Saturday, June 30, 2012

Morning Sickness Tips

I ran across this article on a blog - though the herbs are for all complaints of pregnancy, I found it interesting that all of the herbs listed are herbs that I have heard referenced for morning sickness.

Especially interesting was the reference to Bentonite Clay - I have not heard of that one before for morning sickness, but when I googled it I came up with quite a few references.

Check it out!

Our Plans to Become Bear Food - Foiled!

This past weekend, we planned to go north to do an overnight camping trip. (Neither of us has the stomach for more than one night of camping with three kids. Or with two kids. Or with one.)

About 30 minutes before heading out, DH and I were discussing how we ought to cook that night's dinner at the camp. Quoth I, "Let's check out their website to see if they have barbecues!" So I hopped on the campsite's website to see what amenities the sites had. While on the site, I happened to notice a tiny little blurb at the top of the screen: "Due to high fire danger, camp ground is now closed." 

Thanks for letting us know!!! 

 So DH got on the phone and discovered that, indeed, our campground was closed. He was told that it is the practice of the reservation system to refund the fees electronically and then give an automated call to the buyers to let them know of the closure (a call which we received, incidentally, three days later).

All of our last-minute measures to figure something else out for the day were fruitless, so we canceled our trip, stayed home, and made our dinner on the barbecue.


But even so, DH and I discussed this - why did God obviously not want us to go on this camping trip? We had done our best, but our best had been cut off at every turn.

Sometimes you get answers. Sometimes you don't, this side of heaven. But in this case, the answers began to roll in rather quickly.

On Sunday morning, we learned that we were going to have to make several other trips in the next few weeks, making the money and time saved quite an advantage.

On Sunday evening, we learned that every single campground around the area we planned to camp had been closed due to multiple bear attacks, which are still ongoing.

And today, when I took the car out, it quit within ten minutes of home. With that plus the driving I've done this week, we would have had a breakdown about halfway to our camping trip.

To summarize:

If we had been able to go, we would have been spending money that would be needed elsewhere. Had we spent the money that was needed elsewhere and gone anyway, we would have broken down on the way. And if we hadn't broken down on the way, the bears would have eaten us in the end! 

Just kidding on that last part. (Maybe.)

But I just love it when God shows his hand so clearly and his reasons are so evident.

But most of the time he doesn't. Most of the time I have to take things on faith and trust that I will understand later, either in this life (often the case) or in heaven (also often the case, as my new favorite poem expresses so beautifully).

My faith to trust in hard matters is.... not that awesome. Abysmal, actually. My husband has the gift of rock-like faith, but mine is not so great when the going gets tough.

Take pregnancy, for instance. All it takes is one whiff of nausea to send me into a tailspin of faith-questioning panic. It happened this week, as a matter of fact. I'm still experiencing postpartum nausea (happens every time), and one night this week I went to bed nauseated... and woke up in the middle of a night to attend to a crying child - still nauseated. My mindset at the time was something like, "Must be pregnant. Going to die. God, why have you forsaken me?" etc. etc. etc.

Faith is a definite issue for me.

But in minor things like the above, it is truly fun to watch God at work.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Answer to the Big Question

* This article is Part II in a series. To see Part I, click here. To see Part III, click here. 

Okay, folks.... It's time to wrap up my year-and-a-half research mission into the big question....

"Does a very-low-carbohydrate diet work to prevent hyperemesis gravidarum?"

And the answer, the definitive answer, based on eighteen months of research and one practical experiment during our last pregnancy, is....

"Errrr.... I think so."

You can read about how I found out about the very-low-carb diet here. You can read my summary of results from using that diet before and during pregnancy here.

To sum up my pregnancy (more detailed summary at the above link):

I used the VLC (Very Low Carb) diet for 40 days before getting a positive pregnancy test. I started a strong HG slide at 3w6d, which mysteriously began to resolve 36 hours later until I felt almost well again within a couple of days. However, I also started to experience other miscarriage symptoms (cramping and spotting), which led me to believe that I was about to miscarry... and I started cheating on the diet. Three days after I started cheating, the nausea came back and I had to go on medication (Unisom and Zofran).

However, (1) This was the easiest pregnancy I have ever experienced, and (2) Barring the brief HG slide, I was able to stay off of medication for two weeks during a time that I am normally desperately ill.

This experience left two big unanswered questions:

(1) If the diet was working, why did I start going into an HG slide? And why did I recover?

