Thursday, 22 January 2015

How I Beat Mastitis Without Antibiotics

Elliott is ten months old now, and so imagine my surprise (and annoyance!) last week when I came down with a case of mastitis. You may remember that I had mastitis twice before- once when Elliott was less than two weeks old which hit in full force. As much as I resisted at first I had no choice but to take antibiotics to clear it up. And then I got it a second time a few weeks later. I recognized the warning signs and was able to nip it in the bud with Vitamin C before developing a fever. 

This time around it hit hard and fast, but I was able avoid antibiotics. I wanted to write a post detailing exactly what I did in the hopes that it will be helpful for someone else in the future.

First of all, you may wonder why I would even attempt to avoid antibiotics. Medicine is there to make us well! I agree, and there is absolutely a time and place for antibiotics, but if they can be avoided, so can a slew of problems that go along with them. Antibiotics kill all the bacteria in your gut- both good and bad, and we have a LOT of good bacteria in there! Our immune systems are dependent on this good bacteria, and so when we strip it from our body, we are unfortunately also putting our immune system at risk. Of course our gut bacteria can be restored with a healthy diet and the help of probiotics, but my concern was more for Elliott than myself. Because I am still breastfeeding any antibiotics that I take will also affect him, and I am much happier to just avoid them altogether.

Ok, ok, back to what happened!

I wasn't feeling great all day Friday- really tired and run down. I attributed it to the poor sleep I had the night before and just went about my day normally. I did note in the morning that my one breast felt a bit tender, but didn't think too much of it. Chris came home from school around 2 that day and I had to leave shortly to take Elliott to the chiropractor. I complained to Chris just how tired I was and even asked for his help hetting Elliott dressed to go out. Leaving the house, even for such a simple task took a LOT out of me. Once I got home around 3:30 pm I told Chris how unwell I was feeling and that I felt like I was coming down with something and needed to take a nap. I headed to bed and it hit me all at once as I climbed under the sheets- unmistakable fever chills. I put two and two together with my sore breast and knew right away that it was mastitis. 

By the time I was falling asleep I had a fever and a headache and my breast was much more sore. Thankfully I was able to sleep for two full hours and woke up feeling much better. In hindsight, I was somewhat fooled by the turnaround and thought perhaps I caught it so early that I wasn't going to experience much else. I took 2500 mg of Vitamin C and some echinacea and ate dinner. A couple hours later and I was feeling pretty horrible all over again. My headache was unbearable without meds so I took Tylenol, then drank tons of water and had some peppermint tea. I also rubbed Oregano oil on the bottoms of my feet and Lavendar oil on my breast twice before bed. 

The night ended up being pretty rough. Elliott woke up only a few hours after I went to bed around and when I woke up to feed him I had a full on fever again. Chris helped me get him back to bed, but then he woke again at 2 and again my fever was in full force. Chris tried to soothe him but unfortunately he woke up completely. After hearing all the crying I was completely awake now too, and I knew I would need Chris more in the morning so I sent him to bed and hunkered down with Elliott on the couch for a while. He finally went back to bed at 4 (yikes!!) and slept until about 7. Chris got up with him and I slept for a few more hours. 

I felt quite a bit better when I woke up, except my breast was now quite red and sore. I knew I needed to hit this thing with everything I had, so here is what I did Saturday:

9 am:
2500 mg Vitamin C
Echinacea
Fermented Cod Liver Oil
Raw garlic (1 clove, cut into 5-6 pieces and swallowed like pills)
Oregano Oil on my feet
Lavendar Oil on my breast

I repeated the oils once an hour for about 3 hours. Small and frequent doses are key!

12 pm: another clove of garlic

1 pm: I'm feeling great!! So great in fact that Chris and I decide to go to the mall to return something and we need up doing a little clothes shopping. 

3 pm: We get home and Chris completely crashes from the night before (You can tell he's not used to being up in the night with him!) but I have lots of energy and make dinner. I feel almost completely better except my breast is still very red and sore.

