Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Home remedies for colds

Being sick and pregnant is a tough combination. It is not glamorous. I hardly have the energy to get up and make enough meals to keep me and the little one well-fed, let alone clean the house. It was bad enough during the first and second trimesters, but as big as I am, just walking around I can get winded without having a cold interfering. I think I'm currently fighting off my fourth cold since getting pregnant. 

Yesterday I was happy that I managed to shower, eat, nap, and make a list of things we still need to get ready for the birth of our baby boy. Oh, and I did one load of laundry. Big time productive, right? Luckily, I have help. I've got one amazing man who happily does the dishes, cleans the counters, carries clean laundry over to our room, and will even start new loads of laundry for me. He's also great at rubbing my back, bringing me water, and telling me what a great baby-grower I am. He's a huge help and totally sweet. I'm a lucky, lucky woman. I also happen to have an amazing midwife who will text me back right away if I ever have a question or need. And she is a wealth of information on how to heal yourself without medications. (Because, really, that's pretty much what you're limited to when you're sharing anything that comes into your body with a tiny baby.) 

So, for anyone who cares to hear about what crunchy alternatives to pharmaceuticals I've been using, here's a list of my favorite cold remedies: 

(A disclaimer-- I am not a health professional. These are things that are working for me, things that I've researched and tried out for myself. These are just some of my ideas and not medical advice.) 

1. Vitamin C. I mean, a BUNCH of vitamin C. I take between 12 and 20 500mg tablets every morning, and then a tablet every couple of hours for the rest of the day when I'm sick. But if you are in the early part of pregnancy, don't do this. 

2. ACV-- Apple Cider Vinegar. While I can't say that I would have wanted to try this all on my own, I've heard so many testimonials swearing by ACV that I finally gave it a try. Here's what I've been doing: Heat one cup of water until it is very warm (but not boiling), and then I add two tablespoons of ACV and another tablespoon or two of either raw honey or agave nectar and mix. Then you drink it down while it is hot and pretend that it is just apple cider. (Ignore the part of your brain that says, "If this is apple cider, it has gone bad.") It has a kick to it, but it really gets things moving along in the cold department. I actually don't mind it one bit. I had Jon try it and he said, "Well, it actually tastes a lot better than it smells." Luckily, if you are trying this remedy you probably aren't smelling things all that well, so there you go. 

3. Raw garlic. Again, you've got to do this to the extreme. One thing that I do is toast a piece of bread, throw some butter on top, and then add two crushed and chopped garlic cloves on top. Eat it as though it is a very garlic-y garlic bread. Another option that I do when I'm needing more fluids: warm garlic lemonade. Sounds fabulous, right? Well, here again you heat the water until it is very hot, but not boiling, then add some chopped up garlic cloves and lemon juice. (My midwife suggests just slicing up a lemon and throwing a bunch of slices in.) You let this mixture steep for about twenty minutes and then strain it. If you're using lemon slices, this would be when you'd want to squeeze the excess juice out of them. Then add raw honey, agave, or sugar to sweeten it up a bit. 

4. Vitamin D3. Again, you want to take more than what is normally suggested for a healthy person's supplement. My midwife suggests 10,000 iu per day. (That's 2 tablets usually.) 

5. Home-made chicken soup. Seriously, home-made chicken soup. Not the store bought stuff that has MSG and other back yuck in it. I make mine completely from scratch and change it up a little bit each time. Carrots are a staple, and then to add more bulk, I change up what else I throw in. Sometimes I make it with noodles, sometimes with rice, sometimes with potatoes. Then depending on the mood, I'll add onion slices, dill, or like now when I'm sick, I'll also throw in a few chopped up cloves of garlic at the end. I leave the salt and pepper for the table where Jon and I can season our soups to our own tastes. 