(2) If I had not started cheating on the diet, would I have been able to do a pregnancy without medication?

This past week, I heard back from the doctor with whom I have been communicating, acknowledging his receipt of my results which I typed out for him. We had a brief email conversation, and then signed off for the time being. I did not receive any additional information toward answering the above questions.

The difficulty is that although I have many questions that I would like to ask this doctor, I do not feel justified in doing so when he is a busy doctor and has so graciously communicated with me by email. His phone consultation fee is quite high (as becomes a busy reproductive endocrinologist), and I feel that if I want a more detailed conversation, then I am honor-bound to make use of that rather than demand more detailed email communiques.

So, HG mamas, if any of you are in or near Jacksonville, FL, consider checking in with this fellow for pre-conception nutritional counseling! He did tell me that his practice specializes in dealing with problems that cause other OBs to throw up their hands - such as nausea or metabolic disorders.

With all that in mind....

I believe that this diet works. However, I cannot say for sure because of the following:

(1) I cheated. Thus, my results are tainted.

(2) Every pregnancy is different, and sometimes an easier pregnancy can lull us into thinking that something we used worked, when, in fact, it was just an easier pregnancy.

(3) The HG that I get in an unmedicated pregnancy is "mild" compared to you severe-HG mamas out there. The diet would have to be used by a severe-HG mama for more conclusive results.

* Note - I have given the diet sheets out to about twenty or so women - please make sure to write back to me with results when you have them!

The best evidence that I have for the diet is from the doctor who prescribed the diet, who told me that a woman who had aborted multiple times for HG (and thus, a severe-HG mama) was able to have a normal pregnancy using this diet before and after conception. That's pretty serious positive evidence.

For myself.... The only way to know for sure is to do it again. Without cheating. 

And there you have it.


For those of you who wish to try this diet for HG prevention, here are some practical notes:

(1) If you want me to send you the diet sheets, leave your email address in the comments.

(2) The diet phase recommended is Phase II (the hardest one). Please do your research to determine if you believe this to be safe - there are many who do not believe a low-carb diet (resulting in possible ketosis) is safe for a developing baby. I believe that it is perfectly safe, based on the fact that exclusively-meat-eating cultures (Inuit, for example) live their entire lives in ketosis and have perfectly healthy babies. I can also testify that I have produced a healthy, normal-sized, incredibly advanced and intelligent baby doing the entire first trimester in ketosis (assumed). But make your own decisions.

(3) On the diet, the only food choices are meat, eggs, nuts, cream, cheese, and non-starchy/sugary vegetables. For me, I find vegetables unutterably disgusting while nauseated with pregnancy hormones - so my food choices were limited. Two challenges that I faced were, (1) cooking meat, which was horrible due to the smell, and (2) coming up with new choices since the ability to eat something usually only lasted a day or two once the nausea was back. Here are some of the choices I came up with:

- Cheddar cheese
- Swiss cheese
- Fried eggs, with or without cheese (and dill pickles to cover up the taste)
- Tuna salad (plain, on a salad, or served on cucumber or zucchini round "crackers")
- Rotisserie chicken from the store
- Taco salad
- Hamburger patties
- String cheese
- Almonds
- Peanuts (watch out for storebought nuts - they often have spices that contain sugar)
- Wrap using low-carb tortilla, lunchmeat, cheese, mustard, and cream cheese
- Ham lunchmeat
- Turkey lunchmeat
- Protein shakes using no-sugar powder (I used Sprouts brand) and cream/water instead of milk to mix it up with (these did not work as well as solid food for quelling nausea, but they came in handy)
- Celery with no-sugar peanut butter

Things I didn't think of but should have:
- Hardboiled eggs
- Scrambled eggs
- Steak
- Chicken salad from canned chicken
- Egg salad
- Nut butters put on thin slices of cucumber (this is great!)

(4) One thing mentioned via email was to make sure that fat makes up at least 50-80% of calories. Use lots of butter and healthy oils (coconut, olive, ghee, etc.). Keep the diet high-fat as well as low-carb.

(5) Being "very low carb" is one component - being "very high protein" is another. Even if you can eat vegetables, pump protein anyway - in any form possible. One midwife told me that she has noticed that in situations (like pregnancy or HG) that stress the body immensely, the body's need for protein skyrockets. This blogger writes:
"Protein, protein, protein. I eat tons of it (or so it seems). I’ve been doing this for several pregnancies with good results. No, I still don’t feel great, but before I implemented a higher protein pregnancy diet, things were much worse. I haven’t had what I would call hyperemesis since I added so much protein to my diet."
Read more of this blogger writing on the protein connection (and low-carb connection) here.

