22 January, 2010


My son died of Pertussis.

A communicable disease.

In case you were wondering.

Which is really just a fancy way to say
"Whooping Cough."

Though both words rhyme with a million 4 letter ones
in the "dictionary of me."

Gavin didn't die because he wasn't immunized.
He was too young to have had the Pertussis immunization anyway. . .

I know I promised y'all a big fat discussion
on vaccinations.

I know it was due on Monday;
I've never been good at getting my homework in on time
(sorry Mrs Woolsey, you were always my favorite by the way).


I'm really looking forward to opening a constructive dialog
on the subject,
however given the inherent controversy,
I'd like to wait until I've really done my research
before I jump on my soapbox.

So for now, the post is postponed.

and yes,
I think I'm hilarious.


Unknown said...

We found this book to be a helpful resource: The Vaccine Book. Perhaps it will aid your research.

Natalie. said...

thank you!

FootPrints said...

so do i.....think your hilarious that is....
still on my knees praying for your family's healing

The.Marcellus.Family said...

Haha. I love that your hilarious. Also, take your time. Don't feel like you need to rush back to explain things. You come back when you can:) I just wrote ya a long stinkin e-mail. Thanks for responding to me.

Love from Utah.


Jennifer M. said...

I just found your blog via McMammas blog, I just wanted you to know that I have been crying right along with you. Gavin was a few weeks older than my son. You and your family have been in my prayers EVERY day. God bless! May he ease your pain.

Bridget said...

I, too, lost my 4th and youngest son. It's a hard road. You can do this. You already are. Sending much love and prayers for this journey ahead.

sarah dobbins said...

Natalie, we still think about and pray for your family every day. Big huge huge hugs to you from Tennessee.
I don't blame you for putting off the vaccine post--has the tendency (especially on the internet) to cause drama drama drama.
But just to give a flipside to dr sears's views :
Hope that link works. Anyway, keep hanging in there. We're gonna keep sending the love and prayers.

Taking Heart said...

I look forward to what you find out with your research. You are hilarious... I appreciate that.

I tend to ride the fence regarding most things medical. I'm an RN and take care of neonates... so I probably should be more pro-something... super passionate about one view or another. But I choose to sit in the middle and observe. I see both sides and take it all in... being a mom and knowing too much is hard.

Aly Allen said...

I truly hope I'm not being insensitive by giving you this information. That's completely not my goal at ALL. Good luck in your research and wherever you come out on the spectrum, at least you know you did you homework :)

I've done more research than I probably should have, for my own good. I've been checking back to see what you have to say on the issue and I think it's *really* wise that you've "POSTponed" the post :) There's so much info out there and it's good to be informed. I hate that it's not only controversial, but also SUCH a hard decision- to vaccinate or not. The possibilities can be devastating on both sides... I'm SO sorry that you know that first hand... Here's a good website: www.mercola.com
I've also gotten great information from the Blaylock Wellness Report, but I don't think it's free...
Here's a great article:
*NOTE that he DOES recommend the pertussis vaccine. I don't know if that helps at all...

Still praying for your family. Still amazed at what God is doing through you on this 'lil blog. Bless you a million times over...

Aly :)

Unknown said...

I've been following your blog for several months now all the way from Indiana. I prayed and prayed for you and your family and want to tell you how amazed I am at your strength and courage. I don't know you but you are an incredible woman!

The Tafuna Family said...

Interesting topic, one that some people have very very strong opinions about. After my mother read your blog we talked about vaccinations etc (we're from New Zealand and all immunizations are 100% optional, most people choose not to get them).
She said something to me that made me stop and think, almost along the same lines as what your husband said at the service for Gavin. She said, "it doesn't matter if you're vaccinated or not, if it's your time to go, then Heavenly Father will bring you home, one way or another."

Emily said...

Natalie, Thank you so much for addressing this topic on your blog. I have done a lot of research and read a lot of the literature and have a strong opinion about vaccinations. But all the data and studies aren't as influential as a story like yours. Check out aap.org which is the American Academy of Pediatric's website. Also cdc.gov has vaccine info.

Deanna said...

It wasn't hard for me at all, even though I researched both sides. My husband never considered not vaccinating--he has a Master's in international policy focusing on weapons proliferation and has extensively studied the effects of biological weaponry. As a result his view of vaccines for Maggie is "The more the better" and refused to entertain any notion of not vaccinating, although he does see the benefit of staggering/delaying some.

I didn't waver much, but what clinched it for me was the idea that if we didn't vaccinate and Maggie picked up something like pertussis and she didn't suffer any long-term effects, she could pass it on to someone who might not be so fortunate. Knowing that my decision not to vaccinate could result in another mother feeling what you're feeling now...how could I live with myself? I couldn't. I hold my breath for every shot and pray for no bad reactions, but we get them just the same.

shelly said...

