Sunday, September 27, 2009

Raw and Organic Foods

Lately, I have been inspired to take a hard look at the foods I am eating. My husband and I eat the same things but probably should not. He physically trains hard to build lean muscle and gain weight. I am looking to be healthy and prepare my body to grow a baby. Thankfully, he is open to eating anything I long as it has enough protein. And for him, getting enough protein (at least 200 grams daily) is way more than I am looking to get myself. He prefers to get his protein from eggs, whey, and meat, where I like eggs, lean meats, pea protein shakes, and veggies such as organic leafy greens. I do not prepare red meats or pork in my kitchen. We eat lean organic meats like fish (salmon and tilapia), turkey, and chicken.

Although I am not a big recipe person, I refer to many books for ideas to make my own "creations". The Complete Book of Raw Food is one book I like to refer to for raw recipes. Raw (or living) food is a type of vegetarian cuisine that is plant or animal food that has not been heated above 115 degrees. When heated above this temperature, vital enzymes are destroyed and denatured and cannot provide the same nutritive value. Some raw foodists who take it to the extreme do not eat any meat or animal byproducts such as honey, eggs, or dairy. This is considered vegan.

When eating raw foods, or any foods really, I suggest eating organic. Why? Growing and raising organic products helps in conserving our soil for future generations and enhances the environment. Organic meat, eggs, and dairy products come from animals that have been given no antibiotics or growth hormones. Organic food is produced without pesticides, chemicals, fertilizers make with synthetic ingredients and sewage sludge, bioengineering, or ionizing radiation. The USDA has set organic standards for the foods that we eat in order to keep us safe.

Organic foods are defined on may levels. Below is the break down:
  • One hundred percent certified-organic products can be labeled 100% Organic.
  • Products with 95% or more organic ingredients can be called organic on the primary product label.
  • Products with 75% to 95% organic ingredients can be described as made with organic ingredients, and up to three organic ingredients can be listed.
  • Products with less than 70% organic ingredients may use the term organic only on the ingredient information panel.
Happy Eating!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

My First VBAC

About a week and a half ago I got a call from a mom to be who was due in three days. She had a previous cesarean birth with her son and after much reading and discussing with her husband they thought that a doula would be very helpful for them for the VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) birth they desired to have with their daughter. Usually I get weeks to prepare with clients, but these were special circumstances because we were so close to the due date.

In her eighth month of her pregnancy she changed care providers from her doctor to a group of midwives who practice at a local hospital. (Side note: changing care providers late in pregnancy is always an option if you are not satisfied. As long as the baby is still inside of you, you have choices. Get the kind of care and birth that you desire!) So, after she changed groups, she decided to look into a doula. Thanks to a referral from a previous client, she was led to me.

As her "due date" came and went, she was visiting the midwives to assure that her pregnancy was still going well and that she and baby were fine. Of course, everything checked out and she was given 14 days past her "due date" before they would do any sort of medical intervention.

On Friday, six days past her "due date", she had an appointment with the midwives for stress testing. Her cervix was dilated to a four, but she and baby were fine and she was not in active labor so she went home. I went over to her house to work with her. She had taken Castor oil, been walking, and was ready for anything more at that point. I arrived early in the afternoon and worked with her for several hours doing acupressure and labor enhancing massage techniques. She was having contractions and things were seeming to move forward, but when the evening approached, I felt it best to let her rest and try and get a good nights sleep in case labor did come on. I did not want her to be too tired for what was ahead of her.

On Saturday morning, I woke up to find I had not received a call in the night. When I called her that morning, she told me she had gotten a good nights rest and that she felt that things had progressed in the night. I told her I would come later that afternoon to work with her more unless her labor started before then. At about 4:00 that afternoon, I went back over to work with her some more. This time not much was happening. The contractions were few and far between and she did not feel as though they were as productive as they had been the day before. Her mother and sister arrived at about 8:00pm. Again, I decided that it would be best for her to rest and at 9:00pm I left them for the evening with instructions for she and her husband to take a walk and relax.

