Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Infant Massage

In the birthing field I have used infant massage to help babies (& their moms!). Continuing to recommend it as often as I have opportunity to do. Recently I watched an instructional DVD from Netflix called Infant Massage (2002) which I recommend. It shows a massage of a baby & then of a toddler. At the end of the DVD it tells you where to massage if the baby has hiccups, is teething etc.
Also you can find you tube clips for relief from specific issues such as Colic. I’ll save you some time & post some here:

Preemie infant massage

Here's a LINK for an other video clip since it won't give me the code to embed it

I plan to check out the local library for more DVDs!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Taking Care of Ourselves

is not being selfish.

It's being a good stewards of our body & mind! It's Biblical.

Over the years, as I learned, I changed eating habits or stopped using products I learned are toxic. But I didn't take care of myself in other ways, that led to some health problems. So I'm writing this for me as much as for you, my friends ;-)

I was working so much I had all my mail sent to my work address. I wasn't home long enough to keep the mailbox from piling up. A couple mothers told me their kids who'd came to the birth center for appointments with them, would say “I want to go to Crystal's house”. Probably to play with the toys, but you get the idea, I wasn't the only one who thought I lived there! Seeing the long hours errrr make that days, I was gone, my aunt teased me saying 'the secretary makes more than you!'. And I had to agree! Now I was never in it for the money, but I'm trying to make a point here. Learn from my mistakes! Slow down, while you still have the choice, before your body does it to you!

Now as a stay at home mom I feel like the Lord is allowing me a season of rest. Caring for our infant daughter (even w/sleepless nights, projectile vomiting/acid reflux & now teething) has been some of the least stressful days of my life compared to midwifery. (Not to say there hasn't been some moments of frustration, but that's called parenthood, so that goes with out saying.)
Don't get me wrong I found midwifery very rewarding! I enjoy mothers, birth & babies! It's still a passion of mine. I have a feeling my midwifery days are not over.

It seems as if Christian woman, especially Christian moms, feel somehow that it more spiritual to be a living martyr (what I mean by that is, by complaining & looking haggard) then to take care of themselves.

If we are living surrendered, we'll be teachable. Please pray about how to best take care of yourself. I'd appreciate prayer to! Please leave a comment of what you do to nourish your mind/body/spirit. That way it will give us ladies some ideas to try.

Ladies let's take care of these bodies of ours!! It's the only one we get!

Someone once used this example. You are given a car. Only one car to last your whole life. Would you go around carelessly, joy riding? No you'd keep it in mint condition! Why don't we do the same for our bodies!

Part 2
Regular intimacy is important in maintaining a strong, healthy marriage. But because it's easier said then done... And because many people I know don't know where to find answers or may be too embarrassed to ask... I felt lead to write this post.

This is a subject that I feel as a midwife & now a wife and mother myself, I can help woman with. So here are some ways to increase intimacy &/or increase your desire for intimacy:

1) Retreat!! Pray! Praise!
If fatigue is coming between you & your husband, ask your hubby to watch the kids for a day. Drive to a favorite location, for me it would be the beach.

Spending time with your First Love on a praise/prayer walk or reading His love letter to you, will refresh you. If you explain to your hubby you are needing this time alone to recharge, because you want to work on increasing the intimacy in your marriage, I'm sure he will quickly agree to the idea. Maybe even suggesting you take this day trip regularly!!

Have a nursing baby? Leaving the older ones w/Daddy & taking the baby with you will still be good for you to get out of the house.

A friend recently went to a retreat center. She said they had an art room, where you could go any time of the day. The place was beautiful, quiet & meals were provided. An other friend lives on a retreat campus. She says they have all sorts of outdoor activities such as canoeing. Gazebos galore, walking paths, beautiful scenery, w/meals also provided. I've only been to camps as a teen. I didn't even know just anyone can go to places like this, till recently. Google to find a retreat center near you. Go & enjoy some quiet!