6. Keep the fluids coming. Besides my ACV concoction, I make sure to drink more than enough fluids. As a pregnant lady, I already have to pee all the time, so I figure, what's another couple of trips to the bathroom? I drink lots and lots of water. I keep one of those BPA-free adult sippy cups around at all times and refill it constantly. For hot beverages I do okay with drinking those quickly out of a mug. While I do think that water is the best thing to flush your system and to replenish fluids, I also drink lots of herbal tea (unsweetened). Stay really well hydrated. It helps all around. 

Yesterday I also tried "pulsing" wherein I took a hot shower and let the hot water run down my face and neck for a minute and then alternated that with putting a cold wet towel over my face and neck. My midwife says that it helps clear the lymph nodes. If nothing else, it actually felt really great to combine that with a little face massage. I also broke out my neti pot in the evening, but I can't say that I feel like that did much. But I did sleep with a humidifier next to my side of the bed and I do think that that helped not feeling all dried out in the morning. 

A small confession? The whole right side of my face was hurting so bad from sinus pressure that I did finally take a Tylenol right before getting to bed. Sleep is important enough that I felt justified in taking that one pain relieving tablet. 

And I've got this to report: I'm already feeling much better today. Better than I thought possible considering how cruddy I felt yesterday. I really believe that there are many things in nature that can cure you or can help your body kick into self-healing mode without the concern of icky side-effects. That being said, I also understand that there are times and situations where certain medications are the right choice. 

So there you have it, my kick-your-cold-in-the-butt home remedies that actually work. (For me, at least.) 

Now I'm off to drink some more apple cider vinegar. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

A few details

Does anyone else think that popular culture is weird for tracking the progress of a pregnancy by comparing a baby to various fruits and vegetables? Apparently right now, our little one is somewhere between a honeydew melon and an crenshaw melon. I had never even heard of a crenshaw melon until just barely. . .Okay, but really, I know that details like baby/fruit comparison are not what you want to read about, but these details are are---

Yes, we know what we're having. And no, we haven't been telling everyone. Why? Because I'm not a pink/blue kind of girl. But you know what? You people are my friends. And I feel like I can trust you. I worry about what might transpire at my baby shower, but with you, I trust this information-- we're having a little boy. And soon. He will be most likely making his appearance before the end of next month. And that doesn't give us a lot of time to finish making up his room. But that's okay. We're planning on keeping him within arm's reach for the first bit, anyway. I mean, I really don't see myself making it down the hallway and gracefully stepping over a dog-gate for middle-of-the-night feedings. So once the room actually starts coming together I'll start sharing photos. I am really excited about it, though. We already have the crib and a dresser and colors picked out and some of his bedding and decorations... I have had more fun with putting all of that together than I ever expected.

What else? Oh, the name. Yes, everyone asks me about that one. And I know it is a big deal and all, but nope. We don't have a name picked out yet. And we're coming down to the wire. But I'm okay with that. We have a good solid five or six names that we feel okay about, but there isn't one that just stands out as his yet. And in case you're wondering, if you have any brilliant ideas, please go ahead and share them. I'm still open to suggestions.

Some other details:

1. Physical stuff: Overall I feel like I can't complain. My pregnancy hasn't been as rough as some that I hear about. I did have morning sickness that lasted all day, but it was just bad enough to make me wish I'd vomit most of the time. I actually only threw up once of twice. And you know what I think is super weird? The fact that the more I could make myself eat, the less nausea I experienced. I mean, how does that make any sense? I feel like I want to throw up and the cure is to eat? Right, because that's easy to make yourself do when everything you look at makes you feel queasy. But somehow I prevailed and have made it through the worst of it. I'd say that the hardest part of pregnancy for me has been how tired it has made me from time to time. There are so many things that I want to do, but sometimes I just have to accept that I have limitations. Certain hikes will take longer, others will just not happen until I can take the baby in an Ergo or something. Likewise things like house-cleaning, quilting, and crafting sometimes take longer or are put on the back-burner.

