The Natural Bud

Blossoming into a Healthier Lifestyle


Leave a comment

A Time to Celebrate

Day Before Discharge

Day Before Discharge

It’s late Tuesday morning when I make my daily phone call to the NICU. I’m always nervous to call; I want to know how he is doing, but I don’t want to hear bad news over the phone either.

“NICU Seventh Tower,” the nurse answers, “This is Michelle.”  I haven’t met Michelle yet.
“Hello, this is Laurelyn Rosenberger, Benjamin’s mom.”
“Hi!  He’s doing very well […] The surgeons just did their rounds and […] he can come home this afternoon…”

Whoa.  What?  We weren’t prepared for that news.  I feel more panic than excitement at first. Michelle gives us a list of things to do before he can be discharged so that we’ll be prepared when we arrive at the hospital.

At the hospital, there is more prep to do for his homecoming.  A member of the surgical team shows us how to change the dressing on Benjamin’s chest wound*.  The nurses review a few other things and give us the list of follow-up appointments they’ve made so far….

That was 3 1/2 weeks ago.  Benjamin is home and doing well overall.  Jonathan loves being a big brother too!

Benjamin's Homecoming  Tuesday August 26

Benjamin’s Homecoming
Tuesday August 26

I wouldn’t quite say we are back to normal yet – a “new normal,” perhaps.  The first week in the NICU, when we were concerned about the initial fluctuations in Benjamin’s heart rate, Clarence (the nurse) said, “It’s normal.”  Then she corrected herself – “It’s not normal, but it’s expected after the surgery.”  That expresses our life pretty well – not normal, but expected.

Some of the best advice I received throughout this pregnancy was to focus on the positive.  As Jason and I were driving home from one of our many appointments – so far we have eight specialists to see over the next three months** – we were discussing the then-overwhelming road ahead. Jason commented, “I will say this.  I am in no way feeling ‘woe is me.’  There are people who have gone through so much [harder …] We have a lot to be thankful for.”

We certainly do.  The grace of God is written all over Benjamin’s face.  We are enjoying having him home and watching new developments each week. 🙂

I’ll share some specific blessings later, but we are overwhelmed by God’s mercy, and grateful for the help and encouragement from so many of you.

Benjamin 4 1/2 weeks old Over 9 lbs.

Benjamin 4 1/2 weeks old
Over 9 lbs. (born 6 lb 12 oz)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
*Clarification: his “chest wound” is a scar from his right side close to the middle of his back.  They did not go through his chest for surgery.
**Since writing this, we’ve seen three of the eight specialists (actually, four, counting the weekly casting appointments for his clubbed feet).  We are thankful and feeling slightly less overwhelmed now.  


2 Comments

“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.


4 Comments

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.*


2 Comments

Green Living: Not Just a New Trend

photocredit: streetsblog.org

photocredit: streetsblog.org

After we moved to NYC, many of our lifestyle choices changed. Some people may get the impression that we’ve simply joined in the city’s fads – become a “health fanatic” because it’s the popular thing to do here.

We do buy a significant amount of organic food, make our own nontoxic cleaners, encourage breastfeeding when possible, etc. It’s just a coincidence that we lived in the city when we made certain changes.

photocredit: rew-online.com

photocredit: rew-online.com

For those who have read the last few posts, you know that poor choices regarding both diet and environment nearly destroyed my health. I was 22 yrs old, newly married, and hardly had the energy to clean our 1000 sq ft apartment. It was draining physically, emotionally and spiritually. Would I ever have the energy to be the wife I wanted to be? Exposure to black mold, chemical cleaners, eating only cooked and processed foods, birth control pill – all of these contributed to my toxic overload.

photocredit: viktoriastrology.wordpress.com

photocredit: viktoriastrology.wordpress.com

For us as Christians, it’s more than just a better life.  We seek to know and live by God’s Word.  Jesus said that “to whom much is given, much is required.”  The more we know, the more responsible we are to make appropriate choices. (*see note below*)

photocredit: thestrouplawfirm.com

photocredit: thestrouplawfirm.com

After years of health problems, doctor visits, new solutions and research… here is what our family knows**:

  1. Eat Fresh: Our bodies require 50% fresh food (live enzymes) with each meal to benefit from the nutrients. Otherwise our bodies respond to the cooked food as they would to an enemy.
  2. Cut Out Sugar: Sugar has negative side-effects: those who consume sugar age faster, have more difficulty losing weight, tend to have more difficult labors & are more likely to tear at birth. Sugar can also be addictive and feeds candida which can lead to many other problems. (Fatigue, headaches, ear pressure…)
  3. Eliminate Toxins: Chemical cleaners and cosmetics contain ingredients that have been linked to several different cancers.
  4. Rebuild Your System: Live enzymes, nutritional supplementation and probiotics play a significant part in rebuilding the digestive system.
  5. Eat Organic: “The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children eat organic whenever possible.” – Dr. Herzog, Board Certified Pediatrician. Exposure to certain pesticides have been linked to significant problems later in life. Higher amounts of pesticides are found in fat (butter, yogurt). Pesticides also soak into several fruits and vegetables – “The Dirty Dozen” – meaning washing the skin will not protect you from consuming multiple pesticides.

    agapegeek.com

    agapegeek.com

Apathy and ignorance nearly destroyed my health and with that, the freedom to serve my family.

No, this isn’t a trend.  It’s a belief system.  It’s a new way of life.

photocredit: zawaj.com

photocredit: zawaj.com

*Note: We certainly can’t control everything about our health; but we are responsible to be faithful with what we can control.  (I’m still working on this….)  For example, we can’t always control how we feel physically or emotionally. I may feel overwhelmed or discouraged, and that is okay… but I choose how to handle those feelings.  I can feed those discouraged feelings by focusing on all my problems or I can choose to cultivate a grateful heart for what I have. I can also support my body physically, which in turn will help emotionally.

**For sake of brevity, I’ll cite research in the following post.  For those who are overwhelmed with pursuing a healthier lifestyle, I’ll also share some basic tips to help you get started.

***Nothing in this post or blog is intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.***