Tuesday, June 30, 2015

More Liver

YOLO! You only liver once. This week I'm adding liver into my regimen. Liver is high in bio-available necessary nutrients such as Vit Bs - esp B12, iron, folate, and Vit A which are particularly essential for healthy pregnancy and beyond. Liver has traditionally been heralded by all cultures for its many benefitsThere is, apparently, an as of yet undiscovered factor in liver that fights off fatigue.

 I spent three hours making liver "pills". Super easy. I obtained about 1 and a half lbs of bison liver and a pound of chicken livers from a local market (pastured/grassfed etc). However, only a few chicken livers were used because they were much softer and generally more difficult to cut up. I'll figure out something else to do with them...meatloaf? One thing I did do different from the "recipe" was soak the livers in lemon juice prior to using. This is recommended in the Nourishing Traditions cookbook before using livers, and I opted to apply that here. 

I will take a few of these daily. 

(so much liver...I was totally over it by the end)

I've resumed cod liver oil/fermented cod liver oil (FCLO for short) as well, which I take periodically anyway. 

Here's to liver! 

Sunday, June 28, 2015


Of course one can't talk about hormones and not mention the thyroid. It was recently brought to my attention that the thyroid can be a major factor in hyperemesis. Just a quick search brings up research all the way from 1985 about a condition known as Transient Hyperthyroidism. It is caused by pregnancy and can result in HG. It can happen in women who don't otherwise have thyroid issues (hence "transient"). So in my efforts to thrive through HG, I am trying to cover all possible bases.

Early last winter I was feeling off and had my thyroid tested. My thyroid was fine, but my idodine receptors were blocked which ultimately affected thyroid function. I did a cleanse and some adrenal support and was able to clear that within the month. 

So what have I been doing to support my thyroid specifically as it relates to HG? Well, not much. I don't really know too much about the thyroid. As a precaution I have had my thyroid levels tested so that I have prepregnancy base levels to compare to when I actually am pregnant. All levels are currently good. Although, according to the research, transient hyperthyroidism is actually quite rare and the condition causing HG abates around 18 weeks. Since mine lasts the entire pregnancy, I do not  believe this is my problem. However, I'm covering bases. And my thyroid still needs love. 

So I'm giving my thyroid love by adding seaweed to my diet. Seaweed is rich in trace minerals (10-20 times that of land-based plants, including iodine and B vitamins), balances the thyroid, soothes and nourishes the digestive system (hi, liver!!), and is particularly beneficial for women's needs in general. 

"Seaweed is an ally in women's mysteries. Seaweed flows and shifts like the energy of a woman. Saline solutions of ocean and uterus rock in rhythm. Pulses of tide, menstruation, heartbeat, and fertility join seaweeds and wombs. Nourishing breastmilk merges with waves of green fronds...optimum nourishment and the salts of life...breasts, seaweeds. Seaweed eaten daily is a powerful ally to the a wise woman, for prevention and healing of herself and others." (Susan Weed Women's Mysteries)

I love the analogy of the flow of life in my body and the ocean, especially in pregnancy and thinking about labor. 

So nearly daily there is some intake of nori, kelp, kombu, arame, or dulse seaweeds (all readily available at your health food store or the Asian section of a grocery store or Asian market). I make sushi, add seaweeds to soups, arame makes an excellent noodle replacement and is very mild in taste, sprinkle kelp flakes on everything, or even make a tea/broth from kombu. 

It's just one more thing. One more thing to do for my future baby. One more thing to help me mother and be a part of my family while pregnant. 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Liver (and probably t.m.i.)

I guess I'll talk about the Liver first, since that's what is currently on my mind. The Mothering.com source in the Quick Links is where I got the commendation to do a liver cleanse. From what I've read, among the liver's 500+ functions is to filter out pregnancy hormones. However, if the liver is congested or not functioning properly, it can't filter them out and they continue to recycle and accumulate in the body causing HG. This is just a theory. But there seems to be (mostly) theories when it comes to the source of HG.

I came across this liver flush from my niece, which we did together. Warning: this is where it might get tmi. Also a little "quacky" (though I don't like that term). I'll be honest, western allopathic medicine only offers me three different kinds of medications and IV drips when it comes to HG, so I'm willing to take the "quack" route, in addition to any necessary meds. If you're not into being nontraditional, then this probably won't interest you...or most of what I end up doing for that matter. I'm too stubborn and naturally minded to believe that x, y, and z meds are the only things that can help me, and postmortum at that. Because HG is basically a daily dying, not just spiritually. 

