I'm sooo going there.

I've been debating whether or not to write this post. And today, I finally decided to go for it.

First and foremost. What I'm going to "say" is not meant to attack anyone who has a differing viewpoint.

Second, I am not looking for anyone's opinion and I really, really am not going to debate anyone if they think I'm crazy or ignorant. I am neither of those and if you say I am, so be it. I don't judge people for making the decisions they make, so do not judge me. If you do, please don't bother telling me. It won't matter and your comments will not change my mind.

With that being said, I also want to add that the only reason I decided to write this is due to the overwhelming number of stories I've been reading regarding injured children. I am also writing this because I feel like I need to. I feel the need to share what I've learned because I don't think enough people question our society and the "norm".

Okay, there.

Off I go...

When I was pregnant with Claire, my mother and I had a serious chat about vaccines. We discussed what I was going to do once Claire was born. At the time, there wasn't any question whether I was going to vaccinate her. That's what I'm supposed to do, right? Isn't that what everyone does?

The conversation started after I read an article in Parenting magazine that scared the crap out of me. It basically said that if you don't vaccinate your children then you're basically signing them up for a laundry list of terrible infectious diseases. It criticized parents who chose not to vaccinate their children and blamed those parents for the the rise of pertussis and other diseases. I felt like I was making the right choice because I didn't want my precious daughter to get sick. I certainly didn't want her to get sick if there was something I could do to prevent it (by immunizing her).

If you have been reading my blog for a while, then you know how much time I spent researching natural labor/delivery methods while I was pregnant. During that research, I stumbled across an article about the Hepatitis B vaccine. Along with the vitamin K shot and eye ointment, the Hep B was one of the things on the "normal after-birth routine". After reading that article, I started to question whether it was necessary for my one day old to get the shot. I mean, she wasn't going to be sharing needles or having sex, so why should she need it?

Because it's routine?  Naah. That's not a good enough of a reason for my to give her a shot of something I don't think she needs.

That's when I opened Pandora's Box. Well, kind of like that.

That's when I began reading and researching and questioning the vaccines our children get.

I still hadn't decided whether or not Claire was going to immunized with all, some, or none of the recommended vaccines on the CDC's schedule. I did, however, decide that she wasn't going to get the Hep B vaccine.

After she was born, I had to sign a waiver that I declined the vaccine before I could even leave the hospital. I felt confident in my decision and no one made me feel inferior.

Once we got home, I started thoroughly researching everything that surrounds vaccines. I read peer-reviewed articles and vaccine package inserts. I watched several documentaries. I read medical studies and personal stories of vaccine-injured parents. I researched the diseases themselves- how you contract them, the risks associated with contracting them, and their prominence in the states.

Matt and I spent many hours discussing whether or not to vaccinate Claire, and in the end we decided to opt out.

When Claire went to her two-month well-visit, I expected her doctor to try to talk us into vaccinating her. He didn't though. He didn't even bat an eye. What I did find surprising was when his nurse quietly said to me "You're smart for waiting, and I wish more people would wait".

Ummm... seriously?!

I was floored. But in a good way. I thought we would walk out feeling belittled for making the unpopular choice to delay vaccinating our baby. It only made me feel that much more confident in our decision. Not that I needed anyone's approval to make it feel valid.

To be completely honest, the biggest reason we decided to delay them had more to do with my gut-feeling, not because of everything I had read. Or maybe I had that feeling due to the startling information I had read in the previous months. Either way, it was what it was.

Claire hasn't been vaccinated. Not a single one.

She's now 19 months old and hasn't had more than a fever. The three fevers she did experience were due to some extreme teething. Seems like she always gets 4 teeth in at a time... poor kid.

She's never had an ear infection. She has never had a cough. I've never had to clean up vomit.

Now, I must say that she doesn't go to daycare, so maybe that helps a little. However, this girl chews on her shoes, eats off tables when we are out to dinner. She drops things at church and puts them in her mouth, and even sucks/chews on the pews. Apparently shes never going to stop putting things in her mouth... kinda like a bad dog ;)

She managed to remain unscathed when I had the flu last year. She beat off the stomach flu that nana and papa brought to our house while I was in the hospital with Teddy... daddy ended up with it though.

I can't help but feel like our choice to skip vaccines have helped her. Her little (but strong) immune system has never been suppressed so it's always been building stronger and stronger.

Naturally, we have also decided to decline all vaccines for Teddy too.

Matt and I originally discussed delaying them until Claire and Teddy (and any of our future children) were ready to go to school, but after my continuous research, we have decided against them indefinitely.

Along with a healthy diet and exercise, I think we will be able to raise healthy children with strong immune systems. If the kids end up with an illness, I fell modern medicine will be able to help them get through it and give them permanent and natural immunity.

Here are some very powerful and eye-opening stats about vaccines that you may not know:
* Most of the children who get pertussis are those who have been vaccinated.  (read this)

*The risks associated with vaccinating your child are greater than the chance of him/her actually getting the disease itself.

* The DTaP package insert lists autism and SIDS as an adverse reaction (page 11, third paragraph):
"Adverse events reported during post-approval use of Tripedia vaccine include idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, SIDS, anaphylactic reaction, cellulitis, autism, convulsion/grand mal convulsion, encephalopathy, hypotonia, neuropathy, somnolence and apnea. Events were included in this list because of the seriousness or frequency of reporting."

* While the VAERS recieves 30,000 reports annually, the FDA estimates that only 20% of reactions are reported.

The following graph shows the amount of money that has been paid as a result of vaccine injury claims. The money awarded comes out of an account set aside for people that will be injured by vaccines. The money comes from taxes imposed on vaccines themselves. More info here.

This one breaks down the claims by vaccines. It also shows the number of injuries and deaths reported. The sad thing is that
This chart speaks for itself and needs no explanation.
How some of the ingredient in vaccines can effect the body

Here are some very informational websites/documentaries that we utilized to make our decision.
The Greater Good (video/documentary)
Silent Epidemic: The Untold Story of Vaccines (video/documentary)
Gianelloni Family (blog, with tons of links)
Vaccine Ingredient List
How "Vaccine Court" works

When it all boils down, you have to do what you think is best for your child(ren). Basically, you have to go with your gut, and that's what I did. But please, please, please, be informed.

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