A Little Return to Normalcy

My husband and I will attend a football game at the high school tonight. Each marching band member is permitted two guests at the game. Our grandson and granddaughter will be playing trumpet and flute. It is a bit of a return to normal.

The past year has been hard on children and teens. I am glad my daughter chose to home school the younger children, instead of trying remote learning. 

I had a brief introduction to remote learning during spring break. My daughter signed up the three youngest children for a zoom class on geology. She was unavailable to monitor it, so I agreed to help. The teacher had a great lesson plan and I had the worksheets for the children. There was a fairly wide span of ages participating. As the class proceeded children had questions and comments like “I have a pretty rock. Can I show it to you?” 

The teacher graciously said, “You can take a picture and send it to me after class.”

The child responded, “Oh no, I will go outside and get it for you now.”

A parent jumped in with, “The children need to know which rock you are talking about now.”

As we listened and watched the screen, I tried to steer my three children with the worksheets we were filling in, attempting to get the names of the rocks correctly. I sighed with relief when the 45-minute class was done. 

The teens had remote learning until the beginning of the new year—so many hours on computer screens. After a couple months of part-time in person, they are finally going to school full-time in person. 

In the fall, my hope is that all children will be permitted to go back to school full-time. Without a vaccine mandate to attend. The vaccine is experimental and we don’t know the long-term consequences. Do the benefits outweigh the risks? When will we have enough data? I read an article about the changes some women are seeing in their menstrual cycles following vaccination. 

Sharing this post with the Five Minute Friday writing community.

Springtime

The First Weeks with a Newborn Infant: 10 Recommendations

Childbirth can be exhausting. There are ways to prepare for this time period and ways to reduce stress during the first few weeks after giving birth.

In the final weeks of pregnancy stock up on basic household needs and staple items (like we have been doing through the pandemic). During the first few weeks after childbirth shopping may be difficult to squeeze in. You may want to have a supply of paper plates to simplify mealtime clean-up.

The first two days after giving birth should be spent resting and getting to know the baby. It is important to sleep and recuperate. Women who do not get adequate sleep these first two days may develop a sleep hunger that persists.

When you go home with your newborn, be aware that an infant has no concept of night and day. One of your first tasks as a parent is to teach your baby that daytime is for socializing and nighttime is for sleeping. You can get this message across by keeping lights dimmed and avoiding any interaction other than feeding or soothing at night. This practice will help your baby have his longest sleeping stretch at night

In order to feel good, it is important to eat balanced meals, but when you are home meal preparation time is limited with the new tasks of caring for an infant. In the final weeks of pregnancy plan ahead. Whenever possible cook double amounts and freeze extra for meals later. Mornings are usually the best time to organize the evening meal.

Recognize that time for household chores will be limited after the baby is born and begin to organize priorities. Which household tasks are most important to you? How long do they take and how often do they need to be done? By developing some priorities, you will avoid being overwhelmed. Low priority items can be left for the late afternoon when an infant may have a fussy period.

If you have a two-level home be sure to have a changing table and nursery supplies on the first level. Climbing should be minimized at first. Following a cesarean section, stairs should be avoided for two weeks. In that case, have all of your living needs on one level, temporarily. 

Observe your baby and get to know his/her personality. What is her favorite sleeping position? What techniques are most soothing: rocking, being snuggly wrapped, sucking, music? Every baby is an individual and has preferences. As you get to know your infant and begin to read his cues, parenting will become easier and increasingly satisfying.

As your baby grows include her in your morning activities. Place the infant seat in the room where you are working. An alert baby enjoys companionship.

Communicate with your partner specific ways to be helpful. Talk about expectations that you have of each other. How do you see each other’s roles?

Keep healthy snacks available. Fresh fruit, carrots, celery, yogurt, cheese and granola bars provide a quick nutritious boost.

Photo courtesy of Carlo Navarro on Unsplash.

This post is shared with #Alittlebitofeverything Link-up

Birth During the Pandemic

Yesterday I listened to a couple take about their birth experience. They had planned to have a home birth. Having had the experience of assisting at home births, I thought their choice was good—especially during the pandemic.

