Sunday, May 29, 2011

Drumroll, Please!

Ladies and gentlemen!

I am extremely excited to announce that - after a year and a half of searching, and completely apart from my own efforts - we have found a church home.

And it just happens to be the most wonderful church in the world. Period, end of story.

And I am extremely happy about it.

Life is wonderful.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

HG Blog Goes "Active"

Ladies, if you haven't heard, Sleepwalker over at "It's Just a Liminal Phase" is now in her 6th week of pregnancy. This HG mama over in the UK has done a ton of HG research (search her blog!) and is currently holding her own, and I know she would appreciate your encouragement and prayers! So definitely head on over there and give her some support, as well as subscribing to her blog to follow her journey. She is a very brave mama!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Needing Some Help!

Today I called my OB's office to get an appointment to go over my plan/protocol. I found, to my dismay, that "consultations," not covered by insurance, are rather pricey. I couldn't think up a "reason" to go in, so the sweet receptionist suggested that I email in a document and then we could work on finding a reason for an appointment if it was decided that in-person discussion would be better.

And so, I'd love some advice from HG mothers! Is the following document complete? Am I missing anything? I know I am woefully behindhand on my treatment knowledge, as what I know about HG treatment protocol can be summed up in one word - "zofran." If anyone has any suggestions on that part, or anything else, please let me know! I'm going to send it in over the weekend.

Here it is! (Note: This is substantially shorter than my personal plan/protocol... I have left out all of the practical applications and all of the health items that don't really merit discussion (kefir, etc.).)

Thanks, all!


What we would like to do:


- Vitamins I am taking: Multi, Fish oil, probiotic, greens, magnesium, vitamin D
- Would seeing a naturopath be helpful as well?
- Possible bloodwork: H. Pylori, thyroid, vitamin/mineral deficiencies (B, D, magnesium, zinc, etc.), Addison’s disease (listing all known contributors to hyperemesis)


Upon positive pregnancy test:
- Start weekly vitamin shots, B-complex with B-12, and magnesium (see following article – this was one of the main things I wanted to discuss in person)

Upon first nausea:
- Start Unisom and Zofran on first hint of nausea
- Progress to sub-lingual Zofran or Zofran pump if necessary (hopefully not!!)
- Possibly get prescription to order Primabella wristband

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

No Dice!

Just heard back from the OB's office that I emailed - no dice! For whatever reason, they do not want to work with me.

Too bad!

But I have been praying for God's will to come through clearly - I'd much rather be rejected now than to find out that it was a bad fit halfway through. And goodness knows, it's much better to get a bad reaction via email than face-to-face in an exam room.

Though, from a birth activist standpoint, it is very exasperating..... This reaction is so very common! It seems that the obstetrical world (in general, with exceptions) has two things to say about midwifery care:

(1) We will not serve as OB back-ups for midwives.

(2) Midwives are not safe because they don't have OB back-ups.

Might I point out the wee problem with this set-up? *Sigh*.

Where to next? Not sure. It may be sticking with the status quo! Which, again, is an excellent option in terms of obstetrician quality. I'll have to see.

Have a great day, everyone!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

I Made It!!

I was going to post a triumphal blog entry on the fateful Day 28, but I'm (as usual) a bit late. So here I am, on Day 31 (or thereabouts)! I finished the initial part of Phase II! (This is the very-low-carb diet which supposedly helps with NVP/HG issues.)

I had hoped that I would feel different..... possibly invincible. I don't! I feel just fine, but not really different. Too bad..... That makes me nervous.

At this stage of the game, I have two options: (1) I can progress to the easier Phase III, or (2) I can stay in Phase II indefinitely (with now having the boon of one cheat meal per week). For now, I'm staying in Phase II, because (1) I have more baby weight that I'd like to lose, and (2) I feel safer there!!!

I'd feel a lot better about this diet for pregnancy if I actually knew that it was fail-safe for HG mothers. But I don't know that. I just know that it reduces NVP in normal mothers, and that it's worked for at least one HG mother. But HG is a nasty thing, and it's so unpredictable. There are no guarantees.

