Author Archives: playinginharmony

About playinginharmony

I am a nature loving, curious, seeking, simplifying, health enthusiast of a wife, mother, and Latter-Day Saint.

30 Day Weight Loss & Healing #2- The Protocol

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Yesterday I wrote out a brief summery of the last 8 years of my story. My story actually extends to the day I was born, as I was born sick and grew up with doctors not able to find what was wrong with me and so they insisted it was “all in my head.” By the time I was about 6 years old my mom had accepted their conclusion and would repeat this to me every time I told her I didn’t feel well, which was always. I’m sure she was exasperated and fearful that she didn’t know what to do to help, but to me it felt like abandonment. I have endured many things in my life and one thing I have learned from every single affliction is this:
Its me and God. No one else.
(I should note that when I say “God” I mean the Godhead, Father, Mother, and the Firstborn, Jesus Christ.)
Mortality has been rough all along and I have never been a child of the world, I’ve always been a child of God. And so its been a very lonely a challenging road but I am grateful for that, because I’ve found it necessary to do all I can every day to know them as thoroughly as I can know them, and to rely on them as fully as I can based on the degree of faith that I have, which I constantly strive to grow. My intent is to be directed by them in all things, because I came here with missions to accomplish and I don’t want to leave anything undone. I’ve known since childhood that I have the gift of healing. That gift has always been part of who I am, what makes up “me.” It is evident to me in my daily life. I see it in my comprehension of reality. I see it in my ability to feel with others, to bear their burdens. I see it in the pains in my heart over injustices. I see it in my instinct to nurture. In my love of affection. I see it in my understanding of how people think and why they feel the way that they do. I see it in my near absence of unrighteous judgement.

If ever i see a person who is not living to the highest degree of their potential, I feel an overwhelming need to help them. I can improve their situation and their experience of mortality and I know I can, through God. This applies to everyone. It is exhausting feeling this way! I often lament to God that its too much for me, but I know there is divine wisdom in it, and so I carry on.

Wow, I did not expect to talk about any of that at all! That was all a very long way of explaining my heart for healing and how I came into the practice of energy healing: I was Divinely led to it. No doubt about it. The story of how this came to me is a lengthy blog post in and of itself. For now I will just say that I know, without the slightest doubt, that this is exactly what God wants me to be doing. I know that it is not by my own power that healings occur. I am a conduit. I have worked hard, and continue to work hard, to obtain knowledge and tools that enable me to be that conduit, but without the power of God the knowledge and tools would be nothing. They have no power, only God has power. I testify that I have witnessed miracles while doing this work, it is far beyond me. Every time I work on anyone, I learn. Every time I work I see power and knowledge beyond my own. It is truly amazing, and truly of God. The Spirit has testified to me over and over and over that this is good and right and exactly what I am supposed to be doing.

The Method I primarily use is called Investigating Health and it was developed by Courtney Beardall. Courtney is one of the most insightful, humble, intelligent, kind, inspired people I have ever known. If anyone out there is feeling drawn to learning energy healing tools and would like a method that is extremely in depth and to the point, I cannot recommend her highly enough. This method is very much Christ centered. There is nothing but goodness and light in it.

As practitioners, we have the opportunity to participate in an advanced class each month. This month’s class was taught by the incredible Ashley Aschilman and the topic was weight loss. Ashley created a very inspired and effective protocol for assisting people in releasing those things that keep us from shedding excess weight. Back in the day when I lost over 70 lbs just by improving my diet and nothing else I wholeheartedly believed that anyone could lose weight just by eating a high raw diet. These past 3 years have shown me that is not true. My Heavenly Parents have taught me yet another lesson in compassion and non-judgement. There are countless reasons why we may have difficulty reaching and maintaining our body’s ideal weight. Some of us can eat super clean and exercise and still not lose much, or worse, keep gaining. There are also those of us who are underweight. Not feeling comfortable in our bodies is the same no matter our size. I have seen the pain that underweight people feel. It is not any different than overweight people. Yet we somehow think its socially acceptable to tease people for being underweight (example: “Do you eat anything other than salad?”) but not people who are overweight (example: We are far less likely to say, “Do you do anything other than sit around eating cheeseburgers?”). Its cruel and it hurts. We ought to feel comfortable in our bodies and we ought to love ourselves and our bodies enough to want to be healthy and well. We ought not to judge others. I took emotional beatings at every turn on my weightloss journey. Being told I was too thin when all I was doing was caring for myself, and when I knew that I was healing and quite literally saving my life was very painful.

This weightloss protocol addresses many issues- hormones, nutritional deficiencies, false beliefs, emotional, mental, and spiritual aspects, sleep, stress. One of my favorite things that I learned is that our bodies have a current “set point” for the weight our body perceives it should be, based on the current corruptions present within it. For example, I am currently 153 pounds. My wight has been climbing and climbing despite my efforts to lose weight. I tested and found my set point is 172 pounds. My body perceives that it needs to reach and maintain a weight of 172 pounds to be safe. My ideal weight, however, the weight that my body is according to its perfect blueprint is 125 pounds. Now, this was difficult for me to accept. I felt most acceptable at 117 lbs, 120 at the highest, and 5 lbs is a lot of weight on a body of that size and height (5’7″). Carrying on with my example here… I have determined my set point to be 172 lbs and my ideal weight as 125 pounds. The question then would be, why does my body feel it needs to be 172 pounds? And that is exactly where we begin with energy healing. We identify the corruptions and correct or remove them. More specifically, we remove them with our intention by the power of God. It works. I have alleviated myself of many maladies and helped many others as well. But as we often recite, “By their fruits ye shall know them.” I am always willing to be the test subject. For the next month I will be testing this protocol on myself and reporting back here weekly. If this helps me, I know it will help you. I am not an easy case and I am working on myself, which can be less effective based on our inability to see ourselves as objectively as we see others. Honestly, maybe it won’t work for me. I have helped many people heal beyond the measure that I myself have been able to heal using food, herbs, and energy. If it doesn’t work for me, I feel confident, based on my experience, it will work for most. That said, this isn’t a magic wand. Healing takes time. Healing takes a willingness to do things differently than we have done. It will likely take multiple sessions and a few dietary and lifestyle changes. If you’re like me and you’ve already made many dietary and lifestyle changes and still are not losing weight, this is a great thing. There is hope!

Here is the plan, and I will be doing this throughout the month of July.

#1- Remove the offenders.
I have a whole lot of food intolerances. The list seems to grow all the time. This is pretty standard for people with autoimmune disorders. This week I tested through a list of 336 foods and 61 seasonings. Of those, I can eat, and have available to me locally, 43 food items and 18 seasonings. Now, these food items include things like many varieties of lettuce and leafy greens, so they are no necessarily individual, filling foods. Many of them would go together in a salad and they are almost exclusively fruits and vegetables. I’ve put together a small list of “meal” ideas that I can make with them. Obviously, if a person is this highly sensitive to so many foods and you remove them for a month that person will drop a few pounds and feel a whole lot better. I can attest to this because I’ve done it many times. Just one month ago I did 28 days of all raw food (eating fully raw is the only way I’ve been able to lose any weight since my last child was born). I ate mostly fruit with some leafy greens and small amounts of raw nuts and seeds. I lost 9 pounds and felt incredible most of the days of the cleanse. The day I ate cooked food I went back to feeling terrible and quickly gained the weight back, plus one pound (so far). Several months before that I did a 6 day fruit fast. I lost 6 pounds, which I gained back with the first meal I ate (which was a dinner consisting of homemade vegetable soup, homemade wild yeast bread, and a ginormous green salad). A few months before that I did a 10 day juice fast, I lost 6 pounds that time too and gained it back within a few days after the fast. This did not used to happen when I would do cleanses before my last pregnancy. I would have expected to lose more than 9 lbs in 28 days at my size. My goal is really not to lose weight, its to heal the issues that the excess weight is visual evidence of. I want to feel well and avoid disease. The fact that my body is not releasing weight is an indication of deeper problems.

#2- Working the protocol.
I am committing to spending 15 minutes each day working the energy protocol for weight loss on myself. I rarely have time to work on myself, but I feel I can commit to 15 minutes a day. I hope to go longer as often as possible, as a quality session is about an hour long. If I lose weight fairly easily and don’t gain it back immediately (I should continue to lose after the month is up if this works) then I know that the causes of the weight gain are truly healing. This may be a long process for me, because I have an entire lifetime of illness to work through, but my hope is that this one month will be evidence that this protocol would be effective for anyone.

That’s basically it! I might exercise here and there, as I do now. I don’t have many opportunities to do that, though I would love to daily. I intend to make an effort to get to sleep earlier, I always push myself to stay awake as long as possible because I so treasure that little bit of quiet time and I love to read and learn and accomplish things during that time. But essentially I am just working the protocol and removing the offending foods. I should state that the reason for that is so that my body can have a fair chance to heal. It takes a lot to deal with the constant onslaught of offenders I typically put into my body and this will give it a rest from fighting that battle so that it can focus its energy on the work of healing. I will be checking in weekly to report how I’m feeling and what I’m learning.

