Saturday, December 22, 2012

What More Could You Want for Christmas?

Merry Christmas, all y'all out in virtual birthy-blogland! I hope this season is finding you blessed, enjoying yourselves, and not a stressed-out mess like I was yesterday.

I wanted to share two really quick - and really awesome! - things with you before I sign off for the season. Enjoy!

First of all... A really awesome article on Gestational Diabetes over at Banned from Baby Showers. Do you want to know more about it? Are you afraid of getting it? Do you have it? This is such an awesome article, by a mama who has multiple experiences with this condition. Check it out!

And secondly... Do you love placentas? Of course you do! Who doesn't? Since that's the case, hop on over and join this Facebook group - The Placenta: A Guide to Examination. This awesome - and extremely active! - group is a place for birth professionals to post pictures of placentas and discuss them in all their glory. For normal birth junkies like me, as well as for the more learned birth professionals among us, this is an amazing place to learn about placenta physiology and variations. I have already learned so much! If we're ever blessed with another little one, I'm already looking forward to examining and dissecting my placenta! Woo hoo!

And that's all for now, folks! I'll see you all next year, so....

~ Merry Christmas! ~

Love to everyone! 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Working for My New Bosses

Nope, I haven't taken a job.... but I do have a boss. Possibly two or three of them.

Can you guess who they are?

My new bosses are... my future daughters-in-law. Wow, that sounds weird to say. Really weird, and somewhat alarming. In other words, some day I will be a mother-in-law. Boy, that is intimidating. 

But more importantly than that scary snippet is the fact that at some point, my husband and I will be called to account for how we parent our sons. 


Because for every parental failing that we let go uncorrected... for every pattern of sin that we let flourish unchecked in our boys... for every untaught skill that we leave unremedied - our daughters-in-law will pay. They will pay in emotional turmoil, in tears, in family strife, in having to live with the faults that we didn't deal with in our parenting journey. 

We have eighteen years with each boy. With our eldest (age six), one third of that time is over. One third of the job we have to do is done, however well or however badly we have done it. But regardless of the quality of our work, time continues on - and whenever each of our boys takes a bride, the truth of our work will out - and the test will come as to how good of a citizen, husband, and father our boys will make.

God, this is one job that I don't want to mess up.

I want our boys to be excellent citizens who make a difference, and to be godly husbands and fathers who lead and direct their families biblically and with excellence. 

Yet I feel so completely and totally inadequate. If I started listing my parenting failings, we'd be here all night. Though I have put blood, sweat, and tears into this parenting gig (massive amounts of all of the above, as a matter of fact), the job that I've done so far feels like... well, like I have so very far to go. And like I have done so poorly, despite my efforts and my prayers. 

If we get to the end of the parenting journey and produce adult sons anything like what we want, it will be by the grace of God alone. 

But I will keep trying. I will keep praying and begging God for guidance and strength. I will fight the good fight. Because it's worth it. It's one fight in life which is truly worth it. After all, it's our God-given job! 

And furthermore, my bosses will have something to say (in another twenty years or so) if I blow it! 

Can you believe that some day these babies will be HUSBANDS?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

In Love With "Loving the Little Years"

This week I have finished my second read-through of Rachel Jankovic's "Loving the Little Years: Motherhood in the Trenches." I cannot say how much I enjoy this book!

"Loving the Little Years" is a small book - not a huge reference tome. And it's not a traditional "mothering young children" parenting book - i.e. the type that says "for misbehavior A, apply solution B." Rather, it is an examination of the various challenges faced by mothers of young children, and an examination of how our own attitudes and spiritual growth can have such a powerful impact on our parenting.

I found myself laughing through this book - firstly because I, like Jankovic, now consider taking out the trash to be "a destination." (Yes, I have arrived at that point.) I love her descriptions (like that one) of "motherhood in the trenches." There's nothing light and easy and flowery about mothering young children! It may be joyful, but it is also hard, heart-wrenching work that can bring you to tears on a regular basis. It is hard work, and is full of moments like those Jankovic describes so aptly (as a mom of five young ones, she should know!).

Secondly, I found myself laughing a bit self-consciously as Jankovic time after time (after time) pinpointed my sins and shortcomings as a mother. Oh, goodness - she really knows me! She nailed me! Jankovic has a unique ability to shine her words like a powerful searchlight into her readers' hearts - she really showed me the areas where my sin is holding back my parenting ability or my relationship with my children, or where my attitude really stinks and needs to be improved. Some of these things I have partly recognized, and some were a complete surprise. All were things that I need to work on, and I am so glad that a woman of such discernment and wisdom was able to speak into my life to let me see where I need work!

 I'm not going to post quotes, because I would end up quoting the whole book. But needless to say, I highly recommend this book! I have numerous parenting books, many of which I love, and this little gem is truly one for the collection - a keeper. I hope you all enjoy it as much as I do!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Excellent Post on Severe Morning Sickness

A birth blogger that I follow, Navelgazing Midwife, posted an excellent article on hyperemesis gravidarum. Composed of snippets of testimonies from various hyperemesis mums, it is a wonderful picture of the realities of hyperemesis. Check it out, and share!

Navelgazing Midwife: Hyperemesis Gravidarum

One thing that hits me (again!) as I read this article is how "easy" I had it. My round with hyperemesis would, on the HG scale, rate "mild" or "borderline." I know nothing of the true depths of hyperemesis. My heart goes out to the mums who have been down the darkest paths of HG.

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Ultimate in Maternity Clothes

Have y'all heard? The Modest Mom is now Deborah & Co., and I highly recommend that you march right on over there to check out their awesome selection of maternity and nursing clothing - as well as their women's and girls' clothes. This is an awesome company from one mom who, having a hard time finding attractive and modest maternity clothing, started making her own - and is now the owner of her own clothing business!

