Monday, December 22, 2014

My Battle with Thrush - Ouch!! - Coconut Oil for Relief

     I had my third baby almost three weeks ago. I wanted to share my experience with a nasty infection called Thrush.  It is the worst! So much pain and frustration.  I wanted to share that through a lot of research, persistence, and determination.. I was able to fight it off and get through the worst; with the help of coconut oil.  This stuff helped me through the worst of Thrush.  Here is my experience:

     I have always had a hard time with breastfeeding, but this time was a nightmare.  The constant pain during feedings and discomfort in between was driving me up the wall! When my son was about 1 week old, I noticed the white patches on his tongue.  I remember my first had this, but it was only a thin layer of milk.  This time the whiteness seemed thick and was lining his lips and cheeks as well.

Google it...oh no!...Thrush. :(
Research more.
Get worried.
Call the doctor?
Research even more...
Go to urgent care.

     The urgent care doctor confirmed the baby had Thrush.  She said I showed no symptoms but could have or develop it.  She prescribed my baby with liquid Nystatin and gave me Nystatin Cream for my nipples.  The instructions were to apply it until the symptoms are gone and then continue to apply the meds for two extra days.  That's it?  The research online said I needed to boil all pacifiers, bottles, and breast pumps.  It said I needed to wash all clothing in hot water.  It said I need to completely change my diet in order to keep the Thrush from returning.  Well, being the stress-case that I am, I have done everything I read to do.  On top of everything, I developed a nasty hole (a fissure) on the side of my right nipple from a bad latch. OUCH!  I pumped on that side for about 48 hrs and then continued to breastfeed on it but holy cow!...

It was the most excruciating, eye-watering pain of my life! No joke. I hated life and broke down in tears several times because I felt tortured physically and mentally.  

I was highly tempted to give up nursing and go to formula, but my instinct kept telling me I could make it through the pain.  I told myself, "Just make it through the week."  So I continued to fight the horrible infection and endure the pain.  Here is the crazy run down of my routine:

1. Breastfeed.
2. Rinse nipple with water/vinegar mixture (1 cup water + 1 tbsp white distilled vinegar)
2. Apply Nystatin.
3. Air dry as much as possible. (Yes, I've gone topless for most of the days.)
---Give baby liquid Nystatin---
4. Clean off Nystatin cream using the water/vinegar mixture.
5. Apply coconut oil to nipples.  (I used this specifically to treat my nipple fissure instead of lanolin due to reading that yeast tends to like lanolin cream. And apparently coconut oil has anti-fungal properties.)
6. Air dry.
7. Breastfeed.
8. Repeat.

     NOT FUN!  I've had some very rough days filled with tears and prayers.  My poor daughters were not treated very nicely during my very painful feeding sessions.  But the liquid Nystatin was working fast on my son.  His white patches almost completely disappeared in just a few days.  Some would return a day later but not nearly as much and so I continued to use those meds for him.

     My biggest challenge was cutting out all sugar and breads.  This was advice I got from a friend.  She said she did this diet and her infection was gone in less than a week.  If that really works, no problem!  Boy was I wrong.  I only made it 2 days before I started eating breads and cereals again.  I started to feel depressed with all the healthy food I was consuming.  I know it sounds strange, but I was so envious of a simple bowl of Cheerios that my daughters would eat for breakfast.  My husband encouraged me to eat normally but to still cut down on the bad sugars like soda, desserts, junk food, and my biggest weakness...Oreos! Mmmm.  I also started taking probiotic capsules every day.

     After a week I was not using the Nystatin cream anymore. I felt like the coconut oil was doing more good than anything.  It was also helping my fissure to heal quickly.  All the time letting my nipples air dry was SO good for the healing process.  It was exactly a week after going to the doctor that I started feeling tremendous relief.  I was so grateful for every breastfeeding session that didn't have me in teeth-grinding pain.  Slowly, I felt more relief and only slight discomfort during feedings.  I'm sure everything I did to fight off the Thrush was helpful, but I think most of the credit goes to the amazing COCONUT OIL.
It really worked fast with relief and healing.  I am now recovering quickly and I am feeling so much better.  Fingers crossed that the nasty beast doesn't return!

