Sunday, October 31, 2010

P is for Pertussis. And Please. and P-thank you (okay, that last one was a stretch, I know it.)

In case you haven't noticed (and if you have seen me in person I am certain you have noticed), we are expecting a new baby Tower in the household in the near future.

(Stop right there, don't bother asking for a due date. Babies are not gallons of milk and they will not expire if drunk past  the date stamped on them. Due dates are a crock and I will not perpetuate their myth by subscribing to one. Baby Tower will show up before Christmas for sure and hopefully before his older brother's birthday. Okay, that is all on that.)

Anyhow, so new baby. Yay!

But, I have rules.

Yep. Rules.

My sister Jade actually reminded me of the need to do this sooner rather than later when I got an email from her today. She is expecting twins you know (you didn't? Well you do now!). She and I are not super similar in parenting styles and I am pretty sure we are cool with that, but we do agree very much on certain things and this matter in particular that she emailed about is one where we are in complete unison.


You may not have heard, but it is on the rise. Big time. In California there have been 10 deaths this year, all babies under 3 months of age. And there have been over 6000 documented cases of it. It is on the rise in Idaho. I personally know a fistful of people and their small children who have had Pertussis since July of this year.

What is Pertussis? It is also known as Whooping Cough. Here is a definition of it:
Pertussis, also known as whooping cough (pronounced /ˈhuːpɪŋ kɒf/), is a highly contagious disease caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis. It is known to last for a duration of approximately 6 weeks before subsiding. The disease derives its name from the "whoop" sound made from the inspiration of air after a cough. A similar, milder disease is caused by B. parapertussis.[1] Although many medical sources describe the whoop as "high-pitched", this is generally the case with infected babies and children only, not adults.[

Feel free to read more about Pertussis online. I have a small mountain of research I could throw at you, but that would prolly bore a lot of you and besides, it will give you something to do because if you are taking time to read this, you MUST be bored, hee hee.

So, this disease would not normally be something I focus on if I had not been so very sick this summer. I was told it was bronchitis/pneumonia, but the more I looked back on it and the symptoms and the way I felt and the circumstances (I had just been exposed to people from all over the world because of the babywearing conference) the more I suspect I had Pertussis and the doctors just didn't think to test me because it wasn't really an issue here in Idaho yet.
Since then (like I said earlier) I've have a small handful of friends contract it over the summer and fall. That worries me.

Did you know you are supposed to get a booster shot for Pertussis every 10 years? Have you had that booster recently?

This is where my sister's email comes in.

She strongly urged everyone to get their booster NOW before the twins are born so they can protect the babies from an illness that severe. Babies can't be immunized for it until they are a few months old, so the best protection they get is from everyone around them being immunized.

She said it very nice and polite and it was great. She also talked about the flu shot and not coming around the babies when you are sick so you don't spread germs to little ones who may not handle diseases very well. It was very well said and to the point and I agree with her logic totally.

Now, here is where Sammy and I stand.

We have had a winter baby before. Xander's first winter I was mega uptight about anyone seeing or touching him and it paid off. He was pretty darn healthy. The 2nd winter (before and after he turned 1) was horrific. I felt guilted into taking him out and about and Belle was in public school and that baby was sick ALL THE TIME. There were weeks I was taking him to the doctor daily and I was so frustrated.

I returned to my hermit ways the next winter (last winter) and the boy was rarely sick and certainly not to the degree of the previous winter.

Lesson being: sometimes being uptight about germs with winter babies is a good plan. And I'm good at being uptight when it comes to the safety of my kids.

That brings us back to now.
I am very very "live and let live in" regards to vaccinations as long as one researches and weighs the pros and the cons, I don't want to tell people they should or should not vax their kids. We did all that research and weighing pros and cons and for us vaccinating for the most part is a good plan.
Look at Sam's job, he is around a lot of yuck, we need to protect our kids from any illness he could bring home. That is probably the key reason we choose to vaccinate.

(However, we both strongly dislike the flu shot, particularly now that the H1N1 vax is a part of it. Sam just thinks it is like fortune telling and no one can really say which flu strain will be "the one" to hit. And for me, every time I get a flu shot I get mega sick with the flu that year. So, we wash our hands and avoid sickies instead and that seems to be better for us. Therefore we have no opinion on this one.)

