The Natural Bud

Blossoming into a Healthier Lifestyle


“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:

Psalm 4:8 photocredit:

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.



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



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.


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:


“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.*

Leave a comment

12 Things You Can Never Pack Too Much Of- From a Mom



Lately it seems our rate of travel has doubled. (Not that our rate was high in the first place :))  I grew up in Africa, so traveling isn’t really new to me (in light of that, you’d think I’d be more skilled at packing!)  – but traveling with a baby, that’s a whole new realm!
Even with a two-year-old, I feel like I’m just now getting better at it.  I’ve tried learning to pack light, and in my effort to do that, we’ve had some interesting predicaments – “what? out of diapers already?”  So, I’ve come up with a list of things that are ALWAYS worth packing, and sometimes packing a little extra… Nothing really new here, you experienced mothers will laugh at these.

1. Diapers; Baby Wipes (homemade, of course)

2. Tissues

3. Blankets: Even in the summer, I find myself wishing I had a blanket to hang up and shade the sun from baby’s eyes while he’s in the carseat.

4. Toys & Books for the road; bath toys.


5.Baby clothes for all different types of weather (e.g. a sweater/rain jacket even in the summer – gets chilly sometimes!)  At least 3 extra outfits…more for a newborn. 🙂

6. Pajamas.  For both warm and chilly weather.  Funny how you can forget these things.

7. Comfortable evening social wear.  Maybe even some bedroom slippers.

8. Food!  Lots and lots of food.  Not only because it keeps the baby entertained and happy, but also because I’m hungry every two hours as a pregnant and nursing mother.


9. Hand Sanitizer (homemade, naturally. 🙂 here’s the recipe I used:

10. A Water Bottle (maybe even some gallon jugs)

11. Essential Oils/Diffuser

12. My Spray Bottle of Natural Disinfectants along with Paper Towels.



And then there’s other basics like toiletries, razors etc… Oh audio books are great too.

Well this is from the mom of ONE toddler.  I’m sure I’ll have more to add after our trip this weekend, but I’d love to hear input from all of you!  What have you found useful while traveling?  Maybe even from a different stage of life or those who have multiple babies.

Leave a comment

Home Birth: God’s Grace Lavished On Us

Well I hadn’t planned on this being my next post, but thought those who are attending the “Pregnancy and Essential Oils” Class would enjoy reading my birth story.  I wrote most of this journal entry in the days after our baby was born – simply a mom’s record of what happened.  (I didn’t write much here about the way we used essential oils, since I’m trying to keep blog posts concise.)

To clarify, I do not believe every woman must do a home birth or natural birth; in some cases that would be unwise.  I’m thankful that it worked out for us, and thankful for the beautiful birth story God gave us. I couldn’t have asked for better memories.  It’s a long story, so it will be posted in three parts.


Stage 1: Labor Begins

Monday morning, around 4-5 a.m., I began feeling contractions. I’d been having Braxton Hicks for at least a month; once in a while they would feel a little stronger and actually hurt a little. Because of that, at first I assumed they were Braxton Hicks. However, the contractions continued consistently. I told Jason, “I think I’m having contractions.” He reminded me to ignore them and try to sleep. That’s what Aunt Joan had said to do.


I ignored them until 6-6:30 am, when they became too consistent and uncomfortable to ignore. Lying down made them hurt worse, so I just got up. I called my dad and told him what was happening.  Aunt Joan said when she gets to that point, she can’t sleep, so “just try to get something done.”  She said if it got to the point where I couldn’t concentrate, then I should come over. I didn’t want to wake Jason up any earlier than necessary, especially on a Monday morning (his first day to sleep in) – so I started getting everything together before waking him up. (note: Jason was working night shift at the time.)

Contractions were somewhat close together and consistent, though not too painful yet.  When a contraction came, I would sway my hips like I learned in the dance class, then continue working.  Around 7:30 a.m., I stood by the bed to wake up Jason. I thought I’d have trouble getting him up- he opened his eyes, and I told him that I had lost the plug. He sleepily asked, “what plug?” I re-explained to him what Aunt Joan had told me about the plug.  “It means the baby’s coming.” Jason smiled really big and immediately got up. He was so cute going around the house, making sure we had everything we needed.


We called to let my parents know we were coming over, and when we arrived my mom asked what I’d like for breakfast. She asked if I’d like scones, and I smiled. “I thought you’d like that.” Mom made blueberry-almond scones and red raspberry tea, plus a zucchini-egg omelet and potatoes. Then we all ate breakfast around the table together – Dad, Mom, Aunt Joan, Jason & me.


Contractions still didn’t seem too bad, so Jason & I were gonna try to take a nap in my parents’ bedroom (we planned to have the baby in their bathroom). Mom had the bedroom and bathroom all fixed up – the rooms looked beautiful. There was even a purple chair/pillows in the bathroom by the window, plus a lamp and little stuffed animal on the table beside it. I told Jason, “I feel like a queen.”

Jason: “You are.”


I lay down in bed to sleep, and Jason was about to lie down when my dad called to ask for help with something. (My dad didn’t know.) So Jason went downstairs, and about that time the contractions started hurting more.  Not bad, but badly enough that I knew I wasn’t gonna sleep. I got ready for labor – put my water-clothes on, got my wrap, got in the tub and turned it on. I pushed up the lever to plug the tub, but it wouldn’t fill up. My mom came up and jiggled it, so it filled up. The water had been hot, but by the time the tub was filling up, it was cold. My dad told them how to fix it, and Jason/my mom would take pliers and turn the screw that was in the faucet, to make it get hotter. They were able to get it really hot, which helped 🙂 All of that was around 11-11:30.

Jason would be with me, I wouldn’t have contractions, and then as soon as he left I’d start having a contraction. He only left 2-3x, and that was when we thought I wasn’t into hard labor yet. But when he came back the one time he could hear me groaning (I hoped he would, so he’d come back :-).

Soon after that, Jason came into the bathroom to stay awhile.  I would have a contraction, feel nauseous during it, then afterward want to eat something – mom went to get me soup, then by the time she got back with it I’d had another contraction and didn’t feel like eating. I asked if they had something like applesauce, so I did eat that. I was exhausted, so in the minutes between contractions I was dozing to sleep. I would groan and almost cry, more because I was so frustrated that I hadn’t been able to sleep the night before. I asked God to help me. I knew He could still give me the strength I needed for the day. And I did hope and pray that this baby was coming by evening.