Friday, December 24, 2010

Alternative VS. Conventional Health Care



Are Naturopaths kooks/witch-doctors/hippie ladies with hairy armpits*?

I'm a new Naturopathic medicine patient so I'm by no means an expert at these things. I just want to address 4 things that I think the general public should know regarding alternative health care professionals.

1. Naturopthic Doctors (ND's) are, indeed, doctors with medical degrees. They have formal schooling just like any other MD. They are able to prescribe antibiotics, administer vaccines and deal with major illness. What makes them different is their in depth training in solving issues with gentle, natural remedies, homeopathy, healing with diet.

2. Naturopaths dig deeper. They tend to look at the body as a whole (this is what Holistic means) and find the REAL cause of any issues that you may be having. This is different than your typical MD who will generally just treat the symptoms you are experiencing. For me, after visiting 5 or 6 different doctors about my irregular periods (and going on birth control to regulate them) in the last 6 years, my ND and I are finally getting to the very bottom of what's going wrong. She drew blood to test my thyroid function, gave me a very in depth pelvic exam and I now have to put saliva into little test tubes 8 times this next month to see the pattern of my hormones. We're changing my diet and adding herbs to support my body. My only side effect? My anxiety level has plummeted, already. In Jericho's case, his MD diagnosed him with 'normal nasal drainage' and told us to use a nebulizer nightly. Months later, his ND got to the REAL issue: milk allergy!

3. Naturopaths are IN DEPTH. My first appt lasted an entire hour. Dr. Riccio was relaxed but madly taking notes and drawing boxes around things and linking it to other things. I've never seen a doctor make this look like such an art form. She wanted to know my entire family's health status. She even wanted to know what my BM's look like! My visit yesterday lasted TWO hours! The depth of our conversation and testing and such makes me feel soooo safe. I finally feel like I'm in good hands.

4. Are herbal remedies effective? It may be worth noting that the majority of pharmaceutical drugs began as a plant before being chemically altered in a lab. Also, my ICU nurse friend over at The Organic Dollar told me that some of the worst medical reactions she has seen were of the herbal sort. YES, these plants interact with our bodies. Yes, they can be dangerous if used incorrectly. And importantly, yes, these medicines WORK!

Here is the link to my new ND's clinic: www.emeraldcityclinic.com

I'm sure all of the doctors there are fabulous but Dr. Loren Riccio is who I am working with.

*I can't guarantee that all ND women shave their pits ;-)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Is Pitocin the same as Oxytocin?

Now, let me just preface this by saying that for all medical interventions during labor, there are definite times when their use is necessary; life saving, even. But we all know that labor induction for convenience is a VERY common practice in our country. Just like any OTC medication or major medical procedure, whether it's tylenol or a Cesarean birth; there are risks. I didn't fully realize the risk involved until I read this blog post outlining how the body uses synthetic Oxytocin by Nurturing Heart Birth Services:


What really stuck out to me was the information about the perservative used in the drug. Chlorobutanol. This drug has a really long half-life (10 days), meaning it hangs out in a woman's (and crosses the placenta to the fetus) body for up weeks. Same goes for the baby. The more often the Pitocin is administered, the more Chlorobutanol builds up in the mother and infant's body. Ick.

Also, the FDA and ACOG both have approved Pitocin for use ONLY for an EMERGENCY induction. In researching Pitocin on the FDA's website, I came across this contraindication:

"IMPORTANT NOTICE
Elective induction of labor is defined as
the initiation of labor in a pregnant individual
who has no medical indications
for induction. Since the available data
are inadequate to evaluate the benefitsto-
risks considerations, Pitocin is not
indicated for elective induction of labor."

This is taken straight from the package insert from the makers of Pitocin. Read the entire insert at http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2007/018261s028lbl.pdf

My favorite line from the original blog post that I full heartly agree with before using any drug is, "Treat the cause of the stalled labor, not just the uterus, and give this mom and baby ample time to both start and complete this process."

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Ramblings of an attached mama...



The other day as I was dropping Jericho off at the church nursery (new church, new nursery, new nursery workers...) he clung to me like a desperately afraid baby monkey. This has been our usual Sunday morning routine for the last month or so, even at our normal church. It didn't help that we were greeted by an unusually outgoing (and slightly pushy) nursery volunteer (this woman was a vibrantly outgoing woman who either owned her own daycare or was some higher up at a daycare- I couldn't really pay attention over Jericho's terrified wails. Either way she was apparently an 'expert' on my child).

She kept assuring me of three things: 1. this is normal behavior for a toddler 2. it hurts the mama more than it hurts the child 3. I just have to have faith that this would work. For a third time, she attempted to detach Jericho from my arms when I informed her that I will also be accompanying Jericho.

"Is it OK if I come in with him to get him used to things?"

I almost felt uncomfortable saying those words. I was basically telling her that I didn't agree with her by staying. She assured me that it was fine and Jericho and I sat on the floor. It wasn't long before his toddler curiosity took over and he was exploring every nook and cranny of the toy box. Then snack time came. Jericho lit up! He got to sit in a 'big boy' chair, drink out of a 'big boy' cup and munch a huge stack Ritz crackers (*shiver* I still have to remind myself that once won't hurt him!). He was as happy as a pumpkin in a patch when I decided that if he was going to let me leave it was now. I gave him a kiss, made one SMALL movement for the door when panic struck. You would have thought I was leaving him in the care of Chucky or something.

I kept walking. I walked up a hall echoing with the sound of Jericho yelling for me and found a clock. 5 minutes, I decided. I'd give him a bit of time to chill before going back in. I told the lady to get me in a heart beat if he cries. Or if it's a constant struggle to keep him from crying. But honestly, I didn't trust this lady to come and get me if he didn't stop crying (because she considered that 'normal' toddler behavior). 3 minutes later: quiet. My mama 'red alert' was still flashing in my head as I joined Jaden in the church service and tried to pay attention. Before long I heard Jericho cry again and ran into the hall.

Silence. "Hmmm. I'd feel really dumb scooping my child out of there now while he's quiet" I thought. Plus I didn't want to give away the fact that this lady was making me super uneasy. I went back into the service. Before I could even begin to focus Jericho started up again. UGH. This time I went all the way back to the nursery and scooped my down in the dumps boy up. He clung to me tighter than I think I ever felt him cling. He was clearly terrified. My teeth were clenched as the worker reminded me of the "big three" again ("this is so normal and it hurts you worse than him. You have all these emotions and all he is thinking is that he misses you. You just gotta have faith....") He calmed down and I was able to think clearly again. For a third time she reminded me that this is normal and then had the guts to ask if I believed her. I couldn't believe what came out of my mouth:

"No. I don't. We run things a little different. We practice attachment parenting" I was so shaky as those words came out.

Her response? "OH!" and a bit of an eye roll. She turned her body back towards the children she was painting with but her head still facing me (if that makes sense). Even after I assured her that I full heartedly believe in discipline as God has commanded us, I still felt judged. Ignorant, almost. On the spot. I KNEW what she was thinking:

"NO WONDER this child is so clingy".

I almost felt like a failure. The words of books I've read flew into my head. "A child who is always attached to his mother will develop separation anxiety when left in another's care."

Honestly, though, Jericho has been teething painfully (we're almost done, though! Hooray!), not sleeping well and left with babysitters in our home a lot lately while I've been doula-ing. But the nursery lady didn't know that. My feelings went back and forth between "Who does she think she is?!?!" and "Maybe I suck at this parenting thing".

Baby J and I hung out, playing with toys, interacting with the other toddlers and dutifully avoiding eye contact with the lady. I was on edge. I felt like I had to prove that I'm not a completely indulgent mother. Why?

Toward the end of church, another toddler started having a hard time. She started by getting angry but eventually she became just really down in the dumps. She wanted to be left alone to hide behind a chair in the corner. The other children circled around her, curious and wondering if she was alright. Eventually they all wondered off to play with toy cell phones and puzzles but Jericho remained. He watched this crumpled up little girl quizzically and finally looked back over at me. "She's very saaaad, Jericho" I informed him.

He was clearly distraught and with upturn eyebrows, he approached the little girl with his arms out, fingers reaching, ready for an embrace. It was so sweet.

And THAT is what I labor for! Jericho clearly took alarm at this other child's tears. We take crying very seriously in this house and it boosted my confidence to see Jericho do the same. I'm not saying it's 100% that Jericho is so sensitive because we're sensitive to him. He was born with a quiet, gentle heart. I am saying that THAT is the type of behavior that I want to CULTIVATE in my son.

