Monday, August 31, 2009

Causal Connection between MMR vaccine and Autism?

Okay, where to begin...last night's Dateline presentation of the history behind the research finding a causal connection between the MMR (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella) vaccine and autism in children was all in all disappointing. I was hoping for a clear representation of both sides, of the facts, and instead we got a media induced presentation that made Dr. Wakefield (whose research founded a "possible" link between autism and the MMR vaccine) look like he did bad research and the majority of the medical profession believing Wakefield's research to be the cause of bad medicine.

I could go on and on about the two sides...for I personally am not convinced one way or the other, but I will save yours and my precious time and give you the side of the scientist. (Not that I am one but I studied for years how to think like one)

Dr. Andrew Wakefield performed a causal comparative research between the independent variable (MMR vaccine) and a dependent variable (autism). This research that Wakefield worked on was peerly suggestive. He noted "suggestive" in his analysis, he noted that to the media, and noted it again last night on Dateline. Wakefield and his team of researchers were attempting to find a correlation between the two. He followed the scientific method used in any reputable test studies and his outcome showed a "causal" relationship. To many who don't understand this meaning, it became misconstrued as a definite relationship. Further studies will help prove or disprove this hypothesis.

One point Matt Lauer with Dateline made about the possibility of unsafe vaccines was that Thimerosal, an ingredient used in vaccines since the 1930's and was found to contain mercury, was "removed from all vaccines in 2002". This is not the case. In fact, Thimerosal has been removed from or reduced to trace amounts in all vaccines routinely recommended for children 6 years of age and younger, with the exception of inactivated influenza vaccine (see Table 1). A preservative-free version of the inactivated influenza vaccine (contains trace amounts of thimerosal) is available in limited supply at this time for use in infants, children and pregnant women. Some vaccines such as Td, which is indicated for older children (≥ 7 years of age) and adults, are also now available in formulations that are free of thimerosal or contain only trace amounts. Vaccines with trace amounts of thimerosal contain 1 microgram or less of mercury per dose. (

Last fall I called my son's pediatrician to ask if they had a thimerosal free MMR vaccine. They replied that the thimerosal free MMR vaccine is only available at the county health clinic. So it is incorrect to say that the ingredient Thimerosal was "removed from all vaccines in 2002". It clearly was not.

So this episode of Dateline was a complete disappointment. There were inaccuracies and misinterpretations of Wakefield's research. I do not deny how important vaccines are to protect the public from deadly diseases. But I also do not deny a POSSIBLE connection between vaccines and other negative side which could include changes in brain activity. We don't know all the side affects. We don't know 100% how our bodies work and how or why things affect them. History of vaccines and other medical methods show inconsistencies. It shows that medicine changes and evolves from mistakes. Vaccine safety is always evolving. Make a vaccine that we know doesn't affect our children negatively, then "recommend" it to our children.

Okay, I would like any of you interested to respond. This is a very important topic to discuss as it affects all of us! Make your voice heard...join in the conversation and respond by comment to this posting.

Can't wait to hear!

Mommy Bridget

Friday, August 28, 2009

Autism debate

Dateline will broadcast the debate that links the MMR vaccine with autism. Tune in to see the story that started the controversy. This Sunday Aug. 30th at 7pm ET.

Mommy Bridget

Healthcare Reform Idea

Below is an article my father sent me regarding health care reform. This is a letter issued from the CEO and cofounder of Whole Foods. I thought I would post this as I think there are some quality ideas and information contained in it.

The Whole Foods Alternative to ObamaCare
Eight things we can do to improve health care without adding to the deficit.


"The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out
of other people's money."

