Category Archives: Adoption and Motherhood

Raspberry Leaf Tea for Pregnancy

cup-of-teaSince my last post I’ve been getting a lot of questions about the Raspberry Leaf Tea that I drink, so I wanted to take a minute to talk about this awesome herb, how it works, and where to get it.

DISCLAIMER: I’m not a doctor or midwife. Just a girl who’s done a lot of research. Don’t ever take my word for anything. Always speak with your birth practitioner before starting on any pregnancy herbs. That being said I personally do (or would do) all the things I am recommending to you in this blog.

WHAT IS IT?

Raspberry leaf tea (RLT) is a tea that comes from the leaf of the garden red raspberry plant. This is not to be confused with the actual berry. The use of Red Raspberry Leaves dates back to ancient Greeks and Romans and has a rich history of being used to treat a wide variety of ailments. Some of the illnesses that they used RRL to treat include: the flu, gum disease, rubella, upset stomach, hangover, diarrhea, fevers, vomiting, menstrual problems, inflammation, etc. The most popular use of Red Raspberry leaves is for pregnancy.

WHAT DOES IT DO?

The main reason this tea is used in pregnancy is because it is a Uterine Tonic. This means it works to tone the smooth muscles of the uterus to prepare for labor and delivery. When used during pregnancy many women will experience Braxton Hicks contractions (myself included). This harmless flexing of the uterus is like aerobics for your baby maker. The tea encourages the uterus to exercise as it begins to prepare itself for real contractions when the time comes.

It has also been known to help prevent future miscarriage. It won’t help if you’re already having a miscarriage, but consumed prior to pregnancy it can help guard against one. If you know my story, you know this was a big plus for me!

Sorry but it will not likely induce labor. If it could then you would not see miserable women, 3 weeks past their due date, drinking castor oil (yuck!), and doing jumping jacks trying to get labor started.

If you find the Braxton Hicks to be too uncomfortable, then take a couple days off of the tea and start again. But if you can get through them you will soooo glad you did when you have super efficient contractions during childbirth, and an easier and quicker labor.

In addition to its awesome toning properties it also has a ton of other nutrients.

Beneficial Vitamins and Minerals Found in Red Raspberry Leaf:

-Rich concentrations of vitamin C

-Vitamin E

-Easily assimilated calcium and iron

-Manganese and magnesium

-Vitamin A

-Vitamin B complex

-Many minerals including phosphorous and potassium

HOW TO DRINK IT

I highly recommend Starwest Botanicals Loose Leaf Tea.

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Its about $12 for a 1 lb bag on Amazon, and that will seriously last you for a year or more. I’ve been drinking at least one cup a day for the last 6 months and I haven’t even gotten through a quarter of the bag. You could always buy the tea bags if you want, but at around $5 for a box of 16 bags, I really can’t justify the cost, when its so dirt cheap to buy it in bulk. I found a lovely glass container to pour the loose tea in and set on my counter top. I like being able to see the tea leaves, but in all honesty you’re probably better off getting an opaque container that doesn’t let any light in. This will keep the tea fresh longer.

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Next you’ll need a good quality tea strainer. I like the scissor kind. Its just so easy to use. It has a little spring and you just squeeze it open. To make the tea just put a few pinches of tea in your strainer, drop it in a cup of hot water, and let it steep for 5-10 minutes. I like mine with honey. The tea tastes nothing like raspberry, in case you were wondering. It has a light simple tea flavor. Very pleasant. You could also totally make this into an iced tea, and add fruit juice to flavor it if you like.

HOW MUCH TO DRINK?

The recommendation for pregnancy is 1 cup per day per trimester. So 1 cup during the 1st trimester, 2 cups daily during the second trimester, and 3 cups a day (or more) during the third trimester.

WHAT IF I DON’T LIKE TEA?

raspberry-leaf-capsules-homemakerchic.comAlternatively you can try the capsules if you don’t like tea. The dosage on these is a bit more nebulous. I feel confident recommending 2 capsules a day in the 1st trimester, 4 a day in the second trimester, and up to 6 a day in the third trimester. I’m not a doctor or a midwife, so you should research it for yourself just to be sure. But I would personally take these doses if for some reason I didn’t want to drink the tea, but I do love the tea! Plus, it really helped to wean me off my daily cup of coffee. The brand that I have in my cabinet in case I don’t have time to sit and drink my daily cup is Dr. Christopher’s Formula Red Raspberry Leaf Capsules 100ct. This is a great natural brand for herbs and a good price too.

DRINK IT BEFORE YOU CONCEIVE

If you are thinking about starting a family I highly recommend you start now with drinking one cup of tea a day. The benefits are just as great for women who are not yet pregnant. Having a nice toned uterus before pregnancy is a great way to prepare yourself for when the time comes. It also has the added benefit of helping with period cramps, and regulating your cycle.

