Monday, May 28, 2012

Finding a Passion

I haven't always been an over-the-top birth junkie. There was, in fact, a time in which I was quite normal and in which childbirth was just vaguely interesting to me.

When I was a child, actually, I wanted to be a veterinarian. This was not, I realized later, because I had any deep interest in healing sick and injured animals - it was just a love-affair (still ongoing!) with the wonderful and amazing works of British country vet James Herriot (if you haven't read these - go get them now!). Though, looking back, I now see that all of the chapters that fascinated me most were those dealing with any obstetrical situations - foalings, calvings, farrowings, etc. An interesting glimpse into the future, for sure, though I misinterpreted it at the time.

I spent various time throughout high school and college flirting with various lines of study - environmental science, biology, music, and patisserie - but I cannot say that I had a passion for any of them, a passion being defined as "anything that I want to spend masses of time studying voluntarily, apart from required assignments." So when I got married, I was glad to leave all of that behind. I have always loved being a homemaker anyhow, with or without kids (I love developing and practicing the arts of homemaking!), so there was no love lost when I left my studies behind.

But when we had our first child, all of that changed. During our pregnancy, I borrowed almost all of my midwife's lending library of books and videos, and I read voraciously. About a year after our baby's birth, I was still borrowing books and reading at least three at a time - and then, suddenly, I realized that I didn't just want to read "expecting parents" books. I wanted to read midwifery textbooks. And furthermore, I wanted to study it seriously! Around the clock! I couldn't get enough of it.

And so, another birth junkie was born! Several months later I attended my first birth conference, given by my second-midwife-to-be (where I got to hear Henci Goer and talk with Laura Shanley), and a few months later my birth blog was born. I was off and running.

At that time, I assumed that I would follow the standard pattern of birth junkie-ism: I would start a birth blog (done!), then train and work as a birth doula, and then eventually apprentice as a homebirth midwife. It looked like a fairly straight path. The fact that I had little to no time to work as a doula or midwife did occur to me, but I figured that that would work itself out. (I know that many moms work as doulas or midwives, but I am not good at multi-tasking like that - but at the time I figured that I would learn to love it.) There was also the slight fact that I am not a good people person and have few to none of the personality traits that make good doulas or midwives - but I figured that that too would work out. This was the standard path, after all! It would just have to work out.

But several factors intervened.

Firstly, our son turned one. And the terrible twos hit. (I don't know what this thing is about the "terrible twos" - it's really the "terrible ones through fours"). And it hit me smack in the middle of the eyes that I needed to get my head OUT of the birth world and into the world of hard-core parenting, where I desperately needed prayer, study, mentoring, and hard work (and still do). And so I made a hard decision - to deliberately neglect my birth-book habit of reading and read parenting books instead. This is something I still do - in fact, I have about five parenting books going right now ("Raising Real Men" - "Raising Godly Tomatoes" - "A Survivor's Guide to Homeschooling" - "Shepherding a Child's Heart" - "A Mom Just Like You" -  "The Five Love Languages of Children" - "The Key to Your Child's Heart"). And I actually haven't read more than one or two birth books in the past couple of years. This was a major change for me, and a very positive one. I needed to change my focus, and I needed the help of godly parents who had gone before me. For this reason I am also very thankful to be surrounded by so many godly older moms at my church, who have done an awesome job raising their little ones and are now a wonderful resource for me as a younger and struggling mother.

Secondly, our other two little ones came along, meaning two more rough pregnancies and life adjustments.

Thirdly, we began to homeschool - which meant even less time for blogging or thinking of other things to do with my non-existent spare time.

But over the past couple of years, the question has continually come up - "I'm a birth junkie... I need to do something with this passion. What can I do? What can I do?"

And in His own good way, God has given me answers and put that question to rest for now.

Firstly, a little over a year ago, I had the opportunity to take a great weekend doula training in Phoenix. I thoroughly enjoyed the training (it's fun! do one!), but most importantly, it revealed quite clearly one important fact - I am not made to be a doula. I had always suspected that I would be a rotten doula, but the fact came home to me very solidly when the midwife teaching the training assigned the class to take turns giving each other massages (a classic doula technique). My reaction was something along the lines of, "Oh, my goodness. Gross. No. Please, no." And thankfully my baby, who was with me, generously and kindly decided to scream during that part of the session, giving me a very thankful and graceful exit. But I realized that someone like me, who has definite issues with touching people should not be a birth doula!

