maverick baby

Curious J is sound asleep in her crib at the moment, and JJ and I are breathing a sigh of relief.  She had two exciting incidents today, both involving bodily harm, so we’re glad that she made it through the day in one piece.

First exciting incident happened during church today.  It was my week to be on the organ bench, and as usual, JJ was up front waving his arms around wildly and trying to preach something similar to the manuscript in front of him.  (j/k 🙂 )  Anyway, on these kinds of mornings where each of us are occupied, I do my best to have the baby go down for her nap around 10am, which is half an hour before church starts.  Then I give a housekey and our long-range baby monitor to someone at church, someone who is willing to go up to the house and get the baby up when the lights on the monitor start flashing.  This system worked very well with Lyd, and it works well with Curious J, too.  This morning, I had a teenage girl, who knows and loves both my girls, on monitor duty.  She and Lyd went up to the house around 11:15 to get the baby.  Not too long after that, I observe from my perch on the organ bench that Lyd has come back into church alone, and she takes the teenage girl’s younger sister out of church with her.  Okaaaay.  Not 2 minutes after that the younger sister returns, and taps her father on the shoulder, and HE heads out of church.  What in the world is going on?  A few minutes later, the father returns, but neither the teenage girl nor my two daughters are anywhere to be seen.

After the service, as I play a peppy Bach Prelude (in G Major, if you’re interested) to bouce everyone out of church, the teenage girl sits down near me on the piano bench near the organ, folds her hands in her lap, and has an obvious look of waiting to talk to me.  I finish playing, and I ask, “What’s up?”

With tears in her eyes, she tells me that while she was trying to change Curious J’s diaper after her nap, the baby somehow rolled/vaulted herself off the changing table and fell smack down on the hardwood floor.  The babysitter hadn’t even been turned away, but she just wasn’t expecting the baby to wiggle so fast or so strongly so she didn’t catch her in time.  The father had been summoned up to the house to help make sure that the baby was okay.  Thankfully, Curious J was moving her arms and legs around just fine, and it seems she landed on her butt rather than her head or neck (thank you, God!), so it seems that she’ll be okay.

This poor teenage babysitter, however, just couldn’t stop crying over how awful she felt about “breaking the baby!”  I gave her lots of hugs, and told her that J is just that kind of crazy baby.  I told her not to worry about it, that it happens to all moms (and the mothers around us listening to this story all nodded their heads and added their own versions of the story from their own children’s lives), and that she didn’t do anything wrong.  And when I held my baby later, I could tell that she was just fine.

But just the same, I’m going to ask my new chiropractor to check out my baby when I go for my next visit on Tuesday.  It can’t hurt.

Curious J’s other exciting incident happened this evening.  Lyd and I were working outside planting flowers when all of a sudden I hear JJ urgently calling me from our upstairs bedroom window, “Emily, come up here right now!”  I could tell from his tone of voice that something was wrong, so I headed upstairs immediately, dirt-covered hands and all.  I found JJ and Curious J in the bathroom, where the baby was bleeding from her mouth, but not crying.  JJ told me that the baby had been at the headboard of our bed looking out of the window, bouncing up and down, something we will often let her do when one of us is there.  However, this time she fell and smacked her mouth on the headboard.  JJ hadn’t realized initially that she had hurt her mouth; he discovered she was bleeding a minute or so later, and that’s when he called me.

I quickly washed my hands, and with JJ’s help, I tried to look in her mouth to see what was actually cut.  I checked her four top teeth, and none of them were loose.  I made up a cold washcloth to try to wipe out some of the blood, but I still couldn’t actually see the injury.  The baby wasn’t crying anymore, however, so I figured that was a good sign.