Children love to model and will grow up imprinted with what they are taught in their upbringing. I crave that my son would love others and take their pain very seriously. I desire that he would be brimming with empathy and selflessness. So this is the care I model to him.

My goal isn't to forge a perfectly compliant, self reliant toddler. My goal is to look at the BIG picture. I want to raise a caring, responsible, Jesus loving ADULT. Besides, where in the bible is independence ever encouraged?

I wish I would have said that just because it's normal behavior for a toddler to be distraught at a daycare does not mean that it's healthy or desirable. Of course it's normal for a toddler to miss his family. Plus you can't really compare a daycare setting to a stay at home setting.

I'm not perfect. Here's my confession: I've told him plenty of times in the heat of (usually PMS related) emotion to "shut up already!" and have days where I'm just empty. I'm working on that. No, God's working on that. I'm working on showing him the love of Christ, more, by praying, reading the word and by my actions to others. I struggle with the whole empathy thing, myself, but I'm a work in progress.

Back to the "attachment vs independence" thing, here is a response I wrote to another mama 3 weeks ago:

"Being close and being even constantly carried does NOT create clingy babies. I can attest to that from personal experience as well as scientific data. It creates secure babies who are confident enough to 'leave the nest' and are more autonomous at younger ages.

"There's been studies done on 'primitive' cultures (Africa, South America, etc) who literally do not let they're baby touch the ground until they're 12 weeks old. However, independence is not only a convenience in such cultures, but a necessity. The people in these cultures face very real threats to their daily life and most do not live past 50. Clingy toddlers and young children would threaten the entire community. In a study done comparing the carried primitive babies to the kept at arm's length British babies, the African babies showed more daring independence at a much younger age than the Brits. I think the average difference was a year. This is not the only study, just the one I remember enough to quote.

"Also, carried babies have stronger necks and earlier motor functioning skills. They have advanced vestibular development and much, MUCH lower cortisol (stress hormone) in their systems. Babies were made to be carried. I have read many, many, MANY scientific child development books but my absolute favorite was the Vital Touch. It points you to the different studies that support these findings but also talks about random baby things that are super cool to read about. Like: what exactly does it mean when a baby boy plays with his 'junk'? Why do American's hum the same musical note when asked to spontaneously hum while the French hum a completely different note?"

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

My Postpartum Doula information!

OK, I'm officially a business! I've recieved my UBI number (yay, taxes!) and business license. I have a website and a fancy email. Oh! And a business name!

Bliss and Blues Postpartum Doula Service.

My website is: blissandblues.com
Email: Heather@blissandblues.com

Whoo hoo! I've been helping clients fairly regularly since August and am starting for feel a bit more at home in my new (complementing) role!

Well...

Sorry I've been MIA lately. I've been back at the drawing board reconsidering how I want to direct my blog. I'm thinking I'm it's going to go in a "holistic pregnancy and baby's first year" direction, which is not much different than it already is. In the beginning I thought I was going to use my blog as an outlet for the more controversial type stuff (natural childbirth, vaccines, circ'ing, etc) but I'm finding that I'd only be trying to reinvent the wheel. There are plenty of other blogs and websites for that information. I will possibly add permanent links to those types of blogs. By far, my favorite is Drmomma.org.

I'm hoping to start blogging regularly once I get my Doula certifications and have a free sliver of time!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Feminine issue #2 Mastitis



I'm not sure what my body's been telling me lately but I have had three infections in the last couple months. Mastitis twice and the yeast/BV issue once. Here is how I combated Mastitis without needing antibiotics:

Oh! Wait- I need to throw out there, I am not your doctor. I am not telling you to forgo your doctor either! I am simply letting you know how I handled Mastitis without needing antibiotics. Please use your best judgement, here. Here we go:

Lots of nursing on the infected side, rest (HA!) and water

Lots of raw garlic (you can either cut up the cloves like pills and down em or do what I do now and make garlic mashed potatoes with raw garlic. I did 3 red potatoes with 3 raw garlics smashed in)

Ecinacea and goldenseal (it's a children's mixture with honey and peppermint and it is delicious! You could use any ole ecinacea and goldenseal, though)

Oil of Oregano: YUCK! It's supposed to work wonders for your body, though. I've heard of people healing from food poisoning and GI bugs within minutes after taking this

A newcomer: Blackstrap molasses stirred into warm (soy or coconut) milk. YUM! Tastes like a yummy chai tea! BS molasses is supposed to help with bring down (or is it up?) the overall pH of your bodies. An acidic body (from drinking too much coffee, perhaps?) is a body that will get sick. Since this is the 3rd infection, I'm suspecting something is up.

Raw applecider vinegar: I haven't started this yet but it also helps with body acidity. I will start this one soon. You mix 2 tbsps of ACV in with a glass of water and a ton of honey.

The first time I had Mastitis it went away after taking my 2nd whole garlic clove in 12 hours. I also did the ecinacea and goldenseal as well as raw honey. The main thing you want to do is anything that will boost your immune system. Hope this helps someone!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Natural treatment of *Ahem* Femine Issues

If you're sensative to "TMI" topics you may want to stop- right now! I am going to be covering how I've successfully home treated a few womanly issues, starting with what's going on with me right now:

Yeast Infection/Bacterial Vaginosis:

I'm putting these together because I'm not sure which one I'm battling. *sigh* It started a few days ago with itching then progressed to painful urination, burning, strange discharge (not cottage cheese, which is why I'm wondering if it could be BV). Luckily they have very similiar home treatments. Here's what I'm doing:

Garlic suppositories: exactly as it sounds. You unpeel a clove of garlic, use your fingernail to puncture the skin a time or two and insert into the vagina. Lovely. Usually overnight until the symptoms are gone (+ one more night for good measure) is all that you need but I did it all last night and half of today. I think this is what has worked the best, so far. You can also make a garlic tampon by wrapping the garlic in cheesecloth and tieing with unwaxed dental floss.

Raw apple cider vinegar: at first I squirted full strength ACV with a syringe down there, just on the outside. Holy moly! It burned like none other! My Bradley Method pain relieving "relax as though your life depends on it" tool came in very handy. After about 4 minutes the stinging stopped and all of a sudden my "down theres" felt sooo much better! Later on I diluted the ACV with 3 parts water and dabbed on with TP. No stingy but all of the relief! I just had the idea to use my Peri-bottle I received after birth to gently squirt. I do this everytime I remember. Maybe 3 times a day.

Internal Probiotics: It's definetly better if you can take a broad spectrum probiotic but all I have is acidolphilus. It'll do. Two tablets, AM and PM. You could also drink Kombucha or Kefir for the same effect.

Immune boosting herbs: I'm taking echinacea, goldenseal and organo oil. You could also cut up a clove of garlic and swallow that. What can't garlic do? I also read that olive leaf and black walnut tinctures work great!

**These alone would probably be enough to heal what I got goin' on. But I'm an over achiever so I'm also applying the Oregano oil* on my 'down theres' for good measure. This also stings like crazy!! But, oh, my goodness, after the stinging subsides the result is a cooling sensation that virtually takes away all memory of the former itchiness. I did 4 drops of oil (70% concentration) to about 1/8 cup of water.

By the way, between the oregano oil and garlic, my bathroom smells like an Italian cafe everytime I pee! Hahahah! I just had to tell someone that! :-)

Other stuff that supposed to work wonders:

*Applying plain yogurt to a tampon and inserting overnight
*Applying a couple drops tea tree oil to a tampon and inserting overnight
*Applying diluted AVC to tampon and weaing overnight
*Applying diluted TTO to a soft towel or cotton ball and dabbing on the 'area'
*Watch what you eat! Avoid processed foods and especially sugar

I will try to remember to update my blog with the results of my home remedies! I started my routine yesterday and I do feel quite a bit better. I will keep at it until all of my symptoms have been gone for 24 hours.

*Oregano oil is a GREAT immune system booster! I've heard of people taking it in the early stages of food poisening or the stomach flu and it healing them in less than an hour!


Baltic Amber Necklace... Update!

Jericho's been wearing his baltic amber teething necklace for (I think) 2 weeks now. I wish I could say that miracles happened the second we clasped the beads on, but- nope.

I will say, though, that the night I wrote the first teething blogpost, he woke up at 2am with a crazy high fever. 102.8. He never fully went back to sleep. Just for fun I decided to take him to Dr. Shlafer... Just in case. Dr. Shlafer figured it wasn't the eruption of the molars that was causing his fevers but a benign childhood illness called Roseola (you can google it for more info). Sure enough, 4 days later he broke out in the telltale Roseola rash... And as of yesterday he has come down with a cold. *Sigh* We don't get breaks in the Songstad household.