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30 Day Weight Loss & Healing #1- My Journey Overview

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As a healer, it has always been my goal to be able to help those who have not been able to heal by traditional/mainstream means. Those who have searched and searched, been to countless doctors, spent many thousands of dollars on supplements, tried a variety of diets, etc. and still are not well. I’m interested in helping these people because I am one.
I haven’t written about my experiences very actively over the past 3 years, but once upon a time I was 28 years old and very, very, VERY sick. I was so sick that I knew I would die before age 35 if I didn’t figure out why and how to fix it. I had been to many doctors, they offered me no diagnosis aside from IBS, and no help or hope. I was obese, I was swollen around my joints, which were inflamed and painful. I was fatigued all of the time, it didn’t matter how much I slept. I was in severe pain in my back and neck muscles and had headaches so intense that I would take 3 Ibuprofen upon waking and then lay on the couch for 30 minutes covering my eyes waiting for them to take the edge off the pain. Taking the edge off enabled me to attend to the basic needs of my children. I would take another 3 pills in the afternoon, and another 3 in the evening. That was the only way I could function even a little bit. I started blacking out randomly and having lengthy dizzy spells, often lasing for days at a time, with such intensity I had to hang on to things to move around the house. After my third baby was born was the worst. That was a very dark time in my life. “Luckily” that baby had such horrible colic for 5 months that I changed my diet quiet a bit as I tried to find the offending food. In the end it turned out the culprit was bananas, of all things, but the process got me off of dairy and sugar at least! I lost 20 lbs from those subtle dietary changes by the time he was 6 months old. That’s when I discovered raw vegan diets and read several books on that from our library. I spent the next month reading and doing an Isagenix cleanse (I had done a number of them over several years before but this was the only 30 I had done) to prepare my body for change. If I remember correctly I lost about 12-15 lbs in that month on that cleanse. This was the last Isagenix cleanse I would ever do. My health had improved noticeably. This was June 2009. July 1, 2009 I started my raw journey. I began slow by adding good things into my diet. The first thing I changed was starting my day with a huge green smoothie instead of the whey protein shake I’d relied on for many years. I never had any intention of going vegan, I loved meat and felt I needed it to be healthy, so I had planned on keeping a portion of meat at dinner time with everything else eventually being raw. I had always eaten what the world would consider and healthy balanced dinner; a serving of lean meat, a starch (potato, rice, homemade bread, etc.), and salad and /or steamed vegetables. As I transitioned my salads grew larger and I ate less and less of the starch and steamed vegetables, so I mostly ate salad and meat for dinner. My body changed dramatically over those first 4 months. As my health improved I gained the ability to discern how different food affected me. Every night I would have stomach pain after dinner. This happened for about a month before I accepted that it might be the meat and removed that and put a potato or steamed vegetable back in its place. From the day I made that change I never had a stomach ache after dinner again. I’ve tried eating meat a number of times over the years and it never does go over well with my body or my spirit. I became big into green smoothies and then started juicing, which catapulted my healing in a big way. Eventually I got into colon cleansing with water and that increased the speed of my healing as well. My skin was clear after years of painful face and back acne, I had energy, I lost 73 lbs, I had no need for pain medication because I was no longer in pain, my perspective on the world changed from dark and fearful to light and hopeful, I became an inspiration to others and I started doing Wellness Coaching which eventually led into Detox Counseling, specifically. Detox was my life. I still had some issues with weak digestion (bloating, gas, constipation, hemorrhoids) and low blood sugar, but all else was well and I was still working on those things.
And then I got pregnant with the 4th child. This was autumn of 2012. I had spent the summer rebounding and running and doing The Shred with Jillian Michaels… I was a 5’7″ 120 lb hyped-up-on-life machine of awesomeness… until the 7th week of the pregnancy. I went down. Way, way, waaaay down. As I did with all of my pregnancies, each one worse than the last. I was sure I was going to have the most amazing, fit, life-force infused pregnancy. I was sure I was going to be glowing and still running in my 8th month and tiny all over with a cute round bump. Not so. Whatever it was that caused my pregnancies to be so terrible was still there in force. I was sick the entire pregnancy. I could not eat healthy, I could not get down juice or vegetables. I could eat some fruit. I spent the whole 9 months eating whatever I could get in. It was survival. I was on bedrest almost the entire time with preterm labor. I was anemic. I could breathe but felt like I was suffocating the entire time. I had intense ligament pain on the sides of my tummy if I sat upright for more than a few minutes. I went into labor every time I got up. So I ended up spending the last few months laying down upstairs in my bedroom. We had moved to Arizona during my 6th month and my husband graduated Chiropractic College and went to WA to do his preceptorship for 2 months. I was alone in a new place, with my 3 kids, on bedrest and miserable. I became very depressed and had a lot of anxiety. And it was very lonely being isolated in my bedroom for months.
I was SO relieved when the baby was born. I had a birth that was absolutely awesome and very emotionally healing. That birth erased all the trauma from my second birth (which had also affected my 3rd birth). I felt I could accomplish anything and I was sure that the weight would come right off and within 6-8 weeks I would be a size 2 again and be back out there running and loving life. Well, that baby just turned 3 last week. Today I’m about the same weight I was after his birth. I lost some of the pregnancy weight during the first year but it came back on. I’ve done a handful of cleanses and have juiced all that I can now that I have 4 kids on my hands all hours of the day. Honestly, healthy eating is much more challenging for me with 4 children than it was with 3. I’m exhausted. Life has been very stressful. I went through about 2 years of extreme depression, which brought me through several periods of being suicidal. I never have yet been able to regain the health I was enjoying prior to the last pregnancy. I feel I should go on record here and say I would absolutely do it all over again for the child that came of it! He is amazing and I am as in love with him every moment of every day as I was that first day when I pushed him out of my body and brought him up out of the water with my own hands. He is my little friend who makes every day worth the struggle.
I have been able to identify a few reasons why I’m having these issues. #1 I’ve had Epstein Barr virus since I was about 7 years old. Its activated by hormones (um, pregnancy!). I was not aware of this until recently, and it is very common. #2 I was recently diagnosed with the MTHFR gene mutation. I have 2 copies of the mutation, which means that it comes from both sides of my family and means that I don’t get 70% of the folic acid my body needs to function. It also means that I’ve got massive amounts of homocystine causing a ruckus all over my body, putting me at risk of heart attack, blocking my D3 receptors so that I’m severely D3 deficient. And also my body can’t detox heavy metals very well, so I’ve got heavy metal toxicity in my gut. In addition, I have a mutation of the SUOX gene. #3 These gene mutations cause some fun autoimmune disorders which, in myself, have thus far been identified as fibromyalgia, Hashimotos, and lupus. Epstein Barr also contributes to symptoms of Hashimotos. No wonder I’m exhausted and overweight, huh?!! #4  I have an intolerance to just about every food known to man.  #5 I’m holding on to a whole lot of weight and sickness because of many factors in my life that my body has interpreted as “scarcity.” (More on that in the next post).

The good news: Every one of these things can be corrected. This is not a life sentence.

This is a brief history so you can understand where I am coming from and a bit of what my journey has been like. The next post will be geared toward healing and what I will be doing moving forward, which can also be a massive benefit to you!

P.S. I am 36 years old, I didn’t die at 35! I 100% attribute this to the grace of God as He has led me through my healing journey.
P.S.S. Isn’t it interesting that my healing journey originally began on July 1, 2009 and today is July 1, 2014. Coincidence? I don’t believe in those!

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The Change in Church Policy Affecting Children of Homosexual Couples

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X-posted from my other blog

Alright, I’m about to throw syntax into the wind here and just be raw, because this is too urgent and too important to worry about being anything other than just completely real. If you haven’t been caught up in the adversarial crap storm of the Church’s recent handbook change, lucky you, enjoy the fresh crisp air wherever you are and carry on. For the rest of us, I’ve got to tell you what I’m seeing and it is this-

1. The pain caused to real people because of this change in policy is not to be disregarded. Some of the choicest spirits out there are being tried like mad right now because of this. They are loved. Please pray for all who are pained because of this change. Every life matters. Our Father and Mother in heaven love EVERY single one of us as though WE WERE THEIR ONLY CHILD. I wish everyone to have complete and perfect knowledge and feeling of this. There are no exceptions.

2. There is NOTHING God does that is not out of pure and perfect love for his children.

3. God does nothing save it be out of His perfect wisdom. He sees around corners we cannot. We are children. We do not have full knowledge and understanding. He does.

4. What I have seen to today is the epitome of the prophecy that in the last days men will call evil good and good evil. What I am seeing today is people directing blame to the wrong person. If I make any point or impression let it be this: YOU GOT THE WRONG GUY. God does not hurt. God does not exclude. God does not corrupt. God does not change. God does not tempt. God does not repress. God does not stifle agency. God does not move people to anger. God does not contend. God does not disappoint. God does not shame. God does not deny blessings. If you heard about this change and perceived it as negative, you can be sure where that came from, and it wasn’t from God.

5. The church doesn’t come up with stuff just to bring on more persecution and drive more people away. They’re not a bunch of evil men trying to make us the weirdest possible culture on the planet so everyone else will hate us and harm us. Are Mormons weird? Heck yes! Hate to break it to you but GOD IS WEIRD, the WAYS of God are weird… or rather God is weird to the WORLD. The world is Satan’s domain. Of course things of God are going to seem nutzo here. Common sense.

