Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Link Between Wheat and Endometriosis?

I found this interesting article concerning the possible link between wheat consumption and the painful condition of female endometriosis.

I wanted to share a few quotes from the article, but something wacky is going on with my blog - so head on over to the article to check out the particulars!

"It Ain't Easy Being Green"

Howdy, folks!

Today I'd like to introduce you to my long-time friend Becky, who is an awesome woman and a mom to three-now-FOUR little ones, the youngest of whom has just announced his or her presence by means of a second pink line! Congratulations, Becky!

Becky has experienced severe, life-threatening hyperemesis gravidarum with her  pregnancies, and she has started a new blog to document her journey through this pregnancy:

It Ain't Easy Being Green

Please join me in praying that this pregnancy would not be a hyperemetic one for Becky, and that she would receive the good care that she needs and deserves during this time. Please also hop on over to her blog and give her lots of loving support and encouragement as she begins her pregnancy journey!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Rights for Homebirth Activism

In case y'all are not aware... There is a lot of work being done right now in the state of Arizona to update the state midwifery laws and make more choices available to birthing mothers in our state. This work is being done by a dedicated group of midwives and citizens, and they need our support! To join the ongoing conversations and receive updates on progress, as well as notification of upcoming meetings, please like the "Rights for Homebirth" Facebook group and catch up on all the latest!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Three Techniques for Dealing With Morning Sickness

The title is something of a misnomer, since in many circumstances there aren't many ways to "deal" with morning sickness - one simply survives it and recovers afterward! But there are some tips and tricks to getting through that time period, and here are a couple:

(*Note: You'll notice that I said "morning sickness" and not "hyperemesis" - the two are entirely different beasts, and these tips aren't too applicable to hyperemesis, where the whole name of the game is simple survival. These tips are for a mama who is feeling badly - but well enough to be at least moderately functional - in other words, normal to moderate NVP rather than active HG.)

Nix the Kids' Pajamas

I actually learned this tip from a friend in culinary school many, many years ago. She had to get her three children up and out, and herself to school, by 5:30 a.m. in the morning. Definitely not an ideal situation, but one of the ways she made it work was by dressing all the kids (and doing the girls' hair) at night so that they could skip the "getting dressed" stage in the morning. Results aren't perfect, of course, but this technique works well to reduce laundry and mama's workload - especially if your husband helps with nighttime routines (like mine does!). This actually works so well that... we're still doing it, at least with our eldest. (I know, shameful! But it works so well!)

Bring on the Disposables

Real dishes are great... but in times of great stress and strain, the niceties of life go to the wall. Disposable plates, napkins, cups, silverware, etc., are indispensably helpful when one is too sick to deal with mountains of dishes.

Break the Laundry Rules

Here is what I did for laundry - I did one load a day, and that load contained everything. Darks, whites, lights, jeans, towels, kitchen laundry - whatever needed to be done that day was washed together and dried together. I daresay I broke some universal laundry laws and should be punished harshly, but it was a real life-saver. I still do it when I'm in a big rush!


Again, these rules only apply for a mama who is only moderately ill (as I was during my last two pregnancies, due to proper medication and God's mercy). Almost nothing applies when there is true hyperemesis and a mama is confined to bed (or hospital), as happened to us during our first pregnancy. But when NVP is mild to moderate, various lifestyle modifications like these can be very helpful.

What suggestions would you add to this list for a mama dealing with morning sickness?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Spending Time With WEEDS

Lately, I have had great opportunity to think about weeds. Lots and lots and lots of opportunity. Why? Because some spring weather, nice rain, and a couple of months of good, solid neglect of our yard have produced an over-abundant supply of them, and I have spent the last two days trying to begin the process of hacking ourselves out of this mess. I have no doubt that at this very moment, our neighbors are directing accusing glares in our direction and planning very well-deserved revenge. (I jest. We have great neighbors. But if they did revenge themselves, at this point we'd deserve it.)

Weeds have often been compared to bad habits or character traits in children (or ourselves!), and over the past two days I have had ample time to contemplate the similarities between letting weeds grow in my yard, and letting the "weeds" of bad attitudes or bad habits grow in my children.

Here are just a few of the analogies I've drawn:

Different Times, Different Weeds

We've lived in this house for four years, and each spring I have been astounded to see a different weed take preeminence. Three years ago it was the cute little broadleaf plants that start so innocently and then grow to six-foot monsters. This year it's a pretty lacy sort of thing that I love because it's so easy to pull. In my children? Different ages = different challenges. At a younger age, it was plain ol' obedience (and tantrums... lots and lots of tantrums). Now it's attitudes. Later it will be (*gasp*gulp*choke*) boy-girl relations and teen issues. But the issues are under constant change - there's never a dull (or stagnant) moment.

