believe science over a blogger with a hunch?

    Best wishes to you and your son. I hope he thrives.

  • HematitePersuasion

    Science and the scientific method have been so successful that … the details have become hard to understand. When technology starts to look like magic, then all the fears of evil magic surge right back.

  • B.E. Miller

    I have this theory on why vaccines are being disregarded after a couple generations. My grandparents (and great-grands) got to see thousands of kids who died without vaccines, or were injured by measles or polio or what have you.

    Now so many kids have been vaccinated, we don’t see the bad effects of said diseases. Instead now we only see the few kids who have adverse reactions to vaccines.

  • Pennybird

    Excellent point.