Posts tagged health
Well, I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! Ours was wonderful. I totally gorged myself and I’m not ashamed. It was delicious! And I’m sad it’s over. Nathan had a blast playing with his sweet cousins, who are three and two-and-a-half. Nathan played so hard that he was covered in sweat by the time it was over. We’re looking forward to getting together on Christmas!
In other news, John had his 6 month checkup today. He’s perfect! He’s in the 85th percentile for height and the 40th percentile for weight, and his doctor said he’s gonna be tall and thin. I’m not surprised- Paul is 6’5 or so, and I’m 5’8, which is tall for a girl. John has a big ole head, so that means he’s getting all the nutrients he needs. I absolutely LOVE our pediatrician. I talked to him today because even though we’re very pro-vaccination, there’s still a small part of me that worries. I know that the one “study” that linked autism to vaccines has been debunked and proven fraudulent, but there is a small but very vocal group of people out there who are VERY anti-vaccination. When I voiced my concerns to the pediatrician, he brought up some very good points.
First, the MMR (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella) vaccine, which is what the anti-vax community claims causes autism, has not changed since they started administering the vaccine in the 1960’s. (Back then, they were separate vaccines- they were combined in 1971 I believe.) It’s had the same ingredients all these years. People would form lines that wrapped around the block to get the vaccines. In the 1970’s, people started having less children compared to the baby boomers, so the vaccine was administered less since there were less people to give it to. Fast forward to today, and the vaccine is administered even less than it was in the ’70’s due to smaller family sizes. Yet the incidence of autism keeps rising. Maybe it’s better screening. Regardless, the rates are climbing at an alarming rate.
Second, some people also claim Thermasol (I think that’s how it’s spelled), the mercury-based perservative found in some vaccines, can cause autism. However, Thermasol in vaccines for children has been phased out over the last decade. And yet the autism rates continue to climb. Some vaccines for adults still contain it, but not the ones for kids. Additionally, you’re exposed to more mercury taking a new car for a test drive than in what a vaccine contains.
Third, and this knowledge has been around for a while now, scientists have discovered that there is a gene that causes autism- so autism is passed down from the parent(s). However, there appears to be an “on” switch. They’re still not sure what causes the switch to flip from “off” to “on.” There is speculation that the mom catching a virus during pregnancy could cause the switch to flip, or a virus that the child catches. There is also speculation of a link between Pitocin, Epidurals, and also immediate cord clamping following birth. I briefly touched upon these concerns in a previous blog post I had written.
It seems that people are more willing to listen to celebreties than scientists, mostly because scientists are probably considered boring while celebreties are “fun” to watch and listen to. So when a celebrety starts opining about how vaccines are dangerous, people are quick to jump on the bandwagon. Of course, I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who would disagree with me. And that’s ok. It all boils down to it being YOUR decision as a parent. You have to make the best decision you can for your children with the information you have. Personally, even if vaccines were to cause autism, I would much rather have an autistic child than one who died from a preventable disease.
The biggest problem the anti-vax community presents is losing what’s called “herd safety.” See, vaccines aren’t 100% effective. For example, even though Nathan has all his vaccinations, if he comes into contact with a kid who hasn’t been vaccinated against something and comes down with it, there’s still a small chance Nathan could catch it. So when the vast majority of the “herd” is vaccinated, it provides a safety net. We’re losing that safety net, and the most vulnerable are infants, who haven’t been fully vaccinated yet, and those with immune system deficiencies. Just look at the Whooping Cough epidemics we’ve been seeing around the United States. When babies come down with Whooping Cough, it can be deadly. As a side note, immunity to Whooping Cough diminishes over time, so adults, it’s VERY important for you to get a booster shot so you don’t inadvertantly infect a baby! ESPECIALLY if you are around any infants!
I feel like I can say all this because Nathan has autism. The preschool he attends did an evaluation on him and found that he is very high-functioning. Some people would say he has mild autism, but I don’t think that’s the politically correct way to put it. Either way, it is what it is. Don’t feel sorry for him, though. His having autism doesn’t change a thing. He is still my sweet and incredibly smart boy with a steel-trap memory. All this finding does is provide an opportunity for him to get Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, and Inclusion Therapy (which helps him with his social skills) through the school system. I know he’s going to be just fine and once he masters these skills their teaching him in school, he’s really going to soar.