(6) I would highly recommend that this diet be started before conception. This means either (1) planning pregnancies, or (2) for you Quiverfull (or accident-prone) mamas out there, living on this diet once you get your period back or would reasonably expect it.

I do think that the diet might be helpful even if you find you are pregnant before you start. But, (1) since this diet deals with hormone regulation, it would be easier to get your body functioning well on the diet before you have to deal with the onslaught of pregnancy hormones, (2) this is a very difficult diet, and easier to learn when you're not freaking out about oncoming HG, and (3) it's easier to start something like this when you're not nauseated, especially with HG-type nausea which usually precludes eating anyhow.

I had brief issues with nausea on the first day that I started the diet - so initiating it was definitely easier when I was not pregnant and dealing with pregnancy nausea.

(7) As always, eat, eat, eat. All the time. Hourly at least, especially when starting the diet and when pregnant.

(8) Other things I used: I used Vitamin B/Folate/Magnesium shots at our local naturopathic college, zinc and magnesium and vitamin B-complex supplements orally (as well as multi, probiotic, omega-3s, etc.), Morning Sickness Magic, and an herbal detox pre-conception (by accident!), as well as Zofran and Unisom.

Next time, I would add acupuncture to the list. I now have the name of a good acupuncturist, so I would add that to the repertoire.

(9) There are some lines of thought linking high-protein pregnancy diets to bigger babies. Do your research and, again, make your own informed decision about whether or not this is something you can deal with. My experience was that the diet did indeed produce a bigger baby.

  • Baby #1 (no high-protein diet) = 7#12. 
  • Baby #2 (no high-protein diet) = 7#15. 
  • Baby #3 (VLC high-protein diet) = 9#9. 
And you know what? It was just fine. I loved it. Baby #3 went from in to OUT in something like thirty seconds. No tearing, no health problems, my healthiest baby and my best and strongest nurser. So I am all about bigger babies, and in fact would probably do a high-protein diet just to ensure that our baby was nice and big! 

But again, do your own research and make your own decisions

(10) My disclaimer: I have no guarantees that this will work. So PLEASE do not neglect to make other plans (for medication, etc.) if you decide to give this a whirl. Make your usual plans and add this on top of them.


Ladies, is there anything else that I need to add to this explanatory document? Do you have any questions that I need to answer? I want this information to be available to all comers, so please let me know if I have left anything out. And please do let me know, if you use the diet, how it goes with you.

Thank you to all who shared this past pregnancy journey with me, and for all of your prayers and encouragement! They have meant so much, and I really appreciate it.

Signing off for now!


Later Note: Please note the excellent discussion in the comments! Some alternate viewpoints, and some great additional thoughts.

An Even Later Note: Click over here to see Part III in this series, "Practical Tips for Living Life the Very-Low-Carb Way." (This entry is not the official diet sheets, but rather my collection of tips on following the diet sheets.)

An Even Later Note: See my final summary post from November 2014, Avoiding Hyperemesis Gravidarum With a Very Low Carb (VLC) Diet


Material on this blog is provided for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for medical care or advice. Please consult your healthcare provider before undertaking any dietary changes. Under no circumstances, shall the author be liable under any theory of recovery for any damages arising out of or in any manner connected with the use of information or documents from the site.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Hyperemesis and Child Loss Article

Really great article from a severe-NVP mother who has also lost five of her babies to miscarriage and stillbirth - read the first part here (on her blog) and the second part here (where she is guest-posting today).

Good stuff here.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

A Rabbit Trail Leading to.... Magnesium?

Yesterday I was reading one of my favorite blogs, and I found her posting on the severe morning sickness she is currently experiencing with her newest babe.

