to vaccinate or not to vaccinate

Vaccinations are a touchy subject, especially within the autism community. I'm figuring that out. Since Holden's symptoms came to "light", I've done a lot of researching online. I've talked to a lot of moms who have gone through, or are going through, the same thing I am. I think it's one of those situations where you have to talk to someone who knows what it feels like.

Anyway, I had a lot of reactions when realizing Holden had problems. I was scared. Scared that I couldn't raise a child with special needs and do all things appropriately for his development. I was anxious for his future. Would he ever go to school and have friends? Would he be able to live on his own? Would he get married and have a family? I even went through a grieving process. I felt like I'd lost my child, even though he was right there in front of me 24 hours a day. He was here, but not really "here". And he had been. He had normal development until around 15 months of age.

Research I've done online suggests that the majority of these kids do just as Holden did. They develop normally for the first 15, 18, 22, 24 months of life. They're happy. They reach their developmental milestones. They call you "mama" and "dada". They dance. They sing. They love. Then, gradually, it's all taken away in a matter of 6 months. So, my question was this: WHY do they develop normally and then gradually fall victim to autism? Research shows there's a high probability there's a genetic component. I can accept that. But, another question: If it's ONLY a genetic component, why isn't it evident earlier? Why do they develop normally and then lose function? I'm not an expert, and I know I haven't seen all of the research and evidence out there, but it just seems logical that there's some kind of environmental trigger. Right? Something must set this thing off in our kids. A lot of people are born with genes - such as the breast cancer gene. Do all of those people develop brease cancer? No. Why? Why not?

There are a large number of parents who feel that vaccinations may be one of those environmental triggers that set our kids down the lonely path of autism. Or, not vaccinations, but rather the preservatives found in vaccinations. And, also, the amount given to our children and how much it's increased in the past 20 - 30 years. It's a strong argument, and one that I can't ignore. I wonder about it all the time. I wonder because with Zoe, everything went as planned. Vaccinations were given at well baby checkups. She may have been cranky, but that was the extent of her "reactions" to these shots. I remember so vividly Holden's MMR vaccine at 15 months. I even distinctly remember him being given the shot in the docs office. He had a terrible reaction and for 3-4 days after receiving the shot, he ran a fever of 103, 104 (even with motrin and tylenol to reduce the fever), he didn't eat, he didn't even cry much. He laid there in his pack n' play and I remember checking on him constantly. He just looked so miserable. I assumed it was "normal" and that some kids just have worse reactions than others.

That may have been the case. But, doing the research and reading about it on sites such as http://www.generationrescue.org I can't help but wonder if the vaccinations may have been a trigger that caused his decline in development at that stage of life. So, out of curiosity, I checked his shot records this weekend. I did it because a lot of parents in forums online said that thermisol was phased out of vaccinations in 2003. Holden was born in 2005, so that means he was "safe" from the mercury and other heavy metals that had previously been in vaccinations, right? His shot records have the date of the vials recorded on the chart. The oldest vaccination he was given was dated 1998. The MOST RECENT vial was from 2001. He received TWO flu vaccinations (the same shot) because the refrigerator at his pediatricians office stopped working on the day he received his first dose - so in order to make sure it was "effective", they re-did that shot. From what I've heard from other mothers, flu vaccines have one of the highest levels of mercury. He just turned 2 on April 10th and he's had no less than 15-20 shots to date. I can't help but wonder what that's done to his immune system, seeing as it's not even developed yet.

It's a debate that I personally think will wage on forever. Even if evidence is found that these vaccinations ARE in fact an environmental trigger for these kids who are already pre-disposed to the autism gene, it will never be allowed to go on record. Pharmaceutical companies are way too powerful to let that happen. Instead, we will always wonder and until the "old" vaccinations are truly phased out of our children's lives - we'll never know if the numbers will decrease without the preservatives that are in the vaccinations.

I've chosen to take Holden to a DAN! doctor within the next month. I want to test his levels of heavy metals and toxins in his system to see where they stand. If his levels are high, I'll go through the DAN protocol and hope and pray that it helps his symptoms and that we see an improvement once his body rids the metals and toxins. Our new baby will NOT be vaccinated - not until we know more, or until he's 4 yrs old - which ever comes first. It's a personal decision on our part, and I think it sucks that I feel as though we're sometimes judged for choosing this as an option for our child. But, that's just it - it IS our decision and we'll do what's best for our family. No one else will. Because, in reality, who else cares enough to do what's best for our family and our children? They don't have to live with the consequences.

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