Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The MMR scare

Today marks one week since our baby got her MMR shot. It's been a crazy week. I wanted to write about it here because it might help other moms looking for information.

The day after her shot, I noticed red dots on her back. The dots spread to her tummy and legs, and then her whole body. We texted the pediatrician, and he said it was a normal reaction to the vaccine, and the rash would go away in 3 days.

But on Saturday night, our baby developed another reaction to the vaccine. (Please skip this part if you're eating.) She had a loose, watery bowel movement which is a complete opposite of her usual stools. She had another one Sunday morning, and another Sunday night. We are talking about our toddler who only poops once a week (that's her normal cycle believe it or not!), so three loose bowel movements in 24 hours alarmed me.

Amoebiasis was the first thing that I thought of. Maybe she got it from the water? I have horrible memories of bouts of amoeba in my childhood days. So I texted my mom and asked what happened to me when I got amoeba. She said I was vomiting, had fever, and LBM. Since Little Moon didn't have fever and wasn't vomiting, she probably didn't get amoeba.

Then it occured to me - could the LBM be linked to her MMR shot? Since the rashes and the LBM started after we got her vaccinated, and the shot is the only unusual thing that happened this week? So I googled. And I found many links describing how a child can get a rash and yellow watery stools after getting injected with an MMR vaccine.

What I read scared me. Why didn't I know that the MMR could ruin your child's digestive system? And that it was somehow linked to autism? Oh my gosh. I had read about vaccines when Little Moon was a baby, but I didn't see these red flags before. How could I have missed these scary information? I can't freakin believe I didn't come across it before - I used to spend hours reading about autism and child development. Mahilig ako magresearch, tapos eto namiss ko? And most importantly, why didn't our pediatrician inform us about the side effects of the vaccine?

There are a lot of moms of children with autism who said that their toddlers were perfectly normal before they got their MMR. Then their kids got rashes and diarrhea, and then regressed. Their kids stopped talking, forgot the things they've learned so far, and stopped developing mentally. I wanted to cry.

So I called Little Moon's other pediatrician and pleaded with the secretary to get us an appointment for that afternoon (they don't allow walk-ins). This other pedia is a homeopath, and a supporter of breastfeeding, so she gives me good vibes.

I was going to consult with her because there was no way I was going to go back to the pedia who gave Little Moon the MMR shot. The one who didn't even warn us about the possible side effects of the vaccine - at least man lang the part where your child can develop tummy problems! Diba? Ugh. If we went to him, he'd probably brush off my fears and say what doctors usually say - don't worry. But I didn't want that, I wanted an explanation. I wanted someone to tell me why my daughter reacted to the vaccine the way she did. I wanted to know the truth about autism and the vaccine.

So we went to the homeopath pedia, and I told her about Little Moon's loose stools, and my fear about the link to autism. She didn't downplay my fears. She didn't discredit the information I read on the internet. But what she said made my heart sink. She said before she administers the MMR vaccine to her patients, she asks the parents first about the family history of autism. If there is history, she won't do the shot. We should have been asked. I have a cousin who has autism.

This pedia was concerned that Little Moon had two reactions to the vaccine - the rashes and the LBM. She said the chances of autism developing after an MMR shot was so small, but we were treating Little Moon all the same. So she recommended probiotics and Vaucheria. The probiotics is for her tummy. The Vaucheria is for lessening the side effects of the vaccine.

Let me explain the whole brouhaha. I could be wrong here, but here's how I understand it. Vaccines can start trouble because there are heavy metals in the vaccine that can accumulate in the gut. Sometimes the child can't get rid of these, so they stay in her body. When that happens, the heavy metals can pass on to the brain. That's why there is a link to autism. Although the study that introduced this idea was discredited by the medical community many years ago, they are yet to disprove it. And that shadow of a doubt is enough for me to be very afraid for my daughter. That, and the testimonials of mothers who have shared their stories online, and this case.

So what we are trying to do is address Little Moon's tummy problem. The probiotics will help get her gut back to normal. The probiotics come in powder form, and you dissolve this in water, or mix with food. We got the Protexin Restore sachets. There's another brand we tried that come in pellet form (Bio Bita), but our baby doesn't like it. We used to just make a paste out of the Protexin and a few drops of water and feed with a spoon, but she's stopped taking it. So now we try all sorts of tricks. Today we mixed it with her mango juice, and she didn't notice the weird taste. We have to do this for a month.

The Vaucheria comes in liquid form, and you administer it through a dropper. There's no other way to give this to her because it has to be taken every 4 hours. So we toughen up, brace ourselves for some wild crying and heartbreaking pleading (she knows how to say please), and shove the dropper into her mouth. We have to do this for two weeks.

