Frantically, I shot out of bed. My stomach was in knots, as it often was during those first few months of motherhood. My imagination on overdrive, I braced for the worst. I bent over my newborn’s crib and placed my hand on her chest. With a sigh of relief, I watched it move up and down.

Earlier that day, my infant daughter had received yet another round of what felt like endless vaccinations. I was an anxious, postpartum mess. I bawled each time the doctor poked her squishy thigh.

I turned to Google to help me digest the vaccine alphabet soup. (And here I’d thought MMR was just a radio station). DtAP. Hib. RV. PVC. VAR. HepA. I cluelessly and feverishly “researched” my way through a glut of articles about the ingredients going into my newborn’s fragile body. I zeroed in on the grimmest statistics and thought: What if the antivaxxers are right?

Our pediatrician talked me down off the ledge by explaining in plain language how the risks were small and the benefits huge. Exhausted, I agreed and allowed my baby to be vaccinated. I lost a few nights’ sleep waiting for the worst to happen, but she was perfectly fine. Years later, I vaccinated my second newborn with fewer concerns and calmer nerves.

» READ MORE: I was a COVID-19 vaccine skeptic. Now I want you to get your shot. | Opinion

I share this story to make a point: I get why some parents, even parents who believe in science and have gotten vaccinated for COVID-19 themselves, are hesitant to sign their kids up for the COVID-19 vaccine, recently approved by the CDC. And until recently, I wasn’t 100% sure I wanted to be first in line for my children to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Then something happened that made me realize how important it was for them to get vaccinated — both for their sake and that of someone we love.

In October, my younger child got sick. The first signs were flulike body aches that seemed to come out of nowhere. Her symptoms were up and down. A fever. Then, a sore throat. Next, a cough. The test results came back and she was positive for COVID-19.

I blamed everyone but was primarily angry at myself for letting my guard down. Worse yet, we quickly realized that, prior to her becoming symptomatic but well within the window of contagion, we’d had a visitor: Grandpa.

He’d shown up to our home unexpectedly to bring some delicious Polish food prepared by Grandma. He was masked, and always is, because my 79-year-old mother-in-law cannot (for legitimate health reasons) receive the vaccine.

I panicked as my anxious mind turned to one thing: Did we give COVID to Grandma?

My mother-in-law hasn’t set foot inside our home since the pandemic started. Between her health concerns, her age, and her vaccination status, she’s one of the people COVID-19 might dispatch with ease.

Grandma — and the thousands like her who just want to hug their families without fear of death — is the main reason I’m vaccinating my children.

We got lucky. We’re all doing better now, including my mother-in-law, who remained COVID-free.

After our COVID-19 scare, I took the initiative to get my questions answered by people qualified to address them to help ease my concerns about vaccinating my kids. I spoke with my cousin who heads up discovery research at a major pharmaceutical firm; my pod-mom buddy, an immunologist and seasoned biology professor; a dear family friend who does analytical research and development; and of course, our pediatrician.

» READ MORE: My coronavirus ‘pod squad’: Chaos, managed risk, and glimmers of sanity for our kids | Opinion

They each agreed the COVID-19 vaccine doesn’t “linger” in the body indefinitely. It’s like a boxing coach that teaches your system how to knock out the virus if it invades.

I also learned the effects of COVID-19 may remain in the system long after the kids grow up, leaving nasty gifts like significant organ damage. (Just like hepatitis B … which we routinely vaccinate kids for. Logic, people!) And the risk of vaccine side effects for kids is relatively low compared with the risk of side effects from the actual virus.

I’m convinced this virus isn’t going away unless the majority of the population — including kids — get vaccinated against it.

Worry is a terrible feeling. Worrying about the safety of a vaccine is unsettling. But the worry you feel watching your child suffer from the effects of COVID is hellish. And worrying that your kid killed Grandma is even worse.

Bethany Watson-Ostrowski is a freelance writer with a growing corporate communications portfolio and the owner of Bethany’s Events Catering.