Wednesday, December 31, 2008

4 weeks, 6 days: Holding the Line

So far, so good. I have a couple (usually 2-3) periods a day when for an hour or so I think, "Uh oh, I don't feel so well," but otherwise I am doing fine. Unfortunately, it's just too stinking early to be encouraged by that - I was just the same last time.

The amount of supplements I am taking right now is enough to make someone sick without the HG! Let's see: Supplements = multi-vitamin, acidophilus, AbsorbAid, calcium, magnesium, B6, Unisom, vitamin C. Herbs = ginger syrup, ginger capsules (lots!!), tincture of wild yam, tincture of dandelion, peppermint tea, decoction of wild yam, peach leaf tea, milk thistle. Homeopathics = Sepia 30C. If that doesn't do it, nothing will, LOL!!

I saw my OB's PA yesterday (getting in to see the OB is a 3-month wait, so I gave that up as impossible). I actually do like her - I think we're just too much alike to really hit it off automatically. We're both a bit on the reserved side. I hope I've made a wise choice, as I really don't want to have to change practices in the middle. I love this practice because they're midwife-friendly and very naturopathic.... But they may be too naturopathic for HG. When I mention drugs, she mentions ginger and lemon. Hmmm. And when I asked about my drug options, she said that (a) they'd prescribe Zofran when I couldn't keep anything down, (b) they didn't like to prescribe anything else because all other anti-emetics are class C, and (c) if my insurance refuses to pay for the Zofran, there's nothing they could do about it. From other people I have heard that (a) it's better to start Zofran before you are super-sick so that you don't have to work uphill, (b) other drugs are fairly safe and are better than hospitalization, and (c) doctor's offices can hassle insurance companies for patients if they want to in order to help move medication orders through. So.... Hmm. We'll see how it goes. But I love the philosophy of this practice and the fact that they want to consider natural options!! Most other OB offices would just scoff. So I am very thankful to have them! We'll just have to see if it's a good fit further down the line.

Other than that, I've just got a bunch of nervous energy - from WAITING!! My goodness, it's nerve-wracking! I'm not panicking (yet), but I don't like waiting. Hopefully there will be nothing to wait for!!

Lots of love,

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Journey Begins: 4 weeks, 3 days

Well, folks, this is it! Here we are. Quite unintentionally, this blog has now moved from "potential" to "active," in other words, I'm pregnant! At least I think I am. I can never quite convince myself in the early days (positive pg test - check; eighteen days high temps - check; beginning NVP - check).

For us this is baby #3. We lost one baby in a miscarriage in July of 2005 and had our DS in June of 2006. This baby is due in early September. If she comes on the 6th, that'll make three Sept. 6 birthdays in our family!

The story:

Well, if I was superstitious, THIS would have been my first pregnancy indicator (I'm NOT, so it's not, but otherwise....). I was watching a birth video on YouTube with my son the other day (I want him to be used to them before he's old enough to be grossed out), and while we were watching the birth he turned to me and said, "Baby here!" I said that no, there wasn't a baby here, and he said cheerfully, "Baby here soon!" It did make me wonder, I've got to tell you.

Anyhow, I'm afraid the nausea started at about 3 weeks. This is bad, because last time it waited till week 5. But until I got a positive test, I had to sit around wondering if I was so paranoid that I was actually making myself sick by my fevered imagination! You see, I usually spend the last week or so of my cycle absolutely convinced that I am pregnant. I'm kind of paranoid this way. So this month, I thought, "Great. Not only am I imagining pregnancy, I'm imagining nausea. Terrific. Way to go." I wasn't able to get a positive reading till Christmas Day (that's what happens when you use super-cheap tests from the dollar store - you have to wait longer!).

By Christmas Day, I've got to say, the nausea was starting to interfere with life (And I'd just gotten a positive test! Great!). I felt more like sitting on the couch and groaning than doing anything else. It didn't take long before I broke down and got out the home-made Bendectin/Diclectin, and ever since have felt MUCH better. The stuff really works, at least for me.

Of course, this is only the beginning. Nausea isn't even supposed to BE here at 4 weeks, let along need drugs to control it. Needless to say, I am good and scared. But at least it's under control for now. I'm seeing my OB's PA tomorrow, so hopefully I can get some guidance from her. Hopefully I'll be able to connect better with her tomorrow than I did last time I saw her. She was rather cold, detached and clinical, and I can't stand that kind of professional medical relationship. I hope she warms up a bit!

I am also wracked with guilt for taking a pharmaceutical while pregnant. If you Google "Bendectin" and "safety" you'll come up with two types of diametrically-opposed articles - type #1, which claims that Bendectin is a falsely-maligned wonder-drug for NVP, and type #2, which claims that Bendectin is a teratogenic nightmare (or not that bad, but a drug which raises the chance of birth defects). So while I have the go-ahead from both my midwife and my OB on taking it, I still feel guilty and somewhat nervous.

I'll post later on how to formulate Bendectin at home so that it's available to anyone who wants or needs to make it.

The pregnancy has been a great impetus to get going on my move! Moving with a toddler is not easy, and I have packed maybe 20 boxes in the past 2 months. Yesterday alone I packed twelve! Hurray!

There's also a lot less fanfare with non-first pregnancies, I've noticed! I'm not rushing off madly to read "pregnancy week-by-week" websites like I did with DS. I'm eating lunchmeat with casual abandon. And I cleaned the catbox yesterday without even thinking about it! Such is life, I think.

We finally got through telling our families yesterday. My parents (who are helping us get our house ready) were, I think, less than pleased. My mom was cheerful, at least; my dad didn't say a word (typical, but depressing). DH's mom's first reaction was, "Um, did you plan it like that?" Reactions from church family were much more satisfactory!

And another WONDERFUL piece of news resulting from all this is that the pregnancy has effectively derailed my hubbie's plans to buy a puppy! Hurray!! (I love other people's dogs, but I do NOT like owning them - I'm just not a dog person.) He's still thinking of perhaps buying an adult dog, but that's fine with me as a compromise - no training to do and much cheaper.

So here we are! The beginning of the journey. I am hoping for a fluffy pregnancy, or at least for nausea that behaves itself and proves amenable to treatment. If you are reading this, I would appreciate your prayers!!