We're not telling you to get a bunch of vaccinations you don't want to. We really aren't. We not are telling you that you MUST get the Pertussis booster, though it is a really good idea, especially if you are someone who wants to spend any amount of time near the baby.

But, we are telling you that we aren't passing the baby around if the masses haven't been vaccinated recently. We probably won't be passing the baby around anyhow (because I am pretty gutsy but it seems crazy rude to ask every person in a room if they have been immunized for Pertussis recently), but definitely if we're in a group.Please don't be offended by this. Sam and I just want to keep the littlest one healthy. So know he'll be safe in a baby carrier (huh, babywearing in our family, what a novel idea, hee hee) and not available to be held quite often.
(And if I decline sending my kids out to play with other kids, know that I just don't want them bringing germies home and plus, I really like being around my kids, even when they are making me crazed.)

And even if you have had the booster, if you are sick or have been surrounded by sickies, please do us a favor and just stay away. We don't want to have a sick baby in the winter.

If there are little kiddos in your brood, odds are we aren't going to let them near the baby. You just don't know what they have been touching or who has been coughing on them recently. We'll have baby tucked safely into a carrier for unavoidable situations like that where our personal space will hopefully be respected and baby can be seen and not touched.

We are okay with not seeing people for weeks or even a month or 3 when this kiddo comes home because he really won't remember and we will be eternally grateful to you that you didn't bring any germs into our house. Because a sick baby is no bueno.
Please don't be offended if you don't see us at gatherings for the first weeks or months. We saw several babies around us get scary hospital sick in the past year from contagious diseases and we know that while we can't prevent everything, by being homebodies and not entertaining visitors we can prevent quite a bit.

I truly hope no one will take offense at this, but at the same time, we are the parents and we are the ones who take the baby to the hospital if he gets sick and I personally researched Whooping Cough a ton and this is not something we want to tangle with. We really hope you will understand that our goal is to keep this baby healthy and safe.

Thanks for respecting two eternally vigilant parents' wishes. We appreciate it and promise to post way too many pics of the baby to express our supreme gratitude for not getting him or any of us sick.


  1. I agree and applaude you for being upfront and honest. Nothing makes me more upset than sick people that aren't considerate.Especially with new babies around. Not only is whooping cough dangerous but also the flu and even a mild cold. That cold can cause deadly RSV! Give your baby hugs for me when he's here!

  2. Thanks for the reminder, I need to get my whooping cough booster before my baby gets here too. I had my first baby in April, and I still didn't go to church for a month!

  3. Two things, as food for thought --

    When pertussis came through our playgroup a few years ago, it hit the vaccinated families. We have several nonvaxing families (mine included) with lots of little kids licking the same toys, but none of the non-vaxers got it, oddly enough. So asking of someone's had a pertussis vax is just not going to protect beautiful baby Tower -- better policy is the handwashing/no coughing houseguests policy, IMO ... Though your mileage may vary.

    AND you can have yourself titered for wild pertussis and get a feel for whether you've had it. I titer positive for wild pertussis, meaning I've got immunity in my blood and probably had it while prego with Isaac, so I'm good with nonvaxing Alice because I have peace of mind knowing I've got wild p. immunity to pass through my milk. Though I did take her to the doc today to get reassurance that her nasty cough is just postnasal ... Cuz I worry!!!

  4. Ok so I was at work today in my little Doctors office in Evanston Wyoming. When walks in a mom with her 2 month old baby in a "ring-Sling" and I say to her... One of my friends is the Baby Wearing Queen. We proceed to talk about "babywearing" and you will never guess where she was this summer... RIGBY IDAHO at the babywearing conference and said she met this AMAZING lady named Kimber that really rocks babywearing and her husband wears the babies too.. I laughed until I couldnt breath,.. And then very proudly said.. those are my friends..I felt like I knew a celebrity or something like that.. Good luck with everything. Cant wait to see the pics of the newest Tower member. Take care talk to you soon

  5. I wish we could hide inside this winter. My girls are getting sick every 4-6 weeks and it's "no bueno". Such is life.

  6. Mamas and Papas gotta what's right for their kiddos and family. Love it! Like I tell my littles, "look with your eyes, not your hands... or breath!" xo

  7. Agree 100%. We are a partially-vaxing family, and I have had everyone in my house (except me, since I'm preggers) update their boosters for Pertussis. It is not something to mess around with, especially w/ newborns.