Unfortunately, the mom needed to be transferred to the hospital after many hours of labor. Soon after arriving she had a cesarean section. I was pleased to hear that they placed the baby on her chest, skin to skin in the operating room—a soothing and a bonding moment for mom and baby.

The baby was then taken to the neonatal intensive care unit due to a low blood sugar. The mom was tested for covid and although she had no symptoms, she tested positive. As a result, neither she nor or husband was allowed to go into the nursery. They were separated from their newborn for ten days.

It saddens me to hear how covid has affected procedures in hospital birth care. The couple has returned home with their baby. They are redeeming time together, bonding with their baby.

So many things are more difficult during this time. My heart goes out to new mothers who are recovering from the emotional experience of birth. How did it feel to be attached to monitors and intravenous lines with care givers coming in with masks and face shields? Did they have a support person with them throughout labor? As they think about the birth experience, they are in a process of physical recovery.

Recently I found a file with notes that I had shared with my Lamaze classes.

The physical changes that occur in a woman’s body in the days and weeks following birth are enormous. The uterus which has grown to a two-pound sac at the time of birth will reduce down to a two-ounce muscle in six weeks (hence the after-birth pains).

Vaginal drainage (lochia), which lasts about two weeks, marks the healing process of the uterine lining.

During pregnancy a woman’s blood volume has gradually increased, supporting the growing baby. In the first week after birth, approximately five pounds of excess fluid are lost through urine and sweat.

Following birth there are major hormonal shifts. Estrogen and progesterone drop off markedly and prolactin levels peak. The body prepares for breast milk production. All of this happens after the exhausting event of labor!

In a future post I will share ways to prepare for the recovery period following childbirth.

Note: photo is courtesy of T. Adriaenssen

This post is shared with the Five Minute Friday writing community. Today’s prompt is: REDEEM

Quercetin: A Flavonoid in Onions

Onions are a staple in my kitchen. If I am frying a portion of salmon. I like to have sauteed onions in the pan. Onions add flavor to almost every kind of meat. I place onions in the cavity of a chicken or a turkey before roasting. I have a nice recipe for a skillet cornbread with onions.

The Bible mentions onions also. The children of Israel recalled the food they had enjoyed in Egypt and missed as they traveled through the wilderness.

We remember the fish we ate in Egypt that cost nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions and the garlic. Numbers 11:5

What is the nutritional value of an onion? According to my Nutrition Almanac cooked, mature onions are a source of minerals (calcium, phosphorus, potassium) and a little vitamin A and C.

They also contain a flavonoid, quercetin, that has been discussed in relation to covid-19.

Molly Knudsen, MS, RDN wrote an article titled, What Makes Onions So Healthy? It’s Quercetin. Click here to read about the health benefits of onions and quercetin.

I have read that quercetin assists the absorption of zinc into cells, assisting the immune system to fight off viral infections. 

An article on web MD lists six foods that contain quercetin. I was happy to see apples and blueberries on the list.

Although the practice of medicine offers many treatments for disease, I believe my role as wife and mother is to encourage diet and nutrition that supports the immune system. God has designed our body with an intricate immune system and has given us resources in fruits and vegetables. 

My husband and I are in the age bracket more susceptible to covid-19. We are taking vitamin supplements in addition to having a healthy diet. 

A large percentage of people in the United States have an inadequate level of vitamin D. A few years ago, my doctor noticed that my vitamin D level was low (insufficiency) and prescribed a supplement. Since then, I have continued to take a vitamin D supplement. 

A blood level of 30 to 100 ng/mL is considered sufficient. Greater than 100 ng/mL is toxic. Over the past three years I have been able to bring my blood level up to 49 ng/mL and have noticed improved health of my mouth/gums. I have less bleeding gums and improved dental appointments.

Some studies have shown that people with a good blood level of vitamin D are more likely to recover from a covid-19 infection. 

Sharing this post with Tuesdays with a Twist , Hearth and Soul link party and Inside Me Monday with Anita .

Herbs in My Bay Window

During the summer I have a bounty of fresh herbs. Sage, chives, oregano, mint, lavender and lemon balm are perennials in my yard. Sometimes thyme survives the winter and it comes back for a second or third season. Each summer I plant dill and basil.