My friend owns a maternity skirt from this company, and she lives in it (and swears by it!). I can't wait to buy something from this company myself. This is a great way to support small business, American business, and to get great products. Check out her blog too, which I have enjoyed for several years.

Happy shopping!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Awesome Video of Triplets Birth!

I wanted to share this awesome birth video (hat tip to my friend Amanda) - it is the spontaneous, unmedicated, vaginal birth of triplets! How awesome is that?

This birth occurs in a hospital, though the mama has had two homebirths for her other two children. You will see from her comments in the video that she had to make some unwanted compromises, but overall the birth went well and was fairly hands-off.

I believe that this birth occurred in England (right? anybody?), and perhaps that is why the birth seems so much less "fussy" than American births. Much less commotion, less shouted coaching at the mother, fewer interventions. Though there were a few things that bugged me (premature cord clamping! ack!), on the whole I was very favorably impressed with this birth. It would be very hard to get a vaginal triplet birth of this caliber in America (as far as I know!).

The short version: Babies A and C are vertex, Baby B is double footling breech and requires neonatal resuscitation (but ultimately does fine).

If I had multiples, I think I'd still want to have them at home. But this mama is an awesome warrior birther (how does she do it so calmly??), and I am in awe of this birth.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Debate Continues: Premature (Immediate) vs. Physiologic (Delayed) Cord Clamping

Last night, as I was pausing to waste a few minutes on Facebook, I came across an article that disappointed me greatly. Written by a practicing OB/GYN at Fair Oaks Women's Health in Pasadena, CA (just a few minutes from my hometown!), the article purported to show why delayed cord clamping (DCC, also known as physiologic cord clamping) is unhelpful or even harmful.

For a few seconds, I was quite taken aback. Cord clamping issues are one of my many passions in the birth world, and over the past few years I have read article after article after article showing the harmful health effects of immediate (or premature) cord clamping (which deprives a baby both of its oxygen supply and of its full blood volume), and the health benefits of physiologic/delayed cord clamping, which allows a baby to continue to receive oxygen after the birth as well as its full blood volume as it is pumped back into the baby from the placenta. Although the sacred cow of immediate cord clamping is proving a hard dinosaur to slay in hospital births, it is on its way out as more and more care providers learn of this evidence. I do not know of any licensed midwives in the entire state of Arizona (or hospital nurse-midwives, for that matter) who still practice the outdated procedure of immediate cord clamping.

As the evening progressed, more and more comments showed up on the blog post, all pointing to the deficiencies or inaccuracies contained therein. I had hoped that the number of comments would provoke a thoughtful discussion from the doctor who authored the piece, but to my disappointment, the article was taken down by this morning, so all possibility of meaningful discourse was ended.

I assume, of course, that the doctor took down the piece because he wished to do more research into the subject, rather than out of fear that his clients would read comments that reflected negatively on his position. If that is the case, and I am sure it is, I look forward to seeing a blog post in the future reflecting more accurate views on the benefits of delayed cord clamping. It is from situations like this that wonderful and positive changes can come to care provider habits, and I will look for this in the future from Fair Oaks Women's Health doctors.

In the meantime, here please see my link list to various pieces on the benefits of delayed/physiologic cord clamping (and the harmful effects of immediate cord clamping), which includes an excellent piece by Dr. Nicholas Fogelson ("Delayed Cord Clamping Should Be Standard Practice in Obstetrics"), as well this excellent and timely piece at Science and Sensibility: "Common Objections to Delayed Cord Clamping: What's the Evidence Say?"

I look forward to hearing great things at Fair Oaks Women's Health as the doctors there use this opportunity to learn and update their practices.

Later note: The full (and excellent!) response to Dr. Jick's article may be found here at Check it out and join the conversation!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Time for Some Extreme Awesomeness!

Okay, all y'all! There's a lot of awesomeness in the world, but when we're talking extreme awesomeness, there's only one thing to which I can be referring. You all know what I'm talking about, right? We're talking about...

Placenta Medicine!!!

Yes! This blog is your one-stop refer-all site for the wonders of placenta medicine, better known as the post-birth maternal consumption of the placenta. If you haven't heard of this before, you are in for a treat!

To introduce this yummy topic, read about my first experience with placenta medicine - part 1 and part 2. Then hop over here to check out a list of links to the scientific studies supporting placentophagy (consumption of the placenta) for numerous benefits - help with hormonal fluctuation, anemia prevention, postpartum fatigue alleviation, afterpain relief, postpartum depression prevention and treatment, and milk production.

With my first birth, I had never heard of placenta medicine, and my placenta went the way of all good biowaste (*sob*). With my second birth, I had heard of placenta medicine and decided to try it - it just made sense, as almost all mammals (and many traditional peoples) eat their placentas. Why not? So I tried it. I had a placenta smoothie right after the birth, and I decided to dehydrate and encapsulate the rest.

To my surprise, the effects of placenta medicine were amazing. Placenta medicine helped my postpartum energy and moods (which were sorely tested by the severe nursing problems we experienced) tremendously. Most amazing, however, was its effect on my afterpains.

For those of you who haven't yet given birth: Afterpains are the post-birth contractions of the uterus, the purpose of which is to shrink the uterus back to its pre-pregnancy size, and also to prevent too much bleeding. They are very uncomfortable! However, with one's first birth they are supposed to be extremely mild or even unnoticeable - they then get worse with each subsequent birth.

That was NOT my experience.

