Wednesday, March 31, 2010

When Is Your "Due Date"?

Do you even know how they come up with that day?

Ever wonder or get frustrated about why your "due date" changes as your pregnancy progresses or after you have a sonogram? Do you really want to rely on a sonogram to tell you the date you are due?

And then, do you get hung up on all those dates they are throwing out at you?

Unless you know the exact day you conceived or you have a 28 day cycle on the dot every month, combined with the fact that you were trying to conceive, you may not know that the "due date" you were given could be off.

Did you know that your caregiver is taking that pregnancy wheel out and calculating your "due date" based on a 28 day cycle? What if your "normal" is a 35 day cycle and you have been that way for years? Your "due date" is going to show that you are due a week earlier than you really are.

Or, what if you haven't had a period in 6 months and you become pregnant?

As women with such wonderfully fashioned bodies and intricately designed cycles, we should be aware of how our bodies work. Women who observe and chart their cycles and what is happening with their body throughout the month will find it much easier to formulate a "due date" for pregnancy. This is because you will know exactly the days you were most fertile and what day you most likely could have conceived on. In fact, you may be able to tell your care giver when you are due instead of the other way around. It is a great feeling to know you have that knowledge!

And, remember, before setting your sites on that magical "due date"...
  • Your baby does not know its "due date".
  • First babies tend to come late.
  • As long as the baby is inside of you, it has everything it needs.
  • Patience is a wonderful thing when it comes to giving birth.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Green Your Clean for Baby

We all want to live in a clean, disinfected home, especially when we have a baby.

Have you ever stopped to think about the chemicals that your baby is exposed to?

How about bath time? Or baby learning to crawl on the kitchen floor?

Did you just bleach the tub, mop the floor with chemical disinfectants, or put down carpet deodorizer before vacuuming?

What happens to the chemical residues left behind after these harsh cleanings? They probably get absorbed into the bath water or rub into the baby's skin when on the floor. And, as we all know, a baby does not have a sense of "yuck", they will lick and taste anything.

So, how do you get your house clean and disinfected without these harsh cleaners? Here are a few items and recipes you can use for some natural household cleaners that are safe for you and your family.

Common Household Items:

Baking Soda
- Extremely versatile, baking soda is an all-purpose, nontoxic cleaner. It cleans, deodorizes, scours, polishes and removes stains.

Borax - (sodium borate) It deodorizes, removes stains and boosts the cleaning power of soap. It also prevents mold and odors. Great alternative for those who do not want to use bleach.

Cornstarch - cleans and deodorizes carpets and rugs, you can use this to replace expensive "baby powders" also.

Ketchup - great for cleaning copper

Lemon juice - great for whitening items, but vinegar is cheaper . It also cuts through grease and stains on aluminum and porcelain

Pure Soap - cleans just about anything and is mild

Salt - regular table salt makes an abrasive, but gentle, scouring powder

White Vinegar - very cheap and versatile, great for whitening, also fantastic for cleaning hard surfaces, windows and shining up metal surfaces. Removes mildew, stains, grease and wax buildup. This is another natural cleaner that whole books have been written on!


All Purpose Quick Shiner
Mild and safe to use for all surfaces

1-1/4 cups white vinegar
1-1/4 cups water
22 ounce spray bottle
4-5 drops of your favorite essential oil (optional)

Pour vinegar and water into the spray bottle. Shake gently to combine. To use, spray on and wipe off.

Homemade Dust and Furniture Polish
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup lemon juice

Pour oil and lemon juice into a squirt bottle or jar. Stir to combine. To use, dip dust cloth or rag into oil, blot the oil by folding the cloth together, and then dust your furniture.

All Purpose Window and Glass Cleaner
Vinegar cuts grease and leaves windows sparkling clean. Best of all, this mixture is absolutely safe. It's the best choice if you have young children in the house.

1/4 cup white vinegar
1 quart of water
4-5 drops of your favorite essential oil (optional)

Pour vinegar and water into a bowl or container, or mix the ingredients in a spray bottle. Clean windows directly with a sponge dipped in the bowl of cleaner or spray on and wipe clean.

Sink, Shower, and Tub Cleaner
Combine equal parts baking soda and salt to scrub stainless steel.

