It was the year 2000 and we had just moved from Boise, ID to Spokane, WA for my husband’s job. When I learned I was pregnant with our first and only child at age 31. I didn’t yet have the benefit of the knowledge shared in the real food and Weston A. Price Communities.
Most of my life I had eaten a lot of processed foods including lots of sugar and grains. I had also consumed a fair amount of alcohol in my youth, right up to when I found out I was pregnant.
In the late 90s, I had started to become interested in more natural ways of living, but I wasn’t there yet. Bruce, my husband, and I were eating some organic foods, but many of them were packaged and processed. I definitely wasn’t getting the nutrient-dense super-foods necessary to support my own health nor the growth, development, and birth of a healthy baby.
Trouble in pregnancy
At 30+ weeks, I started having a great deal of abdominal pain and discomfort. This went on for nearly a week. I was admitted to the hospital when the pain became unbearable and tests were done, finding only some gallstones in my gallbladder. After spending 3 days there I returned home, still in pain. Less than a day later, the pain turned into sharp contractions, and we went back to the hospital. On a wintry, frozen morning, Tristan was born naturally. He was delivered less than 20 minutes after we arrived and whisked off to the NICU.
I remember being given the drug stadol for pain before he was born. I had not completed my birth plan yet, but I knew I’d be in the hospital because back then I didn’t understand the benefits of natural childbirth. The birth was terrifying and fuzzy due to the severe amount of pain I was in and the uncertainty of what was happening.
I can recall the room in the maternity ward and being on a large amount of morphine, because even though the birth had come and gone, I was still in immense pain. Instead of receding, my abdomen was swollen and becoming more distended. Nurses were pushing on my stomach to put my uterus back into place. I blacked out then, and many other times in the days following. My bowel movements were black and I didn’t have much of an appetite. I told my midwife I was afraid I would die, she didn’t even try to dissuade me from my fears. I had been looked after by 2 OB/GYNs, a midwife, the maternity doctors on staff, and 3 gastroenterologists. But no one had any idea what was wrong.
Three days after Tristan was born and more tests which revealed nothing, I was rushed into emergency exploratory surgery. The discovery was made that I had a ruptured appendix. If I had stayed in that condition much longer, I surely would have died. It was a miracle I hadn’t already. My whole abdominal cavity was full of infection, so I was a very sick girl.
In the days following surgery, I remained in the hospital. I barely remember what happened. A week and a half later, I was allowed to go home.
Just before leaving the nurse told me that I should be on the lookout for gallbladder problems. She said that many pregnant women develop them and that since they found gallstones in my ultrasound when I first went into the hospital, it was a likely possibility.
That night when I went home, I had my first gallbladder episode. I can say with certainty that it was at least as unpleasant and painful as what I experienced before my appendix ruptured. In the months to come I had many more of these. I started seeing a naturopath and acupuncturist and with just a few visits was able to get off my pain pills. I was told by my doctors to eat a low-fat diet since my gallbladder was malfunctioning. At the time I didn’t understood why, but this advice seemed counter-intuitive to me. All I knew, was, I was sick and not getting better.
Amazingly, Tristan was very strong and healthy for being born so early. He was placed on oxygen only for the first 5 days of his life. I felt fortunate that nothing more serious appeared to be wrong because so many other babies who were in the NICU were very sick and clinging onto life by a thread.
But there were still rocky days ahead for us. Tristan came home after being in the hospital for 7 weeks. He was fussy and I didn’t have much milk supply because my body was ravaged by the infection I had sustained. I spent hours pumping each day, and usually got nothing more than an ounce for my efforts. I got tired of pumping and resorted to formula. We went through a lot of different types of commercial formula thinking that if we just found the right one, Tristan’s fussiness and colic would abate. But that didn’t happen. He spent most of his days being discontent, sleeping little, and going into long screaming fits at night which usually kept us up past 11 p.m. Exhausted and at the end of our ropes, we continued preparations to move back to Boise, my hometown.
After just two weeks at home, we learned that Tristan had sustained a double-inguinal hernia from the massive amounts of screaming and crying for which he would have to have surgery. Very early on the morning of February 14th, we took our precious baby back to the hospital to repair his hernia. We were so worried; he was so little and he had already experienced a traumatic premature early birth. We weren’t sure what to expect, and he would have to spend the night the procedure.
The surgery went fine and he came home without incident, but the next number of months were filled with great fussiness and a lot of screaming and crying. If I knew then what I know now, I’d have realized he was starving to death and simply needed some nutrition in his little body. Being so far from home, friends, and family, we had almost no support except from the conventional group of medical doctors and nurses from the hospital. And what they were telling us to do wasn’t working.