That was a wonderful realization, and it gave me a lot of peace. I had had it in my mind that I should work as a doula, regardless of whether or not I wanted to - because that's just what birth junkies do! But it has been made quite clear to me that I would not make a good doula, nor would I enjoy the work. God may develop me over the years into someone who would make a good doula - or midwife, as the same issues apply - but it is not for now.

Secondly, I have realized that my calling is 100% at home. Right now, with three children - and the possibility of more - plus a home and a homeschool, I have absolutely zero time for outside hobbies as large as any type of birth work. I would have to seriously neglect some aspect of my home or family (or personal sanity) in order to pursue any type of birth work, and there is no need for that (not to mention the fact that it would harm my family). And God has given me perfect peace about that.

As a matter of fact, I have absolutely no idea what type of birth work I would choose to do were I at a place to pursue a job or a career. I do not have the characteristics needed to work as - or to enjoy work as - a doula, a midwife, a lactation consultant, or a childbirth educator. Nursing sounds fun, but there's the slight issue of my fainting at the sight of needles - and of having to obey orders from doctors that go against every rule of medical ethics and good medicine in the L&D ward (L&D nurses that I know tell me that this is an incredibly stressful part of their jobs).

But, as I mentioned, right now, the question is closed. I am a worker-at-home, a homeschool teacher, and a wife and mother. Unless God specifically calls our family to another plan, this is my calling for now and - most likely - for many, many more years to come. Thankfully, after many years of questioning, praying, wondering, and researching, I am completely at peace with leaving my ambitions as a birth worker (of whatever type) alone and just proceeding as a homemaker who does a wee bit of birth blogging as recreation. That is God's plan, and it is good.

And later.... who knows? The possibilities are endless. But I shall leave that with God, and for the future. For now, it's one less thing to worry about - and that is a blessing.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Birth Wishes - How They Came Out!

I wrote this list of birth and pregnancy wishes/goals last July - I thought I would pull them back up and report on how things turned out in the end! I'm leaving the original document intact and adding comments, quote-form italicized.

To feel better soon

I would really like to enjoy this pregnancy, or a majority of it.... So I would love it if the NVP could clear up quickly! Of course, though, I know that I have been blessed beyond measure - NVP but no HG. I'll settle for that if need be. :)
NVP-wise, this was my easiest pregnancy ever, though also my most-puzzling (more later). However, I did feel nauseated till the very end, as usual. But as it never descended into hyperemesis, I won't complain! 

To gain less baby weight

Last time I gained a ton of weight, and almost half of it stayed around after baby and was impossible to get rid of (until I did this recent low carb thing). This time, while not being unhealthy, I want to keep my weight gain in a more reasonable range.
Nope. Gained more. How much more I have no idea, because I stopped weighing myself, but it was quite a bit. However, compared to looking slim and trim with hyperemesis.... I'll take some extra pounds any day!!

Labor with intact membranes, and/or birth en caul

Rumor has it that laboring with intact membranes is much more comfortable, so I'd like to try it! Both of my labors have begun with SROM (spontaneous rupture of membranes), which is handy for timing labor (I know the length of my labors down to the minute) but less comfortable.

It is said that increased vitamin K can help strengthen membranes, so when I'm feeling better, I'm going to try to get back to my green smoothies, which are really high in vitamin K. 

I would also love-love-LOVE a birth en caul, that is, where the baby is born with intact membranes around it. In most traditional cultures there are special traditions and beliefs and blessings surrounding births en caul, and I would love to experience one of those births myself.

You can see some birth en caul pictures here.

I used to think that births en caul were almost impossibly rare, but it turns out that that is not so! They are almost extinct in the hospital environment simply because most doctors insist on rupturing membranes if they have not already released naturally, thus eliminating the possibility of a caul. But the midwives whom I know on Facebook regularly report caul births, so they're not nearly as rare as I once thought (though they are still unusual).
We almost had our caul baby! Membranes broke during second stage (pushing), so only about two minutes - or less - before birth! We were almost there! Maybe next time, assuming there is a next time! 