I decided to call our pediatrician’s office; after hours they are connected to a nurse hotline that can answer questions.  I called that, and (after spelling my name, the baby’s name, our address, our phone number, the baby’s date of birth — for two different people!!) I explained the situation to the nurse.  During the course of our conversation, I was able to look in the baby’s mouth again, which by now had stopped bleeding, and this time I was able to find a small tear/hole on the inside of her upper lip near the top.  The nurse gave us a few instructions (tylenol, cold washrag, watch for swelling and/or bleeding), and said the baby should be fine.

And, the baby seems to be fine.  I never even gave her the tylenol.  We’ll see how well she sleeps tonight after all the excitement today!  Last night she woke up twice to eat, but the 3 nights before that she managed to only eat once.  Hopefully it’s a sign of good things to come!

Curious J’s other new “trick” is diving in the bathtub.  WHAT?? you ask.  Yes.  It’s quite entertaining for her and Lyd, but not quite so much for me, although I can’t help smiling when I see the uproarious fun my daughters are having, and how the baby is making her big sister laugh, rather than the other way around.

Here’s how J’s Bathtub Diving routine works: While sitting on the shallow side of the tub, J sits up, then quickly turns her body so that she splashes onto her tummy.  Her face, while not planted submersed in the water, gets a huge splash on it, and J holds herself up on her hands, splashing and kicking.  J then works herself back up into a sitting position, usually getting in a few more slippery dives in the process, and once she’s fully seated upright, she repeats the whole process again, diving back onto her belly.  It is hugely splashy, very active, and J LOVES it.  Me?  Not so much.  It was quite frustrating last night when that’s ALL she wanted to do in the bathtub.  It made washing her hair an interesting escapade.

But there’s one more trick that my sweet baby has been doing lately, a trick that I love.  When we’re out in public talking to people and I’m holding her in my arms, she tucks her head onto my shoulder as she shyly looks out at the people who are strangers to her.  It’s really sweet, and it makes me feel very necessary and important to my baby’s emotional well-being.  She’s getting very stranger-shy.  If she can’t see me, then she’ll hang out with people she doesn’t know, but she doesn’t smile very much.  But once she sees me, she stretches out her arms and body as far as they will go so that she can get into my arms, and she tucks herself right in next to me.

Yeah, I’ll keep her.

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it might as well be spring

Lyd has gotten into gardens lately.  My parents came to visit us at the end of May, and they talked to Lyd about their garden and about the vegetables they grew in their garden, and Lyd was All Psyched to See Their Garden.  Every phone conversation she had with them between the time my parents went home and the time that we went to Wisconsin, she asked about how their garden was doing.  And when we finally got to my parents’ home, one of the first things she did was take a trip out to the garden with my father.

Yesterday (Saturday) at the local Farmer’s Market, Lyd and I found some sugar snap pea plants for sale.  On a whim, I decided to buy these for her.  The man selling them said that they would take about 6 weeks to grow.  Six week is the middle of October — that’s still our summertime!  So, sure, let’s do it.  It cost me a whopping $2, and Lyd was SO excited!

But the purchase of these pea plants necessitated a trip to our local OSH garden store, too.  Once there, I got bitten by the gardening bug, and I decided to plant some annuals in a few flower-lacking spots in the front of our house.  Not having bought flowers in quite some time, I was overly ambitious in the amount of flowers I though I would need.  I also bought potting soil, trowels, gardening gloves for both my and Lyd (she was THRILLED with hers!) and a few other non-gardening practical items for around the house.  I told Lyd that after church tomorrow, we would start the planting.  She could hardly wait.

So, after I got the baby down for her afternoon nap, Lyd and I headed outside.  She had more fun playing in the dirt with the new trowels than actually planting things, but we had a good time, despite a few re-plantings that I had to do due to my lack of experience.  I planted the sugar snap peas in a fenced-in area on the side of our property that the previous pastor used for storing his recycling materials.  (He was into recycling BIG TIME.)  I had to plant the peas there because that’s the only place where the deer and other animals won’t get at them.  I filled up a pot with dirt and placed it near the tall fence, as I’m guessing these peas will need something to climb up on.  When it came time to plant the flowers, I realized that I WAY overbought on them.  I was overcome by their beauty, I guess.  By the end of my planting I was desperately searching around for old pots to put the flowers in.  Hopefully these flowers won’t die instantly, because I worked for a good four hours this afternoon.  I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.  I don’t claim to have a green thumb, and a few years ago when I tried to plant things, it was a dismal failure.  But, fingers crossed!