This is also a bit of an adventure for me, because my family is composed almost entirely of childless or only-child families. I am the first woman in the maternal line in three generations to have more than one child! So the sibling thing will be new to me.

Wish me luck! I'll check in as often as I can.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

HG Protocol - the Semi-Final Version

Merry, merry Christmas to everyone out there as we celebrate the birth of the Savior! Have a safe and happy day of celebration.

I wanted to go ahead and post my "semi-final HG protocol" - this is the plan that goes into action when one receives a positive pregnancy test. Most mums who have had HG once prepare an HG-protocol for subsequent pregnancies - it's essential and very helpful. If you have had HG once, I encourage you to try it! It's very empowering. This plan is extremely basic, as plans go. Many HG mums have protocols that are pages and pages long - to see these, visit the forums at

As always, you, the reader, are responsible for making your own medical decisions and doing your own research. The following is not medical advice, but simply a report of what I am doing - so use any of the information at your own risk.

Here it is!


– 100 mg per day, in two 50 mg doses
– 2 caps per day of 70-80% silymarin

After positive pregnancy test

– yogurt & acidophilus
PRENATAL VITAMIN – maybe without iron?
OMEGA-3 – 2 to 4 caps of fish oil a day
DICLECTIN REPLICA: - Start with 4 doses per day, up to 6, then up to 8 with OB’s supervision. Standard timing is one morning, one mid-day, two at night

B-COMPLEX – 10-mg four times a day (I will do 50 mg three times a day)
UNISOM – 10 mg 4x/day with b-complex (start with just one 25 mg tab before bed, then move up – tabs must be split in half to get ~10 mg)
VITAMIN C – a little bit with each (??) for absorption

MILK THISTLE – 3 caps per day of 70-80% silymarin
WILD YAM - (1) 3 capsules per day, (2) 1-2 tsp. dried extract three times daily, (3) 2-4 mL tincture three times daily)*
DANDELION – as directed on bottle
GINGER - 1,000 mg every 2-3 hours as needed, no more than 20,000 mg per day
ENTROX– 1 cap per meal (for total of 3 per day) – this is an either/or with the fish oil, as they are both omega-3 sources
ABSORBAID – 2 caps per meal (for total of 6 per day)

Specifically for NVP/HG

BREASTFEEDING – helps some women
LEGUMES – supposedly good for quelling nausea
PHARMACEUTICALS – under care of an OB
- alfalfa, basil, black horehound, chamomile, ginger, lavender, peppermint, peach leaf, wild yam root, red raspberry leaf, yellow dock

* Most OB's will tell you that Wild Yam is not okay to take during pregnancy. Most midwives and herbalists will tell you that it is just fine to take during pregnancy. I'm going with the latter, but each mum must make up her own mind.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Introducing.... The World's Newest HG Blog!

An online HG-friend of mine, Anna, has recently created the newest HG blog on the market! These are few and far between, so take note and check it out! Here it is:

Anna's Blog: "My Hyperemesis"

Anna's story is really unusual in that, after suffering with severe HG, she experienced a rare complication - HG that did not end with the birth of her baby. Now, almost a year after her baby's birth, she is still heavily nauseated and on anti-emetic drugs. Take a few minutes to read her story!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Blog Entry - "Ashli's Story"

Check out this great post from Kathy Peterson's great blog, "Woman to Woman Childbirth Education":

Ashli's Story

Ashli McCall is the guru of all things HG-related, having experienced this condition four times, and she is now probably the leading proponent of HG-activism and awareness. She's also the author of the main work on the subject, "Beyond Morning Sickness: Battling Hyperemesis Gravidarum." Kathy includes a brief synopsis of her story, links to her websites and a video of an interview done with her about three years ago. Despite the fact that I've been corresponding with Ashli for several years, I had never seen this interview (too bad I didn't; it was done when I was in the middle of my own HG), and it was neat to finally see her "in person."

Check it out!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Just a quick note

Blogging, like much of my normal life lately, has unfortunately been pushed to the side by our house project and move. My housework has suffered; my email is being ignored - all non-essential life is being put on the back-burner to make room for the all-encompassing HOUSE. Hopefully I will get my life back soon! But it doesn't seem like it will be too soon - our move date keeps getting pushed up... and up... and up... as we discover more things to fix on the house before we can move in. Of course, better now than after we move in! But I probably won't be "back to normal" for months - not until spring or later. I have never unpacked with a toddler in tow, so that should be interesting! Normally I devote myself to it body and soul for two straight weeks, and it's done, but with a toddler I have the feeling it might be a wee bit different.

I have made the nervous decision that I'll try to be officially "open to children," as the Catholics say, after our move. I should qualify that, though - we are always open to children, any time, anywhere - I am just referring to actively "trying" for children, though the thought makes me shiver with fear. Not that we haven't been cheating on our natural family planning rules for the past year and a half, but doing it consciously is quite different! We may just take the "not trying, not preventing" route and let nature take its course.

If the Lord does permit us another child, at least I won't be so fearfully naive or passive as I was last time. I have a plan and a back-up doctor, and I mean to use both. No more "toughing it out"!! I've tried that and it was hell on earth. Nope, I'm going to be a hard-hitter this time. A sister-in-law of a friend of mine took the same approach. Her insurance gave her problems with treatment for HG, so she made repeat visits to the emergency room to be checked in and told her insurance that they could expect the same from her until they agreed to cover HG treatment. Good for her! I hope to follow her example.

That makes me realize that I need to get out my HG protocol and finish it up. I got all of the research done when I had my last big pregnancy scare, last fall, but I think that I need to input the changes and post it so I'll be ready to go whenever it is needed. I'll try to get to that soon!!

Lots of love to everyone. My blog will be horribly neglected for at least the next quarter, but I am still here and will try to check in occasionally.


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

For My Anonymous Poster on Residual Nausea

I'm not able to respond to you personally, as an anonymous poster, so I wanted to say hi here! Best wishes on your pregnancy, and please let me know how it goes. If you would like to correspond with someone who has also experienced residual nausea, please leave your email address in the comments and I'll send you this girl's address (she is looking for other people who have experienced post-pregnancy HG nausea to talk with). Best wishes!!