I have decided that I'd like to introduce an alteration into the human genome - I want to add a "pregnancy simulator button" to the female form! Upon being pressed, it would release about 24 hours of full-fledged pregnancy hormones into the bloodstream, so that one could test how well one's pregnancy preparations were working. "Oops, not yet, better do some more work" or "Oh yeah, I've finally got it down!" Wouldn't that be fun?

But in the meantime, there are no guarantees. Just human guinea pigs.

A couple of positive things about the VLC diet that I've noticed:

(1) It's forcing me to eat more vegetables! Hurray!

(2) It's been an adventure in getting to know different types of food and different types of cooking.

(3) It's actually easier to feed to the 4-year-old. Not that I'm making him do a VLC diet - far from it - but the dinners that I make now are more along the lines of meat and two vegetables, rather than my beloved casseroles, and I have found that any meal where foods are distinct and separate is much more well-received than those in which foods are mixed or touching (oh, the horror!). (I thought I'd done such a good job with serving a wide variety of baby food that we'd skip the picky stage, but noooooooooo. It's not that easy!)

It's been fun! And not that difficult - thanking God for His grace in helping with that, though! Some of the tougher parts have been getting through Easter - and even worse, a visit to my in-laws' house - completely grain and sugar-free. Yikes!!

Moving on....

Other than that, it's been a busy month! I am up to my ears in lots of music - wonderful! This past weekend I played for a Lutheran church where I occasionally work, and next weekend I am playing for a wedding. So much fun!! I'm currently also getting over a cold, thankfully a minor one - though I like to think that my vigilant use of vitamin C therapy also helped. (Don't ask how much I took.... it was probably a near-lethal dose. Let me just say that if you guessed a number in the thousands of milligrams, you'd be off by at least a factor of ten.) Thankfully I'm on the tail-end of that now, and hoping it's the last for the season!

I have had a blog entry titled "We finally found a church!" ready in my head for quite some time, but I guess it's a good thing I didn't write it yet, because..... we're now again in the "not sure" phase. We originally had let one issue of difference that we had with the church slide, deeming it workable to "agree to disagree," but it has come to our attention that it's a fairly major church doctrine, and we're not sure that disagreement is compatible with membership. Time will tell. May I say that long-term church hunting is not fun? We're now going on a year and a half, and it's very discouraging. Hopefully soon, one way or the other!

I will check in more later - right now I am exhausted, with an early-morning therapy session tomorrow to look forward to for the Chublet, so it's off to bed for me! Night, all!

Taking Baby Steps

I got around to thinking the other day that I had written up a beautiful plan and protocol  - but now I needed to actually do something about it!

I think that I am intimidated by that enormously long to-do list, as well as the dizzying array of options that there is on each of the major points. But still, I need to get busy!

So I did. I got out my list of OB recommendations that I got from Mamapedia a couple of years ago, and I sent an email to one of the doctor's offices to inquire as to whether the doctor would be willing to take a midwife's client. Last time I got that "okay!" by phone, and it ended up with me being kicked out by an OB who had not been told that my case had been approved by management. Not again! This time I wanted it in writing.

That was on Friday, as of today I have heard nothing. I'm hoping to hear something soon! Much as my current OB is a fabulous doctor, I just don't feel that she would be aggressive with HG. I need someone who is willing to tackle the beast and be vicious.  (The waiter, from "Easter Parade": "You must be ruthless!")

I'll post if I hear something!

Now on to acupuncturists, naturopaths, etc. etc. etc. Ack!

The Value of Aggressive Treatment for Hyperemesis

Knocked Up Knocked Over recently posted two articles (article 1 and article 2) analyzing why her recently-fought HG was of such (comparatively!) short duration. While there is always a part that will remain a mystery, she writes about the value of immediate, aggressive treatment in dealing with HG and preventing it from being longer than necessary:

"Can the short duration of the HG be attributed to my very aggressive treatment protocol?  I suspect that was a part of it.  I started taking the Zofran orally from the moment I started feeling not quite right.  Once I started feeling nauseated and having trouble eating and drinking, we started rehydrating very aggressively at 3 liters of fluids per day right off the bat.  While, ultimately, the IVs and PICC didn’t work out, I think having that kind of very aggressive treatment allowed me to reach the point where my mom could push enough fluids orally.  In the midst of all that, I was receiving the Zofran via the pump in very high doses, with my maximum dosage at around 39 mg per day (most doctors are only willing to go up to 32 mg per day).  We did not rely on Zofran alone, but attacked the nausea from all angles: Meclazine for the motion sick aspect of it, Nexium to prevent any potential reflux from contributing, and Benadryl to deal with any potential allergy aspects or side effects."
 She also writes:
"Here is the bottom line:  If you know someone who has HG and you are in a position to help advocate for them, please do.  Early, aggressive intervention seems to have made a remarkable difference for me.  Will every woman respond to treatment the way I did?  No.  But every woman deserves a doctor who is willing to treat her the way mine did for me because that level of treatment gives women the very best chance at relief."

I whole-heartedly agree with the concept that aggressively-treated HG can be a shorter-lived monster than the HG which is allowed to spiral out of control, because this was exactly my experience.

(As you know, I had what could be called "borderline HG" - not the monster that some of you have had to deal with (*shudder*).)

With my first HG pregnancy, which was completely untreated and allowed to get out of control, the "begging for death" part only lasted for the first 20 weeks or so, but the nausea and vomiting stayed strong and present up until birth. I also dealt with extreme exhaustion that didn't really go away until baby was about 15 months old. I also had residual postpartum nausea that stayed around for a good two years.

With my second time through, I was prepared and was able to receive homemade Bendectin and Zofran. Even though the NVP presented sooner and stronger, it did not spiral out of control into that ugly place of fear and despair that HG mamas know so well - it stayed in the "I feel like death" range, as opposed to the "somebody please kill me" range. Moreover, it left sooner, my energy levels returned sooner, and I dealt with little to no residual nausea (except for the parts I have written about in the past that I think are permanent changes to my body).

So my conclusion is the same, namely, that early, aggressive treatment of HG can make an enormous difference in outcomes for HG mothers. Unfortunately, so many, many doctors require a woman to be at a certain level of illness (i.e. should have started treating weeks ago) before handing out a prescription. It's unfortunate.


Saturday, May 14, 2011

First Day of Irrigation Season!

 There are four good things about Arizona summers..... monsoons (love them!), fast drying for floors and line-dried clothes, a brief interlude between flu seasons, and.....

Irrigation Season!!!

This, my friends, is the closest we'll probably get to waterfront property, so we milk it for all it's worth! Unfortunately the ground was so dry that it sucked up the water within an hour or two, but usually it lasts at least half a day. So much fun!!

Here are some pics of Bug and Chublet, enjoying the first irrigation of the year. 

Have a great weekend, everyone! Love to all!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Morning Sickness and Probiotics

Juliana sent me this entry about morning sickness and probiotics:

Like Manna from Heaven

She writes:

"ok so i found a sort of cure for "all-day-sickness" whilst being prego. yes, get excited! it's called PROBIOTICS. I went from being curled up in the fetal position to walking around and functioning...i am still sick all the time, but i don't want to constantly vomit. everyone, please tell anyone you know who has morning sickness about this, because it is not advertised anywhere! i found a few little spots here and there on the internet talking about it, but nothing big like the ginger craze. anyway, i have never heard any woman say ginger helped their upset stomach. that doesn't mean don't try it--by all means, try anything! i do also have ginger pills but haven't noticed a difference like the probiotics."
(I'm so glad I'm not the only one out there who finds ginger utterly useless!!!)

I found this very exciting! Anyone else know any more on this one?

I have found one other reference to this on - here it is. Look down to the last comment:

"Also, have you heard anything about the probiotics helping morning sickness? There are some women who have taken Beeyoutiful brand Tummy Tuneup Originol Blend Probiotics and it has helped or taken away extreme Morning Sickness. Beeyoutiful brand is the same thing as Gr8dopholis in my protocol. Supposudly the women took the capsules EVERY time they ate, 6-8 times a day. Another woman on forum said she took 4-5 probiotic capsules 4+ times a day and thats what helped her. So thats why I added the specific probiotic blend to my protocol. I read that it seems to help some women, the probiotics, but it has to be MASSIVE amounts. Thats partly why added all the kefir. Kefir has Trillions of CFU's per Millimeter and much more than capsules can ever give you"
 Thoughts, ladies? Worth a try, for sure!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Morning Sickness Story

This was - in an uncontrollably graphic sort of way - the epitome of morning sickness.

Public Display of Morning Sickness

Don't say I didn't warn you!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Tales Out of School

I've only been meaning to write this post for.... oh, fifteen months or so. Sound familiar?

I have issues.

But moving ahead anyway!

This post may or may not be of interest to readers, but I have been meaning to write it up anyhow to explain the long, meandering path that our family's decisions (yes, multiple "decisions") on educational choices have taken.

Please note that this post is "descriptive, not prescriptive" - in other words, I am telling what our family has decided to do, not what anyone else's family should do. So please don't take this as a "this is what we're doing, and you should too!" because it is decidedly not meant that way. Every family is unique and must find a unique path.

And so:

I have mentioned in the past that my husband and I first ran across homeschooled kids when we first came to our now former church. There were a lot of them there, and they completely blew us away - they were amazing! (And continue to be so! I wish you all could know them!) We decided then and there that we were definitely going to homeschool.

Several years passed, and our decision remained unchallenged. However, as our first little guy approached the age of three (the age at which I had assumed I would start formally homeschooling), I had to deal with the uncomfortable fact that not only did I have no desire to homeschool, I had an active antipathy against it. I really, really, really did not want to homeschool.

Why? Well, several reasons.

Firstly, I had had a really hard introduction to motherhood. I went from being a semi-loner only-child who was used to privacy, extremely clean living spaces, and uber-structured/planned time - to the world of motherhood-to-a-boy, where everything was less than perfect, variable to the extreme, often dirty and cluttered, and unpredictable. It was hard! And frankly, I was looking forward to sending our little guy off to school so that I could finally have some free time, a clean house, and a more orderly life. Continuing in the aforementioned fashion seemed unthinkable.

Secondly, I had realized by that time that teaching our little guy was a true challenge. I had unconsciously expected him to be like me - well-behaved and quiet by nature, well-organized without being taught, with a natural liking for straight lines, work sheets, and book work. May I say that our son is NOTHING like me? LOL!!! He is all boy, emphasis on the "all" and on the "boy" - loud and noisy with endless energy, a dislike to sitting, absolutely no interest in bookwork, and a need to move. My attempts to do crafts with him were dismal failures, and I became used to the occasional teacher telling me that he had a hard time sitting in class. (The first time it happened, my world nearly came to an end. I got used to it. Thankfully he's much better now.)

I put off starting "school," then put it off some more, and put it off some more. Finally, I had to admit that I simply did not want to homeschool, and announced that fact to DH. He was truly disappointed, never having wavered in his desire to homeschool. But I became more and more adamant with time, and he caved. (At the time, I had him over a barrel because we had another life decision going on in which he was adamant and I caved, so it was an even give and take.)

With that behind us, I now had to start looking at schools. Yes, school was still 2-3 years away, but I am uncomfortable with unmade decisions, so I wanted to forge ahead immediately. In one week, I toured three schools (this was January of 2010). Here's the rundown:

School #1: Super High-Academic Charter School

I suspect that this is where conservatives send their kids! They pride themselves on their strict rules and their high academics, and they do have a good track record. I think it would be a good choice for high-achieving natural learners.

For myself, I sincerely disliked this school, and I was pretty sure that sending our son there would have had him hating school within the first week. Probably the first twenty minutes. There was no joy in learning, no hands-on activities, no movement, nothing like that. From day 1 of kindergarten, they had them sitting in rows chanting phonograms, or whatever they were. The kids were insanely impressive in their knowledge, but there was no joy there. When I asked the principal what their silent reading program was (this is a huge issue for me), he gave me a blank deer-in-the-headlights stare and said, "Um, we don't read here.... I guess they could read if they were done with their work."

Cross off that one!

School #2: Montessori Charter

I suspect that this is where liberals send their children! (The "Obama for President!" bumper stickers in the parking lot, the "Kids for Peace" fundraiser, the Zen Garden, etc.) Oddly enough, I am a dyed-in-the-wool conservative, but I absolutely loved this school. I had never before been exposed to the Montessori method, and I just loved it! It was amazing! I watched the kindergarten class for an hour, and it was wonderful. Each of the children was doing something different, but it was in a quiet, purposeful, high-learning sort of way that was structured and yet free. The teachers were there to help when needed, but each child worked individually. It was simply wonderful, and I loved it. Very highly recommended.

School #3: Private Christian Hybrid

This is a rare type of school - it is a school/homeschool hybrid. The kids attend school for three days a week, and then they do school-assigned work at home on the other two days.

This school was beyond awesome. I was so impressed! The classes were super small (all under 20 kids), the teachers were wonderful, the principal was amazing, the work they were doing was superb. If anyone here in the valley wants to try this school, I highly recommend it.

And the verdict?

I decided on school #3, the private Christian hybrid school. I had no doubt that it was the best option, though I also loved the Montessori. And so our decision was made.

And yet.... doubts lingered. Doubt, doubt, doubt. Why? I couldn't put my finger on it. During this time (about 6-9 months of time), I had the following conversation with DH - repeatedly ad infinitum:

Me: So, what do you think we should do about the school decision?

DH: Mmm.....

Me: Well, I definitely don't want to homeschool. I don't want to homeschool at all. In fact, I can't homeschool. So that's definitely out. We're going to put our kids in school.

DH: Mmm hmm.

Me: So..... what do you think we should do about the school decision?
We had that conversation multiple times every day. It was beyond frustrating. I didn't want to homeschool, and yet I couldn't feel at peace about putting our kids in school. I was at an impasse.

After several months of running myself ragged on this one (when I have life decisions like this left unmade, I can pretty much drive myself up a wall worrying about them), I decided to do my best (as I wrote previously on this blog) to put down the issue completely (i.e. stop worrying about it, ha!) and pray intensely for God to reveal His will to us about what He wanted us to do.

And, over the next period of time (a couple of months), I became aware of a growing peaceful feeling that homeschooling truly was God's will for our family..... and even, strangely enough, a mild but growing enthusiasm for it.

This is something that I never expected. After the dread and the loathing that I had felt, to feel enthusiastic peace about it? Wow! But that's what happened. And that's where we are right now.

Of course, there are absolutely no guarantees. If you read this blog next month, you will probably see something along the lines of "Well, we decided against homeschooling! Cheers!" The moral of the story being that you should never believe a word that I say. But until then, that is where we are in the journey.

I can point to two concrete events that helped me in this direction.

The first was the birth of our second child. While having children has been a constant exercise in "loosening up" my insanely uptight and overly-planned lifestyle, having a second child took it to a whole new level, to the point where having kids around constantly no longer bothers me like it used to, nor does the clutter and lack of a super-clean house. I'm learning to deal!

Secondly, was AWANA. If you don't know AWANA, I highly recommend it! AWANA is a weekly Christian kids' club for age 3 through high school, and it is an awesome program that has been such a blessing to our family. We started our son in the beginning class this past fall, and it has been great for us... and it also forced me to start "homeschooling" because there are weekly lessons and projects to do at home, and verses to learn. This forced me to get past the initial incompatibility between my son and myself, and to exercise the discipline necessary to get him to do his work (we're still working on quality). Working past that hurdle made me realize that I really could teach my son after all - it wasn't an impossibility.

So that's that! Right now I am in the beginning stages of trying to choose curricula, and other such decisions. The latest monkey wrench is determining timing. We had originally determined to hold our son back a year, which has a great track record of helping boys. However, our son's AWANA teachers have recommended that he move up to the next class (to avoid being left behind as his entire class graduates upward, and being stuck with much younger kids); the only caveat is that entrance into the next class is determined not by age, but by starting kindergarten. So we have to decide whether to stick with the original plan, do full-on kindergarten, or just start some sort of nominal reading program that will qualify him as a kindergartener for the purpose of AWANA.

And that's that! I'd love to answer any questions, and please, again, do not take this as a preachy sermon type of entry. I am not trying to tell anyone's family what to do! This is simply where we feel that we are being led (until further notice!!).