6. Ever hear Jim Gaffigan’s bit on McDonalds? If not, you’ve missed out on some seriously priceless magic. We all have our “thing.” We can put any name on it, its all the same. Every one of us comes into this world with a weak spot, a specific inclination toward a type of sin. I think the amount of attention homosexuality gets over the others is ridiculous but it happens because its the sin people are openly proud of. My McDonald’s, or we might say my “homosexuality”, is food addiction. Its a serious sin against my body, it could easily kill me. It kills many people every day. All us gluttons aren’t throwing pride parades and wearing tshirts and packing around insignia proclaiming our awesomeness in how much we can put down in one sitting, demanding special rights in restaurants that every restaurant has to serve us all we can eat because, dang it, we were born to eat big! Maybe your “homosexuality” isn’t food, maybe its a sex addiction (pornography, masturbation, affairs, etc) -I work with sex addicts, this is a huge one. Maybe your “homosexuality” is gaming, connecting to video games as an out to life. Maybe its robbery. Maybe its habitual lying. Maybe its making an idol of your body by obsessively dieting and working out and showing it off. Maybe you’re a hoarder. Maybe you just love stirring up contention between people and watching it play out. Maybe you’re obsessed with appearing to be perfect to gain approval. Its all “homosexuality.” We’re all sick, we’re all broken. This is how its supposed to be. It is not okay, in fact its downright a sin in and of itself, to hate someone because their broken in a different way than you are. That’s all this is. It goes like this: We are weak (human). We are in Satan’s domain. He messes with us in attempt to control us, to get us to sin so we will submit our agency. We sin. We have a choice to make, indulge in that sin and stay in bondage or repent and be free. If any one of us turns from our sin, gets the help we need, and repents, it will not mean that we are free from that WEAKNESS, we are still human. It just means we’ve learned to draw strength from Christ via the atonement to keep ourselves safe from natural consequences of indulging in that sin. An alcoholic who stops drinking will always be an alcoholic. A sex addict who stops taking lust hits will always be a sex addict. A homosexual who stops sexual interaction with people of the same sex will always be homosexual. Not one of these people is more or less than the other. Not one of these people ought to be judged or shamed. But also, not one of these sins ought to be embraced and accepted and encouraged because they ALL harm the individual and the collective. We stand up AGAINST SIN ***BECAUSE*** we love the individual, NOT the other way around.
Though my upbringing was to accept homosexuality as a normal, natural, healthy thing, I understand much more deeply now. My heart has not changed. I still love people. I’m supposed to love people. Loving people does not mean loving them doing things that can harm them or take away blessings from them. I give my kids rules because I love them, our Heavenly Father gives us rules because he loves us. This entire thing is about His love for us. He is protecting children from the anguish of being torn between their love for their parents and their love for the gospel until they are old enough, mentally developed enough, to handle it. I see no fault in that, I think good can come of it. The problem is in all the hurt people who are justifying to themselves and the world that this church is so cruel and unChrist-like. That is a flat out LIE Satan is telling people.

To you who do not yet see or feel energies let me tell you this- Satan and his minions are have an all out HEYDAY today. They are about as pleased as they can be and are totally stoked to watch this cascade in to absolute tragedy. They’ve got people committing suicide over this. They’ve got people leaving the safety of the church over this. They’ve got people breaking spiritual contracts over this, who will now not fulfill the missions they came to earth to fulfill, they’ve got the world in an uproar of persecution toward the church.

If you think this won’t bring about the same, even worse, persecution than was endured in the first days of the restoration- WATCH. Watch and see what happens.

As for me, my testimony will not waver. I know my Father. I know my Mother. I know my Savior. I know that there are things I don’t know, but they know. I trust them completely. There is nothing that could convince me that this church is not led by a true prophet of God. When God tells me something, I believe it. I know what he’s told me, and he’s told me over and over and over, countless times. I know The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints IS Christ’s church. I know we’re in the very last days, even the tribulation as described in the scriptures. What is going on right now is part of that, and it is wisdom in God to be strict on this thing. He has a wise purpose, I guarantee it. What we can all do until that purpose is made known is to take up our shield of faith to withstand those fiery darts. This war is REAL, friends. I work as a healer in it every day. I encourage you to stand strong. Harsher storms are coming than this earth has ever seen. The only safety is in Christ, and the greatest safety is in His church, following the Prophet. Its up to you if you will be left standing to greet Christ when those storms have raged the world to absolute destruction and he comes for you. And he IS coming.

A Heavy Hearted Adoption Update

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It has taken me several weeks to write this post due to the sensitivity of the update.  I actually have not even informed most of our family members.  I’ve been holding back, waiting to for my heart to heal a bit before I said anything, because I knew that if anyone said something insensitive it would just break me… well, my heart hasn’t healed at all yet, but I feel a responsibility to inform all those who are supporting us in so many ways.  The little girl that we were planning to adopt is now being adopted by another family.  We did not get a waiver we needed from China fast enough, and another family began the process ahead of us.  It was shocking and heartbreaking to us.  We are focusing on being happy that she is going to have a family.  I promised myself that I would be happy for her if this were to happen, and I am, but I am sad for us.  I’m not sure what to do to heal my heart.  I’ve done a lot of praying.  We have wanted to adopt for a very long time and this is not deterring us from a Special Needs China adoption.  We are continuing on with our fundraising efforts and moving forward with faith.

We are Adopting, and We Could Use YOUR Help!

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A few years ago I wrote here about my love for adoption. Our family has been waiting to adopt for a very long time.  We haven’t been waiting to be chosen, we have been waiting until the time felt right.  I am so excited to announce that we are now beginning our adoption journey!  If you are interested in our story, please visit our fundraising site.  We would love any help you can give us, and prayers and sending love are the best thing you could offer.  If you feel inspired, please share our fundraiser with others.  I will be sharing more details about our journey and about “Lilly” as events transpire.

Gluten-Free Vegetarian Baked Ziti and Eggplant Garlic “Bread”

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And I’m back in the game for a BIG win!

The baby is 6 weeks old now and I’ve finally been making some appearances in the kitchen these past 2 weeks.  Mostly I’ve just been throwing simple things together for dinner in attempt to fill everyone’s bellies with something remotely healthy.  The other day I was walking through Costco, quickly checking items off my shopping list when inspiration stopped me in my tracks.  Ancient grain, gluten-free penne noodles.  Why, I cannot say.  I don’t even like noodles generally.  I did however used to LOVE my baked ziti recipe, which involved Italian sausage, ricotta, Parmesan and a WHOLE lot of mozzarella.  I haven’t eaten it in years.  I used to often make it with penne noodles because I could rarely find ziti.  So seeing the penne made me think of ziti, and that got me thinking about how I could come up with a yummy, healthier version.

That treasured flame I haven’t felt in almost a year was lit.  I spent the next few days mentally manifesting my creation… and it paid off, big time.  The whole family loved it, and that almost NEVER happens!  

Now, I made pasta to feed an army.  I used the entire Costco sized bag.  I regret that I didn’t even look to see how much that was.  I believe it was 6 cups, uncooked.  In the end it made 3 casseroles.  We ate 1 1/2 for dinner, my husband took the leftovers to work for lunch, and I put 1 in the freezer for a day in the future when we need a quick meal.  I love that kind of back up.  So, if you want to make less, reduce the recipe, but it does freeze well and is great to have on hand.

 

Gluten-Free Vegetarian Baked Ziti

1 Costco bag of Gluten-Free Ancient Grains Penne noodles

3 small or 2 large zucchini, sliced and quartered

About 2 cups crimini mushrooms, sliced

1 head of garlic, cloves peeled and sliced

A few tsp oil (olive or coconut)

2 jars marinara sauce (preferably organic)

4-6 oz soft goat cheese

1/2 (or more) tsp fennel seeds  (to give it that Italian sausage flavor)

About 7 oz goat mozzarella, grated

 

Preheat oven to 375.

Cook noodles according to package directions, rinse well, drain and set aside.  Place zucchini, mushrooms and garlic on a baking sheet and toss in oil.  Roast for about 20 minutes, until tender.  To the pot of noodles add roasted veggies, sauce, soft goat cheese and fennel seeds.  Mix well*.   Divide into 3 casserole dishes.  ~If you’re planning to freeze any, line the dish with plastic wrap, add the cooled pasta mixture, cover with plastic wrap and freeze.  When it is fully frozen you can remove it from the dish, wrap it in foil or wax freezer paper and store it in the freezer.  When you’re ready to eat it remove the wrap, put it back in the same dish you froze it in, let it thaw for several hours, top with grated mozzarella, and cook.~  To the one(s) you’re planning to cook now, top with grated goat mozzarella and cook until cheese is melted and bubbly, about 12 minutes.

 

*The soft goat cheese should melt if the noodles are still warm.  If you don’t want the cheese melted in you could also just crumble it on top once you get it into the casserole dishes.

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I have to apologize for this terrible photo. My camera isn’t the greatest and apparently neither is the lighting in my dining room.

Eggplant Garlic “Bread”

1 Eggplant

garlic powder

sea salt

Olive or coconut oil

 

Peel eggplant and slice into 1/2″ rounds.  Sprinkle with salt and let sit about 30 minutes.  Rinse well and pat dry.  Brush lightly with oil on both sides, sprinkle with garlic powder and sea salt, and place on baking try in the oven for about 20 minutes, flipping halfway through.  They are done when they are dry on the surface and beginning to turn golden brown.  

Aside

The Birth of Zain Tai Shan

Born June 24, 2013 at 8:05 am

8 lbs, 15 ounces, 21 inches long, 14 inch head circumference

This is long, bear with me!  I’ve included every detail of this journey that I want to remember for my own record.  If you want to just read about the birth, skip down!

The Pregnancy

Only God and I will ever know the sacrifice it took to give this child life.  In hindsight, I think the pregnancy was even harder than the birth.  This was my 4th pregnancy and birth.  My first 3 had gotten progressively worse as far as how well my body handled being pregnant.  I’d had high hopes for this pregnancy though after having spent 4 years on a detox diet and lifestyle healing my body.  I was in the best shape I’d ever been in in my life.  That’s not to say I didn’t still have a lot of work to do, but I’d made tremendous progress.  I went into this pregnancy expecting to continue eating my clean diet, cleansing my colon and rebounding daily and with visions of my body strong and vibrant, glowing and slim, with one of those adorable round bellies.  I’m a big believer in manifesting what we want and in the power of the mind to create our desired reality.  Despite my efforts and intentions, it didn’t turn out at all as planned and I definitely went through a mourning process for months.  I needed to accept the fact that I’m just not one of those women who can’t be pregnant and healthy.  My body does not handle it well.  This was very difficult for me because it meant accepting that this would be my last pregnancy, as I cannot take care of my children while I am pregnant.  I hadn’t wanted to be pregnant again.  We’ve always felt that 6 children is right for us but both of us fully expected to adopt the last 3.  But the spiritual promptings came, undeniably, and at a time when our income was in the form of school loans, thus making adoption impossible.  So we knew what we had to do.