Make a birth cake

It is common practice for midwives to recommend that mamas - especially first-time mamas - spend their time in early labor making a birthday cake for the baby. It calms nervous energy and gives them something to do, and then the entire birth team can enjoy the cake and celebrate after the birth. Fun!!

I have intended to make a birth cake with both of my births, and failed with each! Both times, labor has grabbed my attention and said "It's time to labor, forget about anything else!" So no birth cake. I'd like to try again.... I'm thinking of mixing up dry ingredients ahead of time so that there wouldn't be too much work to do.
I made my first birth cake!!! So exciting! And how? By making it a good month or two in advance and freezing it!! So much for a labor cake, but it would have been hopeless again - for one thing, labor again claimed my immediate attention, and for another thing labor started in the middle of the night ("How to get the entire household up" - Start banging around in the kitchen at 3:00 a.m.!). But I was so happy that I got this done! Definitely recommend making baby's birth cake in advance!

Maybe another waterbirth

I have had one land birth and one water birth. For labor, water is wonderful-wonderful-WONDERFUL and I will never voluntarily do active labor in any other way!!! For second stage pushing, though, I am okay with land or water. But waterbirths are fun! So it might be fun to have another, even though I'm okay with either one.
Yes, we had our second waterbirth! So happy about that! Love waterbirths!!

Handle labor better, more enjoyably

I guess I'd better just admit it. Though I've had two unmedicated births (and am extremely happy about that!), when it comes to labor, I am just.... bad at it. I've never really gotten the hang of it. All of that "relax, release, deepen" stuff? Well, I'm afraid that my instinctual (and unavoidable) response has been more along the lines of "tighten, tense, panic". I'll never be one of those birthing goddesses that one sees!

But I would like to be able to labor more comfortably. I have wondered if I would benefit from a Brio/Bradley or Hypnobabies course (we took Hypnobirthing with our first, and it did not help). And really, I would love to take one of those classes anyway - I just don't know if I want to (or can!) spend the money. Class costs plus babysitting add up to a considerable price tag! So we'll have to think. I should probably also ask my midwife.
Well.... No. It's time to admit the sad truth - I'm just a labor wimp. I'm afraid I yelled just as much as the first two times - actually, quite a bit more, according to my husband. But I did find the Hypnobabies CD (which I listened to for a month and a half pre-birth) to be very comforting - would definitely do again.

Be able to manage after-pains so as to be able to enjoy first postpartum hour with baby

With both babies, I have had problems with severe afterpains - so severe that I have had to hand the baby off to someone else and just focus on getting through them. Both times I have missed out on bonding/holding time and on the breastfeeding window - that is, the first hour post-birth when baby is awake and alert. After that, they get quite sleepy and initiating breastfeeding is much harder.

With my last birth, I arranged to take four Advil as soon as the baby was born in order to get a head start on the afterpains. That did absolutely nothing for them! Too bad. However, the placenta smoothie that I had a bit later had an amazing effect on afterpains, and with the aid of more placenta medicine my second experience with afterpains, though yucky, was much better than my first. So I already have it written into my birth plan to do a placenta smoothie as soon as is humanly possible, and we'll see what that can do.

If anyone out there is still dry-heaving at the thought of placenta medicine, let me just say - try it before you condemn it, because gosh golly, it WORKS. Amazingly. For postpartum bleeding, for preventing baby blues, for stabilizing emotions, for regaining energy, for afterpains - it truly works. I can't wait to try it again. (And most placenta medicine is encapsulated - that is, the placenta is dried and put into gel caps, so the gross factor is really reduced.)
IT WORKED!!!! Operation After-Pain Take-Down was a success! Raw placenta medicine, Calcium/magnesium supplement, Advil, Arnica, and an afterpains tincture. I would SO do this again!

Have a better start to breastfeeding

I'm afraid that both of our babies have had absolutely disastrous starts to breastfeeding. I thought it was bad with our first.... until we had our second. Yowzer. I would really like to have a baby who takes easily to the breast and does not give us nightmares with breastfeeding!

On that note, I would like to mention the importance of being surrounded by breast-feeding supportive caregivers! I do not think either of our babies would have survived with an intact breastfeeding relationship had we not been covered on all sides by women (midwives, doulas) cheering us on, plus a breastfeeding supportive pediatrician. I had no idea when I started out that breastfeeding could be such a challenge, or that it could require so much support.
Yes! Yes! Yes! It has been SO nice to get a start to breastfeeding that was normal and not utterly catastrophic in some way or another! I love this!! 