DRINK IT AFTER THE BABY IS BORN

Drinking RLT after you give birth has been known to dramatically shorten recovery time, and help the uterus to whip itself back into pre-pregnancy shape.

THE STRONG BREW

Finally, and I will definitely be updating you on how this works. There’s one more thing you can do with RLT. When you go into labor, brew yourself a big glass of super strong tea. We’re talking like an ounce of loose tea to about 20 ounces of water, and let steep for a few hours if possible to really get the strongest blend possible. Then chug that bad boy down when labor starts. Theoretically you could probably down a big handful of the capsules, but I have no idea how many you would need.

I have read thousands of testimonies of women and midwives who swear by this. Supposedly it is supposed to make labor super efficient, easy, and quick. Many women even say their birth was virtually pain-free! I don’t know about you, but given that I am having my baby naturally at a birthing center, pain-free sounds pretty dang good to me. If it doesn’t work well then oh well. I will DEFINITELY keep you posted on my experience when my son is born in October.

::UPDATE::: You can read my birth story here!

Hope this helps you ladies! Happy, healthy pregnancy to you all. 🙂

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How I Cured My Infertility Naturally

How-I-Cured-My-Infertility-Naturally-HomemakerChic.comMany of you know about my struggle with infertility. After inexplicably losing 5 babies (including twin girls), and undergoing months of testing, the doctors were able to find no medical reason for why this was happening. The only answer I got was that it might be some sort of autoimmune issue, but no tests gave any answer as to what kind. We finally gave up on trying to have a baby for awhile and dove head first into the adoption process. We believe that God has called us to do this at some point in our lives. But God had another plan…

Still puzzled by why this was happening to me, I began researching recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL). I knew I didn’t want to be pregnant while we were focusing on adoption, but I wanted to be healthy and whole, so I started looking into natural ways to improve my situation. Among other things, I found that BPA was linked to RPL. So I began taking steps to eradicate this harmful chemical from my life. But I wanted more.

Enter providence. Through a series of divine interactions, I ended up working with a Christian naturopath named Cheryl who gave me the ALCAT test. ALCAT is a food sensitivity test that measures inflammatory reactions in your blood when it is exposed to various foods and chemicals. It turned out that I was intolerant to several foods that I had no idea about (lobster, avocado, basil, broccoli, white potato, button mushroom, and splenda aka sucralose.) Cheryl taught me that health begins in our guts. I learned that all the antibiotics I had taken several years ago when I had chronic tonsillitis, and the birth control pills I had taken for years, had likely torn up the lining of my stomach. I learned that consuming harmful chemicals can make it more difficult for your body to absorb necessary nutrients (and more importantly for my babies to get the nutrients THEY needed!). I learned that eating the wrong foods can cause inflammation in MANY places in the body, possibly including my reproductive organs. I learned that food is medicine, and that by eating wholesome healthful foods I could begin to heal my body from the inside out.

In addition to removing my food intolerances and BPA, I also began living the Real Food lifestyle. I cut out processed foods, and anything with ingredients that I couldn’t pronounce. I began taking probiotics to help fortify my gut, super vitamins to amplify my immune system, and drinking raspberry leaf tea daily to tone my uterus. I began eating whole, organic, and locally farmed foods. I limited the amount of meat I was eating to once a week, and exchanged hormone laced, GMO corn-fed beef for organic grass fed beef. I cut out coffee. I began exercising. And I began drinking a LOT of water. 75 ounces a day! I’m not saying it was easy to change all of this. In fact, one time I was at the supermarket almost in tears because I felt like everything I was used to buying was off limits. I texted Cheryl saying, “Grocery shopping is too hard, I think I’ll just buy wine and go home.” She laughed hysterically and then gently encouraged me to press on. It was very difficult at first, but I was committed to doing this right.

And after just 6 weeks of this new lifestyle I found myself pregnant…. again.

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As the weeks passed I could tell this pregnancy was different. For one thing, I experienced zero spotting. Every single other pregnancy started out with spotting. Secondly, I had morning sickness which I had never had before. After I passed the 10 week mark (the farthest any of my babies had ever survived) I began to seriously wonder if this was actually going to be the one. Week by week this baby has carried on. We’ve gotten to see our sweet little monkey on an ultrasound, actually looking like a baby! This is a completely new experience for us since normally we get terrible news when we have ultrasounds. Systematically during this pregnancy I have eliminated one unnatural thing after another. GMO foods, chewing gum, listerine, face wash, moisturizers, deodorant, and the list goes on. I’ve replaced MANY things with coconut oil. More on that later. I’m still taking vitamins, probiotics and drinking the raspberry leaf tea daily.