2) EAT!
Raw food is energizing! Eat as much raw fruits & veggies as you can. Try juicing or green smoothies if you're not a salad sort of person. Juice Plus helped me with increased energy!

Concentrate on increasing these specific foods in your daily diet:
Flaxseed or other types of food containing omegas.
And one you probably already know, which happens to be a favorite 'food group' of mine...

Be sure it's healthy chocolate. If it's not, you will decrease your immune system, leading to female infections (natural remedy for yeast infection) leading to a decreased intimacy! Thus defeating the purpose!

For more ideas think Super foods, foods that increase circulation (ginger, ginkgo, cinnamon), foods or snacks that give you energy...

3) Join a mom's support group. If there's not one in your area. Start one!

I belong to a local mom's circle. One day they were discussing ideas of how to support one an other. It was suggested that a few moms could watch the kids while the others took some time for themselves. One mom who drove about an hour to join us said, “I'd drive an hour for a nap!”

4) Take a nap!
Nothing wrong with allotting nap/quiet time to the whole family, yourself included!

5) Simple explanations
When the kids are old enough to understand friendships/relationships, offer a simple explanation i.e. Daddy & Mommy are best friends & need to spend time together so... we are all going to bed early tonight... Or Daddy & Mommy are going away for the week-end...

6) Exercise

7) Get plenty of sunlight. It improves moods, among other benefits

8) Slow Down
Think of it from our kids perspectives. What would they rather have: more music lessons, soccer practice, this & that, going, going, going! Resulting in divorced parents, because we didn't make our marriage priority? Or parents that are willing to take care of themselves? Thus strengthening the marriage and in the long run strengthening the family.

In other words slowing down & simplifing will be
1) a key in decreasing stress [it sure has helped me!!]
2) increasing energy & time for intimacy.

9) Pamper yourself

(now let me clarify... I'm not saying we should get & do whatever we want in the name of "I need this" . Buying a $50 purse is not taking care of yourself physically! And besides it's not being a good steward of the money God has blessed you with.)
Chiropractic care

Have more intimacy questions? Please private message me if you can't 1st find the answer with in this blog or in the link lists to the right. There is no such thing as a silly question.

I pray this has been a help!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

What's next?!

Imagine you are sitting down ready to unwind for the evening. You've been working hard, because you are providing food for your family. And many other families... BAM!!! Men at gunpoint, who don't identify themselves, but you later find out are sheriffs, storm your house. You are then held in a room of your house, like house arrest as they confiscate your business & personal items and A YEARS WORTH OF YOUR FOOD!!! Your & your children are feeling traumatized & confused... Your crime - helping people eat healthy food. This really happened!

Here the Stowers tell it in their own words

Imagine you are in jail... most of the inmate are there for murder. You're asked why you're there...
I'm a farmer & my crime- “conspiracy charges” for selling milk. EXCUSE ME? SAY WHAT?! Why? Because it's raw milk I could serve a life sentence.
Hard to believe? Read this article

Here's more info on THE RAW MILK MOVEMENT

Please stay informed, if you are blessed with land, plant a garden... oh wait, they're trying to make that illegal too. Spend time with your family feeding them nutritionally dense food & watching these documentaries:

Food Matters
The Future of Food

As well as the ones under the link lists to the right hand side of this blog.

Why Buy Organic Dairy Products?

This post & website are not a replacement for a health care provider & the advice given should not be considered a diagnosis or treatment. Seeking a professional care provider is the responsibility of the reader.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

My 1st giveaway!

Would you expose yourself, if you were pregnant, or your baby to 2nd hand smoke? Would you burn diesel fuel for your family to inhale? Would you ask your kids to expose themselves to cancer causing chemicals you may have in the house i.e. bleach?

No way. Of course not, but you have done the equivalent to all these things to your family & your body if you've burnt paraffin candles in your home! Yes, I too was shocked! Fumes contain formaldehyde which can lead to nose & throat cancer. So far there are 11 documented toxins from paraffin.

