Tag Archives: Braxton Hicks

Episkey

10 points to the house that can correctly identify the reference of the title of this post.

If I’ve lost you, don’t worry, I am going to speak English and come back to this world pretty quickly.

Inspired by Davi’s post going over her adventures in homeopathy and by her urging, I decided I would delve into our journey into the same world.

It’s obviously no secret that I tend to do things a little differently, like having babies at home and making my own diaper rash spray. My journey into natural home remedies and homeopathy has been somewhat slow, but I am getting more and more confident lately with trying out different things for the various things that ail our family. As I said in the diaper rash spray post, the introduction to my new book on the subject really inspired me when it pointed out that up until fairly recently most ailments were treated at home with ingredients found in the garden or pantry and there was at least one person in every family with a fairly good knowledge of healing.

I guess the first toe dip into homeopathy for us was when I started using Hyland’s teething tabs as a first and majority of the time responder to teething difficulties with my kids (when is the recall going to be over, by the way? Waaah I miss those things!).

The next time was when our pediatrician at the time mentioned she had been doing a lot of research on the subject and started explaining some of the principles of it to me during our visit. She also gave us a handout that she made up for immune support before, during and after vaccinations. I was slightly skeptical, but I have seriously noticed such a difference in the way our kids respond to vaccines since implementing the stuff in the handout. There have been a few times when I forgot or didn’t realize the kids would be getting a vaccine at the appointment and noticed their reactions to be much more dramatic as well. So it isn’t just a matter of them getting older and handling things better.

So for vaccine immune support this is what we do (the handout sites Dr. Sears’ The Vaccine Book and Dr. Lauren Feder’s The Parents’ Concise Guide to Childhood Vaccinations as the source):

-Being really diligent about the kids taking their vitamins the week before and after getting shots. Sometimes I forget on a day-to-day basis, but if I know they have an appointment coming up I will set the alarm in my phone to remind me if I have to. The two pointed out as being most important on the handout are Vitamin A and C. I have our kids on a cornucopia of gummy vitamins though which pretty much covers both those. Our kids take: Omega 3 Sea (fish oil), a multi-vitamin, a calcium (though now that the kids are back to eating dairy I will probably eliminate this one next time we run out), a D3, an immunity one (Vitamin C, Zinc and Echinacea), and probiotic chewable tabs. I know, I know, that probably seems like overkill.
-Ledum palustre 30C (for puncture wounds): 1 hour before the shot and then two more doses every 12 hours
-Arnica montana 30C (for local swelling, bruising and soreness): Twice a day for two days following the shot
-Thuja occidentalis 30C (for vaccine side effects): Twice a day for three days following the shot
-Chamomilla 30C (for fussiness following the shot): As needed

So this is really what started to inspire me to start looking into other “cures” and remedies. Another thing was that a lot of the “drugs” for infants’ and toddlers’ colds, coughs, etc. have pretty much been taken off the market. Which leaves not a whole lot of options when you have a sick toddler or infant except to run to the pediatrician that will likely just prescribe an antibiotic. I really, really think antibiotics are way over-prescribed so I try to avoid them as much as possible unless I feel like we absolutely need it. But when you have a miserable babe on your hands you need some help.

The advent of modern medicine, together with its many miracles, also led to a much greater dependency on our physicians and to an increasingly stretched healthcare system. The growth of the pharmaceutical industry has meant that there are indeed “cures” for most symptoms, and we have become accustomed to putting our health in the hands of someone else, and to purchasing products that make us feel good. Somewhere along the line we began to believe that technology was in some way superior to what was natural, and so we willingly gave up control of even minor health problems.

So these are some of the homeopathic remedies we’ve tried for various colds and coughs:
-Hyland’s Sniffles ‘n Sneezes
-Pulsatilla 30C (for colds with thick yellow nasal discharge)
-Allium cepa 30C (allergic or viral runny nose)
-Kali sulphuricum 30C (colds with yellow nasal discharge)
-garlic oil drops (for ear infections)
-apple cider vinegar (helps thin out mucus): 2tbsp in 8oz warm water twice a day
-Boiron’s Chestal homeopathic cough syrup
-Elderberry syrup
-Sambucus homeopathic cough syrup

Like Davi pointed out in her post, I have noticed that sometimes you have to be a little more patient with the homeopathic remedies though. I do still use some of the things I used to for pain and sickness, but I also feel the homeopathic remedies help things out and we can avoid using the heavier “drugs” a lot of the time.