So now, at 18 weeks pregnant, I am finally believing that God is giving us this baby… this boy. My son. baby-boy-16-weeks-ultrasound-homemakerchic.com

There’s one other aspect to this process that I want to share with you. In addition to getting my body on track, God began to put my soul on track. He taught me that He is good if He gives me a child, and He is good if I lose 20 more pregnancies. This was a fact that was very hard for me to understand in the midst of my losses. I wondered many times why a good God would let this happen to me over and over again. He taught me that these children were all His before they were mine, and that He was just as brokenhearted over my suffering as I was. I realized that in all of my suffering I forgot the fact that my 5 little sweeties never had to experience loss, suffering, heartache, or rejection. They had the amazing privilege of going straight to Heaven! He is holding them in His hands. Hands that are infinitely more perfect than mine. How could I ever be sad about that? I learned that while God had not yet answered my prayers to heal my body, He kept His promise in the bible that He would heal my broken heart (He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds. Psalm 147:3).

Losing-a-pregnancyAnd finally God asked me the question that I had been so afraid to answer for so many years… “Do you trust Me?” I thought I had trusted Him, but the truth was, I never had. I finally surrendered my fertility and my life to the God of the universe, knowing and believing that He knows my desires, and wouldn’t place this deep urge to be a mother inside me and never fulfill it. When we stepped forward to adopt, I was certain that this was how God was going to fulfill that desire in me (and we still hope to continue with that in the near future) but I can now see how He was molding me and shaping me to become a whole person, inside and out, so that I could become the best mother possible for my children.

If you’ve been through loss, I sincerely encourage you to consider crying out to God and ask him to make you whole. He loves you, and He knows your hurts more than anyone else. Trusting Him has been a journey, but my life has never been so peaceful or fruitful.

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18

Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him. Psalm 127:3

Our Adoption Profile Book

As promised, I am updating you on our adoption process. We have completed the home-study and we’re just waiting for the paper work to be filed and finalized. So once we hear back from the agency that they’ve got everything sorted out we can start presenting our profile to birth moms! So exciting! So, I finally finished our adoption profile book. I’m so excited about this because I really wanted our book to be something awesome. I got this nifty digital scrap-booking software and I had no idea how much I really love making these books! It was so much fun to do! The creative options are endless and it made telling our story so much easier. If you are adopting and you are interested in having someone make your book for you, I’d love to do it! You can check out my Adoption Profile Services website Little Birds Adoption.  So without further adieu, here are some pages from our book. This is just a glimpse, the full book is 25 pages. Please leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks everyone!

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Infertility in the Bible


As I was doing my Bible reading yesterday it suddenly occurred to me that there are quite a lot of women in the there who suffered from infertility. Yet these women were not forgotten by God, and were eventually given a child in God’s perfect timing. I believe that everything that is mentioned in the Bible is something quite important to God if He saw fit to include it in His Word. As I’ve struggled with recurrent pregnancy loss I’ve often found myself longing for the God of Hannah, and Sarai, and Elizabeth to miraculously come through and bring us a child. I stumbled upon this article and it seems that I’m not the only one who has thought this way. I hope you enjoy this excerpt from Alysssa who wrote this article on the blog When you Rise.  She has such an insightful way of looking at this topic. I hope you are blessed by this as I was.

The Bible and Barrenness — What does it have to do with Infertility today?

by: Alyssa

STRUGGLE #1: BARREN WOMEN HAVING KIDS. Have you ever noticed how many barren women are in the Bible? And they all miraculously have kids. Every single one of the Patriarchs has a “barren” wife: Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob and Rachel. Later we see Manoah and his wife, Elkanah and Hannah, and finally, in the New Testament, Zechariah and Elizabeth.

 
Let me tell you, after two years on the “trying for kids” roller-coaster my heart is raw to these miraculous stories. And at the end of each month my heart weeps as life pours out of me and my hope deflates. It hurts. Barrenness feels like death.
 
STRUGGLE #2: PROMISES OF CHILDREN. Have you ever noticed how many promises of children are in the Bible? I’ll quote just two:
 
Psalm 128:3-4 
Your wife will be like a fruitful vine 
   within your house; 
your children will be like olive shoots 
   around your table. 
Behold, thus shall the person be blessed 
   who fears the LORD.
 
Now, I don’t know if I even want my children to be quite like “olive shoots” (that implies a LARGE number of kids), but really, where’s the love, God? You tell me that the person who serves and fears you will be blessed with children. With the grace of Jesus I strive to be that person, so where’s the blessing? Why haven’t you “visited” me like you visited the barren women of the Bible?
 
Exodus 23:25-26
You shall serve the LORD your God, and he will bless your bread and your water, and I will take sickness away from among you. None shall miscarry or be barren in your land; I will fulfill the number of your days.
 