Lyd is excited, though.  I hope at least one of the six pea plants make it.  She’ll be so excited to actually grow something herself.  She’s already planning to bring her kindergarten classmates up to see her pea plants. 

And working outside made me feel very industrious this afternoon!  It was nice to be physically working, and I hope I can find (or be forced to find) similar opportunities in the future.  I feel tired out in a good way tonight.

J’s birth – false start #1

My second daughter was born near the end of September.  However, I was in labor with her essentially the entire month of September, and my first “false start” was on the Saturday morning of Labor Day weekend.

At that point in my pregnancy, I was so large and uncomfortable that I could no longer sleep lying down.  I slept sitting up in our living room recliner.  It wasn’t super comfortable, but it was the most comfort I could find.  Early that Saturday morning, around 3am, I woke up to go to the bathroom, something that happened frequently during the night.  However, before I even got up, I realized that something was leaking out of me, and I was now sitting in a puddle of wet.  I knew it wasn’t urine, because I still had to go to the bathroom, and my first guess was that my water had broken.

I remember being somewhat scared about this, since I was 36.5 weeks pregnant, not near to full-term, but I also remember that it was the middle of the night, and I was a little fuzzy and not quite awake.  I did, however, go upstairs and wake JJ up.  He told me call my doula, Treesa.  That particular evening, Treesa was spending the night with her husband in a hotel close to the SF airport in account of some work-related event of which her husband was a part.  This was convenient, because she actually lived 30 minutes away, across the Bay.  Yet I remember feeling very guilty calling her away from a special night in a hotel.

But, God bless her, she came over in the middle of the night to be with me.  She asked if I was having any contractions, and I said that I wasn’t having any more than normal, just Braxton-Hicks contractions.  She asked if I noticed any more fluid leaking out, and I said no.  She brought out her baby heartbeat monitor (my doula also worked as a midwife), she checked the baby’s heartbeat, and found it was just fine.  So she suggested, since it was the middle of the night, that I try to go back to sleep, and unless the situation changed, we would figure out what to do once morning arrived.  She made herself comfortable on the couch next to my chair; at least she claimed she was comfortable.  We did both fall back asleep, although I didn’t fall asleep right away.

In the morning, we assessed the situation.  I still wasn’t having any real labor contractions, nor had I had any more fluid leaking out of me.  I was pretty anxious about the whole situation, as I didn’t want the baby to be born too early.  (Little did I know… ha ha ha!)  So Treesa drove to Whole Foods, where she bought some tiny homeopathic labor-starting pills as well as some Bach Rescue Remedy pastilles.  The homeopathic pills were to help get labor going if it was indeed going to start, but if my body wasn’t at all in labor, the pills wouldn’t do a thing.  The Rescue Remedy pastilles were to calm me down.

As it turned out, I was not in labor.  I had no more gushes of fluid (that day!), and while I had a few contractions, they were not major, and they were nothing different than what I’d been having the previous weeks.  At first we called my OB with what had happened, and he told us to go to the hospital so that he could find out whether or not my water had broken (there’s a swab test that can tell whether fluid is amniotic fluid or not), but after a while with nothing really happening, we called my OB again, and he told us to not to bother with coming in.  We realized that this was a False Start.

My doula told me the fluid could have been one of two things:

1)  A break really high up in my bag of waters, near the top of my uterus, a break that resealed shortly after breaking (as opposed to the typical way the bag of waters breaks, which is right at the mouth of the cervix)

2) Losing a very watery mucus plug.

