I’ll never forget the disdain on the MD’s face in the ER.
“When was the last time she peed? Has she recently experienced any head trauma? How much did she weigh at birth? Did you have a natural birth or C section?”
I tried to gather my emotions and mental stability in order to answer all these questions, yet they seemed to lead to no resolve. Until she asked me “Did she ever get the flu shot?”
“No”, I answered.
“Ooohhh…….Well you may reconsider now huh?”
You see, we had brought Jane in to her newborn appointment after having a quick, natural birth 3 days prior. Jane was not interested in eating and getting more and more lethargic. I planned on meeting with a lactation nurse and addressing this issue at the appointment. I did not foresee the trauma that was actually at hand. When we arrived for our appointment it became apparent that Jane’s temperature was dropping, along with her heartrate, blood pressure and respiratory rate.
A very kind, sweet nurse who I will remember forever dealt with our emergency in the most calm/hasty fashion I had ever seen. Jane was immediately rushed to emergency. Upon arrival it was quickly discovered that her blood sugar had crashed and this was the cause of her lethargy and some ongoing seizures, although it was unknown why.
Nurses held our hand, social/care staff made sure we were hydrated, fed and supported. And actually all MD’s involved were patient and understanding of our trauma.
Then there was Flu Lady.
I had decided not to take any vaccinations during my pregnancy. And wanted to take our time researching, praying and figuring out what was best for Jane’s vaccinations schedule. But Flu Lady led me to believe that my newborn was blue, sick and dying due to my ignorant choice of not administering the flu shot.
1 point for the Crunchy Team.
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Then there was Natural Nancy. Natural Nancy was a medical professional of the opposite sphere. She heard of Jane’s story months after we had been discharged from the ICU. “Finally, this is someone who will empathize with me.. Who will really have some insight and answers”, I thought. I politely gave Natural Nancy a play by play of our traumatic ER experience. How some of the finest specialists took 1 month to discover Jane’s underlying cause of sickness. I eagerly replayed the events just knowing she would have something thoughtful to say, or have a great direction to suggest.
She answered, “Ooohh…. Is it because you vaccinated her?”
1 point for the Conventionalists
Mommy’s, the best thing I can say to you was already said by Tina Fey in the movie Mean Girls, “There’s been some girl on girl crime here”.
Jane had not been vaccinated. One camp blamed me for not doing it and the other blamed me for thinking I had done it. As a new mom, you can imagine the feeling of just simply not belonging.
This should not be.
HERE’S MY GIGANTIC DISCLAIMER BEFORE I GO ANY FURTHER:
I consider myself a “crunchy” mom. I eat organic. Some of the greatest people I know strictly abide by natural practices. I believe in whole body healing. I do not think medicine or vaccinations are a cure all. I believe you need to honor what you put in your body and how you treat your body. I believe health is a gift. I believe you need to be wise and limit sugar and processed ingredients. You should try essential oils. Go outside and hike. Don’t use Splenda. Try not to put parabens on your face and scalp. I believe God has given us all we need and His way is best.
I eat Hot Cheetos ( And I won’t stop ). I have tried to use essential oils to control my daughter’s seizures and they have not worked. But her medication has. My daughter could not go outside for 1 month after birth and did not have my immune boosting breast milk for 3 weeks, so yes, she received some vaccinations. I would love to be her doctor and provide everything she needs, but in the instance of her initial emergency, I could not help. MD’s, IV’s and ongoing medication saved my daughter’s life.
And the truth is, I carried trauma from a perfectly healthy natural birth all because I was induced (due to high blood pressure). Trauma that I believe would not exist if I was a part of a different “camp”. You know, the one that schedules C-sections to better accommodate their pre-existing Italy trips? (Please see my post on judging others, of which I am a criminal offender right now). I imagined taking a hike and birthing my child on a mountain, and read lots of books about how if that wasn’t how it happened then I was interfering with mother nature. (Okay not exactly, but you catch my drift).
I wept in devastation when they told me my daughter may have a very rare disease called galactosemia, in which she could not take my breastmilk. I imagined all the other mommy’s glaring at me while I fed my baby thick white liquid out of a bottle while they sat underneath paisley printed breast feeding covers. (By the way, she did NOT end up having that unfortunate disease and she IS breastfed. To find out how I went from ZILCH to exclusively breastfeeding, please ask!! And I may just post about it!)
And yes, I continue to get comments and am treated like a child, as you can imagine, at most doctor’s visit (of which there are many) when told that if I don’t give my daughter the Tdap vaccine she’ll probably catch whooping cough and have another near death experience. By the way, one of the adverse effects of the Tdap is possible seizures .. “So, would you like to schedule those 6 rounds for today or tomorrow Mrs. Harris?” Um, let me think about it….
*Takes her Britax stroller and high tails it away from those crazies while she obsessively takes care to NOT touch any hospital door knobs…*
If I forced myself to choose a side, I will never win. My daughter will not get ALL she needs. And I will inevitably be lacking something.
AND MY FREEDOM MESSAGE FOR ALL TO HEAR IS:
You do not have to choose.
Phew. Everyone go enjoy a Pepsi while you rub essential oils on your feet. (And seriously, take it easy on the Pepsi, it’s pretty gnarly no matter which side you’re enjoying it from).
I have found that there is only one way to live when it comes to navigating the crunchy vs conventional medical world and its moment by moment. Hour by hour. Sometimes minute by minute.
Some days you need to say no to chocolate cake and yes to a big ol’ spoonful of garlic and apple cider vinegar. Other days, you need to enjoy a day in the city and eat some funnel cake from a hipster food truck.
One moment all you need is coconut oil for your little one’s ailment. The next you may need a doctor’s advice or help that only an emergency department can give.
My point is to simmer down everyone.
Embrace your moment, and follow your gut.
Fear no man.
Be patient. With yourself. And with others.
Say goodbye to guilt.
Crunchy or conventional, you do you!
I will forever be grateful for Flu Lady and Natural Nancy for teaching me that only I know what’s best for my baby. And guilt helps no one, even when it’s self induced. For helping me live in freedom of expectations and thriving in a place where I trust my gut, know my baby, and live with heavenly wisdom, even if it comes in the form of MD’s or Naturalists. And I dream of a world where Crunchies and Conventionalists live in harmony, exchange their unique gifts and findings and laugh about life over a big bowl of organic hot Cheetos, for if that is not harmony and the perfect unification of camps, I don’t know what is.