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Personal Story Vienna

My Beliefs Prior to Having Children

Prior to having children of my own I was a social worker in behavioral health. I had met many people in my career and personal life who did not vaccinate for various reasons, and while I didn’t see anything wrong with not vaccinating, I was neutral on the topic. For the most part I believed the media hype that there was a genetic predisposition to Autism Spectrum that occurred in the womb, but I did not discount the vaccine’s role in it either, because I’d met too many people who told me they saw changes in their children after vaccinating. That said, I also believed that the only ingredients in vaccines were saline and killed virus; I had no idea chemicals were used, and I had this strange idea that maybe they heated the virus to kill it. So it sounded pretty harmless to me at the time.

My Lack of Understanding of Vaccines and Personal Vaccine Failures Should Have Been a Clue

My lack of understanding of vaccines went deep. In my early 20’s, I was working in a group home for troubled kids and was bit by a child. When I was at Urgent Care, I asked if there was anything to prevent infection (I really was clueless) and was told that I should get the DTP to prevent tetanus. Based on what the doctor suggested, I actually believed that you could get tetanus from a human bite! I also got the flu vaccine at my next doctor’s appointment. That year I also came down with the flu for the first time in my life, and later I suffered from a “100 day” cough. Knowing what I know now, I definitely had whooping cough and recall that “whoop” sound at night sometimes when trying to catch my breath. Since I had been vaccinated for it so recently, I didn’t think it was possible to actually have whooping cough, so for three months I continued to work and socialize.

At 6 months old, before regression

At 6 months old, before regression

My daughter Vienna’s Vaccine Schedule

Fast forward to my pregnancy in 2009. I asked a friend who chose not to vaccinate why they made that decision. She said her husband believed that his Aspberger’s Syndrome was caused by vaccines, and she told me to read the Dr. Sears’ book “The Vaccine Book.” The book actually gave me some assurances that vaccines were relatively safe and vaccine injuries were rare. I was a scared new mom, so of course I wanted the best for my child and thought a delayed vaccine schedule based on Dr. Sears’ recommendations would be the safest route to take. My daughter Vienna was born on October 22, 2009. She got her Hepatitis B vaccine at birth, then we started one or two shots at a time starting at 2 months. The schedule as we had it: 2 month, 4 month, and 6 month shots separated out over 9 1/2 months. She received Pentacel (DTaP, HIB and Polio) on 1/8/10, 3/2/10, 6/11/10, and 5/3/11. She received Rotavirus and Pneumonia (PC) in between those appointments and the remaining two doses of Hepatitis B thrown in there too (I had been lied to about how Hepatitis was transmitted so I thought it was important).  Thankfully, we “postponed” all the one year shots with the exception of one Pentacel at 17 months old. At Vienna’s 17 month appointment, the nurse attempted to write in the “grey” area of her vaccination card to give her another Pneumonia shot, but I caught it and asked why she was giving an unnecessary shot. Her response was “well, it can’t hurt.”

 

Warning Signs and Regression

22months, smiles were few, eye contact nonexistent
22months, smiles were few, eye contact nonexistent

Like most parents, we lacked a good understanding of vaccine science while we were still vaccinating our children. I believed a vaccine reaction would occur immediately following a vaccine, and Vienna had colic due to (then unknown) dairy intolerance, so that blurred our ability to see any real signs post-vaccination early on. We thought she was fine. I remember distinctly that she was developmentally on-target, and had a growing vocabulary by 9 months. Her eye contact was just okay, and she smiled a lot.

It was after Vienna received her DTaP and PC vaccines at 9 1/2 months old that my concern began to grow. Within three weeks, she suffered from eczema rashes that the pediatrician told us were “normal” and we were told there was nothing we could do about it. Vienna would no longer allow us to touch her head and would scream and fight us (the first sign we experienced of Sensory Processing Disorder). She also lost half her language.  She had about 8 – 10 words and was down to about four. The pediatrician assured us that this was “normal while a child is working on other skills, like walking.” Well, she didn’t learn any new skills, she didn’t learn to walk until 14 months old, and she didn’t relearn those lost words and gain new words until many months later. Her eye contact and smiling were less frequent following the 9 month vaccines. I remember at the time I blamed myself, thinking that my own lack of good eye contact had something to do with it. We went against the Pediatrician’s recommendations to see an allergist about her eczema (she refused to give us a referral), and while Vienna showed no “allergies” on the basic 20-or-so he tested for, he did recommend we keep a food diary. It took us a long time to realize what the root cause was because we ruled out all foods she was eating prior to the eczema… that set us back a year! Evidently, the vaccines caused food intolerances that resulted in an autoimmune response – eczema.

At around a year and a half I remember getting very worried about Vienna’s development. she smiled much less, her lack of eye contact got worse, her slow language, social anxiety, and her severe, often hour-long meltdowns every day. I blamed it on having a new baby sister, but didn’t think it was related to the vaccines. because we had forgotten about the fourth round of Pentacel at 19 months old, a week before her sister Jayde’s birth. I distinctly remember conversations with colleagues about the concerns I had with Vienna’s regression and language development after returning from maternity leave. We had her evaluated for ADHD and were told she didn’t have it, but I continued to tell my husband something was wrong.

Through all of this, we were even more selective and delayed in our vaccine schedule with Jayde’s vaccines. The one big red flag that brought these problems to my attention was that Jayde broke out into eczema after her second DTaP shot (she did not receive Pentacel, she had received two DTaP, 2 PC and 2 Rotavirus). Neither of my kids had eczema until a couple weeks following their second and third DTaP shots, which I found a very strange coincidence.  We stopped vaccinating them both after that, and Jayde’s eczema went away in about 6- 8 weeks.

