Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Homemade "Honey Bee' Cream

I'm bringing you this older post from my previous blog, that I am planning to slowly and selectively update and bring over here. Mostly I'm so excited at the prospect of using my own beeswax and honey in this cream come fall.....

My oldest daughter had very bad eczema as a toddler. In my stumblings to identify healthy skin potions that don't cost a fortune, I read a research paper that suggested putting a 1:1:1 mixture of honey, beeswax and olive oil on people's skin. I have no idea how they made that work because said mixture is basically a solid. However, with some trial and error I have developed the following recipe

1 part by weight Beeswax, grated
5 to 6 parts by weight high-quality, organic olive oil
1 part raw Honey. There might be a benefit to using local honey, which is what I did.

Put the grated wax and the olive oil in a microwave safe dish and heat. I heat in 30 second increments and stir in between. Do this until the wax is completely dissolved in the oil. Then stir and stir and stir while the mixture cools down. When it's not super hot anymore, add the honey. Then keep stirring for a while, until the mix becomes more solid and cream-like. Put in a jar. You can squeeze out a capsule or two of a vitamin E supplement and mix that in, to prolong the shelf life.

My daughter went through phases where she likes this cream and other where she claims it hurts her. This was true for all creams we have tried so far. So if you're struggling with eczema, I figure it's worth a shot. If you're looking for a really nice hand-cream (useful as gift, too!) - you got it. I bet you could add some essential oil if you're not blessed with sensitive skin.

I shared this post on!
The Self Sufficient HomeAcre

Monday, February 2, 2009

Castor Oil Labor Cocktail

Castor Oil is a disgusting vegetable oil that can successfully be used to bring on labor. I know it because I have done it! The birth story of my second daughter was somewhat crazy, and I kept meaning to write it up. But first, here's the recipe:

2 oz Castor Oil
2 Tbsp Almond Butter (the smooth kind, buy at Trader Joe's)
1 cup Apricot Juice
1/2 white wine, champagne or cava

Blend thoroughly. Enjoy quickly. Though the ingredients are sort of odd and you're hereby instructed to consume a moderate amount of alcohol while pregnant, I promise you this tastes a lot better than the usual recommendation of mixing the Castor Oil with OJ or even put it in a screwdriver. Again, I know because I have tried! You can expect this to work within 2-6 hours. My recommendation is to wake yourself up at about 4 am, after a night of a good dinner and decent sleep if you can manage. Drink the stuff and go back to bed. That way you might sleep through the nausea that sets in 1-2 hours later. Also, the sooner in the day your labor starts the better off you are.

BTW - here's the birth story that goes with this recipe....

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Recipe for a Natural Induction