I repeat the oils once every 2 hours between 3 pm and about 10 pm when I go to bed

6 pm:
2500 mg Vitamin C
one last garlic clove to cover my bases

9 pm: after Elliott went to bed I did a potato poultice. This was AMAZING!! I sliced baby potatoes (because that's all I had!) very thinly and placed them in a bowl of cold water. I laid them on the red sore spots on my breast and let them sit until they were dry. I repeated this 3-4 times. After this I went to bed.

3 am: I woke up to feed Elliott and low and behold my breast was no longer red and barely hurt!! 

9 am: Once I woke up for the day (Chris let me sleep in again. What a champ) I felt completely healthy. No pain or redness and no other signs of infection, not even 48 hours after it began.

I'm SO thankful I was able to not only do it without the mess, but also beat it so quickly. As a note, I had promised Chris that if I wasn't better by Sunday I would go in to see the Dr to get a prescription. I'm all for natural methods, but infections are nothing to mess around with. Believe me when I say that I would have no problem taking antibiotics if my natural methods didn't work as well as they did.

Thank for reading- I hope this helps someone out there in Internetland one day!

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~M




Friday, 9 January 2015

Balancing Needs With A Baby In The Mix

A few nights ago night Chris and I were both fairly exhausted. Myself because Elliott hasn't been sleeping well this week, and for Chris because he is back in school after a month off. We're both feeling this adjustment period - he has 8 am classes everyday of the week which is hard on both of us. No more nudging him awake at 7 am after a hard night of multiple wakings so I can sleep in (It was a good run while it lasted!) He also has more classes than he did last semester which means staying on top of homework is a nightly task.

We had some company over for a short while after dinner, and then after Chris did bath time and I put Elliott to bed we both collapsed on the couch for a few brief minutes before he started writing a short assignment. Once he finished around 10 pm I was having trouble keeping my eyes open and announced I needed to go to bed early.

I decided to first prepare a lunch for Chris, which was interrupted by Elliott waking up. Groan. Into his room I go, and pat his back for a few minutes until he falls back asleep. This doesn't bode well for the rest of the night.

Now it's 10:30 and I am actually going to bed. It isn't uncommon these days for me to head to bed before Chris, but he always tucks me in and we pray together. I tell him I'm heading to the bedroom and ask for the usual 5 minute buffer for me to brush my teeth and get changed before he comes in to pray.

"Do you mind if we don't pray together tonight?" He asks

What?? My mind races. Well. Umm. Yes I do mind. I instantly feel upset, but I'm not sure why.

"It's just that if I come in in 5 minutes and we take 10 minutes to pray together, I really don't have any time to myself before bed" (we typically stick pretty close to an 11 pm bedtime for ourselves)

It's true. It was now 10:35. By the time we would be done praying it would be almost 11. I feel upset though - I just spent the last half hour doing some very unselfish things. Soothing our son back to sleep and making a lunch for Chris (cute notes attached and all!) All I want out of him is 10 minutes or less to pray with me.

"But, I love when we pray together. I don't want to get out of that habit." I say, not really wanting to reveal my selfish thoughts.

"I love it too, but it's just one night. I could just use a little time to rest and unwind before bed."

"If I stay up until 11 with you, can we go to bed together and pray?" I ask

"Sure."

And then approximately 1.5 minutes later after sitting there feeling frustrated, I announce once again that I am tired, and now my stomach seems to hurt so I am heading to bed. And off I go. No kiss goodnight, no embrace to reassure him I am not upset.

Because really, I am still upset.

As I am brushing my teeth I start to think more about how selfish he was being. After I made him lunch! Doesn't he realize that I need time to rest and unwind too? I spend my entire day with Elliott, and he doesn't understand that there is no "time off" when you're a Mom. My eyes are always on that little man. Even when he's sleeping my ears are tuned in to hear if he stirs (Which lately, is a lot) I sure wish I could have some quiet time where I didn't have to think of anyone but myself.

Me me me me me me me me ME.

Oh boy. The Lord (thankfully) convicted me pretty quickly on this one. Because here's the thing friends:

My need for rest does not negate his need for rest.  Let's take this a step further. My needs do not negate his needs, even if I selfishly view my needs as greater. The only reason I was accusing him of being selfish was because I was feeling incredibly selfish in that moment. The fact that I am tired does not disallow him from feeling tired. My need for rest does not minimize his need rest.