With my first birth, the afterpains were excruciating. I believe "toe-curling" is the correct descriptor. They were so intense and painful that I was unable to hold the baby for more than a couple of minutes after the birth. I then had to hand over the baby to my husband and midwives to hold while I dealt with the afterpains. I completely missed the "nursing window" - the first hour after the birth when baby is awake and alert and when nursing introduction is optimal (after that, baby usually falls asleep for a few hours, and you have to wait quite a while to initiate breastfeeding). It was awful, and the afterpains continued for weeks upon weeks. It totally stank.

Enter placenta medicine!

I still had horrible afterpains. I still missed the breastfeeding window. But my afterpains (which should have gotten worse for a second birth) were so much better! It was night and day! And I only had a few "toe-curler" afterpains, instead of days and weeks of them. It was a HUGE improvement!

I was a complete convert.

With my third birth, I was determined to outwit those afterpains and have a fighting chance at a decent bonding experience with my baby. Thus, I developed the following postpartum plan:

  • Placenta Medicine
  • Advil within seconds of the birth, max dosage
  • Homeopathic Arnica
  • An afterpains tincture from an herb shop
  • Calcium-magnesium liquid supplement, taken during the 3rd trimester and during the postpartum
I made one change to my placenta medicine. Being that I was lazy and didn't want to take the time to encapsulate, and also because I was concerned that modern dehydrators go above the "raw foods" temperature limit (thus destroying various enzymes and vitamins/hormones), I decided to do all-raw placenta medicine - in the form of my famous placenta smoothies (placenta, orange juice, yogurt, mixed frozen berries). I asked a friend to take the placenta off of the membranes and to cut it up into pieces for me, which I kept in the fridge, and planned to use one piece per day in a smoothie.

Immediately, however, I ran into a snag - there is no way to eat a placenta in that way fast enough to consume the placenta before it goes bad. Thus, I asked my husband to put it in the freezer for me, and I used the pieces frozen.

Only problem - DH did not keep the pieces separate in the freezer, so all of them froze together in one huge, icy, placenta-blob. Thus, if you had come over to our house in the two weeks after our birth, you might have seen me hacking wildly at the placenta-ice-brick with an ice pick, attempting to break off a piece for a smoothie. Amusing, to say the least!

And how did this plan work to eliminate those hideous afterpains?


Wow, it was night and day! Only mild-by-comparison afterpains which dissipated much more quickly. My postpartum was a dream.

I know that the plan made a difference, just because afterpains do typically get worse with each baby. As I've worked on my plan and implemented placenta medicine and other components, they have atypically gotten better and better.

This will be my plan from now on!

If anyone has any questions or further ideas, please let me know!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Birth Story: Baby #10

Do you read the "Four Moms, 35+ Kids" blogs? If you don't, you should! Here they are:

 These moms, besides doing their own individual blogging, post weekly on commonly chosen topics ("How to deal with tantrums!" "How to deal with the laundry!" "How to organize children's clothes!" "How to get kids to sit in church!"), and also answer reader questions once a month. Being that these moms have something like forty children total, they are an enormous wealth of wisdom and information, and I have learned so much from reading these blogs the past year or two. I love them. Did I mention that I love them? No? Well, I do!

Anyhow, I thought you all might especially enjoy the birth story of baby Calvin, born over at In a Shoe last week! Baby Calvin was a planned homebirth, almost an accidental unassisted birth, and his mommy has written out her story - part 1 and part 2.

Enjoy, and congratulations to this wonderful family!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Diet & Postpartum Nausea

(Cross-posting this from my morning sickness blog, as I thought this might be of interest to my birthy readers!)

One surprising thing that I have learned in my studies of pregnancy and birth is that there are some areas of medicine that are unknown to modern doctors. With regard to nausea and vomiting of pregnancy, one area of which modern doctors do not seem to be aware is the phenomenon of postpartum nausea. I am not referring to the extremely rare phenomenon of HG that continues past the birth (though that seems to be similarly unknown), but rather to the phenomenon of residual nausea - minor nausea that persists for sometime (weeks, months, years) past the birth of the child.

The common perception seems to be that NVP vanishes completely at birth, but that was not my experience. With my first full-term pregnancy (also my one experience with true HG), I experienced bouts of nausea that lasted for various amounts of time (usually a couple of minutes or hours), and this continued - in diminishing amounts - for the first two years postpartum. At one point the nausea was strong enough to make me dry-heave, but the rest of the time the bouts were merely unpleasant. Because I was new to the experience, though, I was in a continual state of panic during that time, thinking that I was pregnant and that this was the start of HG.

With my subsequent two (non-HG) pregnancies, I also experienced postpartum nausea episodes. This past time, they were quite unpleasant, and quite frequent (multiple times per day).

Since writing about residual postpartum nausea, I have heard from numerous women telling me that I am not alone - that they too have experienced this phenomenon (whew, I'm not crazy!). However, when I have mentioned this subject to several different doctors, the only response has been a "You're crazy, lady" look and a quick change of subject. No doctor to whom I have spoken seems to have heard of residual nausea. 

This leads to two points:

- Whatever NVP/HG does to our bodies, the effects do not disappear instantaneously, especially in some women.

- This leads me to wonder what would happen to a woman should she start another pregnancy before the residual nausea was gone from the last pregnancy. Actually, I'm not sure I want to know, because it scares me too much.

HOWEVER, there is good news!

Being that my cycle has (supposedly) returned, I am now back on the VLC diet - I am now on day 68, with no cheating!! (Except for one day when I took a big drink of my son's lemonade, thinking that it was my water. And then did it again two hours later. Nice!) And....

My postpartum nausea has evaporated, pretty much completely! Hurray!!!