Short Second Stage

Most women love the pushing phase during a birth. They feel that they can get involved and be an active participant rather than a bystander (of sorts). I'm the opposite! I really don't like pushing. First time it was an hour or two, second time was..... oh, 20-30 minutes, not sure. But I would LOVE to have one of those one-or-two push births - that would be lovely!

Again, any ladies out there who have not experienced a birth yet, take heart - as I've said - most women really enjoy the pushing phase.
Oh. my. goodness. Let's just say.... I got what I asked for, and it wasn't pretty! But it was nice to have it over with quickly, even if it did feel like a freight train had taken a detour and was thundering through my body for the most intense three minutes of my life! 

A Butter Birth!

A butter birth is a phrase used by midwives to describe a birth that is quick, easy, and where the baby slips out easily "like butter." I would love one of these! Can I put my order in now, please?
From my perspective - Nope. From my midwife's perspective - Who knows? I'll have to ask her, but I don't think so.

But all in all, it was a great birth. Short, not too-too hard, uncomplicated. What more could I ask for? Thanks for all the support, everyone!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Absolutely Astounding: Tricia's Story of Severe Morning Sickness

You have got to read this story!!!

This mama left the link to her story on my blog today, and I spent some time today going through it. One word - WOW. Wow-wow-wow-wow-wow. This is possibly the single most well-documented case of hyperemesis (severe morning sickness) that I have ever read, and it is a splendid resource - lots of writing (both at the time and afterwards) and lots and lots of pics.

Birth junkies (bloggers, etc.) and birth professionals (CBEs, doulas, midwives, nurses) - please take the time to read this story! The best hope that HG mothers have is well-informed pregnancy and birth professionals. This is an awesome resource for learning about severe hyperemesis.

If you need to send an article to someone to explain severe HG, this is it. Please share this around!

My HG Story

Tricia, thank you for sharing! You are a warrior mama!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

From Yuck to More Yuck!

For several years, I have had a fascination with the topic of birth control - not so much from the standpoint of health (though that is a huge issue, especially with hormonal methods of birth control), but from the standpoints of ethics, religion, history, and sociology. It is a fascinating study.

I have already posted thoughts and more thoughts on the birth control pill, something that I regret having used at one time (and will certainly never use again!). And now, I wanted to link to this article, which had oodles upon oodles of even more information about (and against) birth control pills.

I don't have time to delve in depth into this article here, so I just encourage you to read the article. It blew my mind - especially the parts on the social implications of birth control pills - and I think there's a lot there to ponder, both personally and as a society. If you'd like to discuss any aspects of it (nicely, civilly, politely), please feel free to post! 

Utterly fascinating stuff. Thanks to Cindy over at Get Along Home for the link! 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Various Intertwinings

Hello, dear readers!

Just a quick note:

I have found it necessary to have two blogs, because keeping all the topics on one blog was a big mess when I tried it. However, there's a lot of overlap. One blog covers pregnancy and birth, and one blog covers hyperemesis issues and my personal life. But.... pregnancy and birth are also personal, while hyperemesis is also a pregnancy issue, etc. etc. To avoid having two duplicate blogs, I try to keep most of my personal stuff on "The Whining Puker." So if you'd like to see updates on our family, our homeschooling journey, or our newest little one, please feel free to subscribe to that blog and keep up with us there!

Love to all!

International Hyperemesis Gravidarum Awareness Day!

The first ever!!

May I then wish you all a very happy "International Hyperemesis Gravidarum Awareness" Day?

Though it really ought to be "nine months" awareness instead of "one day" awareness - can I get an amen?

Let's all adjourn to the bathroom for some commemorative puking!!

Guess Whose Midwife Is Famous?

Mine, of course! She is already famous from her awesome birth blog, but my midwife is now also being featured on "Bring Birth Home" - check out her client's birth story here!!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

Re-posted from last year.....

Over the last few years, I have wondered if our culture might - however slightly - be missing the mark a bit with Mother's Day.

(Speaking of which, does anyone know if it is "Mother's Day" or "Mothers' Day"? I'm betting on the latter.)