His molars are now JUUUUST below the surface. Jericho is fussy day and night. Car rides are torture. This is hard core teething. Not for the faint hearted. I wish I could be one of those moms who say that "BAM! Stuck the necklace on and my child slept 12 hours straight and was an angel all day!"

I will still recommend the necklace to people because those "BAM!" moms are out there! Loads of them. Besides, who knows if it would be EVEN worse if we took the necklace off?

Monday, July 19, 2010

I'm now a Postpartum Doula!

WHOOOO HOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

*Ahem* Ok, just had to get that out.

Here's the thing: In order to become DONA and NAPS certified, I need to help 3 families for 8 hours + in their immediate postpartum time (first 3 weeks). Two out of the three families need to be breastfeeding so that I can get experience helping with latch/supply, etc.

If you are pregnant and would like some extra help after your baby is born, I am available for FREE to three families (at least two must be breastfed, please) for 8 hours. After the initial 8 hours, I will charge only $10 an hour until I get certified (or plenty of experience, which ever comes first. I will be sure to let you know before the rate increases). The going rate for postpartum doulas in our area is $25 to $35 an hour. I am available for 4 hours at a time shifts during the daytime.

What exactly would I be doing as a Postpartum Doula?

A doula has been described as a "mother to the mother". My main goal is to encourage and support the new mom (dad, too!). The time after birth is an emotionally charged, often difficult time and sometimes a listening ear can make all of the difference! I have been trained and have a lot of experience in infant care* and can provide information and help in that aspect also. I can also do light housework including bed making, animal care, FOOD PREP (!), tidying, etc. If you weren't able to clean your bathtub while 9 months pregnant, I will do that for you, too! :-) Every new mom needs to have (clean) bath relaxation time. Oh! I have been trained and have experience with the postpartum body and how to care for mama!




If you're pregnant and interested and live in the Snohomish county area, please let me know. We will then arrange for a prenatal meeting to cover the specifics. You can either email me at Lukihethir@hotmail.com or on Facebook and I will give you my phone number.




* Infant care includes bathing, diapering, breastfeeding, formula feeding, babywearing, dressing, soothing, etc, etc with a flair for natural/attachment type parenting :-)

Teething and tantrums and fever, OH MY!


Jericho's premolars have been threatening to emerge for the last month. It started with Niagra Falls being unleashed down his chin but nothing too serious. We're now in deep (or should I say JUST below the surface, haha!) and my baby is miserable. Jericho's fever set in yesterday, runny nose last night and he's been attached to the boob all morning.

Let me add that when my baby gets teeth, NOTHING seems to work for relief. When his front top ones emerged, not even Motrin touched the pain. At night, he woke up every hour for 4 weeks and 3 days. The very day the 3rd (out of 4) top tooth came in he slept a blissful 8 straight hours. Once the very last tooth came in he slept 11 hours straight. I clearly have a 'bad teether' on my hands. Oh, and by the way, the Motrin I gave my child was later recalled. Ick. I've determined that Motrin and Tylenol will NOT be used to treat teething (or fevers but that's a different post).

I posted the picture of Jericho frantically attempting to unlock the door because you can see the magnet teething necklace that a mom at church made for us. It hasn't made much difference for us but it has worked wonders for other babies.

OK, so, my reason for posting: today my Baltic Amber teething necklace arrives. My intentions are to have a running dialouge while I try the amber to see if it works. I'm praying it does! The mailman couldn't get here soon enough! In my research I have NOT found ONE bad review of using Baltic Amber as a natural analgesic (I hope I'm spelling that right).

Here is a link where you can read the benefits and logic of the necklaces: http://www.amberartisans.com/coamtene3.html.

Here is the necklace we ended up purchasing: http://www.momsmilkboutique.com/Baltic-Amber-Round-Bead-Honey-Necklace.html

I will post later about whether or not the necklace helps!!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Babywise. Part 2.

This was important enough to include in our Postpartum Doula training. I am posting it here because I get asked about Babywise a lot... Controversial? Definetly. Sorry. But it's science/fact backed and I'm throwing it out there.

http://www.ezzo.info/Aney/childbirthinstructor.pdf

Monday, May 10, 2010

Awesome quote I found in a magazine...

"Chronic disease prevention will not come from a chemist's lab bench but from our kitchen tables." -Tom Ballard, R.N., N.D.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Tidbits over the last month!

My, oh, my! Tomorrow marks one month since I last blogged! Lots of stuff to write about, so little time! Here are the highlights that I'm hoping I will expand on later:

Bread:

I've started milling my own flour from whole wheat berries!

This is the type of mill I purchased for $269. A Nutrimill!

There is soooo much more behind flour and bread than I ever knew. Before January I couldn't have even told you that flour comes from wheat! Here's what my friend Fran has taught me:

Did you know that home grinding is not any more difficult than grinding your own coffee beans and is the ONLY way to garuantee that you are, in fact, eating the WHOLE grain. Store bought "whole grain" flour (or bread) is almost always nothing more than plain ole' white flour with enough bran thrown back in to give it the tell tale brown color that says "healthy". You're missing the wheat germ, wheat germ oil and middlings thus missing out on untold nurtrients and health benefits. Store bought whole grain bread is almost always the same thing as well as dense and heavy. Definetly not the delicious, light, extravagantly flavorful WHOLE GRAIN bread Fran has inspired me to bake (after 12 loaves, I'm allllmost there!). Plus, like coffee beans and cheese, whole milled the grain starts to deteriorate. Fresh is the way to go!!

I recommend reading the book Flour Power for more info about whole grain and the travesty that is white bread.

Tradition foods diet:

I've been reseaching the Weston A. Price methodology of eating for quite a few months, now. Dr. Price was a dentist in the early/mid 1900's who traveled the world studying the effects of diet on the health of different cultures (specifically their teeth). Upon noticing that the apparent amazing health and stature of the inhabitants of many indiginous cultures and the lack of "plagues of modern civilization" wrote a book called "Nutrition and Physical Degeneration". His work has been dissected and studied by two main groups: the Weston A. Price Foundation and the Price-Pottinger Nutritional Foundation.

Here is a semi-breakdown of how these diets encourage us to eat (I'm choosing to post the ones that I specifcally aim for in our household. Emphasis on aim! Our diet is still terrible around here!):

EAT:

Whole, natural, able-to-spoil foods

Organic everything (as much as you can, anyway)

Plenty of homemade stocks made from chicken or beef bones

Eat plenty of healthy, natural fats (NOT trans-fats)

Organ meats, specifically liver

Dairy in it's raw form and from pasture fed cows (or goats)

Plenty of fermented goods: kefir, kombucha and fermented vegetables

Take a daily supplement of Cod Liver Oil (fermented, high vitamin, if possible)

Breads made from sprouted whole-grains

All supplements should be natural and vitamins food based

AVOID:

Refined, white flour

Refined, white sugar (limit all sweeteners)

Artificial sweeteners, colors and flavors (yuck, anyway)

Trans-fats

Cooking in non-stick cookware

Microwave cooking

Here's a link to more guidelines:

http://www.westonaprice.org/Dietary-Guidelines.html

Antibiotic research:

I don't know why but for some reason I've been coming across a lot of things about the detriment of the overuse of antibiotics. I had no idea how important it was to limit the use of them for true need. I also had no idea that I, myself helped created drug-resistant strains of bacteria by stopping Jericho's antibiotic use 3 days early when he had pneumonia. Turns out that by doing so, it was more likely that only the weaker bacteria were killed, leaving the stronger ones to not only thrive but possibly mutated into resistant strains. I read that it's only a matter of time before antibiotics are obsolete which is why it's imparative to use good judgement when dispensing them.

I'm working on a blog with more detail as well as how to help your body recover soundly if you must take these meds. Antibiotics are not friendly to our systems and can actually cause a lot of damage leaving our immune systems weaker in the long run. Please google what to do if you or your child needs antibiotics.