I suppose my liver cleansing really started a year ago when I went on the GAPS diet rather intensely. Thanks to this I cured my carb addiction and got myself in a better eating habit (though I'm not perfect by any means...whatever perfect means when it comes to food...ask the vegan, the frutitarian, or the WAPF-ian). Then in an herbal class in April/May we spent two weeks focusing on our livers which included body work, herbs, clean eating and juices, and intention. Then, in June, I commenced this more intense flush. 

And the flush is intense. I believe it was extremely effective, albeit left me feeling like crap initially. I felt as sick as I do while I'm pregnant, which was both a poignant reminder and a motivation. I also learned that I could have halved the recipes for my body size (which probably would have kept me from being so nauseous). The second time I did the flush I was diligent to use coffee colonics before and after the flush, skin brushing and epsom salt baths to assist the detox, activated charcoal to carry released toxins out, Vit C to keep things moving, and acupuncture to balance everything out. I recovered much better the 2nd time taking those measures. I feel no need to continue with the flushes.
Something I learned while doing these flushes is that liver disease and gallbladder disorders can actually cause HG. And, in a sad twist of irony (?), HG can also cause gallbladder disorders. So if you didn't before, now you do! Yay! Well, this liver flush also flushes out the gallbladder and bile ducts. Hooray! I feel stronger and more aware. I can do this. 

Herbs that also assist the liver that I will be or already am taking: Blessed Thistle (280 mg a day prepregnancy, increased once pregnant), dandelion (gentle and excellent for pregnancy and breastfeeding as it is high in essential nutrients like potassium and a galactogogue), and burdock root (supports and strengthens the liver). I like to drink a tea of dandelion, burdock, and licorice roots. I'm trying to drink a cup a day. I also have a cup of home-brew kombucha daily, which is a cleansing tonic rich in B vitamins all by itself.

Which reminds me, I haven't had my 'buch today. Here's to my liver!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Introduction to Hyperemesis Gravidarum

Welcome to Joy in the Morning, a blog dedicated to a journey of thriving with hyperemesis gravidarum (HG). If you don't know, HG is a condition that affects 1% of pregnant women. It is severe (hyper) nausea and vomiting (emesis) in pregnancy (gravidarum), that usually lasts until about 18 weeks, and in an even smaller number, the entire pregnancy. I happen to be a part of that smaller number. From about 5 weeks on I am dreadfully sick. I cannot look at anything green without hurling. I have aversions to nearly all smells, textures, tastes (or lack thereof), even sounds. This is no quaint morning sickness, in which a saltine cracker and some ginger ale will quell the nausea. This is all day, all night, constant, for 9 months. Some days the prayer is that one cup of water will stay down. And, unfortunately, I learned recently that when it comes to HG, my experience was practically rosy. Other women suffer throwing up blood, esophageal tearing or rupturing, severe electrolyte imbalances, handicapped babies due to growth restrictions and lack of nutrients, gallbladder disease, uterine infections, even fetal and/or maternal death (among other things that I can't remember).

So why "Joy in the Morning"? What is that, some sort of twisted irony? Maybe. I'm thinking of it as an intention. My first two pregnancies I suffered through HG. With my first, I felt like it would mean I was a strong person if I resisted meds. Thankfully I found Unisom at 6 months and was able to cope the rest of the pregnancy. With my 2nd pregnancy, I had learned a few things. I managed my HG much better and threw up less frequently, though the nausea, aversions, and depression were constant. I survived my first two pregnancies. I am now gearing up for number 3. This time there is no "Oops, we're pregnant." There can't be. There is months of prepping and researching and learning. My goal is not really to prevent HG, because everything I've read seems to indicate there's no sure-fire thing I really can do since they don't really know what causes it. Though I've read a number of articles and testimonies that seem to indicate there are things I can do now to counter the HG, I can't rely on this, because there's always the very real chance that it won't work. Rather, my goal is to THRIVE with it.  I intend to have joy in my next pregnancy.

When I first set out to research everything I could, I think my goal was ultimately to not be sick and not have to take meds, but I realized that might be unrealistic. I don't want to set my self up for failure. So I have changed my perspective. Thriving with HG will require persistence, consistency, and hard work. It will require a lot of supplements, probably a few medications, outside help, and diligence. And I want to share everything I learn and do with anyone who needs this, too. This is my journey. I do not know where it will lead, and so Joy in the Morning will be my mantra. I'm going to choose joy in the morning, in spite of what comes of my efforts.