The Natural Bud

Blossoming into a Healthier Lifestyle


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“Peace I Leave with You”

Benjamin after Surgery

Benjamin after Surgery

Benjamin was still under anesthesia, meaning he couldn’t breathe on his own, so he was on a breathing tube all that night.  While we were with him that evening, he started to sputter and turn red.  The monitor alarm went off.  The nurse put a tiny tube down his nostril to suction junk out of his throat but he was still red.  Within about two minutes a respiratory doctor was there.  The doctor acted calmly but moved quickly, and showed the nurse to suction further down.  (She had been hesitant to get close to the surgical site in his throat.)  After that he started ‘breathing’ again.

Jason looked at me and said quietly with a bit of a laugh, “I guess I’ll have to stay here all night.”

Jason holding Benjamin

Jason holding Benjamin

The doctor explained the problem to us before leaving Benjamin’s pod, then said, “You need to get some rest. I’ll be here all night,” he reassured us,  “So you don’t have to be.”

My dad put it well in a group text later that evening:

 

Text from my dad

 

As I went to sleep alone in the hospital room (a blessing in itself as we had not paid for a private room), I wanted to cry all night.  I knew I had to sleep and couldn’t lose hope.

In times when I’ve felt completely alone, the only true, complete peace has come through Scripture.

I got out my phone and read through almost the entire book of 1 John until I came across 1 John 4:18 “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear; because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.”  Ironic.  The last time that verse stood out to me was when I first considered dating Jason.  From all I could see God was pointing us in that direction but I was afraid of getting hurt.  And now God brought it to my attention with our son.  Another verse came to mind:

Psalm 4:8 photocredit: pinterest.com

Psalm 4:8 photocredit: pinterest.com

More recently I read Psalm 121:3-4 and it struck me – the God of the Universe is “up all night,” so I don’t have to be.

photocredit: biblepic.com

photocredit: biblepic.com

I went to sleep in peace, not knowing how Benjamin would do… but knowing our loving, trustworthy heavenly Father would guide us through it.

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It’s Around the Corner

 

 “Well, this is the calm before the storm.”

Calm Before the Storm Photocredit: timbeaux.com

Calm Before the Storm
Photocredit: timbeaux.com

As of Friday, August 1, I’m 37 weeks pregnant.  Technically full-term.  Our next appointment with the OBGYN is this Friday.  If I don’t deliver by then, we will further discuss the possibilities surrounding induction.  God has provided several ways for us to begin feeling more prepared for Benjamin’s arrival.

Honestly, I don’t know if you can ever feel completely prepared … but here are several of the little undeserved blessings God has poured out on us….

Tours & Consultations 

We had four appointments between Thursday, July 31 and Friday, August 1.  All three doctors we met commented that reaching 37 weeks is quite an accomplishment, in light of the polyhydramniosis.  (Polyhydramniosis: Since our baby isn’t practicing swallowing, there is more amniotic fluid around him than usual.  Mine measured 37; normal is below 25.)

 

Photo credit: Food Matters

Photo credit: Food Matters

In the past two weeks, we’ve finished consultations with several specialists.  Two weeks ago, we met with a neonatologist (a sweet Italian lady) and toured the NICU.  The NICU is far more attractive than I had imagined, and it helps to have a picture of where our baby will be the first several weeks of his life.  We weren’t able to get a tour of the labor and delivery rooms, but a friend who used to work at the hospital sent me a video tour of them.  They are beautiful also.

Last Thursday, we had a fetal echocardiogram and met with a cardiologist (no serious concerns as of now; they will look again after he is born).  She asked if I was still sleeping well at night.  Later in the day, we met with the pediatric surgeon, Dr. Middlesworth, to discuss common scenarios and what he would likely do.  Dr. Middlesworth stood out as more a grandfather-type than a doctor.  He sat down with us and explained everything very softly and slowly, using simple terms.

Waiting Room for Prenatal Visits

Waiting Room for Prenatal Visits

We haven’t met a single doctor who has seemed in a rush to get to the next appointment.  Each of them sits down, asks us what we already know about the baby, and proceeds from there.  When they finish talking, they sit quietly and wait for us to ask all of our questions.  The ultrasound techs and doctors who look at our sonograms laugh as they watch Benjamin move around – like they see him as an adorable baby, not just part of their job.  Each of the specialists – the neonatologist, the cardiologist, and the surgeon – has drawn a diagram for us so that they can explain scenarios more clearly.  We couldn’t have asked for better care.