—Margaret Thatcher

With a projected $1.8 trillion deficit for 2009, several trillions more in deficits projected over the next decade, and with both Medicare and Social Security entitlement spending about to ratchet up several notches over the next 15 years as Baby Boomers become eligible for both, we are rapidly running out of other people's money. These deficits are simply not sustainable. They are either going to result in unprecedented new taxes and inflation, or they will bankrupt us.
While we clearly need health-care reform, the last thing our country needs is a massive new health-care entitlement that will create hundreds of billions of dollars of new unfunded deficits and move us much closer to a government takeover of our health-care system. Instead, we should be trying to achieve reforms by moving in the opposite direction—toward less government control and more individual empowerment. Here are eight reforms that would greatly lower the cost of health care for everyone:
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• Remove the legal obstacles that slow the creation of high-deductible health insurance plans and health savings accounts (HSAs). The combination of high-deductible health insurance and HSAs is one solution that could solve many of our health-care problems. For example, Whole Foods Market pays 100% of the premiums for all our team members who work 30 hours or more per week (about 89% of all team members) for our high-deductible health-insurance plan. We also provide up to $1,800 per year in additional health-care dollars through deposits into employees' Personal Wellness Accounts to spend as they choose on their own health and wellness.

Money not spent in one year rolls over to the next and grows over time. Our team members therefore spend their own health-care dollars until the annual deductible is covered (about $2,500) and the insurance plan kicks in. This creates incentives to spend the first $2,500 more carefully. Our plan's costs are much lower than typical health insurance, while providing a very high degree of worker satisfaction.
• Equalize the tax laws so that employer-provided health insurance and individually owned health insurance have the same tax benefits. Now employer health insurance benefits are fully tax deductible, but individual health insurance is not. This is unfair.
• Repeal all state laws which prevent insurance companies from competing across state lines. We should all have the legal right to purchase health insurance from any insurance company in any state and we should be able use that insurance wherever we live. Health insurance should be portable.

• Repeal government mandates regarding what insurance companies must cover. These mandates have increased the cost of health insurance by billions of dollars. What is insured and what is not insured should be determined by individual customer preferences and not through special-interest lobbying.
• Enact tort reform to end the ruinous lawsuits that force doctors to pay insurance costs of hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. These costs are passed back to us through much higher prices for health care.
• Make costs transparent so that consumers understand what health-care treatments cost. How many people know the total cost of their last doctor's visit and how that total breaks down? What other goods or services do we buy without knowing how much they will cost us?
• Enact Medicare reform. We need to face up to the actuarial fact that Medicare is heading towards bankruptcy and enact reforms that create greater patient empowerment, choice and responsibility.
• Finally, revise tax forms to make it easier for individuals to make a voluntary, tax-deductible donation to help the millions of people who have no insurance and aren't covered by Medicare, Medicaid or the State Children's Health Insurance Program.
Many promoters of health-care reform believe that people have an intrinsic ethical right to health care—to equal access to doctors, medicines and hospitals. While all of us empathize with those who are sick, how can we say that all people have more of an intrinsic right to health care than they have to food or shelter?

Health care is a service that we all need, but just like food and shelter it is best provided through voluntary and mutually beneficial market exchanges. A careful reading of both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution will not reveal any intrinsic right to health care, food or shelter. That's because there isn't any. This "right" has never existed in America
Even in countries like Canada and the U.K., there is no intrinsic right to health care. Rather, citizens in these countries are told by government bureaucrats what health-care treatments they are eligible to receive and when they can receive them. All countries with socialized medicine ration health care by forcing their citizens to wait in lines to receive scarce treatments.
Although Canada has a population smaller than California, 830,000 Canadians are currently waiting to be admitted to a hospital or to get treatment, according to a report last month in Investor's Business Daily. In England, the waiting list is 1.8 million.

At Whole Foods we allow our team members to vote on what benefits they most want the company to fund. Our Canadian and British employees express their benefit preferences very clearly—they want supplemental health-care dollars that they can control and spend themselves without permission from their governments. Why would they want such additional health-care benefit dollars if they already have an "intrinsic right to health care"? The answer is clear—no such right truly exists in either Canada or the U.K.—or in any other country.

Rather than increase government spending and control, we need to address the root causes of poor health. This begins with the realization that every American adult is responsible for his or her own health.
Unfortunately many of our health-care problems are self-inflicted: two-thirds of Americans are now overweight and one-third are obese. Most of the diseases that kill us and account for about 70% of all health-care spending—heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes and obesity—are mostly preventable through proper diet, exercise, not smoking, minimal alcohol consumption and other healthy lifestyle choices.
Recent scientific and medical evidence shows that a diet consisting of foods that are plant-based, nutrient dense and low-fat will help prevent and often reverse most degenerative diseases that kill us and are expensive to treat. We should be able to live largely disease-free lives until we are well into our 90s and even past 100 years of age.
Health-care reform is very important. Whatever reforms are enacted it is essential that they be financially responsible, and that we have the freedom to choose doctors and the health-care services that best suit our own unique set of lifestyle choices. We are all responsible for our own lives and our own health. We should take that responsibility very seriously and use our freedom to make wise lifestyle choices that will protect our health. Doing so will enrich our lives and will help create a vibrant and sustainable American society.
Mr. Mackey is co-founder and CEO of Whole Foods Market Inc.