Monday, November 24, 2008


This week we are mourning with our friends J. and T. as they grieve the loss of their twins in an early miscarriage. J. and T. are participants in a relatively new phenomenon known as "embryo adoption" in which IVF (in-vitro fertilization) parents give their remaining embryo-babies up for adoption. J&T have twelve embryo-babies, two of which are now in heaven, and ten of which are still waiting to be transferred. We are all heart-broken over their loss and are praying for their healing as well as for successful future transfers.

I wanted to share a very precious letter that a dearly-loved person wrote for me on the death of our first little one by miscarriage:

"Dear Mommy and Daddy,

"We don't know each other very well because we weren't together very long, but I want you to know I felt your love and anticipation and excitement.

"I know you would make great parents but you can't imagine how wonderful it is being in heaven. Jesus welcomed me into His arms with a big hug and then introduced me to my Gramma Fern. We are having a great time together. She is telling me all about you, Mommy, when you were born and how you grew up. She is very proud of you. We'll have lots to catch up on when you get here!

"I just want you to know I am loved and well cared for here just as I would have been if I had stayed with you. But we have to obey Jesus when He says come home so that's what I did.

"I'm giving you this little bear (included with letter) to be a reminder of me until we meet in heaven - soon I hope!



May God bless all babies who are born asleep, and all parents who must wait until heaven to meet their precious little ones.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Notes on Life

Just a quick note!

We got our house last week, and my parents have come out to AZ to help us get it livable - so my blogging time is apt to be very little over the next month or so - not to mention the fact that we're probably going back to dial-up after our move, so it may be reduced permanently! I don't know - we'll see. But I wanted to write a quick note to explain that this blog is not dead - it's just going to be on a bit of a sabbatical.

I'm learning a lot working on the house. Growing up, I groused so much about helping with home-improvement projects (which I do not enjoy) that my parents let me off the hook - with the result that until now, I have done nothing more home-improvement-wise than hang a picture! Seriously! This week I have been ridiculously proud of myself for learning to remove doorknobs!! LOL Hopefully a preview of more to come, for I am absurdly ignorant.

Our house is lovely, but it does have some serious issues due to severe neglect. Its previous owners didn't beat it to a pulp, like some other houses we saw, but they neglected it so badly that they might as well have. There are literally masses of cobwebs hanging from the ceiling!! And there are things like water damage from neglected leaks, corrosion from mineral build-up gone mad and not taken care of, appliances that have to be trashed because they weren't cleaned in so long that they're no longer redeemable, etc. But I'm learning a lot! And DS is having a blast having a larger space to roam and a bit yard to play in.

So that's about all! I'll try to check back in periodically. Love to all!!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Another HG Mama!

I had a fun experience today, and a surprising one! While attending my friend A.'s baby shower (and having a lovely time), A. decided to introduce everyone. Going through the ladies there, she introduced the girl sitting next to me as, "my friend J. from college, whom we nearly lost several times during her pregnancy due to severe hyperemesis gravidarum." Wow! How often do you meet another HG mother in real life? Not too often! J. and I didn't get to talk much, as the shower was almost over, but it is always fun to discover an HG-sister. J. is in the "post-graduate" levels of HG - she was a severe, life-threatening-HG mother who spent her pregnancy with a PICC line and all the lovely trimmings that come with the severest of hyperemetic pregnancies.

In the time since I experienced hyperemesis I have met, aside from J, only 2 1/2 other HG mothers (the "1/2" is someone who was pointed out to me, the sister-in-law of a friend, but whom I haven't gotten to chat with yet). Now this makes 3 1/2! Fun.

This past week has been crazy - sick kiddo, helping throw a baby shower, buying a house, etc. Next week promises to be just as busy!! If this blog is neglected, you will therefore know why.

Love to all!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Residual Nausea II - The Road Less Travelled

I got an interesting comment the other day on my post on residual nausea, and I wanted to quote that comment (permission received- thanks, Anna!) for anyone else out there.

My original post concerned the phenomenon of residual nausea following hyperemesis, which I discovered first-hand after I birthed my baby. In other words, the nausea is supposed to stop with the birth - and it often doesn't. My nausea declined steeply the first week following the birth, but was present (in decreasing incidences and severity) until about two years postpartum, with occasional instances even now (2 1/2 years postpartum). I have heard from several other mothers saying the same thing - nausea doesn't always evaporate at the birth.

But there can be another side to residual nausea - a rare complication in which hyperemesis continues past the birth of an HG-mum's baby. For some reason, the body has gotten into a "mode" and can't turn off the nausea, and the HG continues for an unspecified amount of time.

I can completely understand this happening, because I experienced a similar phenomenon. When we got pregnant with our first baby, we experienced a miscarriage at 8 weeks. Due to the symptoms and characteristics of the pregnancy, we were able to conclude that it was a "blighted ovum pregnancy," a pregnancy in which the baby is conceived but dies almost immediately or soon into the pregnancy. The body, however, doesn't realize that the baby is dead and continues the "pregnancy" - i.e. the hormone production, the development of the amniotic sac, etc. Your body keeps doing its thing until, sometime after the fact, it finally realizes that the baby is gone, and a miscarriage follows. It seems a related phenomenon - the body stays in pregnancy mode until, at some point, it figures out that there is no more baby and shifts back to normal gear.

Here is the comment from Anna, an HG-mother who is experiencing postpartum-continued HG:

"I had an HG pregnancy. The nausea started before my hormone levels were high enough to turn a pregnancy test positive. I had a horrible first trimester (eased by a Zofran pump). The nausea eased during the second trimester but came back full force during the last trimester. I delievered 4 weeks early. The day after my son was born, my nausea was more severe than it had ever been. It was so bad that I began shaking and wondered if I would go into shock- I felt like my body couldn't take it! For my first 4 months post partum, I was still extremely nauseated- it fluctuated from day to day. Some days were not terrible. I ended up with a PICC line to give myself IV fluids and IV meds at home. (I also had 3 hospital stays during this time due to the severity of the nausea.) The doctor's ran every test in the world and couldn't find anything wrong with me. They even sent me to the Mayo Clinic. (reseach hospital) Those doctors told me that this is a very rare condition. For some reason, my body just didn't "turn off" the nausea when my baby was born. The doctor told me that the expected it to be gone in a year (that was May 2008). Today, my son is 10 months old and I still take four different anti-emetics to keep the nausea down. Some days I still feel terrible, even with the meds. I am getting better...slowly!!"