I am fortunate to have a southern facing bay window. Some herbs continue to thrive in pots on the window ledge. The Italian basil has flowered and produced seeds.

Italian Basil

In another post I wrote about the different types of basil with links to recipes.

Lavender is also flowering indoors.

Rosemary is one of my favorite herbs.

In the featured picture at the top of this post, you can see that it has flowered in my window. When I make broth I add rosemary, thyme and parsley along with other ingredients. The broth is a healthy base for soups. In another post I provided directions for making broth–and for freezing or canning it. Find the post by clicking here .

This weekend I made a batch of broth. I canned some and used some to make a delicious pea soup.

Do you have a favorite herb? Or a favorite nutritious recipe for this winter?

I’m sharing this post with Sue’s Wordless Wednesday, The Hearth and Soul and Inspire Me Monday.

Are We Making Progress?

Perhaps you saw it in the news. Two people from the Students for Life organization were arrested last Saturday for writing with chalk on the side walk outside of a Planned Parenthood building in Washington D.C. What did they write? Preborn Black Lives Matter.

Remember that the Mayor authorized the painting of Black Lives Matter on the street in Washington D. C. Others painted Defund the Police. 

Students for Life received a permit to be on the side walk outside of Planned Parenthood and had requested permission to write on the sidewalk. They were told to use a temporary paint. When they got there the police told them that they couldn’t paint on the side walk. So they used chalk. Two of their group were arrested and taken to a jail cell. Why were their voices shut down? 

Are we making progress in the health and wellbeing of all women and children?

 “while Black women accounted for 38 percent of reported abortions, population estimates for 2016 (like 2015) show that African Americans made up just 12 percent of the population. This news comes on the heels of deliberate efforts by the abortion lobby to market abortions among women of color as a positive.”

Planned Parenthood was started by Margaret Sanger who had ties to eugenicists. I read her biography and wrote a post comparing the passion of Margaret Sanger with the passion of Lilias Trotter.

Recently I saw an article about Dr. Mildred Jefferson who was the first black woman to graduate from Harvard in 1951. She was also the co-founder of the Right to Life organization. She made these assertions:

I would guess that the abortionists have done more to get rid of generations and cripple others than all of the years of slavery and lynchings.

There are now more abortions than live births in Washington DC, and the same is true for New York City,” 

It seems to me we should review the steps government policy has taken to “help” women in need. What are the longterm consequences? Have we made progress in the health of black lives? 

Sharing this post with the Five Minute Friday writing group.

Nine Tips for a Young Woman

As a mom, grandmother and nurse What advice would I give to a young woman?

Learn about life practices that support your health: nutrition, exercise, rest.

Pay attention to the rhythm of your body, because your cycles give insight into your health.

Don’t share your body intimately with a young man outside of marriage. Sex is a sacred bond between a man and a woman.

Trust your body. During pregnancy and childbirth lean into your faith in God with prayer.

As a parent, trust your instincts and remember that you will always be the best advocate for your child.

Ask questions when you visit a doctor. Medical practice is moving towards one-size fits all policies. If we go to socialized medicine this will increase. It is important to remember that all medicines and vaccines have side effects and risks. Learn about the risks and benefits as you make decisions for your child.

Pray for wisdom and trust God to guide you.

No one is perfect. We all have human failings. Confess your faults, forgive yourself and others.

Respect moms that have made choices that are different from yours.

Linking this post to Heart Encouragement, Inspire Me Monday and the Five Minute Friday writing community.

Smiles Behind the Mask

Our library is open again! Yesterday I picked out a stack of books and a few DVDs. When I went to the desk to check out, the librarian commented on my stack. “Ah.looks like you are catching up on reading.”

And I responded, “Actually I had a couple thicks books on my shelf that I planned to read someday. And someday arrived. But I am so glad that the library is open again.”

She chuckled and I could imagine the grin on her face. I had to imagine because we were both wearing masks.

In this age of mask wearing our smiles must come with the words we speak. We have opportunities to share cheerful thoughts with cashiers, waiters, waitresses and postal workers.