“Another surprise is that the candle-making industry is not required to tell consumers about the ingredients used in their products, including when a wick is used which contains a lead core.”
Are Everyday Candles Destroying Your Home And Health?

What's the alternative? SOY!! or beeswax

My favorite soy candle shop is my blogger friend Becky's Good Neighbors Candle Company.

She use hemp wicks in her jar candles. Becky wrote “I do use zinc in the tea lights. After years and years of searching for a wick to work in the tea lights this one worked well... so I went with it. Zinc is considered safe but I prefer the hemp.”

Of the candles I ordered, the hot chocolate mug is my favorite. With the floating marshmallows it looks so realistic. One day I was passing by the candle mug when I leaned over for a sniff. Such a rich chocolaty smell... Mmm... I closed my eyes... only to hear a chuckle. I looked up sheepishly to find Andrew looking at me. He said “I’m so glad I saw that!” I said “I was getting my chocolate fix” For the whole rest of the day we joked about it. So it's fitting that Becky has offered the hot chocolate mug candle for the giveaway!

To Enter
1st entry- visit Becky's CandleBlog and leave a comment about the candles HERE. Example: My favorite candle of her's is... You must do this to be eligible for the giveaway.

For an other entry put a link to the The Candle Blog or The Etsy Shop on your sidebar. Or post on your blog about this giveaway and link to Good Neighbors Candle's.

For yet an other entry become a follower of this health blog.

Ok I'm really making you work for this! To get an other entry leave a comment for me here about which post(s) is your favorite. I want feedback so I can continue to improve my site. And to help facilitate a healthier future for us all!

Leave a separate comment for each eligible entry. If you complete all instructions you get 4 entries!!
Winner will be announced at the beginning of September & the candle will be sent to you directly from Becky's hard working hands.

Have fun!

Drum roll please....
True Random Number Generator

Congrats to Carrie at

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Our Birth Story Part 2 & 3


Newborn exam weight = 7#5oz Length= 21” We didn't do eye ointment or the Vitamin K shot. (Vit. K shot is routine in hospitals, yet there are risks to baby receiving the shot) From the newborn exam we could tell her head didn't come through the birth canal perfectly straight. Having a hand by her face threw the angle of the head off & made the diameter of her head bigger - another Ouch! & yet at least it gives me reassurance I can push out a bigger baby. LOL As she sleeps she always has a hand or both hands by her face. I hear this is more common in girls.

I'm so proud of Andrew for how he jumped straight into the responsibilities of fatherhood! With no previous experience, he helped weigh her, put on her 1st diaper & dressed her. His strength, support and prayers through it all, helped get me through it as well as I did.

Becky gave us a placenta lesson. My placenta was unique. As a midwife I thought it was cool! Velamentous & battledore. An other good reason I wasn't in the hospital. Drs often pull too hard on the cord. If they'd done this to me, they could have popped the cord off, leaving the placenta inside! Because if my unique placenta, aggressive pulling would have lead to more intervention. Yet again the patience of midwifery allowed me to avoid any such drama.

Several hours later after the vital signs were taken to make sure we both were recovering well, the paperwork was signed & postpartum instructions given, the birth team left. We were blessed to be at my parent's. My mom took good care of us. She stayed busy bustling around changing sheets, feeding us etc. Then watched baby girl so we could sleep. What a blessing she was! We had asked Mom to start the prayer chain when we went into labor. Mom shared who she was able to get in touch with before & after the birth. It was reassuring to know people had been praying & would continue to pray for our recovery.

We are so grateful to all involved! A thank you doesn't even come close!
Praise the Lord!