I realize you're not ready for all the discussion, but I just CAN'T WAIT for all the research. Vaccinate. Vaccinate. Vaccinate!!! As "Grandma", I'm opinionated. I'm 52 and old enough to have known personally people who didn't have the benefit of many of the vaccines readily available to us now. I won't go into it here and now. But, if you've seen what I've seen, you'd know it's not worth the risk to yourself and others.

shelly said...

I meant it's not worth the risk NOT to vaccinate! Sorry:)

Ashley said...

Take your time sista. I think your a brave woman for even thinking about taking on this subject. Much love and more prayers coming your way. :)

Anonymous said...

I am so glad that, for now, you have chosen to wait to post.

You are going through a lot right now. I too have had an infant return to our Father above. I am so sorry for your loss. My heart aches for you! My prayers and thoughts and hugs are with you and your family.

I hope and pray that when the discussion happens people respect each other even if and especially when they disagree with one another. I hope they treat you with respect, kindness and compassion. Sometimes people are mean and hurtful just because. With something like Immunizations people will have strong feelings on both sides and emotions tend to run high. Your child caught a preventable disease. Others have had children die from getting the shot to prevent the disease. I wish there was a one size fits all for this. When we get to Heaven we will maybe all understand a little better.

I wish you the best and think you will do whatever is best for you. Take care of yourself. I do not know you but my heart is full of love for you and your family.

Finding My Way Back... said...

I'm a friend of Lindsey Pierce and learned of your need for prayers through her. You had a whole group of us praying like mad for Gavin and I've been following your journey as you have experienced and shared it. My heart is completely broken for you, your husband and your boys and at the same time, I am in complete and utter awe with the faith you have. I wanted to tell you that your family is in my constant prayers.

On the topic of vaccinations, I did loads of research prior to deciding to vaccinate both my daughters and my reasoning came down to this: what if my child, because they are not vaccinated, contracts something that causes illness or death to another child. I didn't feel in good conscience that I could be so selfish as to possibly harm someone else's child because of my lack of desire to vaccinate my child. I'm with you in the "vaccinate, vaccinate, vaccinate" category and I look forward, like many others to hearing your thoughts!

leaslooks said...

I've been thinking of you and praying for your family. I'm so sorry about what you all have been through.

I will look forward to reading your post on vaccines. It probably won't change my mind, one way or the other, but I always find it interesting to hear other people's points of view and like to do so with an open mind :o)

I'm the mother of 7 and at one point we did everything our pediatricans ever recommended. Then along came a vaccine injury that cannot ever be cured....now? Well, now I do my homework a ridiculous amount and don't listen to what the norm says. As a parent, you are your child's best advocate, whether it be vaccines, schooling, etc...it's your job. I think we just do the best we can parenting our children and what works for one family may not work for another. Parenting is, by far, the toughest job in the world and every decision you make can be easily second guessed or criticized.

Lots of hugs and prayers from New York!

Bree said...

I am so very sorry for your loss. There are no words to express my sorrow for you and your family. You are in my prayers.

Kerri said...


I think you're brave to consider opening up this topic, and I think you're wise to wait until you are ready. People have such strong opinions that they are not always kind when someone disagrees.

I have read research from both sides of the argument, and finally decided that the greater good is worth the risks and we have vaccinated all of our children.

My prayers remain with you. And if you decide to NEVER post about vaccines, that's OK too. Gavin's story speaks for itself.

Ashley said...

good luck with such an opinionated subject! I get all my advice on vaccines from someone I trust... someone I KNOW has my children's best interest in mind... and someone I know understands what she is talking about. I get my advice from my sister-in-law, who has her doctorate in microbiology and is researching Malaria at the University of Maryland. She says vaccinate, and I trust her highly educated and informed opinion. I'm sure she could point you in the direction of some good studies that have been done if you are interested.

Anonymous said...

I think of you often!

My totally unsolicited advice would be that when you post your postponed post you turn off comments and not engage in debate. This is YOUR blog and YOUR story and you deserve to tell it. Period, end of conversation. If someone wants to argue with you they can post something on their own blog. I just hate to see Gavin's story tarnished by an argument or seeing you have to counter opposition.

Mique (as in Mickey) said...