Then, because I always do, I spent some time reading the comments and gleaning information from those. There's always so much in the comments! I was fascinated by this comment conversation:

Commenter: "Sorry you are so sick! Have you read this blog post about magnesium? It worked for me!"  
Amy (blog author): "I did, but I’ve had a blood workup and don’t have a magnesium deficiency." 
Commenter: "Its funny mine actually appeared fine too, but then I read something about magnesium being stored mostly in the cells and not the blood so the test is not that accurate unless you have deathly low levels. I don’t know that much about it, just that taking magnesium oil was a huge help to me! Hope you get to feeling better soon! 
" ... This may be helpful … From the Magnesium Miracle by Dr. Carolyn Dean:
"'Another reason that Dr. Altura felt magnesium was not given its due is because there has been no lab test that will give an accurate reading of the magnesium status in the tissues. Only one percent of magnesium of the body is distributed in the blood, making a simple sample of magnesium in the blood highly inaccurate. That’s why most doctors who rely on blood tests for magnesium and not magnesium deficiency signs and symptoms and realization that up to 80 percent of the population is deficient, will miss an important diagnosis.'"
So, of course, I headed right over to read said article, and found it fascinating:

The REAL Cause of Morning Sickness

She writes:

"You’ve Probably Heard By Now . . .
 "That cortisol (the stress hormone) can cause weight gain, but did you know that’s because one of it’s main functions is to increase blood sugar? Yep, excess cortisol in your system takes your blood sugar through huge spikes and crashes, resulting in fatigue and nausea (aka morning sickness). Normally, magnesium balances cortisol levels by cleaning the excess from our blood.

 "BUT -

 "Pregnancy hormones inhibit our ability to absorb magnesium! This can lead to a vicious cycle in which excess stress hormones cause nausea, which causes stress, which we can’t fully remedy because the very thing we need we can’t fully absorb... 
 "That’s Why The Secret To Morning Sickness . . . Is to build up your magnesium stores before getting pregnant!"
Head on over to read the whole article, as well as the comments, and then check out her other article, "7 Real Food Remedies for Morning Sickness That Actually Work."

Great stuff all around! What do you guys think?

As for me.... I went to Sprouts and bought some mineral drops and Magnesium Oil. It can't hurt!

And really, let's face it - pregnancy is hard on a woman's body. And a severe-NVP pregnancy is super-hard on the body. It only makes sense to spend time and energy in between pregnancies building up our bodies in every way that we possibly can so that our bodies are as strong and whole as possible when they are challenged once again.

Also, I recall that magnesium was a vital part in the HG-treatment written about in this article.

Can you guys tell I'm on a blogging spree? A blogger can go only so long without blogging before she throws up her hands and says, "That's it! Everybody hold everything, I've got to blog!"

I think I need to blog more regularly so I can avoid the blogging frenzy.

Anyhow, thoughts?

Birthday Time!

This past week was my birthday, and I turned thirty! Again!

No, seriously - I jest. I turned thirty-one. But my thirtieth birthday last year stank (thank you, NVP!), and I missed it completely. Too sick to celebrate or eat anything special or go anywhere, and the birthday money I received went straight to pregnancy expenses. 

So this year I had my birthday do-over! 

Pictures are below. You may notice that my "birthday," oddly enough, resembles a child's birthday party. That's what happens when you birth a child near your own birthday - you lose your birthday anyhow! So I missed it again. Oh, well. At least I can spend my birthday money this year! I'm planning on spending it on storage boxes for toys. Yes! Corralling toys at last!!! The world is mine! Mwa ha ha ha ha! 

Our eldest with his long-coveted LEGO Apollo Mission kit. Putting it together with Grandpa and Daddy took the whole day!

Four-month-old Moose in the background, bursting out of his 9-month clothes (which have since all been put away):

With the Chublet:

Moose decided to turn over a couple of weeks ago! Both front to back and back to front.

Our eldest's new passion is snakes - thus, a snake cake! Cute, no? Designed by Yours Truly, obligingly decorated by DH's sister, who was in town for the occasion:

Other notes:

- We finally have a pediatrician for sure, hurray! He is awesome, and it's so nice to be settled back with a pediatrician - and an awesome one who respects parental decisions and informed consent (this is so rare with any physician!), and also, oddly enough, really reminds me of our late pediatrician! Awesome!

- This weekend was "The Camping Trip That Wasn't." We planned, we packed, we got a site reservation. And then, today, just an hour before we were going to leave, I checked the campground's website to see if they had barbecues - and found a little notice: "Campground has been closed due to fire danger." Err... Really? So DH called up the main number and learned that when these closures occur, they just quietly refund the money electronically and assume that people are checking the website for these notices! Well, we will be from now on - but it was only by the grace of God that we didn't end up at a closed campground this afternoon!