Part 3
Throughout the pregnancy I prayed & believed for a quick labor. Also doing my part in preparing my body for an easier birth experience. Even though I wanted it to be as easy as possible I was willing to go through a harder time or circumstances within the labor to be a better midwife. Also to be able to empathize with the woman I had cared for as a midwife. I prayed that whatever God allowed I could be an example to others- asking the Lord to allow the labor & birth to happen in such a way to encourage others, but most of all, that He would be glorified! We wanted our story to be a testimony of what the Lord can do!

Labor was easier then I thought it would be, but don't get me wrong, it wasn't easy! It was very intense! Pushing was harder for me than labor. It was not fun. I thought I would be so concentrated on pushing that I wouldn't feel the contractions in the same way.

And yet I was surprised how quickly birth amnesia set in... before the birth team left the house I felt I could do that again! I few days later Andrew & I were talking about siblings for DD!

Even though I feel words can not describe the joys of motherhood... I'll attempt with the inadequate English language to say a few words about our birthing experience. It was amazing, beautiful, bonding, thrilling and joyful. It was a rite of passage into motherhood. I feel stronger; confidant and excited for future birth experiences. (The only thing I would change is getting on the road sooner. We plan to stay put for the next birth) I loved being pregnant & giving birth! I can't wait for our next one!

We wanted to enjoy the babymoon period so we didn't have guests for a week. I thought we would be individually falling more in love with our daughter during this time. My love & emotion for Andrew was like falling in love with him all over again! That aspect surprised me. I feel like the birth and parenthood has drawn Andrew & I closer in a way I never imagined.

It was surreal until my milk came in w/the hormones that made me cry. Now I get overwhelming waves of love that make me want to start crying, kiss & hug her, or just sit & stare at her.

Even after she falls asleep in my arms I think I should put her down, so I can get something done... but I don't. I just keep holding her. Cherishing every moment. Drinking in her fresh baby smell. Storing up memories 'cause I know this newborn stage is so short. (she gained weight so fast, I didn't realize how short.) Then when I do put her down I miss her, yearning to hold her close.

Timeline 3/14/11 Monday
12:30am SROM
2:30 got up
5:35 1st ctx
6:10 called Grandam Day to give them a heads up we were coming
7 regular ctx 3-4x 60 Vocalizing
7:50 in car
8am Called Robyn
9:50 8cm/+2 hurry to Day's
10:40am Arrived at Days
~11 Robyn arrived
12:48 pushing
1:15pm head visible
3:22pm birth

1st 5hrs 48min
2nd 2hrs 34min
3rd 19min
Total = 8hrs 41min.


Emotional/spiritual factors that helped: prayer chain & page of verses to have read during labor. Actually looking fwd to the experience & not fearing it. Relying on the Lord gives the peace that is beyond our understanding!
I mentioned to Andrew “I'm really looking forward to the experience, not just looking forward to meeting Baby T, but the labor. A rite of passage into motherhood.”

Physical factors:
Eating healthy
Regular Chiropractic care
Red Raspberry Leaf tea & herbal supplements
Physical exercise – swam 1st trimester, walked & jogged up till 39wks

Believers, why do we trust the Lord in many areas of our lives, but somehow He isn't sufficient to get us through labor & the birthing process? His grace is enough!! Trust the Word of God when it says we are fearfully & wonderfully made. This is what I wrote a pregnant friend of mine. This is my prayer for mothers :
I’ve been praying you would allow the Holy Spirit to direct you to be an informed mother who understands her options by researching your choices. Allow God’s grace to be sufficient as He promises it will be!!

To God be the glory!

Our Birth Story

ctx= contraction
BH= braxton hicks, which are practice contractions
cm= centimeters & 10cm= completely dilated
DD = dear daughter
Robyn is our midwife. Becky the student midwife. Both started Inspiration Family Birth Center

As I was lying in bed Sunday night I heard a loud pop... my water broke! I checked baby's heartbeat with my Doppler. Praise the Lord it was good! I wasn't having contractions so...

I went back to bed. I was nesting, packing & getting ready in my head so realized I'd sleep better if I just got some things out of the way; that would get my mind to stop thinking of all that needed done. Then I'd rest.