Combine baking soda and vinegar to make paste. Add 4-5 drops of essential oils (optional)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Baby Talk

Talking to your baby from conception to birth can be such a beautiful bonding experience. Even though your baby has not fully developed hearing very early on, I believe it is important to recognize the connection you have with your baby and start talking to him or her from the moment you find out your are pregnant. Encourage dad to talk and bond with the baby too. When that baby is born he or she will be able to recognize your voices.

So what exactly should you say to your baby in the womb?

As the mother, your baby is going with you everywhere. As you drive in your car, take a walk, do housework, or whatever you may do throughout your day, tell your baby what you are doing.

When you sit down to eat a meal, share with your baby about the delicious food you are both about to eat.

At times when the baby is especially active during the day or night, talk to the baby out loud or just in your heart. What may be making the baby so active and what can you do to help he or she to be calm? Listen for the answer. You will be surprised what you may hear.

At bedtime, have daddy tell the baby about his day and have him read the baby a children's story.

When you go to see your caregiver, tell the baby what to possibly expect. Do you have an ultrasound or other prenatal testing that day? Prepare the baby for what will be happening.

Do you feel especially emotional some days? Do you cry or feel overwhelmed at times? Explain to your baby the feelings you are having.

Are you reaching the end of pregnancy? Tell your baby and your body the kind of birth you want. Ensure the baby that what is about to happen during birth is a lot of work for both of you and you will be so excited to greet him or her in the end. Tell your baby the position you would like he or she to be in for the best birth.

Establishing a relationship before birth will help you to continue once the baby is born. Because you have been talking to the baby for so many months in your womb, it will be very easy to continue that bonding once you are holding him or her in your arms and going about your day after the birth.

Don't underestimate the awareness of your baby. Just because your baby is very tiny and young doesn't mean that he or she doesn't understand what is going on it's environment. Babies know more at a young age than we will ever understand.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Amazing Body of a Woman

Have you ever stopped to really ponder and appreciate what amazing beings we are as women?

At birth we have all the eggs we will have for the rest of our lifetime. These give us the ability to conceive.

When puberty begins, we start our cycle. At that time we are given physical signs by our body as clues to our fertility and reproductive health.

The womb was created to grow and nourish a little life.

Our body's unique design has the ability to birth life into the world and our instincts tell us we can do it.

That little life we give birth to is sustained by food from our breasts.

Eventually that baby with grow up and the cycle of life will start all over again.

And, that is just the beginning.

I believe so strongly that a woman should know and understand her own body even before she begins puberty. It opens up an whole new understanding, appreciation, and responsibility for our cycle and our reproductive health. Talking with your daughters about their cycles is an important dialogue. It is so much more information than "the birds and the bees" talk. Girls can gain an understanding on a new level. Moms, it is important to know these things for yourself as well so that you can relay them in a way that is mature and understandable to your adolescents as they grow into young women themselves.

Fertility Awareness is much more than knowing when you are fertile in order to achieve pregnancy. It empowers girls and woman to understand their bodies by observing many things that are happening and changing during her cycle. Knowing and maintaining optimal gynecological health from puberty to menopause, appreciating your womanhood, and nurturing your marriage relationship are all beautiful experiences you can have when you are aware of your body and what it is doing.

Upcoming Fertility Awareness classes will be March 27, 2010 and May 8, 2010. Please contact me at for more information.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Green Products I Love

Recently, I attended a cloth diapering demonstration and met Kristi Rooks from Hip Green Baby. I bought all kinds of organic and eco-friendly baby products for our little one on the way. Here are just a few of the products that she carries that I LOVE and highly recommend!
Mommies and Mommies-To-Be, I believe it is so important to preserve our delicate planet by consuming eco-friendly and reusable products. Not only is it important for the planet, but for the precious little baby we care for each day.

Please visit Hip Green Baby to see what products you and your baby can enjoy to support a healthy lifestyle and conserve our planet.

It is never too late to start going green!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Organic Coconut Oil for the Blooming Belly

Recently, my mom was in town and brought with her some coconut oil she uses for everything. I love to cook and bake with it myself, but hadn't yet tried to lather it on my belly yet because I have been using my new Earth Mama Angel Baby Stretch Oil (which I love, love love!). My mom also suggested I try to put it on a skin tag that had conveniently popped right under my bra line during my pregnancy. It was becoming irritated and painful but was still hanging on for dear life. After putting coconut oil and a bandage over it for three days, it fell off and I am happy to more irritation.

