Monday, October 16, 2017

Miscarriage #1

October is recognized as the National Pregnancy Loss Month and last week, I shared that miscarriage has affected our family multiple times.  In this post, I will share a few details about our first miscarriage.  This isn't like the usual joyful post that is on the blog, but it is a part of real life. Real life sometimes is filled with pain, sorrow and loss.  There are tunnels of trials we must sometimes go through, but there is always light at the end. Trials come and go, weave in and out of our lives, but in the midst of them all, God is able to hold us and keep us. 

When our older boys were very young, 5 and 2, we found out we were expecting again.  A home test was taken and showed the positive result.  A short time later, I began spotting. My sister in law was pregnant and on one of her prenatal visits, I went with her and was able to see the doctor who confirmed my pregnancy, said everything looked fine, but to call if there were any complications. 

A few days later, as we were getting ready for bed, I began cramping.  Since the doctor said to call if there were any changes, I called the answering service and he called back.  I told him about the cramping and he asked.."What do you want me to do?"  This was a brand new experience for me as the other 2 pregnancies were perfect with no complications.  I didn't know what to answer, didn't know what was going on, he had said to call if anything happened, and I was calling.  He told me there was nothing he could do, if I was miscarrying, it would happen naturally and to make an appointment in a few days.

This pregnancy ended in miscarriage and our options were to do a D & C procedure or simply allow the miscarriage to proceed naturally. Since it was so early, we opted for the natural option.  A few days later everything was well physically.  It was a different story emotionally.  Since this happened so early, we didn't have a chance to soak in the fact of another child coming into our lives. We had just told our families but in a blink, everything changed and was now gone.  

Honestly, this happened so soon and so fast, we didn't grieve very long, it was almost surreal, like a pregnancy happened, but was gone in an instant.  But as only a mother can know, a life was created and nurtured for those few weeks,  A little heart begins to beat within days, so there is an angel baby in heaven that belongs to our family. 

The loss of a child stays with a family forever, but the emotional and physical impacts are often challenging to others to truly understand. Having support through grief is paramount to recovery. Raising awareness is the first step to accessing available help. By sharing our experience, perhaps comfort and hope can be shared.  One in four women faces a loss due to miscarriage.  May we be bold enough to share when it happens and compassionate enough to reach out to comfort others. 

Friday, October 13, 2017

Pumpkin Banana Bread

It's pumpkin season!!  That calls for some time in the kitchen baking.  I've found a few new pumpkin recipes to try this month.  Here is one with a healthy spin on pumpkin bread.

Pumpkin Banana Bread

2 cups flour - a healthy choice is oat flour
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp each: cinnamon, ginger, pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 cup mashed, overripe banana
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup pure maple syrup, honey, or agave
1/16 tsp uncut stevia Or 2 tbsp sweetener of choice
1/3 cup oil OR milk of choice
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup chocolate chips, optional

Preheat oven to 350 F.
Grease a 9×5 loaf pan, and set aside.
 In a large mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients.
Whisk all liquid ingredients in a separate bowl, then pour wet into dry and stir to form a batter. Smooth into the prepared pan. If desired, press some extra chocolate chips into the top.
Bake on the center rack 30 minutes, then do not open the oven door but turn off the heat and leave in the closed oven for 10 additional minutes.
Let cool completely, then cover and refrigerate overnight.
Taste and texture will be much better the second day.

If that one sounds a little too healthy, here is a more traditional recipe!

2 ripe bananas, mashed
2 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 1/3 cups canned pumpkin puree
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup white sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup raisins (optional)
1/2 cup walnut pieces (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F  Grease an 9x5 inch loaf pan.
In a large bowl, stir together the mashed banana, eggs, oil, pumpkin, honey and sugar.
 Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, pie spice and cinnamon, stir into the banana mixture until just combined.
Fold in the raisins and walnuts if desired. Pour batter into the prepared pan.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.
Cool loaf in the pan for 10 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Opening Up in October

pregnancy and infant loss awareness | National Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Day | Infertility, why me?

October is here and in my area, we are still waiting on fall!  If you have spent any time on this blog, you know that I love FALL!  October 'usually' means fall is in full swing with cooler weather, enjoying chili for supper, fall festivals and simply spending time outside enjoying the fresh air.

But October is also Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month. Through this month I'm going to open up a little bit more than usual and share about the pain of miscarriage. Here are a few staggering statistics.

  • One in four pregnancies ends in the loss of a baby
  • The loss of a child is recognized as the most intense cause of grief
  • Parents never “get over” the loss of a child – no matter the age
  • Parents experiencing grief without supportive care can have debilitating consequences such as PTSD, depression and anxiety
In 1988, President Ronald Reagan had proclaimed the whole month of October as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.  Baby Loss Awareness Week is held annually from October 9 to 15. It’s a special opportunity to mark the brief lives of babies lost in pregnancy or at or soon after birth.

Throughout the week bereaved parents, their families and friends, unite with each other and others across the world to commemorate their babies’ lives.

For Robyn Bear, the woman behind National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, there needed to be a place for these losses. According to her Web site, Ms. Bear began the campaign to make Oct. 15th a national day of remembrance “after having had five miscarriages with little to no support.” She wanted a day for people to grieve visibly, get the support they needed, and unite around the world by lighting candles.

