Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Back in Black

In honor of Angus Young's birthday today, (who incidentally we did NOT name our child after, but don't take offense if you think we did) I thought I'd include our Aengus's favorite lullaby.

Yes, that's right. With all the jokes Will and I made about Aengus and AC/DC after going to see them in concert in October, it turns out our son loves Acca Dacca. If he's crying, the sure-fire way to make him calm down (other than letting him have naked time) is to put on Back in Black. As soon as he hears that guitar, he'll let out a little sigh and start looking around. Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap is a close second.

I suppose it was destined to happen. After all, he was born on the 30th anniversary of Bon Scott's death...

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The "Vaccination Backlash"?

Who knew that vaccination would turn into a such a hot button issue? When I was a kid, I remember lamenting the one or two booster "shots" I had to get at the doctor's office. I also remember at least one family at my school who chose not to get those "shots". Whatever, it wasn't a big deal to my parents or any of the other parents at the school. It only came up when we all lined up in middle school to get the Hepatitis B and Tetanus vaccines. I was jealous that those girls didn't have the sore spot, but that was the end of it.

Today, the tables have turned. It has turned into an "us vs them" of vaccinators and non-vaccinators. Pediatricians have suddenly started fighting against alternative vaccination schedules the same way OB/GYNs have been fighting against midwifery in the past few years. It seems they think parents are deciding to delay or forego vaccines because Jenny McCarthy says they might cause autism. (Yeah, and we all had homebirths because Ricki Lake told us to *sarcasm*.)

In the latest issue of The Lancet, Paul Offit proposes re-education for anyone who dare question the CDC schedule. (Re-education camps...yeah...that's not treading on my civil liberties or bodily autonomy.)

“Offit suggests one way to raise vaccination rates is to make it harder for people not to get themselves or their children vaccinated. This could mean, for example, attending educational classes that teach the public what the safety profiles of different vaccines are, before they are allowed to opt out of vaccination. “You have to convince people that a choice not to get a vaccine is not a risk-free choice; it’s just a choice to take a different risk.” ”

----Side issue to be discussed first: Before I'm allowed to opt out of vaccination? I can opt out of a blood transfusion if I don't want one, can request and receive antibiotics for minor infections, or even decide to never take myself or my child to the doctor. But, I can't make an educated decision based on risk-benefit analysis whether or not to inject my child without taking mandatory classes? I feel like George Orwell is rolling over in his grave right now. Meanwhile, Paul Offit most likely has a conflict of interest as a multi-millionaire who earned his money in the vaccine business. Okay, back on topic---

While it may be true that some parents fear the possible connection between vaccines/mercury/aluminum/etc and autism, it is foolish to assume that is the only reason someone would not vaccinate their child on the CDC schedule. If you talk to anti-vaxer's, you will see parents who understand that there are risks to not vaccinating, just as there are risks to immunizing your child on schedule. I would bet my right arm that parents who don't vaccinate have done 99% more research on the vaccines and diseases than your average vaccinating parent. So, Dr. Offit, if you are still under the impression that non-vaxer's are all uneducated idiots who you claim think "vaccines are the devil", here are just a few reasons parents may want to wait on vaccines for their children:

-Serotype replacement issues: if I vaccinate for one strain of bacteria, will another serotype replace it and become more deadly? will antibiotic resistance increase?
-Questions about efficacy: the mumps outbreak in vaccinated communities, for example
-Increased number of vaccines: when does a common childhood illness like chickenpox become a deadly disease requiring vaccination for ALL children? There are also no studies showing the safety of injecting multiple vaccines at one time.
-Vaccine injury: anything from a fever and uncontrolled crying (common) to the notably rare brain damage and death...leading to the next point
-The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act: should pharmaceutical companies be protected from being sued if a vaccine they produce isn't safe?
-Recalls: should new vaccines be put on the recommended/required schedule without sufficient testing? (most recently, Rotarix)
-Ingredients: mercury (thimerosal), aluminum, and formaldehyde are the most common complaints
-Allergies: vaccine ingredients such as antibiotics, eggs, and gelatin could cause life-threatening allergic reactions in children with allergies
-Religion: a variety of reasons, the most common from mainstream christians being the "human diploid cells" coming from aborted fetuses (while I am pro-choice, I understand this being problematic for pro-life people)

There are other reasons, I'm sure, as well as some that are just slipping my mind.

Will and I haven't decided exactly what we're doing for Aengus's vaccinations (other than no Hep B at the moment and no Rotarix), but whatever we decide will be just that: our decision.

If Paul Offit's suggestion seems like too much of an invasion on your health and bodily rights, take a look at webpage for The American Rally for Personal Rights.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Witching Hour

One of the things they don't tell you about when you become a new parent (I'm finding an increasing number of these things popping up in the last few weeks) is the Witching Hour. I take offense to the name by the way, or should I be able to handle this situation better? This so-called "Witching Hour" is basically a period of an hour or more where your baby will just cry as if they are hurt and there isn't much you can do about it.