First of all, HG mothers take heart! This is an extremely rare condition - so rare that I've only heard of two cases of it EVER, and so rare that I have not found it mentioned in any literature on the subject. I am mentioning this only for the sake of any mums who do experience this - you can know that you are not alone.

For those of you who are reading this, please pray for Anna and her healing! This is a trying time for her and her family.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

My Life, the Short Summary

I have about 30 seconds to blog, so this will definitely have to be finished later....

Life has been busy lately! I find that both my stress levels and my blogging time are directly linked to the length of my toddler's sleeping times (one indirectly proportionally, one proportionally) and his sleep times have been shorter than short lately - thus, no blogging time! Both of my blogs have been neglected drastically.

I've also realized that I need to refocus a bit. Lately I've been going crazy researching HG and homebirth midwifery, and while both of those need to continue, I need to be reading other material as well. I want to be reading more spiritually-minded Christian books, and I also want to be reading child-raising and homeschooling books. We're pretty sure we're going to homeschool our little fellow, and I have under a year till "preschool" starts. By that time I want to be well-researched, well-prepared, and dug into the homeschool community a bit. A year isn't much time to do that! So I am trying to figure out a balancing act between my beloved hobby of homebirth research, my much-needed research into HG, and my other real-life needs of marriage, parenting, and homeschool reading. Not to mention pleasure reading!

Right now I am reading....

"Mansfield Park" - Jane Austen
"Margin" - Richard Swenson
"Infertility for Dummies" - by two women, and no, I'm not going to go look it up
"Finding Your Purpose as a Mom" - Donna Otto (great!)
"Feminine Appeal" - Caroline Mahaney
"The Natural Pregnancy Book" - Aviva Romm (tops!!)

And have just finished "The Mother of All Pregnancy Books," "Our Bodies, Ourselves: Pregnancy and Birth," "Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year," and a couple others. And I've got a huge stack of homeschooling books on my desk waiting for me, courtesy of my wonderful church ladies - plus a Beth Moore Bible Study! So yes, I am over-committed, reading-wise.

I have a bad habit of starting too many books... It's not uncommon for me to have books out from two libraries, plus books borrowed from multiple people, plus books of my own that I've picked up! So I've put a moratorium on book-borrowing until I'm through with all that.

I am reading an amazing book right now called "Margin" by Richard Swenson. It is AMAZING. Until further notice, my life keyword is "margin" - referring to the practice of rejecting modern progress's time-stressed rat race style of living and keeping large amounts of "margin" - social, financial, time, emotional, etc. - in my life for friendships, stress-free (or nearly that) living, marriage, free time, helping others on the spur of the moment, etc. It's not easy in our culture which promotes and values busyness, but I want to make it my new goal.

Well, in terms of the election, what can I say? The first thing that comes to mind is, "Darn, Darn, Darn." Or, alternately, "God help us all." Well, it should be interesting, at least.... And anyhow, most of the propositions here in Arizona went the way we wanted them to, so that's some consolation.

Well, DH and DS (at this time of night, known as "crankerbug") are back, so my blogging is at an end!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Yogurt - At Last!

I knew that I needed to do something when our yogurt consumption passed the gallon-a-week mark. I discovered plain yogurt when our baby started solid foods, and I LOVED it (the other stuff is too sweet!!!) and have been addicted ever since. With three of us eating it, it goes quickly, and we were spending more than $10/week on yogurt.

I'd tried to make it myself before, but the method was just too time-consuming (read: hours a week). So I did a bit of research and came up with my own method, and it works beautifully! And it's FAST. Feel free to make your own alterations to the method!

World-Famous Crockpot Yogurt
You will need:

1 4- or 5- crock-pot liner with lid
1 tablespoon
1 whisk
1 large pot
1 bath towel

- Milk, whole or 2% 
- 1 gallon
- Yogurt - one really heaping tablespoon (probably same as 2 level tablespoons) per quart of milk you use

Making yogurt takes about half a day. Start either in the morning (to have it ready at night) or in the evening (to have it ready in the morning.

Utensils should be clean but do not need to be sterilized.

1. Put milk in pot. Bring to 180F over medium-low heat. Use your whisk to stir often and heat only on medium at most to avoid scorching. (Since you're heating the whisk along with the milk, you don't need to sterilize it.)

2. Remove from heat. Move to back of stove and let sit until cooled to about 115 degrees Fahrenheit. This will take 20-90 minutes depending on your kitchen temperature. If it gets too cool, just give it a quick blast on the stove to warm it back up.

3. Fill crockpot liner with hot water to warm. Let it sit while you prepare the milk.

4. Add yogurt to milk (one heaping tablespoon yogurt per quart of milk). Pour water out of crockpot and pour milk mixture in. Replace lid. Place crock pot in your oven and cover with doubled bath towel. Give your oven a quick blast of heat (20-30 seconds) and then turn off. If you remember, you can give it another quick blast before bedtime. Leave overnight.

4. In the morning, voila! Yogurt! Refrigerate at least 4 hours before using.


- In the beginning, you will notice a lot of whey (liquid) forming whenever you let it sit or take a spoonful. Just drain it off with a spoon each time you get yogurt. Whey can be saved and used in recipes in place of buttermilk.

- Yogurt will become more tart the longer you let it sit. This also lowers the carb count. Additionally, as the carbs in yogurt are in mostly the whey, the yogurt becomes more low-carb the more you drain off the whey.

- New yogurt is not very fond of being moved into a new container (it can disintegrate somewhat). If you can spare the fridge space, let it stay in there a few days, draining the whey each time you get yogurt. In a few days it will thicken enough so that it can be moved into another container without trauma.


Friday, October 24, 2008

Gorgeous Birth Video!

This is the first time I've put a video in my blog, and I'm so stinking proud of myself it's perfectly ridiculous!

This is an absolutely gorgeous birth - one of the most respectful hospital births I've ever seen - and a waterbirth, too! My favorite!! (Hopefully preview of coming attractions for Yours Truly....)

