To H1N1 vaccinate or not to H1N1 vaccinate

One problem with working from home is the compulsion to turn on the news channels during the day for unintelligible background noise.  After watching the first cycle of headlines the news does provide a steady stream of white noise for the most part, but there are a few key phrases that will never fail to get my attention: Jude Law, desert recipe, and pregnant women being at the top of that list.  Lord help me if Jude Law ever starts making chocolate cupcakes for pregnant ladies.

Back in April when the swine flu frenzy started sizzling I dismissed it, thinking that since the chances a pig would sneeze on me were fairly slim I was probably okay. Now that I am drinking making decisions for two, the bacon bug has started to breakout of white noise mode to catch my ear, especially when they call in a photogenic expert to talk about swine flu, the vaccine, and us knocked-up women folk.

About two weeks after I found out baby was coming I started getting all kinds of mixed messages: from ‘Deli meat is the fruit of the devil,’ and my doctor saying ‘No, deli meat is fine and so is sushi.’ To, ‘Here drink this awesome pregnancy tea with raspberry leaves,’ and the internet yelling ‘ZOMG, if you drink that it means you hate your baby!’ And now, ‘You have to get the swine flu shot or you are already the worst.mother.ever,’ to ‘The swine flu vaccine will cause a third arm to grow out of your baby’s forehead, and you will already be the worst.mother.ever.’ And all of the conversations, on both sides, ended with an asterisks or a quickly whispered, “But always ask your doctor.”

Can I just say, ya’ll are killing me with the mixed bag of advice that has to be caveated with ask your doctor? Please remember I can’t treat this baby anxiety with a bottle of Shiraz right now…

Blame it on the same pregnancy hormones that caused me to unexpectedly cry when denied M&M’s at 11pm (to which I apologized even through my tears knowing how insane that was) or the fear, but yesterday the daily lunch phone call between me and The Mister started with a tear-filled monologue about how I signed up to get the themerisol-free (i.e. approved for pregnant ladies) H1N1 shot because “THEY” have finally scared me into it, but how I am still worried because my gut instinct is saying that getting all shot up with the pig flu juice is a gamble, too.

It really feel like this is a lose-lose situation. Besides that fact that I hate shots and reacted like a 3-year-old when I got my seasonal flu shot this year, this shot in particular, admittedly, was rushed to market. Back in September people were saying that this still hasn’t been studied on pregnant women, but I am getting messages like this all up in my Twitter stream from the March of Dimes, and of course Dr. Nice-Eyes is trying to hypnotize me into getting one when he goes on the news channel.

When I put the question out on Twitter and Facebook this morning folks like Suzanne Tucker, aka Zen Mommy, sent me a lot of links that are pretty much aligned with that “stay away” gut feeling. A few gals that I have known since I thought listening to a Nirvana CD on repeat was an appropriate way to spend a Friday night also responded to the question. And though they allowed me to do that I still trust them, and they pretty much said the same thing – just wash your damn hands, take your vitamins and you’ll be better off.

On the other end of the swine flu spectrum, when I called my doctor and asked his opinion the nurse without hesitation told me to get the vaccine, but when I asked if all of the people in her office were getting it she stammered to answer but squeaked out a yes. I also had a friend link me to an article on WebMD, a site that tends to occasionally convince me one of my limbs is in danger of falling off, that explained the very real, increased mortality rates for pregnant women who contract the flu. In other words – it didn’t really clear much up.

So, I did what any very confused and hormonal mom-to-be does: I heated up some chocolate chip cookies and turned on “I Am Legend.” Then I made a decision. I decided to go with my gut on this one.

Before that little stick announced Baby Meiners’ pending arrival I was having a hard time finishing those vodka drinks and wine, and my chain smoking had naturally started to snuff itself out. When I told a friend I was pregnant he first expressed a fear for the future of the vodka and wine industries, and then he reasoned that the unexplained decrease in my hearty vice appetite was probably my mother’s instinct kicking in.

Maybe my instinct to stay as far away from that vaccine as possible is another example of that? Maybe my instincts are trying to keep me from being a completely horrible and sucky parent, or maybe this is the prenatal equivalent of forgetting to feed your kid for a few days. Only time will tell, but in the mean time I may just go on the advice to invest in respiratory masks, add to that some military jackets and then try to play it off as an eccentricity.

3 thoughts on “To H1N1 vaccinate or not to H1N1 vaccinate

  1. you know, I ran the numbers when I was knocked up with the Boy almost a decade ago, and figured out that I was more likely to lose my baby because I got hit by a car in a parking lot than from my fried baloney sammich and brie. do you hear anyone telling you stay away from cars?

    Since our family has already had the flu, I think getting the vaccination is a very good idea. Seriously, it gets really bad fast, really really fast. But on the other hand … I truly believe that instinct is generally a mother’s best friend. If your instinct is pushing you away from it, then perhaps you should just quarantine yourself instead.

  2. Always, always trust your instincts.

    Turn off the t.v. immediately. Promise. When those mama instincts kick in to high gear, so does the paranoia. When I was pregnant I was convinced I had every disease that toted an acronym – MS, ALS, HIV and possibly a brain tumor. Since better living through chemistry is not an option right now, do yourself a favor and turn your attention to calming, soothing and relaxing things like yoga, classical music and making cookies for all your friends. 🙂

  3. Ooh, the dreaded debate! As a type I diabetic, if I can get the H1N1 vaccine, I will likely opt to receive it. My endocronologist is highly recommending it, but that is because I’m in a very high risk factor group as a type I diabetic getting the flu can be like asking a fish to smoke a cigar. However, I’m not holding out on being able to find the vaccine, so I’m doing my best to wash my hands frequently and not touch my face and stay away from anyone with a cough. And… Holly is totally right. Stay away from the tv and I used to be a news junkie, but with every other report being about swine flu, I found I was just driving myself nuts. Now when I need a compulsive website to go to, instead of checking out the news, I hit up because it’s awesome.

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