Score one for the VLC diet! For whatever the cause, it really works with nausea. I am thrilled about this, because the residual nausea was very unpleasant, and it's nice to be finally rid of it.

Thoughts, everyone?

And now... Have a great day, everyone! I'm off to go shopping, make cauliflower pizza, and organize family movie night. If all that gets done, it'll be a miracle.

Happy weekend!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Watching a Mama Achieve Some Sheer Awesomeness!

The following video is from the homebirth of a friend of mine whose baby was born three weeks to the day after our last. She rocks this birth! Check it out!

My first thought was, "Wow! She made sounds exactly like I did!" - which is just awesome!

This is birth in the very real sense. Raw, unvarnished (no new-age soundtracks!), up-close and personal. Women who have not yet given birth may find it a bit overwhelming, but it's awesome and inspiring at the same time.

Does birth hurt? Yeessss. But it is also the most powerful, transformational, and inspiring work that a woman can do, and it is utterly amazing to witness a woman in all of her power doing the work that God designed her body to do.

Congratulations to this family!!!

"We have a secret in our culture, and it's not that birth is painful. It's that women are strong." 
~ Laura Stavoe Harm ~

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Books That Changed the World

(This has nothing to do with birth, but I thought I'd cross-post from my personal blog just for fun!) 


 Books that changed my world, that is!

The other night, I randomly grabbed a piece of paper and started writing down books that had changed my life. Not my favorite books (though there's a lot of cross-over), but books that changed my life. Either my mind or my life's direction was different after reading one of these books than it was beforehand.

So, just for the fun of it, here they are! Though this was not by personal design, you will notice that almost all of these books (okay, all of them), are faith-based. Not surprising, since faith is truly the underlying basis of life, Christian or otherwise!

- The Bible - This is rather obvious, but here you have it! The first time the Bible really meant something to me was in junior high, when I received one of those tiny green Gideon Bibles. I was intrigued by the size of it, so I read it - and it meant something much deeper than I had ever before gleaned from the Bible. Ever since, it has been in the business of changing my mind, my heart, and my life - on a daily basis.

- The Hiding Place - The true story of a Christian woman in Nazi-occupied Holland who helped to help and hide persecuted Jews, and whose father and sister both died in the concentration camps. We found this book in my grandmother's house after her death, and it gave me insight into the Christian faith that I had never had before - especially the place that suffering holds in the Christian's life. Absolutely life-changing.

- A Mom Just Like You - A retiring homeschooling mom gave me this book a couple of years ago, and it (along with several other sources) has completely changed my mind on several areas of life (oddly enough, homeschooling is not one of them). Our life will never be the same.

- A Woman After God's Own Heart - This book was my first brush with concepts of biblical femininity, and when I ran into it in college I found it absolutely mind-blowing. I had never come across these concepts, and they were totally foreign. I am forever grateful to Elizabeth George for opening my mind and my heart to what the Bible has to say about women.

- No Compromise - This is my husband's favorite book! So, of course, when we started dating, it became absolutely essential that I read it. I did.... and again, it changed my life. I had never known that a life devoted to Christ was such a deep and life-changing event, or that the Christian faith could be so meaningful and universe-changing. This is now one of my favorite books, and I read it every year or two. If you haven't read this one, check it out! Right now!

- Left Behind - When I was in college, my childhood pastor read a brief passage from this book in one of his sermons. I was intrigued! I had never heard of the Rapture, or of Revelation theology, or end-times theology at all. I immediately went out and bought the book and read it ravenously - along with the rest of the series (or what there was of it at the time - it wasn't finished at the time). This series helped to form my conception of the Christian faith, and I learned so much while reading it! I never finished the series, and I no longer embrace a pre-tribulation Rapture view, but this book was essential to bringing me to faith and shaping the beginnings of my Christian beliefs.

- Family-Driven Faith - I bought this book randomly a few years ago, and it blew my mind. True - my brain pretty much exploded. Voddie Baucham presented so many ideas that I had never even considered, and a good deal of my church-theology changed as a result. This book is so stinking good - if you haven't read it, go get it! Right now!

- Grudem's Systematic Theology - This took me a loonnngggg time to read - a year or more. But it was awesome, and completely worth it! I had never looked into serious theology past the usual Christian living books, and reading a really good systematic theology (which is also user-friendly) was very stretching and challenging in a wonderful way. If I ever have time, I will read it again! That won't be for another forty years or so, but I'll get around to it! Really!

- Total Truth - I read this book many years ago, and it really changed a lot of my ideas. Oddly enough, I can remember almost nothing of it - I need to go back and read it again. But it changed my thinking a good deal, even if I cannot now remember how! (Profound, no?)

Honorable Mentions:

- The Once and Future King - My first introduction to really good literature, and to really good historical fantasy. Definitely a turning point in my reading habits! As a matter of fact, I never read it now because the cat scene and the unicorn scene totally freak me out - but it is still an excellent book.

- Pride and Prejudice - My first introduction into what would become a life-long passionate love of historical British literature. When I first opened it, it seemed complete gibberish - and it is now one of my all-time favorites.

- I Kissed Dating Goodbye - My first idea that there was something out there different from the usual American dating scheme. An awesome book, and it totally changed my thinking. I wish that I had found it a few years earlier!

- The Upside Down Church - I came to Christ (I believe) through the ministry of Calvary Chapel, and this book (written by a Calvary pastor) explained many things that shaped how my baby-faith grew in the initial years.

Just for fun, I asked DH for his own list. He couldn't think of very many, but those five that he did think of are:

- The Bible

- No Compromise

- The Cross and the Switchblade (and other writings of David Wilkerson)

- Will

- Musashi

What books would be on your list? (And I'm sure that my list is very incomplete.)