Not that this has anything to do with hyperemesis... And this really should go on my other blog! But I was in a hurry, and this will do as well as anything. Besides, whenever I see a beautiful birth video I'm chomping at the bit to share it with everyone! There's nothing more beautiful in the world.


Life Lessons from the Front Lines

I have two life lessons from today that I would love to share with the ever-patient public:

#1 - If you leave a toddler sitting on a counter next to a bowl of honey-mustard marinade, you forfeit any right to expect that the honey mustard marinade will still be in said bowl when you return (rather than inside of the toddler). He LOVES that stuff!

#2 - When you're having plumbers over, take all severely personal items OUT of your cupboards before they get to your home! Otherwise you will have the oh-so-pleasant experience of seeing two (probably inwardly-sniggering) plumbers sitting in your bathroom surrounded by piles of stuff they've had to pull out of your cabinets, including toiletries, feminine supplies, stores of pregnancy tests and various chosen forms of birth control!! Aaackkk!! I'm still blushing!!!

Enough for now... I'm off to go shopping! I want to publish my soon-to-be-world-famous yogurt recipe soon, but right now I am in the middle of writing an enormous article on the history of American midwifery (which will be posted to my other blog soon) that is taking up all of my blogging time.

Love to all!

P.S. I have finally seen the spider who is spinning enormous funnels on our apartment stairwell. And I've discovered that if I go out at night and stare in his funnel, I can see his eyes glowing back at me! Pretty cool! I'm not an up-close spider fan, but I can appreciate them from a distance. A BIG distance.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


I found the following quote in the Beth Moore study book that I am completing as part of a Bible study at my church, and I found that it really resonated with me. I have had a hard time recovering spiritually from hyperemesis (along the lines of "how could you do that to me, God?") and this was very helpful:

"Few things exist in life that Satan can take advantage of more effectively than unforgiveness. It extends an open invitation for him to infiltrate circumstances and spark memories to fan the flame of bitterness. Satan will stop at nothing to broaden the wedge unforgiveness drives between us and our Savior. Why? Because he knows that it is impossible to be filled with the Spirit and filled with unforgiveness. Only Satan wins in the war of unforgiveness...

"If we refuse to forgive, we tie God's mighty hands from 'working all thigns together for good.' He will not bring personal good to you from your pain if you do not release Him through your forgiveness. Why?... Christ has a purpose in the pain you've suffered or He never would have allowed it. Until you surrender to His purpose in the specific matter at hand, He cannot work it for your good. Do you know what that means? It all happened in vain - for absolutely nothing...

"I had no idea the ministry God would grant me through my misery. When I am speaking, the mere mention of my abuse results in a line of women waiting for me when I'm finished. They most often ask why God allowed those things to happen to me knowing that I was going to work for HIm. I look down that line of women and respond, 'For you.' God has slowly but surely ushered me to a place... a glorious place... where the body of Christ has become worth my pain. How did such a miraculous transformation occur? Somewhere along the way, I began to realize some of what it means for me to be worth His suffering."

- Beth Moore, "Living Beyond Yourself: Exploring the Fruit of the Spirit," pp. 129-130

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Moving Forward

Well, our home inspection is set for tomorrow! We are really praying for the Lord's will. We are both totally and completely in love with this beautiful house, but we also have severe doubts as to how we will pay to live in it! So please pray with us that the Lord's will would be done and that we would not get ourselves buried up to our necks in a financial burden that we won't be able to handle!

Am I nervous about this leap? Just a LITTLE.

As life progresses this fall I feel myself little by little working into a place in which I might be willing to face another pregnancy. It's not easy. Making peace with the past is one thing, but making peace with the past which will repeat itself in the future is quite another thing. But last month's pregnancy scare really jolted me into action in terms of finishing research and getting ready, so I feel that I would be able to gear into action more smoothly if I did get a surprise baby one of these days.

Of course, I do want to wait until we're in our house, unpacked and somewhat stabilized. That would be good. But mentally and medically, I do feel like the time is getting closer when I'll be ready.

I am so thankful that the Lord has given me so much time. When I first started my monthly round of pregnancy scares a year ago, I was NOT ready for another baby (or pregnancy), mentally, emotionally or physically. HG just takes too big of a toll on one's body and mind. Now that two and a half years have passed, I feel slightly more ready.

That, and all of my friends around me are having babies! One just had a baby, two have babies who will be putting in appearances this winter, and one is soon-to-be-pregnant. I feel like hopping in! And if I had conveniently fluffy pregnancies, I probably already would have done so (assuming we're even able to get pregnant, which I don't know).

This will be a busy upcoming month. I'll post as often as I can!

Oh, and I've started making and drinking red raspberry leaf & nettle tea! I'm so proud of myself! They're both tonic herbs specifically good for women, and red raspberry leaf is a morning sickness remedy (as well as a uterine tonic for labor prep). I feel so herbalist-y and sophisticated!!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Wild Yam: The Final Chapter (Maybe)

For those of you who haven't read this blog before, I have lately been on a quest to discover information about the usefulness of the herb wild yam for NVP (nausea & vomiting of pregnancy). I first discovered it in a few herbals when I was doing my initial research on herbs for HG, and it was listed several times as a resource for severe morning sickness. Several other sources recommended it.

However, I also discovered wild yam on many lists of "herbs not to take during pregnancy." Kind of confusing!

And so my quest began.

I have now completed enough research and asked enough trusted people for their opinion that I feel confident in my own decision: I feel that wild yam is safe for pregnancy, and I will be using it during any assumed upcoming pregnancy for NVP prevention and treatment.

As always, you are responsible for doing your own research and coming to your own conclusions. (Take charge of your health care! Hurray!)