When we have something going on, I either head to the natural foods store that has the homeopathic vials and look at the chart for what goes with what or I look online. Now that I have my book I also will tend to find something online and then go get more “reliable” information from my book as well as see if there is anything else we can be doing.

Something else we use that was mentioned above is arnica montana for bruises. Having two toddlers, and clumsy ones at that, there are a lot of bumped heads, scraped knees etc. I usually just use Hyland’s Bumps ‘n Bruises with arnica in it.

Another area that homeopathy has helped out is with pregnancy. Being pregnant, I don’t really feel comfortable taking a bunch of stuff unless I have to. So the homeopathic remedies have been great for colds and things. I will admit that I still take an Advil here and there, I am still taking Unisom at night for morning sickness prevention (every time I try to wean myself off I feel so lousy, I still have not felt as sick as with the other two, but it is enough that I just can’t do anything really), and I also take Tums or Famotadine for really bad heartburn. So I am not anti-medicine. I just try natural or homeopathic remedies first if I can, especially since they have no side effects and are generally much safer.

During my first trimester when I did have some morning sickness I also used some homeopathic remedies to combat the yucks. I found a chart on the old site I frequented when I had the really bad (hyperemesis gravidarum) morning sickness with Bean. It was really helpful in narrowing down which ones to try based on my symptoms. The ones that I used were:

-ginger capsules
-nux vomica 30C
-sepia 30C
-pulsatilla 30C

But like I said, the chart breaks down various “types” of morning sickness and morning sickness symptoms. Every woman is different and the morning sickness can even be different day-to-day or throughout a day. So you should really look to the chart and see what fits you best, not just go off what worked for me.

Recent ailments in our household have included teething with Sprout which has produced acidic, runny bowel movements (BMs) that give him terrible diaper rash. You already know about my diaper rash spray, but I also have been giving him chamomile tea orally and that has helped things in the BM department. The book said it helps reduce the acidity of the BMs and firms them up and I have found that to definitely be the case in the last few days that I have been giving it to him. I also noticed that he is a bit less fussy and grumpy. We usually “cut” the kids’ juice in their sippy cups anyway, so instead of water I’ve been doing half juice, half chamomile tea that I brew a large batch of ahead of time and keep in a pitcher in the refrigerator.

The other ailment has to do with me. I had a bit of a scary episode yesterday, but part of it has been “normal” pregnancy stuff I’ve been experiencing for several weeks now and that I also experienced with my other two. I did some searching online to make sure I’m not weird and was glad to find out I’m not. When I get Braxton Hicks contractions I usually feel like I can’t breathe or that my breathing is constricted. I have to really, really concentrate on just my breathing and it takes a lot of effort. I have been getting more and more of these suckers lately. It’s super annoying when you feel like you really can’t do anything except lay around and breathe. Like this morning I was trying to mix up some oats and nuts for granola and I kept having to stop every few seconds, hunch over the counter with my belly hanging down and just breathe. I felt so pathetic and annoyed. I know I’m pregnant and everything, but I have a life to live and kids and a family to care for. I’m not just going to lay around my house all day. I have things to do. Not even super strenuous things, just the stuff of every day life.

So anyway, back to yesterday, I planned a playdate with a couple of friends that morning. I had been having my usual annoying Braxton Hicks that make me stop and breathe. I was resting a lot. Drinking a lot of water. But then Sprout needing a diaper change could not be put off any longer and I needed to get us ready for our playdate. I got upstairs and the Braxton Hicks turned into super monster contractions. It hurt soooo bad. All I could do is lay on my bed. Finally I was able to get back up in between and grab the house phone. I called Stephen’s cell (the only number I have memorized and my cell with all the numbers was back downstairs) over and over and over again until he finally picked up (he was on another call with a client and not near his cell, but someone else in the office noticed that it kept ringing). I told him what was happening and he came right home.

I started timing things and they were 1:30 long and 3 minutes apart and oh-so-painful. I could feel tugging at my cervix too which was really making me nervous. I called one of my midwives and she had me try taking some calcium and magnesium, a warm bath and more water and relaxing. Nothing changed. So she had me call into the backup OB’s office here in town and they wanted me to come in to have things checked out. An ultrasound showed no changes to my cervix and the fetal fibronectin test which tests to see if labor is imminent came back negative. He also prescribed something to stop the contractions. Everything calmed down and I just ended out the day pretty sore and tired.