Here's what I mean:

First of all, I do know that "motherhood" - i.e. the transformation that occurs upon the conception or the adoption of a child - is a monumental event in the life of a woman or a family, and also that society owes everything to the mothers (and fathers, of course!) who are faithful to raise and train moral and godly offspring in each generation. And the work of motherhood is one of tireless self-sacrifice and love that is rightly celebrated.

But there is a different sense, and one that isn't recognized on Mothers' Day, in which every woman is a mother. Women are not mothers because they have biological or adoptive children - they are mothers because motherhood is intrinsic in the feminine nature from the moment of conception. Womanhood is motherhood, in so many ways.

I can count so many women in my life, most of which having had no biological or adoptive relationship to me, who have acted as mother-mentors to me in the exact same way that a relational mother would. Who have sheltered, loved, taught, and mothered me in many ways, and for which I have so much gratitude. Why? Because we women are mothers. We mother those around us - by our mentorship, by our care, by our example. I "mother" the kids next door who come over to play. Other women "mother" my children by their care and love. Little girls mother their dolls and puppies and younger siblings (many young little girls have attempted to mother my babies by force - you can't keep them away from babies!).

My point, after much meandering, is simply that motherhood is something that is intrinsically present within the female soul, regardless of age and regardless of whether or not a woman or girl has any children. To be a woman is to be a mother, even if a woman is childless her entire life. And in recognizing only biological and adoptive mothers on Mothers' Day, we are missing out on that. My church gave out roses this morning to all women who have had children, which was sweet and wonderful, but I really think that on Mothers' Day, roses should be given to every woman and girl, regardless of their childbearing status.

I think a sentiment to express on Mothers' Day would be as follows:

For biological mothers, we celebrate the precious work you do in being vessels to carry sacred new lives. For all mothers to children here on earth, biological and adoptive, we celebrate your hard work and self-sacrifice as you pour yourself into your children's hearts and lives. For mothers who mourn babies who are now in heaven, we celebrate your love and the sweet little ones whom you will hold in the future. For girls, we celebrate your coming journey into the path of motherhood. And for all girls and women everywhere, we celebrate the God-given motherhood intrinsic in each and every woman's soul, that it would be used to teach, mentor, nurture, and care for all of the children and young women who need the motherhood of the proceeding generations.

Women everywhere, be blessed this Mothers' Day as you celebrate the beautiful gift of Motherhood!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Living With Severe Morning Sickness

Birth junkie friends - I know I've been cross-posting a lot from my hyperemesis blog. There is a reason for this! I know that many of my readers are doulas, L&D nurses, OBs, and childbirth educators. As birth professionals, you must know the basics of recognizing and treating hyperemesis gravidarum - and know how harmful it can be to give bad advice like "try crackers" or "ginger!" or "take brisk walks!" I cannot emphasize how important this is. So I hope you'll check out my hyperemesis info articles - and be prepared to help the hyperemetic mothers in the populations you serve.


I just got finished reading through the blog "Living With Hyperemesis", which is a woman's diary of her HG journey (and beyond) starting about three years ago. This blog is truly excellent! It's easy to navigate, since it's an HG-only blog (not an HG blog mixed up with a personal blog, like mine is), and she went back and narrated through the weeks that had already happened when she started the blog. This site is an excellent resource, and highly recommended!

The point that stuck out to me most on this blog - It is absolutely critical, essential, vital - that caregivers know how to recognize and treat HG. HG may be awful, but it is usually manageable with competent care - and this mama, like so many others, had a caregiver who couldn't tell the difference between HG and run-of-the-mill morning sickness - and for that incompetence, the mother nearly paid with her life.

Pregnancy and birth care providers, you must know the basics of hyperemesis. Mothers and babies can end up dead or nearly so if you neglect this area of pregnancy care.