Here are the most helpful sites I found:
Thrush at The Pump Station
Nipple Thrush Treatment Options
Yeast Infections or Thrush
Healing Tips for Nipple Cracks or Abrasions

Thursday, December 18, 2014

A New Student at Inspired Academy - Birth Story #3

     Introducing Desmond Nikola! He has been accepted into Inspired Academy and today marks his two week anniversary as a new student in our homeschool!

     Desmond came into the world two days after his due date.  I was in early labor for about a week and experienced active labor for almost 48 hours.  I went to the hospital and was put on an epidural and Pitocin due to lack of progression (I was only 3 cm dilated!). Yes, apparently I have a cervix made of steel.  After about 5 hours of still minimal progression, my doctor broke my water and finally got things going.  An hour later, it was time to push, but guess what? epidural had worn off by then and I started to feel everything! I was a little scared since both of my previous births I felt nothing, due to a very strong epidural.  This time I was feeling pain and pressure and I told my husband I could feel the baby's head.  After about 15 minutes of pushing Desmond was born and I could feel his entire body come out.  It wasn't a non-medicated delivery, but it was definitely an amazing experience to feel so much of the childbirth happening.  That is the closest I have ever come to a natural childbirth.  Scary, but cool!
     Desmond was 7lbs 12oz and 20 inches.  He has such a soft pleasant cry compared to my second (Dylan is a banshee).  He loves to lay on mom and dad's chest and he was a great sleeper from day one. He sleeps 4-5 hr stretches.  All my kids have been excellent sleepers. 3 for 3, yay!  Desmond has light brown hair and tan skin like his oldest sister Marley.  But his eyes are definitely lighter.  I'm thinking they will be blue or green.
     We chose the name Desmond about 5 years ago when I was pregnant with my first.  We were watching the show LOST and were enjoying an episode somewhere in season 3.  We were discussing the show and I commented that Desmond is one of my favorite characters and that I really liked him.  My husband made the comment that he liked his name.  We looked at each other and both decided in that moment that our son would be named Desmond.  His middle name Nikola was my husband's choice.  He was adamant about using the name Nikola because he is a big fan and admirer of Nikola Tesla.  Apparently he was the most incredible inventor, scientist, philosopher, etc of all least according to my husband. ;)

     Little "Des" is currently taking the classes Intro to Sleep, Breastfeeding Basics, Love and Cuddling, and Little Brother Training.  He is doing well and his older sisters are enjoying the short break they are taking to help him catch up in homeschool.


Monday, December 8, 2014

Pregnancy, Labor, & Childbirth with doTERRA: Review & Special Offers!

     I am not a complete skeptic when it comes to essential oils, but I had never been a "believer" because I had never tried them.  I was given the opportunity to try out a sample set of doTERRA Oils that were customized to my current needs.  I was in my third trimester of pregnancy, so I was looking for anything I could apply to help with sleep, labor, childbirth, and a new baby.
     My doTERRA rep, Jennifer, was very helpful in recommending specific oils for my circumstances.  Thanks Jennifer!

     I told Jennifer that both my husband and I were having a hard time sleeping soundly at night.  She recommended the Serenity blend.  We put a few drops on our pillow and on the soles of our feet.  I started getting a much deeper sleep right away!  My husband did too.  When I asked him how he slept, he said he had a great sleep and had vivid dreams for the first time in a long time.  I told him it was probably the Serenity, but he laughed and said, "I don't think so."  But guess what? He kept using it. ;)

     I was told that the Clary Sage oil should help labor progress.  This is something I desperately need.  My usual pattern with childbirth is a couple weeks of early labor and 2-3 days of active labor.  Crazy right?  I think my cervix is made of steel. Haha!  But I used the Clary Sage as indicated, by rubbing it on my belly occasionally and putting a few drops on my pillow to inhale during labor.  I didn't feel like it helped too much, since I still had a very long labor.  Dang it!  However, when my doctor checked me on my due date, I had dilated to almost 3cm.  For most women, this is not a big deal, but for me I was pleasantly surprised.  On both of my prior labors I was at a zero on my due date.  I couldn't help wonder if the oil had helped prep my cervix a little bit.  Who knows.

