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.


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."

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:

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:

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.

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

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