Today is Day 3 of this treatment plan. Her stools are loose and yellow, and it scares us. My readings say yellow could mean her body is not absorbing the nutrients from the food she eats or the milk she drinks. And that's another problem - she hasn't been eating since Sunday. She has even refused her favorite snack (Stick-o, that chocolate wafer stick). At least she still nurses. I just hope she gets the nutrients from my breastmilk. And she's been cranky, and only wants to be held by either her daddy or me. She cries when our househelp G carries her. They used to have fun together. The rash is starting to fade away.

We are desperately praying that this treatment plan is enough to heal her. I have been begging God to help us, to take away whatever it is that is causing havoc in her body. I am praying that she isn't in pain. And most of all, I am praying that she continues to develop normally. Lord, please make all of this scary stuff go away. I hope all this is just paranoia.

Dear moms and dads who might be reading this, I am sharing this with you because I want others to be aware. I am not urging you to say no to vaccinations. I am not saying don't get an MMR. I am not here to cause panic. What I am trying to tell you is be vigilant. We, parents, have to know what we are saying yes to. If we had learned about these things before we gave Little Moon the shot, would we still have gone for it? I don't know. But we should have been armed with information. We should have done our research. That way, we could have made an informed decision. 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Scrumptious Saturday: Have you been to Qizia?

There's a quaint little cafe in Marikina called Qizia (pronounced ki-zha). The strange thing about it isn't its name, but its location.

The first time I was brought there by my friend Jessica a couple of years ago, my jaw dropped. You see, she was building up my expectation about the food all day long, but she didn't warn me about the location. We took a cab and got dropped off in front of SDS Hospital. After all the talk about this cool cafe, I couldn't believe she was making me eat in a hospital. I wanted to strangle her. I was close to tears. She was laughing her ass off at my reaction.

Turns out, the cafe wasn't inside the hospital - you'll find it in an obscure corner behind it, in the parking lot. Whew. I was relieved I wasn't going to be fed hospital food. Hehe. And I am thankful to Jessica for introducing me to what has become one of my favorite places for comfort food.

Beef tapa served with egg, garlic rice, and iced tea - Php135
The only meal I ever order there is their beef tapa with egg and garlic rice (Php 135). The beef is sweet and tender, and you dip it in spiced vinegar. I am writing this at 12:30am, and just thinking about it makes my mouth water. This is what I order all the time.

Cheese sticks (Php95)

Their cheese sticks are sought after. The first few times I visited Qizia, these intriguing appetizers eluded me - they were always sold out! Finally, I got to try them in their Antipolo branch (which is now unfortunately defunct). I imagined the usual cheese slices in lumpia wrapper, but I was so wrong. These are 6 fat fingers of mozzarella cheese rolled in flour and bread crumbs, with a sweet tomato dip. The cheese oozes out ever so slightly as you bite into the crunchy stick. Oh my gosh.

The last time we ate there was just last Saturday, and we took home one order of cheese sticks. After sitting in the fridge for three days, they were still surprisingly good. I just popped them in the turbo broiler for a few minutes (sorry, we don't have a toaster!). The breading wasn't as crunchy as when ordered fresh, but the cheese sticks were still yummy!

Qizia also serves pizza, pasta, coffee, and dessert. We tried a slice of their banana caramel cake, and it looks and tastes a lot like Banapple's! I'm thinking they're the same thing! (Is that possible?)

If Qizia wasn't so far from where we live, I'd probably be there every week. Be sure to try this hidden gem in Marikina, you won't be disappointed!

Qizia Cafe
Katipunan Ext Concepcion II, Marikina
(02) 489-0760

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Major meltdown at the clinic

Anxiously waiting for her turn. She could sense something's up.
 Little Moon got her MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) immunization today. Oh how she hated it! She was already tense before the doctor arrived. When we were called into the clinic, she clung to me and wailed. She was crying so loudly, I almost couldn't hear what the doctor was saying. She was hysterical when we made her sit on the examination table. I've never heard her cry like that before! It took three of us - the daddy, the doctor's secretary, and me - to hold her down. The actual injection took all of 3 seconds. Right after the injection, when she was back in her daddy's arms, she stopped crying.

Here she is a few minutes after, playing in the garden at the hospital. Like nothing happened.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

New look for the new year!

I had my loooong locks chopped off! A perfect way to start the new year. I think it's been three years since I last had hair this short. Funny how a haircut can instantly lift the spirits! I feel like a big burden was lifted off. I feel so free!

Photo by Angel Sobrepena III

Monday, January 14, 2013

Little Moon's 1st Birthday Video

One of the best gifts we received over the holidays is a video of Little Moon's 1st Birthday Party, shot and created by my cousin Kat. It's beautifully made, it feels like a professional created it. So cool!

Watch the video for some Monday eye candy!