Anyway, this morning the Braxton Hicks and the shortness of breath were back. I knew to take it easy, but I decided to see if there were any homeopathic or natural remedies that could help things out. I also felt like what I was experiencing this morning didn’t really warrant taking another of the pills. It definitely wasn’t of the caliber of yesterday’s bout in the slightest.

So I looked up homeopathic remedies for Braxton Hicks online, read a bunch of stuff there and then confirmed and got more information from my book. I made a tea of red raspberry leaf, ginger, and chamomile and then put in drops of a tincture called cramp bark. All of these things help to tone, calm and relax muscles with the red raspberry leaf and cramp bark having specific implications in the uterine muscles. It’s also supposed to help with menstrual cramping. I’ve definitely noticed less activity in the few hours since I drank it so I am a fan. One thing I did read said not to take the cramp bark for more than three days consecutively because it could cause nausea after that point. So hopefully I can just take it here and there as needed and not get the nausea.

Sorry there are no fun pictures to accompany this post. Anyway, I hope this is informative and helpful and maybe inspires you to try out some natural remedies with your family next time some minor illness or injury comes up.

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Filed under Family, Natural Living, Parenting, Pregnancy and Birth, Ramblings

Diuretics. Or why I wanted to rip my face off a few hours into 2010.

So where was I on this whole ongoing birth story again?

Oh yeah, I’d given up all hope of ever going into labor. Castor oil did not work, but luckily I didn’t have any of the severe side effects.

Anyway, turns out it was kind of a really good thing that the castor oil did nothing because my midwife was a little busy attending two other births that day.

Yesterday Stephen and I started off the day with Bean up bright and early. So we decided to take her to the park and do some walking. Well, more like I decided and Stephen went along with it. He had the day off, what else was he going to do?

So the walk does nothing except exhaust me. We get home around Bean’s naptime so I promptly put her down and then went into my bedroom to put myself down.

I can’t really get into the details, but about 30 minutes after I laid down some drama started and pretty much lasted all day. So we were both basically emotionally exhausted.

So it was pretty nice when we got a last minute invite over to my sister-in-law’s for a small gathering of friends to ring in the New Year.

As I was showering to get ready I felt a couple of contractions. I wasn’t sure if they were Braxton Hicks or real. They certainly hurt more than Braxton Hicks usually do, but they were too long and indistinct, unlike real contractions. This isn’t an uncommon occurance during a shower though so I just dismissed it.

And as always these friends (and family) did not disappoint. Stephen and I got some much needed belly laughs in playing silly games, snacking on yummy hors d’ouvres and roasting marshmallows in the fireplace for smores. As we drove home around 2am we both commented on how much we needed that tension release after our day and just how great it was.

During the course of the evening I felt a few more of the uncomfortable hybrid Braxton Hicks, but again dismissed it. Maybe they were more uncomfortable because of all the laughing, I thought to myself.

Anyway, as much fun as the evening was I made a terrible mistake in that I did not drink any water while I was there and instead had two glasses (actually plastic cups) of Coca Cola instead. For one thing I was trying to stay awake to ring in the New Year. Plus, I rarely get to drink the stuff so I kind of indulged.

Well, caffeine is a diuretic which is a substance that basically dehydrates you. I’ve read numerous times that for every caffeinated or alcoholic (another diuretic) beverage you consume, you should be having 1-2 glasses of water alongside it to avoid dehydration.

Yeah, I knew this and did not do it even though as a pregnant woman staying hydrated is even more important than most. I guess this means you should give me my sign right now.

On our way home from the party I commented that I wasn’t sure if I was having contractions or just so sore from all the laughing. By the time we got home I knew that I was having some sort of contractions. I even actually saw the start of one when I stood in front of the bathroom mirror while washing my hands.

Stephen said we shouldn’t worry about them and try to get as much rest as possible. He tried to coach me into relaxation in our bed, but it wasn’t working for me. These things hurt and didn’t seem to stop hurting. I felt like I was on a never ending abdominal workout. Plus, I was also experiencing some restless leg syndrome symptoms which have started in the last few weeks and basically it means that just as I am drifting off to sleep I have the incredible and irresistible urge to kick something really hard, jerk my legs, run a marathon, I don’t know. I just have. to. do. something. with. my. legs.