As I was up & around I began to have BH. I did some squats & Taylor siting while organizing. Was going to climb back in bed when Andrew woke up. I said you don't have to go to work - my water broke! As we lay there talking I had my 1st contraction. The pattern was 8-10min <1min as we packed.

Once we were in the car I called Robyn, asked her to check my progress at the birth center on our way to my parent's place. It took us 2 hrs to get to the birth center.
I had started throwing up at home & feeling increased pressure in the car. I had already mentally prepared myself to ignore this and not think of it as transition since it happens with every other monthly.

During the ctx I sang, praised God, prayed, repeated verses & vocalized. They weren't what I thought a contraction would feel like. Due to 2 childhood falls on my tailbone & chronic sciatic as an adult (I had been able to alleviate it naturally, but it can flare up in pregnancy) I thought the contractions would be more noticeable in my back. In theory, I was a good candidate for increased back pain. But I contribute the lack there of, to Chiropractic care & very little sugar (because it causes inflammation) in my diet. In between contractions I didn't even feel in labor.

We arrived at Inspiration Family Birth Center at 9:50am. I hoped that I'd be around half way dilated. The midwife in me thought that was wishful thinking, since by this point I'd only had regular contractions for three hours. I told Robyn 'feel free to stir things up' (stretch & sweep) since we're on the clock now due to my water rupturing. She agreed. In both our minds we thought she was going to have to.

When Robyn said I was 8cm/+2 the 1st words out of my mouth were Halleluiah!! Needless to say, we were all surprised! Robyn encouraged us to hurry to my parent's! And that she'd be heading that way too!

We arrived at my parent's at 10:40am. I asked Andrew to only unload the one main suitcase, even though we had a car full (we thought it was going to be a long labor) We were greeted by my mom's beaming face & beautiful, excited smile- That will be a treasured memory.

It was such a relief to be out of the car. I literally ran to the shower :-D I only stopped to greet & hug my mom on the way by. That hot water was heavenly! All woman in labor should at least try the shower or tub!

I have told woman that if they could reach 8cm it's pretty much the same amount of intensity to 10cm. In other words don't be afraid “If this is what 8cm feels like Yikes! what's 10cm going to feel like!” You may start feeling increased pressure, different sensations, but you're there! I can now confirm it really is true. Actually, for me, it felt even more manageable, probably because I wasn't laboring in the car anymore. With the endorphins & other God given hormones I felt I was able to relax in between ctx.

Robyn arrived soon after; yet before she got to the house I was feeling pushy. Stopping the shower, I filled up the bathroom tub; then I rested between ctx. We decided not to use the official birth tub/pool since as low as baby felt I didn't think we'd have it ready in time.

In between a ctx. Almost 10cm

I was trying to stay with low, deep vocalizing even though I was getting louder as the contractions got stronger. When I started practice pushing in the tub, it didn't feel right so I checked myself & said I think I have an anterior lip. Anterior lip means I was 10cm except for a piece of cervix caught between the pubic bone & baby's head. Closest analogy is imagine your finger being caught in a door. Ya, ouch!

I got out of the tub to work away the lip with different positions & walking. The contractions had spaced so I needed to get out anyway. I'd have to ask Robyn, but I wonder how long it took me to actually get out of the tub since I didn't want to. The water just felt so good! Eventually Robyn was able to reduce the lip. Once I was completely dilated I began pushing. Robyn said at 1st she could feel that Baby moved down very well. Then Baby seemed to get stuck.

We altered positions seeing if we could shift baby into a better position & get some progress. Squatting, side lying, supine, hands & knees. I remember asking what more I could do. Feeling like I wasn't pushing long enough. Musing out loud that we should do something to make the ctx last longer. I could feel the midwife in me thinking of ideas and solutions. Robyn reminded me it was for a reason, maybe a short contraction is all baby could handle (it's normal for the baby's oxygen levels to drop during a ctx; the longer the ctx the less oxygen the baby gets).