Glorious women, hear us roar!

As I continued my Friday morning paying bills online and writing out checks to our debtors all while breastfeeding my son, I realized that my current state of multitasking was something to notice...something to be proud of. Who else can so so many things at once? Only a woman can:)

For I am a woman and a mother.

Mommy Bridget

p.s. My husband let me sleep in until 8 this morning which probably aided in said abilities

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

An environmental advocate, thank you Mr. Senator Kennedy

I know you may be wondering, what does Senator Kennedy have to do with mothering? It has EVERYTHING to do with mothering! Senator Kennedy was an environmental advocate who worked diligently to improve standards for our air quality, water quality, and to protect wildlife in ANWR (Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge). He also opposed nuclear storage in NV and criticized Bush's administration involvement in the Clean Air name only a few.

We need more people like Ted Kennedy fighting for us, our children, and our children's children so that future generations will be able to live in a rich, healthy, and sustainable environment.

Mommy Bridget

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Is my day over yet?

I've been lacking on the energy to post any new blogs not to mention the creativity to write anything of importance. For some reason...maybe because I've been bragging too much that my son sleeps through the night son has been waking up around 5:30 am again while also waking up screaming once per night.

I am so tired. I have coffee when I wake up in the morning and to make it through the day I have another cup of old/cold coffee in the afternoon. Today's afternoon cup didn't do the job.

How did I do it the first 10 months of his life when he nursed all night and I slept so little? Must have been some super post pregnancy hormones that give us super human powers of energy!

Oh, and my son hasn't had his afternoon nap yet and is currently in his crib pounding on the crib wall and throwing all of his blankets out. Nope, and now he is screaming.

Mommy Bridget

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Farmer's Markets

We have a wonderful market every Saturday in our downtown area of Salt Lake City. We have local vendors selling anything from produce to grass fed beef to homemade soaps and sweet treats. By purchasing products from these vendors you are contributing to small business, not paying extra shipment costs for products cross country, spreading the wealth a little more evenly, contributing less to carbon emissions, and paying much less for products that are as an average much healthier for consumption.

Yesterday I picked up:

string beans
green pepper
fresh basil
sweet onion

So ease up a little on your carbon footprint and head out to your local farmer's markets people!

Mommy Bridget

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Can us mothers have a career AND be soccer mom?

Yesterday, while going for a walk and chatting with a good friend, we got on the topic of motherhood and careers. I commented that I looked forward to the day when my children were old enough to be in educational centers so I can return to graduate school and start a career of my own. She commented that she has no desire to do the same. She said she looked forward to being "soccer mom" and being more involved with her children's school and other activities. I replied that I wanted that as well. So I find myself confronted with the question...can I do both?


Mommy Bridget

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Finally! Our furry family members may be included as tax deductions...

It's about time. There is a new bill in the House that would qualify our family pets as a tax deduction of up to $3500!

This incentive would allow for more citizens to adopt homeless pets and allow for more spending on quality pet care of our furry loved ones.

I'm on board!

Mommy Bridget

Monday, August 17, 2009

Momversation discussion on Healthcare reform

As the US healthcare reform debate continues, I have felt my opinions on the matter the opposite of popular belief. I DO believe this country is in need of a major overhaul on its super corrupt healthcare system. There...I said it. I may not agree exactly on Obama's plan but I see it as better than what we have currently have.

Please join in the conversation about healthcare reform. Watch the video attached.

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Mommy Bridget

Teething Troubles

My son began teething (or at least showing his teeth) by the age of 6 months. It seemed that his first 8 teeth came in one after another and without much of a fuss. He has 4 molars now too and I can honestly say that those came in pretty easy too. I think we gave him Motrin here and there for the discomfort but it really was a breeze.