In April we moved back to Boise and I started doing more online research. In July of 2001 my doctor said I needed to have my gallbladder removed, and I agreed. Not knowing any better, I continued to feed my family a lot of processed fodos. Tristan continued to get formula until he was over a year old and could eat more solid food. I was pretty strict about sugar and I was buying him organic baby foods, but I hadn’t stumbled upon real food nor Weston A. Price yet.
It wasn’t until Tristan was in Kindergarten and we had gone through many unending, intense tantrums and mood issues that I finally discovered our diet could be causing problems. At the same time, health issues I’d had for years were coming to a head which I could no longer ignore: anxiety and panic symptoms, sleeplessness, nausea, muscle weakness, and extreme exhaustion. Read about my experience using nourishing foods and GAPS to heal my body here.
Bruce and I had many discussions where we wondered if Tristan was autistic, but feared obtaining a diagnosis confirmed by a doctor because we didn’t want our son on the radar with the healthcare system for any reason. Several casual conversations with various people made me think he wasn’t autistic because he was far too social and talkative, happy and engaging when he wasn’t in the middle of a meltdown.
Our transition to real food
Bruce had for many years experienced issues with dairy and had been avoiding it for sometime, but I had read about the benefits of raw milk and wanted to try it. As far as I knew, there wasn’t any raw milk in our area so in 2007 I ordered our first case of Organic Pastures milk and cream. We tried it and loved it. We ordered a case of dairy every 6-8 weeks for the next year and some months before laws about shipping dairy foods over state lines in CA changed and we were forced to stop buying it. I also learned about the benefits of fermented cod liver oil, so I ordered that to try it. Because Tristan didn’t like any of the emulsified flavors but was able to swallow capsules without issue at the age of 6, I decided to stick to those.
As time went on, I became more involved in the real food community, at first online and then locally. I wanted to know everything I could about how to nourish my family and heal from the chronic health issues we all experienced. Weston A. Price was a big part of that, and when I started blogging I came across many other people who were doing the same thing.
Discovering Nourishing Our Children
It was during that time that I became acquainted with the Nourishing Our Children site and educational materials. I was so excited to learn from these sources that my choice to follow a nourishing diet with traditional foods was right on track! I loved the easy-to-follow and highly engaging content of the PowerPoint and other media I viewed. I couldn’t believe that every parent in the world didn’t have access to this information!
Over the last 7+ years we’ve followed a journey that included adding the nourishing foods discussed in the work of Dr. Weston A. Price and the Nourishing Our Children site and educational materials. Fermented foods, bone broths, real, traditional fats, and home-made, unprocessed foods are now a part of our everyday diet.
The health improvements we’ve experienced have been nothing short of a miracle. Although we don’t have perfect health all the time, the overall effect of the choices we’ve made is reinforced every day with the lasting improvements we’ve made to eat nourishing foods and also nourish ourselves in other valuable ways such as getting enough rest, sun exposure, barefoot time outside, and reducing the amount of chemicals and toxins in our environment. My son’s once crooked teeth have straightened out tremendously and his moods and emotions are much more even and controlled than ever before.
Going back to the title - If I Could Turn Back Time and Feed My Family Differently … it’s easy to feel regret and remorse for things we’ve done in the past. I spent many years doing this. But I’m done forever because I feel we all have a destiny to fulfill and our paths are woven from the choices we make. If I had not made those choices, I wouldn’t be where I am now, and I wouldn’t trade my life for anything. I am so full of gratitude and love for the blessings God has given me and my family, and from meeting the people I have along the way, it’s hard to stay in that place of regret and ‘what if’ because I know we’re exactly where we are supposed to be.
I have been so inspired by the path forged by Sandrine that I decided in February of this year to join her in spreading the word to the world about how we can truly nourish our children and ourselves. In addition to my blog, I’m now a primary administrator of the Nourishing Our Children Facebook page, and it gives me great joy to know that I am helping to provide such valuable information to so many in need. Everyday it reinforces the roots from where I came: a diet of processed foods and an uncertain future of chronic health problems for myself and my family.
Nourishing Our Children, a resource that has reinforced all the choices I’ve made and has inspired me to continue and help others learn, is having a week-long promotion of their educational materials. Click here to learn more: –> http://bit.ly/1bLb9aX
This week through next Monday, the materials are 50% to 60% off! This special offer will only last through June 24th, 2013 at midnight.
If you are interested in learning how to nourish your children optimally, take advantage of this unique offer to gain the important knowledge available here. If you are pregnant or trying to conceive, or breastfeeding, this is an even more critical opportunity.
Click here to learn more: –> http://bit.ly/1bLb9aX