Monday, May 23, 2011


Whooping Cough

Some might be put off by what I am about to post. But I am at the end of my tether. I have no patience left, I have no tolerance left. I have no more polite "ah, yes, it's all a parent's choice, innit?" benign smiles left.
A serious Whooping Cough epidemic rages and I have a three month old baby. A baby who has only been eligible for one Pertussis vaccine so far. He isnt due for his next one until June 21st. Let me tell, you, I am crossing off the days until then. He isnt fully protected from Pertussis until he is six months old. How horrible and wrong that I am wishing away my baby's youth, I am pushing and hoping for the day that he is six months old and can receive his Pertussis booster because of misinformation, lack of education and unfounded fears regarding vaccines. I cant enjoy this beautiful period, I live in fear that he will contract Whooping Cough and I am desperate for him to be older so he can be safely immunised.
I fear every time I take Jack to school. I tense up every time I hear someone cough. Am I paranoid? Am I overreacting? Maybe. I take precautions to protect Archie. I limit my social life to keep him indoors. When forced to go out, he stays in the pram with a cover over the top.
Recently, Archie was in hospital with Bronchiolitis. He currently suffers a post viral cough. Here is what I do: I document the time of every cough and the number of coughs per coughing episode. I have had him swabbed for Pertussis, just in case what I think is a post viral cough is actually the start of this insidious disease. I have a script for prophylactic antibiotics on standby, just in case. I stupidly google the stories of Carter Dube and Dana McCafferey, newborn victims of Pertussis, to see if Archie is exhibiting any symptoms that those babies began with at the start of their illness.

If you are a parent who has lost a child, you may understand my anxiety. Going to extreme lengths to protect your other children from a potentially life threatening illness may not be unreasonable. Others may think I'm a lunatic. Or overprotective. Thank God I have never watched my baby cough for one minute straight, experience apnea, cyanosis and I never want to. Tragically, as vaccination rates drop, chances that more and more newborns will contract Whooping Cough rises.

Here I go:
If you dont vaccinate, you are responsible for the decrease in herd immunity. The prevalence of vaccine preventable diseases increases and this is on your heads and your heads alone.
It is your fault that parents with new babies fear going out in public. It is your fault that social lives are stunted, anxiety is increasing and babies are getting sick.
Prepare to be ostracized as disease rates increase.
By all means, do your research. Anti vaxxers bleat that they've done their "research." Unfortunately, their "research" is not evidence or science-based. It more often than not comes from dubious, unsubtantiated sources such as Natural News and Dr Tenpenny, two of the most dangerous and frighteningly diabolical sites for vaccine information. People who trust these sites lack critical thinking skills and even basic intelligence. Offensive, perhaps, but I firmly believe it. Google is not a research tool.

Please get your Pertussis booster. Many dont realise that this immunity wanes after ten years. Anyone in contact with a new baby needs this booster if they havent had one in the last 3-5 years, to be safe. Our family is completely up to date. It is the best gift we could give Archie. Dont be worried about "toxins". None are are dangerous as the Bordetella Pertussis toxin, that causes the coughing episodes may leave babies not only breathless but without oxygen. Infants are also at high risk for secondary bacterial pneumonia. They are also at risk for neurologic complications such as seizures and encephalopathy as a result of hypoxia from coughing or possibly from the bacterial toxins.

Get your booster. Immunise your kids. If you dont, you are a fool.

Broken Hearts - Finnan's Gift to the Royal Children's Hospital

Please donate to Finnan's Gift
Support through Finnan’s Gift will play a vital role in securing the new echocardiography scanner for the Cardiology Department at The Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Out-Grieve Me

A Letter

Thank you. For telling me I could rely on you. But I couldn’t.
Thank you. For earnestly telling me to call you any time, day or night with any problem. But when I did, it wasn’t okay.

You pretended that you understood what giving birth to a dead baby was like. You had no idea.

If you did understand...

You wouldn’t have told me my anxiety in my subsequent pregnancy was abnormal. It wasn’t abnormal. What IS normal when your baby is dead and you carry a new one? Your body and world are filled with fear and grief. And a smidgen of hope. Just a smidgen.

If you did understand...

You would have smiled more. In a nice way. Not the smile you did as you joked about what a pain I was.

If you did understand...

You would have known when I had given birth to Archie. You never even checked.

If you did understand...

You wouldn’t have told me that other babylost mothers didn’t act like me.

You would have seen I was struggling and taken it seriously.

She was my baby. I knew her from the inside. She died. Her birth and death damaged me in a way that will never heal.

You have five children and never, thankfully, had to have a funeral for any of them. Lucky you.

You don’t understand.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Sybella's Birthday

On the 24th of April, 2011, Sybella turned one. Except she's our Forever Baby. I wonder what she'd have been like, running around here at age one. I wonder who she'd look like. I wonder what her laugh would sound like. Would she have curls? Brown eyes? Shy or outgoing? Soft little voice or loud like her big brother? Would she enjoy quiet activities like painting and tea parties, or would she zoom around at a million kilometres an hour? Creative? Musical?

Who knows? I just have to imagine.

We commemorated her birthday on a quiet Saturday afternoon at the beach. We threw some petals in the ocean and let one pink balloon go...each year we will release the number of balloons that correlate with her age. This year was one. Next year will be two. And so on. I feel there is something beautifully melancholic about that symbolism.

Happy birthday, my Petal. We love you.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mothers Day

On this Mothers Day of 2011, I wish to thank the three incredible children that allowed me the privilege of becoming a mother:

And the man who gave them to me: