Friday, October 29, 2010

Of puppies and parvo...

As I had mentioned in a previous post, Ziggy and Delilah had a litter of pups several months back. She had 8 puppies!! Four little boys and four little girls, with two of them looking very Australian Shepherd-ish, one looking like a true mash-up of the two dogs, and the other five looking like some variation of with a random white marking or two. When the pups were about 4 weeks old, Delilah started acting differently. She wasn't eating much, and was acting tired. Postpartum depression? Worms? We didn't know what was going on, so we got some canned food to mix in with her dry and she ate more...then abruptly stopped eating a couple of days later. At the same point in time, she started ignoring her pups. Her pups started having really foul-smelling poop. We took her to the vet no knowing what to expect.

She had parvo. Apparently there had been a bout of parvo running around Fresno that was effecting an extraordinary number of dogs, both vaccinated and unvaccinated alike. The vet said that she had about a 50/50 chance if we did subcutaneous fluids every 4-6 hours and gave her medications. The pups, however, were a different story. He said we'd likely lose the whole litter, that they had already gotten it and they were too young for the shots anyway. He said we'd just have to sit back and watch as they died, or we could bring them all in to be put down. This was devastating news. We weren't sure to tell the boys as puppies started dying, or if Delilah died. We had to treat the yard, and do three separate quarantines: Delilah, Ziggy, and the pups. We had plastic totes all over the utility room, trying to separate the pups who were really acting sick from the ones who weren't. We called around to different societies and shelters for advice...was there anything that we could do? Put the pups down, they all said. There's nothing that I can do. I was defeated and angered at the same time. Surely there is SOMETHING that I could try!

I talked to a friend who is as into herbs and alternative remedies as any herbalist, and asked her advice. She steered me into a couple of directions as suggestions...she had an idea of what worked well on humans for intestinal ailments, but wasn't so sure about dogs. It gave me a little hope, though. In the meantime, the pups had been started on "puppy mush", essentially puppy food soaked in puppy formula and blended to the consistency of a thin pudding. They were eating a little, but it was hard on their weakened guts. I went to the local health food store and picked up a bottle of raw colostrum and started syringe-feeding the little buggers about every 4 hours, coming home on my lunch breaks to help my husband with the never-ending tasks of starting Delilah on her bag of fluids (he didn't like jabbing her with the needle...this is where being a nurse came in handy), giving her the medications, cleaning up the nasty parvo poo, starting a load of laundry to wash the blankets and towels that the pups were laying on, and feeding them.

A couple of days into the ordeal, I found a gentleman on the internet who had a similar experience as ours. He had given his pup turmeric. Yes, as in the spice found in curries, etc. I read about it in depth, investigated turmeric, then decided to give it a try. I went back to the health food store, picked up more colostrum, a bottle of turmeric capsules in the most pure form I could find, and went home. The ladies at the store were had lost her pup to parvo, and really took an interest in our situation. The capsules were large. I couldn't poke them down the pups throats. So I sterilized one of the needles from Delilah's fluids and used it to puncture the capsules. Then my husband would hold the pup, I'd squirt the turmeric (which was in an oil base) down its throat, then follow it quickly with the colostrum. My fingers were yellow for about two weeks...they looked like the fingers of a 40-year chain smoker. We gave turmeric to Ziggy just in case, even though he wasn't acting sick. We gave it to Delilah, who was so weak that she could barely lift her head. We thought we were going to lose her and the pups. She wasn't making urine for about two days...I was sure she was just shutting down. Then slowly she started turning around. She lifted her head. Then sat up for a minute. Then peed!! Her kidneys were working! The pups were starting to eat a little more mush, and the poo stopped smelling foul. There was no more blood in it. We were turning a corner!

We continued with the treatment plan...Delilah on her meds, fluids, and turmeric, Ziggy on prophylactic turmeric, and the pups on colostrum and turmeric 4-5 times/day along with the mush. After about a week, Delilah ate some boiled chicken and broth. The pups graduated to soaked kibble from mush. Everyone was alive, and about half of the litter was actually thriving. And my fingers were very, very yellow.

One of the shelters called us back to check on us after about a week and a half. We gave them the update, and they couldn't believe their ears...both mom and all eight pups had not just survived, but were doing great! They asked for the breakdown of what we did, and we told them. They were a no-kill shelter, and this was exactly the kind of thing they were looking for to try. Our vet called and asked if we lost the litter. We told him about the colostrum and turmeric, and he called it coincidence, then yelled at us and said "Don't you know you're not supposed to give dogs milk?!" We won't be going back to him. The ladies at the health food store said they'd pass it on to anyone who asked. Eventually we found homes for all but one of the pups, who we kept for ourselves. Delilah and all of the puppies made a full recovery!

It was a very, VERY long two weeks of treatment, sadness, frustration, then ultimately, triumph. We had defeated the odds by looking back to nature to heal. So if there is anyone out there who does a search for puppies and parvo, I hope you find this page and give the treatment a try. I was skeptical at first, but took the approach of "can't hurt, might help"...they were all on death's door with no options, so why not give it a try? And it worked!! Pass it on. Log it away in your memory in case it happens to your dog or a friend's pet. Here's the basic breakdown of what we did:

* Turmeric capsules, one per dose, 4-5 times per day until the stool is no longer bloody or diarrhea. Then decrease dosing to 3 times per day for at least a week. Linked is the turmeric we used.

* Raw colostrum, 10 ml, 4-5 times per day after the turmeric. Linked is the colostrum we used.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Hahaha...back from vacation??

Yeah, I suck as a blogger here lately. I'm just so incredibly tired. I'll get my whining out and be done with it...I'm over 30 weeks pregnant now, working full-time, going to school full-time, and trying to relieve my hubby at home when I'm off. He works so hard trying to keep the house and kids under control and presentable, and I know it's a never-ending and thankless task. We're homeschooling this year, so I'm trying to help out with that when I'm not working, but the fact of the matter is that I need to do MY school! *sigh* Well, it's not forever. I just need to plow on through these next three years and think about my goal...midwifery.

So I'm in my first semester of school, working toward my Masters' then ultimately to be a CNM. It's really good, I'm just trying to balance it all and retain as much as possible. I LOVED our time at Frontier for orientation! I got to meet all of my classmates and teachers, and really appreciate the wealth of history behind the area and the school. It's truly amazing, and Mary Breckinridge was an amazing woman. I feel honored to be a part of the school.

Work is going well enough...I'm not doing the back-up supervisor thing anymore, so I'm back on the floor. I was also offered a "desk job" being the Neuroscience/Spine Center coordinator. I haven't accepted yet. It might be nice...less physically demanding, 8-hour days, weekends off. But do I want to deal with all of the politicking? It would be good for me in the long run...good for my resume, good experience for when I'm starting my own practice and/or birthing home. I just don't know if I want to expend the mental energy that I know it's going to require, get off the floor, etc. I like patient care. I don't know...I guess I'll make a decision soon.

I can't believe my baby is six years old!! He's such a sweet kiddo, and I'm truly blessed to be his mommy. Speaking of being a mommy, we found out that we're having another boy! We've chosen the name Connor. He's an active little guy, and we're looking forward to seeing him due date is right around Christmas. I found a wonderful midwife, Detrah Hele. She is a wonderful lady, and I'm so glad I found her! I'm at my every-two-week appointment stage now, and I enjoy seeing her more. I'm planning a homebirth this time around, and we'll have a birth pool as well. Whether or not he's born in the water will be a down-to-the-minute decision based on what feels right at the time, but I'm sure I'll be soaking in there for a while at the least. I've been bulking up my cloth diaper stash, selling the stuff that we didn't use much and buying more of what works for us, which seems to be BumGenius One-size and gdiapers with cloth inserts. Daddy likes them and will use them, so that's what we're going with. I've bought some wipes from my pal over at Stitches in Cotton to replace my worn-out and dog-chewed ones. I'm almost ready! Only think is that I think all of my newborn clothes are still in Florida. I'm going to have to have my family go check the storage unit for me and ship them if they're still there.