And there you have it.

Have a wonderful weekend, all!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Easter and Camping Trip

What a couple of weeks it has been!

But first! On a different subject! I wanted to take this time to congratulate the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on their wedding! Our family wishes them the happiest of marriages and a good start to their life as a royal couple.

(We have just started watching the wedding, and at our pace, we'll probably finish up 'round Christmas. But at least we've started! Unlike the 2010 winter Olympics, which we finally just gave up on.)

I have always been a big fan of Queen Elizabeth II. I have immense respect for the tireless work and sacrifice she has put into her life as the queen of England. She is an amazing lady. I hope that William and Kate will follow in her footsteps!

Best wishes!!

And now to a brief recap of our recent doings!

Holy Week around here was..... utterly exhausting. Wow! Besides all of our usual stuff, I planned a bunch of Easter activities, both sacred and secular, and those kept us hopping. Plus a visit from Grandma and Grandpa!

So our Holy Week went something like this (or what I can remember of it!):

Egg hunt with our MOMS Club. Wild enthusiasm reigned.

A home egg hunt (tucked in after baby's therapy and a playdate with a dear friend, but before AWANA, shopping, and houseguest arrivals) with my homemade Resurrection Eggs! (I was so proud of myself.... I felt so crafty, which by nature I am not.) I actually have the book "Benjamin's Box" that goes along with the storebought Resurrection Eggs, but (1) I was too lazy to go to the store to buy the eggs, and (2) I wasn't too crazy about Benjamin's Box - a bit gory and way too advanced for our 4-year-old. So I took an Easter story that I like much better ("The Easter Story" by Carol Heyer) and made my own Resurrection Eggs to go with them.

(Resurrection Eggs, basically, are where you put a little memento - like a miniature cup, or a tiny piece of bread - in each egg that is matched to a page in the story.)

I wondered if our little guy would respond to this craft - I was doubtful - but actually he had a blast! He loved them!! It was awesome. In fact, he loved it so much that he insisted we put it all back together and do it again after our playdate.

We also, as I mentioned, had a wonderful playdate with a special friend of mine who was visiting the state with her two little ones. K. - thank you! It was great to see you! Come out again!! :)

Yet another egg hunt, this time with our little guy's preschool. Another big success. Also, that evening we attended a surprise preschool ice cream social, which also featured a performance by an awesome local magician, who did a great job - the kids had a blast. So did we!

We had an awesome Good Friday service at our church, which I really enjoyed - Scripture readings alternating with hymns, both congregational and by the choir/organ. It was lovely. It was also our son's first (remembered) Good Friday service, and he did really well (barring the bellowed "MOMMY! WHY DO WE HAVE TO LEAVE WITHOUT TALKING?" question during the "depart in silence" end to the service). It was great.

Our "official" egg hunt. Lots of fun. Then it had to be repeated ad infinitum for the next three days, with our son hiding the eggs and then leading us around to help us "find" them.




Also, egg-dying, my favorite!!

A lovely service at church! We decided to forego the 6:00 a.m. sunrise service and breakfast - too bad, but I can't imagine good things happening from dragging kids out of bed at 5:00 a.m. in the morning. Yikes! I shiver even to think of it.

Instead of the breakfast at church, I made Resurrection Rolls! I felt so stinking proud of myself... remembering holidays and all!! I am moving up in the world!

(If anyone here doesn't know me well, I will just say that my normal holiday modus operandi is to be vaguely aware of a holiday season until the day of the holiday, at which point I wake up and think "oh yes, I should have done something about that - maybe next year." The fact that I am purposefully doing things for holidays is a point of immense joy to me!!!)

The rolls leaked all over the place... I can't think why, as I really did work on sealing them. However, a couple of them still had the "empty tomb" effect, and I am told that they tasted good too!

Easter was a very tiring day. I was cooking for an infant, a preschooler, two adults on a normal diet, one adult on a very restricted diet (me!), and one adult on a liquid diet (DH post-dental-surgery). With three meals, it really felt like being a short order cook - that day and most of that week! But still fun.

More Easter cuteness:

This past week we spent recovering from Easter, saying goodbye to our houseguests on Wednesday, and on Friday heading out for our Spring camping trip.