It took 7 months to conceive.  Two of our children were unintentionally conceived and the other took 3 months, but I knew exactly when he would be conceived so I didn’t really consider it “trying”.  I was surprised this one took so long.  I felt very connected to this child from the time we started getting the promptings, about one and a half years before his actual birth.  When I finally did get pregnant the only symptom I had was sharp gas pains a lot of the time, which I didn’t relate to possible pregnancy.  I believe we got the positive test at 5 weeks.  I felt fantastic until week 7.  During that time I really thought I was going to have my dream pregnancy.  Then comes week 7 and the morning sickness arrives.  I’ve never vomited while pregnant, I just can’t eat.  I full-on gag constantly, especially at the thought or smell of food.  The terrible gas pains continued.  I normally would do an enema a day as part of my cleansing lifestyle and I had to up that to two a day just to keep the pain at a bearable level.  I had to eat whatever I could stand to choke down in the moment which meant a whole lot of food that I would never touch normally.  Food that literally would suck the life out of me, but I had to eat something.  I did my best to stick to the highest quality version of whatever it was I was eating.  I became very weak and faint.  There were times I was so sick I was genuinely scared for my life, one time in particular when I was home alone while my family was at church.  I was so low on energy I kept fading in and out of sleep on the couch.  My breathing was shallow and I felt incredibly weak.  I somehow managed to get to the kitchen and made a protein shake, which I’d forgotten I even had in the cabinet until then.  It helped a lot, but was so difficult to get down.  I choked them down daily for the next few weeks until I absolutely couldn’t do it anymore.  I doubt I will ever be able to look at the package again without having flashbacks.

During this time we were readying our house for sale, and by “we” I mean mostly me.  My husband worked and was at school too much to help a lot.  So, sick as I was, I had to force my body to do a whole lot of painting and other projects.  My children’s homeschooling went completely out the window, as did the regular upkeep of the house.  The sickness slowly faded away as I got into my second trimester, but I never did regain any kind of appetite or tolerance for vegetables.  I still had a lot of food aversions.  I continued feeling weak and faint.  Somewhere between 17 and 20 weeks the prodromal labor contractions started.  They had started in the last tri of my first pregnancy, at 14 weeks with my second and at 11 weeks with my third, so I felt blessed to have made it so far without them.

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About a month later we moved from Missouri to Arizona and my husband went to Washington for a 2 month preceptorship, leaving me alone with the kids.  He was able to come home for a visit during that time, which was a huge blessing, but that was a dark time in my life.  I did the best that I could but moving around would bring on contractions and I still wasn’t feeling well.  I started having ligament cramping in my abdomen, especially if I stood up for any length of time, so I spent most of the time laying on the couch.

I began having a lot of difficulty breathing.  It started out happening for several hours each morning.  I felt like I could take air in but that I couldn’t get enough oxygen from it, like I was suffocating.  This would happen even if I was just sitting or lying down.  So I spent hours a day deep breathing as best I could and trying not to panic.  Eventually, it moved from just in the morning to coming on any time of the day for several hours duration.

The kids were super stir crazy.  It was all I could do to even navigate a grocery store, so they didn’t get out much.  The day that my husband was flying home for good our son, Behn, jumped over the back of a chair and broke his arm.  My body had already been pushed to its limits that day and after the time spent in the hospital, that turned out to be the first of many nights I’d have cramping contractions.  I was about 32 weeks at the time.   I just kept praying and laying still and taking warm baths and loading up on a calcium and magnesium supplement to keep the contractions at a minimum.  Sometimes I would have them every 3-5 minutes for several days at a time.  It became exhausting, especially to be around people or in public.  I withdrew from the world so that I could focus on dealing with what my body was doing.

During this time I was diagnosed by my midwife with anemia, which should have explained the breathlessness.  My hemoglobin level was 9.6, and it needed to be over 10 to legally qualify for a homebirth, but my midwife preferred it to be closer to 11.  I started taking Floradix with high hopes of alleviating the suffocation I was feeling.  I read online that it typically took 7-12 days to feel better and I watched the calendar until that time… and that time passed… and 8 weeks passed… and I still suffocated.  A blood test at 35 weeks showed that my hemoglobin was up above 10, so I was out of the danger zone, but I in no way felt better.

The Final Weeks

At last, I reached the 36th week, which meant I was eligible for a homebirth.  I never expected to go beyond 38-weeks with this baby.  For some reason I was sure he would be born in the 37th or 38th week, I was also sure that he would be smaller than my other babies and pretty certain he would have dark hair.  So, being in the 36th week and realizing the time was at hand, my anxiety went wild.

I’ve had a tremendous amount of birth anxiety all my life.  I’ve even wondered if it I might have a legitimate phobia.  My second birth in particular had left me with a lot of trauma and fear.  I had had so much anxiety that whole pregnancy and when labor began it ripped me from my sleep early in the morning.  I began active labor immediately and Behn was born 2 hours and 20 minutes later.  It felt MUCH faster.  I didn’t realize it was progressing so quickly and thought I just wasn’t handling it well and that I had hours more to go and that it would get much worse.  My midwives were just leaving another birth so I had no one there to tell me I was at the end and would soon hold my baby.  I had no one there who was supportive and could bring me back down to earth and help me to stay calm.  I had a full-blown panic attack the entire time.  The midwives did not arrive until 9 minutes before he was born and I was already pushing out of control at that point.  My doula did not arrive until an hour after the birth.  I was just there with my husband, who didn’t know what to do to help me, and my sister who was caring for my 4 year old daughter.  My worst fear was a repeat of that birth.  My first birth was also very painful, but I was calm.  Still, I never wanted to feel that pain again, which is what caused the anxiety toward the second birth.  For my 3rd birth I used Hypnobabies, and it was TREMENDOUS.  I woke up in labor first thing in the morning with that one as well, but for the first time I actually had a first stage and the hypnosis was wonderful during that time.  I kept very calm and chose not to perceive what I was feeling as pain.  I had a pain-free labor, but as I went into transition and birth, that all went out the window and I just did what had to be done to handle it and get the baby out.  This time, I decided that if I could have a pain-free labor last time, I would have a pain-free labor AND birth this time.  I’m a determined person and I usually get what I want.  But now that I was near my birthing time and it was becoming very real to me I began to doubt myself.  I took to reading about painless birth and collecting and reading affirmations every day in addition to my hypnosis practice.  I used a lot of my prodromal labor contractions to practice my hypnosis and it worked magically almost all of the time.

At this point I was still struggling to breathe.  It got to the point where I could not stand up for more than 5 minutes without having to sit down or I would get dizzy from lack of oxygen.  Interestingly, I did a search online to figure out what it was and I came across posts I had put up during my last 2 pregnancies asking for help for the exact same problem… I guess this is just what happens to me when I’m pregnant and I block it out!  In addition to that the contractions got stronger and longer all the time and the ligament cramping got worse.  It was terrible if I stood for a minute or two and even if I sat upright for more than a few minutes at a time.  The ligaments would spasm and I would have pain for hours afterward, which would make the contractions even worse.  I moved upstairs to my bed and didn’t leave for over a month.  I just laid there.  I only got up if I had to, like to use the bathroom.  I had to rely on my daughter and husband to bring me food.   Of course this only made the anxiety worse.  Here I was stuck in one room day after day, mostly alone, helpless, in and out of labor, dreading the upcoming event, constantly wondering when it would come upon me.  My mind did nothing but spin with thoughts of giving birth.  I couldn’t imagine how I could do it again.  I never knew how I’d done it in the first place.  I could only remember what was traumatizing about my previous births.  I was so afraid of waking up in labor again.  I was having contractions at least every 30 minutes, but usually every 15 minutes or closer, so I would wake up all night long to contractions, each time in a panic thinking I was in labor.  I reached out to every resource I could think of during this time, but as I tried to talk through the fear and figure it out it only seemed to get worse.  I would hear myself talking and I sounded like I did as a child when I was faced with anything medical related or physically uncomfortable.  What it came down to was that I knew my body would birth this baby, but I had no belief whatsoever that I could handle it mentally or emotionally.  I kept praying and praying for a healing, easy, comfortable, painless birth.  I got several Priesthood blessings that said that my prayers had been heard and would be answered and that I would be able to stay in the moment during birth and not panic.  This brought a small amount of comfort, but I still felt so trapped.

My due date was June 20th.  On the night of June 8th, at 37-weeks, I had my first night of labor.  I was up that entire night with consistent contractions, 3-5 minutes apart and stronger than usual.  I could not sleep through them at all.  I took a ton of Rescue Remedy and talked myself through the whole night, doing all I could to just stay calm.  Calm was my main objective, as I knew all too well that any pain I would feel would be relative to the amount of fear I was experiencing.  Kolby texted the birth team to put them on alert in case we might need them in the night.  By the time the sun came up the contractions began to space out.  I was so exhausted I was falling asleep sitting up and confused and frustrated.  That felt like a lot of work for nothing!  But still, the entire time, I was willing labor away.  I didn’t want it to come.  Ever.  As bad as pregnancy was and as much as I wanted this baby, I could not bear the thought of going through what was necessary to get to the other side.  In the wee hours of that morning I began to see that maybe my anxiety had some roots in other issues.  I had randomly began to cry about my mom having recently been diagnosed with cancer.  I had been so wrapped up in my pregnancy I hadn’t given myself much space to think about it or process it.