My first daughter was breech throughout my entire pregnancy and born via Cesarean section. I was very disappointed but since I was told I had a misshapen uterus, I resigned myself to have more breech babies using the same exit route.
It came as no surprise that my second daughter was also breech all along, as confirmed in many ultrasounds. We scheduled a C-section for 39 weeks, 1 day. Got the grandparents to watch my 2-year old (reason for a Rant), went to the Hospital. Got an IV. Negotiated anesthesia with the nurse and physician, got shaved, husband got put in scrubs, the whole 9 yards. Then we got bumped off the OR schedule and in the meantime the midwife was going to repeat the ultrasound, just to be sure. Well, she couldn't find the baby's head! She thought it was hiding under my ribs, where it had been for quite a while causing me great agony. Then we waited around for the OB to come and try again - half an hour later, he couldn't find the head either. He did a vaginal exam and said 'Hmm....feels like a head'. So the head of OB was called in and finally found the head. Down at zero station, right where it belonged! This moment definitely makes my 'top 5 best moments of my life' list. My first thought was 'Awesome, I can eat now!'. So we practically ran out of the hospital and into the nearest Panera Bread.
From there, we went to the maternity store to buy a belly belt strap thingie that was supposed to hold the baby in place head down.
The waiting began. It was awful. I had stopped working, my babysitting arrangements for my older daughter had to be revised, and somehow I felt a certain amount of pressure since I knew I had to go into labor before 41 weeks, given that this was an attempt at a VBAC. I knew I could not be induced with pitocin without risking a rupture of my old scar. I will spare you a detailed account of the following two weeks. Suffice to say that I was still very pregnant at 41 weeks, but a non-stress-test and a biophysical profile told me and the doctors that the baby was doing great. I had my membranes stripped twice to no avail. That following weekend I tried Castor Oil twice. On Saturday, I took one dose. It made me nauseated but I didn't throw up. It brought on nice and regular contractions but unfortunately they didn't last when I went to bed. Sunday, I tried with 2 doses. Same story.... contractions but not that hard. We took a long walk at night to try and speed things up before going to bed. Nothing. We were scheduled to go to the hospital the next morning to have my water broken and see if that would work.... this would also have started the clock to a C-section on Tuesday, over 2 1/2 weeks after my original scheduled date. Very early Monday morning, I still had light contractions but my C-section scar started to hurt. After getting in touch with the midwife on call, we went in to the hospital, got checked in and they checked on my uterus and the baby. Nothing bad going on, but no labor either. So we slept a little. Early Monday morning, Emily, my midwife, broke my water.
The walking began. We walked for a long time, and we walked for a very long time. It was torture. I was watching all these women in labor and I wanted their pain so badly. At some point, the midwive sent my husband home to get the breast pump. I had used it to try and bring on labor and it did always bring on contractions. However with the silly hospital protocol I had to stop using it every time it brought on a contraction, and we had to monitor the baby. This was never going to work! So we walked some more. Then we decided to give the Castor Oil another chance, since it had given me contractions before. Hah! The hospital pharmacy didn't even have it, so poor Paul had to go out again, this time to CVS. They wouldn't give me anything but alcohol to drink with it either, disgustingly.
And then we walked. We walked for a long time, and we walked for a very long time. I got totally desperate and eventually the OB asked me how long I wanted to keep it up for. We agreed that a C-section the next morning was going to be the plan B. (Or C, depending how you count). Then a nurse had the genius idea to send us outside to walk. It was cold and dark out, and we talked about the upcoming elections. And then all of a sudden, I got the first real contraction. It stopped me in my tracks and I had to hold on to Paul. By the time we had finished our walk, the contractions were pretty darn strong and about 5 minutes apart. It was 8 pm at this point. Inside, the midwife checked me out, and I spent a bunch of time on the ball, like on the picture here.

The midwife was worried about my labor slowing down so she encouraged us to walk almost all night, which we did. At around 3 to 4 am I took a heavenly bath in the tub. It didn't help with the contractions themselves but in between, I got some good rest. My contractions never went closer than 4 minutes apart, which was of concern to the midwife but it was all I could handle anyway, so I was sort of glad.

We spent the rest of the night walking or sitting on the ball. Then at around 7 in the morning, right as the nurses changed shifts, things got dramatic really quickly. The baby's heartrate wasn't satisfactory to the medical team, so I was put in bed (Ouch) and given IV fluids as well as oxygen. I was only dilated to a 6, so quite a ways to go it seemed. Then they made me lie on my left side, to give the baby maximum blood flow. This gave me killer pain in my old C-section scar. The contractions alone were pale in comparison. The medical people didn't think it was a problem, just likely an adhesion inside the old scar, but that didn't help my pain. I asked how long I would have to be in this position, and was told it could be hours. There was a definite possibility that we would have to opt for a repeat C-section hanging in the air. So I ordered the anesthesiologist.... while waiting for him, I had to yell at the nurse to let me go to the bathroom. She asked what I needed to do there (#1 or #2) and I just yelled 'I don't know, I just need to go!' which really should have clued me in to something but it didn't. I did some involontary pushing on the bathroom, but again, didn't get it. Then the anesthesiologist was there and read me my rights... once the epidural was finally in, I could still feel the pain in the scar. At this point, the OB was in and was looking at the heart rate. But before deciding on our fate, he was going to do one last vaginal exam. And while he was expected to say 'Let's head for the OR' what he did say was 'Or we could just push'. Everyone in the room let out a sigh of relief and started laughing.

People were running aound, getting things ready. The OB slipped out of the room again, and I started pushing at 8 am with 2 midwives at the foot of my bed, mostly watching. Paul was taking pictures, which I didn't realize while being so totally focussed. I won't post those here :-)
At 8:29 am, Eleanor Delilah was born. It was November 4th, 2008 and we joked that she wasn't going to come out until she knew this country (and the world) was going to take a turn for the better. I did not have a single tear or complication, and she latched on right away. She looked quite a bit different than her sister in those first hours.

At my 6 weeks postpartum appointment, the midwife told me we were the talk of the hospital. Due to my stubbornness and determination, we had avoided surgery, and managed to induce labor using no pitocin at all. Ellie was born 2 1/2 weeks after her originally scheduled birthday, and she is the easiest baby that ever was. We definitely think the extra time inside suited her well!