None of our attempts at alternate plans worked out, so we stayed home, unpacked, and are spending a weekend at home. DH took our eldest to our local pool, and we're going to grill our dinner on the BBQ to make up for our camping trip (*sob*). I'm bummed that we missed the camping trip, but I'm even more bummed that I'm going to have to pack ALL OVER AGAIN! Ack!!!

- We have been taking a friend's suggestion and attending free events at local libraries! So awesome! So far we have seen a reptile show, a show of zoo animals, and a puppet show - all great quality! We have a bunch more planned for the next month.

- Last week was nuts - we hosted our entire family (both sides!) in waves! Lots of fun.

- Every month or so I send a big load of our stuff out the door to Goodwill. But the kid stuff is flowing in faster than I can shovel the excess adult possessions out. However, whenever the kids and their stuff do move out, we will have almost nothing left - and I will be able to revel in true minimalist bliss! Of course, by that time I'll be too old to enjoy it, but I can still look forward to it. :)

I'm sure there's lots more going on, but it's hard to think of with so much noise in the background! (DH and our eldest are watching Steve Irwin's "The Crocodile Hunter" reptile show - what else would a boy with a snake passion choose to watch with Daddy?) Have a wonderful weekend and Sabbath, everyone!

Thoughts on "Morning Sickness Is Healthy"

I've recently thought a lot about the beliefs that our culture (and the medical community) holds about morning sickness. There are a lot of them, but they can be summarized thus: "Morning sickness is a natural, normal, and even healthy part of pregnancy." After pondering this for a while, I have decided to question this belief, based on the lines of evidence and thought that I will list below.

I hope that each of my readers will feel free to leave input, either in agreement or disagreement - I'd love to discuss this subject further.

To separate the different parts of this discussion, I'm going to write out different lines of current belief about NVP (Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy) and then list why I believe them to be invalid, or at least questionable. Here goes:

"Morning sickness must be healthy because a pregnant woman with morning sickness is less likely to miscarry than a woman who has no morning sickness."

I think that this is one of those situations in which accurate evidence can be used to draw inaccurate conclusions.

To demonstrate, I am going to be wildly unscientific and just make up numbers to demonstrate my point. Both my numbers and my scenarios will be intensely inaccurate, but I hope they will illustrate my point. If you think I've seriously screwed up, please let me know.

Let's say that there are two types of women in the general population - women who, when doused with your average dose of pregnancy hormones, will develop some sort of NVP, and women who will be blithely unaffected when given the same (i.e. during pregnancy).

Let us also say that viable pregnancies will present with normal levels of pregnancy hormones, while non-viable pregnancies (pregnancies in which the baby is doomed to die very small and which will end in an early miscarriage) present with lower-than-normal levels of pregnancy hormones. In most cases, this is true - there are non-viable pregnancies that present with normal hormone levels, and vice versa, but one indicator of a coming miscarriage is lower-than-normal hormone levels. This is why I only experienced very low-level nausea with our first pregnancy, which was a blighted ovum pregnancy - lower hormone levels.

Now, let's just do some (very) basic math, assuming (just for the purposes of illustration - this is not real life) that 50% of women are NVP-type, and 50% of women are non-NVP-type, and that 50% of pregnancies are viable and 50% of pregnancies are non-viable. Here's how it would come out:

NVP-type woman + viable pregnancy = NVP (25%)
NVP-type woman + non-viable pregnancy = no NVP (25%) - will end in miscarriage
non-NVP-type woman + viable pregnancy = no NVP (25%)
non-NVP-type woman + non-viable pregnancy = no NVP (25%) - will end in miscarriage

In this highly hypothetical situation, you would have a 0% change of miscarriage with an NVP pregnancy (or in reality, just a low chance), and a 67% chance of miscarriage with a non-NVP pregnancy. Thus, doctors and other caregivers will say, "It's better to have NVP because that means the pregnancy is healthy."

Well, yes.... but no.

What is really means is non-viable pregnancies are included in the "non-NVP" group so that the chance of miscarriage looks artificially high. The statistics may be true for non-NVP pregnancies as a whole (i.e. averaged), but in individual cases, the chance of miscarriage is either certain due to non-viability, or very low because this is a healthy pregnancy in a non-NVP woman/pregnancy.

Have I succeeded in making any coherent point yet?