Thank you, Mother, for leaving your Spectrum Organic Coconut Oil with me. I have been lubing up my belly every night this week. Personally, I love the smell of coconut and don't mind the slipperiness of it on my belly at night. Knock on wood, the only tiny stretch marks that have appeared are coming from my appendectomy scar and the two very low scars from my ectopic pregnancy surgery. I am hopeful and determined to steer clear of stretch marks with the use of all of these great oils.
Gotta love a product with multiple uses! Coconut oil can also be used for:
  • Skin Care: Besides stretch marks, it is a great moisturizer for dry skin, dermatitis, psoriasis, eczema, and other skin conditions.
  • Stress Relief: Massage a bit into your skin in sore or stressed areas.
  • Aiding Digestion: It has anti-bacterial properties. You can swallow it plain or add it to your cooking to help the absorption of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.
  • Fitness: It can stimulate metabolism, improve thyroid function, and increase energy levels.
  • Healing: Apply to cuts and scraps to protect against bacteria and virus and can speed the healing of bruises.
  • Hair Care: Can be one of the most nourishing products for your hair. Use it to prevent dandruff and dry scalp.
Anyone else had great success with coconut oil?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

My Body, My Baby, My Birth

Pregnancy and birth has become so high tech. Makes you wonder what they did all those years ago when women just got pregnant and nine months later had their baby.

Here are some of my thoughts and views regarding my pregnancy and birth.

My First Prenatal Appointment: Although I was having regular blood testing in the beginning of this pregnancy for low progesterone levels, I did not have the first prenatal appointment until 17 weeks. The group of midwives we chose were eager to help me over the phone before hand as I needed though. I love the attention that I get from such nurturing care. I spend 5 minutes in the waiting room and 45 minutes in my appointment....not the other way around.

Routine Testing and Procedures During Pregnancy: So many tests are dne while you are pregnant - many of which have declined! I give a urine sample at each appointment which is very inevasive. I plan to have an iron test done which involved a stick and is fairly inevasive. I have opted out of taking tests like glucose and many of the other unnecessary (in my opinion) blood testing and other screenings. And, I definitely steered clear of the flu and swine flu vaccines.

Ultrasounds: Before I was pregnant, I vowed not to have an ultrasound. But, when I began spotting at 5 weeks and it continued until week 12, I felt it best to ensure the safety of the baby and pregnancy. However, I am not a fan of ultrasounds. There is too much evidence out there that shows ultrasounds to be very dangerous to the health of the baby. Have you ever had an ultrasound and your baby was moving and kicking around a lot? The technician may have even joked about how much your baby was moving. Did you know that the ultrasound waves sound like a freight train to your poor, innocent little baby. Their tiny ears are just trying to acclimate to normal noises like the voice of Mommy and Daddy. Imagine how harsh those loud sound waves must be like.

Because we have not an ultrasound with this pregnancy since the bleeding at 12 weeks, we will not find out the gender of our little one. People's reactions are very interesting. Some say, "Oh, that is wonderful. There are so few surprises in the world." Others say, "I am too much of a planner to not find out." I find the latter response amusing. You see, I am a first born and a Virgo. I plan, organize, and research to the max. But, when it comes to having a baby, I prefer taking a simpler approach.

Childbirth Classes: Whether you birth at home, birth center, or hospital, I highly recommend taking a childbirth class to prepare you for the birth. We are taking The Bradley Method with my friend Donna. Bradley encourages the father to play a large role in labor and birth of the baby. It teaches many techniques to support a natural birth and avoid unnecessary interventions. ABC News did a recent report on the best childbirth classes to take. Check it out here.

Our Place of Birth: Home. For us, we could think of no better place than our home to welcome our little baby. It is a peaceful, quiet, safe place for my husband and I to have a calm and relaxing birth experience. And, our baby will be born into an environment free of bright florescent lighting, gloved and masked care givers, and cold, stark air. ACOG (American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology) states "Choosing to deliver a baby at home is to place the process of giving birth over the goal of having a healthy baby." All I can say to that is that those doctors have obviously never had the joyful experience of welcoming a baby into the world in a homebirth setting. They must often see babies born under severe distress due to the birth they highly intervened in with the use of drugs, induction, and/or cutting them open to get the babies out. I believe that my body and baby will be just fine at home. It is just pure, natural instincts for a woman to know how to have a baby. What kind of birth she decides to have is largely based on her ability to not be afraid of her own body's normal, natural function to give birth.