Medicine chest:

I've been working on stocking up on natural remedies; herbal and homeopathic. After our most recent Tylenol/Motrin recall, I've decided I'm going to try even harder to avoid such harsh remedies. I threw out my Motrin (OK, it was empty, anyway) and replacing the harsh stuff with natural stuff. Here's what I have, so far:

Olive Leaf and Black Walnut tinctures: Helps with nausea and vomiting

Wellness Herbal Kids by Source Naturals: boosts children's immune systems with Ecinacea, Goldenseal, Yin Chiao Formula, etc. A good all around supplement for sick times

Grapefruit Seed Extract: detoxifier, also good for stomach flu/food poisening

Ecinacea and Zinc: both good to use while sick

Vitamin D as Cholcalciferol

Homeopathic Ipecacuanha: Stops vomiting with hypersalivation

Homeopathic Belladonna: for fever with redness that comes suddenly

Homeopathic euphrasia officinalis: Helps with eye irration with drainage (Jericho has pinkeye right now)

Hylands homeopathic remedies: Teething tablets, Colic tabs and Calms for my occasional insomnia

Here's a GREAT forum post for stocking up! From Mean Rooster Soup.

Make Your Own Herbal First Aid

AWESOME forums:

I'm a forum addict!! These are my new favorite: Mothering Magazine forums

I especially love the "Traditional foods" and "I'm not vaccinating" boards.

Whew, I think that's about it! Oh! One last thing:

True detox:

Being a Christian, I've realized over the last few months that I've become such a die-hard anti-chemical health freak that I've neglected the most important definintion of health: spiritual. When I'm feeling especially honest and open, I'll admit that it's become somewhat of an idol in my life. As a result I've been feeling little joy and a lot of anxiety. Especially regarding Jericho's sleep habits (you can read more about how I tend to obsess about this in my postpartum depression post). At a brink of desparation from lack of sleep, I realized I was not only making an idol out of the day Jericho decides to sleep through the night but my life was on metephorical hold until then. "When Jericho sleeps better things will be perfect and I will start living my life."

It hit me that God has much more for me than just merely surviving. It is His will that I have life MORE abundantly. A life filled with purpose and joy; not later but NOW.

"Lord, detoxify my spirit. Get rid of the nasty impurities and additives in my own heart and mind as well as my body. Help me to seek true cleanliness and stop obsessing over trivial things. I want to live NOW. I want joy. I give you Jericho's sleep and I trust that You are in control and have me here for a reason. Amen"

I started doing my daily bible study again. I started praying with my son every morning and night. My new attitude is that if God wants Jericho to sleep, he will sleep. Nothing is out of God's control.

I am finally free.

I feel like a HUGE load has been taken off of my shoulders at just letting go. And you know what? Less than 3 days after I first let go, Jericho started sleeping better than ever! We're talking going from waking every hour for 4 weeks, 3 days (yep, I've kept count) to going to bed later (a good thing), waking for only 1 night feed and then sleeping in until at least 8:30.

Giving up is freedom. God is good!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Baking soda!!

Baking soda is second only to vinegar for household verstility. Here are some ways to use it:

Shampoo alternative (See Poo-Free)

Use instead of toothpaste!! (It's salty but non-toxic! Makes my teeth feel really polishy)

Cleaning bathtubs: I sprinkle a bunch into my bathtub, add vinegar (with tea tree oil in it), watch it explode and then scrub with an old loofah. Takes elbow grease if you're like me and only wash the tub about twice a year but again, non-toxic.

If your cloth diapers are smelling like ammonia after drying or immediately after your baby pees on them, you can toss your diapers into a washer, fill with cold water, add 1/2 of baking soda and let soak for a few hours. Baking soda neutralizes the pH of urine. I don't recommend this to be done on a regular basis, however, as soaking increases wear and tear. Especially on natural fibers.

For those that use normal shampoo: add to shampoo once or twice a month to get rid of build up (a hairstylist told me this one)

Gentle yet effective cleaning scrub for counters, sinks, fridges, pretty much anything!!

Gentle scrub for faces (I hear it works great for acne!)

Baby wash (a completely non-toxic way to clean. It makes their skin sooo soft!)

Use as a carpet freshener

Homemade electrolyte drink: 4C water, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 8 tsp sugar

Rashy baby butt soak or sunburn bath soak (it has amazing soothing qualities)

Can also be made into a paste and applied to burns and beestings

Mixed w/vinegar to unclog drains (pour a bunch of baking soda in, followed by vinegar and seal the drain while it explodes)

Kills smells in fridge/cooking surfaces

Grease absorber- can be used to clean ovens and microwaves

Puts out grease fires

Sprinkled into a diaper wetpail/bag or garbage can, will help reduce odors

Sprinkled into shoes, will absorb stinky foot smell :-)

Add 1 cup of baking soda with liquid laundry detergent for extra cleaning power

Use as a deoderant by dabbing some into your arm pits (haven't tried this but I would :-)

Sprinkle a bit into a vase of flowers to help them stay fresh longer

Get rid of the mildewy smell in dishrags and towels by soaking them in baking soda and water

Sprinkle some in dishwasher to improve washing power

Make a volcano in your kitchen!

I know there's more!! If you have a favorite use that I haven't mentioned, feel free to post into the comments!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

How quickly they grow...

I'll be honest with you and just come out and say it. I love reminscing. I'll also be honest and say that this may not intrigue anyone but me. :-) I look back at Jericho's newborn pictures and scroll through just about his entire life pretty regularly. OK, I lied. I don't start with the newborn stage, I start with my very first + pregnancy test picture!

One thing that always strikes me is how quickly he went from the newborn stage to the infant stage. If you've read my post about postpartum depression you may have rightly gathered that I wasn't fully present enough to enjoy and appreciate (or even care, really) what was happening before my very eyes. I litterally went to bed one night with a gangly, splotchy, lovely newborn and woke up the next morning to a delicious, chubby, smooth complexioned little guy. You can see the transformation by looking at how the velcro on his diaper is spread apart. Absolutely amazing.

These pictures were taken a week apart but show the transformation best. Jericho is 12 days old in the first picture and 19 days old in the 2nd.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Ever wondered what a tummy looks like one day after giving birth?

... A droopy 6 months pregnant tummy!

Pictures taken one day after giving birth and almost 6 months pregnant.











Friday, March 26, 2010

The AMAZING Birth Story of Abigail Joy

By Christabelle Allestad


Josias wiggled anxiously as we stood at line at Wal-Mart.

"I wann dis!" he exclaimed, holding up a Golden Book with a dump truck on the front some patron must have left before us.

"No, baby," I said, "Put it back."

He put it back and frowned.

The man in front us picked it up and put it his cart.

My big pregnant belly made my back hurt. "Tomorrow, this child is coming!" I thought with a mix of dread as well as anticipation. All my hopes of a vaginal birth were slowly disappearing. The repeat c-section was scheduled for tomorrow. "But I suppose God's in control," I reminded myself.

With that thought, the man in front of us finished checking out. He turned to my son and handed him back the book I'd refused him. "A gift from me," he said and gave me a smile, "Be good for your Mama!"

I smiled back graciously and waited for my groceries to scan. I tried to hide the tears that came unbidden to my eyes. Perhaps God still knew where I was after all!

I was discouraged. As I drove home I thought of the different ways we'd tried to start labor. We'd tried sex. (I'd read somewhere that semen contains prostaglandins, a cervix ripening agent.) Our doctor recommended nipple stimulation. (Nipple stimulation releases oxytocin, which is the hormone that causes contractions.) A week from my due date I'd agreed to let my doctor "sweep" my membranes during a vaginal exam, thus separating the amiotic sac from the cervix in hopes that my body would kick it into gear. I'd had some light contractions on her due date, but since then, nothing. I walked, I climbed stairs, I prayed furiously.

When I got home, we got a call from the hospital confirming our appointment. "7:00 am check-in. Surgery around 9:00 am. We'll have you in your room by noon!"

It felt surreal. I ate dinner and had a snack before bed. No more food till after surgery. Surgery! I'd finally consented. It had been weeks of back and forth. My first baby had been c-section for fetal distress, so my chances were better statistically. This doctor had delivered VBACs before, so I knew he'd had success. He was the one who had told me my low transverse scar was good for laboring! But he was a surgeon and told me there were risks involved. I could labor and still end up in a c-section. There was a possibility, albeit slim, that my uterus could rupture and baby could die. He wouldn't induce me for that reason. Labor would have to start on its own. "A c-section is more risky for you, but it's the safest course for your baby," he told me. But I wanted to try. I was realistic, but I hoped beyond hope I could do what many women did without any help, give birth! And this was my shot. If I could only have a chance.

He wanted to schedule me for the day before my due date. Is that giving me a shot? I'd wondered. I wouldn't do it. Weeks past and I'd hardly had any contractions. I had dialated a little, but it meant little. Finally, it was close to my due date.

