Well, we did it. We three humans went to the doctor for Ginger's first ever vaccinations.
First, you should know that there are a few family practice doctors left in the country. And one of them is Doctor Jane Himmelvo. She's a mom. She's right here in Point Richmond (OK, so we don't actually live in Point Richmond. We live in the blue collar, affordable, much more diverse and occasionally filled with Mexican accordion music option called Atchison Village. Home of a few of the original Rosie the Riverters for whom the housing here was built.)
The Point Richmond Family Practice has regular office hours, the good Doctor has been Ross's doc since we decided to admit he has inherited dangerously high blood pressure and cholesterol issues. His liver, shockingly, is not too bad. We'll work on that next.
She became Ginger's pediatrician two days after her birth. No, we absolutely didn't need to go to a doctor's office that soon after her birth, but because she was delivered in the hospital and we wanted to get back to our home birth and laying in plan, we made a deal with the hospital Ped. to take her in.
We got to leave seven hours after we said we were ready IF we promised to take Ginger in to her Ped within a few days.
Why the deal? Well: Hospitals want a new mom and baby to stay for at least 24 hours. This allows them to monitor a number of things, including baby's temp, mom's everything, breast feeding and baby's diapers, etc. The "scariest" thing they monitor is the heart murmur that pretty much all babies are born with.
About the murmur: While living in the comfort of mom's placenta, blood is not pumped to the lungs to get oxygenated — things obviously have to adjust in that part of a newborn's body, 'cause she's BREATHING. A duct can remain open and usually closes by the end of 24 to 48 hours. Hospitals can pull this one out to make you stay. The longer you stay, the more they can be sure to catch anything early on, and the less likely they are gonna get sued if they release a baby or mom "early" and complications develop.
Of course, our midwives were providing us with the excellent care that we had come to expect from them, so Ginger received pretty much the same first well baby exam three times in as many days.
Surprise, she was determined to be 100 percent healthy. Three times.
Back to the now: Dr. Jane (Himmelvo) knows who we are. Calls Ginger by name. And checks in on Ross when we see her. Today was no exception.
We had a 5:30 appointment (childhood vaccines are scheduled late in the day so kids can just go home and maybe get super tired, cranky or feverish.)
Ginger was asleep when we arrived. Once we had her mostly stripped down (to weigh in at 12.5 lbs) she woke up and got all smiley when we had her on the table. I made sure to place her on her blanket and not the loud, crunchy paper that she'd otherwise soon associate with pain/needles. (I've heard stories from parents of 1 year olds who report that baby starts to cry as soon as the paper is rustled.)
Ginger let us weigh her (after they realized the scale was out of batteries and 10 minutes later found the a.c. adapter), measure her skull and her length (22.75 inches baby. She was 21.4 at birth.)
And she took the oral vaccine (Rotovirus) slowly and pensively. She and I talked some baby talk while she tasted it and gummed the applicator, pushed the vaccine out of her mouth and down her chin while I chased it with my finger and pushed it back in her mouth.
The (DtaP: Diphtheria immunization, Tetanus immunization, Pertussis immunization, Tdap vaccine)
shot, well, she screamed a bit, with her face VERY QUICKLY turning bright red with an infant's confusion and anger. And by the time I had picked her back up off the table (as the nurse was trying to wipe off the two drops of blood and affix the bandage) she was quieting down. She didn't need the boob. She did need to be held. But she was cheerful and once again checking out the lights and other new visual pleasures that only a baby can find in a doctor's exam room.
In short, Ginger is a trooper.
Also in short: yes, (obviously) we decided to get her vaccinated. We are doing the trendy, spaced out, alternative plan. For now, we're going with Dr. Sear's Alternative Vaccination Schedule. You can read more about the schedule here, on a mom's website. She's done some research, reports it and lists the schedule.
Vaccinations = lots of conflicting research.
FYI: I don't believe that vaccines cause autism, but I do marvel at the fact that mercury is present in many of them. Yes, mercury. Which is bad, 'cause, um, it causes neurotoxicity in humans.
Small amounts are present as a preservative, I heard on NPR. Also on NPR, the H1N1 contains less mercury than in a can of tuna. Yeah, but, Ginger is not gonna eat a can of tuna anytime soon. She's also too young for that particular vaccine.
Also, spreading out the vaccines seems like a damn good idea. I know I want her to benefit from the advances in medicine. But I also know that Big Pharm plays a big part in determining just how many vaccines are available and how many we "need."
In short: vaccinations = whole other posts.
Photos are of wonderful friends. Love you long time Debbie-Deborah! Also, Art is one handsome experienced daddy type!