Birthdays!

Birthday Gifts

Autumn is a season of birthdays. My granddaughters, plus one       daughter and one daughter-in-love all have a birthday in September, October or November.

I was blessed in being able to attend the birth of each granddaughter—one at home and the rest in the hospital. To watch each of these    babies grow into little girls is a delight.

As I look back, each labor and birth was unique. My daughters were prepared for labor and still encountered challenges. In each situation the goal was to minimize interventions, while being open to               appropriate medical care. When the moment of pain and exhaustion came during labor, their husbands and I prayed with them. God blessed them with healthy births.

We have well equipped hospitals in the United States. But along with medical care, wisdom and guidance from the Lord is an invaluable help. I have witnessed and participated in prayers that took place during labor when I attended home births as a nurse. Less often (rarely) prayer was included in the hospital labor and delivery unit where I worked.

My own first labor/birth was an unexpected cesarean section. I still remember the name of one nurse who was supportive during labor, but her shift ended before the cascade of interventions and cesarean section took place. The communication from my doctor was cold and unkind. My daughter was healthy but it took time for me to put the    experience into perspective.

According to Post Partum Support International some women suffer PTSD following childbirth.

Approximately 9% of women experience postpartum post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following childbirth. Most often, this illness is caused by a real or perceived trauma during delivery or postpartum.

Emotional support and encouragement are vital during labor and birth. Prayer provides spiritual support. Here are some ways that an expectant mom can plan for good support.

  1. Consider having a midwife for birth attendant. Do some research on home birth, freestanding birth centers, and midwifery practices.
  2. Choose a doula to attend the labor and birth, in addition to the doctor or midwife. Doulas are trained in comfort measures for labor and     positioning techniques to assist the progress of labor. Some doulas will attend hospital births.
  3. Have a close family member go to prenatal classes with you, being prepared to give support during labor. While Lamaze classes have typically expected the husband to be the support person, sometimes another woman is more able.
  4. Develop a practice of prayer and trust in the Lord.

My daughters’ husbands were with them throughout labor. I was the extra support. Assisting my daughters and praying with them has been a wonderful experience.

If you have a daughter or friend who is pregnant, perhaps you will have the opportunity to pray with her and encourage her.

 

Birthday Candles 2_edited-1

Linking with Tuesdays with a Twist,  Friendship Friday,   Wedded Wednesday,   the Ladies Collective Link-up,  A Little R & R  and WholeHearted Home

Successful Breastfeeding

As a mom I breastfed my babies–learning more with each child. As nurse and grandma I have had experience in helping new moms to establish breastfeeding. Breastfeeding has many health benefits, but sometimes there are hurdles to get over. I have collected some articles that address problems and best practices.

Have you heard of the breast crawl? Research has shown that if newborn infant is placed on its tummy, skin to skin with mother following birth, the infant is has built in reflexes that help him seek and suckle the breast. This should take place within 90 minutes of a healthy birth.

photo credit: T. Adriaenssen
photo credit: T. Adriaenssen

This finding has led to a new understanding of best positions for breastfeeding. In an article in Mothering, Nancy Mohrbacher writes:

Every brand-new baby comes into the world with a whole repertoire of responses that are custom designed by Mother Nature to make baby an active breastfeeding partner. Baby is born with what’s needed so that–when conditions are right–breastfeeding and bonding happen easily and naturally. These responses work best when baby lies tummy down on mother with gravity anchoring baby there.  Read more here.

It is also important over the next 48 hours, to observe the infant for cues that show an interest in breastfeeding. The baby should breastfeed on demand–8 to 12 feedings in 24 hours.  Sometimes problems occur in the first month.  I have been aware of moms that gave up. They were breastfeeding frequently but the baby wasn’t satisfied.

It could be an incorrect latch at the breast. The baby might be restricted in achieving a good suck because tongue is tied more closely to the gums. Heather at Mommypotamus.com has written a post with detailed explanation of tongue and lip ties. She includes photos and advice from an expert doctor. Click here to read her post.

After persevering through the early weeks and then months of breastfeeding, a mom can be surprised when the baby suddenly refuses to breastfeed. This could be a nursing strike. To understand this phenomena read Nancy Mohrbacher’s article. Click here.

Many moms have to return to work. The breast pump offers a way to continue. One mom worked out a schedule for maintaining breastfeeding by successfully pumping. She shares her story here.

It is true. Breastfeeding requires patience, commitment and support from the family. Sometimes expert help is needed. During times of difficulty it is good to remember the health benefits for mom and baby.

A Swedish study demonstrated that women who breastfeed their     babies have a reduced risk of rheumatoid arthritis. Click here.

A Canadian study explained the role of healthy bacteria in the gut.    Infants that are breastfed develop healthy microbes in the gut and are less likely to develop allergies. Click here.