On Sunday morning at 2:24am, I received a call from her husband telling me that contractions had picked up. I didn't get much information other than they were coming on stronger than ever, but told them I would head over to help them labor at home, and it was their call on whether to head to the hospital at that point. It took me about 10 minutes get dressed and head out the door. I said many prayers on the way. I was unusually calm as I drove down the road in the middle of the night. The streets were bare and the rain was falling. I had a good feeling that this was going to be okay. Just as I approached the highway to turn left toward their home, he called and told me they were headed to the hospital. I could tell there was no time for talking and I told them I would see them there. I took a right onto the highway instead of a left and headed to the hospital downtown. I parked in the parking garage, which can be kind of scary at that time of night. My birth bag was in the trunk and I wasn't sure what to take out of it or take the whole thing in. I popped the trunk, hurried out of my car, grabbed the bag and got back in my car and locked the doors. I searched for a couple of minutes through my bag before deciding just to take the whole thing in. After all, there is no telling how long these births can last. With my cell phone in hand and my purse and birth bag tucked tightly against me, I headed for the parking garage elevators down to the ground level and into the hospital. I was greeted by a security guard. He asked me who I was coming to see. I said "I am a doula, and I need to get to maternal observation." "A doula?" he replied. Well, once we got that all straightened out, I was off to meet them on the maternity floor. I waited in maternal observation. When I saw the dad behind the double doors I got my things and went on back. He rushed past and told me he was headed to the restroom and she was in room 4. I thought I heard room 4, but then I second guessed what I had heard when I got down the hall. Then I heard the moans of a woman in labor and he nurses in the room calling her name. I knocked on the door and two nurses suddenly yelled at me to move the wheel chair in the hall out of the way and that the baby was crowning. They were telling my client not to push as they rushed her in the bed down the hall to labor and delivery. I ran with her, leaving her husband behind. I wasn't really sure what to do, but felt she needed someone with her, so it was with her that I stayed. As she approached L&D the nurses rolling her bed were shouting, "she is crowning!" About six nurses rushed into her room and I moved off to the side while they got her squared away. They pulled up her gown and I could see the baby's head. Her mom and her husband got to the room and we all squeezed past nurses to get up next to her as she began to push.

At 3:24am, just one hour after I received the phone call, they were holding their baby girl in their arms. She did it! She had a VBAC! It was a success for them and for me, as now I can say that I had my first VBAC and it was successful doulaing experience and they can go on to have many more children vaginally as they plan to.

When we all settled down after the birth to admire the baby, I sat on the sofa next to my unopened birth bag. You just never know.

Castor Oil Induction

It is not uncommon to hear much talk of "induction" among pregnant and soon to be birthing mothers. Induction methods can include using medication like Pitocin to bring on labor or other techniques such as stripping of membranes or manually rupturing the bag of waters by the caregiver.

When I have a client who is hoping and preparing for a natural (unmedicated) birth and she finds herself in a "post due" situation, I often like to suggest to begin natural methods of induction in the couple of days prior to the scheduled medical induction. In addition to many other things I recommend, Castor oil is one of them.

Castor oil acts as a laxative to clean out the bowels which in turn can stimulate the onset of labor about 2-6 hours after ingesting it. Its effects are so great that I recommend it high on the list of methods to begin trying first. It is, however, not the most palatable of tastes and can have some uncomfortable side effects such as diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. But, when taken with a juice cocktail or with crackers, it is manageable for many women.

Here is a recipe that you can try:
  • 2 oz. Castor Oil mixed with 2 oz. Orange Juice and 1 tsp. Baking Soda
*Please note that I do not recommend this to anyone who has not reached 41 weeks of pregnancy.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Broken Promises

I cried yesterday. I promised my baby that I wouldn't cry anymore, and I did. I know there are many women (and men) out there that can relate to the frustration and sadness of trying to conceive. A term that I have become quite familiar with and many of "us" abbreviate to is TTC.

The two week window is suspenseful enough, and then when that unwanted period arrives it can really wreck havoc on the emotions. Month after month goes by with no positive result. I know there are some of you that are reading this that can completely relate. I can absolutely say that I have a new understanding for families who have experienced a loss through miscarriage or have been TTC for some time with no positive result. My heart and prayers are with you.

I think for me, it is difficult to understand what is truly going on. Sometimes I wonder why my body is not working with me. Other times, I don't understand why my husband doesn't feel the same emotions as I do about TTC. But, then again, he isn't the one who gets the period....again....instead of the two lines on the stick. I can't blame him. He loves and cares for me and feels sad when I am sad. But, I put too much pressure and blame on myself each month, even knowing that stress can hinder getting pregnant. It is one thing to have people tell you to just not worry about it anymore and just not think about it and it will just happen. Easier said than done folks.