I continued having frequent contractions all week.  I was so anxious I was having panic attacks and not eating or sleeping much.  It was getting to be a desperate situation.  There was talk between me and Kolby and me and my midwives (which they brought up) about possibly choosing an induction and epidural in a hospital because the anxiety was so severe I couldn’t function.  It was also suggested I go on an anti-anxiety drug, but I was in such bad shape I couldn’t leave the house to see a doctor.  I seriously considered the medical route.  I had only ever had natural births at home and in water.  After a lot of thought and discussion I made the decision based on my usual terms, the first being which is the path of least regret, and the second being what my instincts are telling me.  I knew that I would regret making a selfish decision out of fear, and compromising all that was so important to me regarding this soul’s entrance into the world.  I also felt that, even if the induction and epidural worked flawlessly, I would be more traumatized from the medical procedures and atmosphere than I would be from having another natural birth, even if it was fast and hard like Behn’s birth.

A week later, on the night of the 16th, I went into labor again.  Contractions started out 5 minutes apart and were long and even stronger than they ever had been before.  The midwives and doula came and everything was set up for birth.  This was a beautiful night.  It was intimate and romantic and everything felt perfect.  I was calm for the most part, and even happy.  I didn’t want labor to stop on me again.  I didn’t want to have wasted everyone’s time and effort and I wanted to have my baby on this perfect night.  I used my hypnosis through the contractions while lying in bed holding Kolby’s hand all night.  He fell asleep, but I didn’t care, I was handling it well.  I was so hungry and kept having my doula bring me bowls of melon to snack on between contractions.  Slowly, the contractions got lighter and I began to doze in between them, and then they spaced out.  The midwives left at 4 am and the doula at 5 am.  I fully expected to get a few hours of sleep and then go into active labor.  But that didn’t happen.  My midwife came back later in the day to check on me and to take down the birth tub and get her things because she had several other women in line to give birth.  My perfect night was gone.  At this point I really didn’t want to go into labor ever again, the perfect moment had passed and I was exhausted and felt so defeated.  I doubted I could recreate such a perfect scene and mental state again.  I went back to fear and attempting to process fear and putting off labor any way that I could.

That week a letter came from my mom and I was hesitant to open it.  When I did I cried as I read it and released so many pent up emotions that I wasn’t even aware I’d had.  She said many things that I’d needed so much to hear since childhood.  This was an extremely healing moment for me and afterwards I felt capable of birthing this baby.  I felt that I could take on anything.  As time passed fear creeped back in.  This was such a tremendous time of mental processing and growth.  I realized at some point that if I had handled this pregnancy, I was already so much stronger than I thought.  I reached out to a friend of mine, who was my doula and Bradley teacher from my first birth.  We had a conversation via Facebook one night that transformed so much of my fear into hope and strength and I will forever be thankful for her and for the prompting to reach out and ask her if she had any ideas to help me deal with this fear.

Being cooped up in my bedroom and being to engrossed in anxiety really began to wear on me.  I became depressed.  My husband was worried about me.  Nothing could distract me from my mental state.  Nothing interested me or made me smile.  I wanted someone to connect with but I just couldn’t find that.  I was in a new place with no friends nearby and was alone in a room most of the time.  When Kolby is around he’s always playing games on his phone and tends to become angry when I talk about my feelings so he wasn’t able to be the friend that I needed, although he did support me to the best of his ability.  I never though this pregnancy would go on this long, but I will be forever thankful, because it allotted me the time I needed to process so much of my fear.

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The Birth

Behn had wanted the baby to be born on his birthday, the 23rd.  I told him I would try but that I really didn’t think I would be pregnant that long.  Yet here I was on the 23rd, still pregnant.  The 23rd also happened to be the day of the Supermoon, the largest (or closest to the earth) that the moon would be all year.  I thought if I didn’t go into labor this day, I never would.

During the day I began having contractions that felt like a band of crampiness in a horseshoe shape around the sides and bottom of my belly.  They were different from any contractions I had had up until this point and judging by the strength of the cramping, I really thought I was in labor for sure this time.  I started timing them around 2 pm.  They started 15 minutes apart and went to 5 minutes apart within an hour.  My mother in law came and got the kids to spend the night at her house.  I had wanted the kids to be part of the birth originally, but they didn’t seem as interested in the last few weeks and I was finding that they were distracting during contractions, especially the boys.

The midwives and doula came over and as soon as the midwife walked in the contractions almost completely diminished.   We talked for a while about my anxiety and how I need to be willing to let go of control and let this baby be born.  I don’t usually consent to cervical checks and my midwife doesn’t typically do them or find them helpful, but she wanted to check to see what all the contractions were accomplishing and also said she would like to strip my membranes.  I had never had that done before, or any form of induction and it made me nervous.  Kolby and I prayed about it and he gave me a blessing and we felt that it was okay to do the stripping.  I had them fill the birth tub first because I was worried labor might kick in for real afterward.   The cervical check and stripping hurt quite a bit.  She said my cervix was tilted back so it wasn’t opening a whole lot and she pulled it forward and was happy that it didn’t slip back.  She said that she probably couldn’t have broken my water if she wanted to because there was almost no water in front of his head, just the membrane.  I didn’t want to know how dilated I was because I didn’t want to feel discouraged and I know that dilation tells you nothing about how much longer it will be anyway.  (I asked several days later and found out I was 3 cm dilated that day.)  Not too long after, the cramping contractions came back but the birth team left after some conversation and insisting that I get out of the house and go for a drive and see the full moon.  I didn’t want to go far from home or have contractions in the car, but I did go out to the backyard with Kolby and sat and watched the moon for an hour.  It was the first time I’d even been downstairs in weeks.  It was nice to get outside, but the chair I was sitting on was uncomfortable.  After that we came in to watch a movie in bed and the contractions went almost completely away again, but the movie helped me relax and get my mind off of birth, so that was nice.  I sat up for a bit thinking about my reaction to and feelings about the birth.  I thought about how I was reacting like my child-self and worked through some issues.  I reminded myself of the woman that I am now.  I thought about the women I was before this pregnancy.  I had all but forgotten her.  I remembered how beautiful and strong I was.  I remembered how positive I was and how often I was told by friends that I was an inspiration to them in one way or another.  I reminded myself that I was still that women, I had just forgotten.  And then, I fell asleep.

A couple of contractions began to rouse me and half-heartedly made an attempt to time them but fell asleep in between.  I believe there were 3, and they were 15 minutes apart.  On about the 4th one I was woken up all the way to a feeling I’d yet to experience.  These contractions were not a band across the top of my belly like my first labor, and they were now a band low in my belly like my last two labors an like the night before.  The best I can describe them was that I could envision a cone shape with an open bottom, as though the bottom were where my cervix is and the cone was the bottom half of my uterus, or somewhere within my uterus.  This is where I felt the contractions.  And they were really uncomfortable!  I had to work to breathe through these.  I went to the bathroom and got caught by one on my way back to the bed and had to hang on to the door as it peaked.  Kolby called the midwives and I laid down and went to work.  He was timing them and they were very erratic, which made me wonder if I was really in labor.  I didn’t trust myself to know by this point.  One would be 12 minutes, then 5, then 9, then a double peak that would last for 3 full minutes.  I had had several double peak contractions during my earlier bouts of labor, which was interesting.  I’d never had double peaks outside of transition before.  The birth team arrive and the water in the birth tub was rewarmed.  I was breathing intensely and blowing out during contractions.  Not only was the timing all over the place, but so was the intensity.  I would have a few easier ones and then a really strong one, then an easy, then a double peak and so on.  Before I knew it the contractions quickly changed and I was vocalizing through them.  Kolby kept trying to offer me food and I was so irritated.  The food ship had long since sailed!  I was asking for more support and had Kolby lying in front of me holding my hand and my doula sitting behind me with her hand on me.  I still felt alone.  What I really wanted was someone to take some of the pain.  These contractions were blowing my mind.  I did NOT want to be having them or feeling this much pain, this was supposed to be my pain-free birth!  The midwives came in and I instantly reached out to my midwife, Alison.  For some reason the whole time I’d wanted her and her presence was so comforting to me.  Everyone started encouraging me to get into the tub.  I was still a little scared to do that because the tub reminded me of the worst parts of my previous births.  That is where the greatest of the pain and intensity happened.  I still wasn’t sure I wanted another water birth because of that, but I wanted the option.  There were really insisting though.  I didn’t want to get in too early and overheat and spend what seemed like forever in there like my last birth.  But when they told me I needed to get my pants off immediately I got the clue!  I was talking a lot during this time and I don’t really remember what I said, I was just sort of unloading emotional stuff.  I had the brief thought that maybe I could be in transition because I was saying things like that I didn’t want to do this and I wanted it to be over, but I’d just started labor, surely I couldn’t be anywhere near transition!   I really hadn’t thought for a second that I was at all close to ready to push this baby out.  They helped me out of my pants and I remember my midwife asking me if I knew about the purple line.  I said yes and she looked and informed me that I had one!   A minute ago, I was still not sure I was actually in labor, and I was beginning to realize I was not only really in labor, but there was a baby about to come out of me!  I made a dash for the tub.  I got on my knees and held on to the side of the tub in front of me and immediately got scared because that was how I ended up pushing before and it triggered those memories.  I said something about how I didn’t want to be in that position and they asked if I wanted to turn around but I couldn’t bear the thought of that either.  Really, I just wanted out of the situation.  I knew the only way was through.  There was a small hole in the tub that the midwife had repaired with tape (she’d ordered a new one but it wasn’t in yet) and I could hear the air leaking out somewhere below me.  I remember this being a huge concern to me.  I knew how hard I was going to be squeezing the side of that tub and I didn’t want it deflating on me!  I fussed over it for a few seconds and then quickly got over it, but I could hear it the whole time.  This time was a bit of a blur and I’m not sure of the exact order of things.  Kolby was sitting on a stool in front of me and the midwives and doula were behind me.  One of the midwives was supporting my perineum with a warm washcloth and I believe they put castor oil on it to “slide” the baby out.  Somehow in the mix of things Kolby had texted his mom and it was mentioned that she was on her way with the kids.  This freaked me out.  I was so overstimulated and so just barely hanging in there, the thought of the distraction of them walking in was too much.  I knew I had to get this baby out before they got there.  I didn’t want to have a single contraction more than was absolutely necessary or be in labor a second longer than I had to be, so I pushed like my life depended on it.  At that point, I didn’t care if I tore wide open, I didn’t care if I had a long, painful recovery, I wanted my baby OUT.  The contractions were still erratic.  There were only 3 or 4 breaks in between where there was no pain and I was able to take a second to rest and recoup some energy to keep going.  This period of time felt chaotic and terrible.  The feeling of the baby’s head stretching me open was incredibly painful.  I was pushing as best as I could and just hoping with every push for the feeling of his head releasing from my body but it seemed like it would never come.  I was even pushing in between contractions when there was just cramping.  During contractions I would push as best I could and scream at what felt like the top of my lungs.  I tried to keep the sounds low, but it was so hard with all the pain.  The midwives kept reassuring me that he was right there, he was just giving me a chance to stretch.  I said a lot of things during this time that I don’t remember now.  I know that I kept saying, “Come out Zainy, come out come out come out.”  I remember the midwife asking if I wanted to touch his head, and I did, but I didn’t feel I could so I said no, I just want him out.  I remember the midwife telling me to reach down and so I could catch my baby, because I had wanted to the whole pregnancy, but I couldn’t stand the thought of pushing without squeezing the wall of the tub with all my strength.  Kolby had caught our other boys, but I didn’t want him to move from in front of me and he was okay with that.  The midwife was worried I might regret later that I didn’t catch my baby, but I knew I wouldn’t.  I was only concerned with doing what was necessary to get the baby out.  It didn’t matter to me who caught him, as long as he was out and he was safe.  I needed a lot of reassurance and support.  I was later told that my water broke as I was pushing, like it did with my other boys, but I didn’t feel or hear it this time.  My midwife had said sometime before it broke that he might be born in the caul and that even though I might not be thinking it at the time, that is the coolest kind of birth… but I was totally thinking it at the time, I always wanted a baby born in the caul!  But after a few pushes I’d totally forgotten about any of that, I was too focused on getting that baby out and getting this all over with.  Finally, I felt myself  stretch to my max and the head released.  I expected to have a rest here before pushing the body out but I kept pushing, I think the midwife told me to, but I’m not sure.  It was SO intense, I felt my body pull up out of the water like I was trying to move away from the pain and out came my baby.  They passed him through my legs and told me to grab him.  I reached down and took hold of his tiny body and cracked my eyes open to see him all purple and curled up coming up to the surface.  He looked like he was trying to take a breath under water and I wonder if he maybe caught his first breath when I rose up out of the water and inhaled some water as he was passed to me.  I pulled him to my chest and turned over to sit down with him.