 

Family Picture after Church

Family Picture after Church

A Place to Retreat 

The hospital in Manhattan is an hour from where we live in Staten Island.  A church in New Jersey graciously agreed to let us use their mission home for the month, which is only 15-20 minutes from the hospital.  This alone significantly reduces the stress involved with planning to get to the hospital.  It’s a beautiful, fully-furnished house, so we’ve only brought a few living necessities for the month.  My sister, a certified professional midwife, is also staying with us for a few weeks.  With the extra help and reduced distractions, we’ve been able to focus more on resting, growing in our marriage, and preparing for Benjamin.  I’m not supposed to pick up Jonathan (our toddler), so I’m even more thankful for the extra help.  My sister has helped tremendously with meals, etc., and I’ve been free to play with Jonathan every day, read, and journal.  Jonathan is having a blast here, playing all day and going outside with daddy in the evenings.

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From Home Birth to High Risk

After much research, prayer, and discussion with our medical caregivers, we decided to deliver our first baby at home.  God provided for my aunt (an experienced midwife) to catch the baby and on April 16, 2010, our son was born surrounded by a few close family members.

IMG_2382

Someone asked me later if I planned to deliver all of our babies at home. After thinking about it, I had to say no.  Jonathan’s birth was the best I could have imagined and giving birth at home would be ideal, but I don’t know how every pregnancy will go.

When I answered the question, it was only hypothetical.

Now I’m 36 weeks pregnant with our second baby boy.  On our first sonogram, a couple of concerns appeared but the doctor didn’t seem alarmed. They could easily be mistaken and they wanted to do another sonogram.

It wasn’t long before we determined that we should deliver at the hospital. Our midwife would still be there – the same midwife who did all our prenatal /postpartum care with Jonathan.

God is good and gracious in everything He does. Sometimes He allows trials to happen suddenly, and He provides grace and comfort through it. I’m glad He allowed us to learn a little bit at a time.

After the many tests and changes (including a 3D sonogram and a fetal MRI), here is some of what we know… Our baby will need immediate medical attention to save his life.

Last month we were transferred to a high risk hospital in Manhattan.

3D Sonogram

Our second son has an esophageal atrasia and a fistula.  Basically, he will need surgery soon after birth, both to prevent him from choking and to enable him to swallow.  He will be in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at least a few weeks, possibly 2-3 months depending on the severity of the blockage.

We appreciate prayers as we continue to prepare mentally, spiritually and logistically.

Many of our ideals for birth will be impossible this time, but God is still good.  He continues to remind us how truly blessed we are here.  We’re in a place with some of the best medical care possible for a situation like this.  God has provided so much support through friends, family and medical caregivers.  .. And we still have a living, active baby inside my womb.

Psalm 139:14 "I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are your works, and that my soul knows very well."  photocredit: iamannekehn.blogspot.com

photocredit: iamannekehn.blogspot.com

“I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.” Psalm 139:14

*I had considered starting an entirely new blog for this journey, but it seemed appropriate to share here… showing the partnership between natural alternatives/nutritional support and necessary medical intervention.*


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Guilt-Free Mango “Ice Cream”

Mango Ice Cream

Mango Ice Cream

 

I just made this mango “ice cream” for breakfast.  It began as a quick smoothie with what we had on hand, but it turned into a light, creamy mango ice cream!  My two-year-old ate at least half of it!  And it only takes three ingredients! (Well, four if you count the water :))

Mango Ice Cream: the amount it actually made

Mango Ice Cream: the amount it actually made

1. Trader Joe’s Coconut Cream.  I used 1/2 a can, maybe a little more (my coconut cream had been in the fridge, leftover from a previous recipe; I think that added to the ice cream texture).  Coconut cream is also great for making dairy-free whipped topping. 🙂

Trader Joe's Coconut Cream

Trader Joe’s Coconut Cream

2. Half a slice of frozen pineapple (more if you want it sweeter).

3. About 2 Cups of Frozen Mango Cubes.  The Costco near us just started carrying this big bag of organic mango cubes!
IMG_6504Ingredients in Vitamix: note: the vitamin looked fuller the first time. When I took this pic my coconut cream wasn't refrigerated, plus I had no pineapple.

Add these all to the Vitamix (or a high-quality blender) in the order listed, then add 1/4 cup of water (just enough to help it blend). I also have raw honey that I got from Trader Joe’s; may add that next time if anyone wanted it sweeter.  I enjoyed the light taste of this though!  Great as a quick, healthy breakfast!

Quick Overview for those who NEED an EXACT Recipe 😉

  • 3/4 cup coconut cream (Best if refrigerated first)
  • 2 cups frozen mango cubes
  • Half Slice of Frozen Pineapple
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Add in the order listed, then blend until creamy and enjoy 🙂
Toddler Loved It :)  Excuse the "bed-head."

Toddler Loved It 🙂
Excuse the “bed-head.”