     Many women that deliver vaginally experience tearing.  I was given Helichrysum to do a perineum massage for a few weeks prior to delivery.  It is said to prevent tearing and swelling from when the baby comes through the birth canal.  My main problem was it was difficult for me to remember to do the massage.  I tried to make it a habit every time I took a shower, but sometimes I would forget.  I'd say I did this a few times per week.  I am very happy to report that this seemed to work for me! I barely tore at all.  My doctor said she only put one stitch and I didn't even really need it.  Recovery has been a breeze.  Yay for Helichrysum! (By the way, I still have no idea how to pronounce this name. LOL)

     The idea of using Frankincense on my baby boy was just too cute!..especially around Christmas time! ;)  But when I actually researched why Frankincense was given to Baby Jesus, I found it quite interesting.
     At the time Frankincense was considered a very valuable aromatic resin.  It was taken from the bark of a tree and burned as incense.  Biblically (Exodus 30:34), frankincense was described to have elements needed for Priesthood holy prayer.  They say the gift may have been given to Baby Jesus symbolizing his status as a Holy High Priest.  Huh...interesting!
     In present day, essential oil users use Frankincense to rejuvenate skin, uplift moods, boost the immune system and several more uses.  When I used a few drops of this oil (and the Balance blend) on my baby's head and on his feet, I felt the scent and application would help him develop physically, emotionally, and fight off risk of ailments.  It was a comforting moment and I would use them again on my babies, purely for the calming bonding moment between me and my son.  Side note: I am not sure if this has anything to do with the use of oils, but my baby boy has been an awesome sleeper from day one and is very easy going.  Maybe the Balance blend helped him through that initial development outside the womb and provided a calm feeling.  Here is my precious little guy in one of his many deep sleeps.  So peaceful.

     I was also given a sample of Deep Blue Rub, which is a cream that relieves soreness of muscles.  I spent a long night out with the girls at Disneyland trying to walk myself into labor.  No such luck; I didn't get anywhere close to labor, but I did give myself some very sore calf muscles, haha.  I used the Deep Blue cream on my legs and I felt relief within about 10 minutes.  It was very nice.
     In addition to the oils, Jennifer sent me the doTERRA On Guard Natural Whitening Toothpaste.  This product was a pleasant surprise.  I LOVE good dental hygiene! And I really liked this toothpaste.  It was very refreshing with a cinnamon taste, and after each use my mouth felt clean without the aftertaste of typical toothpaste chemicals.  This one I highly recommend.

     My favorite part about essential oils is that they provide us with an all natural alternative to available medicines.  I do not like using drug substances to cure ailments, but trying a holistic method of relieving pain or illness is fabulous!  Overall I was very impressed with the results of using the oils provided to me.  Personally, I found them to have about a 70% success rate.  I also think that the more you believe in the healing properties of the oils, the more success you will have with them.  I believe our brains have a way of shutting our bodies down when we are negative about something.  So, if you try out an essential oil with skepticism, it will most likely do nothing for you.  But if you are open minded, your body will more easily accept the healing properties of the oils.  I will gladly continue to use doTERRA Oils since they have proved efficient enough for me to try in other circumstances.  Please refer to the offer below to redeem your doTERRA discount and subscription.  I hope they are able to prove valuable in your homes.  These would make perfect holiday gifts for family and friends, by providing health and wellness to loved ones.
Best wishes!

*If you want to find out how to purchase these products, contact:
Jennifer Pack
She can answer any questions you have. She also has some awesome promotions for this month!