Which one of those was it?  Stay tuned to find out!

She also told me that it’s extremely common for second-time mothers to have a “false start” before labor truly begins.  I had felt so guilty for calleing her at 3am and asking her to come over when it turned out to be nothing, but she insisted that I shouldn’t feel guilty about that.  She knew that when she became a doula, that’s what she signed on for.  She never allowed me to feel guilty about anything pregnancy related, and that’s why to this day I continue to be grateful to her for her help during the final month of my pregnancy with Baby J.

So, after my first false start, that finally provided the impetus I needed to finally get my tail in gear to get things ready for the baby.  I remember telling Treesa, “The baby can’t come yet!  I don’t have the crib ready and I don’t have her clothes in the drawers!”  After this false start, over the next few days, I got ready.  😉

Read the next part of J’s birth story: false start #2

lunchbox delight

Such eclectic posts I’ve been writing lately!  I know that, theoretically, blogs are supposed to have some sort of unifying theme.  Umm, yeah, well, I’ll get right on that…  😉

I feel the need to share the fact that we have finally reached a decision on a new lunchbox for Lyd in our household.  After shopping all over the web, I found that the Stephen Joseph line of lunchboxes had just the kinds of whimsical designs I was looking for.  So I offered Lyd some choices:

this

this

and MY personal favorite, this.  With the coordinating backpack!  How cute would that be?  And the backpack is all pink, yellow, and orange, just like she wanted!

But she finally chose this.  Notice it, too, is pink, yellow and orange.  I bought her the matching backpack, because every little girl needs a backpack for school, one that she has chosen herself.  Lyd has a hand-me-down Ariel (Disney’s Little Mermaid) backpack that she uses, but it’s nice for her to have something she picked out herself.  Plus I wanted to buy something non-Disney.  I’m not anti-Disney, but I don’t want to start her in the habit of being suckered in to that kind of commercialism.  Besides, these lunchboxes were MUCH CUTER than anything Disney puts out!

And, I am SO READY for Lyd to be in school.  I’ve been babysitting another girl all week who is 2 years older than Lyd, and while they play together really well, I’m ready for them to not be in the house anymore.  Besides, the woke the baby up this morning, so J only got a 45 minute nap.  Plus, it’s horribly hot here today, so J has been having a hard time falling asleep for her afternoon nap.  She wouldn’t go to sleep after being in the crib for an hour, so I took her out, gave her some more lunch, and am now giving her some playtime.  We’ll try the nap again in a half hour or so.

But, it could be worse.  At least they’re happy and healthy, right?

how to butcher a chicken

When I was growing up, our family spent a few weeks every summer at the dairy farm where my father had grown up.  The memories made there are some of the best from my childhood.  One of the fun events every summer, and event for which other family members took off of work to be at, was chicken butchering.  My aunt and uncle raised about 40-50 chickens every year, and they were all butchered off every summer.  We children were in on the fun, of course, and as I got older, I participated in more and more of the butchering process.  The entire process was done outside of one of the machine sheds, using old tables and 3 or 4 big coolers filled with cold water.

One thing I’d like to mention at the beginning is that while we were obviously killing animals, it was NEVER done with any kind of macabre glee at being able to kill something.  There was NONE of that at all.  While my parents and aunts and uncles and grandma would have never thought to use the word “respect” as a description of how they treated the chickens, that’s essentially what they did.  These animals were not tortured or cruelly treated, but since these chickens were raised purely for their meat, butchering them was the only way to achieve that final goal.

