As Chad wrote about in the last post (thanks Chad!) we are both very anxious that Zoë will get sick or hurt while we are traveling. This has been ever present on our minds and something happened yesterday that reminded me that I am not in control of this no matter where we are.
Before Zoë was born, Chad and I scoured all the data available regarding immunizations. I had gotten all my immunizations growing up and had all the necessary boosters as an adult. Chad had most of his infant immunizations, but after a meningitis scare with his younger brother which his parents thought was caused by an immunization, Chad and his parents were staunchly opposed to getting vaccinations. In fact the last four of the seven Mitchell children have never had any vaccinations. Understandably so, if someone had told me that my baby would either die or have brain damage, I would keep all my children far from what had caused it. By Gods grace, Chads younger brother came through that with out any lasting effects (despite his siblings teasing him that he did).
Chad and I decided to not immunize Zoë, but agreed that we would revisit the decision if we were going to travel to other countries. When Chad and I were finally ready to take on this trip, one of the first things we started discussing was whether to get Zoë vaccinated and if so, which ones or all. Both of us researched and I reread parts of “The Vaccine Book” by Dr. Sears which to me is the most unbiased information about vaccines out there. We also consulted Zoës’ wonderful health provider, Sue Shea, FNP and she said the most important ones in her opinion were the hepatitis A and the DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis) vaccinations since we would be traveling. After much discussion, Chad and I decided that we would have Zoë immunized with the DTaP. We were both worried mostly about tetanus, we don’t plan to be out anywhere too far from civilization on our adventures, but if she ended up getting hurt we would hate for her to be unprotected from that.
Yesterday, I took Zoë in to have her 18 month well-child check and also be given her first dose of the DTaP. I was trying to remain calm, but I am sure that all you other parents out there can agree, knowing your child is going to get immunized and will cry from the pain of getting a shot is stressful and makes you feel bad even if it is for their best. I was prepared though, I had given her Advil before going so she hopefully wouldn’t be too sore and had an ice pack ready at home for her to put on her little thigh if it swelled.
All went well with her exam, she is a perfectly healthy toddler (25 pounds, 34.5 inches tall, and meeting if not exceeding all her milestones). As we were finishing up with Sue (our amazing nurse practitioner) and she was about to get the nurse to give her the shot, I turned to grab Zoë’s water bottle quickly as she sat on the exam table. In that millisecond that it took for me to turn away from her, I heard a huge crash and turned to see Zoë on the floor next to the table. She was face up on her back already in what I call a “silent scream”. I snatched her up and comforted her while Sue checked her over for injuries. It was a horrible mommy moment for me, instant guilt and sadness overtook me as I sat there and held my screaming and scared baby. I felt that I should have been more careful, that I should have not let go of her, that it was all my fault and was a failure of a mother. Zoë stopped crying within minutes, and since she was already upset and seemed uninjured I decided to go ahead with the shot. She cried even less with that and we left the office with instructions on what to watch for with head injuries. We got into the car and by then my strong little girl was fine, I was a little less resilient and cried the whole way home. Our nurse practitioner was also shaken by the accident and called me every hour to check on how Zoë was doing (she is the best, have I mentioned that?). Chad and I were both praying that our baby would be fine, which she is, thank God!
The accident made me think though, here Chad and I are worried about Zoës safety and health while we are traveling and she ends up getting hurt here in what we had deemed as the safe zone. Yesterday I realized that no matter where we are, our daughters safety and well-being are ultimately in Gods hands. Accidents will happen no matter where you are, even somewhere as safe as a doctors office, and the trick is to remember who is in control. I have no control over what happens to Zoë, of course I am not going to let her swim in a pool of alligators or anything, but in the end, God is her protection and healer. So I will just continue to pray that God will keep her safe and healthy and do my part and try to remember that if something does happen, that I am not a bad mother. Children get sick and get hurt, this is a painful fact of life, but this life is not ours, it is Gods and He will see us through it all no matter where we are on this earth.
“Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.”Psalm 62:8