"Have you considered scheduling? We can put it off, but babies only get bigger..."

I couldn't fight it. My mom has big babies. My last had been 8lb 13oz and I hadn't been able to deliver him vaginally. Maybe it was genetic (my last doctor had said my pelvis might be too small to give birth vaginally). I scheduled the c-section for six days after her due date.

Which was now coming tomorrow. I tried to sleep that night. It was long and tedious. I woke to potty. I had very little control over it, however, and a bit of excitement came over me. I tried to go back to bed. As I lay there, I began to feel a tightening sensation in my abdomen. It was mild at first, but the next few were a bit stronger. I couldn't wait any longer. I woke my husband up.

"I think I'm in labor!"

"What?" with a couple blinks.

"Labor!"

I got up again, this time sure my uncontrolable bladder was really my water breaking. My contractions were rhythmic and constant. Hubby grabbed his watch and began to time them. Five minutes apart! I couldn't hide my annoyance, however, when he began to PREDICT them though!

Sure enough, every time he counted out five minutes and told me I should be feeling one, I did. Hope surged through me!

It was six in the morning at this point and we scrambled to get everything together before we left. We still had to drop off Josias before we made it to the hospital.

The walk to the admitting office was slow and frought with contractions. I had to shake my head with irony as I doubled over in contraction signing in for our c-section. My husband handed her over the insurance card and casually said, "But she's in labor."

"Oh!" the woman said, "Will they let you labor?"

"I sure hope so!" I said.

The nurses were wondering the same thing as we arrived. I dressed and went to sit, but was told "not to get too comfortable, because we might be moving rooms." To move to the labor floor instead of the surgery floor would be wonderful! I tried not to get too comfortable. As the nurse went out to get my chart she found my doctor outside. She brought him in.

"I hear your water broke..." his face changed as a contraction hit me, "and it looks like you're in labor. What do you want to do?"

"Labor." I told him.

I'd have to resign the consent form. I would be changing rooms. But he was agreeable. Is it possible to be giddy in labor?

Labor was going really well. I watched the moniters as each contraction hit. Baby was doing just fine. The nurses put in guesses as to girl or boy. One thought boy on an old wives tale concerning low heartrates. The contractions were stronger, harder, I could feel it as well as see it. I breathed and moaned through each one. I was so thankful to be in labor, I didn't mind. But they were starting to hurt and those in the room could see it.

"Honey, there's no shame in pain meds. Can I get you something?"

I shook my head.

"Well the epidural guy's downstairs if you end up needing it."

I was breathing too nosily to answer so my husband answered for me, "She's afraid it will slow down labor."

And I was. And I knew Pitocin was not an option. Besides, I'd had Pitocin and an epidural with my last and hadn't managed to get past 8 cm, how much slower with an epidural and NO inducing? I was sticking it out.

I labored all morning and into the afternoon. At three, I had a nurse change. I was vocalizing pretty strongly by now.

"She sounds like she's ready to bear down," the new nurse said.

"Nope, she's only an 8. She's still got a few hours to go."

My current nurses prediction scared me. A few more HOURS? I began to hurt all over, losing my nerve. I couldn't do this for that much longer. An epidural was giving up. I'd still end up in surgery. But I didn't care. I consented for the epidural and waited in agony until the man with the drugs came.

Everything was whirl of pain and waiting. I didn't even sign the consent for the pain meds until after he'd already administered them. Finally, I was resting comfortably and watching contractions that I no longer felt print out on the piece of paper coming out of the moniter.

I sighed. My husband leaned in close.

"You're a nine," he said.

I looked at him blankly, "What? When?"

"The nurse checked you right before you got the epidural and said you were 9 cm." He grinned.

I was dumbfounded. 9 cm! Just a little further to go! I began to gather some more confidence. The nurse cheered me on.

"Not too long and we'll be having this baby!" she said.

The next three hours were LONG! We waited for the nub to disappear in order to begin pushing. Then it happened!

I began pushing at 6:00 pm. The nurse coached me through it.

"Push into your tailbone!" she directed, "That's good!"

Over and over. She could see the head. Oh there's hair! Beautiful! She told me to stop and called the doctor. I wished for a mirror!

I couldn't feel a thing as my girl came into the world, but I heard her cry! The nurse put her immediately on my tummy and tears of joy came to my eyes.

"What's her name?" the nurse asked.

"Abigail Joy!" I exclaimed.

My tear was stitched and the grandparents let in. I gloried in my little one! She nursed like a champion and I got dinner, too (my first food in 22hrs!). We slept later, our little family, all the while thanking God for my beautiful little one.

----------------------------------------------

Six weeks later I walked into my doctor's office, baby in hand.

We went through the normal preliminary questions. "How's the bleeding?" "How's nursing?" Then we got to one she didn't like the answer to.

"What are you guys using for birth control?"

"We're not." I said.

"What?" the nurse said.

I shook my head.

The nurse gave the doctor a look and waited. I suppose this was his cue to give me the spiel about how babies could come at any time and how I should be on birth control in order to be safe and so forth, but apparently the doctor was too busy to catch it. He finally looked at her and smiled.

"This woman just had a 9lb 13oz VBAC that I told her she wouldn't be able to have. She can do whatever she wants with her body; I'm okay with it!"

When everything was done he came up to me and shook my hand.

"I just wanted to say, 'Congrats!'" he told me, "You fought me at every turn, but you knew it and you did it. Enjoy your baby!"

And I did.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Raw Milk

We drink out milk as straight from the cow as you can get without the butt-crack of dawn milking duty. Unpasterized. Un-homogenized. Organic. And fresh!

Unlike traditional pasterized milk, raw milk is a living food with many beneficial properties. Conversely, you could say that pasterized milk is dead. Here are a just a few of the amazing qualities in live milk:

Similiar to mother's breastmilk, untreated milk contains live beneficial colonies that do not exist in store bought milk (the heat from pasterization kills them). Here's a brief run-down:

Whey Proteins: Very heat sentsative. Includes antibodies and enzymes such as lysozyme and immunoglobins.

Lysozyme: An enzyme cabable of killing harmful bacteria by breaking down their cell walls

Immunoglobins: provides resistance to harmful viruses and bacteria in the gut. Like good ol' mama's milk this may help prevent of lessen the severity and asthma by preventing immune system overreaction.

Lactoferrin: an iron building antimicrobial protein. May aid in the assimilation of cavity causing bacteria.

Lactobacillus: a lactose-eating probiotic. People who are lactose-interollant may have an easier time digest milk in it's natural form

Vitamins and minerals: Many vitamins and minerals are heat sensative meaning they may or may not live to see the other side of the pasterization process. This is one reason why vitamin D is added to commercial milk. Raw milk contains a perfect balance of complamenting nutrients; right down to the trace minerals needed for the body to absorb the other nutrients. One example of this is calcium. In order for the body to digest calcium, it also needs magnesium and phoserus. Raw milk has both.

Healthy Cows Make Healthy Milk

Raw milk comes from cows eating what cows are supposed to eat: grass. For the most part, store bought milk comes from cows that are fed grain from small feedlots. Because of such poor diet, milk from grain fed cows simply does not have the nutritional quality of milk from grass fed cows. Other things you have to worry about in store bought milk: was bleach used to improve the appearance of the milk? Was the milk from cow given growth hormones to induce lactation beyond what any was meant to produce? Did unsantitary living conditions and immune system suppression from poor diet cause the cows from my diary to need antibiotics just to survive?

But what about E.Coli?

First of all, raw milk comes from healthy cows fed a healthy diet. E.Coli flourishes in sick cows. Second, milk with it's probiotics left intact has natural antimicrobial benefits. Third, farmers that provide raw milk take pride in their cows and benefit in keeping their equipment sterile and lovely. They have a LOT to lose if their milk becomes tainted; not the least of these would be their credibility in a skeptical country.

Spinich. Chicken. Hamburgers. Even chilli peppers. All of these "regulated" foods have caused wide spread illness outbreaks in the last few years. You're much more likely to contract E.Coli from store bought produce than live milk.