So, if you’re interested, here’s how to do it:

  1. Catch the chicken by its feet, bringing it to the chopping block hanging upside down.  (I only ever observed this job done by a male member of the family, either my father or my uncle.)  Whack the chicken’s head/neck on the chopping block to make it unconscious, lay its head/neck carefully on the chopping block, and use an axe to chop off it’s head.  (I asked once why the chicken had to be knocked out before it’s head was chopped off.  My uncle responded that it would be impossible to accurately chop off the head of an active, flapping chicken.  Good point.)  The headless chicken will start flapping it’s wings, but don’t be alarmed.  Lay it down on tall grass, and hold it down until it stops flapping.  (This job was delegated to the children of the group, like me.  Part of it was kind of gross, the headless chicken flapping, spurting blood all over, but once you got into the groove, it was kinda fun.  It’s a harder job than it seems, however.  I remember times when it took both hands and as well as some of my body weight to hold down a big chicken!)
  2. Once the chicken was lying still in the grass, pick up the chicken by it’s legs, and dip it into a bucket (I believe we used 10-gallon pails) of boiling water.  Dip it up and down a few times.  This hot water loosens the feathers, making them easier to pluck.  Once the chickens are soaked, put them immediately down on a table covered in newspapers, and start pulling feathers off of the chicken.  Fun!  Just know that wet feathers are sticky, so be ready for that.
  3. Once the feathers are plucked (and make sure to get ALL the feathers out, including the pinfeathers.  It annoys me to this day to buy a whole chicken from the store and find feathers still on it.  Grr.), put the chicken into cold water (usually in a cooler) to cool down.
  4. After the chicken has cooled (I’m not sure, but it seems like it took around 15-30 minutes), get ready for gutting the chicken.  (This process I’m a little sketchier on, but I’ll say what I remember as best as I can.)  First cut off the “butt” of the chicken (called the “oiler), straight across, and reach your hand up inside, and start pulling out innards.  If you’re into using the entire chicken, save the liver, gizzard, and heart for eating or adding to soup stock.  (I don’t remember which family members these were, but there were various family members who liked each of those parts.)  Be sure to get the lungs out.  I remember my mother specifically teaching me how to get the lungs out of a chicken, because it can be a little tricky.  (To this day, whether it’s a whole chicken or a whole turkey, it seems like I still have to take the lungs out of half of those birds that I buy from a store.)
  5. Once the chicken is gutted, cut off the chicken’s legs at the knee, so that the yellow part of the leg is gone.  (This was me and my cousins’ favorite part of the chicken to play with, as there’s a tendon that sticks out on the leg, and when you pull it, it makes the whole chicken claw move.  So, we would chase each other around with those chicken legs, pulling on the tendons.  Our parents were NOT amused.  They would instruct us to “Go throw those legs into the manure pit.”  Spoilsports.)  This step of cutting off the legs might have ocurred before the gutting of the chicken, I’m not sure.  I don’t think it matters too much, actually.
  6. This next step is one I only ever observed, for reasons you will soon figure out.  My uncle would light a small oil fire on a metal can lid, and he would take the plucked and gutted chicken, and he would expose the surface skin of the entire chicken to that fire, in order to singe off any remaining fine hairs, hairs that were too small and fine to be plucked.  (As a side note, because these chickens were so well plucked and singed, when my mother baked these chickens in the oven, she would sprinkle seasoning salt over the chicken skin, and once it was baked, that skin would be crispy and delicious.  That was one of my favorite “treats” growing up — fried chicken skin.  You may think it sounds gross, but it is absolutely delicious!  Because these chickens were essentially “free range” chickens, they didn’t have a whole lot of excess fat on them, either, so there wasn’t a whole bunch of fat sticking to the skin.  I wouldn’t dare eat the skin of chickens I buy from the store today, even the organic ones.  The skin is usually not singed, and there’s always a lot more fat on them than there was on these chickens from my childhood.  So sad.)
  7. Put the chicken back into a water-filled cooler (but not the same water as before, because now the chicken is gutted, and you don’t want it to be in the same water as an ungutted chicken).  Now the chicken is ready to be cut up into pieces and frozen for later use.  Of course, if you were at our family’s chicken butchering day, we always had fresh chicken soup for lunch, complete with a few livers, gizzards, and hearts thrown in for the people who liked them.  In my opinion, liver is okay, gizzard is too chewy, and heart is somewhere between liver and gizzard, but not my favorite.  But the fresh chicken soup was always delicious!