Happy Sabbath, all!

Friday, September 21, 2012

What You Shouldn't Have to Expect When You're Expecting

Yesterday, I saw something that I found extremely disturbing. A friend, pregnant, posted some of her baby's ultrasound pictures on Facebook. Amid the "congratulations!" posts was this comment, which went (paraphrased) like this:
"Hey! Don't you know that if you take a whole bunch of morning-after pills you can get rid of that? Ha, ha! Just kidding!"
Yes, this person was joking. But that's not funny. It's sick. Have we sunk so low as a culture that babies are now referred to in the same category as unwanted household pests?

However, in a society that currently aborts 22% of its precious little ones, I guess it shouldn't be surprising. When human life is disposable, it is also cheap.

This saddened me so very much.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Anticipating a Special Birth

Would you all join me in praying for this very special family? Their baby girls, conjoined twins, are going to be born tomorrow at 8:30 a.m. (6:30 a.m. Arizona time), and due to their condition are not expected to live for more than a couple of minutes. Their parents are sharing their journey on their blog and their Facebook group, and their journey is a touching and powerful testimony to the sacred and precious nature of every human life, however short that life may be. These parents could really use your loving prayer and written support, as their time with their babies will be so very short and packed with so much joy and grief at the same time.

Blessings to this sweet family!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Nausea & Vomiting of Pregnancy Go-To List

Over the past few years, I have noticed that I have become the "morning sickness go-to person." Through Facebook, or my blog, or just through knowing me, people know that I have had experiences with severe NVP, and every couple of months I get an email from someone saying, "Help! I have horrible morning sickness, can you help?" And because I participate in many online birth groups, there are often requests for NVP help there as well. 

Lately, I have realized that I am reinventing the wheel each time someone asks me this question - writing emails with everything I can think of regarding NVP, over and over again. This week, therefore, I decided that I needed to write down everything that I could think of into a document so that I could keep it handy to have when this question is asked.

And so... here is my rough draft! I would love-love-love it if my wonderful readers could read this through and add their comments. Did I write anything incorrect or incomplete? Did I miss anything? This list is a bit patchy, just because it covers everything from mild NVP to hyperemesis, so I'm guessing that it will need a lot of revision.

Please feel free to share the link to this document, but do not copy it into another website. If any birth professionals would like to print this for clients, I would be honored - just give credit on the print-out.

And now... what do you think? Please let me know! 

Notes on Morning Sickness

- Because “morning sickness” is a vastly incomplete and inaccurate term, I will use the more technical abbreviation “NVP,” which stands for “nausea and vomiting of pregnancy”

General Notes

-       - The general idea with NVP is that it occurs solely in the morning and that it lasts only through the first trimester. For some women this is true. However, for many women it is VASTLY INACCURATE.

o   Many women experience NVP in the evenings, or in the mornings and the evenings, or in varying degrees around the clock. I have always had mine around the clock with the worst nausea being from 3 p.m. to bedtime.

o   For some women, NVP decreases after the first trimester. For others, it lasts till around 20 weeks. For some women it lasts till the birth. For some women it decreases in the second trimester and returns in the third trimester.

o   Morning sickness usually tapers off gradually rather than suddenly resolving at a set week of pregnancy.

-       - If you are carrying multiples, you can (usually) expect morning sickness to be worse than in a singleton pregnancy. More babies = more NVP!

-       - The timing of NVP appearance varies. Very rarely (as in my case), NVP will make an appearance before a positive pregnancy test can be obtained. Usually it hits between weeks 5 and 7.

-       - Though an absence of NVP does not mean that something is wrong, the appearance of NVP does usually mean that your baby is thriving.

-     NVP experiences cover an astoundingly large range – everything from “Morning sickness? What morning sickness? I feel great!” to “I don’t feel so great” to “I feel downright awful” to a mother who is fighting for her life in the hospital with life-threatening hyperemesis gravidarum. Different remedies will work for different women and for different levels of NVP – what may be helpful for mild NVP will be worse than useless for severe NVP (example: crackers). Look through these suggestions and try different things – remember that different things will work in different situations. If something doesn’t work, ditch it and try something else.

What To Do?

Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy – Mild to Moderate

-       Ginger: Ginger is the most well-documented herb for NVP. It is found in many forms:
o   Powdered, in capsule form – health food store
o   Ginger ale – Must buy from a health food store, and look at the ingredient labels. Most grocery store “ginger ales” are not true ginger ales and may not even contain ginger.
o   Ginger snaps.
o   Candied Ginger
o   Ginger Syrup (look at Whole Foods)
o   A supplement called “Morning Sickness Comfort” (formerly “Morning Sickness Magic”) which also contains vitamin B.
o   I should say that I find no particular benefit from ginger. However, it is helpful to a majority of women.

-       Lemon: Hard candies, lemon water, sucking on a lemon, lemon essential oils

-       Peppermint: Hard candies, essential oils (can put on your pillow)

-       Switch to a food-based prenatal vitamin

-       Over the Counter things to try: Benadryl & Dramamine

-       Pregnancy Teas: Try the pregnancy tea by Earth Mama Angel Baby – good stuff. Check out the pregnancy area in your health food store (Sprouts, etc.) – they usually have morning sickness teas.

-       Red Raspberry Leaf Tea: Buy the bulk herb at a local herb shop or online at a good herb store like Mountain Meadow Herbs. Brew and then drink hot or cold, or even freeze and make a slushie out of it.