Anyhow, here's how the votes stacked up, for anyone who's interested in knowing:

AGAINST Wild Yam Use During Pregnancy
- My consulting OB (surprise, surprise!)
- Most mainstream on-line pregnancy sources and books

IN FAVOR OF Wild Yam Use During Pregnancy
- My marvelous midwife
- A good friend of mine who used it during her pregnancy
- Online individuals who used it successfully for NVP prevention
- The herbalist at a local shop who recommends it routinely for NVP
- Aviva Jill Romm in her book, "The Naturally Healthy Pregnancy"
- Herbalist Susan S. Weed in her book, "The Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year"
- "The Dummies Guide to Herbal Remedies"

That's good enough for me! Wild yam is going back on my HG-protocol (not that it ever really left, but it was in limbo for a few weeks). I'm going to check out my options at Sprouts, run a dosage idea past a few people, and put it in my protocol to have ready for whenever it is needed! Hurray!!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Blog Review: S.I.C.L.E. Cell (Self-Induced Child Loss Experience)

Check out this blog here. It's an unusual blog that's a little hard to navigate, but you can read it by clicking on the archives. This is the blog of a woman who lost a baby to abortion after severe hyperemesis, during which she was denied care, lied to, and encouraged into abortion. Unfortunately that's the attitude of so many doctors of mums with high-risk pregnancies and high-risk babies - "Yeah, we could treat you, but it would mean a lot of fuss and trouble, so please just go get rid of this clump of cells and stop bothering me." Tragic. Utterly tragic.

Fun Post

A girl from our church's college class let me in on one of her fast, time-saving recipes, and I had to share it because it is so brilliant!

I don't even know what to call this recipe - muesli, maybe?

Anyhow, I had mentioned that I liked putting Grapenuts on my plain yogurt, and she told me that she makes up a mixture of bulk-purchased items to put on her yogurt that is incredibly healthy and fast. You can use any combination, and it takes about 30 seconds to mix up, and it's great!

Here are some ideas for ingredients:

rolled oats, regular (this is generally the bulk of it)
oat bran
wheat bran
dried fruit (cranberries, raisins)
chopped nuts

Mix, add to plain yogurt, with or without fresh/frozen fruit, and you have a great snack or a quick meal!

I'll post my new recipe for homemade yogurt soon - this is truly the simplest, easiest way ever!! I just want to try it one more time to make sure it wasn't a fluke success.

Since our DS's arrival, I have faced a dilemma - an increasing desire for a whole-foods diet with ever-decreasing time constraints. Super-fast whole foods recipes like that mentioned above, and others, are life savers!!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Hyperemesis Post on "Woman to Woman Childbirth Education"

Kathy Peterson has an excellent blog entry on hyperemesis - information, remedies, etc. Check it out here!

Hyperemesis on "Woman to Woman Childbirth Education"

I can't say enough good stuff about this blog, so check it out even if you don't care about hyperemesis! It rocks!

Monday, October 6, 2008


I'm afraid both of my blogs have been terribly neglected lately. Frankly, I've been a bit swamped. I've been running after a toddler and keeping house, working at church (our busiest time of the year, secretary-wise), attending two weekly Bible studies, helping a friend tie up loose ends before her move, trying out a new birth activism group, attempting to pack (as in one box per week.... or less....) and dealing with the beginning stages of our home purchase (inspection should start this week). And we're probably going to have houseguests this week! Oh, and I'm helping lead a choral ensemble! And trying to fit in social engagements! And starting a big and incredibly stressful project at church! Aaahhhh!!!

Deep breath.

Oh yes, and I forgot the most stressful part of our life right now.... ANTS. Everywhere. Literally. We are spending an hour or more a day vacuuming ants and putting down environmentally-friendly spray. It's not doing much good. This morning we got up to find them pouring in through cracks around our kitchen window and covering the floor and the trash cans and the counters. Last night before we went to bed we were trying to deal with what looks like an erupting nest underneath our telephone table. These guys can drive one to distraction! This morning I'm off to Lowe's to find something stronger. I may be an environmental freak, but there's only so much one average woman can take!

Anyhow, I'm afraid that both of my poor blogs will be neglected at least until the first of the year. By then the busiest time at church is over and our move should be completed. And by then, if we want to, it will be time to start thinking about another little one!

Our "Phoenix hyperemesis club" (myself, Sarah & Jenna) will be having a gathering for our families to meet later in the month, so that should be fun, and I will report in after that happens. I really don't think there are many HG groups out there! I've had a blast with our little group so far.

I'll try to check in here occasionally! As mentioned in my last post, the research goes on. Since I never know when another little one is going to make an unexpected entrance, I do want to be prepared. Thankfully I think that I'm almost at the end of my preliminary research - that which is required to form my tentative protocol. I may keep researching and revising from there on out, but at least I'll have a definite plan that can be put into immediate action, with backup research, without having to go into a tailspin of panic like I did last month. We are progressing!

Love to all!

Research Results: OB Consultation

Last Monday I saw my consulting OB (or rather, her representative in the form of a PA) to go over my supplement list for preventing/dealing with hyperemesis. Here are the results:

According to my OB's office....

All supplements on my list (previously published on this blog) are fine to take before or during pregnancy EXCEPT that:

- milk thistle, dandelion & wild yam should not be taken while trying to conceive, and
- wild yam should not be taken post-conception, i.e. during pregnancy

The end.

As I told a good friend last week, I am now in the happy position of having received advice without having the least intention of taking it!

I KNOW for a fact that milk thistle and dandelion are safe pre-conception. Milk thistle, in fact, is one of THE major NVP-prevention herbs out there, and has been taken pre-conception by thousands if not millions of women. I'm already taking it, have been taking it for the past year, and plan to take it all the way through any upcoming pregnancy. Dandelion I was planning to take post-conception.

The only one I'm confused on is wild yam. A lot of resources list it on the "do not take during pregnancy" lists, but it is also referenced as a potent anti-nausea/vomiting agent on many websites and in many herbals. I'm going to dive into my midwife's lending library to see if she has any pregnancy herbals where I can hash out the matter more deeply, and I'll report in afterwards.

So that's that!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Research Results: Motherisk Hotline

Last week I finally got around to calling the Motherisk NVP hotline, so I thought I'd just go ahead and post my notes from that phone call rather than trying to summarize it in paragraph form.

Motherisk is a free hotline based in Canada at the Hopsital for Sick Children. They give free information on several pregnancy-related topics, one of which is morning sickness. Unfortunately all of their advice is mainstream-pharmaceutical based (no herbs or naturopathic remedies), but they are a super resource for drug information. Give them a call!