Parents who lose babies usually feel alone.  Treatment for mothers generally ends once the physical symptoms of loss have abated. Friends and family may not know how to help. It is easy to suppress the hurt and grief and suffer in silence. Since miscarriages can happen early in pregnancy, there often isn't a physical reminder or memorial for the baby.  But a mother will forever feel the loss.

Through the month, I will be sharing about pregnancy loss due to miscarriage in our family. It is with hope that our story will provide comfort and extend love and empathy to others who have walked this path. It will also be a time to reflect and remember and mark the brief miracles that were given to us and live forever in our hearts.


Monday, October 9, 2017

Ten Commandments of Friendship

Friends....oh what a blessing they are! There is something so special about sitting across from a friend and sharing from the heart.  Whether it is a funny story, complaint she will understand, joy that needs to be shared or a burden that needs to be unloaded, friends meet a vital need in our lives.

Although they are such an important part of our lives, it is often difficult to make the transition from an acquaintance to friend.  It takes deliberate and intentional effort. Plus, someone has to make the first move!  For years that would not be me.  I would passively wait to be spoken to, respond only as a response and sit quietly until approached. Then I discovered the many treasures of relationships I was missing since the majority of other women were doing the same thing...waiting on the other person!

A recent book shared 10 Commandments of Friendship.  These are easy things to incorporate into our lives that will bring a bounty of blessings!

Speak to people:
There is nothing as nice as a cheerful word of greeting.

Smile at people:
It takes 72 muscles to frown but only 14 to smile!

Call people by name:
The sweetest music to anyone's ear is the sound of their own name.

Be friendly and helpful:
If you would have friends, be friendly.

Be cordial:
Speak and act as if everything you do were a real pleasure.

Be genuinely interested in people:
You can like everyone (for find something good) IF you try.

Be generous with praise, cautious with criticism:
Try for a ratio of seven praises to each criticism.

Be considerate of the feelings of others:
It will be appreciated!

Be thoughtful of the opinions of others.
People love their opinions as they do their own children, calling them ugly won't get you anythign but anger!

Be alert to give service:
What counts most in life is what we do for others.

May we be intentional to look for the best in and for others. Practice things like when you make contact with people search for way to make others look good.  Highlight and give the three things everyone needs: attention, affirmation, appreciation.  Within 30 seconds of conversation say something encouraging. Practice, practice, practice and watch others flourish and you find you have many blessed friendships!

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

How To Make Your Own Magnesium Lotion

Magnesium is a nutrient we hear much about when learning about eating well and healthy living. It is an extremely important and valuable mineral worth looking into. 

Dr. Axe shared.."Magnesium — which comes from the obsolete root word magnes, which was used to mean magnet or magnetic power — may not be the most present mineral in our bodies in terms of its quantity, but it’s certainly one of the most crucial to overall health. It’s actually involved in over 300 biochemical functions in the body, such as regulating heartbeat rhythms and helping neurotransmitter functions..." 

The body loses stores of magnesium every day from normal functions, such as muscle movement, heartbeat and hormone production. Although we only need small amounts of magnesium relative to other nutrients, we must regularly replenish our stores either from foods or magnesium supplements in order to prevent deficiency symptoms.

Some of the benefits of magnesium include:
  • Increased energy
  • Calm nerves
  • Treatment for insomnia
  • Digestion assistance
  • Muscle pain relief
Our family has incorporated magnesium supplements into our diet with good results. Taking supplements can be harsh on the digestive system.  We've learned a mixture of methods to incorporate magnesium works best for us.  Some high in magnesium foods include:  spinach, black beans, yogurt, avocado and bananas.  

A great way to absorb this mineral is topically. Topical magnesium does not have to pass through the digestive system and kidneys and can more quickly enter the blood and tissues of the body.  Here is an easy recipe for magnesium lotion which is rich, creamy and moisturizing.  We put it on the bottom of our feet before bed to relax and unwind.  Here is the recipe:

3 Tbsp boiling water
¼ cup coconut oil
2 Tbsp beeswax pastilles
3 Tbsp shea butter
1 quart mason jar
2 coffee mugs
Immersion blender
Essential oils for scent - (lavender is very relaxing)

Measure magnesium flakes into a mug or glass measuring cup. Fill another mug halfway with water and microwave on high until it is boiling, abut 2-3 minutes. (Alternatively, you can bring water to boil on the stove and set cup inside.)
Measure 3 Tbsp of boiling water into the mug with the flakes. Stir until the flakes are dissolved and set aside.
In the quart mason jar, measure coconut oil, beeswax and shea butter. Place the jar in a small pan filled with 1 inch of water. Place it on the stove and turn the heat to medium high.
Allow the solids to melt, swirling the jar now occasionally if necessary. (Be sure to wear an oven mitt.)
When everything inside the jar is melted, remove it from the pan and let it cool for about 5 minutes.
Pour the dissolved magnesium into the quarter mason jar. If it solidifies upon contact, that’s ok. Add essential oils (if using) and place the immersion blender at the bottom of the jar and blend everything together really well, moving the blender up and down along the sides of the jar as necessary to incorporate the ingredients.
This makes about 8 ounces of lotion. Store at room temperature for up to 2 months.

I use this lotion as a deep moisturizer on my feet and then put cotton socks on to help hold moisture in and gain the benefits of magnesium.