Aengus's hits sometime between 3-5pm or so and goes until 6-7pm, unless you can trap him with a nap beforehand. Most of the time, Will conquers the Witching Hour with the Moby wrap and a trip outside. Aengus cannot resist the snuggle. I, however, tend to use what my son considers my greatest assets: the breasts--I basically keep him eating until he lulls off to sleep.

Today, I was not so lucky. And, I was foolish enough to try to take him with me to the lab for some research. (Naive, I know.) He was not pleased. I left after I couldn't console him with bouncing, the Moby, or even the breast. The fussiness continued until just before 6, when he finally settled after eating for an hour and a half and I was able to put him next to me on the couch for a nap.

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Arrival

I've been MIA for a while because the kid arrived! So, first, I'll share our story:

4 weeks old

On Valentine's day, I started having contractions at 9am. Will had gone to work early that morning, so I kept it to myself. I told Will at noon and he came home at 2pm. The contractions were irregular, but pretty strong and went all day. Finally at about 9pm (yep that's 12 hours) they were very strong and lasting 1-2 minutes, 3-5 mins apart. Kept going that way and we called the midwife at 11. She got here before midnight and checked me, but I wasn't really dilating yet. Meanwhile, the baby still hadn't dropped. I was so exhausted. She suggested taking a bath (I did) and trying to sleep. She thought it would be a few hours and I would be going strong. I slept poorly from 1-3 and woke up completely disheartened. I was exhausted, but the contractions were lessening. Labor stalled out at around 4 and I slept until 7. Completely gone. I had labored for 15 or so hours and it just went away. I was so upset.

On February 18, I woke up at 3am to use the bathroom and said "either I just peed myself or my water broke". Well, I was pretty sure it was the water, but I knew I needed sleep, so Will and I went back to bed....and stared at the ceiling. We finally got back to sleep by 6 or so and Will called into work. We were so excited, but I wasn't really having any contractions. At 9 I called my midwife and was only having random irregular contractions despite little gushes of fluid throughout the day, so she told me to maybe go on a walk to get things started. I stalled and stalled all day, so she came over to check the baby and me. Everything was good, and she wasn't really convinced my water had broken. She said it could still be urine due to the pressure on my bladder, but that she still thought it would be tonight. Meanwhile, the baby was perfectly poised and ready to come out-in the best position he had been in all 3rd trimester.

By 5:30pm I was having regular strong contractions every 5 minutes. They kept getting stronger, longer, closer together--you know the drill. Bouncing on the birth ball was awesome at this point. I was still feeling really upbeat and coping well. I called the midwife and asked her to come around 9 or 10. At that point, I was at 6cm and had a bulging bag of water! water before? Well, contractions continued about 2 mins apart all night. I took a bath to relax at 4am and slept between contractions.

Fetal heart tone check

Will, the midwife apprentice, and I went on a walk at 5am to hopefully get things going more. After that didn't do much, I asked her to check me again and we talked about maybe breaking the water bag if it looked favorable. I was at 7cm at 6:30am (and 13 hours or so) and the water bag was still bulgy. I said, just go ahead--I want my baby. The bag was so thick, the amnio hook just about couldn't get it open--no wonder I wasn't really getting anywhere!! Water broke and the pressure was relieved and it felt amazing until transition hit me like a freight train. It was really rough, but my labor support was amazing. Will was my rock-and the midwives (the apprentice also works as a doula and was amazing) were so wonderful.

By 7:30 I was pushing and it felt great. On all fours, the toilet, etc. The birth stool that I thought I wanted felt terrible and I still can't understand why I didn't like it. After 1 or so hours of pushing, I was getting so exhausted, they suggested I lie back on the bed and pull my legs back as I push--finally, some progress! I could see the top of his head peek out with a mirror and it was unbelievable. But, his head was having a terrible time getting out. My midwife was trying to help him along by doing some technique stretching around his head with his fingers and I really thought she was going to kill me. It hurt terribly, but I just kept pushing. They pulled my bottom off the bed after almost 3 hours, and that allowed just enough extra room to help things along better.

Suddenly, during a hard push I felt relief and they said "his head is out!". I immediately pushed again as hard as possible and his little body shot right out. His cord was short, but they put him on my belly so it wouldn't stretch too far. He had other plans. He started crawling up to my chest immediately, and raised is head up and looked over at Will. I cannot describe the feeling of seeing his face for the first time. He was really here-and he was beautiful!

Just born

Aengus Cade was born at 10:26am on February 19, 2010. He was 6lb 13oz and 19.5in at birth. He immediately started nursing perfectly and had already gained a pound by his 2 week appointment.