In May, I began to take oral Progesterone capsules that were prescribed by a doctor. It was really a last resort for painful, unbearable periods that I have as a result from scar tissue buildup from the surgery for the ectopic pregnancy I had last year. It turn, I have many side effects from this drug such as tiredness, bloating, cramps, worry, irritability, and the worst....BREAST SWELLING AND TENDERNESS. After four months of trading two painful days on my period for two weeks of side effects every month, I have decided to discontinue the drugs. This is a difficult decision for me because they were given to me based on a diagnosis of very slight endometriosis. Endometriosis can be tricky when trying to become pregnant. The lining of the uterus often does not allow implantation to occur correctly, if at all. I just feel that my body, if given the proper nutrition and TLC, will allow me to eventually conceive on my own like I did before. AND, I am trusting in my decision to stop the medication and have a peace about it. When the time is right, we will blessed with a baby.

So, this is where I being raw about the real things that I am going through will we continue our efforts to conceive a child.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Who's Pregnant?

There can be many signs and symptoms early on in pregnancy. Things like just having that feeling, implantation spotting, positive pregnancy tests, nausea, missed period, and the list goes on.

Does anyone out there care to share the story of how you found out or had a hunch your were pregnant?

Who did you tell first?

How did you tell your spouse? Family? Friends?

Monday, September 7, 2009

Nutrition: This for That

Start thinking about how to eat differently in order to maintain your health and the health of your growing baby even before you become pregnant. It is really important to prepare your body ahead of time to allow for the best environment for your growing baby and so that you feel your best while pregnant. Changing your bad eating habits can even increase fertility.

Below are just a few foods and ingredients that are a little more healthful than the usual. Of course, I recommend organic as much as possible, especially during pregnancy.

*Honey or Agave Nectar for Sugars and Artificial Sweeteners
*Ground Turkey for Beef
*Juiced Frozen Mango Puree or a Fruit Smoothie for Ice Cream
*Brown Rice for White Rice
*Spelt, Whole Wheat, or Brown Rice Pasta for Regular Pasta
*Rice Crackers or Brown Rice Cakes for Chips and Crackers
*Whole Grain Carrot or Zucchini Muffins, Cookies, and Bread for Cookies, Cakes, and Bakery Items
*Avocado Dip, Hummus, Salsa for Dressings and Rich, Creamy Dips
*Plain Yogurt with Nuts/Dried Fruit/Granola and Sweetened with Agave Nectar for Ice Cream
*Garlic Cloves, Pepper, Lemon or Lime Juice, and other low sodium spices and herbs for Salt

Veggies (raw and steamed) and Fruits (raw and dried): carrots, broccoli, zucchini, squash, raw dark leafy greens, beets, cabbage, apples, bananas, plums, pineapple, mango, peaches, blueberries, apricots, grapes, oranges, pears, and grapefruits. EAT THE RAINBOW!

Protein: beans, lean meats such as wild caught tilapia and salmon, turkey, and chicken, and yogurt.

Grains/Carbohydrates: brown rice, spelt, whole wheat, and multi whole grains.

Fats: avocados, nuts, and olive oil.

And....drink Water! Water! Water! Try for a gallon a day while pregnant, especially during the hot, summer months. A gallon will be drinking about 1 liter every 2 hours during a 12 hour day. It will also be important to limit, if not totally eliminate, caffeine while pregnant and trying to conceive. That includes: coffee, soda, tea, and energy drinks.

Frequent small meals are important during pregnancy. Planning ahead and packing healthful snacks for on the go or at work is key to maintaining your appetite and energy.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

And the Winner is.....

Congrats to Ceecee Blogger at!!!

Thank you everyone for your amazing comments and advice.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

I laughed. I cried. I recommend.

I love to watch a good movie or get so into a book that I don't want the end to come. Baby Catcher: Chronicles of a Modern Midwife by Peggy Vincent was one of those books. I could not put it down. It was sad, hilarious, and deeply gripping. I highly recommend this book about Peggy's journey as a midwife. The birth stories that she shares are incredible and she sure had some amazing experiences during her tenure as a home birth midwife. Love this book!

Tomorrow is the last day to enter the contest to win some amazing organic body care products. Comment on the post below to enter!