Friday, June 3, 2011

Vaccines and Autism--MY perspective

I have been asked a thousand times- "What do you think caused Noah's autism?" "Was it vaccines?" And I have the same answer - I DON'T KNOW!! I have two perfectly neurotypical children. They developed normally, hit all of their milestones on time- never had more than an ear infection. Well- my oldest had some constipation problems as a kid- but outgrew them. But no developmental disorders, no delays- perfectly normal.

Then Noah came along. The pregnancy was rough from the beginning- worst morning (and afternoon and evening) sickness EVER. Found out at 3 months along that I had gestational diabetes and would be having to give myself insulin injections several times a day. It shouldn't have been a shock- I had high sugar and special diets with the other two. But it was upsetting- especially as my husband was out of town on business and I had the most clinical and cold  doctor give me the news....but I digress.  So the rest of my pregnancy was extremely healthy- kept sugar and carbs to a minimum, got exercise, but I still ended up having an almost 10 lb baby! Without ANY pain medication - and yes I will brag about that after having an epidural with the second child and drugged to the moon for the first ( who by the way only weighed 7 lbs 5 oz and 7 lbs 9 oz respectively). Oh- and my two previous pregnancies had labor induced- the first by manually breaking my water and the second with Petocin...EVIL, EVIL stuff.... Noah came naturally about 2 weeks early- thank goodness for that - he would have been toddler sized if he had gone to term.

He was healthy, BIG, and hollering as he made his grand entrance to the world. He came home within 2 days of delivery and aside from a little jaundice was happy, healthy and just a little fat lump of sweetness.   He was breastfed exclusively until about 2.5 months old when he had to have cereal introduced to his diet. The kid NEVER stopped eating. I seriously thought I needed to be hooked up to a milking machine just to keep him satisfied. He could sit up in the high chair with the assistance of his Boppy and was eating from a spoon at 2.5 months old. I shit you not. He was happy, sweet, and was adored by his whole family.

His 4 month well baby check up was fantastic. he was tracking movement, he laughed and cooed, pushed himself up when having "tummy time" responded to our voices had the motor skills he should- could hold his bottle, a rattle etc. All was normal. He received 3 shots that day- HiB, HepB, DtAP, and got the polio shoved down his throat.  That night his fever shot to 103 and he screamed incessantly for hours. His other vaccines had caused a fever but a low grade one and the screaming wasn't accompanying it. My other children had never run a fever that high either. The spots on his little chubby legs where he got the jabs were so red and hot to the touch- I cried for and with him.   After a near sleepless night he seemed better. Still had a fever but it had gone down considerably, but he was listless and his appetite was off. Well as a mom of 2 other kids and a complete truster in my doc- I knew this was "normal" and just babied him and dosed him with baby Tylenol when needed. That night- Noah "forgot" how to suck his thumb.

In subsequent weeks- things seemed to go back to normal. His appetite returned , but his sleeping was off...kid DID NOT sleep...it was a nightmare for my husband and I. But looking back I guess things weren't "normal". He didn't officially roll over from tummy to back until after 4 months old. He sat up late - closer to 8 months than 6- he crawled late, walked late- and although he started babbling at 6 months old it seemed to just stop, I can't officially pinpoint when- but it just did.  Mind you- we were keeping up on our vaccination schedule like good little parents. People said he'll be fine- he's a late bloomer- but fast forward to 2 years old and he wasn't talking AT ALL- some babbling but not nearly where he should be I started to worry. Doctor said- he's the youngest of three- he has everything said and done for him- he'll catch up.  I teach preschool and the other teachers said- he's a boy, and the baby- he'll get it. And I listened to it all- of course..you're right..but that nagging feeling never went away. 

Then the tantrums started. Violent, scary things in which he would throw himself backwards, hit his head on the floor, and cry so long and hard he would lose his voice. In the mornings when we went to school he would lose it if we didn't go the same way. It's the terrible 2's people said. Well of course it is. But these tantrums would happen at daycare- and the teachers did not know how to handle it at all. He was placed in "time out" in a high chair away from the other kids at circle time because he didn't participate. He had meltdowns. He didn't nap. He was the kid in class who always got bit by the little Jeffrey Dahmer because he would try to hug everybody all the time. (I now know he is a sensory seeker and seeks input from everything) I never saw him play cooperatively with other kids- not even parallel play. He lined things up (a classic sign of  possible ASD)  and babbled in his own strange language with the occasional understandable word coming through. Then the day came when he had a meltdown and I happened to be on my way down to his class to peek in and see how he was doing.  I had never seen such pain. Yes pain. He was so beyond upset- he had pooped his pants ( no not potty trained yet- that didn't happen until almost 5 years old) he was crying in that way you do when you are out of breath and voice and are pretty much hysterical- his limbs were rigid- his face was purple and the veins in his neck stood out. I almost threw up- watching his "caregiver" restrain him in a manner that was not helping at all.  It was at that very moment I said- something IS wrong- I need to get him looked at.

That's all for now folks! Yep, I am leaving you hanging because the story is long and I don't want to bore you too much. Suffice it to say at this juncture- while I do not know for sure what caused Noah's autism- you can damn well bet that I DO believe that vaccines played a part. And if you decide that I am a crackpot and never want to read my blog again- so be it. I believe what I believe and no amount of the MEDIA saying that there is NO LINK between vaccines and autism will change my mind.

Next blog- I will finish the story and give you some studies that the mainstream media refuses to put out there that DO show links. Until next time......