-       High-protein: This is a BIG ONE. Eat protein – lots of it. Meat, eggs, nuts, cheese. Every snack or meal should either be protein, or have protein in it.

o   I have had my best luck doing a very-low-carb, high-protein diet that I started pre-conception. This is mostly for hyperemesis mothers who deal with severe morning sickness. Email me if you want information. However, one way or the other, simple carbs will usually make you feel great momentarily and then even worse as your blood sugar crashes. Staying away from carbs (or at least simple carbs) and bulking up on protein (as much as possible) is what really works for me.
o   However, I should note that (especially once nausea is established), some women have good luck with sources of simple carbohydrates (sugars) such as flat coke and hard candies and preggie pops.

-       Constant snacking: This is another BIG ONE!!! Don’t go more than an hour without snacking. Carry snacks with you wherever you go. If you need to get up in the middle of the night to snack, fine. Do it. I kept cheese slices in a cooler next to my bed. If your stomach gets the least bit empty, you will pay in increased nausea. Try also to eat at least a few minutes before getting up in the morning.

-       Keep hydrated. Dehydration = worse and worse nausea. Try different things if you have trouble handling water. Pregnancy teas, etc.

-       Vitamin Shots: With my last pregnancy I got Vitamin B/Folate/Magnesium shots at our local naturopathic college. I think they helped, and I plan to do it again. To find out where to get these, locate a local naturopath.

-       A naturopath can also help you with acupuncture and/or homeopathy if you are interested in those modalities. Acupuncture in particular has a very good track record with NVP.

-       Supplements: Vitamin B complex, magnesium, zinc. Herbs: Milk thistle. Other: Digestive enzymes, good probiotic.

-       If all else fails, try a liquid nutrition drink, such as Ensure or Boost. I recommend chocolate!  Slimfast and jello are other options.

Is something wrong?

-       This level is characterized by the following:
o   I can’t keep anything down.
o   I am no longer using the bathroom (or not very often).
o   I am losing weight.
o   I am feeling panicky or desperate.
o   I am vomiting multiple times per day.
o   I am having trouble handling ordinary everyday tasks.

-       To check if you are dealing with hyperemesis, visit Click on the “For Mothers” tab, and click on the “Do I Have Morning Sickness or HG?” option – you will find a table comparing normal NVP with hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), or extreme nausea and vomiting of pregnancy.

-       HG often requires treatment. See your doctor or midwife immediately to get help. This may involve:

o   IV hydration
o   Hospitalization for severe cases
o   Home health care for severe cases 
o   Zofran – either oral tablets, orally disintegrating tablets (ODT), or a Zofran pump (depending on how sick you are and how well you can tolerate meds by mouth)
§  There are other anti-nausea drugs given during pregnancy (usually Phenergan and Reglan), but they have more side-effects than Zofran and are usually less effective

-       If your care provider is not supportive, look immediately for another care provider. Care providers can vary immensely on their willingness to take HG seriously, and some will laugh it off or tell you to eat crackers. This is NOT OKAY, and you need to move on.

-       Go to the website and read, read, read. You will find tons of information and support.


- There are MANY lines of thought on morning sickness prevention, all of which require pre-conception efforts, and none of which is guaranteed to work. (In other words, DON'T GET YOUR HOPES UP.) I will list as many as I can think of and leave it up to you to research them (though feel free to ask any questions):

o   Magnesium (building up tissue levels pre-conception)
o   Body alkalinity
o   Liver cleansing
o   Milk thistle (for liver cleansing)
o   Very-low-carb diet for insulin regulation
o   Pre-conception diet (clean, good supplements, sunshine, etc.)
o   Gut health


Thoughts, dear readers? (p.s. Forgive the formatting - it got rather screwy.)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

It's New! It's Improved! It's.... New and Improved!

Hi, everyone!

I am cross-posting this from my hyperemesis (extreme morning sickness) blog, as I thought some of you birth professionals might like to see it! This is my plan and list for preparing my body for future pregnancies in the hope of avoiding or moderating the severe NVP (nausea and vomiting of pregnancy) to which I am so unfortunately prone. Please feel free to peruse, ask questions, and leave suggestions or comments!

For other great examples of HG plans/protocols, see Knocked Up, Knocked Over and various lists at (like this one).

You will notice that I don't have a detailed plan for HG treatment - it's mostly pre-conception. I pray that I never need that, but I'm not sure what I would write other than "Go to hospital and pray that I get treated well." Definitely a weak point.

Pre-Conception Plan


  • Diet

    • Clean (no junk food, get rid of additives)
    • Low sugar, low grain, no wheat
    • Very Low Carb (VLC) as soon as cycle returns
    • Lemon water (for alkalinity & liver cleansing)

  • Supplements

    • Multi (Super Mom)
    • Vitamin D
    • Alfalfa
    • Alpha Lipoic Acid
    • Vitamin C
    • Kelp
    • Vitamin B complex
    • Fish oil
    • Milk Thistle (look for brands with phytosome)
    • Yearly Liver Cleanse (dates done: May 2011, May 2012)
    • Perhaps DHA
    • Probiotics (Tummy Tune-Up by Beeyoutiful, see reference to NVP in link) 
    • Magnesium
      • Tablet form (Mg/Ca/Zinc)
      • Liquid Calcium-Magnesium
      • Epsom Salts for bathing and foot baths (evidence shows that magnesium is absorbed best transdermally rather than by oral supplement)

  • Exercise

    • Especially weight bearing exercises, since muscle mass helps with insulin/glucose metabolism. (Am I doing this? Noooo.)

  • Sunlight


  • Find a naturopath

    • I have several recommendations, plus the local naturopathic college.

  • Contact acupuncturist

    • I have the name, just need to confirm.


  • Bible verse memorization

    • Right now I am working on Psalm 121. I find that having Scripture verses to recite during stressful or panicky times is truly a lifeline, and it's one that I want to develop more fruitfully. 

