Our beautiful baby daughter Anabelle was born sleeping June 2010.
Blessed with the screaming arrivals of our gorgeous rainbow sons,
Alexander October 2011, Zachary November 2013 and Lucas July 2016.

After Anabelle - Raising Rainbows
Heartbreak. Joy. Death. Life. But most of all Love.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Chicken Pox

My latest obsession; chicken pox.  Fear freakouts that seem to happen to me so regularly. 

I'm absolutely winding myself up that this year Xander is going to get it. He's much more exposed this year and with permanent sniffles since starting nursery I wouldn't be at all surprised if this spring he's contracts chicken pox or some other nasty. 

Rationally I know chicken pox, for most, is a mild (yet unpleasant)  childhood illness. But its not for all. Just as we're lulled into thinking our pregnancies are safe past twelve weeks, we're also lulled into thinking that at worst chicken pox will leave our children with a few spotty scars. When in reality, the worst chicken pox can do to our children is kill them. Rarely, but it does happen, complications happen.   

Being a bereaved parent opens you up into a whole new world. A world where you become immersed with other bereaved parents. While you share your own story, you also soak up everyone else's too. Suddenly you become all too aware that children die in many many different ways, for many different reasons. And suddenly it hits you again; children die.

A sickening feeling in my stomach, that just because Xander lived to be born doesn't mean he will live to be old. 

There is so much worth in sharing experiences on support forums and blogs, the virtual hand-holding is very necessary for bereaved parents, but on the flip side sometimes it just gives you yet another thing to be terrified of; and right now for me it is chicken pox. 

So-much-so that we're currently considering paying for Xander to be given the vaccine. A vaccine that is routinely given in other parts of the developed world, but not here. Why not? It seems some-what ludicrous to me that a vaccine that has been part of the USA's (and others) child vaccination schedule for decades is not available here.  

I know lots of people are going to think I'm being completely ridiculous and over-the-top. That's everyone is supposed to have chicken pox at some point, almost like a right of passage we have to go through here. That the chances of anything terrible happening to Xander as a result of chicken pox will be slim to none and I need to get a grip.  But what if he was that one? Like his sister was that one

We all know my perception of risk is pretty skewed. We all know I struggle to get a handle on the situation and just cannot assess those risks statistics like a normal rational human being anymore. I know the risks of stillbrith are not comparable to the risks and odds of the fatality of chicken pox, but knowing it, doesn't make me any less scared. 

You know what, once upon a time I wouldn't have known a vaccination existed. It wouldn't have even given it a thought. Once upon a time I would've accepted it as an illness we're going to have to get through one day. But my daughter died and now I spend so much time every day thinking how I can protect the life of my son. Right now we're trying to weigh up the risks of us arranging the vaccine against the disease itself. Today I feel almost as frightened of giving the vaccine as I am of not giving the vaccine. The very very rare potential side effects of the vaccine are nearly as scary as the very rare death statistic of the actual disease, but I guess the same is true of the MMR. Mostly I'm scared that because we know the vaccination exists and we didn't give him the jab, that if the worst happened because of chicken pox it would then be our own fault because our opportunity is now.  Its not leaving space for much rational or logical thought today. 

I don't want this to turn into a vaccination debate, we will come to our decision, although a little gentle help and direction to some relevant things to read might be nice either way. I know the statistics are in our favour, I know I can't protect him from everything forever. I know I desperately need to learn to trust God's hand over him. Mostly, I just wish somebody could look into a crystal ball and tell me my baby boy lived to 100 and everything was OK. 


My New Normal said...

I completely relate to your fears about Xander. I feel the same way about my rainbow baby. That's why I'm getting her vaccinated for everything I possibly can. The day she turned 6 months I got her the flu jab, and I plan to do the chicken pox one as soon as she's old enough. As you said, they give the chicken pox vaccine to all children in the USA (where I'm originally from) so it's a pretty random decision to not offer it here in the UK. I suspect it's more about money than public health,,, though I'm a bit of a cynic these days.

Follow your heart on this one. If you will feel better having the vaccination then you should do it. It's no one elses business.

zoe said...

Such a hard decision and I understand why it scares you- so normal... I worry too but have not had the loss you have had.
Maybe having the vaccine would put your mind at rest- it could be weeks, months or years before he gets chicken pox and you wll have that worry every day, once the vaccine is over you can stop worrying about that

Anonymous said...

They give it routinely in the states as its private healthcare. They don't give it here because of funding issues.

My son is 10m and the GP actually said "chicken pox is nasty if you can afford jab you should do it". It's true, it's not nice to get. And worries about death aside if you can spare your child fever and spots and itching why wouldn't you?

We will be getting it done after his 1st birthday. Don't beat yourself up just book him in!

Caz said...

Thank you for your input and supportive comments on this. After much deliberating we have made our decision and Xander will be having the vaccination on Monday.

Health center said...

The issue keeps coming up again and again. It makes parents unsure of what to do. The thing is that no one wants to leave their child at risk. They also don't want to put something into their child's body that will make them sick either, or not even have an effect.

A vaccine is a little bit of the actual disease and some children have bad reactions to them. They need to deliver concrete evidence to people so we can make better decisions and not just keep delivering information that is not supported by facts.

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After Anabelle - Raising Rainbows. I'm Caz, Mummy to beautiful angel Belle and my wonderful rainbow boys, Xander, Zachy and Luc. Wife to Jon. Twitter @cazem Instagram @cazzyem
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