So I decided to go downstairs. I was very delighted to find out when I got online that my friend Barbie that was due within days of me was also possibly in labor (turns out she really was and has probably already had her baby at this point, anxiously awaiting some news!). I started trying to time the contractions which was slightly difficult because my belly just hurt so much! But I did manage to do it and discovered that my old friends 1 minute long and 2 minutes apart were back in action.

This isn’t how labor normally starts. So even though they hurt a lot more I was pretty skeptical that this was the real deal. It was about 3am at this point. I laid on the couch and managed to slightly dose off until 4:45am. I felt like I “dreamed” (not sure if that is what I actually did) about contractions the whole time. They hurt so bad. When I “woke” up I was just miserable. Why wasn’t I getting a break?

I started timing them again and they hadn’t changed in duration or frequency, but they had gotten more intense. I also learned that Barbie was actually headed to the hospital! As for me, I was still debating whether I should wake up my midwife or not. I was so skeptical that this was the real deal. I knew this wasn’t how labor was supposed to be.

Finally, around 5am I decided to just give her a call and see what she thought. She agreed that the fact that the contractions hadn’t changed in duration or frequency seemed suspicious. I told her I would take a bath and drink some more water and keep her updated.

So I did all that. When I got out of the tub I was just so overwhelmed at not getting a break and the contractions hurting so. freaking. bad. that I started crying. Stephen woke up and tried to make me comfortable in our bed. He was trying to get me to stay calm and relaxed, but it hurt and I wasn’t getting a break. It really, really hurt.

He called our midwife back up and it was during this conversation that we figured out my hydration problem. She said that if I was dehydrated it could cause an irritable uterus and that could be why I was in so much pain. She suggested walking around and drinking more water.

Well, walking around did not help. It just made me belly get all hard and contracted and stay that way and then it was crampy and really sore on top of that. I was having a hard time maintaining my composure. It just really, really hurt!

I kind of figured out at this point though that there really didn’t seem to be real contractions happening. I wasn’t really that crampy low, rather it was more across the middle section of my belly. There weren’t waves of contractions, just constant pain like you’ve worked out much too hard. Stephen called our midwife back again and she said that it would probably take a couple hours for the water I’d started drinking at 2am when we got home to kick in and rehydrate me. Once that happened, I would probably feel a lot better. She said another bath might help.

So another bath was drawn. I kept a water bottle by my side and Stephen dutifully rubbed my back the whole time. About thirty minutes to an hour later I finally was no longer in pain, just really exhausted. No more contractions were happening so we both got into bed. Stephen called our midwife again and let her know that it was all over and we were all glad that she didn’t have to make another trip out here for nothing.

Lesson learned. No more diuretics. Drink lots of water.

Maybe this baby will eventually decide to make an appearance.

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A proper update

So I realized that I have been great about documenting all my knitting adventures lately, but not so great about documenting Bean and this pregnancy. The last time I did anything close to a real update was about a month ago when I talked about the learning adventures of Bean. So I’m well overdue, I’d say.

I guess I will start off back at the learning adventures, as it seems like as good a place as any. We’re still trying to make learning a daily part of our lives in a natural way.


Reading with her Papa just before heading out to a Halloween party we attended.

However, I’ve completely cut the DVD portion of the Your Baby Can Read! system out. When all the stuff about the Baby Einsteins videos came out I decided that Bean did not need to be watching TV, even TV specifically designed for babies, yet. Actually, the DVD part of the system is what bugged me the most anyway and that is what I was talking about when I said I was not willing to follow his strict plan for learning.

His suggestion is that you watch the DVD for the unit you are on twice a day. You are also supposed to move on to the next unit once a month and once you move on to a new unit you are still supposed to watch the DVDs from the previous units three times a week. So you figure that by the time you get to the end of the five or six DVD system your kid is basically going to be watching TV a majority of the day. I think this is ridiculous.

Besides, Bean is a very inquisitive and alert little girl. She wants to learn about the world around her. She is constantly asking what stuff is. She loves music and particularly likes it when we sing songs with hand motions in them like The Itsy Bitsy Spider. I really don’t think I have anything to worry about as far as her ability to learn. And besides, she’s ONE.

Bean has become a full-time walker. It has been so nice because now I don’t have to carry her everywhere anymore which is admittedly getting harder and harder to do as the pregnancy wears on. She can climb the stairs and will follow me around the house or walk somewhere holding my hand.