In marriage there can be a constant tension of his needs vs her needs, and adding a baby intensifies those needs, and on top of that creates brand new needs. We're still figuring it all out. I have a feeling we'll be figuring it all out for a while. In the meantime we are thankful to the Lord for the ministry of his Holy Spirit who leads us in the right direction - towards a sacrificial relationship that mirrors Jesus and the church.

Chris came to bed only a few minutes later and apologized. I also apologized for how I reacted and for how I manipulated him, because if I'm really honest I went to bed with the hopes that he would feel guilty and follow me.

Conviction. Sanctification. This can be a tough gig sometimes.




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~M

Friday, 2 January 2015

An Argument Between My Spirit and Heart on Christmas Day

It's amazing how having a child will make you reevaluate everything. What (and where!) you eat, how you spend your leisure time, how much TV you watch, how often you get outside, and most recently, how you celebrate Christmas.

I love Christmas. I love just about everything about it- the eggnog, the delicious treats, the tree, the decorations, and finding just the right gifts for my loved ones. I even love the hustle and bustle of the malls as Christmas Day draws near (and intentionally do my Christmas shopping in the last week like a crazy person!) Of course this year we have something extra to celebrate - what a special time to celebrate Elliott's first Christmas with our family!

We decided not to get gifts for Elliott this year. We weren't trying to make some big statement about Christmas and gifts, instead we just recognized that he would get just as much enjoyment from playing with the boxes and tissue paper from our gifts as he would his own, and he has no clue what it means to receive a gift. When he needs things (or when I happen to pass by something I think he needs) we buy them for him. For this year we felt there was no need to wait until Christmas morning to give him those things. Next year will be a whole new ball game I'm sure!

On that note however, I did find myself feeling a brand new tension this year, particularly on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. It was a fight between my spirit and my heart. At first, it seemed fairly black and white for me - I was seeing picture after picture posted on social media of parents showing off their Christmas tree laden with gifts underneath. Some had few, and some had many, and while I'm quite sure not everyone's intent was to showcase the gifts, I know a couple most definitely were. When I saw these pictures, my spirit felt uneasy. Why is this the focus? Why is this image what we are choosing to "share" with our friends and families? Christians and Non-Christians alike all seem to agree that Christmas is so much more than gifts. Even if you don't believe that the season is all about celebrating the gift of Jesus, you likely believe that time spent with friends and family is far more valuable that what is found under that tree.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that is all I saw on social media. I saw plenty of pictures of families gathered around a meal, and selfies taken on Christmas morning in Christmas jammies. I know the giant boxes wrapped in metallic paper with red and green bows is not all my friends care about. I am also not saying I am anti-gifts. As I said above, one of my favourite parts of Christmas is finding the perfect gift for someone. I love the joy of giving! I'm not a crazy person either- I certainly enjoy receiving as well.

But back to that tension- I'm sitting there on Christmas Day feeling a little uneasy about seeing these gifts, and honestly I'm even thinking about writing this blog about it. There I am scrolling through Facebook as Elliott naps, silently writing a post in my head about how I don't want my children to grow up thinking Christmas is all about gifts, and I see one picture that flips my black and white ideals on it's head. One friend took a picture of her kids coming into the room on Christmas morning and seeing the gifts under the tree for the first time.

My heart grew three sizes for those gifts.

On one hand I still feel all the same about not wanting the gifts to take front and centre in any celebration, but my Mommy heart understood it all so much more after seeing those sweet little faces filled with surprise, excitement and pure joy.



You know, I only put this together as I was sitting here typing, but I think the Lord has already been teaching me something in this.

I've never been one for making New Year's resolutions, but this year I was challenged to ask the Lord for one word for this next season of our lives. Not necessarily the full year- just this season we are entering into. I want to know what he has to show me- it might be something he wants to grow in me, or something that he wants me to experience.