Whether a mom breastfeeds or bottle-feeds her infant, she needs the support and encouragement of family and friends. Mothering a newborn is both wonderful and very demanding.

Linking with Ladies Collective Link-upWholeHearted Wednesday,  Titus 2sday,  the Art of Homemaking,  MYHSM

Herbal Home Health Care

This summer my husband and I were in a bulk food store. He wandered around while I chose whole grain flour, spices and coconut oil. He brought a book to me and said, “I think you would like this.” The title of the book is Be Your Own “Doctor” An informative Guide to Herbal Home Health Care. The back cover explains that the author is an educator and midwife.

Be Your Own Doctor

When I flipped through the book I agreed with my husband. It is a good resource. The book has chapters on a number of herbs including chamomile, comfrey, echinacea, lavender, red raspberry leaf and slippery elm. Rachel Weaver describes the way she has used these herbs and the results she achieved. Throughout the book Weaver gives recipes and instructions on teas, salves and tinctures.

Weaver covers pregnancy, infant care and common ailments with her suggestions for supporting health. Some of the treatments I was already familiar with.

Garlic has been part of our home health for many years. The chapter on garlic provides a good review of information that I have read in other sources. The new feature in this chapter is a Super Duper Tonic, a combination of garlic and herbs that acts like an antibiotic.

Weaver provides a recipe for a gallbladder flush. It is similar to one that I have used over the years for a colicky gall bladder. My doctor recommended that I have gall bladder surgery after my youngest son was born. I was breastfeeding him and didn’t want to have surgery. I decided to try a gallbladder flush first. I was able to avoid surgery.

The book contains common sense, but it is good to keep in mind that every family is unique and may find some information more helpful than others. A paragraph in the foreword explains the benefits and limitations of the book.

Be Your Own Doctor is not intended to give you any medical advice. The FDA prohibits me from doing that. I am not a medical doctor and the things that I am presenting here were not scientifically tested at the cost of thousands of dollars. I am only passing on to you common sense information that is the result of common sense living and has been used by many mothers and grandmothers for hundreds of years to heal their families. The proof that these things work, lies in the successes of people, not in the million-dollar tests of the laboratories. But remember that you are responsible for whatever information you choose to use from this book.

I was happy to see that the book is available from the Bulk Herb Store. Just click the button to visit the this store.

Great selection of bulk herbs, books, and remedies. Articles, Research Aids and much more.

Linking with Titus 2sdays,  Friendship FridayBooknificnent Thursday,  Whole Hearted Home, A Little R & R,  the Homemaking PartyTuesdays with a Twist and the Art of Homemaking

Pilgrim’s Inn: Book Review

When I picked up the book, Pilgrim’s Inn: The Herb of Grace, at a resale shop I didn’t realize that it is the second book in a series about the Eliot family. Elizabeth Goudge wrote a trilogy; the first book is The Bird in the Tree and the third book is The Heart of the Family. Pilgrims’s Inn was published in 1948 and is a good read by itself.

Pilgrim's Inn

Rue is the herb referred to in the title. The leaves on this herb have narrow green lobes, and in the summer it blossoms with small yellow flowers. According to the Complete Herb Book, “Rue was known as Herb of Grace, perhaps because it was regarded as a protector against the devil, witchcraft and magic. It was also used as an antidote against every kind of poison from toadstools to snakebites.”*

The story reveals that the Inn was once managed by a group of monks, offering hospitality to travelers. The Inn contains a secret, a wonderful room with hidden art.

The Eliot family in postwar England is burdened and weary. Through the manipulation of Lucilla , matriarch of the Eliots, her son’s family settles in the Inn.

I read a couple chapters each evening and began to appreciate the careful drawing of each character as they worked through trouble and frustration. The author has a keen perception of children and writes a forgiving description of their mischief.

Elizabeth Goudge has painted a picture of Pilgrim’s Inn, ascribing to it an attitude of hospitality and healing. She has written about the forest behind the Inn and its animals with fine description. A love of nature permeates her words.

Like the Inn, this book was a peaceful welcome for me. It took me to a place that I enjoyed. The closing chapter contains a message about children and the family.

There were still children in the world, and while there were children, men and women would not abandon the struggle to make safe homes to put them in, and while they so struggled there was hope.**

The book has a soothing quality, clearly conveying the value of family life.

cover-image

*Jekka McVicar, The Complete Herb Book, Kyle Cathie Limited: London, 1999 p. 166

** Elizabeth Goudge, Pilgrim’s Inn: Herb of Grace, Coward-McCann, Inc.: New York, 1948 p. 331

Linking with The Art of Homemaking,  Friendship FridayGrace & TruthBooknificent ThursdayWhole Hearted HomeA Little R & R,  Not Just Homemaking Party,  Tuesdays with a Twist and Roses of Inspiration

Star Flowers

When the grandchildren come to my home they like to pick berries and flowers. I name the various berries and tell them a little about them. We talk about which berries are safe to eat.