Congratulations!  Enjoy your fresh chicken!

(It’s possible that I may have missed something.  If so, please add it to the comments.  Also, if you have an alternate way of doing any of these steps, please add that to the comments as well.)

fun with food poisoning

But first, let me share the WONDERFUL news!  Sweet Baby J slept 8 hours straight last night!  I had her down by 7:45pm and she woke up at 3:47am!  How did I know it was exactly 3:47am?  Well, let me tell you…

I ate something last night that did NOT agree with me.  Either it was the new tub of cocktail peanuts that I opened to snack on, or else it was the summer sausage that perhaps was sitting out a little too long on Sunday.  Regardless, I had food poisoning last night.  NOT FUN.  I was physically exhausted and miserable all evening.  I dragged myself around putting the girls to bed, only able to keep going by reminding myself how much better it would be once they were in bed.  Finally, after one too many trips to the bathroom, I brought out the Imodium A-D.  I turned my back on my dirty dishes and went to bed at 9pm (which is highly unusual for me) and fell asleep almost instantly (which is UNHEARD OF for me!)  I slept like a rock, waking up at 12:45am — to a fever and chills.  Graaaaaayyyt.  So, after 20 minutes of shivering in bed, I finally dragged myself downstairs to find an Advil.  Couldn’t find the Advil.  Grrr!  I finally found one in the secret pocket in my purse.  I took that, along with some Echinacea and Vitamin C.   And more water.  Dragged myself back up to bed.  Realized that I was still freezing and desperately needed warm socks and a sweatshirt, as I was still shivering like mad.  After another 20 minutes, finally dragged myself out of bed again to get those items.

Around 1:30 — I hear the baby give a huge, ear-piercing, coming-out-of-nowhere scream.  Oh, dear God, please don’t let that baby wake up.  I can barely stand, much less take care of her.  But, praise the Lord, that scream was it.  She went back to sleep.  Hallelujah!

Meanwhile, the Advil doesn’t seem to be really kicking in, although I’m not quivering as much.  I must have dozed off every so lightly finally around 2:45, because I woke up around 3:15 ABSOLUTELY ROASTING.  So, I strip off the socks and the sweatshirt and all the covers and lie there on the bed.  I’m still sweating.  It’s like I’m having night sweats or something.  But, I’m also watching the clock, because I was hoping that Baby J would make it to 3:45am without waking up – which would be the 8 Full Hours I was hoping for.  She made it, just barely, waking up at 3:47am.  8 hours, people!  What a fantastic night for her to decide to sleep 8 hours straight!

(I don’t know what made the difference last night.  Is it because I got her to bed before 8pm, and babies who are put to bed earlier tend to sleep longer, as Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child says they will?  Or is it the fan that I turned on facing the wall all night, that offered white noise to help my light sleeper stay asleep?  Or was it Divine Intervention, as God knew I wouldn’t be able to care for my baby in the throes of my misery?  Who knows.  Perhaps the answer is simply, “Yes.”)

Baby J had a harder time than usual falling back asleep however, so I still wasn’t able to fall asleep when I went back to bed.  Just before 5am, she started really crying again, I went and checked on her, changed a diaper, popped the pacifier back in, sang her a short song, and left the room.  No dice.  She wailed away with vigor and gusto.  In desperation, I did something that I rarely do in the middle of the night, something that I can count on one hand the number of times I have done since J was born — I woke my husband up and asked him to go in with the baby.  I explained briefly that I’d been awake since 12:45am (it was now 5am), I had fed and changed the baby, and I asked him to go in a rock and sing to her.  Bless his heart, he did.  Unfortunately (and this is one of the reasons I don’t ask him to get up with the baby at night), he then was unable to go back to sleep, so today he’s been up since 5am.  Poor guy.  But thanks to his help, I was able to FINALLY fall back to sleep, and I slept until 8:30.  My wonderful husband even got up the girls up this morning without letting them wake me, AND he made breakfast for us all!  What a guy!

