Let’s start this topic by declaring that I am a proponent of vaccines. I put faith and assurance in modern medicine and medical experts ability to navigate best practices for humans using science. While I understand the new Covid vaccine variations were created by using other vaccine methods and formulas with what they know about the virus, I am impressed at their ability to manufacture and push one out to the public within a year of the pandemic’s initial days. Some companies can’t even push out a business model, logo, slogan, or mission statement in a fraction of the time; so a precautionary health measure to ensure mine and others health is protected is nothing short of impressive.
As a teacher, and specifically one who works in the hybrid model, my job categorized me as “Group 1B”. Meaning, that I was in the second wave of people eligible to receive the vaccine. News of this came from my state governor in the evening hours on a Thursday, and by the following Monday vaccine pods were open and ready for business. With the help of one of my friends and coworkers, I too was able to secure a spot at one of the county’s vaccination clinics. I was elated. I felt like Charlie from Willy Wonka and that I too had scored a golden ticket. Soon my stresses and worries of the last year would dissipate. I couldn’t stop smiling, I was just so happy.
Now as many of you probably know the old adage, “when you make plans, God laughs,” well, soon I found this to be true. Despite all of my elation and excitement, another joy popped into our lives. I found out that I was expecting our fourth child. We are beyond thrilled and happy, but once it sunk in and the wheels started turning, I was second guessing getting the vaccine at least during the first trimester when fetal development is at its peak. After countless convos and research I realized I needed to cancel my vaccination appointment. I felt so guilty making that phone call. Here I had the opportunity to “do my part” and receive the vaccine that others are still having to wait on, and I had to say thanks but no thanks. Now don’t get me wrong, my baby’s health is of extreme importance to me; but that is why I decided to hold off for now and wait a little longer for my shot.
In the days after I canceled my appointment, I continued to research and weigh the pros and cons of the unknown. In my mind I had decided to wait until I hit the second trimester and then I’d sign up for my vaccine again. Naturally however, the World Health Organization and Moderna (which was the only option offered through my county) both came out and urged pregnant people to hold off for the time being. Again I felt as though I was having to make decision based on nothing in any regard. Confusing, stressful, uneasy – you name it, that’s what it was and continues to be.
So here we are. Waiting on more research and studies to come through, hoping findings show that any of the vaccine variations are safe for expectant mothers, and an end to the pandemic is in sight. Until then, I like many, will read the articles, ask the questions, and stay masked and six+ feet away for the near future.
Update: The original piece was something I wrote during the first few months of the year. With the passing of time, more research has begun to emerge – all of which is sounding positive and in favor of pregnant women receiving the vaccine. In this late March article on Vox.com, they outline in full detail the current findings as well as various leaders in women’s health opinions on the matter. If you are interested in what they have to say check the article out here.
Second update: On a personal level and after several conversations with my OBGYN, we decided that given my own health journey it would be in my best interest to get vaccinated. Naturally this still gives me a little anxiety and worry but ultimately feels like the best option for me.
Final word: I was able to get the vaccine and thought while I’m sharing my path to vaccination, I might as well share my experience with both of the shots. After the first shot, I took an extra strength Tylenol and stayed very hydrated per the recommendation of my healthcare team and nurse who administered my shot. My only symptom was a very sore arm that dissipated within 12 hours. After my second dose, and despite my best efforts, I succumbed to the dreaded “2nd dose sickness” that many have also reported. For me, its onset was early the following morning leaving me with fatigue, a headache, and nausea. After a day of rest and hydration, honestly not even a full day, I felt back to myself – microchip and all.
Image is property of Canva*