And that Exodus quote was pretty fantastic, wasn’t it? Food for everyone. No sickness. No barrenness. Everyone lives to a ripe old age. Wait . . . that doesn’t sound like reality at all!
 
That’s because what we have here is a picture of restoration to how things used to be—a new Eden.  When God brought his people out of Egypt it was a mini-new-creation. But because of the messiness and sin of our world the ideal went unrealized. In the Exodus, God may have created a new people for himself, but he had not yet dealt permanently with sin.
 
This helps me understand these “unanswered” promises. Everywhere you find such fantastic promises in scripture—like Psalm 128—it is God painting a picture of Eden. Of the ideal that was lost because of sin, but that will one day be restored. And in the meantime we get real-life glimpses of it!
 
Let’s jump back to the barren women of the Bible, because they offer a few of those “real-life glimpses.” What do they all have in common? It’s that when God finally blesses them with a child, it is a VERY IMPORTANT CHILD.
 
            Sarah – Isaac (Patriarch)
            Rebecca – Esau and Jacob (Patriarch)
            Rachel – Joseph (his wisdom saves the known world from starvation)
            Wife of Manoah – Sampson (delivers the people from the Philistines)
            Hannah – Samuel (prepares the people for David)
            Elizabeth – John the Baptist (prepares the people for Jesus)
 
Do you see what is going on here? Barrenness—death—is emphasized in all these stories to make it really obvious that God is doing something miraculous in the world. God is overcoming death. These stories give us glimpses of Eden—of new creation.
 
I believe that Elizabeth is the last story of a barren woman in scripture because her son prepared the way for Jesus. After Elizabeth, there is no more need for “glimpses” because the new creation has come. Jesus has dealt death a fatal blow. With poetic symmetry, God chose to cure the barrenness of the world with a little baby.
 
Already but not yet. Baby Jesus brought with him new creation. Yet Earth is not Eden. Jesus, in his mercy, is letting sin and messiness persist for a time so that more people might come to know him. So in the meantime, his people live in messiness too.
 
Do I still weep when I read Psalm 128? Absolutely! Do I hope for the day that God will give me a glimpse of new creation in my own life in the form of a child? Yes! But I wait, knowing that my struggle with infertility is only a small part of something bigger going on in the world. And I draw hope from the stories of the barren women in scripture—not because I expect a physical child—but because they show that God is always on the move with something bigger than we in our pain can see.

We’re Adopting!

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Happy New Year Everyone! What a year 2012 was. I started this blog, which has been more amazing than I ever imagined. I’ve enjoyed getting to know to many of you. I’ve shared in the past a little bit about my pregnancy difficulties. I was pregnant for most of 2012, and suffered through the loss of five sweet little babies. God taught me a lot last year about trusting Him, even when I didn’t understand the process.

Some of you know that my husband Adam was adopted. When we were dating I loved learning about his story because adoption was something I had always considered. Early on in our marriage, before all the miscarriages, we discussed our desire to one day continue the legacy of adoption in our own family. In October of this year we finally made the decision to put pregnancy on the back burner and to seek God’s plan for our lives in a different direction.

Through lots of prayer and God’s hand working in a most obvious way, we have signed on with an adoption agency and within the next month or two we will be approved to be added to the waiting list to bring home our baby. At the moment we are waiting for our Home Study to be completed.

We are asking for your prayers as we move forward into 2013 hoping to finally become parents. We are also asking that you will begin to pray for our Birth Mom. We know she is out there somewhere. She may even be pregnant already. I can’t imagine how difficult this journey will be for her and I just want to bathe her in God’s peace.

Finally, we’re asking you to spread the word. If you know of anyone who is pregnant and is considering adoption for their child, let them know about us. We’re looking to adopt a baby from birth to 1 year old.

Thank you all for reading Homemaker Chic! I will keep you posted in this coming months. For now, here are some photos from our recent Adoption “Maternity” Photo Shoot photographed by the talented Patrick Smith. 🙂

CZ9A2119Adoption Photo Shoot HomemakerChic.comWe're Adopting Banner HomemakerChic.com

If you’re feeling called to help support us as we raise the $30,000-$40,000 it will cost to fund this adoption you can donate by clicking the button below. All proceeds will go directly toward our adoption costs and fees and any excess will be donated to another adopting family in need.

**UPDATE August 2013**

I am thrilled to share that God has given me the wonderful joy of finally becoming, and staying pregnant with our first son. I am 6.5 months along and everything is going great! You can read more about how this happened in this blog post. We are still planning to adopt near the end of next year, but per the recommendation of our adoption agency we are putting the active adoption plans on hold until after this baby is born. We are still raising money for the adoption, as it will certainly be a great cost. Thank you all so much for your prayers and continued support!

Adam and Noelle's Adoption Fund