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.)