As a mother-to-be, I feel very strongly about the choices we have made about this pregnancy and the birth of our first born. I know this isn't for every mother and her baby, but it is right for us.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

A Dad's View During Pregnancy

What is it like for the husband leading up to the birth of a child? First, there was the day when my wife, Hannah, showed me the pregnancy test and tears of joy came out of my eyes when I saw the plus sign. After that, I began to feel pressure because once the baby is born I will have to provide for my family. Then I began to imagine what Baby Reasoner is going to look like. Will he or she be long legged like me or shorter and more muscular like Hannah. Of course the thought of having a son or daughter who wants follow in my footsteps and play basketball would be special too.

The toughest part of the whole pregnancy was watching Hannah during the first trimester with nausea. I felt so helpless and wish I could have done more. There was also the second and last sonogram we will have this pregnancy. I looked at the sonogram and felt like Baby Reasoner looked like me. Hannah laughed. Now we have begun our Bradley class so I can prepare for June 14th or whenever the baby decides to come. This class is going to help me be a great coach for Hannah during birth. Also, I have been working on the Baby's room but must finish the kitchen first.

Finally, the last thing I always think about is holding Baby Reasoner in my arms for the first time and having that first bonding moment with him or her.

Fertility Awareness Classes

Many women desire to become pregnant, want to prevent pregnancy without the use of invasive birth control methods, or just want to track their reproductive health.

I am now teaching the Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) of Natural Family Planning (NFP). It is a natural method that helps women and couples understand fertility based on four main fertility signs. This Fertility Awareness Method is 98% effective in preventing pregnancy when used properly and can also help women understand if and when they need to seek a health care provider regarding any health issues they may find while charting their cycles.

Due to limited space at this time, classes are designed for women. If couples desire, I do one on one consultations after the initial class.

Upcoming Classes:

Saturday, March 27th 10am - Noon (Fort Worth, TX)
Monday, April 12th 6:30 - 8:30pm (Northwest Arkansas -Location TBA)
Saturday, May 8th 10am - Noon (Fort Worth, TX)

Registration and Cost: Space is limited, so please RSVP to or call 214-783-3668 to reserve your spot. Classes are $20.

* Nursing babies are welcome.

What you will learn:
  • How to chart your fertility signs
  • How to tell when you are fertile and infertile during your cycle
  • How NFP can help you get pregnant or avoid pregnancy
  • How to chart for general reproductive health
  • How to determine if you need to seek a physician based on your body's signals
  • Fertility Awareness while breastfeeding
  • ...and more!
My husband and I have been using FAM for almost four years now. I have achieved two planned pregnancies and avoided pregnancy during the first part of our marriage by only using these Natural Family Planning Methods. I have also been able to chart irregularities in my cycle when trying to achieve pregnancy and consult with a physician for these issues. (More on that if you come to a class).

Please feel free to share this information with anyone you believe may benefit from attending this class.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Protein in Pregnancy

"Eat your protein!" That is what everyone seems to be telling me. "It helps the baby grow." "You need 80-100 grams while pregnant."

Apparently I have been having trouble getting adequate protein. Now, I am keeping a food diary to account for every gram I eat for two weeks.

I am not a big meat eater. In fact, I am not a big eater in general. But, while pregnant, I do understand the importance of eating adequately for my baby's sake.

I like beans, nuts, fish, turkey, and chicken for protein. But, did you know that raw, organic fruits and vegetables can also be a great source of protein? Meat is not the only way! I found a website that helps me calculate every type of food for its protein content and am happily calculating each bite of fruits and vegetables into this amount as well.

I also like to have a protein smoothie with pea protein powder. A typical smoothie consists of 1/2 a banana, 1/2 c. peaches, 1/4 c. blueberries, 1 c. rice milk, a handful of raw spinach, and a scoop of protein (all organic ingredients of course). This is at least 35 grams of protein in this powerful and filling breakfast.

Looks like I will be browsing some cookbooks for some new recipes to spice up my diet. I am open to suggestions for vegan and vegetarian recipes too!