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My favorite moment of the whole birth, when they passed him through my legs and I pulled his tiny, curled, slippery, purple self to the surface!

Such relief!  He was trying to work some fluid out of his lungs and I was trying to get him face down so gravity could help but the cord was over his shoulder so the midwives had to help me move it so I could change his position.  The apprentice midwife announced the time of birth: 8:05, the exact same time Behn was born 7 years and 1 day earlier!  I was still feeling some cramping and my bottom hurt a lot, so I was kind of sitting on my left side a bit.

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LOVE THIS! Its rare that my husband really connects to the moment and the look on his face here is just beautiful!

Just then my kids and mother in law appeared in the bathroom doorway (the birth tub was in the bathroom), perfect timing!  The kids got to take in the wonderful scene of new birth without having to witness mommy screaming and in pain.   I was especially thankful for this because Behn had been very nervous about hearing the sounds of birth and seeing it and tends to be very sensitive about things like that.  It was a blessing that he wasn’t there, and also a blessing that they arrived in time to see the immediate celebration of new life.

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The scene the kids walked in to.

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The boys meeting their new little partner in crime.

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Shy big sister lingering in the doorway

They each came and gave Zain a kiss.  My mother in law left.  Everyone was so happy and there was such warmth and joy in the room.  Zain was perfect.  With my other children, it took me a day or two to bond with them on the outside, but with Zain the strong bond we’d had for so long never changed.  I immediately felt overwhelming love for him.  He was just as I pictured him, only with lighter hair.  So, all of my predictions about his birth were wrong!

After a bit I started having contractions again and asked if I could push out the placenta.  Coen cut the cord with his daddy’s help, he had requested this job after he’d watched the video of his own birth a few weeks before.

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Coen and Daddy cut the cord

I passed the baby to Kolby who took him to the bedroom.  I had been worried about pushing the placenta out as it had been difficult for me in the past and I felt unsupported, even abandoned during that time in previous births.  With my last birth it took me a full hour to get the placenta out and was a very painful and stressful endeavor.  My midwife had assured me I would not be left alone this time and she fulfilled that promise.  I laid on my side in the tub with the apprentice midwife up near my head helping to support me while my midwife checked to make sure the placenta had detached, it had.  I gave one push and it easily slipped out.  I can’t believe how easy it was!  Kolby helped me get washed off in the shower and then I climbed into bed with my sweet baby.  I was nervous to nurse him until he was checked for lip and tongue tie because I endured so much pain with my other babies who had them, but only one of them was diagnosed at the time.  He did have both and my midwife was able to clip them.  I still hate that he had to go through that right after birth, but I also didn’t want him having to go through nursing with a mother who is in pain and dreading every time he gets hungry and being tense while he nurses.  I especially didn’t want him to think he was the cause of my pain.

The apprentice midwife was giving me several herbal tinctures about every 15 minutes from right after the birth.  One was Star of Bethlehem, which my midwife wanted me to take because it helps with trauma.  She was concerned that even if this birth wasn’t traumatic, it might trigger memories of past birth trauma.  I was also given arnica (for tissue healing) and Wish Garden Herbs After Ease.  I can’t say enough about the After Ease!  I was VERY nervous about after pains because they were so bad with my third baby and they get worse with each one.  I only took a half dose of Ibuprofen  5 times (I believe) over the first 3 days, in addition to the After Ease and I never felt anything more painful than moderate menstrual cramps a few times while nursing.

Zain pooed more meconium than I ever thought possible.  After a few hours and lots of poo when we finally got around to examining him he weighed 8 lbs 15 ounces, the exact same as Behn (after he had pooed meconium twice), and was 21 inches long, the same length as my other two boys.   His head circumference was a quarter inch bigger than my other boys and a quarter inch smaller than my daughter.   Labor was 2 hours and 35 minutes from the contraction that actually woke me up, 25 minutes of that was pushing.  The whole thing felt like about 30 minutes.

What I Learned

Going into this birth I wanted more than anything to have a “successful” hypnobabies birth.  I thought that that meant it should be painless and easy.  I prayed and prayed and prayed for this and that this birth would be healing.  I wanted to find out what it’s like to feel empowered by birth, to feel like I’d had a positive birth experience.  I could not imagine that something that involved pain could possibly be any of those things.   All of the anxiety I experienced was over fear of pain.  I truly believed that if there was more than just minor pain I would not be able to have the experience I so badly wanted and would come out of this traumatized.  My worst fear was that this birth would be like my second (Behn’s) birth.  Lucky for me, God knows better than I do, and always hears and answers my prayers, in His way.  This birth was identical to Behn’s birth in so many ways:  I woke up in labor, it was fast and hard, it was very painful, it felt wild and unpredictable, I got into the water only to push because I didn’t realize how far along I was, pushing was intense and so raw and harsh and gritty feeling… BUT, I didn’t panic, and I had support.  This time I wasn’t alone.  I wanted so much for someone to take a little bit of the pain away from me and I did feel somewhat alone in that I knew no one could do this for me, all they could do is stand by my side.  I knew that I was the only person in this world who could birth this child.  I think what made the biggest difference was having someone there to bring me into the reality that things we’re moving quickly, that I wasn’t going to be in that state for a long time, that I wasn’t going to suffer.  I had people watching me push and telling me about the progress I was making and cheering me on.  My husband was right in front of me the entire time touching me and supporting me.  We were a team for the first time.  I felt so connected to my baby and never lost sight of the reason for all that I was feeling.  I realize now that a painless, easy birth would not have been nearly as empowering.  To have realized my own power, I needed to experience its greatness.  It wasn’t some external force passing through me, it WAS me.  It was me using the gift of creation that God has given me, and me and God and Zain, working flawlessly together, gave birth to new life. I gave a small sacrifice of temporary pain for this precious little being to have what he wanted most, a body like his Heavenly Father and an opportunity to experience a mortal life, to learn, to be tried and tested, and to return to live with his Father for eternity.  I realize now that there is nothing wrong with feeling pain.  It is through pain that we do our best growing.  Pain and joy are only opposite ends of the same line, one cannot exist without the other, or we wouldn’t know either.  I’ve learned that I can have positive experiences, even if they involve pain.  I doubt that Christ would complain of being traumatized by what he did for me, and I did such a small thing for a fellow being in comparison.

Another thing I took away from this:  gratitude.  I always say there’s nothing gratitude can’t heal, but for some reason I never applied that to birth before.  It wasn’t until this pregnancy that I learned that when babies come fast, it’s almost always a good sign.  A fast baby is usually a safe, healthy baby.  I’d always seen myself as a victim to precipitous labor.  It wasn’t until this birth that it dawned on me that I would so much rather have these fast, hard, intense labors than to have complications.  I just can’t believe I never saw the blessing in it before.  I have had 4 natural births at home, in the water.  All of them have been absolutely flawless with perfect outcomes.  All healthy babies, and I recovered well from all of them.  I am so blessed!  I realize now, that whatever I endured during those few short hours of my life, no matter how much pain I felt, I am not traumatized.  I am not a victim.  I was given 4 of the most amazing gifts a person can receive.  I am loved.  I am supported.  I am strong.  I wanted to come through this with a positive message for all women and that is it.  What is true for me is true for any women, regardless of her birth experience.  You are loved.  You are supported.  And you are strong.