And here are my notes from my call:

Motherisk NVP Hotline: 1-800-436-8477

Called and spoke to counselor on September 26, 2008

- They have no data on herbal remedies

- They also have no data on preventing HG (although they are doing a study currently to see if Diclectin is more effective if taken at conception rather than at first nausea)

- Thus, I just asked them how to replicate Diclectin

o Diclectin (Bendectin) is a combination of 10 mg B6 and 10 mg doxylamine succinate (Unisom)
- Must break a 25 mg tablet of unisom in half to get ~10 mg
- Can take more B6 – up to 200 mg/day (make sure to include multivitamin in total)

o Take one dose four times daily – one in the morning, one midday, and two at night

o Some women take more
- Six doses/day is common
- Eight doses/day also is done, but should be done under care of OB
- Max dose of unisom is ~ 75 mg/day

o Drowsiness from unisom generally wears off after 2 weeks (sometimes less, sometimes more)

o Try to take doses at the same time each day

o Try to time them before your worst times of the day

o Can mix with other anti-emetics such as Zofran

o When you think you are ready to drop dosage, don’t go cold turkey – taper off gradually
- Eliminate one dose per day at a time, and wait several days to make sure you are still
100% okay before dropping another dose

Monday, September 29, 2008

Residual Nausea?

I wanted to do a quick post on this to see if any other HG mums can relate to the experience of postpartum residual nausea.

Here is my "nausea history":

Pregnancy test at 4 weeks - felt fine
5 weeks - Nausea began
First trimester - Nausea builds
20 weeks - Nausea finally breaks a wee bit
20-40 weeks - Nausea gradually abates but still stays around with occasional stronger surges
1st week postpartum - Nausea drastically decreases
Birth - Baby's 18-month birthday - residual nausea lingers

It's the last part that I want to ask other HG mums about: Did you deal with residual postpartum nausea? My postpartum nausea was just brief moments or minutes of nausea. It never got to the point of throwing up (almost did once), but could be pretty strong. This would happen several times a day. This residual nausea was still pretty strong at one year postpartum, had mostly gone by 18 months and was almost entirely gone by 24 months.

Also, I've noticed changes in my system overall. For example, I now get nauseated when I get up in the morning if I don't eat right away (like right now!) - and that's something that never happened to me pre-conception.

I'd love to hear from other HG-mothers about this. Have you dealt with anything similar? Let me know!

A Postscript

I wanted to add a brief postscript to the entry below...

For those of you who don't know fertility signs, your "luteal phase" is the second half of your cycle - the post-ovulatory half - and it is generally constant for any given woman. For example, even if your cycle varies all over the place (28 days, then 32 days, then 34 days), your luteal phase will stay the same (for example, 11 days plus or minus one day).

Doctors vary on what they consider to be "normal" for a luteal phase. Some consider anything under 12 to be dysfunctional; some consider anything under 10 to be dysfunctional. (When estimating a due date, they will use a default value of 14 days. This is one reason why it is SO important to chart your fertility signs - otherwise your "estimated due date" may be horrendously off. With my cycles, which are long with short luteal phases, my due date will usually be one week later than that estimated by a pregnancy wheel. Thus, if I didn't know my fertility signs, I could conceivably have had an OB pressuring me to induce when my baby was still premature.)

Anyhow, regarding my last post, when I wrote that I thought that I was pregnant because I had a long luteal phase (12 days as opposed to 10): I had started taking vitamin B6 supplements a month or so ago to deal preemptively with morning sickness. BUT, vitamin B6 also happens to be one of the over-the-counter remedies for short luteal phases, LOL!!! I had known that but forgotten about it, as I was not at that time wanting to increase my fertility. But I can now testify that it works!!! I'll post next month to see if my luteal phase continues to lengthen with additional B6 supplementation. Kind of cool to see that such a simple supplement can do such amazing things!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Phew. Phew. Phew.

What a week. What a WEEK!!

My goodness.


So anyhow, this past week was "that time of the month" when I'm wondering if we've conceived or not and if this is "time to pay the hyperemesis piper." Well, I was absolutely convinced that I really was pregnant this time! (Not that I'm not convinced every month, but this was an especially intense one.) My luteal phase, which is 9-10 days, has never, ever gone longer than eleven days on occasion - this month it went to twelve days. I was FREAKING OUT!! Luteal phases are just NOT supposed to do that!!!

Of course, that raises the possibility of an early miscarriage. It's definitely possible. It'll probably take about another six months of charting to know. If my luteal phase is finally lengthening out, then 12-day luteal phases will become more normal over the next stretch of time. If it was an early miscarriage, then it will be the one-and-only 12-day luteal phase. It will be interesting to see. But I didn't feel particularly pregnant, so I'm guessing that it's my luteal phase lengthening.

So anyhow, yesterday I decided to go ahead and get an appointment with my consulting OB for early next week, so this morning I emailed and cancelled (I was too embarrassed to call!).

I have been an utter stress case the past, oh, week or so. I have been basically living on a steady overdose of adrenaline!!! As usual, it's a combination of pure, exhilerating joy and pure, debilitating terror - alternating between the two. Last night I was so incredibly stressed out thinking about HG recurring that I was actually up till 1:00 a.m., unable to sleep (which is totally unusual for me - I like to be asleep by 9:30 p.m.!) and basically just freaking out. I just lay there with my heart racing, thinking, "Oh, my God, I can't do this. I just can't. I can't do this again."

I have also spent this week making massive plans for what I would need to do if I was pregnant, and it was a HUGE list - another reason for my stress this week! Packing our house up, writing our Christmas letter, planning for our choral ensemble to be able to get along without me, getting substitutes for work, backing out of church and volunteer activities, dealing with our home purchase, dealing with my mother (who would be mad as a hornet if I got pregnant during our home purchase), and much, much more. I've also been making grocery lists for supplements, etc. etc. etc. So I've been busy! Physically and mentally. Mentally and spiritually, it's been exhausting.

Of course, it's been very productive as well. I finished my "post-conception HG-prevention protocol" which I have posted on this blog, and I have submitted it to various sources for review, including:

- My consulting-OB staff
- My midwife
- Shonda Parker's website (she gives advice for a fee)
- Motherisk NVP hotline

The cool thing (now that I'm NOT pregnant) is that each of these sources is taking longer than expected to respond (I haven't gotten final answers from any of them yet), so I have at least another month to receive and review each answer and then complete my protocol. Considering that I was planning on doing my supplement shopping this morning, I would have been extremely frustrated to have to shop without having the return data to go from.

