WHOOPING COUGH WHEN PREGNANT- A TERRIFYING TIME.
This is my story about why I have become a passionate advocate for vaccination, and why I’m so proud to be an administrator of our group, The Northern Rivers Vaccination Supporters.
I’m Heidi and I’m a Northern Rivers resident. I’m a mum of two young boys, aged 4 and 6. I’m a former Intensive Care Ambulance Paramedic, I run a First Aid business locally…. I’ve worked as a Paramedic in Sydney, as well as in many third world countries. My qualifications include a Bachelor of Health Science. I tell you this because even though I had experience in the health field, I had no idea that Whooping Cough boosters were needed for adults every ten years. Every other vaccine I was recommended in all my travels to third world countries, I was informed about. Nothing was ever mentioned about the Whooping Cough booster.
I contracted whooping cough when I was six months pregnant in 2008. At first, I thought I had a nasty upper respiratory tract infection. It didn’t go away, and the coughing became progressively worse. I had coughing spasms so violent I feared I would lose my baby. I vomited after every spasm. I was incontinent after every spasm. I burst blood vessels in my eyes, strained muscles in my back and chest, and was unable to care for my two year old. After the particularly bad spasms, which could go on for minutes at a time, I would either cry from being so frightened, or I would fall into an exhausted sleep, only to be awoken several minutes later by another bout. This went on for nearly 3 months. I look back now and feel sick to the stomach that I may have unknowingly infected others during the time I remained undiagnosed. If I had contracted the disease even one month later, I would have passed it on to my vulnerable newborn baby, and this would be a very different and tragic story. I was a fit, healthy adult. How a baby suffers from this I cannot even begin to imagine.
My baby boy was born in Brisbane within a few days of the beautiful Dana McCafferey being born in the Northern Rivers, who tragically lost her life to whooping cough at the age of 4 weeks. Please make no mistake. This is a disease which can, and has, killed, and has left many who survive with permanent disabilities.
Please, let’s all form a chain of protection and get vaccinated.