"Just to repeat, nothing needs to be added to raw milk, especially that from grass-fed cows, to make it whole or better. No vitamins. No minerals. No enriching. It's a complete food." -www.rawmilkfacts.com

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Easy home treatment for diaper rashes

A very rashy Jericho, three months old


Jericho is extremely prone to yeast rashes and has been that way since he was a week old. You will know it's yeast because yeast rashes don't go away with typical treatments. In fact, cornstarch, the main ingredient in baby powder, FEEDS the yeast, causing an even worse rash. Yeast looks kind of pimply and spotty. You can google image to find some dramatic (*gag*) pictures of yeast rashes. Hint: make sure you type in the word "BABY" with the words "yeast rash"!!! Here is a link to a picture of Jericho rash: http://i289.photobucket.com/albums/ll207/hethir/Dec2009099.jpg

Jericho eventually went on prescription cream but not only did it NOT help, the steroids in the cream caused him to break out with sores (picture: http://i289.photobucket.com/albums/ll207/hethir/Dec09005.jpg)

Here are my suggestions:

If it's not yeast:

Make sure your baby is ALWAYS dry when putting on the next diaper

Have some naked time on a water proof pad. Lots of naked time!

If you have an aloe plant, squeeze some of the liquid onto your finger and then onto your baby's butt. If you don't have a plant you can also use 100% aloe from the store.

Let your baby sit in a sitz bath with baking soda

Use Lansinoh as a barrier instead of Desitin or Butt Cream. The pure lanolin in Lansinoh doesn't dry out your LO's delicate skin. Whenever you apply a barrier, make sure the skin is absolutely dry underneath it or else you make trap moisture under the barrier! If you use cloth diapers, make sure to line the diaper with old, cut up strips of fleece blanket.

Stop using commercial baby wipes. These can be quite harsh! We use baby washcloths in a solution of about 1 part water, 1 part aloe juice and 10 drops of Tea Tree Oil (Aloe and TTO you can buy at the store. We use TTO to help combat yeast). In a pinch, I would recommend just using plain ol' water on a paper towel. A bit of witch hazel will make certain your LO's butt gets clean after poop.

Treatment of a yeast rash, do all of the above and also:

Mix 1 cup of water to 1 tbs of vinegar. Apply on the rash with a cotton ball 2-3 times a day. This works especially good if you let your baby be naked for 30 min to an hour. Vinegar is an antifungal. You can even use a bit of garlic juice! I've done it! It smelled weird but when I get desparate I'll do anything ;-) Garlic is a very good antifungal.

Make sure your baby's butt has time to completely dry before putting on the diaper. Extra points for naked time in the sunshine!

Add Tea Tree Oil to your wash cycle if you're using cloth diapers

If you're breastfeeding, start drinking Kefir and/or Kombucha. Kefir has the benefits of yogurt but like 800 times more cultures and will be passed to your baby through your milk. Kombucha works against yeast and helps fight it.This has worked WONDERS for Jericho!!!!!!!!!! I bet you could even put kefir on his little tush!

Apply extra virgin coconut oil to the affected area. Coconut oil is an antifungal, as well. Plus it smells soooo good!


Give your baby an Saccharomyces boulardii supplement. This is a type of yeast used to combat Candida.

Here is a link to a thread on diaperswappers about the treatment of rashes and also suggestions of diaper creams that are organic and can be used with cloth diapers.

http://www.diaperswappers.com/forum/showthread.php?t=297481

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Pertussis and Vaccination...

OK, as of yet I haven't posted much about vaccines. I still feel as though I need to do more research using the CDC's own website and then go from there. Here is one example I have found.

The conclusion of this study is that people who ARE vaccinated for Pertussis can be silent carriers of Pertussis; transmitting it to the vaccinated and unvaccinated alike. This terrifies me. The wording is a bit overwhelming in this study but you can cut to the chase by scrolling down to the "conclusion" part of it. Here are some quotes from the study (again, from the CDC's own study)

"We also observed that DPT vaccine does not fully protect children against the level of clinical disease defined by WHO"

"Vaccinated adolescents and adults may serve as reservoirs for silent infection and become potential transmitters to unprotected infants"

Here's the link

http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/eid/vol6no5/srugo.htm

I found this link on my new favorite blog Mrs. Informed:

http://mrs-informed.blogspot.com/

Friday, February 26, 2010

Rainbow Chip Frosting.... My beloved....

The good





The bad

Kombucha

-Or- Prepare to be discusted ;-)

What is Kombucha:

Kombucha is a sweetened tea that is fermented using a "visible mass" culture of bacteria and yeast. It's known as a SCOBY: Simbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast. A SCOBY looks something like a floppy gelantinous pancake blob. It is also (falsely) called a "mushroom."

Benefits of Kombucha:

There are many health claims about Kombucha. The first use mentioned is almost always that it's used to detoxify and energize. Personally, I notice an energy rush while drinking it. Between Jericho and I, we are always dealing with Candida overgrowth (causing many yeast infections and yeast rashes) and I've noticed a HUGE improvement in the month that I've been drinking Kombucha. And, as crazy as it sounds I actually realllly like the taste of it! Here's a link with benefits other people have noticed. It ranges from awesome (helped heal bladder infections) to possibly far fetched (helped heal cancer) to humorous (Great conversation piece)!

http://www.kombu.de/benefits.htm

What Kombucha tastes like:

The first time I took a sip I was almost overwhelmed by the vinegar-iness of it! It is like drinking fizzy apple cidar vinegar. For some reason I decided to take another sip and it was almost good. By sip three I was hooked! It's kind of an acquired taste. I've heard it described as tasting like "apple juice that's been sitting out too long". Somehow it does taste apple-y. Now that I'm used to it I hardly notice the vinegar-iness and find it really refreshing.

How to prepare Kombucha:

Items Needed:

A "mother" SCOBY (basically a starter SCOBY. If you live near me and are interested I can give you one)

1/2 cup of already prepared Kombucha

3 quarts of water

1 cup of sugar

4 black tea bags (I use 5. Also, you can use green tea)



The blog is my original SCOBY on the day I got it. The SCOBY is sticking up out of the leftover Kombucha from the last batch.




Close up of my SCOBY



Boil the 3 quarts of water. Add the cup of sugar and tea bags. Let it sit until the sweet tea is at room tempurature.



Pour the sweet tea into a clean (very CLEAN) gallon jar.



Add the 1/2 cup of Kombucha and toss the "mother" SCOBY in.



I cover my jar with a paper towel and then put a rubber band around the jar (don't use cheesecloth, apparently the weave is wide enough to allow fruit flies to lay eggs in the tea. BLECH!)



Let the mixure hang out in a dark, warm place. The warmer it is, the quicker it'll brew! It can be as short as 3 days but since my house is usually pretty cool it takes around 5-7 days. You know it's finished when it tastes right! Usually it'll form it's own SCOBY on the top by the time it is finished. Here is my SCOBY two days later. The SCOBY is just starting to form as you can see by the goo on the top.




Here is a side view: The danglies are "spent yeast" and harmless although they still freak me out when they get in my cup!




Oh, and one more thing: you may either want to keep your Kombucha colony a secret or prepare to be teased! :-) Especially when you have a husband like mine who's favorite and ONLY effervenscent, energizing drink is Mountain Dew!















My confession!!!

OK, I so didn't stick with the honey treatment for acne. In fact, *don't judge me* but I even stopped washing my face altogether. Now it's even worse!!! In my defense Jericho caught Pneumonia and then I went away on vacation with the babes by myself. My mind was occupied and if I had to choose between washing my face and sleep, I always choose sleep :-) I will start again hopefully soon! Oh, I have started taking Cod Liver Oil supplements so I'm hoping that will help a bit from the inside! :-)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Have you watched Food, Inc, yet?



If not, check it out!!!

'Poo Free *updated!*

Is there anything baking soda can't do?

I started out by saying that I am going "Shampoo free" but after many skeptical looks and after the suggestion of a friend, I've now chosen to call it, "I make my own shampoo and conditioner." Yes, it economical but for most women who care about the condition of her hair, "economical" is a bit farther down on the list of important hair product qualities. I'd venture to say 8 or 10 notches down the list behind, "Makes my hair look shiny," "Smells good," and "Is good for my hair". Believe it or not, the recipe I'm going to share here attains (and even exceeds) all of these qualities for mere pennies.

"Shampoo"

1 Tbs of Baking Soda

1 Cup of water

A few drops of essential oil (optional)

"Conditioner"

1 Tbs Apple Cider Vinegar

1 Cup of Water

The Method:

Mix the shampoo and conditioner ingredients in two separate containers (I use cheapo water bottles from Wal-Mart). Bring into the shower with you and pour the "shampoo" over your scalp until you hair is covered. Rinse. Repeat with the "conditioner". Rinse in cool water. Use once or twice a week.