He answered me with two words. Extravagant Love. I look forward to seeing how Jesus wants to reveal this to me in this season. I think he has already given me a taste for it in the eyes of those sweet children seeing their gifts for the first time. All they knew in that moment was extravagance. What they found under that tree was so obviously more than they had expected or imagined, and I can only imagine that our Heavenly Father enjoys seeing that reaction even more than a parent on Christmas Day.




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~M

Monday, 22 December 2014

Elliott: Nine Months




Elliott is nine months old! His personality gets more and more goofy by the day. He has the silliest facial expressions, and you can tell he does certain things just to make us laugh. So much personality for such a little guy! He brings us so much joy every single day, and we can't help but notice how he lights up each room he enters. Our prayers for him are often centred around the joy he brings to us and others and how it brings glory to God each day! His favourite thing to say is still "dadadada" but we think he might be starting to associate it with Chris. He has said "mumum" a few times and only when he is sad and whiney, so I am beginning to wonder if he actually does associate that one! Elliott smiles and laughs more than ever - he loves to be tickled and has a deep belly laugh when he's really loving it.

Eating: More than a month ago Elliott started refusing solids. One day he was eating them and the next he was downright refusing them and only wanted breastmilk. We tried everything to get him to eat. Making it warmer, colder, adding different flavours and textures. Trying baby led weaning (giving him large chunks to feed himself) Nothing worked and it was stressful for both of us. We eased off and tried every fews days-ish (sometimes going a week without offering) and finally, just a few days ago he took a spoonful of applesauce like he's been doing it all along! I'm so excited to get back on the food train- especially now that he is 9 months old and I have another 14 foods to add to our repertoire (remember from my last update, we're following a list from our Naturopath) 

Sleeping (Night Time): So thankful to report that his sleep has finally gotten better again. That was a loooong sleep regression that was hard on all of us! He still goes to bed at 9 and he is back to waking once or twice to nurse and going back to sleep relatively well. Once in a while he'll have a bad night, but don't we all? He's been sleeping in until 8-8:30 for quite a while now which has been so lovely! As much as I've been enjoying it I think I need to start putting him to bed earlier and getting him up earlier soon so he's used to it for April when I open my Dayhome. I think we'll start attempting that in the new year!

Sleeping (Nap Time):  Two naps a day - the first around 10:30-11 and he'll sleep at least an hour, sometimes two. The second nap is usually around 3-4 and he'll sleep between 1-2 hours. Usually between the two naps he sleeps 3 hours, so if it's an hour in the morning it will be two in the afternoon and vice versa.

Play: He loves to pull his toys out of his basket. His favourites are his red and orange O-Balls (still), his red car, yellow car, crinkly book, and his R2-D2 bath toy which never stays in the bath because he always brings it out.

No more jumper- there were a few times that we put him in there and he whined, and we have been sick of it taking up so much room in the living room anyways- so the Christmas tree moved in and it got shipped out to the garage. Secretly I can't wait for Christmas to be over to see how much room we have in our living room!

Movin' Around: New category in honour of his new ability - the bum scoot! He started doing this almost right after my last update, so he's pretty good at it. He isn't crawling yet, but he will worm his way backwards pretty quickly when he's on his tummy. Just a couple days ago he learned to sit back up from a laying down position, and in the last day or two he has been trying sooo hard to pull himself up on the couch. He's able to get up to his knees, but not much further. Time to move the crib down!


Highlights/Lowlights: Obviously a huge highlight is the bum scooting! So cute to watch him try to get around!

Still only has 6 teeth. I consider this a highlight because it means we haven't been dealing with a teething baby for over a month. Aaaahh...

Thankfully Elliott has gotten used to the convertible car seat and no longer screams each time we put him in. Also, I am still able to transition him from sleeping in the seat to inside in his crib without waking him (even with taking of his jacket and boots!) It makes me feel like a rockstar every time!

He has rediscovered his love for clapping and does it all the time. He claps if he sees other people doing it (even on the TV!), or if we say "Yaaayy!" It's completely adorable!




