I’m proud to be partnering with the County of San Mateo to bring you this sponsored post. As you’ve come to trust, all opinions are my own.
There are certain moments you never forget as a parent. They’re not always the ones you hope to remember, but they’re there. Heavy on your heart.
For me, one of those memories was when I took Little in for his 2-week check-up. The pediatrician—after listening to his lungs and checking his oxygen level—asked, “Where’s your husband right now?” It was a strange question, a telling question.
The answer was that he was on a plane, heading home from a business trip in Arizona. And Big? He was at home napping—a kind neighbor had volunteered to come over for 30 minutes while my little guy slept and I ran his new brother to the appointment.
It didn’t really matter where they were though. It was where we were headed that was of real concern.
To the hospital. Immediately. Do not go home, do not collect Big. Within hours, Little and I were settling into our new home for the week—the NICU.
He was just a helpless newborn. It was my job as his mom to protect him. But I didn’t. I carelessly let him catch the cold that had been plaguing our house when he was born. And now he was in the NICU on oxygen fighting the fight no 10-day old should have to. But we were lucky. His rocky start had a happy ending.
After a week, he came home. There were complications beyond RSV discovered along the way, but luck continued to be on our side.
Every now and then a cough in the middle of the night will take me back to that time, but that’s when I comfort myself with visions of him running on a soccer field or swimming in the ocean. He’s a strong, healthy boy now.
But today, right this very minute, there are 20,000 San Mateo County kids who are too sick to get immunized. They face battles like cancer, auto-immune disorders, and blood disorders. I can’t help but think that some of the babies we were bunking with in the NICU are among them. And I can’t help but wonder how helpless those mothers feel. Still, all these years later.
Last year, California alone had over 10,000 cases of whooping cough. They resulted in 376 hospitalizations and 2 deaths—both in infants. And because we’re lucky to live in a place where people travel often and far, diseases that are rare in the U.S.—like mumps and polio—can be picked up abroad.
I’m no stranger to the fact that vaccines are a sensitive topic. Parents, please do the research and make the right choice for your family. I believe that’s important. (You’ll find that vaccines go through rigorous testing—more than any other medicine— to ensure they’re safe.)
I also think it’s important to ask ourselves what kind of community we want to be.
For me, the answer is simple. I want to live in a place where each and every parent caring for one of those 20,000 children has one less reason to worry. I want to live in a place where all of our children are able to thrive.
Please join me in helping our community be that kind of place by vaccinating your family. You can check out the County of San Mateo’s site for more information. And, for a list of low-cost vaccination clinics, click here.
Katherine Riemann says
As a person who suffers from an autoimmune disorder and takes a treatment that makes it impossible for me to update a lot of vaccines, if needed, I depend on heard immunity. My disease is highly hereditary so the potential impact to my children is also real! I applaude California for protecting those of us that can’t protect ourselves. Thank you for sharing!
Amy, Using Our Words says
Kathy, this got lost in spam and I just discovered it. Thank you so much for sharing your experience. Sometimes it’s easy to forget how REAL people — friends — are impacted by our choices. I wish you and your family health and happiness!