I strongly suspect Nathan’s birth experience played a contributing factor to him developing autism. His birth was incredibly medicalized and fraught with interventions. They snuck Pitocin in my IV after I told them no, and that caused him to go into fetal distress (because he wasn’t getting enough oxygen from the abnormal strength of the contractions- and remember what I said in my blog post linked above about not getting enough oxygen to the brain?) Even though I declined an Epidural, they had me strapped to that stupid continuous fetal monitoring machine, blood pressure machine, and IV line like I was some sort of sick person instead of a healthy woman with a healthy, low-risk pregnancy, so I could not move around the room during labor. Because of that, I couldn’t manage the pain, so I ended up caving and getting the Epidural. With John, I had NO interventions at the Birth Center and was able to move around and then labor in the birthing tub. It made a huge difference in managing my pain. And with Nathan, they clamped and cut the cord immediately. All that iron-rich, oxygenated blood in the placenta never made it to his brain because of that. Like I said, I’m no medical professional, but I feel strongly that the labor and delivery system set the stage for Nathan’s development. It’s been 4.5 years since Nathan’s birth, and I’m still pissed about what they did to us. That’s why with John, I went to a birthing center with midwives. Totally different experience and much better for me and my sweet baby.
Anyway, it was a good talk with the pediatrician. Baby John is growing so fast. I can’t believe he’s six months old already! Time really is going by so fast. I remember with Nathan, time seemed to go by so slow. But with this one, I wish I had a pause button. Maybe it’s because I’m so busy having a two children to care for instead of one. I wish I had a pause button so I could live in the moment a little longer. I am really going to miss these days when my boys are grown. It goes by in the blink of an eye!
Nathan was sick earlier in the week last week, and guess what happened? Well I won’t keep you in suspense because I’m sure you’re just dying to know. Today, John, Paul, and I are all sick. Well, John and I are the sick ones and Paul hasn’t quite come down with it just yet- he can tell his body is trying to fight it off. Fingers crossed that he doesn’t get the full blown cold because let me tell you, it’s no fun!
Nathan definitely has a habit of spreading his sick germs around. Because of his sensory issues, he’s constantly walking around with his tongue hanging out of his mouth and he still drools often. Before he started preschool, he was really good about covering his coughs and sneezes with his elbow, but that’s all gone down the toilet after being around other kids at school. Apparently, he has class with a bunch of heathens because now not only does he not cover his mouth and nose, he’ll cough right in my face. Seriously, it’s worse now that it was when he was a toddler!
Speaking of the other kids in his class being heathens, he’s definitely picked up some bad habits from them. Like chewing with his mouth open. Oh my gosh, it’s so disgusting. Before he started school, he had excellent manners. Always chewed with his mouth closed, said his pleases and thank yous. But now? Now he has the nerve to look right at me and chew with his mouth WIDE OPEN. And the smacking makes me want to stab out my ears with a pumpkin carver. When that happens, this mama assumes he is no longer interested in actually eating rather than playing, so he’s dismissed from the table to his room.
What is WRONG with other parents out there? I can’t tell you how many kids I’ve seen (not counting at his preschool) who chew with their mouths wide open and smacking, the parents right there allowing it to happen. Kids throwing food on the floor, making demands, not saying please and thank you. It drives me batty because, well, I actually CARE about my child’s social graces. I tell him he’s not an animal and I expect him to act like a civilized human being. I also tell him that if he continues to act uncouth, he won’t have many friends in life.
So anyway, fingers crossed that this cold passes quickly because we’re a miserable bunch right now. I hate being sick on a weekend! Paul’s making some spicy ribs- maybe the salt and spiciness will help soothe my throat.
Yesterday, Nathan and I went to get our flu vaccines. While we were at the clinic in the room with the nurse filling out paperwork, Nathan started telling her all about… my womb. Yes, you read that right. Apparently, my womb was up for discussion.
See, when I was pregnant with John, Nathan was very curious as to where the baby lived and how he fit in there. So I explained to him that the baby lived in my womb; a protective little enclosure that kept him safe all the way up until he was born. I didn’t call it a uterus because Nathan’s the type who will go up to complete strangers and talk nonstop about something. Calling it a womb just seems to make more sense at this time.
So anyway, while we were there, Nathan stood right by the nurse and told her all about his brother and my womb.
Nurse: Yes, Nathan?
Nathan: What’s a womb?
Nurse: A what?
Nathan: A womb. Where baby brother grew.
Nurse: Oh you have a little brother? What’s his name?
Nathan: Yeah his name is John & he’s little. Can I draw you a picture of Mommy’s womb?
Nurse: Sure, here’s some crayons… and here’s some paper.
Nathan: Hey Doctor?
Nathan: I’m going to draw a picture of Mommy’s womb now. It’s really, really, really big! So baby brother can live in it!
And with that, Nathan proceeded to draw a picture of my uterus. The whole time he’s mumbling about wombs and babies, and I’m desperately trying to refrain from busting out laughing. When he was done, he proudly showed me & the nurse his drawing. Apparently, my uterus is oblong and full of blue, green, & yellow scribbles. Who knew?
Baby John just rolled over! I had him on his belly for Tummy Time (or as Nathan calls it, Tummy Timeout due to how John protests) and sure enough, he rolled over! And he kicked a sock off.
In other news, Nathan got pretty sick the other day, and now John and I have it. We aren’t as sick as poor Nathan was, but it’s still a pain. I’m just glad I’m nursing, that way the baby gets my antibodies. Hopefully we’ll feel better in a couple days.