Our Delilah had a litter of pups several months back. We ended up keeping one, a little guy that the boys named Charlie Jack the Pirate Dog. No, I'm not kidding. That's his name. It's on his tag. The whole thing. But we just call him Charlie Jack. A few weeks after she gave birth, she and her whole litter came down with Parvo. I'll write a separate post about that, but the long and short of the story is that we used turmeric and cured them all! Only Delilah had antibiotics and IV fluids...she was near death's door when we took her to the vet, we just didn't know how sick she was! But that's another story for another time.

Homeschooling. Wow. I want to say kudos to my mom and every other homeschooling parent out there...this is no easy task, and he's only in first grade!! We have a throw-together curriculum that seems to be working nicely. We're using Math U See, Handwriting Without Tears, McGuffey Readers (which I learned to read from), and The Story of the World. I'm looking for a science curriculum that I like, then we'll have the bases covered. In the meantime, we're just doing it free-style. Deklan is taking very well to it, and does a great job most days. He mostly just has to learn to take his time and do things right the first time...he's a hurrier. Gavin is jumping in and learning a bit here and there, and he loves it! He's a smart little cookie, and we'll start kindergarten a bit early with him, starting next year. As it is he can say his ABC's, count to 14, and is tracing shapes and letters (not very well sometimes, but he sure tries!). Now Trav just needs to start school and we'll all be in learning mode!

Time to go make supper...I made a huge pot of gumbo and have eaten it three days in a row. As much as I like gumbo, I am not eating it four days in a row. :)

Friday, June 25, 2010

Back from my blogging vacation...

I had to take a little time and refocus. I'm sure I wasn't missed much!!

An update from my last couple of Etsy shop is doing better than I thought it would, and I only have a couple of pieces left in it as of today. I need to get back to work! Also, Colleen as made a wonderful recovery! Something to be truly thankful for!
A few things have happened since I last posted. First, we found that we're expecting our third munchkin! I am currently 13w5d, and have just this week announced my pregnancy to the public. Something weird happens when you have a no pregnancy is safe. I wanted to get past the point of my prior miscarriage, which was 9 weeks. I passed that, but still wasn't comfortable. Well, now that I'm a couple of days away from my second trimester, I figured it would be as good a time as any! I've contacted my midwife to make an appointment in the next couple of weeks. It's all starting to seem real. I've had a different pregnancy this time. I've had lots of exhaustion, quite a bit of nausea but with only one vomiting episode...the kicker is the migraines. I have had migraines several times a week and headaches every day. I normally get a migraine once or twice per month at the very most! So I've been a little dysfunctional.

About a week before I found out I was pregnant, I sent in my application for Frontier's Certified Nurse Midwife program. I've been talking about doing that for the longest time, but I finally DID IT. Whew! So, weeks of waiting and waiting ensued. Yesterday we took a little trip to Pier 39 in San Francisco to go to the aquarium with the boys and escape the Valley heat for a few hours. While we were there, my phone alarmed indicating a new was from Frontier. I've gotten several emails since I sent in the package, some for updates, some with general info. This was my acceptance email!!!! I was one of the 25 blessed people to be accepted into the program this go-around! I fly to Kentucky the end of August to have the 3.5 day orientation, then back home to officially start school. Oh, my! I don't know what to think! I'm so excited and a little nervous, and now wondering how this pregnancy will play into things...I guess we'll have to wait and see. But in the meantime, I am overall totally STOKED. I can say that I'm working toward my dream!