I am thankful that my neighbor and I can share smiles and gardening tips over the back fence. We don’t need to wear masks in our backyards. 

Gracious words are like a honeycomb,sweetness to the soul and health to the body. Proverbs 16:24

Amazing Microbiome

Linking this post with the Five Minute Friday writing group. Today’s prompt is: SMILE

Confusion and Alarm About A Drug in Use for 60 Years: Hydroxychoroquine

With all the alarming talk about the President taking hydroxychloroquine, I decided to look into the side effects. If my husband or I was exposed to covid-19, would we consider taking it?

I did an internet search and the first site to pop up was drugs.com

When I looked at the list of side effects I was astonished. I had never seen such a long list for a medication. I counted 52 side effects. It was noted that the incidence of these side effects was unknown.

Because this medication has been around for a long time I decided to look in the 2003 Nurses Drug Guide that I have on my book shelf.

This reference listed 20 side effects that occur 1% of the time or more. It listed 2 rare side effects. Hydroxychloroquine was approved for use in the United States in 1955.

Hydroxychloroquine is given as a preventive medicine (prophylaxis) in places where malaria is common. It is also used to treat malaria. It works by inhibiting the replication of the parasite in the body. It is thought, that in the same way, this medication may inhibit the replication of the corona virus in the body. 

A second use for hydroxychloroquine is in the treatment for rheumatoid arthritis or lupus. This treatment is longterm. This drug guide instructs: Learn about adverse effects and their symptoms when taking prolonged therapy.

As a nurse I realize that dosage, timing and duration of use of a medication are important considerations. If hydroxychoroquine is used as a preventive medication after exposure to cover-19 it is important to study dosage for a short term use.

Today (6/2/2020) an article in the Wall Street Journal echoes the questions and concerns that I have about the confusing messages regarding the use of this medication, which has been safely used for over 60 years. The article by Allysia Finley titled “The Lancet’s Politicized Science on Antimalarial Drugs” includes this observation.

In an open letter to the Lancet’s editors and the study’s authors, some 120 doctors, statisticians and epidemiologists write that the headlines about the study “have caused considerable concern to participants and patients enrolled in randomized controlled trials”evaluating the drugs. Thus many researchers have scrutinized the data, and the “scrutiny has raised both methodological and data integrity concerns.”

In light of the great number of vaccines given to children that have not gone through adequate safety studies and the known vaccine injuries, I find the exaggerated concern over hydroxychoroquine to be mind boggling.

Doctors need a good study that looks at dosage of hydroxychloroquine and the correct timing for prescribing it. Is it a good prophylactic?

Photo credit: Brett Jordan on Unsplash

The Pandemic and A Story in Genesis

During the current pandemic the existence of level 4 biosafety labs has come to light. It is in the news that the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease invested money in the Wuhan Lab. We wonder what happened at the lab in Wuhan. And we learn that level 4 biosafety labs exist in our country as well as other countries. 

What is the purpose of these labs? Studying and manipulating viruses is hazardous work. An interview with a scientist familiar with the dark side of these labs is now available on the internet. Click here.

Because of this pandemic we have groups of scientists, some funded by Bill Gates, rushing to develop a vaccine. 

Over the years I have had concerns about the side effects of vaccines and the one-size-fits all approach to vaccination. For all other medications we assess the individual for allergies and need. What are the risks and benefits?

Long after my children received the MMR vaccine I learned that it was developed from aborted fetal tissue. It took years of research on many aborted fetuses to achieve the vaccine. You can see a chronology of the fetuses used in the research for vaccines in this article.

Many universities seek aborted fetal body parts for ongoing research. How do we justify the sacrifice of infants, created by God, for the purpose of scientific research?

In the book of Genesis there is a brief story about an amazing tower.

Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. And as the people migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there.Then they said, “Come let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth. . . So the Lord dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. Genesis 11:1- 4,8

From the text it appears that the people were looking to glorify themselves, ignoring God and his design for life.

Matthew Henry comments on this portion of scripture: God has various means, and effectual ones, to baffle and defeat the projects of proud men that set themselves against him, and particularly he divides them among themselves.

Do we have our own Tower of Babel now?