Natalie writes, in Week 8:
"I got a young doctor who didn't know much about "morning sickness" so he called another colleague in to discuss what to do. The more experienced doctor explained to me that medication during pregnancy was too dangerous so all I was to do was rest. He signed me off work for a week. 
"I had never heard of "hyperemesis", I knew nothing about sickness during pregnancy, I knew nothing about taking medication during pregnancy and I definately never knew anything about the effects hyperemesis can have on a person emotionally. I left the doctors that day knowing nothing more than I did when I went in."
 In Week 9, still getting sicker, she writes:
"I went back to the doctors on Wednesday. I explained my sickness to the doctor, I explained that I was being sick up to 15 times a day, I explained that I was unable to eat, I wasn't drinking very much, I was passing little urine and every day activities (like having a shower) had become too difficult. This doctor (who obviously has no clue about this illness) told me nothing could be done and refused to even write me a sick line for work!! I was nearly in tears before he gave in and wrote me another line for a week. I couldn't believe how unsympathetic somebody could be. After speaking to this doctor I started thinking this was just normal morning sickness and really believed nothing could be done."
And in Week 10:
"I saw another doctor this week who, again, didn't seem to concerned. I showed him a diary of my sickness (which showed 19-25 episodes of sickness a day over 5 days). He signed me off work for two weeks and sent me away. By now I had just accepted this was normal."
And in Week 11, when she is seriously sick:
"By the time this week came I was unable to eat at all. The smell of the house made me sick, the smell of the dogs made me sick, the smell of another person made me sick and I only had to think about food to make me throw up!!
"The sickness had increased to 30 times a day, I was keeping nothing down although I lived in denial telling myself I was fine. I was so low, I would have done anything to just have a day off being sick. I still felt that nobody understood, I felt angry that people didn't "get it". I was unable to move off the sofa and the only time I got any relief was when I was sleeping.
"I had a basin in my hands every waking second as I didn't have time to get to the toilet. I couldn't control it.
"I felt really down, I didn't care about anything or anyone. I was tired, I struggled to keep my eyes open, I just wanted it all to end - any way possible. By the time Saturday came I was extremely dehydrated (although I didn't know it), I couldn't walk, my hand, arms, and feet were numb, I could feel my eyes rolling about but didn't have the strength to stop it."
And when she was finally hospitalized:
"I struggle to remember the rest of the night, I remember vomiting uncontrolably in the van on the way to Perth, I remember begging for any injection which would stop me being sick, I remember the doctor acting very worried, I remember getting put in the back of an ambulance, I remember lots of injections and blood tests and being asked lots of questions in Ninewells.
"I closed my eyes in hospital and didn't know if I'd wake up but I didn't care as long as the sickness stopped."
Caregivers, this is when mothers die - or choose abortion. And this is totally due to caregiver ignorance. This is totally unacceptable.

In the hospital, the wrote:
"I was desperate to go home but the doctor said I would be in at least another night. She explained that I was very close to losing my life, my body had begun shutting down and my blood had began clotting. She questioned me on how I managed to get in to the state I had, she questioned why no doctor had admitted me or put me on medication before now. Finally, someone understood. She stood in amazement as I told her about my trips to the doctors, how I was told it was ok and sent away each time with a sick line." (emphasis mine)
Did you catch that? Her body had begun shutting down. She and her baby might not have made it if a competent doctor had not finally stopped in.

For pregnancy care providers - I've said it a million times, but it bears repeating. Please do your homework and know how to recognize and treat hyperemesis. Lives hang on that knowledge. Hyperemesis mothers - don't quit until you get the care you need.

Natalie, thank you so much for your blog!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Article on Severe Morning Sickness

Did you know that May 15th is the first ever Hyperemesis Gravidarum International Awareness Day? I didn't! Thank you to this blogger for raising awareness with this great article!

There's Morning Sickness, and Then There's.....

Check it out and share!

Birth professionals, you need-need-NEED to be well-informed on the subject of hyperemesis gravidarum. If you do not inform yourself about this disease, if you choose to hand out horrible information like "Try ginger! Take a brisk walk! Stop making yourself sick!" then you are part of the problem. If you remain ignorant, mothers suffer and babies die. Take the time to learn the basics of HG, and you will be a wonderful resource for the HG mothers in the population that you serve.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

"Top Ten Tips" for Severe Morning Sickness

I'm still reading through this blog, and thought I'd post her top ten tips for living through hyperemesis!

My Top 10 Tips if I Had My Time to Do Over Again

This mama dealt with hard-core hyperemesis (severe nausea and vomiting of pregnancy), and her blog is a fascinating read and great resource. Highly recommended!


One more article to share from today (h/t to the HER Foundation Facebook Group for the article).... I am thrilled to see hyperemesis getting mainstream media air time. Good job!!