However, the other night Park seemed fussier than normal. I laid him down on his changing table to look in his mouth because he kept chewing on his finger and noticed an area becoming red as if he was about to sprout another tooth. When I touched it, he let out a loud growling noise that concerned and shocked both me and my husband. So I proceeded to give him Motrin but he was crying in such a fury that he needed some relief asap. I pulled out these teething tablets that I was recommended by my sister-in-law months ago and never needed to use. They are called Hyland's Teething Tablets. They worked IMMEDIATELY. My son loved them and couldn't get enough of them...I recommend them to any Mommas who have yet to find something that works. I found them at SuperTarget.

Now if he even sees the bottle he points to them and whines as if he wants more. I tried them and they don't taste like much of anything...which almost makes me wonder what the "secret" ingredient could be???

Mommy Bridget

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Tub Matters

As my son played joyfully in his bathtub, splashing about in the water and throwing his toys around...I noticed something out of the ordinary. It wasn't a bath toy. It wasn't his wash cloth. It wasn't his soap.

It was poop.

My son officially "broke in" the bath tub by relieving himself right then and there. And it was gross! But thanks to my sister's advice for cleaning it up, there is no evidence of the poop accident. She did however warn me of the strong possibility of a recurrence.

I pray this won't be.

Mommy Bridget

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Feeding from me to feeding himself?

My son is officially feeding himself...not just with his hands but with a fork and a spoon! I may be a bit behind on reading such books as What to Expect the Toddler Years to know that this is normal but come on....really? It seems like only yesterday he ONLY ate from my boob!

Oh...and he likes to stick his entire head in the bowl. I gotta give him credit, he figured out the most practical approach to consume as many calories while using the least amount of energy doing so. My little genius:)

Mommy Bridget

Monday, August 10, 2009

Gasoline Prices Surge

As we notice the once again low gas prices begin to creep back up to their former prices, we can't help but do we deal with soaring gas prices?

Stay out of your vehicle unless you absolutely need to drive! It's very simple and a healthy approach to positive changes for you, your family, and your environment.

Since we purchased our new house 9 months ago and have sunk all of our savings into the remodel, we have had to make cost saving of those being driving less. So I made the decision to run my errands (groceries, bank, dry cleaners, etc.) one day a week. I drive a Jeep and although it gets great gas mileage for being an SUV, it still costs a lot not to mention it's still a vehicle and vehicles are terrible for our air quality.

Now, if I could just get my play dates to be closer so I wouldn't have to drive to those...

Mommy Bridget

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Skin Issues

Living in the desert has a remarkable affect to those who reside here. The desert affects us in so many ways from water consumption to the awareness of the fragility and strength surrounding us. As awe stricken and inspiring the desert can hold for those living here, it can also have less desirable effects. For example, the bitter battle of dry skin...

The minute my son was born, I knew how careful I had to be with washing his fragile skin and protecting it from harmful ingredients that make up the majority of baby products on supermarket shelves these days. I was armed with natural baby products that smelled oh so yummy and that were advised from many moms alike. However, I noticed within days his skin drying drastically. I lathered him with apricot oil and washed him so delicately...but to no avail his skin remained dry.

A friend of mine offered a trade of baby products she wasn't using for the products that were troubling my infants skin. I was given Nature's Baby Organics Shampoo and Lavender Body wash. After using it for 1 week, my son's skin was much better. No more eczema or red skin patches. We still use it today...I recommend it for everyone. Especially those living in the desert! Thanks Jess!!!

Mommy Bridget

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Mouth full of pastry

As I watched my son delightfully stuff what I could only describe as a fistful of a cinnamon/sugar pastry into his mouth I surprised him with this morning, I couldn't help but worry about the possibility of choking...

so I remembered a "cheat sheet" I printed out for my husband and pasted to the refrigerator door the first time I left my son on a weekend getaway with the ladies. I refer to this on occasion as I have witnessed my son have a few scary episodes where he put too much or something inedible into his chomper.