My point is that morning sickness is not an inherently healthy state. Both NVP and non-NVP pregnancies produce healthy babies. Pediatricians do not ask, "Did you have morning sickness? No? That's bad... we can expect your baby to have health problems." No, babies derive no (known) benefit from having been gestated by NVP-type mothers. But when non-viable pregnancies are grouped in with viable non-NVP pregnancies, the risk of miscarriage looks artificially high for those viable pregnancies and makes morning sickness look (mistakenly) like it is a healthy or desired state.

If anyone out there is thinking, "This woman's methods are madness! She should be brought up before the National Academy of Sciences and shot!" - I know all that. This is just supposed to be the jumping-off point for thought. I'd love to hear everyone's input on this.

Next on the list....

"Morning sickness is a beneficial characteristic that keeps the developing baby safe from dangerous food-borne toxins."

If you look on just about any article on the subject of morning sickness, some form of the above will be recorded. "Morning sickness develops to keep the mother from eating foods that might harm her baby in the developing stages."

I see several reasons to question this conclusion.

(1) Morning sickness is, to my best knowledge, not seen (or at least not seen often) in the animal kingdom - If morning sickness were so awesome, it seems to me that it would be present among other mammalian mothers.

(2) Morning sickness in itself is disadvantageous to both mother and baby - In the moderate to severe forms, morning sickness prevents a woman from eating, drinking, searching for food, caring for her already-born children, moving, or being able to avoid dangers. In the most severe forms, it can mean absolute debilitation, long-term health effects, or even death for either the baby or the mother and the baby both. This is hardly an advantage. It is much more advantageous for a mother to be able to move, eat, care for herself and her children, and be able to keep herself nourished and hydrated.

(3) When was the last time you heard someone say, "Gosh, I had morning sickness so badly that all I was able to eat was fresh, organic spinach and beet salad with a side of fresh salmon"? That's right, never. You're more likely to hear, "I was so sick all I could keep down was pop tarts and Kool-Aid." The list of "things I could tolerate" during NVP usually runs the gamut of every junk food known to man - candy, slushies, cookies, soda, you name it. During the first half of my pregnancy with our eldest, I consumed primarily Ensure, Slim-Fast, and Jell-O, moving on to bagels and ice cream - that's right, pure junk. And pure junk that was absolutely loaded with toxins. This one just doesn't make sense.

(4) Even if mild morning sickness is advantageous, the same cannot be said of the severe types that cause debilitating nausea, inability to eat, malnourishment, dehydration, permanent adverse health effects, and/or death. There is nothing advantageous about that - quite the contrary.

"Morning sickness is just a normal part of pregnancy."

To me, this statement is utterly disproved by the fact that, historically, there have been some cultures observed by researchers in which morning sickness was rare or almost unknown.

This definitely seems to point toward a causation based on health, diet, or other environmental factors.

And it certainly shows that, somehow or other, NVP is avoidable on a cultural level. The question is how to find out the factors involved in this miracle!


I'd love to hear what you all think on the above.


Modern science/culture says: Morning sickness is normal. Morning sickness is healthy. Morning sickness is advantageous.

I would question and/or doubt each of those statements.


My guess is that morning sickness means that something is.... off. Something is not quite right with our bodies. I have no idea what that "something" is. Is it some sort of deficiency? Is it gut health? Is it body alkalinity? Is it some combination of factors? Are there multiple modes of causation?

Hard to tell.

I know that evidence is currently being gathered that shows a genetic link for hyperemesis gravidarum, and that's wonderful. Anything to get to the root of the problem, and also to show caregivers (once and for all!) that this stuff is not in our heads. That's awesome.

But... with many conditions, there are genetic tendencies/vulnerabilities... and there are environmental or health-based triggers that cause the genes to activate. Genes are not always our destinies... but they are our vulnerabilities.

Example 1: Rheumatoid arthritis runs in my husband's mother's family. She developed it when she was 22, and it nearly killed her. Her sister, with the same gene, didn't develop it until her seventies. Why? Because having a certain gene does not always mean that the gene will be activated - it takes environmental triggers, whatever those were.

Example 2: Celiac disease - it's genetic, but it often requires environmental triggers to activate (usually gluten exposure). Celiac rates exploded astronomically in Ireland when the Irish switched from potatoes to wheat as their main food source - a case of genetic susceptibility plus environmental triggers.