Spacing off at times is normal. We like to call it labor land. God designed our bodies to release beneficial hormones to make us sleepy. It makes laboring women look like they're sleeping in between contractions, some really do sleep. During the pushing stage I mostly kept my eyes closed between ctx. I may have looked asleep, but I remember being very aware of my surroundings.

My mom came in 'cause Baby's head was visible & we thought Baby would be born soon. She took many great pictures that we will treasure forever! I'm so happy she was able to be a part of this special event in our lives.

Andrew was behind me, holding me up or helping me push the 1st part of the pushing stage. When I wasn't having a ctx I'd lay back & rest in his arms. Then as it got closer he moved to my side so he'd be ready to catch.

Becky was faithful to keep me hydrated with ice water. Becky also cooled me off with cold wash clothes. I was so blessed to be surrounded by my strong, encouraging husband & three wonderful, nurturing ladies. All supportive, helpful and excited!

When it was apparent to Robyn that the head had stopped moving with pushes. She explained that she would have to spread my bones. I remember saying something like “well I've done it to others, now I'm about to find out what it feels like!” With a ctx Robyn had to push up on my pubic bone & done on my tailbone as I pushed. Then alter it with pushing the side bones in the birth canal. I hope never to have to repeat this! As a midwife I remember feeling sorry for every woman I ever did that to, knowing it was painful. Now I know that feeling personally, yet I know they, as well as I am, are grateful I did it in order to help them get their baby out.

How thankful I am for midwives patience! If I had been in the hospital they would have used a vacuum or forceps to force-ably extract Baby. Or done an an Episiotomy (cut me) or all the above... because our baby was at a partial crown for 40 minutes! I believe something like 5 min. full crown! Also if we hadn't had a midwife I probably would have torn really bad & had major repair. I've also heard of Docs pushing babies back up inside to do a C-section, even though the baby was partially hanging out. I was able to avoid all this, thanks to the expertise & patience of Robyn.

Most laboring moms loose all sense of time (an other one of God's mercies) so I had no idea until we were discussing the birth at our 2 day visit with Robyn that Baby was crowning for 40 minutes! I did not feel the ring of fire. I think that was because Baby made such a gradual a.k.a long!! entrance.

At the moment Baby was emerging I was so concentrated on pushing I didn't know how much was out, so I appreciate that Becky helped me. She put my hands on Baby so I could help catch too!

Andrew & I caught with Robyn's help! Immediately she was lifted to my chest, we were skin to skin. I asked “what do we have?” The announcement was “It's a girl!!!!” It was surreal so I didn't react by crying as much as I thought I would. I was surprised she was out, because she had been so close for so long. My hands feeling the top of her head, praying & willing her to come out. I did eventually start crying. It's a rush of relief & emotion. How do you describe such a moment in time? How do you describe the beauty of the moment? I just started crying again as I got to this part in typing up the story.

I remember rubbing her up (tactile stimulation is the medical term), must have been the midwife in me coming out again 'cause I remember then saying she's fine. Reassuring me her color was good, no need to keep doing that.

I wanted the world to stand still and savor the moment a little while longer, but after this, things get a bit blurry. Andrew & I cut her cord.

Her cord was on the shorter side. I remember joking with Robyn saying “And here I thought short cord babies had quick pushing stages!” Robyn said can be one or the other - short labor or short pushing. Now I'll pay more attention to that 'cause I've mainly seen it be short pushing.

I found out afterward my Dad aka Grandpa arrived home from work to find the yard full of cars. Needless to say he did not go about his afternoon as planned. He sat in the living room until he heard from the bedroom “It's a girl!” Then the first cries of his granddaughter. He said he remembers hearing Andrew laugh, then the announcement.

Part 2 & 3 still to come as seperate posts. I have finished typing it, but since I'm long winded... I thought it was too much to put together as one post.