During my ninth month of pregnancy, I was exposed to whooping cough by an unvaccinated playmate of my older son. Even though as an adult my own symptoms were relatively mild, I would soon realize the dangers of transmitting the disease to my newborn son. Young infants, such as my son Colin, are within the age range in which the disease poses the most danger for severe complications and even death.
I gave my son Colin pertussis with my first kiss and watched him suffer from the disease for the first few months of his life. Pertussis left him exhausted because he would cough continuously until he turned blue and threw up, gasping for breath. At one week of age, he was hospitalized for ten days and placed on continuous monitors and intravenous medications. The effects of the disease continued for many months even after he was discharged from the hospital. Watching him closely and listening to every heartbeat, I understand what it feels like to watch your child battle a potentially fatal disease far before they even take their first steps into the new world. I would encourage all parents to be on the lookout for pertussis and suspect it in older children and adults before they spread it to younger children and infants. No child is safe unless he or she is vaccinated against pertussis, a decision that unfortunately for Colin, we never had the choice to make.
Disclaimer: Immunize.org and VaccineInformation.org publish personal testimonies to make them available for our readers’ review. Please note that information in the testimonies may be outdated and may not reflect the current immunization schedule or recommendations. (Published: 12/9/2004)