Likes:
  • Being tickled 
  • Scootin' around!
  • Opening drawers in the living room
  • Bathtime (as always!)
  • Staring out the front window at all the cars driving past
  • My phone or the TV remote - two things I never let him touch, so naturally they are his favourite things ever!
  • Drinking from a straw cup (and then spitting out all the water)
  • Making his "Donald Duck" sound
  • Sitting in his high chair

Dislikes:

  • Being told not to open drawers
  • Being moved away from something he wants (a cord, a drawer etc)
  • Not being allowed to play with our phones/TV remote
  • Peas (still)


And now, pictures!
(sorry for not having the time to format them better this month. I blame Christmas!)














































































Monday, 15 December 2014

Just A Little Self Care

When I begin to feel overwhelmed there are a few things that happen. First, I stop making dinner. Chris usually picks up the slack, but sometimes it just means we eat out more. Next I stop cleaning each day. This one is unfortunate because then the chores pile up and add to the overwhelmed feelings. I also tend to stop leaving the house and seeing people, which once again is unfortunate because I am an extrovert and actually feel energized when I am around friends.

Another thing I stop doing is writing. You may have noticed? Sorry guys. I think what I have realized is that I see writing as a little bit frivolous. There are usually more important things I should be doing and if I'm not doing them I probably shouldn't be writing either. It's kind of like when you're home sick from school and you know you probably shouldn't go out for ice cream with your friends before your parents come home. If I have time to write a blog then I should probably go clean the bathrooms, ya know?

I took a nice long shower tonight, and when I was clean but not ready for the hot water to end I sat down and turned it into a bath. As I sat there I thought of how my heart no longer yearns for silence or soothing music, but instead it's filled to the brim when I hear my sweet husband babbling along with our chatterbox baby. I sat there until the water grew cold and I soaked in the peace of the not-so-quiet moment.

Once dry, instead of quickly combing my hair, I took my time. I put on nice smelling lotion and I got out some nail polish for my toes. I have no idea when the last time was that I painted my toenails, but I did tonight because it felt even more indulgent that writing. And then I sat down with a glass of chocolate milk and wrote this as Chris played with and bathed Elliott.

It was nothing huge. No big revelations tonight about what I've been doing wrong and how all of a sudden now I get it- just a little bit of self care.

Oh, and I think I already know what I'm going to make for dinner tomorrow.




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~M


Sunday, 23 November 2014

Elliott: Eight Months




Eight months? I can't believe my maternity leave is two thirds over! I love my days spent with our boy - he is turning into such a cute little goofball. He makes me laugh, which then in turn makes him laugh. He just loves to have fun!! He continues to (most days) be a really easy going baby- just likes to hang out and play with his toys. It takes very little to keep him occupied. He's a giant chatterbox- always talking. Mostly he says "dadadadada" but still has no association with it that we can tell. I love watching his face light up when Chris comes home from school, and Chris always jokes about how he must think I'm the funniest person alive because if he turns and is surprised to see me he will bob up and down and laugh. So easily excited!! The last weigh in we had was just under 22 lbs, so I imagine he is just at or over that now, and approx 28 inches long. It seems to me that he looks older every single day. Good thing he just keeps getting cuter!

Eating: We're still slowly introducing solids, but he gets most of his nutrition from breast milk. I have to be honest- this is a tough area for me. We have been following a list of first foods from our Naturopath which is meant to encourage a "healthy gut" We find this to be really important because research shows that 70% of the cells that make up our immune system reside in our gut, and what we feed ourselves determines the health of our gut flora. Babies start out with a clean slate, and so we believe that following this list will set him up for the healthiest gut flora possible. Also, we believe this will be instrumental in setting him up for a healthy digestive system, which is something Chris and I both struggle with as adults. All that being said, I find it quite restrictive. It's normal stuff (yams, carrots, cauliflower, bananas, peas etc) but not stuff I normally make (and puree) I always intended to make his foods and not feed from jars, but I also pictured having the ability to feed him little bits of what we are eating, and feeling quite laid back about it. Well, now I have this list and starting at 6 months there are only 14 foods I can give him (another 14 foods at 9 months, and so on) I feel this tension between wanting to follow the list and wanting to burn the list, and just feed him what I feel like. At this point I think we'll keep with it because we only have one more month before 14 more foods are introduced, and I'm looking forward to adding in oatmeal, which is on the 9 month list.

