This morning Carter went in for his 6th month check-up. I had been waiting for this appointment for a week considering all of the food allergy issues that were going on. We had a lot to talk about and I was anxious to get everything straightened out.
He was weighed and measured by the nurse. He measured 25 3/4 inches long (20%), weighed 13 pounds, 11 ounces (less than 3%) and his head was 16 1/2 inches (8%). When the Doctor came in, we talked about his growth and she wasn't concerned in the least. She said that he was measuring similar to what Logan did at this age (although his stats in their office start at 9 months). She said that he was beginning to slow down, but that was to be expected at this age. He looks very healthy and has some sort of chub on his arms and legs and he even has wrist lines. She shrugged her shoulders and said that breast fed babies aren't well represented on the growth charts. This was a relief since my initial reaction after the nurse took his measurements was a drop in my stomach, worried that he wasn't eating enough again.
We went over his food reactions and have a slower plan to go with. Rather than using the every three day rule before introducing a new food, we're going every week to two weeks. He's back on rice cereal and then we'll start with yellow and orange vegetables first. I'm adding banana to the list of possible food allergies and when he's a year old, we will discuss going in for allergy testing. But, at this point any testing is going to be inconclusive and a waste of effort and money.
After that, she went over his developmental milestones saying that he passed with flying colors. I was a bit concerned about his gross motor skills since he's not really moving too terribly much, but I suppose this is in comparison to Logan, who apparently was very physically advanced. The boy was crawling at 6 months and Carter isn't even rolling yet (a few times, but not across the room like Logan did). However, Carter is quite strong so there's nothing to worry about. He's just content to lay there and kick around.
The last topic of discussion was vaccinations. Prior to dealing with his Raynaud's, weight issues and food allergies, I was somewhat open to starting a single dose, selective plan. How quickly that all changed after witnessing Carter's body not functioning quite like it should. Those were major red flags for me and enough to not start any vaccinations at all. If his body is hyper-reactive to being cold and eating food, what's not to say he'll have a more severe reaction to chemicals? Add the family history in the mix and that's where I draw the line. I have to trust my gut, because I didn't with Logan (more than once) and he suffered from that.
So, she and I talked at length about it. She gave me the medical reasoning, but never pushed me into a decision. I thought long and hard about it, my eyes welling up with tears because of all of the parenting decisions I have to make, this is by far the most difficult. I think she understands that, thus why she doesn't push me. When talking about what vaccination she recommends the most, Hib is her number one priority. Logan had a mild reaction to this vaccination. So, my stomach turned even more and tears rolled down my cheeks. This issue is so heavy for me because I feel like I can't protect my kids either way. I'm damned if I do, I'm damned if I don't. I feel like a schmuck with whatever decision I make - if they contract a vaccine preventable disease or have yet another adverse reaction. For me, it's a no win situation.
It's even more difficult when you are having the discussion about the fatality of a disease in relation to your children. When the Doctor says, "this is an important vaccination because if he contracts Hib, every Doctor, no matter how good they are, doesn't think the child will make it or will have severe permanent injuries if they do survive". Then in the same conversation, "there's nothing we can do if he has an adverse reaction. The only thing we can give him is Benadryl for hives and rashes, Motrin for fevers and swelling and heavy steroids if it gets out of control. Once an adverse reaction starts, there's no stopping it. And I'm not going to say that there are not vaccine injuries out there, because there are".
It kills me. It is a gut wrenching predicament and I cry every single time I'm faced with making a decision.
The appointment ended with her telling me not to make a decision right then, to go home and think about it. This is why I really like her. She does fulfill her medical professionals obligation by informing me of all of the possibilities and consequences, but she knows how I feel and sympathizes. Unlike many other non-vaccinating parents out there, I don't think I'll ever have to worry about being kicked out of the practice for going against the CDC guidelines. Unless something else happens (God forbid) we won't have to go back for a while.