The only weird thing from the article was this quote:
"HG goes away after the first trimester for most women, but not Burdett. 'Only about 20% or less will continue to have nausea and vomiting after week 22 or so,' said Robison."
Two statements there, both of them puzzling.

"HG goes away after the first trimester for most women." Exactly where did THAT data come from? Seriously? I have never heard of any HG woman whose hyperemesis miraculously resolved at the end of the first trimester. Anyone? Anyone? And even if someone out there is found whose HG did end with the first trimester, it's a rarity at best. But I've never heard of anyone like that. (Cue a flood of emails from indignant women whose HG did end at 13 weeks. In that case, I'll eat crow!)

And secondly, another statement from left field: "Only 20% or less will continue to have nausea and vomiting after week 22 or so."I hate to be repetitive, but.... Seriously? Most HG mothers have nausea and/or vomiting till the very end - nausea for sure if not vomiting. Even my "mild" HG gives me constant nausea levels till the very end (and then some). Again, are there any HG women out there whose nausea/vomiting stopped absolutely by week 22? For goodness' sake, let me know!

This really makes me wonder about data quality in whatever source the doctor was quoting. Thoughts, anyone???

And now, have a great weekend!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Placenta Medicine! Need I Say More?

Do I really need an excuse to link to a couple of articles on my favorite subject, placenta medicine? Surely not! Try these on for size:

Why I Ate My Placenta (And Why Moms-to-be May Consider It)
"When my midwife first told me about people eating their placentas, I have to admit that I became nauseous thinking about it, but I was curious so I asked her to tell me more. She informed me that almost all female mammals (with the exception of camels and sea living mammals) eat their placentas, and that many women in other countries eat their placentas, and that in some places, like Japan, older women actually pay good money for the placentas of women who recently gave birth. My midwife then said that one reason women consider it is because it helps to balance out a woman’s hormones, and prevents/cures postpartum depression. The words postpartum depression resonated with me and inspired me to do some of my own research." 
 And then:
 "I drank placenta smoothies 3 times a day for three days and though I can’t know for certain that it’s the reason why I didn’t become depressed, I do think it played a role. I did have much more energy than I did after I had my son, and I did see a significant increase in my milk supply." 

 And also, from Michelle:

  Top Ten Reasons to Eat Your Placenta

 I love reasons #2 and #3:
 "(2) Everyone’s doing it - Like I said, it’s very common for mammals to consume their own placenta. If all mammals carry and nurse their babies then maybe we should take a cue from them. And people do it too. I wanted to do it. Just because you never heard of it until now doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.  
"(3) It’s real, and it’s whole - Which is more than I can say for half the crap most people eat everyday. I’d eat 3 placentas before I’d eat a Lean Cuisine." 
 And finally, from a doula friend of mine:

  Why Placenta Encapsulation?

 She writes:
"The known ingredients that give the placenta its healing properties are: 
 Gonadotrophin: the precursor to estrogen, progesterone and testosterone,
Prolactin: promotes lactation,
Oxytocin: for pain and bonding; produced during breastfeeding to facilitate bonding of mother and infant. In pharmaceutical form this is a very addictive drug because it promotes a feeling of connectedness with others,
Thyroid stimulating hormone: boosts energy and helps recovery from stressful events,
Cortisone: combats stress and unlocks energy stores,
Interferon: stimulates the immune system to protect against infections,
Prostaglandins: anti-inflammatory,
Hemoglobin: replenishes iron deficiency and anemia, a common postpartum condition,
Urokinase inhibiting factor and factor XIII: stops bleeding and enhances wound healing, Gammaglobulin: immune booster that helps protect against postpartum infections." 

 Amen! If you haven't checked out placenta encapulsation for your births, definitely give it a try! It works and it is awesome.

You Know You're a Birth Junky When....

This morning I got an email on my Freecycle network that puzzled me greatly!
"Son is attending a PROM. He wants the "vest look" versus the "jacket look"."
I spent a good couple of minutes wondering why on earth some crazy doctor would be worried about his his clothing style while he attended a premature rupture of membranes, or why his mom would be in on the picture. What a couple of crazies!

I then realized, of course, that they were talking about a dance. Mwa ha ha ha ha ha!

How to know when you've really got it badly.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Your Help Needed Now!!

Re-posting from a friend's site - please take the time to read and sign and/or take other action. No mother should ever be forced into this position.