Personal & Practical

  • Make the most of the time!

    • I find that the thought of future HG helps me to treasure my healthy times, and encourages me to use my time wisely - to take every advantage of time with my children, to train my children as much as possible in character and practical skills, etc. 

  • Work on organizational projects as much as possible



  • Diet

    • Strict VLC (very low carb)
    • Start protein shakes (zero-carb version)
    • Constant snacking - every hour at least
    • Lemon water - lots of it! 

  • Supplements

    • Add more epsom salts baths (daily)
    • Add Morning Sickness Comfort
    • Add digestive enzymes


  • Start Vitamin B/Magnesium/Folate shots at naturopathic college

  • Contact acupuncturist to let her know in advance
  • Get appointment with OB/GYN for Zofran prescription


  • Pray!

Personal & Practical

  • Buy paper supplies (plates, bowls, utensils)

  • Good resources for food for family while unable to cook: 
    • Fruit & vegetable platters 
    • Rotisserie chicken
    • Lunch meat
    • Easy kid snacks - gold fish, healthy bars, raisins, juice boxes, cheese sticks, cheerios & dry cereals

  • Arrange for housekeeping help if we need it.


And there you have it! Additional ideas, anyone? 

Feel free to let me know if you have questions about any of the above. (You will also find more specific links on the larger protocol.)

Happy Sabbath, everyone! 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Fail-Safe Acid Test

One of the most perplexing question for expectant parents, especially first-timers, is "Who should I invite to be at my birth?"

Best friend? Mom? Mother-in-law? Sister? Dad?

It's not an easy question to answer! And in almost 100% of cases, there are family politics involved - who will or will not be mortally insulted by not being invited, regardless of whether their presence is desired or would even be beneficial.

But here, I present the test-to-end-all tests - the one and only true question that can be used to determine "Do I want such-and-such a person at my birth?"

And here it is! Drumroll, please!

"Would I feel completely comfortable using the bathroom stark naked in front of this person?"

And that's it! If the answer is yes, then (possibly) go ahead and invite. If not, then don't issue the invitation.

You see, birth is not just a major life event. It is also an extremely intimate and often private moment. During the labor and birth process, a woman will be vulnerable and exposed. She might groan, yell, swear, or scream. She might throw up, go to the bathroom, and have any or all of her most intimate body parts fully exposed. If you're not comfortable doing any and all of the above in front of possible attendees, DON'T INVITE!

And there you have it!

Here are a couple more things to consider:

(1) Sometimes an easy way to calm family politics is to invite no family members rather than issuing selective invitations.

(2) Got people who are inviting themselves? Great! Don't call them till the baby is born. Cuts down on the anxious phone calls and texting-wars anyway and gives parents more chance to focus on their labor rather than fielding various communiques, friendly or hostile.

(3) Crowds can distract and tire a laboring mother (who usually goes into entertainment mode with large numbers of guests), and large, noisy crowds can cause a labor to stall. Beware inviting large numbers of people.

(4) It's much easier not to invite than to invite and retract later - so invite with caution.

(5) Make sure that your guests are on board with your birth plan. Disapproving guests ("I never would have had MY baby at HOME" etc.) can be a real downer, and can even cause birth shipwrecks (for example, encouraging an unmedicated mum to get an epidural) if they are consciously or unconsciously trying to impose their own preferences on the labor.

What would you think about offering pregnant mamas guidelines on whom to invite to their births? Doulas and nurses and midwives, chime in! (And everyone else too!)

Saturday, August 4, 2012

"The Artful Homemaker" - A Severe Morning Sickness Story

I found this five-time mama's HG story a few days ago, and really enjoyed reading it. Here it is:

My Morning Sickness Story

As I read this, I felt like I could have written a good deal of it myself, from my own experiences. I too am into healthy eating. I too have tried just about everything to get my body to stop overdoing the NVP thing. I too have consulted with Shonda Parker!

A few quick excerpts:
"I was so happy, when, after 10 months of marriage and longing for a baby, I finally found out I was expecting. My excitement turned to despair a few weeks later when the sickness hit. I was so unprepared for what was happening to me. Before conceiving, I had read every book on pregnancy I could get my hands on. I knew what to expect. But no one had mentioned this terrible misery I was experiencing. I couldn’t eat and I couldn’t drink, even though I was so hungry and so thirsty. Everything came right back up. Even tiny sips of water wouldn’t stay down. I had always been healthy, and hardly ever sick, so this was so difficult to understand.

"The books I read on morning sickness suggested eating crackers first thing in the morning (I can’t tell you how many times I heard that one!), getting exercise, drinking fresh juices, eating whole foods, lots of protein, etc. This didn’t apply to me. I was vomiting so many times a day and night that I lost count! I was so weak that I could barely stand up to walk to the bathroom. I started the pregnancy at around 107 pounds, and I was now down to 97 pounds just a few weeks into the pregnancy. I was seriously ill."
 Yup, this was me with #1.

And also:
"One thing that I’ve gained from being sick during my pregnancies is a heart of compassion and empathy for those mothers who suffer with severe morning sickness and any kind of sickness during pregnancy.  I would have never believed it was possible to be this sick just because you’re pregnant if I hadn’t experienced it myself!  Your whole life kind of comes to a stand-still.  It has been so bad at times (especially when I’m enduring the nausea along with a migraine at the same time) that I was literally writhing on my bed with tears streaming down my face, repeating a verse over and over and over to myself, trying to soothe myself in the midst of the suffering. "
 I would say that the biggest benefit I have gained from HG is sympathy and compassion for those undergoing physical suffering. Having been quite healthy all my life, I'm afraid (I'm ashamed to say) that I had more of a "Get ahold of yourself!" attitude toward those with physical problems. That is a fault which, I am happy to say, I no longer have! But it took HG to knock my foolishness out of my head.