Sleeping (Night Time): Sleep? What is that?? But seriously, not much has improved from last month. Elliott still wakes multiple times (3, 4, 5...) and at least a couple times a week will wake completely for at least an hour in the middle of the night. From everything I've read he is just working overtime with his brain development and there isn't much I can do, but dear Lord is it challenging! He still goes to bed really well, which is my saving grace. At least I still get that time at the end of the evening to unwind! I just wish he would sleep until 2 or 3 like he used to before waking. Now it's more like 12:30-1 for his first waking. One positive has been how long he sleeps in the morning. We've been leaving him when he fusses for the first time around 6:30 and the second time around 7:30 and he falls right back to sleep on his own (if only he could do THAT in the middle of the night!) He's been sleeping until 8-9 in the morning most days this past week, which has been quite lovely.

Sleeping (Nap Time):  About 2-3 weeks ago, all of a sudden he decided he only wants two naps a day. Just like that, with no help or work on my part (I have dreams of something changing like this at night time as well) His first nap is usually around 10:30-11 and he'll sleep for at least an hour, and then his second nap is anywhere from 2- 3:30 and he'll sleep for an hour or two. Between the two naps he usually sleeps about 3-3.5 hours total. He can go a lot longer between his last nap and bedtime now. I think the longest was waking up at 3:30 and going to bed at 9. So crazy because only a month ago if he woke up at 5:30 (anytime before 6, really) he would need another 15 minute cat nap to get him to bedtime at 9.

Play: He loves to sit up and play with toys. If there is one out of his reach he'll lean forward or to the side and topple onto his tummy (doesn't faze him in the least anymore) His favourite toys right now are Sophie, which he just realized how to squeak on his own, his little red car, his red train (both of which make noise and sing the alphabet, which he loves!) and he's rediscovered his red and orange O-balls. He still loves jumping in his jumper and standing while holding your hands. He works on his fine motor skills all the time- he loves to pick up tiny things with his finger and thumb, and often takes one finger to scratch at different surfaces/textures.


Highlights/Lowlights: He still carpet swims with the best of them, but the only real movement he makes is backwards a few inches at a time. Quite frustrating when he's tying SO hard to move forward to get a toy!

He has six teeth!! 4 up top and the same bottom two. The last 3 came in all in the span of seven days. It was a pretty rough week for the both of us, but we've had a nice reprieve form teething for the last couple weeks

We have officially switched from the bucket seat to a convertible car seat. So far I am loathing this new change. I hate having to stand outside in the cold to strap him in while in the van. I hate that when he falls asleep I have to unstrap him and carry him in, and then somehow take off my boots and his jacket before laying him down. He also seems to hate it and cries each. and. every. time. we strap him in. I miss the bucket seat SO much. Sure, it was heavy, but so much easier!!!

We've started to really notice how ticklish he is when he's tired. It's absolutely hilarious- you barely have to tough his sides/armpit area for him to erupt in laughter.

He's started turning his whole upper body to the side while sitting and will lean his body to one side. At first he would get stuck each time or fall on his tummy, but he's getting better at it and can sit upright again.

I cut his hair!! I had no choice - when it fell forward it covered his eyes and reached almost to the tip of his nose! So I combed it all forward and snipped! It looks pretty cute, but for almost a week I was heartbroken that he looked like a little boy instead of my baby

Elliott was dedicated at our church on November 9th. It was a really special morning, and we had our family and friends over to the house for a lunch after church. He happened to look like the cutest baby ever in his little button up shirt and tie (see picture below)

He learned to clap! Super cute and so fun to see how proud of himself he is.

Likes:

  • My purple water bottle
  • Being tickled 
  • Sitting, playing with toys
  • Getting thrown in the air
  • Bathtime (as always!)
  • Staring out the front window at all the cars driving past
  • My phone or the TV remote - two things I never let him touch, so naturally they are his favourite things ever!
  • Picking up tiny things (crumb on the carpet, string hanging off his pants)

Dislikes:

  • Peas
  • His new carseat
  • Sleep...?


And now, pictures!

















































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~M






























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