At work, things are plugging away. The economy has chipped away at our floor. We've lost staff to layoffs. We've had hours cut and pay cut. But we still have jobs, hurray for that! We're just waiting for things to come full circle, as they always eventually do. I had applied for a supervisory position on my unit some time back, but the person who I would have been replacing decided to stay. So I was placed on the "farm team", filling in when supervisors are on vacation or in meetings and so on. One of the supervisors is going on maternity leave in a week or so, and I'll be taking her place. It's a different world in that office! It's been a long time since I've been in a supervisory position, and this unit is far different from the one that I supervised back in 2004! But it's good experience and I'd like to think that I could do a good job. We'll see how it goes.

I guess that's about it for updates. I have a headache so I think I need to stop staring at a screen. But now that the cats are out of their bags, I'm sure I'll be on a bit more. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


...go check out my Etsy shop! I know it's not much to look at, and my inventory is quite small for now, but I'm going to be adding a little more and it's for a good cause! See my previous post for information on the family who will be getting the proceeds from anything I sell. I've made a couple of sales, and I'd like to make several more before I send off a check. Go have a looky, and if you don't find anything you like, feel free to request something custom! My shop is called All Things Birthy, and will have a bit more than pendants after a little while! Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Announcing...drumroll... Etsy shop! It's called All Things Birthy and is quite small at the moment. I wasn't going to open my shop yet, since I have so many ideas but SO LITTLE time, and I wanted to build my inventory and have some variety. I'm limited to necklaces and pendants at the moment, however there are several other non-jewelry items to come. The reason I started it up anyway was because of the Augsburger family. I've never met them, but they come from the community into which my second son was born, and anyone from there I hold dear to my heart. You can read about their story on Born In Sarasota's page. Colleen is home now and on IV antibiotics, but her husband is still having to take care of her and the kids and is unable to begin working again for at least a month. The folks back home have been bringing them food and pumped breastmilk for their new babe, holding fundraisers, etc. I have been wishing that there was something I could do. However, being pretty broke myself didn't really help and I couldn't bring anything...but wait! I have my clays...I have some ideas...true, I may not have everything together yet, but it's a start...I could open my shop! So I did. It's a humble beginning. But whatever money that comes in from sales will be passed down the line to the Augsburgers until otherwise noted on my shop's intro. So go have a sneaky peek. You might like something. If you don't like the color, ask for a custom piece. If you don't like anything, buy it's going to a good cause!! I'm just kidding, but you catch my drift. After you pay a visit, let me know what you think. Should I change anything? Does my work suck? I know my picture quality is pretty crappy, but I'm going to work on that. Any other ideas?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Spring has sprung!

Well, not quite, according to the calendar, but it sure looks like it around here!

The mint is coming up in the front beside the porch... are the dandelions in the front and in the planter in the back yard...

...and we have a tree just full of kumquats in the front yard! I guess it's time to make a little jam or jelly!

The peach tree in the back yard just started blooming as well, but I'll have to get some pics of that another day.

Spring, to me, means new beginnings and fresh starts. In light of that, I'm starting a project that I've been batting around for a while now. Once it's all ready, I'll post it on here. Yep, I'll hold you in suspense until then! Travis is en route home from Florida with a truck and trailer loaded with our stuff...I can't wait to have some of my "housey" stuff back! There is still some stuff back in FL, but we'll have about 2/3 of it here. Not bad!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Another giveaway!