Here are some ways to get some free products!...
- Share this blog post on your facebook page, then click on the free sample link below
- There is a giveaway for the Holiday Joy blend at this Facebook post:
- Host a facebook party and get free products!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

A More Christ-Centered Holiday with "12 Days of Christmas"

      Ever since I was a child, I have felt that Christmas is way too commercialized.  It comes and goes every year with the main focus on gifts and people never having thought of the true meaning or why Christmas is so important to the world.  I have always had a strong faith in our Savior Jesus Christ, and I have a deep respect and love for the Christmas spirit.  Believe it or not, when I was a young teen, I begged my parents to have a Christmas without presents and just dedicate it to family time.  My parents just laughed at me and said, "Yeah, sure." They had problems recognizing the truly important things in life.  No dice.  We got plenty of presents, but no quality time with the family.  I don't remember what gifts I received.  I just remember feeling sad and lonely.  I remember feeling ashamed that my family did not once stop and talk about the birth of Christ on Christmas Day.

     All those years inspired me to do more for my family and for my kids.  I had vowed that I would teach my children about the significance of Christmas and the value of family togetherness.  I knew things would be different for my family.  Luckily, my husband Daniel was on board and has always made endless efforts to better our life for our family.  Every year, we attempt to make Christmas more Christ-centered, spiritual, and memorably fun.
     This year we decided to start limiting presents to three gifts per child.  With each gift representing the gifts given to Jesus: Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh.  We will be explaining to our children the meaning behind each gift.
  • GOLD: This gift will be something that the child has been wanting; that special gift they have been asking for.  
  • FRANKINCENSE: This gift will be something for their body.  It could be something to encourage health, or maybe clothing.  
  • MYRRH: This gift will be something that enriches the mind or spirit.  It might be something of spiritual or sentimental value, or an educational present.  
These specific guidelines made it much easier to make out our Christmas shopping list this year! And helped us stay within a decent budget.
     Another tradition we are starting this year is "12 Days of Christmas Family Fun."  I have a list of (free or inexpensive) activities for the family to do together every evening for the 12 days that lead up to Christmas.  I ordered these adorable Small Red Envelopesand then I used these Printable Tags link to paste on our envelopes. I printed out this Free Tag Template and wrote one activity on each tag and placed them inside the envelopes. They turned out so cute!!
I plan to hide them in the tree and ask my girls to find the right number each day.  I figured this is a good tradition to have if we want to focus on quality family memories, instead of focusing on Christmas gifts. And guess what?  Finding the envelopes will be a fun educational way for my girls to practice their numbers! Homeschooling score!

Here is my list of activities. But shhhh! Don't tell my girls. ;)

 1)  Play a board game or put together a puzzle
 2)  Do a service project
 3)  Movie night
 4)  See Christmas lights and drink hot cocoa
 5)  See the temple Christmas lights
 6)  Play an active game (like hide & seek or tag or a sport)
 7)  Go ice skating
 8)  Bake treats or make a gingerbread nativity scene
 9)  Talk a walk on the pier and eat ice cream
10)  Make ornaments or another craft
11)  Read aloud the nativity story (I bought The Christmas Story book which is perfect for preschool kids!) and sing Christmas Carols around the tree
12)  Gifts on Christmas Day!!

     In case you were wondering, we still "do Santa."  We love Santa and the fun childhood traditions that come with Santa Claus: pictures with Santa, letters to Santa, stockings filled with goodies from Santa.  And to be honest, I'm pretty certain my 4 year old is perfectly aware of the Santa tradition.  She has expressed to me how she thinks it's fun to pretend we are giving each other gifts from Santa, haha.  We didn't say anything to her. I guess she figured it out on her own, but since we daily encourage pretend and magic play, it doesn't seem like a big charade...just another fun game.  But overall, we don't talk about Santa a whole lot and we don't use it as a way to get our kids to behave, because hey...they should be behaving regardless! ;)  But we do make sure to discuss Baby Jesus a lot around Christmas and we always explain to our kids that Christmas is a time to celebrate his birth and to rejoice in "peace on earth, good will toward men."
Happy Holidays to all!