One shot. 3 vaccines. Dtap. My 9 month old baby. It, thus far, has been her only time getting stuck with the vaccine needle. Here’s how & why my unvaccinated 9 month old baby got her first vaccine yesterday:
I own a huge piece of rusty sheet metal that I keep inside my home in the middle of my living room. In all fairness, it’s actually art. Because of its giganormousness, I never thought it a hazard or looked at it as a dangerous object. Perhaps I’m a first-time mom idiot about that stuff, or perhaps I only saw small chokeable objects as infant dangers.
Saturday evening my baby was banging on the sheet metal because she loved the loud echo metallic sound it makes. My fiance looks up and says, “You might want to keep her away from that. It’s all rusty. It could be dangerous.”
The pretty caramel brown color of the metal (pictured above) is rust. When moving into my new house 3 months ago, the cardboard used to shlep The Einstein had old paintball jizz on it (a huge piece of cardboard is just begging to be used as target practice) and it caused The Einstein to oxidize. I hadn’t yet gotten around to cleaning the rust off of ole Einy. Therefore, I agreed with my fiance and obliged to keep an eye on the baby. But, you know how it goes. You turn away for a second and….
I heard my dog bark about .2 seconds before the sheet metal fell on top of my baby. Thankfully her whole body was clear of it and she was only pinned down by one leg. I leapt into mama-bear action and grabbed my screaming child out from under the massive piece of heavy rusty sheet metal. I hugged her tight and after a few minutes she began the “quieting down sobs.” At this point I took inventory of the damage. A massive bruise on the frontal skull and a line cut down her face. I checked the Fontanelles often to ensure they didn’t begin bulging and she seemed fine. We kept her awake for a few hours. I washed the wound and applied Neosporin. Gave her some Tylenol. However, the words, “rusty metal” kept echoing in my head.
Monday morning I called her pediatrician’s office and went in that afternoon. This was yesterday. The doctor looked at her and said, “I don’t think there is any risk for Tetanus, but I am going to take advantage of your fear and use this opportunity to vaccinate her.” Her pediatrician is awesome –like a Haitian Santa Claus–and he tolerates my wish to delay vaccination until “she’s older.” His stance remains a steadfast pro-vaccination and he stressed that there was a tiny risk of Tetanus, but the main reason he pushed for the vaccination is for the Pertussis element of the Dtap, especially since the fiance and I are planning a European adventure. The doctor thinks it’s in her best interest to get vaccinated against Pertussis. We briefly discussed Polio and Hepatitis vaccinations for the upcoming trip, and he said that those weren’t absolutely necessary for travel to Europe. He was adamant about the Pertussis. And, you know, there was presently a shining opportunity to take blatant advantage of my Tetanus fear visit into his office that day.
I twice requested they provide Tylenol prior to her vaccination. The nurse finally obliged. After a few minutes of instruction, I was to pin my child to the table and give kisses while she got stabbed. In my mind the whole event had always seemed like taking my little lamb to the slaughter. In reality, she screamed for 4 seconds and then promptly settled down. Gotta hand it to my kid, she did me a solid by taking it like a champ. I remained in the room for 15 minutes –just in case of any severe reactions. I’ve heard too many stories (and by heard, I really mean read online somewhere) of parents getting rushed out of the room only to have a severe reaction happen 5 minutes later. To further stall for time, I requested the brand, lot & serial number of the vaccine for my personal records, as I’d heard this is useful to have as well, just in case. We left the doctor’s office and I nursed her in the car for another 15 minutes to fully settle her down and ensure we were close enough to the office should she start exhibiting any adverse effects.
It’s been nearly 24 hours and the only things I’ve noticed are a decreased appetite (she only nursed 3 times during the night) and she was more tired and fussy than normal. Otherwise, *yawn* pretty boring for this whole big deal. We go back in 2 months for the last Dtap vaccination.