The flowers have names too. The granddaughters have enjoyed picking stalks of flowers— tiny white stars covering a stem that is shaped like a shepherd’s crook—from the front of my yard. This plant has a funny name, gooseneck loosestrife. I bought this plant as a perennial and had no idea how aggressively it would spread. I have to set boundaries and uproot it when it wanders, kind of like a shepherd managing his sheep.

Gooseneck loosestrife
Gooseneck loosestrife

I encourage the girls to look at the herbs in my herb garden. A few days ago we all munched on a leaf from chocolate mint, giving opinions about the flavor.

This is my opportunity to share a love of nature, enjoying the world God has created. Together we delight in the bright flavor of a currant berry or raspberry. We see a new flower with wonder. As a grandparent (and retired nurse) I feel blessed in having this time–finding it easier to pause to see than when my children were little.

What a desolate place would be a world without flowers? It would be a face without a smile; a feast without welcome.—Are not flowers the stars of earth?—And are not our stars the flowers of heaven?                                                                    Clara Lucas Balfour (1808 – 1878)

Forest wildflower
Forest wildflower

 

Yellow Columbine
Yellow Columbine

Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord from the heavens; Praise him in the heights! Praise him sun and moon, Praise him all you shining stars! Let them praise the name of the Lord! For he commanded and they were created.
Psalm 148: 1, 3, 5

Linking with Sunday StillnessWeekend WhispersThought Provoking Thursday,  A Little R & R,  So Much at Home,  Wordless Wednesday,  the Art of Homemaking and Good Morning Mondays

Rocks and Waves

Recently I saw a tee shirt online with this message: Just a Michigan girl in an Illinois world. I feel that way. Michigan is home to me even though I have lived in Illinois for many years.

We were in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan a week ago. We had projects that we were working on, but we found some time to spend along the coast of Lake Superior.

Of the great lakes, Lake Superior is the majestic one—in my opinion. The coastline is rugged.

Superior Coast

Many colorful rocks show up on the beaches, thrown up from the deep by the waves. Some days the waves are light, but on other days the waves thunder as they crash on the beach.

Superior Shore:rocks

Since childhood I have enjoyed looking at the rocks. I still remember showing a rock to my uncle. He exclaimed, “That’s an agate. You found an agate.”

Agates come in a variety of forms and colors. Bands of color mark these stones. At one point in time minerals entered pockets in porous rocks and became fused there. When the rocks are wet it is easiest to see the bands of color.

Lake Superior Agate
Lake Superior Agate

I can spend a couple hours walking along the shore of Lake Superior, with the sound of waves making a powerful but soothing rhythm. In the process of looking for agates I lose myself, absorbed with beauty that God has created in nature.

A quote from Henry David Thoreau resonates with me: Nature doth thus kindly heal every wound. By the mediation of a thousand little mosses and fungi, the most unsightly objects become radiant of beauty. There seem to be two sides of this world, presented us at different times, as we see things in growth or dissolution, in life or death. And seen with the eye of the poet, as God sees them, all things are alive and beautiful.
Source: Journal entry, March 13, 1842

I forget the latest news. I am away from television, my computer and the phone. I am away from the voices in our culture. I am thankful for this time to be restored. I am thankful for our Creator.

Mightier than the thunder of many waters, mightier than the waves of the sea, the Lord on high is mighty!
Psalm 93: 4

Linking with InspireMeMonday,  Wordless Wednesday,  Sunday Stillness, the Weekend Brew,  Grace and Truth and Friendship Friday

Beginning Again

 

L of L

From time to time a fresh start is good. After six years of blogging I am beginning again on a new website. I will continue to focus on family, home and health. In addition to my nursing experience, I have spent innumerable hours researching health issues. My family has experienced vaccine reactions, food allergies, cancer and fibromyalgia. Through the years of raising a family I have wondered about the changes in general health of children. It is different from my generation.

During my work in the hospital I have learned that not all interventions are necessary. Medications and treatments have side effects. Individuals and parents are best served by being well informed about the risks and side effects. Yes, informed consent. And so I will speak up and raise questions about some aspects of health care.

In caring for my family I have looked at ways to support health with diet and lifestyle. I have depended on God’s word for wisdom and guidance.  I will share my experiences and recipes, along with devotional thoughts.

Please take a few minutes to look around. I have kept some of the most popular posts from my previous blog. Look for them under the menu headings listed on the left side of the page. Notice that you can subscribe to my blog. You can follow me on facebook. On my facebook page you will find links to interesting articles and health related news.