I'm with everyone else- so sorry for your loss of your sweet boy- and post when you feel like it. ;)
Since I'm an autism mom I have SUPER strong opinions on the other end after doing my own research and experiencing 8 years (with many more to come) of challenges that come with autism. My oldest (who is on the more severe end of the spectrum) was vaccinated and my 2 younger were not (they are "typical kids").
Even though I am passionate and know what's right for my family- that doesn't mean I know what's right for everyone else's family. I think everyone has to do what they feel is right for them. But I do still think there are a lot of unanswered (and unbiased) questions relating to vaccines.
In the end, I know everything happens for a reason but it still doesn't ease the pain sometimes.
I hope you still feel the love and support of everyone. We're all still thinking of you.

Addie said...

I'm with Nicole on turning off the comments.
But, before you do.... I vaccinated my older two without questioning and they are "typical" and I delayed Ben's and he has developmental delays in speech and motor. I am glad that I delayed them so that I didn't blame myself for his problems. (He has not had the MMR yet.) But as he lays in his bed right now with RSV, I am wishing that immunization was available to all and he wouldn't have to suffer through this.

Marci said...

I can't wait to hear your thoughts!

Diana said...

You don't know me, and I got your blog from an "angel blog" I belong to. Everyone on that blog has had a sweet angel return to Heavenly Father, and I'm sure some of them have written in some of your other posts. I am so sorry for your loss. I am also LDS, and I have been so grateful for my knowledge, but even with that knowledge, the missing them just hurts! I am glad to see that you believe that it was his time to go. Going down the road of "what if" or "if only" can drive you insane, and brings no comfort! Thank you for sharing your amazing faith, and I will be praying for your continued comfort, especially in this first year!
Diana Fischer, Utah

tomiannie said...

Take your time -- I'm sure even Mrs. Woolsey would give you some leeway on this one... (P.S. She was one of my faves, too!)

Anonymous said...

Natalie, You are entitled to your own opinions and frankly you should post those opinions freely, with or without research, whenever you are ready. This is your blog and you should feel comfortable writing how you feel. People should respect your opinion and not use this as a ground for debate, especially after what you have been though.

I have VERY strong opinions about vaccinations and I never thought twice about giving them to my children. We are fortunate to have such incredible modern medicine in this country - many other countries around the world do not have this luxury and would give anything to have it. I do agree though that when it's your time, it's your time. God called Gavin home for a reason. Your strength is an inspiration and we continue to pray for you everyday.

Tracie said...

Good luck... it is not easy when it comes to immunizations. Esp after what you and your family have gone through.
I think that everyone has to keep in mind that everyone makes their decision for their own reasons and they need to know and understand their reasons and be to stand up to them if anything was to ever happen.
If parents are ever on the edge of not wanting vaccines then they need to figure out why and then deside if its none at all, or if an alternative schedule would work out better than the normal one that the majority of kids get.
(SORRY!!) my rant was basicly to just let you know that there are also alternative vaccine schedules which is what we did with our baby. We agree with immunizations but I had a bad feeling about the normal sch. with my son, so we did the alt. sch. and we go every month and they're in a different order, so far its worked.

I'm still praying for you, always and forever

Anonymous said...

I'm not gonna lie, after I read about baby Gavin, I got on my soapbox. You are very smart to do your research because it is controversial. I had people I never met (well, we have never met) comment and then block their profile so that I couldn't get to know them. It was definitely interesting. I can't wait to read your soapbox... I wouldn't be surprised if it sounded an awful like mine did :)

oh, and you are hilarious :)

Ryan & Amanda said...

I love reading your blog posts, you are so strong (and very very funny). I think it would be wise to turn off your comments because after all this is YOUR blog and YOUR story. I would hate for you to feel more pain than you are already feeling because of hurtful comments. I think it is a personal decision, but at the same time not really because it can impact so many people beyond your own child/family. I have a cousin (none in their family were vaccinated) who still is autistic. After my little girl had a serious illness (MRSA) shortly after she was born (most likely it was contracted in the hospital) I thought I could not handle it if later in her life she contracted something that could have been prevented by an immunization or like others have said if someone else's child contracted it. You are such a strong person and a wonderful mother!

Anonymous said...

You don't know me, but you've touched the heart of a close friend of mine and in response to a heartfelt post of hers, I read your blog.
My little sister died just over a month ago. When I read of the struggle you were facing with your precious son, I was touched by your faith and your strength. I want you to know that I have found strength of my own through your words and have felt the Spirit calm my soul because of the testimony you bore countless times over.
For this, I am so thankful. I ask the Lord to bless you for the ways you have blessed me. And I wish you the most comfort, the most peace, and the most God-like love that the Almighty can provide.
I know I don't know you, but as your Spirit sister, I love you with all my heart.
God bless you, God bless you.

Jessie R. Vigil

Emily said...