This camping trip was a bit new to us because it was (1) our first non-desert camping - we went north, and (2) a combination camping and/or family trip - we camped outside the town where DH's parents live, and after camping, we spent another night with them.

I don't recommend the joint-venture approach. It was fun, but our son's usual whole-hearted "I love camping!!!" was interspersed with a lot of "okay, now let's go see grandma and grandpa." I think in the future we'll have to do separate trips.

We had a nice time! Probably our best yet. We camped next to a lovely river in a deep canyon, meaning the glare from the sun was much less than open-desert camping! Besides the fact that (1) DH and DS had to spend an hour and a half driving back to DH's parents' house for forgotten supplies, and (2) we nearly froze to death overnight (thin-blooded Phoenicians don't carry enough cold-weather gear!), we had a fun time, and then a fun time with Grandma and Grandpa. Here are some pictures!


DH's parents also gave us an hour to go off by ourselves sans kidlets - we went to our favourite local outdoor mall and wandered about and had an absolutely lovely time. We don't do date nights very often (they're expensive, and we're forgetful!), so this was a special treat. (Though I really ought to work on organizing a date night more than once every two years. Something else for the to-do list.)

Happy Easter, all!

10 Morning Sickness Tips That Don't Work

Lately, I've seen several Facebook posts saying something along the lines of "My friend has hyperemesis gravidarum, can you guys suggest anything that would help?"

Inevitable, there is a brief pause, and then people start suggesting "Has she tried ginger?" etc. etc. etc.

Somehow, I'd love to tell the world - the remedies that work miracles for morning sickness do not work for hyperemesis!!

So, anyone out there who is looking for helping for an HG mother, here are ten things that don't work!

(1) Ginger

(2) Fresh air

(3) Brisk walks

(4) Dry crackers

(5) Gingerale, or flat soda

(6) Lemons or orange in any form (juice, peel, candy)

(7) Eating before getting out of bed

(8) Peppermint candies

(9) Sea bands

(10) Doing something to "get your mind off of it"

Anyone have any others to add to this list?

(Not to say that one or more of these remedies might not have been of use to some one-or-other HG mother; just that the vast majority of morning sickness remedies are unhelpful or harmful to the vast majority of HG mamas.)

Living Life the Very-Low-Carb Way

I want to post an entry all about our Easter and our latest camping trip, but I can NOT figure out how to hook the camera up to the computer properly, so that will have to wait til DH gets home! (That's the downside of being married to a computer genius. One's own skills stay in infantile form. I am such a computer ignoramus!)

And so, my update on the VLC (very low carb) diet! (This is the anti-pregnancy-nausea diet that I've been writing about for the past couple of months.)

I meant to keep a regular diary, and update it every day, but.... *ahem*..... I didn't. (I am such a blogging flake lately!) So here I am, on DAY NINETEEN, writing in! (I had to put that in caps because I'm so excited about it!!)

What this diet is:

The diet is limited to foods that have a very low carb content (not just "low carb," but "very low carb"), which includes: meat/eggs, non-starchy vegetables, and cheese. That's it! Did I mention that it's a wee bit restrictive? LOL!

That means no: sugar, fruit, starchy vegetables (potatoes, sweet potatoes, beets, parsnips, turnips, peas, carrots, etc.), legumes, dairy, or grains of any kind.

And.... I've managed to stay on it! I am so excited!

I would say "I am so proud!" - but frankly, dear readers, God gets ALL the glory in this one. All of it. I never could have done this on my own! I have the self-control of a hypoglycemic hyena in a self-serve donut shop. It's that bad. On any sort of restrictive diet, I typically last about twenty minutes, tops - and that's if I start between meals with a full stomach. Last time I tried this, I lasted less than five minutes.

So here we are on day nineteen! Hurray!

It's definitely been an interesting road! Here are some of the challenges I've encountered along the way, in no particular order:

(1) Cost - Grains and legumes are the cheapest, most economical, money-saving part of a diet. Taking them out has made our grocery bill definitely inch upwards (which it was doing anyway lately!!).

(2) Self Control - As I've said, the Lord is definitely helping me to do better than I usually do. However, it is a constant exercise in self-denial, especially as....