All that being said, I believe that there is a cure for NVP and for hyperemesis. Not a drug cure, to cover the symptoms of an already-developed disease (though that would be nice too!), but a pre-conception cure that will correct whatever metabolic or bodily systems have gone awry so that pregnancy becomes a misery (in mild cases) or a threat to our lives and our babies' lives (in severe cases).

What do you all think? Is morning sickness a healthy state, or a pathological one? Any input? I'd love to hear what you all think! As always, input must be civil and polite (or the delete-comment-monster will be released!). Chime in, please!

Monday, June 4, 2012

More Snippets of Life Around Here

I hope you all are having a great summer! Around here we are being roasted - quickly! - by our usual Phoenix heat. Last Friday it hit 111F, our hottest so far this year. Have I mentioned how much I love the Pacific Northwest?

 But I digress.

 Over here, life continues on! We are still homeschooling and plan to go all summer. Our pace is gentle - usually only four days a week. I don't know if we'll find a schedule or just keep doing year-round. Everything is so hard to determine when starting to homeschool! But that's for a later date.

 For now, here are a few snippets of life!

 - We have made the amazing discovery that unbreakable glass is, indeed, breakable! Fancy that! Of course, it helps if the breaker of said glass is attempting to balance the bowl on top of his head while dancing/spinning wildly around the kitchen - always gives a bit of extra acceleration when the bowl comes barreling off his head (surprise, surprise!) at top speed and smashes (repeatedly) into the floor! The bowl survived the first and second points of impact into the tile, but met its Waterloo on the third. Of course, the child indicated in said tragedy was all surprise - "Why, mommy! I didn't know it would do that!" Oh, child.

- Last week we ran across a friend whom we had not seen in an entire year. The fact that I was holding a completely new (to him) baby went completely over his head, since our new three-month-old is roughly the same size that our toddler was last year (at 18 mos. of age). We finally had to hold him up and say, "This is our NEW BABY. We now have THREE." Hurray for Baby Moose!

- Speaking of Moose, he now weighs about seventeen pounds, is rolling onto his side, and has cut two teeth. He's not letting the grass grow under his feet!

- This year I gave into mommy guilt and signed our eldest up for two two-day classes with the city. The first class was today. After packing the entire family into a boiling hot car, dragging the 6yo into his class ("But mommy, I don't waaaaannnnaaaa go to a class!") and then trying to entertain two cranky babies in the library for an interminably-long hour, my conclusion was something along the lines of, "I am never doing this again! EVER!"

But then out popped the 6yo, after his class, with a cheerful, "I had fun, mommy! I'm glad I came!" Hard on his heels came another mom from the class (the moms of younger kids stayed), who came up to me and said, "Your son is so articulate and well-informed! Do you homeschool him?"

Why, yes. Yes, I do! 

I changed my mind. It was worth it after all.

- Speaking of our 6yo - the following conversation from earlier this week cracked me up:

Son: (sighing wearily) "I don't like our life. I wish it was different."
Me: (going into bad-mommy-guilt panic - how am I warping our children for life now?) "How do you wish that our life was different, hon?"
Son: "I wish that we were all venomous snakes so that we could go around and bite people."
Me: "Ah. Hmm."


- And also with the 6yo: This week a sweet elderly lady at our church died, and we attended her funeral, which was open-casket. This was our 6yo's first up-close-and-personal experience with death (or first when he was really old enough to understand), and I was wondering if we'd be dealing with tears, or fears, or grief of some sort. Nope. He maintained a cheerful and somewhat morbid curiosity about the whole thing - which would have alarmed me greatly, had I not remembered that, when my grandmother died (and I was our son's age), my sole concern was how many black olives I could fit on my fingers at the funeral reception. So all is not lost.

- For Mother's Day I received three parenting books, all of which are proving to be insanely AWESOME!! I will post mini-reviews soon! ("Soon" as in "maybe in three or four years.") Right now I am reading "Raising Real Men" by my beloved Hal and Melanie Young (we got to hear them two years ago at the homeschool conference, and they are wonderful) and it is a wonderful primer on raising that foreign species known as boys. Highly recommended!

Some various pics:

- Our dear friend who was widowed last year is now again a bridegroom! Such happiness all around.

- The Chublet's favorite place - under the organ bench feeling the vibrations from the foot pedals. Notice the towel which is still foiling the attempts of the vomiting cat to ruin our beautiful instrument!

- Last month's AWANA Graduation - our eldest has now finished the first year of Sparkies:

Off to continue with the rat race! Love to all! Have a wonderful week!