I love you, don't you see,
You stole my heart in 1-2-3
I love you, yes it's true
You stole my heart
and I'm gonna steal yours too.
- "Stole My Heart" by Little And Ashley
Kat said when Ally was still a newborn, she already knew what song she'd use in the video! Hindi naman masyadong excited? Haha!
We will forever treasure this video. Thank you Kat!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

How to store Christmas decorations

I only started packing away our Christmas decor today. I'm a little late, I know, but I wanted to hold on to the holidays a little longer. To my dismay, our housekeeper went ahead and shoved the tree in its box earlier this week, without my go signal. How depressing. In my head, when we take down the tree and the baubles, it was going to be a festive event, just like how we put the tree up last month. That probably sounds a little silly. But that's one of the traditions we were supposed to do as a family. Oh well. We'll do that next year.

But what upset me the most was how all the ornaments were jumbled together in one paper bag. Even the delicate wire thingies that could easily get deformed. So today, I took out everything and properly stored them away. Here's how I did it.

Ideas for Christmas decoration storage

Extend the life of your precious holiday decor by keeping them properly organized. Shoving them altogether in one paper bag may seem like the easy, space-saving solution, but here are better ways to ensure you get to enjoy them for many Christmases to come.

1. Designate a sturdy storage box for your decor. Paper or garbage bags can offer protection from dust, but they can easily get squished in storage. I use clear plastic bins which we bought on sale from the department store, Php99 each. 

2. Wrap your ornaments individually in bubble wrap. I saved the ones mine originally came in. If you forgot to keep yours, reuse the gift wrapping paper from the presents you received.

3. Wind ribbon on a spool to keep them wrinkle-free - don't fold them. I kept the spools my ribbons came in, but if you tossed yours already, you can use a tissue paper roll.

4. Keep Christmas lights from getting tangled by doing the same thing you did with the ribbons. Wind the string of lights around a spool, tissue paper roll, or a Coke can.

5. Cushion delicate pieces in bubble wrap or crumpled, old gift wrappers. Here, I stacked all bubble-wrapped ornaments in a plastic bin, and nestled the wire drops on top.

Don't forget to label your boxes so you don't forget what's inside!

Friday, January 11, 2013

My happy place: Cupcakes by Sonja

This cupcake bakery in Serendra makes happy. Every time I'm in the area, I make sure I go inside Cupcakes by Sonja, sometimes just to whiff the yummy scents coming out of their kitchen.

When I had dessert there before Christmas with my college friend Ateen, the place was even more dreamy because it was decked in Christmas cheer.

Cupcakes by Sonja opened in September 2006, and I was there at the opening. I remember being shocked by the prices. I still find their goodies expensive, so I don't indulge too often. The simplest cupcakes are Php65, the special ones are Php115.

My favorite cupcake has always been Berries 'n Cream (above). But on that fateful night last month (lol!), I took a bite of the Valrhona Flourless Chocolate Cupcake. Oh. My. Gosh. Heaven! I think I found my new favorite. Now I don't know why I didn't try it sooner. Probably because it looked plain. It's the one without frosting below.

Look who became a new fan?
This is an early post for Scrumptious Saturday, ok? Hihi.

Cupcakes by Sonja is at Serendra Piazza in Bonifacio Global City.
Bakery Hours:
  • Monday - Thursday 10 AM - Midnight
  • Friday - Saturday 10 AM - 1 AM
  • Sunday 10 AM - Midnight
*Thanks Ateen for dessert!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Hello 2013!

Hello blog, hello world! That long vacation felt great! I'm sad that it's over, and to tell you the truth, I'm having trouble snapping back to real life. The holidays were such a flurry of happiness, it's hard to get back to the program. What with everyone leaving after the holidays, and the sudden lull in daily activities. It's like the crash after the sugar rush.

So to cheer myself up, I'm looking forward to the year ahead! My plan for 2013 is to fill the days with lots of new experiences for our little family! We got to do a lot of firsts over the holidays, and it was so fun to see how Little Moon drank up all the sights and sounds of the world around her. I'll blog about our holiday getaways in the days to come!

Here's the beginnings of a bucket list. I haven't really thought of making one before, so I'm making this up as I go along. I will update when I think of something new! Some of the items are shallow and ditzy - don't judge me! Haha.

  1. Get a haircut. I've had long hair for too long. I actually checked this off already - I had my locks chopped off on January 3! Woot!
  2. Learn to apply eye makeup. Just because. I'm a late bloomer, and I just discovered the wonders of makeup last month. I am still clueless, but it would be great to finally be made up on special occasions!
  3. Read one book a week. It's sad that I haven't been reading as much as I want to ever since I became a mom - when I try to read at night, I fall asleep. I used to finish thick volumes in one sitting, forgoing sleep. This year I want to catch up on my reading! I don't know yet how I'll pull this off, but there's so much to read, one lifetime isn't enough!
  4. Go on another family trip with Little Moon and the daddy. Preferably somewhere cold again.
  5. Still thinking...
Cheers to a fruitful, meaningful 2013!