This giveaway is for a Simple Wishes bra/bustier, specially designed for hands-free pumping! My pumping days have gone for Deklan and Gavin, but boy, do I wish I had one of these when I was doing it at least three times daily at work! I pumped at work for both of my boys, as I worked the night shift and went back to work after six weeks. Pumping for me was always on my two 15 minute breaks and my lunch for 30 minutes...which generally meant that I either didn't eat at all for lack of time (when all I had was a manual pump), or scarfed my meal as fast as I could after pumping for my babe (after I got my Medela...woohoo for mechanical pumps!). Pumping was what allowed our breastfeeding relationships to thrive even though I was at work, and I ended up breastfeeding Deklan for over a year and Gavin for almost two years. Anyway, I believe that this would allow for easier and more discrete pumping at work and at home, as well as enabling you to multi-task. I remember the days of driving and hour or two home from a night shift in traffic and attempting to pump one side at a time in the rush-hour crawl. With this, I could have just hooked up before driving away, pushed the button, and pumped away! I am really glad to have found out about this. I had looked into pumping bras when I was pumping for Gavin, but just never found one that looked sturdy or comfortable enough. I even looked into DIY conversion patterns, and never did it. I know that, should God bless us with another little one (and I hope He does!!), I'll be getting one of these for my back-to-work and back-to-school days! Thank you, Talk Birth, for getting this giveaway out there!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Birth Days...

Ahhhh...eggs. Simple fare, good source of protein, versatile. And in my case, gorgeous!! I mean, aren't they just pretty? I get my eggs from a local lady whose young daughter is learning about money and savings. And meanwhile, I get these beauties for $2.50 per dozen! And what's really awesome is that I know that the hens they came from are well-cared-for, organically fed (mostly fruits from their orchard and veggies from the garden, plus the standard bugs, etc. that free-range hens eat), generally happy birds.

Seriously, does it get any better than this? The boys are really tickled about the blue-ish ones...

Speaking of the of my boys had a birthday today!!

My sweet, crazy little Gavin turned two years old on this day!

I love to look at pictures and read over his birth story and remember that awesome time in our lives. Where has the time gone? One moment his daddy is holding him for the first time, then *blink* he's running around the yard in his big brother's hand-me-downs, chasing the dogs and loving life.

I thank God for every day with my boys. Life is so fragile...we've seen this in our own lives and in the lives of others around us. There are days that they drive me to the brink of insanity, but I wouldn't trade those days for the world...I'm just so glad that they're here and they've been lent to me for a while...I cherish every day.

P.S. I won the afore-mentioned book giveaway for "Birth Space, Safe Place"! Woohoo! It's the first time I've ever won a giveaway!!

Friday, January 15, 2010

It's giveaway time!

Talk Birth, the personal blog of Molly (one of the ladies over at Citizens for Midwifery) is hosting a giveaway! We all love free stuff, and if you're even half as crazy as I am about anything even remotely having to do with birth, then you just might be interested! The book is called "Birth Space, Safe Place", and is about emotional well-being in pregnancy and birth. I know that, for me, there were a few things that played big roles in my emotional well-being during that time...the first few that come to mind are having family that were supportive of me, having a midwife who I trusted implicitly, and the overall sense of peace brought by being "in charge" of my pregnancy and labor this time and being educated about the options in birth. Even if I don't win the giveaway, I will be planning on getting this book for my library. I think that a lot of people either discount or don't realize how much your emotional state has so much to do with your progression in labor. I'll be interested to read it...and I LOVE the cover art!

Friday, January 8, 2010

We're famous!

Woohoo! Gavin's birth story has been featured in Born in Sarasota, a blog dedicated to all things birthy and that share birth stories of babies born under the watchful and loving eyes of the wonderful midwives in the Sarasota area. My midwife, Harmony Miller of Rosemary Birthing Home, touched my life in a very unique way. She not only took care of Gavin and me during pregnancy, labor, and after birth, but also challenged me as a person and introduced me to a new and wonderful world of cloth diapering, babywearing, co-sleeping, etc. Deklan's birth was very special...he was my firstborn, born healthier than we could have ever hoped with his heart problems, and one of the few loves of my life. I had wanted to have him in a birthing home, specifically The Birth Cottage, which was near the place that I lived at the time. Wanna know something crazy?? Harmony actually apprenticed at that very place, and was there at about the same time as I would have been there for Deklan! Anyway, shortly after I had contacted the midwife there, I found out that Deklan would be born at a hospital due to a congential heart deformity. His birth, though very special, left me feeling a bit violated and left to the mercy of "the system". I vowed that, barring health problems, it would be different for the babies following him. Harmony helped me to fulfill that vow. She also inspired me to go back to school. I had been wanting to be a L&D nurse since I was in nursing school, I had just never gone in that direction. But after Gavin was born, I was just left thinking "If I could do for just one woman what Harmony did for me, I'd be the happiest woman alive!" I knew I had to go back to school. We discussed the different aspects of midwifery, and she introduced me to Frontier. As far as attachment parenting goes, it was all stuff that I felt was right, but it just seemed so removed from everything that I'd known that I really never delved into it. If I could, I'd go back to Florida just to have my next babe with Harmony!