2. Cravings/Food: Nothing too crazy. Jon kept waiting for odd food combinations, but I kept it pretty normal. Sadly, I lost any desire to eat Thai food and I still can't really make myself eat pizza normally (I've only been able to eat it twice). Also, Jon's favorite frozen yogurt place, Menchie's is completely out of the question. The first time I ate it during my first trimester I got physically ill. I tried again more recently, and while there was no violent reaction, I just couldn't eat it. I can't say that it tasted disgusting, but it just really wasn't doing anything for me. So we've found a compromise. Nielsen's Frozen Custard. I think the baby just likes calories. Menchie's, with their fat-free and sugar-free options wasn't real enough for our little one. Baby likes fat and sugar and hot fudge. The only real cravings I have had are-- burgers and red meat in abundance for a two-week span, lots of salads, and about two months of eggs for breakfast. Way back when, I took a class at BYU called Intuitive Eating. It was based on a text by that name, as well as a bunch of research. I feel like that's really what eating while pregnant is all about. I learn to listen to my body and feed it what it really needs, or in this case, what the baby and I both really need. And I have to say that it has been a good mix of things, including some tasty treats. :)

3. Emotions: While before getting pregnant I thought that pregnancy would include a wild roller-coaster of emotions, I have to say that I have been pleasantly surprised. If anything, pregnancy has made me more centered. I feel calm and at peace about many more things, and yet I find that I am happier and just so excited about meeting this new person. This is not to say that I don't also cry during dumb movies or even the occasional radio commercial, because that still happens, too... But for the most part, life has just taken on so many more wonderful things for me that I can honestly say that I've experienced a shift in prospective, in a good way.

Wearing one of the three tops that still covers, and just barely... 
Jon's new hair cut. And he's smiling!
Anything else that anyone is dying to know? Let me know. Otherwise, the next post will probably be more about our baby/plans for once he's here. Oh, and there will probably be a few more photos. :)

Thursday, February 9, 2012


This is a post for all of those folks that haven't seen Jon or I in a while. It has been a long time coming. See for yourselves...

Now, as many of you know, this has been Jon's look of choice for quite some time:
Jon's longish, floppy hair, has been more or less this length for ages.

He's been rockin' this style for a looong time--

Okay, so there was a small spell somewhere between the above photo and when Jon and I met where he had a mullet and another time where he had a mustache, but we don't like to talk about those days.

This is one of the last photos of us together with his hair that long:
Thank you Chrissy for taking this photo!

About a week later I finally convinced him to go in and see my friend Emilee for a new do. I mean, the man needed a haircut either way...
He got a BUNCH of hair chopped off.

And he wasn't too happy about it--

It was kind of traumatic for him. But after a few weeks of telling people that he lost a bet or that he'd been bad and this was his punishment, he finally settled into his new look. Although when I told him I wanted a photo of his new cut for the blog, he refused to smile. He's difficult like that sometimes.

Drinking a delicious green smoothie.
One of these days I'll get a smiling happy photo of him with his new shorter hair. I love it and I've heard him getting complemented on his hair cut without any prompting on my part, so I'm convinced it is a good thing. Change is good sometimes.

And me? Yes, I've been going through some changes too, hair and otherwise--

Back in August:
(Natural hair color, untouched for years.)

(New hair color provided by my pal Emilee.)

And then these days:

Celebration, FL in November

Barefoot and . . .
Early December

I LOVE this photo Jon took of me at Galveston during our Christmas visit.
January, Polaroid

At Zion

BIG changes, am I right? And bigger changes to come. We're so very excited to be welcoming a new addition to our family. I can also think of some grandparents, aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews that are super excited, too. This has been such a magical, wondrous, happy time for Jon and I. The past few months have just flown by. I can hardly believe that we'll be holding our little one by the end of next month. (I know, it looks like I could pop any day now, but I've still got a little while.)

I'll be sharing ultrasound photos and video soon-- just as soon as we can figure out how to get the video that our doctor provided into a format that will cooperate with us. And soon you'll be tired of hearing about how excited I am, what pregnancy has been like for me, and our preparations, etc... But then you'll get to start seeing baby photos, and who doesn't love those? So hang tight, people, loads and loads of adorable baby shots to come soon. I promise.