I'd never even seen these before this year! 
Easy When New.... Harder When Mature

Have you noticed how blessedly easy young weeds are to pull? So quick, so smooth, so easy! But when those critters get a true hold in the ground, it takes blood, sweat and tears to get them out. This morning I fought against one such monster, and retired worsted. That critter is out there yet, grinning insolently at me and daring me to try again. The same thing with bad habits and sins in our kidlets - they're so much easier to take care of in the beginning than when those habits have a true hold in their hearts.

These things are soooo cute when they're young... and then they mature into hideous beasts with foot-thick trunks. 
Slow and Steady Does the Job

Pulling weeds quickly results in stems that break off, leaving roots in the ground - roots that will spring back very quickly with new fruit and new stems. Same with parenting! Quick fixes never work (for me, at least... if you know of any, for goodness' sake pass them on). It's slow and steady that works well over the long-haul - consistent application of parenting practices and a willingness to correct with longterm goals in mind.

No Root, No Good!

From above - if a parenting technique deals with the outward without dealing with the heart issue also, longterm positive change is unlikely.

Some Weeds Are Easier Than Others

I love the nice, clean, smooth weeds that come out easily and completely - rather than those stickery, painful monsters that snap off and leave the taproot in the ground. But oddly enough, I find myself neglecting the ugly ones to deal with the easy ones! Can anyone see how this applies to parenting? Yikes!

Man, I hate these things. They are evil. 

Weeds Breed Weeds

I don't just find one weed... I find one weed that has spawned a whole bunch of other weeds, and which is now a huge problem patch. In parenting, I find that one sinful habit leads to another. Disobedience leads to disrespect, which leads to strife, which leads to bad sibling relations, etc. Neglecting weeds causes a huge spread.

What used to be our lawn. 

Weeds Choke Out Good Plants

Weeds breeding weeds breeding weeds... eventually, the weeds choke out good fruit. Letting the bad habits and attitudes in my children go unchecked will undo any good work that I'm doing in their lives.

Our garden, currently being choked out by weeds. 
And finally...

Weeding makes me sneeze. You make the connection.

Thoughts, all?

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Article: Safety of Morning Sickness Drug

Thought y'all might be interested in this article, "Morning Sickness Drug Shown Safe for Babies," concerning metoclopramide, which is an anti-nausea drug that I've never even seen before!

From the article:
"The Israeli study, led by researchers at Ben-Gurion University, included pregnant women enrolled in Israel's largest HMO from 1998 through 2007.
"It compared the health of newborns of 3,458 women who took metoclopramide, for as little as a week to more than three weeks, with 78,245 newborns of women who had not used it. Rates of problems were low and similar in both groups.
"In the U.S., other drugs — Compazine, Phenergan and Zofran — are generally used more often than Reglan, which is made by Schwarz Pharma Inc. of Smyrna, Ga. The new study should lead obstetricians to prescribe it more often, some experts said.
"Until now, doctors have only assumed it is safe, based on a couple small studies and the lack of reports of serious problems, said Dr. Jeffrey Chapa, head of maternal fetal medicine at the Cleveland Clinic."
On how the drug works and its side effects....
"Metoclopramide, which works by speeding emptying of the stomach and reducing heartburn, can have side effects, including sedation, insomnia, depression and anxiety."
I am never in favor of using drugs during pregnancy when it's avoidable... but in terms of hyperemesis, it is not unavoidable. For the health (and life) of the baby and mother, it's essential - especially in the more severe, life-threatening cases. I'm happy to see more options in the arena to treat HG, especially since different things have different levels of effectiveness in different women.

The only thing that alarms me is the fact that this "safety" was based on newborn health only, not long-term studies. I'm sure that the studies of DES babies (babies whose mothers used diethyl stilbestrol) would have shown healthy babies... until those babies grew up into adult women who had ridiculously high rates of certain forms of cancer. Healthy newborns don't mean that drugs have no undesirable side-effects in the long-term. Thus, the statement that "[This study] compared the health of newborns of 3,458 women who took metoclopramide... with newborns of women who had not used it. Rates of problems were low and similar in both groups," is quite accurate, but it might be a bit of a stretch to say (as the article's title implies), "This drug is completely safe for pregnant mothers and their babies."