20130225_150132When Vienna was two and a half to three years old, her behaviors became clearer and it came together for me. We saw a pediatrician around her third birthday who suggested getting a proper diagnosis for Aspbergers, and that’s when it hit me like a brick wall… my professional experience in behavioral health came together with my daughter’s life and I finally knew what was going on! All the pieces fit, the timeline fit, everything made sense the more I researched. And like any mother who makes what they believe is the best choice for their child, but finds that it has damaged them instead, deep regret set in.

Why didn’t I do a better job of researching? Why did I only rely on one source of information? Why didn’t I do a better job of questioning my Autism Mom friends? How could I be so naive to believe one in a million? Or that since my family had no history of autism, autoimmune disease, or gut issues, that my kids would just magically be okay and free from vaccine damage?  (I later discovered my late grandmother had likely suffered an autoimmune disorder but was misdiagnosed). How could I be so misled?

Recovery

Since reading The Vaccine Book, I had continued some vaccine-related reading over the first two years of my daughter’s life, but very little. We started her on an organic diet at the age of 1 1/2, when we realized any foods with the word “artificial” in it would worsen her eczema. We also removed foods high in salicylates, such as berries, tangerines and tomatoes (we did not know what salicylates were at the time but we did have a chart of what foods that would make her eczema flare up). I gave Zaria Milk Thistle to help her liver (for the eczema I was told), and by the age of 2 1/2 I began to give her Spirulina and Chlorella daily to help remove heavy metals from the vaccines (yes, we started this nearlytwo years after her last vaccine).  She was regularly eating yogurt (probiotics) and we were slowly changing our eating habits towards an all-organic diet.

Age 4, recovered

Age 4, recovered

When we were on the brink of that Aspberger’s diagnosis around her third birthday, I researched Autism Spectrum Disorder and everything fit. I filled out the paperwork for diagnosis and therapies, but due to her Sensory Processing issues I was unable to actually get her to the appointments. She was refusing to wear clothes and the seat belt would put her into a full-on meltdown. She was in so much agony it hurt me to watch her suffer. But during this time a miracle happened… At age 3, between 27 and 29 months old, her eczema went away; her sensory processing disorder improved; she began to look us in the eye; she began to play pretend with stuffed animals; she became more affectionate; she was healing… Our child was actually healing from autism spectrum disorder!!

I was in shock, absolute shock, that she recovered. It was the most amazing thing I had ever experienced, watching her become a “normal” child in front of my eyes! I attended a seminar with Dr. Mitchell and I was in near tears when I asked “why, how can my child recover from EVERYTHING all at once? How can all of this be related and all of her medical and behavioral problems heal at the same time?” Most doctors come back with “I don’t know, but it’s not the vaccines.” At least Dr. Mitchell was brave enough to say what every other doctor is afraid to say… simply, “I don’t know.”

But what we do know is that vaccines caused our daughter’s problems, and she recovered. To me it was a miracle, and not a day goes by that I don’t wonder what Vienna would be suffering from now, had we continued to vaccinate.  Not a day goes by that I am not thankful for her recovery.

One thing I will never regret is our decision to stop vaccinating our family.

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Our son Andrew 10 pounds 4 ounces at birth and was ahead of all of his milestones until he was a year old.  At six months old he could cry “Maaaa” if you tried to give him a bottle.  He sat up independently at 6 months and walked at 11 months.  He had several words at a year and loved to laugh and make the people around him laugh.  I was trying to potty train my older son shortly before he was one.  If my older son would sit on the potty I would clap and say “great job.”  Andrew would sit on the little potty, clap his hands and say “great job.”  He was as typical if not a little ahead of his peers.

After receiving several shots at the age of 12 months, which included the MMR, he became very ill.  He had purple crying and a hard patch on his thigh, it felt like a piece of plastic.  This patch lasted over 6 months.  It was located under where the band aids were placed after his vaccinations. The doctor called it a “bruise” even though there was no color change.

Then he slowly descended into “autism”, a gastrointestinal disorder, an endocrine disorder and a severe immune system disorder called hypogammaglobulinanemia.  The specialists all shake their heads and say there is nothing that can be done and it is a “mystery.”  With the help of some doctors, who sacrifice their own careers to help those who cannot help themselves, we have drawn Andrew back to this world.  He has to have an infusion for his immune system every 28 days, and it is very likely he will develop cancer at a young age. He will never be able to live alone or take care of himself.

If I had read the package inserts I would have known that his reactions of encephalopathy and of damage to his immune system are known reactions to the MMR, which includes three live viruses.

I have spoken at a local community college and tell Andrew’s story.  How we have had to fly him to California because no immunologist in the Mid-West would see him because it is politically incorrect to help a person with autism that has what might be labeled as a victim of a vaccine injury.  How no one knows the truth behind the Hannah Poling case.  How in 2011 the US dropped to 41st in infant mortality. (In the United States, the drop over the last 20 years was less than the average drop — 26 percent. And the United States dropped from No. 28 to No. 41 in the rankings of newborn death risk. It is now tied with Qatar, Croatia and United Arab Emirates.)   What is happening to our children?

We are a strong Christ centered family and know that free will creates most of our difficulties in this life.  We pray that others will not make the same mistakes we have with our child.

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