An Australian mother who refused to be vaccinated against whooping cough has changed her stance on immunizations after passing the illness on to her newborn child.
“If I could turn back time, I would protect myself,” Cormit Avital said in a video, according to Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC.net). “It’s been a nightmare.”
Avital further explained she was offered the vaccine at 28 weeks pregnant but rejected it. The first-time mom, who owns a health beverage company, said she stayed fit and consumed organic food during her pregnancy, and suffered no complications or deficiencies.
“[But] even me, the bulletproof lady who has never been to a doctor, traveled the world and felt healthy, got whooping cough,” she said, according to ABC.net.
A few days after Avital gave birth to daughter Eva, doctors informed her that both she and the child had whooping cough. Avita said Eva’s symptoms began as a slight cough, but within two weeks they turned to “horror movie coughing.”
Symptoms of whooping cough can begin with runny nose, low-grade fever, occasional cough and a pause in breathing, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Symptoms can then progress to coughing fits, vomiting and exhaustion.
“[Eva] was coughing to the point of going blue, flopping in my hands,” Avita said, according to ABC.net. When she couldn’t breathe, Avita rushed her daughter to the hospital.
“It’s just so hard to watch this tiny little thing go from red to blue,” she said. “Sometimes they go a bit black, and for a moment you think they are dead in your hands.”
“It’s a lot of suffering for a tiny little thing you love so much,” she added.
According to the report, Eva is currently in intensive care as she enters her fourth week of illness.