"Midwives, doulas, childbirth educators, and the obstetric community:

 My name is Kristina French. I am a DONA certified doula and a Birthing From Within and Lamaze trained childbirth educator practicing in the Tri-Cities area of Washington State for the last five years. I would like to make birth communities aware of an issue that is happening in my hometown and a nurse-in we are having on Monday the 14th because of this issue (see below on how you can help).

Where several years ago, women were routinely excused from jury duty in Benton County of Washington State if they were breastfeeding, in the past year or two that policy has changed. Several area women have reported that they have been unable to be excused or get a long term deferral to a time where they will no longer be exclusively breastfeeding.

 A friend of mine is going through this as we speak. Here is Amanda’s story in her own words:

“I received my first jury summons in my first trimester of pregnancy while on modified bed rest. I replied to the letter, and they granted a deferral. I got my second summons when the baby was less than 2 weeks old. They granted another referral, but only until May (Baby was born at the very end of November). I called and was then told I was out of deferments and had no choice but to go. I explained that I would still be exclusively breastfeeding, and baby would be under six months old. She told me that she was sorry, the issue was out of her control and I had no other options. She told me I have to show up on the day, and speak with the judge, and the judge would ‘likely’ excuse me. I asked if I could bring my infant son with me, since he cannot be away from me. She said no, and if I did I could be charged with contempt. I asked what would happen if I didn’t go; she said I would be charged with a misdemeanor.

 I just received my new summons last week. The baby will be 5 ½ months old on the day I am supposed to report. Even if I were to go in and speak with the judge, it will still take several hours of being away from the baby. He has never had pumped milk, formula, or even a pacifier. He is 100% exclusively breastfed. My body doesn’t respond well to pumping, and I get next to no milk out. He eats every 2 hours, often times more (even at night). That’s way too long for him to go without nursing.

 I am in no way trying to “get out” of anything. I will gladly do my civic duties. I just don’t think it is right to put me in a position to have to choose to do my civic duties, be charged/treated as a criminal OR care for my infant son. I will not be breast feeding forever, and will report for jury duty with bells on when it does not interfere with the well being of my children.”

 As a community, her network of friends have decided to act and support her. While doing research, we learned that 12 states have family friendly jury duty laws. Washington State is not one of them. Family friendly jury duty is about more than breastfeeding. It accommodates not only breastfeeding mothers, but also at-home parents/guardians of young children, caregivers of disabled or elderly relatives, and those who depend upon them.

 Jury duty is a necessary right and privilege in our society. Those tasked with caring for the most vulnerable should not have to choose between the two. 

If you agree, here are ways that you can help:

 1) Please join and share the following Facebook page with all your colleagues and clients/patients: Family Friendly Jury Duty – Washington State -

 2) Read about the laws in Washington State that protect breastfeeding, as well as statements concerning the importance of breastfeeding from professional organizations:

3) At the time Amanda will be reporting for jury duty, we have organized a nurse-in. If you can, come, even if you aren’t currently nursing! But even if you can’t come, please share the event. It is public, and you can invite anyone:

 4) Sign the petition and share it:

 5) Write your Washington State legislator: and the Washington State governor: Thank you so much for making a difference!

Kristina French, CD(DONA) and the Family Friendly Jury Duty in Washington State team

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Various Helps for Hyperemesis

A friend of mine this morning posted a Facebook link to an HG mother's request for advice. I thought I would take brief notes on the responses! Some were the inevitable "ginger and crackers," but most looked like they were coming from mothers who truly knew what they were talking about (i.e. other HG mothers).

Here are some of the suggestions:

- High-protein snacks, like almonds

- Zofran

- Peppermint tea

- Eating something every 10 to 15 minutes

- Diclectin - replica (U.S.) or the real thing (Canada)

- Caffeine-free coca cola, taken by the spoonful

- Cold foods and cold drinks

- Eating things that aren't bad to throw up later (bananas, etc.)

- Chamomile essential oils

- Acupuncture and acupressure

- Non-water fluids, and making sure to keep hydrated

- B-complex (P5P) and zinc supplements

- Vitamin B shots

- Ginger

- Medical cannabis

- Reflexology

- Hypnosis

- Nux vomica

- Aromatherapy

- Sour foods, like sour patches - "the brain has a hard time processing sour and nausea at the same time"


Thoughts, anyone?