So when I first posted about Paxton's two month shots, I said that he was doing fine and the shots weren't as bad as I thought. Well, that only lasted a few days. The third day after his shots, we were at Wal-Mart getting some groceries and he started fussing. This was weird because he almost never cries unless he's hungry or sleepy and he wasn't either. It wasn't a big deal, I stuck his pacifier in his mouth and he stopped for the rest of the shopping trip. As soon as I put him in the car, he started really crying. It had only been about an hour since he ate so he wasn't hungry and nothing would console him. I tried the pacifier...nothing...so I decided to go ahead and drive home. Usually the car puts him right to sleep...no luck. We got all the way home and he was still screaming. I decided that I would try some of the tips I had read about before having Paxton that helped parents make their babies stop crying. I rocked him, walked around with him, took him outside, put him in his swing, took his clothes off, put his feet in running water....everything I could think of...he kept crying. After about an hour of solid crying, he finally fell asleep.
Things got worse the next few days. I finally figured out that eating would calm him down for awhile. Unfortunately that meant he was eating about every hour and a half and was still crying a little bit in between those feedings. I decided that it was time to call his doctor. As soon as I told the nurse that he had seemed extra fussy since two days after his shots, she said she knew exactly what it was. I was so relieved because I was pretty sure that the nurse was going to listen to me and then say something like "well, babies cry" or something else off-putting. Well, I know that babies cry...but my baby didn't...so I knew something was off. Anyway, she told me that it was a side-effect of the rotavirus shot. Apparently the rotavirus can cause pretty severe stomach cramps in a few babies and we just had one of those babies. The bad news? No treatment. Just wait it out...it shouldn't last more than 10 days. When you have a baby that is crying almost all day, the last thing you want to hear is that there's nothing you can do. She told me I could get him some Culturelle at Walgreens and break the capsule open in his bottle. She said that would neutralize the bacteria in his tummy and make him feel better. Of course we tried it. The Culturelle was $25 for 30 capsules which seemed expensive...but it was going to make my baby better so it was worth it! I gave him his first capsule as soon as I got home and continued it for the next three days. Nothing happened. Jared had had enough. I called the after-hours number that night to find out what I could do to make him more comfortable for the next 5 days. The nurse listened as I told her that Paxton's pediatrician had diagnosed him with stomach cramps secondary to the rotavirus vaccine and that I was giving him Culturelle and wanted some other ideas to make him more comfortable. She asked about Culturelle. I told her everything I knew about it. She asked what I was currently doing to make him feel better. I told her I was feeding him pretty often. The first nurse had told me that babies want to eat when their tummies feel bad...they know that when their tummy is hungry, eating helps and they can't tell the difference between hungry and upset so eating makes them feel better. She said that as long as he wasn't throwing up, I probably wasn't over-feeding him. Well, this nurse disagreed. She wanted a detailed list of every time he had eaten that day and how many ounces he had at each feeding. She told me I was feeding him too often and too many ounces. I told her that all I wanted was some ideas for how to make his tummy feel better. She gave me a list of things I couldn't do: use a heating pad, give him medicine, etc. Basically she was no help at all.
I called and scheduled an appointment with Paxton's doctor. By this time it had been nine days and the cramping was scheduled to end after ten days, but it was Friday and I didn't want to get into the weekend without being sure that nothing else was wrong. By the time I got him to the doctor (with my amazing mom's help) he was doing much better. The doctor ruled out any kind of stomach virus and checked all of Paxton's vitals. He had gained a whole pound in the last 9 days. He confirmed that it was just stomach cramps because of the shots. The next day, Paxton was pretty much back to normal.
From now on I will make sure to research the side effects of his vaccines before he gets them. I know in most cases the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the fever or fussiness, but rotavirus is just diarrhea. In some cases it leads to dehydration or hospitalization, but prior to 2006 when the vaccine was introduced, almost every child had a run-in with it before age 5. I think a round of diarrhea would have been better than the ten solid days of having a miserable baby. And, the shot has two more doses...one at 4 months and one at 6 months. His doctor said that each round the side effects are a little worse. I'm not sure I can take 20 more days of that....