I’m doing better now that it’s daytime, but I’m still very exhausted and depleted and worn out.  Despite my tiredness, I am washing our bedsheets, however, because I can’t imagine sleeping another night on my sweat-stained sheets.  Yuk!

After all that, I still managed to teach a music class this morning, although it was definitely a lower-energy class than usual.  (I decided in the middle of the night last night that there was no way I could teach it, but I woke up too late to call in sick.  So, like Nike says, I just did it.)  Thankfully, the kids were all quiet, docile girls who didn’t mind the lower-energy Teacher Emily.  After class, I also was able to keep my appointment with a new chiropractor, and I really liked him.  Hopefully he’ll be able to fix my sore shoulder, which has been a problem ever since J was born last fall.  My previous chiropractor’s techniques weren’t working, and I hope this new guy will be a good match.  Thanks to the people who have recommended this guy to me, I have reason to believe that he’ll really be able to help me.  Yay!

The Natural Pregnancy Book by Aviva Jill Romm

The Natural Pregnancy Book: Herbs, Nutrition and Other Holistic Choices

by: Aviva Jill Romm

This is my new FAVORITE pregnancy book.  This book, written by a midwife with 20+ years of experience, takes a whole-person, wellness-focused view of pregnancy that I found very reassuring.  (In my opinion, the opposite of this book is the ubiquitous What to Expect When You’re Expecting, which seems to focus on everything that could possibly go wrong during pregnancy!)  I loved the author’s calm tone of voice in her writing, her serene joy at the concept of a new life beginning, and her commonsense solutions to many of the irritations and problems that can happen in pregnancy.  While most pregnancy books focus on the growing baby (and I love those kinds of books, too), not a lot of books focus solely on the changes the mother experiences during pregnancy, both emotional and physical.  There is ONE short chapter on how your baby grows; that’s it.  The rest of the book is about mom.  Ahh.  🙂

By far, my favorite part of this book is the second half, when she addresses various problems that can come up with pregnancy.  She explains each problem in simple, easy-to-understand language, then offers 3 types of solutions: first some commonsense remedies, secondly some nutritional remedies, and finally some herbal remedies.  I used very few of her herbal remedies, but I used lots of the commonsense and nutritional remedies.  This section often offered me more help than my OB-GYN did!  I cannot tell you how many times I looked up things in that part of book.

One unexpected benefit of this book was its chapter on miscarriage.  When I lost my baby in spring of 2006, I consulted the miscarriage section frequently to learn what to expect in terms of cramping and bleeding, and how to best heal once it was over.  Like the rest of the book, the chapter on miscarriage is compassionately written, and it was extremely helpful to me during that difficult time.

My only slight criticism of the book is the few nebulous “spiritual” references that the author makes in the book.  But those references are passing and minor, they are definitely not a focus of the book, and I would still unhestitatingly recommend this book to any pregnant woman.

Another book by Aviva Jill Romm that I own and find useful is Naturally Healthy Babies and Children: A Commonsense Guide to Herbal Remedies, Nutrition and Health. It’s full of more commonsense ideas for dealing with common childhood issues.  For each problem, there are basic remedies, nutritional remedies, and herbal remedies.  I consult with it frequently when Lyd or J are sick.

Finally, a good book for post-partum women by Aviva Jill Romm is Natural Health after Birth: The Complete Guide to Postpartum Wellness.  This book is good for focusing on taking care of yourself after birth while nurturing your baby as well.  It’s got good advice for taking care of the usual post-partum complaints, as well as lots advice that enables you to really rest and take care of yourself following birth so that your body can heal, so that you and your baby can bond, and so that breastfeeding can get off to as good of a start as possible.