So read the story if you'd like. Beware, it has pictures! I only wish that every person who reads this story could read it and remember it with the same love and respect that I had, for my baby, my body, my family, and my midwife. Thanks again, Harmony. It was an honor to have you as our midwife!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

A new year!

Hurray for new years and new beginnings! I have a few things that I'm happy about, a few things that I'm sad about, and several things I'm anticipating already this year...

I'm anticipating starting school this year. A co-worker and myself have decided to try a seven on/seven off schedule. Yes, seven 12-hour days in a row is a lot, but it's honestly not a lot different than what I've been doing. This last week of work was 3 on, 1 off, 3 on, 1 off, 2 on. How is seven in a row going to be much different than that? I think having a week off every other week will "give me my life back" know, give me time to be a wife and mom and do some of the crafty things that I like to do, etc. If it really helps and I find that it's working, I'm going to go ahead and turn in my application to Frontier.

I'm anticipating losing weight and getting healthier. Another lady at work and myself have put together a "Biggest Loser" competition on our floor. We have already had over a dozen people sign up! We're going to all pitch in $30 for an initial buy-in, then $10 per month for the duration of the competition. The $30 is going to pool together to be the grand prize, and the $10/month is going to be for a monthly first, second, and third place winner. I think we all need a little incentive and motivation! There are all types of people joining, and I think it's great! It's going to be for four months. I don't plan on doing anything drastic, just healthier eating and being more active. Wish us luck!

I'm anticipating having another baby this year. Well, I'm hopeful, anyway! The date that would have been my due date for the little one that we lost is less than a month away. I'm hopeful that losing some weight will help me get pregnant. Deklan prays every night for a baby sister, without my prompting and without us even talking about babies...he just wants one! He's such a sweetie.

I'm happy for my family entering this year healthy, together, and happy! We all have our bad days, but as a whole, our family is awesome.

I'm happy for a friend of mine, who is now about four months pregnant after having three early losses in one year! My heart broke for her as it did mine, knowing the loss that she felt and that compounded twice was a definite answer to my prayer (and hers!) and I'm so thankful for it!

I'm sad for my best friend, Lolo. Her husband's father went to heaven today after having a massive stroke a couple of days ago. It was due to a bleed in the brain, caused by high blood pressure that he didn't even know he had. He was a healthy guy in his 60's, and nobody saw it coming. That brings to mind a couple of things for me. Check your blood pressure often. A physical once or twice a year may not be enough to detect an abnormal blood pressure. High blood pressure is known as "the silent killer"...most people have no symptoms at all until they have a stroke. Also, don't wait to get saved. Thankfully, Mr. Breaker was a fellow believer and nobody who knew him doubts where he is right now, worshipping at the throne of God, happier than he ever was on this earth. But there are people who think that they can wait until "later" to learn about eternity and salvation. They're young. They're healthy. They have time. But there are so many "what ifs"! You could be in an accident. You could have a stroke or a heart attack as a young person. You never know. Please, please consider eternity and where you'll be!

I know that this year will hold lots of ups and downs, hopefully more ups than downs! Happy New Year to everyone!