So, the lesson for post-HG mothers who are considering conceiving again: Do your research now! Have your plan and protocol in place before you conceive so that you're ready to go as soon as you suspect you're pregnant. If one waits until one is pregnant to begin research, it's going to take longer than anticipated!

Oddly enough, I was terribly disappointed to find out that I was not pregnant (yes, I do seem to be certifiably insane). Well, the human race wouldn't last very long if the Lord hadn't given women this undeniable batty-ness over having children! :)

And now I think that I shall go collapse in a heap. And stay there for the next two weeks.


* P.S. A spiritual note: I have realized that I need to get serious about memorizing Bible verses more systematically. I have never been big on Bible memorization - I'm good on reading, but not memorizing. But last night when I just so filled with fear, the only thing that helped was repeating Bible verses focusing on the love and care of God - and I realized how very few I knew by heart. I realized then how incredibly important it is to have those verses actually in my head and heart rather than just on paper for those inevitable tough times of life. I'm going to try to focus on that in the future.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A Note for Rachel

Hi, Rachel! Thanks for the sweet note! I can't answer it directly due to the "Anonymous" setting, but I wanted to say a quick hi. I hope that you have a wonderful second pregnancy (whenever it happens!). Thanks for saying hi!


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Book Review: "A Grief Observed" by C.S. Lewis

"A Grief Observed"
C. S. Lewis
89 pages, 1961

Anyone new to this blog may wonder why I am including a book review having absolutely nothing to do with hyperemesis! I will note, therefore, for the benefit of said newcomers, that this blog is also an examination of the spiritual meaning behind human suffering, from a Christian perspective.

I loved this little book. Actually, it's not a "book" per se, but a journal of notes jotted by Lewis after the death of his beloved wife, Joy. It is a precious volume that I have now read about three times and loved more each time.

This book is completely different from "The Problem of Pain," also by Lewis. "PoP" was written from an intellectual standpoint - a logical and theological examination of the purposes behind human suffering. While PoP was a truly great book which greatly advanced my knowledge, it did not really touch my heart. AGO (A Grief Observed), while much less scholarly and much more personal, helped me greatly along my journey of understanding.

The term that comes to mind for this book is "raw." Lewis wrote it while deeply hurt and grieving. He expresses doubt, anger, despair - all of the emotions experienced by anyone in the throes of great physical or mental suffering. But just as a hug means more to a suffering person than does a lecture, so does this type of book speak more deeply to someone trying to understand suffering than does a scholarly essay.

Here are a few great quotes from this book:

"Meanwhile, where is God? This is one of the most disquieting symptoms. When you are happy, so happy that you have no sense of needing Him, so happy that you are tempted to feel His claims upon you as an interruption, if you remember yourself and turn to Him with gratitude and praise, you will be - or so it feels - welcomed with open arms. But go to Him when your need is desperate, when all other help is vain, and what do you find? A door sleammed in your face, and a sound of bolting and double bolting on the inside. After that, silence. You may as well turn away. The longer you wait, the more emphatic the silence will become. There are no lights in the windows. It might be an empty house. Was it ever inhabited? It seemed so once. And that seeming was as strong as this. What can this mean? Why is He so present a commander in our time of prosperity and so very absent a help in time of trouble?" (pp. 17-18)

I think we have all felt like this in moments of despair.

"Not that I am (I think) in much danger of ceasing to believe in God. The real danger is of coming to believe such dreadful things about Him. The conclusion I dread is not 'So there's no God after all,' but 'So this is what God's really like. Deceive yourself no longer.'" (pp. 18-19)

I have definitely felt the danger of this temptation - not to cease to believe in God, but to believe Him to be other than Good - what a horrible thought.

"It is hard to have patience with people who say, 'There is no death' or 'Death doesn't matter.' There is death. And whatever is matters. And whatever happens has consequences, and it and they are irrevocable and irreversible. You might as well say that birth doesn't matter." (pp. 28-29)

Very true! And I'm sure I've murmured the same platitudes unthinkingly.

"Talk to me about the truth of religion and I'll listen gladly. Talk to me about the duty of religion and I'll listen submissively. But don't come talking to me about the consolations of religion or I shall suspect that you don't understand." (p. 37)

Oh, how true this sometimes feels in moments of depression and hopelessness.

"Your bid - for God or no God, for a good God or the Cosmic Sadist, for eternal life or nonentity - will not be serious if nothing much is staked on it. And you will never discover how serious it was until the stakes are raised horribly high; until you find that you are playing not for counters or for sixpences but for every penny you have in the world. Nothing less will shake a man - or at any rate a man like me - out of his merely verbal thinking and his merely notional beliefs. He has to be knocked silly before he comes to his senses. Only torture will bring out the truth. Only under torture does he discover it himself. And I must admit... that, if my house was a hosue of cards, the sooner it was knocked down the better. And only suffering could do it." (pp. 49-50)

Suffering is truly the great truth-teller - it reveals our faith for what it truly is, not what we thought it was because we were happy and well. We all have to go through this stripping away at some point.

"What is grief compared with physical pain? .... The body can suffer twenty times more than the mind. The mind has always some power of evasion. At worst, the unbearable thought only comes back and back, but the physical pain can be absolutely continuous. Grief is like a bomber circling round and dropping its bombs each time the circle brings it overhead; physical pain is like the steady barrage on a trench in World War One, hours of it with no let-up for a moment. Thought is never static; pain often is." (pp. 52-53)

The one advantage of mental pain over physical - that there is occasional relief from it (with sleep, with social interaction, with moments of forgetfulness). But each type of pain carries its own suffering, regardless of the pattern of recurrence. Right now, as I am dealing with the subject of physical suffering, mental suffering seems preferable. But I know that when I'm experiencing mental suffering, I long to exchange it for physical! A no-win situation.


I loved this book and highly recommend it. I'll definitely be picking up a copy whenever I find one somewhere. It's great to know that people (even the great C. S. Lewis!) go through spiritual struggles and times of lowness as well as oneself - kind of a brotherhood of human spiritual experience. Very comforting, and very reassuring.

Highly recommended!