I have been lost in baby bliss for the past 9 days.  Zain is wonderful.  I couldn’t have dreamed up a better person.  He has renewed my love for each of my children and my husband.  He has taught me so much about love, and faith, and growth, and myself.  He has given me a new perspective.  The things I learned from this experience I will carry with me through life and they will be priceless tools that I can share with others.

Lastly, I just have to say that all of this sacrifice was more worth it than I can express.  I am so in love!  SO in love with this child.  He is a gift to me, to our family, and to the world.  I pray that I can be a fraction of the mother he deserves.  I know that, as with all of my children, I will spend every day of my life working to be a better person than I was the day before because he deserves the very best and while I’ll never live up to the perfection he ought to have, I will always do my best.  I am so honored that out of every women in the world, he chose me.  My pain was not suffering, and despite the fact that this birth went exactly how I didn’t want it to go, it was a perfect, healing, empowering and positive birth.  I got everything I wanted and more.

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While I was pushing out the placenta they were taking turns holding the baby and taking pics

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Silly boys

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Getting to know each other

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First nursing

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Love this picture with my midwife, Alison Haasch of LifeSpring Midwifery!

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Homebirth scene

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Big sister puts him right to sleep

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Birth-day boy

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And here he is two weeks later! So in love with this guy!

The Birth of Zain Tai Shan

Enemas vs. Colonics and Colon Cleansing How-To’s

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I get SO many questions about the difference between enemas and colonics and how to do them, I figured I’d just blog it for everyone.  If you don’t feel comfortable with the subject, don’t read on!  If you’re willing to suck it up and learn about the best way to improve your health, here are the basics…

Enemas

An enema is a way of cleaning the colon with water from home (or in a hotel room or wherever you happen to be) on your own.  Generally enemas only clean the rectum, or the left side of the colon (the descending colon).  With practice, experimentation, and good information you can get the whole colon.  Some people like to do enemas using catnip tea, apple cider vinegar, food grade hydrogen peroxide, or coffee.  I won’t go into details on those options here, but I will give you basic instructions to get you started.

First, you’ll need an enema kit.  I prefer a bucket, but some like a bag better.  A bucket can sit on your counter, while a bag will need to be hung from a towel rack or door knob.  Buckets can be larger and easier to fill.  I also find them easier to clean.  My first choice for an enema kit would be a 2-4 quart stainless steel bucket.  That would also be the most expensive option, running around $60.  The next option would be a plastic bucket for around $7.  These buckets are meant to be disposable.  I’ve had one for about 4 years now and am still using it, but the tip on the stainless bucket is MUCH more comfortable and the steel is more hygienic.  Go stainless if you can afford it.  The last option would be a 2 quart enema bag kit which costs about $10.  I haven’t liked using these personally and the reviews on Amazon aren’t great for any of the brands.  I bought the Cara kit and it was poorly made, the clamp wouldn’t even stop the water flow and would pop open all the time.  Bags are easier to pack for travel than buckets though, so that’s something to think about if you travel a lot with limited luggage space.

The goal is to rehydrate old waste in the colon and expel it.  The process should take at least 45-minutes, usually about an hour, when done well.  You won’t be able to take as much water or remove as much waste when you first start, but keep at it and it will become easier and much more productive.  You should feel great afterward, if you don’t you’ve hydrated waste that has not come out yet.  If that’s the case get back on it until you feel well.  The same goes for colonics (see below).

How to do it:

1)       Fill your bucket or bag with warm water and place it about 4 feet above the floor.

2)      Lubricate the tip well.  Most of us like to use coconut oil.

3)      Lay down on the floor, on your left side, and insert the tip into your anus about 1-2 inches.  It should be comfortable.  I like to lay on my memory foam mat with a towel over it and have a pillow or rolled up towel under my head.  Make yourself comfortable.

4)      Unclasp the tub and let the water flow in.  When you start to feel like you might need to eliminate (poop), clamp the water off and relax for about a minute.  If the need to eliminate passes, unclamp the tube and repeat.  If it does not pass, remove the tip and sit on the toilet and eliminate as you would any other time.  The more water you can get in and the longer you can hold it (10-15 mins is great), the better.  But NEVER force it.  You should always be comfortable.  You may want to massage the left side of your colon as you do this step.

***If you’re new to this, you will repeat these steps several times and then you will be done.  Once you get good at these steps and have cleared your descending colon fairly well, you will start each session with steps 1-4 and keeping going through the next steps***

5)       One you get to a point where you can fill your left side with a full 2 quarts of water comfortably you will move on to your transverse colon (the part that crosses under your rib cage from one side of your abdomen to the other).  To do this lay on your back and fill and release just as you did in step 4.

6)      In this position you should be able to get your entire colon, all the way down to the cecum at the bottom of your right side, or you may also need to lay on your right side to fill.  This may require more water than your bucket can hold.  I like to put my bucket in the sink under a trickle of water so I get a perpetual flow and don’t have to stop and refill the bucket.  You will likely be able to hear the water moving around with the gas in the colon and can feel it if you massage, which is a great way to break up waste and stimulate the colon to release.  You can keep doing this for as long as it feels good to you.  The more, the better.  You cannot be harmed by an enema.  It will likely take a few weeks of frequent sessions before you will be able to get water all the way to the cecum, but this is the ultimate goal.  Nothing in this world feels better than a cecum release!  You’ll know you’ve gotten there when you release very warm, soft matter and may recognize it as something you ate 12 or so hours before.

Enemas can be done daily, which is best, or as often as you possibly can do them.  A lot of people find that they are more productive first thing in the morning while the body is still in cleanse mode, but everyone is different.  Personally I have a hard time removing waste in the morning but have very productive releases in the evening.  Play around and see what works best for you.  You know you’re on the right track when you are eliminating heavy waste that sinks to the bottom of the toilet.  The thicker and heavier, the better.  That’s the old nasty, putrefied stuff that is making you sick.

Colonics

One colonic removes about the same amount of waste as 12 enemas.  They are more productive because the entire colon is bathed in water throughout the entire session, which generally takes about an hour, but can be anywhere from 45-minutes to 2 hours.  I wouldn’t recommend getting an enema from anyone who says it can be done in less than 45-minutes.  The amount of waste in the colon and throughout the body is unfathomable.  You won’t believe it until you see it leaving you, and then you still won’t believe it.  We need approximately 15 colonics for every year we have been alive.  This can be very costly to do, so those of us who are looking to reach the greatest level of health possible will typically invest in a home unit and in learning how to use it effectively.

There are several types of colonics, I will explain how each works.

Gravity Colonics

A gravity colonic is one where the water enters the colon by only the force of gravity.  These are the safest, most gentle, and most effective colonics.  There are two different types of gravity colonic.

 

Closed/Woods System:  A closed colonic is more discrete and more effective.  With this type of colonic you will have the therapist with you throughout the process manipulating the tubing (controlling the in and out flow) and massaging your abdomen to encourage release.  You will lay on a flat table.  A speculum will be inserted which is about the size of your thumb.  On the speculum are 2 tubes, one for water in, and one for waste out.  The waste that comes out will either go through the tube directly into a toilet, or just straight into the plumbing.  There is a viewing window on the tube to monitor what is being released.  You will be covered with a sheet and your privacy will be respected at all times.   After the session you will be able to sit on the toilet to be sure you have eliminated all of the water and loose waste.  You will want to find a therapist who is trained in the Wood’s method.  Wood’s Gravity Colonic Units are the type you can get for home/self use.

 

Open/LIBBE:  With the LIBBE system you will lay on a table that is shaped so that there are places to rest your legs on the sides.  In the middle of the table is a hole with a tube protruding from it.  The tube is fastened  inside of the table.  The therapist will give you instructions and leave you alone.  You will undress, put on a gown, climb on to the table, lubricate the tip of the tube, insert it into your anus, cover yourself with a sheet and lay back.  You will then push a button to call the therapist back in.  He/she will start the flow of water and will leave you to yourself.  You will feel your colon fill with water and when you need to release you just push like you would on the toilet and the waste moves out of your body around the tube tip (which remains in place) and in into the hole in the table.  It then goes into a viewing tube on the floor.  There will be a mirror positioned so that you can see your releases if you choose to.  You can call the therapist in at any time if you feel uncomfortable.  He/she will come in toward the middle of your time (usually you get an hour long treatment) and massage your abdomen.  You will then be left alone again.  At the end of the session you will usually be offered a probiotic implant, I highly recommend this.  Sometimes it costs extra and sometimes not.  If you choose to get it the therapist will put it through the tube after she has left you for a bit to finish eliminating.  She will leave you to let it colonize for about 3 minutes, after which you will get dressed and sit on the toilet for a few minutes to make sure you’re finished eliminating.  Open colonics are far better than enemas, but not usually as productive as closed colonics.

Pressurized Colonics

With pressurized colonics there are also open and closed types.  The difference is the water is pushed into your body by a machine instead of flowing gently in by gravity.  While these colonics are by no means dangerous, they are not as gentle as gravity systems.  Sometimes what will happen is they will compact waste in your colon and leave you feeling not so great.  If you get a headache, bloat, or have cravings for unhealthy foods after a colonic this is the case.  Go back for another colonic asap, and/or get out your enema kit and get to work.