(3) The rest of the family isn't doing the diet - This means that I function largely as a short-order cook around here! One infant, one preschooler, one adult, and one very-restricted-diet adult. Quite a challenge! The diet sheets say that it's best if everyone in the household can go on the diet, to avoid temptation, but that isn't possible here. One thing that I've found that helps is to keep carbs that I can't resist (pizza, ice cream, homemade desserts) out of the house and keep the ones that I couldn't care less about (cheerios, goldfish, bread) around for the carb eaters.

(4) Paradigm shift in cooking - First of all, I love carbs! And most of my meal plans were centered around them. Now, most of my recipe books are useless, and I am having to start from scratch. While it's a fun adventure, it's also been rather confusing and disconcerting. Also, I have had to....

(5) Change my cooking schedule - Before this, relied primarily on crockpot and casserole dishes that could be prepared the night before or the morning of, in order to avoid cooking during what my friend Cindy calls "the dreaded arsenic hour" - that pre-dinner time frame when tempers are short and tantrums are long. But with this diet, most entrees that I've found so far are skillet dinners - i.e. dinner-time prep dishes. Working on that!

(6) New knowledge base - I came of culinary age during the "fat is evil" fad, and I stayed in that mode for a long time. Thus, when the low-carb diet trends came along, I didn't do a lot of reading on the subject, and so all of the information about glucose and insulin metabolism is completely new to me. But interesting! Though not very-low-carb or even low-carb in themselves, I have really enjoyed reading "The Paleo Diet" and "Primal Blueprint" books - lots of good information.

(7) A side note about camping - Doing this diet on a camping trip was HARD! Our typical camping fare is hot dogs, baked beans, spam, eggs, and marshmallows - almost none of which I could eat! So along with all of our typical food, I had to bring vegetables, quiche, hard-boiled eggs, cheese, and a bunch of other stuff. Lots of work!! One other inconvenience is that....

(8) This diet makes me a nuisance as a dinner guest! - Now this part I have found a bit embarrassing. I'm used to saying, "Oh, we eat anything! Don't worry about us!" Now, I have to say, "Um, actually, there is very little that I can eat." I foresee that we'll be inviting people over here a lot more often! It's easy to camouflage food choices in one's own home without insulting the poor sweet hostess who has to cook for a picky guest.

A couple of notes:

After 28 days, I have the option of transitioning to the slightly easier Phase III. I think I'm going to stay in Phase II. I will also have the choice, in Phase II, of being able to do one "cheat meal" per week (whatever I want!). I may try that.

The doctor who created this diet recommends a caloric intake that is 50-80% fat. Just a note for anyone out there who is looking into trying this.

On Day 1 of this diet, I got seriously nauseated in the afternoon - I later realized I'd gone four hours without eating, and this diet recommends snacking at least every two hours. I learned my lesson! That happened a couple more times in lesser form, and I think I'm more evened out now - but I do take care to snack often. 

I note that while I feel fine on this diet, I don't feel quite as good and energetic as I did on the Paleo diet. As the main differences between Paleo and the VLC is that the Paleo allows fruit (which the VLC doesn't) and the VLC allows cheese and whipping cream (which Paleo doesn't), I'm guessing that I really ought to take the plunge and give up cheese and whipping cream as well. But, with my diet so restricted, I haven't been able to take that bull by the horns... yet. 

A note on weight loss:

As you know, I am not doing this diet for weight loss.... this is entirely about NVP prevention.

However, as a side effect, I have lost about.... oh, thirteen or so pounds so far on it. And I can't say that I'm complaining! I have never had any luck in losing weight, and each of our babies has added an extra 10-15 pounds for me. Over the past 20 months since our little guy was born, "sensible diet and exercise" has done absolutely nothing for helping me to shed baby weight. (Well, not quite "nothing." I did gain another 6-7 pounds.) So I am quite impressed at the ease with which I am now losing (without any thought to the matter!) what regular healthy diet has done nothing to dent.

Is anyone else out there trying this? I'd love to hear from you if you are!!!

Have a great week! Back to the dishes! Pics hopefully coming soon of our Easter!