Important: Did you know that your scalp only produces as much oil as it needs? Meaning, if you shampoo everyday, you'll have to shampoo everyday. Since the baking soda mixture is such an intense "cleanser" you really should only "shampoo" only once or twice a week. In fact, even if you use normal shampoo, you don't need to shampoo every day! The oils on your scalp are great for you hair. Over cleansing strips your hair of beneficial oils causing frizz and dry hair.

Detox Period:

When you switch to going "poo free" there will be a detox period your hair has to go through to adjust it's need for scalp oil. I hear it usually lasts 2-3 weeks but for me it was close to 4 1/2 or 5 weeks. My "shampoo" days are Saturdays and this week is the first week my hair wasn't a total grease ball by Wednesday. By Saturday, it was about as greasy as day 3 with my old shampoo habits.

Does this really work? When I told the last sylist that cut my hair what I use for shampoo, she informed me that they use Baking Soda the strip the hair of build up caused by product. Yes, the baking soda mixture works. It's pretty powerful stuff which is why you only "shampoo" once a week. The vinegar works great as a "conditioner," also. If you rinse well enough, the salad smell will dissapate from your hair in seconds.

I've heard a lot of raves about the condition of people's hair when switching! Most people say their hair is softer, less flakey, less itchy, shinier and healthier. I even read one report of a woman whose hair lightened! I switched over after my last bottle of shampoo ran out and the beginning of January. For me, I do notice my hair is softer and healthier but not necessarily shinier. Yet, anyway. My last gourmet shampoo I purchased from a high-end salon was almost $50 a bottle (YES, you read that right) and my hair is definitely healthier now than ever, even while I used that shampoo!


http://www.natural-forces.com/essays/poofree.htm

*Update from 2011, one year after going 'poo free': I think I am now seeing hair that is actually shinier, softer and more healthy. My hair is FINALLY growing and getting pretty long. I had about a 3.5 year streak there where my hair just didn't grow. This benefit can probably be attributed to my change in diet, though.

I did end up coloring my hair in November of this year and that was somewhat of a nightmare! A month later I could still scratch my fingernail over my scalp and end up with dye until my nail. I think if I were to color my hair again I would shampoo using Dr. Bronner Castile Soap, however. A month and a half later the dye is completely gone.

Did I ever fully 'detox'? No. My hair is still crazy greasy the day before I wash it. I probably should wash every 5 or 6 days but that would be a lot harder than washing on the same day every week. Honestly, I just don't care!!

I still LOVE going 'poo free' and plan on continuing. You can't beat the price, that's for sure! :-)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Birth Story of the Week~

Ok, this story had me on the edge of my seat like 4 times!!! I love it!



This story actually starts off with the birth of my nephew. I was in Labor & Delivery at Hayward Kaiser on 6/9 (my due date) with my brother & Felicia who had been there for at least 40 hours and she was not progressing at all on her own, I think the most she dilated was 2-3 cm after hours upon hours of Pitocin. The dr’s were going back & forth on just doing a c-section when I decided that I was tired and went home at midnight. I got the call at 3 am that my nephew, Matthew Jacob was born.

I was still awake lying in bed, wondering when it would be my turn, and then I felt my first contraction at 3:30 am. I wasn’t sure if it was a little cramp from the baby laying the wrong way or what. 15 minutes later I had another one that was clear as day. Within a half hour I was having them every 7 minutes and decided to go downstairs and sit on my ball and start really timing them. By 5:30 am I woke Joe up and told him to get up too because I was in pain. He asked to sleep for another half hour, not realizing what I just told him. It took him a minute and then he jumped up and was getting everything ready to go. At this time they were 5 minutes apart and sometimes 3 minutes. If I got up to walk, I would have another one immediately. They were tolerable and I wasn’t sure if it would be considered ACTIVE labor since I was handling them so well. I was using my TENS unit and I must say that if you are planning on delivering naturally, you should get one of these. It really helped me with the pain throughout the entire labor. Anyways….we were trying to wait until 7:15 to go to the hospital because the earliest that we could drop Jonathan off at daycare is 7:30 and we really didn’t know what to do with him at that point. We were planning on calling my dad, but he just got home from the hospital after being there for 2 nights with my brother and on no sleep!

At 7:15 we left the house, dropped Jonathan off at daycare and headed to the hospital. They admitted me right away and started me on the Penicillin for the GBS. They wanted to do a regular IV, but I insisted on a hep-lock so that I was not tethered to the IV pole for the whole time. When they checked me I was at 3 MAYBE 4 cm. I was hoping for a little more since I knew is was at 2 cm from my dr’s visit the day before. Oh well though, it was still better than what I was at before and all you can really ask for is progress.

My regular midwife that I was seeing was working at that time which was pretty nice because she and I discussed all of my plans for a natural birth and knew my history. She brought the anesthesiologist in so that he could get a background on my back surgeries in case of the unlikely event of an emergency c-section. I’m not able to get the epidural without a huge risk because of the bone fusion and scar tissue. He said that he would do a spinal if needed in an emergency, which has a smaller risk than the epidural. Now that we were done with the formalities, it was time to get down to business. I was expecting everything to go pretty quickly and was ready to roll.

Around 10:30 or 11:00 I wanted to get in the bath, but my midwife wanted to wait until I was a solid 5 cm so the bath didn’t slow down my progress. So I sat on my ball and changed positions as much as possible. I went for a walk down the hall and saw my nephew for the first time. He is so cute!! Any movement, especially walking, made me get contractions immediately so it was hard to move around. I wanted to keep things moving so it was kind of a struggle because I knew that by walking it was going to bring on the pain. By noon I had another cervical check and she said I was at a 5 maybe 6 and the bath would be a good idea. Contractions were really intense at this point so walking down the hall to the bath was pretty pain inducing. Once I got there though the bath felt great. They were only going to let me be in the bath for an hour though because I was due for my next round of Penicillin at 1:30. I think I would have stayed in there the whole time if I could have.

So here I am hooked up to the IV again and on the fetal monitor going through the motions and taking it one contraction at a time. I believe she checked me again and I was still the same, but it was ok at this point. There was a little issue with the baby’s heart rate not accelerating as much as they’d like during contractions, but it didn’t seem pressing. As far as I was concerned this labor was going perfect (minus the IV) and we were going to have natural birth as planned. I was able to stay clam during the contractions with my TENS unit, breathing and resting in between by closing my eyes and taking nice relaxing breaths.

By 3:30 it was time to be checked again and I was still at 5 cm. She didn’t even say maybe 6 this time so I think this is when I lost the peacefulness that I thought I had. I was having some really intense contractions that I would have rated a 10 on the pain scale so I thought I was so close, but I was only halfway there. They wanted my contractions to be lasting at least a minute and they were only at 45-50 seconds at this point. I had lost it. I couldn’t do it anymore. They were discussing Pitocin, which I knew I didn’t want, but I couldn’t go on like this forever.

I asked for Fentanyl and wanted to speak to anesthesiologist to see if there was ANY way an epidural or spinal was possible. I was willing to take on some of the risk in order to get relief. I was practically begging him. He consulted with the other anesthesiologists in the hospital and they all advised against it. I was devastated. I thought, “how am I going to do this?” The Fentanyl gave me a moment’s relief at the first 2 contractions, but really did nothing. They were starting to come pretty quickly at this point. I saw no end in sight and only felt pain.

Joe was great and gave me a little pep talk and I was able to kind of talk myself back into it. Really though, what other choice did I have?

It was just about 5:00 and it was Pitocin time. I swore I’d kill the person who gave me Pitocin, but I was only halfway dilated and needed to move this along. I had no more energy left. Not a second after they hooked it up I got a strange urge to push. The nurse in the room checked me quickly and said I was at a 7. I guess I was progressing on my own. This urge to push became overwhelming with the next contraction and I knew I shouldn’t be pushing at a 7, but I was screaming trying to control my body when it was doing it’s own thing and pushing this baby out. The nurse said to push and I said, “REALLY??” I thought it was dangerous to push before 10, so I was hesitant but she was ready so I pushed on the next contraction. It was hurting so bad and my body sort of took over and I was not in control anymore. She told me to stop because she probably didn’t think that he was going to come so quickly but his head started coming out.

I’m not sure these people understand what it’s like to stop pushing (or to not push when you have the urge). I thought something was wrong, but she just needed to call the dr in and get everything ready. SERIOUSLY??? You need me to wait for YOU to get ready. This really annoyed me. Luckily it was a long break between this and my next contraction. With this one, I gave it all I had and it hurt like hell so I closed my legs and they were prying me open because he was coming out. I only had to push one more time and again they told me to stop because his head was out, but the chord was around his neck and they needed to cut it quickly before I could get his body out. Again my reaction was to want to close my legs. I had that “ring of fire” burning sensation this whole time and intense pain. I didn’t have this pain when pushing Jonathan out. They were able to cut the chord and I’m able to push out his body. This is 5:14 pm.