Foods to Produce Results

The more alkaline, high water content foods you eat the more waste you will hydrate for removal.  If you’re planning on doing some colon cleansing, these foods can be a great tool to get really productive releases.  If you’re not planning on using any kind of colon cleansing but want to improve your diet, incorporate these foods SLOWLY and with caution.  If you feel like crap, it’s because you’re full of so much of it you can’t keep up with eliminating it fast enough.  Your level of wellness will always be relative to the amount of waste that LEAVES your body.   Awakening waste with these foods is not enough, you need to remove it as well or you will reabsorb the toxins and feel even worse.

The most hydrating thing you can take in is fresh vegetable and fruit juices.  The next best thing are fresh fruits and vegetables.  If you are looking to awaken waste, stay away from any packaged foods and any foods that are dense, dry, and acidic.  You can use foods like organic eggs, cooked vegetables, goat and sheep cheeses, and wild caught fish as tools to slow the cleansing process if your colon cleansing regimen can’t keep up with it.  You can also use aloe juice or fresh aloe to loosen waste and help to heal the colon wall.

Exercise is important as well, as it is the only way to move the lymphs, which are responsible for cleaning toxins from the body.  If they aren’t moved regularly they can easily clog.  Rebounding is the best way to clean the lymphs as the motion actually snaps, or wrings, the lymph nodes.  It isn’t necessary that you do a lot of high impact exercise; rebounding, walking, yoga… these are all great tools.  Aim for 20-30 minutes a day, preferably in the morning before you’ve taken in any solid food.   Also try to get in your fresh juices first thing in the morning before solid food is taken.

One other necessary tool is proper food combining.  Learn it and live it!  There are tons of food combining charts on the internet, print one and keep it on your fridge and/or in your purse or car until it becomes second nature to you.  You’ll be surprised how great you feel from proper combining alone and how quickly you adapt to doing it.

Castor Oil Packs

I love Castor Oil packs.  I use them over my liver and various areas of my colon where I tend to have pain or tight spots (gas pressure and waste accumulation).  They can also be used to break up scar tissue and uterine fibroids.

How you do it:

1)       Apply the Castor Oil.  First, make sure you’ve got a good quality, cold pressed oil.  You can either apply it straight to the skin, or soak a paper towel with it and apply that to the skin.  Either way, put the oil, liberally, over the area you wish to treat.

2)      Place a piece of plastic wrap over the oil.

3)      Place a towel over the plastic wrap.

4)      Apply a heating pad or hot water bottle over it all.

5)      Relax with it for 20-30 minutes, then wash it off and/or rub it in to your skin.  It’s a thick oil so you likely won’t be able to wash it ALL off, but its fine to rub in what you can’t get off.

For help resolving specific health issue or to learn more about the principals of cleansing and healing I am available for private health coaching sessions.  See my website at InnateWellnessCoaching.com.

The Birth of Coen Syaoran

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Tying up the posting of my previous births… I’ve been searching for Coen’s birth story for weeks and can’t find it, my heart is breaking!  This was my favorite birth thus far and my memories seem to have gone missing.  I’ll just have to give a brief retelling here, and sadly, no one even took pictures of the beautiful labor that I had, so all I’ve got captured is the after moments.

The Birth of Coen Syaoran

9 lbs even

21 inches long

13.75 head circumference

5 hours 45 mins of labor (longer than my first 2 combined!)

Just like with Behn I woke up first thing in the morning with an undeniable *real* labor contraction. I’d had a somewhat restless night’s sleep after a horrible evening of feeling like absolute poo.  We actually went to get adjusted at Kolby’s school the evening before and ran into some friends who were concerned about me because I looked so terrible.  So, I woke up to a crampy contraction and went to the bathroom.  Behn came out of the bedroom and I changed his diaper in the hallway, had another contraction, went into the bedroom and leaned/sat on the edge of the bed and had another.  They were mild, but different from my usual prelabor contractions.  I took a dose of the Cramp Bark/False Unicorn tincture my midwife had had me on for several months just in case it wasn’t really time yet.  I was 38-weeks exactly.

I know that I laid down at this point and stayed there but I don’t remember anything except waiting for my doula, who is a friend of mine and lived behind us at the time, to come over.  I remember her getting there and feeling relieved.  I knew I was very much in labor by that time (about 30 mins after I woke up).  For the next few hours I lay on my side and my doula held me through every contraction.  I listened to my hypnobabies CD and did my best to keep calm and relaxed.  For a while at first my legs were trembling out of control from nerves, but that eventually stopped.  At some point the midwife got there and asked what made me think this was real labor and I responded shortly that it just was and she went away (later I was told the 2 midwives, who had recently left another birth, went downstairs to take a nap).  I was thinking the contractions were like 15 minutes apart.  It seemed like forever before another one would come and I was bored in between, I kept having to tell myself that it was okay that it wasn’t progressing as quickly as my others, that this was the answer to my many prayers, this was my gentle birth, and that this baby was coming in exactly the way he needed to.  I heard my doula say to the midwife that the contractions were 3 mins apart and that was a big surprise to me!  The contractions were not painful, although I was very aware that I could have perceived them that way had I chosen to, and that I would have perceived them that way in the past.  With each contraction I labeled, in my mind, the sensations, “stretching, tightening, pressure”.  I welcomed each one and told myself, “This is God bringing you your baby.”  I remember being told I need to try and eat a banana but I only got in a few bites and couldn’t do any more, I was concentrating too hard.  At some point after several hours of this the energy of the contractions started to pick up.  I began needing to vocalize though them.  Someone had gotten the birth tub ready right next to the bed and I wanted to get in it before things got too incredibly intense.  This is when I lost the ability to relax and use hypnosis during contractions and they became very strong, this is when I began to feel pain.  I’d had pressure in my low back the whole time, which I’d not had with my other babies, and my doula would rub my back during contractions.  I was on my knees leaning forward into the wall of the birth pool and she was in front of me on the outside with her arms around me.  Kolby was nearby giving me sips of water between contractions.  Every now and then I would see my little 2 year old, Behn, sneak around us and steal a drink from my big labor cup… so cute!  It was reassuring to see him so relaxed and up to mischief, as usual.  I don’t remember seeing my daughter at all, I have very little visual memory from any of  my labors as my eyes are closed most of the time because I’m so inwardly focused.  I only remember knowing she was present toward then end as the kids were getting ready to help daddy catch the baby.  All I really remember from this time was just holding on and doing whatever I had to do to make it through the contractions, which unfortunately for my doula involved some biting and scratching.  I also yelled at my husband that if I had to go through this, I got to name the baby, as we’d been back and forth about a name.  I don’t remember when I started pushing or much about that time, I vaguely remember that my water broke as I was pushing, like it did with Behn.  I remember that I’d thought, for some reason, it would only take a few pushes to get this baby out and it was taking what seemed like forever.  I just kept pushing and pushing and pushing and felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere.  Eventually his head came out, and then his shoulders, but his body didn’t slip out like the others, I had to actually push it out.  I know my husband caught him, but I don’t know if the other kids helped or if they even got in the tub until after he was out.  I’ve made a point not to watch my own birth videos until I’m sure I’m done having kids, so I guess I’ll get to see how it all went down in time!

I felt a little disoriented and overheated after he was born.  He looked exactly like I knew he would.  We hung out in the tub with him a bit and then Kolby got out with him and the kids got cleaned up, possibly by the doula.  I was still having back labor and very strong contractions and trying to deliver the placenta.  The midwives wanted me to get out and deliver it on the birth stool but I couldn’t bear the thought of having a contraction standing and no one was there to help me, so I kept pushing and pushing in the tub.  They gave me some herbs to help expel the placenta and had me pull on the cord to get it out.  Still no go.  After an hour I was finally able to brave getting to the birth stool.  It was surprisingly comfy there.  I had a contraction right away and asked my midwife if I could hold on to her (for whatever reason I cannot push without someone to hold on to) and out it came right away!  Wish someone would have helped me out of the tub sooner!  I got in bed and nursed my perfect little guy.  He was the only one of our babies who looked Chinese.  It turned out to be a trick though, about 2 weeks later he totally looked like a Caucasian baby, but he’s adorable either way!

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Moments after birth

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Family celebrating in the birth tub

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Big sister Juelie holding Coen for the 1st time

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The proud brand new big brother with his new baby brother… love this pic, one of my faves.

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Behn giving Coen’s hand a little kiss

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It was a big day for these brothers, time for their first nap together!

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The Chinese baby

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The one time he sucked his thumb

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From the beginning he was our happy animated child!

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And this is Coen now. Still cute and smiley as ever! … but less Chinese.

My Latest Food Obsession

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Its been long, long time since I posted anything food related.  Food just becomes an obstacle when I’m pregnant, a necessary torment, not at all the joyful hobby it normally is for me.  Very few things taste really incredible to me but lately I’ve been totally into this drink… I pretty much want it all of the time.  I’ve even had multiple dreams about it.  Yes.  Its THAT good.  And its healthy and super easy to make.  My newest favorite way to start the day… we call it Sunshine Juice, because that’s what it looks and feels like.

We make a Vitamix full of it and that serves myself and my husband each about 16 oz and, each of our 3 kinds about 10 oz (between you and me, I always have to fight the temptation to steal my husband’s share).  Here is the family size portion, feel free to make yourself a whole lot of it and keep it in the fridge for all day sip-age.   I would, if I didn’t have hungry minions afoot.

juice from 12 small ripe oranges (adjust accordingly for size of oranges, about 24 oz of juice)

frozen pineapple up to almost the top of the Vitamix (or whatever blender you use, a Vitamix holds 64 oz)

Blend well

If I had to guess at an individual portion I would say use the juice from 2-3 oranges and 2 or so large handfuls of frozen pineapple.  It will be more like a slushy than a juice.

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