Below is a good reminder for all of us Mommies and the like:

4 questions about: Choking

Will I know it when I see it?
Yes. Choking means that your baby is trying to get air or dislodge something that's partially obstructing his airway. Your baby may be choking if he has trouble breathing, is making unusual sounds, or is gagging, coughing, or wheezing. His skin may turn red or blue, and he may lose consciousness.

What should I do if my baby starts choking?
If your baby can cough, cry, or speak and appears to be breathing adequately, then his airway isn't fully blocked. He'll probably be able to clear the obstruction on his own, and the best thing a parent can do is stay calm and reassuring. But if your baby is gasping for breath, turning from red to blue, looks panicked (wide eyes, open mouth), or appears unconscious, then yell for help and ask someone to call 911 immediately while you try to clear his airway:
1. If (and only if) you see the obstructing object, do a finger sweep to clear it. If you don't see the object, don't put your finger in your baby's mouth, as it may push the object further back in his throat.
2. Hold your baby facedown over your forearm, supporting his chin in your hand. Keep his head lower than the rest of his body.
3. Give him five back blows: quick, firm-but-gentle thumps with the heel of your hand between his shoulder blades — remembering that a baby's internal organs are fragile.
4. If your baby starts coughing, let him try to expel whatever is making him choke rather than inserting your fingers in his mouth to remove it. If he doesn't cough up the item, carefully turn him over and apply two or four of your fingers to the middle of his breastbone and give five chest thrusts (about one-half to one inch deep).
5. If the item causing the choking doesn't come out, check again for visible obstruction. Lay your baby flat on his back, hold his tongue down with your thumb, and lift his jaw up to look at the back of his throat. If you still can't see the object and have been instructed in rescue breathing or CPR for infants, start the process. Otherwise repeat steps 2 and 3. Continue to do the best you can and get help as quickly as possible.
What are good ways to prevent choking?
Give your baby age-appropriate food (mashed or strained foods and safe finger foods such as teething biscuits and O-shaped cereal), supervise him during feedings (don't feed in a rush or in the car), and always have him sit upright when fed. Don't let him play with small objects, toys that have small parts, or containers of baby powder. Follow the age guidelines on toys — they're based on safety, not just educational value or developmental skill. Also use caution giving teething medication, as it could interfere with your baby's gag reflex. Choking is one of the most common causes of death in children, so every parent and caregiver should take a class in infant CPR.

What if I suspect that my baby has swallowed something?
It's common for babies to swallow small objects (such as coins), which usually pass through the intestines without causing harm. But if you notice excessive drooling or an inability to swallow, a dramatic decrease in appetite, or if your baby indicates he's feeling pain where an object may be stuck, call your baby's doctor or go to the emergency room immediately.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Thank you Mr. Hughes

As with the passing of Mr. MJ last month in an uproar of sadness, the passing of John Hughes, director of the iconic films The Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles, has brought upon the end of an era. Unlike MJ, Hughes enlightened the world with his vision of the original teen misfits confused in the perplexities of what it means to be a young adult in the 1980's, the 90's, and even today.

quote from The Breakfast Club:

"Dear Mr. Vernon: We accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it was we did wrong. And what we did was wrong. But we think you're crazy to make us write an essay telling you who we think we are. What do you care? You see us as you want to see us."

Thank you for your inspiration Mr. John Hughes...I will never forget your work and your inspiration.

Mommy Bridget

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Today in the News...

3 women killed, 9 others hurt in gym massacre
Gunman opens fire in dance class at Pa. health club before shooting himself

Why aren't they making weapon laws stricter in regards to screening to individuals who are asking for permits or even to those that already have them?

Discouraged and Saddened Mommy Bridget

To cry it out or to not cry it out?

I think it is safe to son is finally sleeping through the night. All it took was a few nights just the two of us, ear plugs, and very very strong will power (between the both of us).

I can't say enough how pleased I am! My son has been more than ready for sometime...he just needed a little nudge. I know "crying it out" is controversial among parents. He didn't cry so much as he yelled. But only the first night. The following nights he awoke once and made some noise for a few minutes but would go back to sleep. Now we are on 3 nights of no peeps...and its glorious!

Mommy Bridget

Comments to the topic are welcome and encouraged...

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

One of those days...

I love my son but it was just one of those days...

Enjoy the laugh!

(click on the title of this posting)