So glad you can find something to chuckle about...laughter is an amazing thing. Always thinking of you. I too have thought about bringing up the vaccine issue but am not sure I'm brave enough (and researched enough) to do so. I am still in the middle of digesting this article from a recent issue of Wired magazine in case it helps:

Unknown said...

Someone thought I would find a connection to your blog and let me tell you I. HAVE. DONE. JUST. THAT. I lost my son on Nov. 27th, 2009 from complicated heart defects (Congenital Heart Disease) There wasn't a single thing they could do for his heart, despite what we were told... our little man, Stephen lived for a miraculous 44 days. You are a beautiful mother, inside and out... and so is your son Gavin. Our faith will keep us going... thanks for sharing your prospective on faith and life and your families' story with the world. I too, have tried to do the same... please stop on by. Me, though-- not as hilarious. Good for you! God Bless...

With Love from one angel family to another--- Jess

Rachael said...

My Gavin is 5 years old and has autism. I think the choice to vaccinate is different for everyone. And for a lot of us its based on situation. Had my Gavin not gotten autism I would be on the front lines judging all mom's for not vaccinating. But I see him struggle every day, and it makes me wonder.
I think if you are researching to find evidence to support vaccines, you'll find it. As well as if you search for evidence against. Its a hard decision. For me its one I wonder about almost daily.
I want you to know that I think about your family every day! I pray you continue to heal. You have such a wonderful family :)

Truly Silkes said...

Natalie,me again.
This is your blog and you are entitled to your opinion.
I see that the vaccination subject triggers heated discussions, especially in the US. It’s all about opinion BUT also about statistics. If you read enough statistics and studies, there is only one answer. Vaccinate. My opinion.
I have a story or two to tell about that and I studied the subject a lot when I had my kids. Result: my kids got all the shots.

I’m afraid you are not going to be able to change somebody’s view, unless you already have by telling Gavin’s story. Everybody knows what you think now. They either stay or leave. My suggestion is to forget about a discussion on the blog which will be very heated and time consuming. I’d rather take my husband and kids to the beach and spend some quality time. ;-)

Jessica said...

Just sending love!!!

Amber said...

Vacination is a very personal choice that each parent much investiage and do what is best for their child. The bad thing is alot of the info is slanted one way or the other. I have an 8 year old and he got all of his childhood vacinations. He did not start taking the flu until he was 4. The only reason I gave it to him then was because he developed asthma. We did not take either flu shots this year. We couldn't find the reg flu and I thought the swine flu was rushed too fast. I have a good friend whose daughter developed pertusis and had been vacinatd against it. Take care

ana.gr said...

Dear Natalie
My admiration for you is growing at every post you write. You are strong, you are brave; your other three are so lucky to have such a wonderful mother.You little Gavin is sure very proud of you, sleeping on his cozy cotton cloud.

As for vaccination or not, here in Spain, it is still something we do as part of the protocol for all babies. And personally, I never thought about it, my kids had vaccinations because that's the usual, not because I chose it. And I don't know what my choice would have been.

Melody said...

I am really looking forward to this. Like many I do not exactly know what I think about vaccines. I know I would rather not have my kids get the ones with mercury but I also know I want them to get vaccinated. Maybe I should think about delaying or spreading them out. I don't know. I feel like we get them when we do for a reason. I also really lean towards getting them on time for little fellas like Gavin who have no choice about it. I feel like while it is a personal choice, my choice impacts a lot of people, not just my family. In that way it is not so personal.

I am fortunate to have two kids with very strong immune systems. They really never get sick. My son has never had the flu, an ear infection, any stomach bugs, etc. He had a cold twice in his 9 years. I haven't gotten them flu shots ever and I am very grateful they have not had the flu. I think they are just strong like that because I have never been too picky about germs. I don't let strangers touch my baby or rub their snotty hands in their face or sneeze on us, of course. However, I don't use those shopping cart covers or hand sanitizer or anything else. If they eat dirt, they eat dirt. If they lick the cart, they lick the cart. I wash their hands and do regular things to stop the spread of germs but I let them take in some too.

Anyway, like someone else said, you probably won't change someone's view if they have already made up their mind. But, you might help form an opinion on someone who just doesn't know yet.

Le Mama! said...

I personally wouldn't open it for debate because it is such a touchy matter. And should be a matter of prayer I think. some children should be cautious of some immunizations because of certain health problems but at the same time I have heard to many mothers blame immunizations on side effecets that happened to their children. and to be blunt, most of those side effects are not as horrific as dealing with the disease its self. I've lived out of the country a few times and still travel a lot out side of the country so my children will always get immunizations. many think there is no need because they do not travel or the disease is not strong here. well I hate to break it to many but I have watched children die from hepatitus, measals, rubella etc.... Its still very really and strong all over the world and the USA and we will not always be protected from it. and yes, you never know who is carrying what. sorry my spelling is bad but I don't have time to spell check :) So there is my two sense. I believe some immunizations can be postponed for infants with harsh medical problems, but other than that its too dangerous not to vaccinate. we are not as protected here as most people assume we are.