This was a great article - I'm so glad she shared!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Children Are a Blessing Series!

I cannot wait to read this new series at a great blog that I read! Growing Home is starting a new series, "Children Are a Blessing" - check it out!

Here is the intro about the series:
"In a world where it's trendy, convenient, and sadly - normal - to view children as commodities which can be controlled to best satisfy our wants and "needs," it can be a difficult decision to leave our fertility in the hands of the Life-Giver who calls them Blessings.

"Who are we to trust when the experts tell us "no more?" How do we deal with our desire for more children while experiencing the pain of infertility? If God calls children blessings, then why does He allow miscarriage? What about special needs children? How do I know if God is calling us to adopt? What if my husband has already had a vasectomy?

"Welcome to a month-long series that will showcase real-life stories from women all across North America who've dealt with sheer exhaustion, complicated pregnancies, reversals, miscarriage, special needs, multiples, infertility, and much more with one, over-arching theme: God's grace and faithfulness to His word."
Join me in reading what this awesome blogger has to say over the coming weeks! 

When Little Ones Can't Stay: A Video

It's the tragic truth that birth is often intertwined with death - the (rare in this country) death of pregnant, intrapartum, and postpartum mothers, and, much more commonly, the death of babies - either in the womb or shortly after birth.

This video is from the funeral service of a sweet little one who died just a short seven weeks after he was born. His parents are amazing, and this is what they have to say:

Monday, July 23, 2012

Meanwhile, Over at the Other Blog...

Today I'm over at my other blog writing about our awesome experience at the Arizona Homeschool Convention! If you're interested (or potentially interested) in homeschooling, hop on over and read about the awesome time we had!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Needing Help From Blogger Friends!

Okay, ladies... I need your help! Can anyone help with this issue?

I use the Blogger Reader (on my blog dashboard) to subscribe to blogs. It works beautifully, except for one thing - it won't let me unsubscribe from a blog. Subscribing is possible, but I cannot find out how to unsubscribe. Can anyone tell me how to do this?

If I click on the icon that says "manage reading list," it takes a super-long time to load the page and then says, "cannot do this, try again later." And this is not new - this happens every time.

I have tried using "View in Google Reader," which will "let" me unsubscribe, with one caveat - the blogs that I "unsubscribe" to are still there after unsubscribing!

Beyond frustrating.

What makes this even more frustrating is the fact that I have recently been spontaneously subscribed to some weird "near-porn" blog (where did this come from???) and, of course, I can't unsubscribe from it - or the other fifty or so blogs I'd like to drop from my reader.

I would love some help if anyone knows the secret!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Taming the Birth Snark

Anyone who has read this blog for any length of time knows that I am a stickler for civil discourse during disagreements. I absolutely adore calm intellectual debate in which participants can keep their tempers and their sense of humor, and in which people are polite and loving even while they disagree. What I cannot stand (and will immediately delete) are commenters or discussions that are rude, belligerent, combative, or unkind in any way.

Something that has bothered me greatly as I survey the web is the large amount of bullying that I see going on. Articles written to bully, belittle, or humiliate other writers. "The Mommy Wars." Or when a group of people will actually get together to form a website whose sole purpose is to attack and criticize a blogger or other internet persona. It's sad, and it's sick. I would have hoped for better things (though perhaps not, knowing human nature).

But of course, I would be above such things! (*Insert nose-in-the-air look of haughty superiority*) Of course I would.... until I get smacked upside the head with a reminder of my own sinful nature and the need I have of remembering to be kind to other writers.

This past week, I read an article on a blog that I otherwise have enjoyed, and it really had me seeing red. Not just a pale, mild-colored red, but a brick-red, steam-breathing red that was shooting flames out of my ears. I was upset almost to the point of tears by this article. (Go read it.)

Don't get me wrong - the article had its good points. And it wasn't an outrageously bad article. But the moral of the article seemed to me to be, "Moms who attempt to have input into their births are selfish control-freaks who are only in it for the experience and don't care about their babies." By logical conclusion, it would therefore be a Christian virtue to be and stay ignorant of beneficial vs. detrimental birthing practices, go to a hospital and immediately hand over one's body and one's baby to the established maternity system without asking any questions. (I expect that I am exaggerating. I usually do when I'm upset.)

And immediately after reading this (and dousing those flames that were streaming out of my ears), I began to craft a mental blog post refuting the above article, point by point.

And it was pure snark. Sarcastic, unkind, judgmental, finger-pointing, rage-type snark. 

("So how about that loving, gentle, civil, kind discussion technique thing you talked about?")

Oh. Oops.

You see, this blog is my attempt at birth activism - bettering birth choices and birth care for women of the world through writing. But what happens when I unleash an inner snark, and my writing becomes bitter, angry, and sarcastic?

Not much.

Sometimes it can be fun preaching to the choir (who usually appreciates a snark or two), but the main point is not preaching to the choir - it's changing the hearts of those who aren't "in the choir" - who need to hear the truth about maternity care and how it can be changed for the better.

I won't be changing any hearts by writing through rage. And though I do occasionally need to use this blog to vent (very few birth workers can avoid venting at least occasionally), my main intent is to write with love in order to change hearts.

So I'll be back at a later date to write a rebuttal to this article - when I've calmed down and am able to write like I should.

In the meantime, feel free to jump over to that article (or the next article on the blog, which made me almost as angry as the first one) and join the discussion! They could seriously use some informed birth workers to chime in. (The writer wrote an extra note to the first article after getting so many comments, which did help a bit.)