However, again, HG has to be treated, and I'm always glad to see more options out there - not to mention the fact that most of the other drugs used to treat HG have even fewer safety studies to support their use than this one! Whether or not it will catch on in the U.S. is another question.

Thoughts, all?

Hat tip to my friend Becky at Refuse to Be a Womb Pod for notifying me of this article!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Achieving a Life Goal... And Having Fun Doing It!

Last month, I got to do something that I have wanted to do for a long time... I hosted my first baby shower! This shower was for a sweet friend in the homeschooling community who is currently awaiting the arrival of baby #4 - a baby who ought to be arriving any second, as she is currently at 41+2 weeks. We can't wait to meet her precious little one!

I had a lot of fun planning the shower. We had pink and white frosted cookies, vegetables and dip, lemonade and coffee, and a couple of other things that I have unfortunately forgotten due to how long ago this was! I made favors out of the extra cookies, and we played a couple of games and handed out "labor candles" - candles to burn while the mama is in labor as a reminder to pray for her and her baby during their birthing time.

To accommodate mamas who didn't have babysitting available, we made this a "mommy and young children" shower. Whether that was smart or not I'm not sure - it got pretty crazy! (But I didn't want anyone to have to skip the shower due to a Saturday-working hubby.)

This shower confirmed what I have long known - that I am much better at "back of the house" operations (food prep, etc.) than "front of the house" operations (hostessing, leading games, etc.). The former is something that I greatly enjoy (and can do reasonably well); the latter is something in which my performance is miserably behind-hand. I simply am not good in front of groups or in leading events. Next time I have the opportunity to bless a mama with a shower, I shall happily do the grunt work - but I shall ask somebody to lead it who can do it with less stuttering awkwardness than I!

I love helping with showers. There is something so special and precious about honoring and celebrating a mother as she prepares to give birth and to welcome a new baby into the world. Each time is a special event, and each birth and transition into motherhood is something to celebrate. Hopefully I shall have this opportunity many more times!

Unfortunately, I completely forgot to take pictures - until I was putting the last few things away afterward. And that is why this entry is ending with a picture of lemonade... because that is the only thing left out by the time I said, "Oh shoot! I forgot to take pictures!"

Lemonade. Aren't you impressed? 
Babies are such wonderful things - and so are baby showers!!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Weird Pregnancy Fantasies!

Do you ever dream about some aspect of pregnancy or childbirth? Some people fantasize about a painless birth experience or dream about a homebirth after a hospital birth or wish for a faster birth.

Me? I fantasize about a pregnancy and birth like this one (which happened a few minutes away from us) - a pregnancy in which I felt so normal and non-pregnant that I wouldn't even know I was pregnant.
"A Gilbert woman, who thought she was having severe menstrual cramps, ended up delivering a baby Wednesday morning in the emergency room of Banner Gateway Medical Center.
“I left home at 9:15 and she was born at 9:59,” said Janae Colvard.
Colvard talked exclusively with ABC15 from her hospital bed on Thursday night and insisted she had no idea she was pregnant.
“I gained some weight, but not to where I thought I was pregnant,” she said. “I didn’t feel [the baby] move. I had my normal cycle.”
Colvard said her friend drove her to the hospital after the abdominal pain became too intense.
“I kept feeling like I needed to use the restroom, on top of this pressure and I happen to reach down all of a sudden … and there was a head,” she said."
Can you imagine?

Similarly - a woman in one of my Facebook groups recently posted, "I think I'm pregnant, because I have a linea nigra and I feel the baby move."

Oh, goodness - that sounds wonderful.

Not that I want to miss out on pregnancy - I love being pregnant and savor every moment of it - but I would love to feel that well during pregnancy. Not the debilitating nausea around the clock. Not the high dosages of Zofran and Unisom to keep even basic functionality. Not the throwing up before I can even get a positive pregnancy test. Not the postpartum residual nausea that lasts 1-2 years.

But I can dream!

What are your pregnancy and birth dreams?

However they get here, they're CUTE! 

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Upcoming Hyperemesis Event!

Attention, local HG mamas! An acquaintance of mine is putting together a hyperemesis gravidarum survivors' picnic and potluck event - please feel free to join us! Here is the link to the Facebook invitation, and here is the information

Sunday, February 24th, 2013
3:00 p.m.
Tumbleweed Park in Chandler

Bring a potluck dish to share, and come hang out and meet local HG mothers!