However I know heavenly father called your little boy home when he needed him so don't let not vaccinating him for this get you thinking its your fault. You are such an amazing mother and you have great faith and are a great example.

Testing said...

I'm like Melody- too much over-protection so the body doesn't learn how to be immune on it's own (shopping carts, dirt, sand, etc). We've also never had ear infections and they rarely get sick. I don't like that they are trying to get us to cover our coughs in our arms (by elbows) since that is where we hold babies' heads- people wash their hands more than they wash their arms.

jordan said...

Vaccinate your children! When you choose not to vaccinate your children you are putting OTHER people at risk.

This article in Wired just came out last fall.

Nichole said...

Natalie your story has touched me and I continue to pray for you and your family. After much research on vaccines and being so conflicted, I opted to not vaccinate my children. It was a tough one, because both were premature and susceptible to RSV, especially in the first year. My son was so tiny he was eligible for synagis, which is supposed to help prevent RSV. He received the monthly vaccines until the end of RSV season, although the following winter, he did get RSV. Thank the Lord, he was older when he got it. My daughter is 5 months old, and not vaccinated...sometimes I feel like people think I'm a terrible mother, but then I remember, that I am their mommy, and I am following my head AND my heart. And I guess that's what you have to remember.:) Some info about vaccines that I found helpful: http://www.fourteenstudies.org/index.html

Anonymous said...

We have to remember this is not just about vaccines.

Someone or their child was ill. They made a choice to go into public with illness. It was an illness that is so easily spread. Your child caught that illness.

Immunizations are only part of what we can do to help people stay healthly. (I am not meaning to yell, I just want to emphasize this point so I will write it in all capital letters) STAY AWAY FROM OTHERS WHILE ILL is just as effective and just as necessary to avoid spreading germs.

Michelle said...

Natalie, I don't know you but found your blog through a mutual friend when baby Gavin was in the hospital. I am so sorry for everything that you have gone through...it breaks my heart to think that your little Gavin died. Even though I don't know you, I check your blog often to see how you are doing...you inspire me to be a better person and mom everyday-so thankyou!

I had to pipe in about the subject of immunizations. I wouldn't blame you at all if you thought that any parent that doesn't get their child immunized is crazy.

Before I had any children, I thought people were crazy if they didn't vaccinate. I have a brother that is deaf and has a severe seizure disorder and almost died because he got spinal menigitis when he was 7 months old-and now that have an immunization for that.

With my oldest son, I didn't think twice about having him get any immunizations-and didn't do any research at all-something I have always regretted. Then he was diagnosed with Autism at 19 months old...after YEARS of intense therapy and tears, I am so happy to say that he is finally "recovered".

For me personally, I felt that for my younger 2 boys, I just could not put them through the risk of getting Autism. Neither of them have been immunized. However, I respect everyone else's opinions. I felt like my boys were extremely high risk for Autism. The chances of them getting Autism was 25% which just wasn't worth it to me.

I stressed for a couple of months on whether or not to have my preemie little boy get the synagsis shots to avoid RSV one winter (he qualified because he was born so early)...I just was so sick about it. I finally realized that the only thing I felt good about was not doing it and being extra careful with him. Luckily, he didn't get sick all winter long that year.

I'm not completely against immunizations in general...I think it is a good idea if people decide to get them to have them spread out and do 1 at a time and not get any until the baby is a few months old and has an immune system.

I look forward to your blog post about it. It is such a personal decision-and a hard one to make at that.

Take care and know that there are many people that you inspire everyday that don't even know you. :)

Lindsay said...

I am so sorry to hear what happened to your precious boy. I know you weren't planning on talking about this yet, but since everyone else started I think it's time to add my info. Here is a recent article that might help clear some things up. I am in public health at Johns Hopkins, and we have studied the false vaccination-autism link in class. Autism is awful and I understand the desire to find a cause. Unfortunately, the study that showed a connection between the two was inaccurate and set off a course of "advocacy" against vaccinations. Rates of infectious disease have increased as a result. http://abcnews.go.com/Health/AutismNews/lancet-retracts-controversial-autism-paper/story?id=9730805
It may sound harsh, but those who choose not to vaccinate their children are increasing risk to the children themselves as well as the rest of society.