Before we even decided to start a family, Tall and I had decided it was time to leave England and return home to NZ. We’d had enough of bleak winters, Tall hated his job, and we were newly married, so it just felt like the right time.
NZ is such a long way from anywhere, and like many kiwis who return after their OEs, we wanted to do one last, big trip on the way home. I reeeally wanted to go to South Africa, and Tall reeeally wanted to go to South America; I could say that we talked about the pros and cons of each place and came to a mutual decision, but in all reality…I just gave in first. So. We were off to see the vast, beautiful continent of South America. Wheeeee!
With the help of Rough Guides, a massive map, and our flatmates who were planning pretty much the same trip on their way home, we planned out a rough itinerary for seven weeks, and Tall booked our flights.
Three weeks later, we found out that I was pregnant. We spent a few days giddy with excitement at our secret joy, until it suddenly dawned on us – would we still be able to take our trip through South America?
I don’t know how many hours I spent trawling the internet, looking for an answer. I spoke to my doctor, and he suggested I make an appointment to see Nurse Lucy, the travel vaccinator at our local NHS clinic.
Nurse Lucy was SCARY. She told me that on no uncertain terms would she vaccinate me for any of the prevalent nasties, I wouldn’t be able to take malarial prophylactics, and that we SHOULD NOT GO. End of story.
But what she was saying didn’t necessarily add up with all the information I’d found online, so I decided to visit a few more travel health professionals to see what they had to say. They all said that most of the vaccines were a definite no-go, but not one of them said that I shouldn’t go. And when Tall saw Nurse Lucy for his travel shots, she admitted that perhaps she’d been a bit hasty, and suggested I go back to see her.
Nurse Lucy was SCARY. I didn’t go back.
I agonised over what to do for quite some time. Tall was no help – he said that it was 100% my decision, and that he’d support me in whatever I chose to do. Could I ever forgive myself if I contracted malaria or HepA, and something terrible happened to our unborn baby, if we went? Would I regret missing such an awesome opportunity, if we didn’t? Would Tall really support my decision, and accept any consequences there might be?