They put him on top of me, but he was not moving. They start rubbing him pretty vigorously on me trying to get him to cry, but nothing came out. They took him away and gave him oxygen, frantically rubbing him and trying to stimulate him. I asked them if he was ok and they said he had a good pulse, but were just waiting for him to cry. I look over at Joe and he is looking concerned, so I get a little concerned too. It felt like an eternity of silence, but I’m sure it was only seconds. Then we heard the cry. We were SO overjoyed. I’m not sure I can explain the feeling to hear his cry at this point.

They were working on me getting the placenta out when I asked about it being ok to push at 7cm. The dr checked me again and said I was still at a 7. I must have stretched to a 10 to push him out, but I’m sure that was why it was so much more painful than what I remembered. I still don’t think you are supposed to push at a 7, but Max had other plans and needed to get out. Only a couple minor stitches later and I was good to go. I now had my baby and both Joe and I were in heaven. I think you always wonder what you’re family is going to be like or consist of and now we know: it’s us 4. Holding Max at this point, I looked at Joe and told him that I was never doing that again. He grabbed the camera quickly and made me say it on tape. So, not only did I get a beautiful son on this day, but I also got a little nephew. What an amazing thing to be sharing with my brother.

Maxton Joseph Kozocas was born on 6/10/09 at 5:14 pm. He weighed 7lbs, 15oz and was 20.5" long.

Up until this moment (typing this story), the birth seemed like a pretty traumatic experience for me. I had actually even had some nightmares about it. I think writing this down and getting it out made me see the beauty in it. I know that without Joe and the great staff that we had, I would have fell apart. I’m truly amazed at us women, and what our bodies are capable of.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Before...

After one day of using topical raw honey on my face. Essentially a "before" picture!




I accidently deleted the picture of the other side of my face! Oh, well, this is my "bad side" anyway. Believe it or not, this is actually an improvement from last night. I am almost embarrased to post this. Don't make fun of me!



Getting rid of acne... Naturally....

OK, I just yesterday read that raw (meaning unpasterized) honey can be used to get rid of pimples. I'm trying it to see how this works. I bought the honey at my local food Co-op (it's expensive! $7 or 8 for a tiny jar! But, acne meds are a lot more expensive than that) and rubbed into my face after washing it with Dr.Bronners Peppermint Castile soap (awesome stuff. I bought a tiny travel bottle of this for maybe $4 at Fred Meyer). Then I went to bed. It was a bit sticky but it wasn't gooey at all. There is no honey residue on my pillow, either. This AM I woke up to a bit of a clearer face, but that could have been because I actually washed it last night!

(A side note: since having Jericho I haven't bothered washing my face except for when I shower. My skin is no worse or no better since ditching my chemical-laden Clearasil acne wash).

Our skin is highly effected by what we eat and drink. I personally believe that things such as acne, some mood disorders and even cavities are symptoms of deficiencies in our diets. I've had GREAT, noticable results before just by upping my water intake and popping a "hair, skin and nails" vitamin. Cod-liver oil is supposed to be EXCELLENT for your skin and numerous systems in our bodies. It's high in vitamins A and D and provides Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s support your nervous system, brain and hormone systems. Just make sure you get "naturally produced, unheated, fermented, high vitamin cod liver oil" (www.westonaprice.org) such as that made by Twin Labs or Now (I think you can buy both of these brands at Fred Meyer or Safeway).

Since I have to world's worst diet right now and our budget is too tight to afford my prized Cod-liver oil, I'm sticking with the raw honey. I guess it takes around 2 weeks to see results. I'll keep ya posted. I bet a "before" pic would be good. Ok, I'll take one and post it in a bit (unless Jericho wakes up!!)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Ways to make Cloth diapers more absorbant

Let's face it. Disposable diapers have ONE distinct advantage to cloth. They hold a LOT more moisture, although one could argue as to whether or not that's actually good for the baby. This makes creativity a virture when it comes to nighttime or other times when you need to go longer between changes.

I used to use my BumGenius 3.0 pocket diapers for nighttime use. Well.... I washed them with Tide (no-no #1), used diaper cream in them (no-no #2) and washed them with my cloth wipes that had olive oil in them (no-no #3). I'm currently working on trying to get those up and running again. Here's what we've resorted to:


There is a LOT you could do, but this is what I do:

Supplies needed:

Cheap microfiber (such as a Sham-Wow!)


I got this stuff at Target for super cheap and then cut it into 5x12'' pieces. I would recommend skinnier pieces. Maybe 3.5x10. Don't let this touch your wee-one's skin directly. I recommend two strips on the outside of the prefold and inside the diaper cover


FLEECE


Fleece is an AWESOME material to have on hand. Have you ever washed a fleece blanket and noticed how it felt when you took it out of the wash to put into the dryer? It feels dry even when it's wet. Fleece makes an awesome 'stay dry liner'. It's also great for when you need to use a barrier cream of some sort on a rashy bum. It protects your diaper from absorbing the cream and having a moisture barrier of it's own (also called repelling). I need to test my theory but I almost think Jericho sleeps for longer night stretches when I use fleece.

Old, outgrown Pre-Fold diapers


This is the progression of Jericho's prefolds. He started off in the newborn size on the top of the pile. He is now somewhere inbetween the red-edged diapers and the bottom blue edged diapers (although neither of these is wide enough for my stocky little guy). We mostly use the newborn size as a diaper "doubler" at night.

Here is how Jericho's butt looks at night:

Baby butt
Fleece
Normal prefold diaper, snappied
2 sham-wows folded up into a newborn sized prefold
Diaper cover

When we're done with our handiwork, our son looks like a "Who". I will have to get some pictures before we go back to our BumGenius!

Other stuff you could do (that I have no expierence with)

*Buy Hemp or Cotton premade Diaper Doublers
*Silk Liners. I hear these have natural healing properties and feel wonderful on a red baby butt.
*Flushable liners (these are great for baby poop)

You can find all of this stuff at http://www.greenmountaindiapers.com















Home made all-purpose disinfectant

fill up spray bottle with vinegar

add 20 drops of tea tree oil

annihilate organisms

Cloth Diaper Wash Routine

*New and Improved!!*


Now that I have my new detergent, I have revamped my routine. No more soaking or additives. Only three steps. Awesome.


1. Cold wash with 1 tbs of Charlie's soap.

2. Hot wash with another tbs Charlie's soap

3. Dry


See? I am so relieved to have simplified my routine! I will still add Tea Tree Oil every week or two for disinfectant purposes.

Oh, another fun fact: Today I asked Jaden how much our water bill has gone up since we've been cloth diapering. His response, "About a dollar." :-)

Here's the link to my original wash routine post with LOTS of other info:

http://wombknittings.blogspot.com/2010/02/cloth-diaper-wash-routine.html

Charlie's Soap!


OK, the UPS man finally delivered my Charlie's Soap laundry detergent. I am in LOVE! For 15.49 plus shipping you get 80 loads of laundry out of one bag. I'm not sure of the math here, but my Planet detergent was like 9.50 for 20 loads. For 80 loads of Tide, it's around $28.
All you need is ONE tablespoon of detergent. Really. I tested it. I am one of those who try to pack as much as humanly possible into my wash. "Super load" barely scratches the surface of what I cram in there. I still only needed one tablespoon. Even Jaden's dingy grease-soaked mechanic clothes came out clean. The baby's burp rags were so soft I used one as a blanket for a nap or two. It is completely non-toxic, has no harsh enzymes, toxic brighteners, fragrances, whiteners, softeners or any other additives. It's cloth diaper friendly (and EFFECTIVE!!) and you can even use it for baby clothes. I like that I can just toss in dirty bibs and slobbered on onsies with our grown-up cloths.
One word of caution: when using an enzyme free detergent, it is NOT wise to switch back and forth between enzyme-containing detergents. It will cause re-depositing (enzymes, I think, I have to double check my sources) on your clothes. This can wreak havoc on cloth diapers. When switching to Charlie's Soap (or Planet, Country Save or any other non-enzyme detergent), simple run an empty load (some say it's better to toss in some old rags) with the new detergent prior to actual use.
I have yet to find a flaw with Charlie's Soap. It's CHEAP, gentle and gets my stuff clean.
"If you want flowers, go pick some."