I completely weaned her on November 1. It wasn’t something I was really planning on. Actually, the biting issues had completely stopped (finally!) and I was pretty much fine with continuing to nurse her before naps and at bedtime. Plus, everytime that I thought I was going to do it she’d get a cold or had a reaction to vaccines or something and I felt like I needed to continue so she could get antibodies and stuff.

About a week or so before I weaned her I had started getting really uncomfortable Braxton Hicks during every nursing session that would last for several hours afterwards. So I started to think that I really should reconsider weaning her because I didn’t want nursing to send me into premature labor or something. I was still feeling really torn about the whole thing though because I knew she just wasn’t ready to stop. She was always coming up to me and tugging on my shirt. I guess my philosophy is more along the lines of child-led weaning in some ways.

Well, on the afternoon of November 1 I nursed Bean as usual before her nap and she basically treated me like a jungle gym the entire time. She was even upside down at one point. It was pretty ridiculous. That combined with some contractions afterwards had me frustrated. I came downstairs and told Stephen that I was done. However, in the back of my mind I wasn’t sure if this was really going to be the case. I’ve said that many times and then not actually quit. Well anyway, the rest of the day she didn’t ask to nurse. I gave her some regular milk before bed that night and she didn’t ask to nurse again. The next day came and she didn’t ask to nurse at all. It’s been like that ever since. So I guess she was just done like me. I’m really glad that this is the way it went and I didn’t have to make it happen because I’m not sure I would have been up for it.

On a related note, we’ve been having some food issues around here. Today Bean once again proved that she’s willing to eat pretty much anything so long as it is in a restaurant. She shared chicken nachos from Baja Fresh with me and ate quite a huge portion of them. If I try to make the same thing at home, she picks at it. Same goes for anything from orange chicken to broccoli to pasta, etc. At home she’s just incredibly picky and I can hardly get her to eat. It is very frustrating. Some days I/we go out to eat for lunch or dinner just so I know that she’ll get something to eat besides grains (cereal, bread, oatmeal, or crackers), dairy (yogurt or milk mostly and cheese only in the form of a quesadilla) and fruit. I thought I had solved this problem by eliminating Cheerios from her diet and while that did seem to make things a little better and get her to try a few new items, the problem still seems to persist. I’ve tried the “toddler boat” idea (an ice cube tray or muffin tin filled with various items for them to graze on all day) from Dr. Sears, spoon feeding jar food (works sometimes), and a whole host of other things. At her last doctor’s appointment Bean was anemic and her pediatrician said I need her to eat leafy greens and red meat. I have not been successful at all in this. Any suggestions from parents of other picky eaters would be welcome.

She’s also teething yet again. A couple of bottom teeth are coming in. She’s been a bit of a bear to deal with some days. She is also chewing on everything. I’ve actually had to take her books and other cardboard type toys (some blocks and a couple other items) out of the toy box only to be looked at and read with our active supervision because she was eating them so much. I feel like a bit of a bad mom because of this since she loves her books so much, but the amount of cardboard consumption was getting ridiculous.


Chewing on her crib to alleviate the teething pain.


You can see the damage from her chewing just above her hand on the right side of the picture.

As far as pregnancy, depending on which due date calculation you use I am somewhere between 32w and 33w3d along. In the last week or so I’ve had a resurgence of some of my first trimester woes, particularly heartburn and morning sickness. The morning sickness is fairly easily taken care of by Zofran and Unisom, but both make me really drowsy and so can only be taken just prior to Bean’s nap or bedtime. The heartburn, on the other hand, really doesn’t seem to have any cure. Sometimes it is so bad that it makes me cough and gag.

Even without nursing anymore I am still experiencing a lot of uncomfortable Braxton Hicks contractions. They usually occur when I have busy days or when I have to climb the stairs a lot. Sometimes they make me have panic attacks. I think this is because my uterus gets so hard that my lungs and other organs are even more squashed than usual. I start to feel like I can’t get a good breath and then I panic. I know this is not good. I’m really trying to figure out ways not to panic and calm down. Sometimes just drinking some really cold water seems to help. I really want to figure this out before it comes time for real labor though or I might be in some serious trouble.

Anyway, that just about sums everything up around here. Hopefully I’ll be more prompt with my updates in the future. 🙂

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Filed under Family, Homeschooling, Natural Living, Parenting, Pregnancy and Birth, Ramblings