Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Fourth Trimester

It's amazing to see how much babies change just from one week to the next.  Here are Elliot's first three months.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Elliot's Entrance

**This post was seven months in the making.  Sorry for the delay!!**

Throughout the third trimester, I was told quite frequently that I wouldn't be making it to my due date.  My due date was June 23rd.  I didn't.  But I did make it to my goal.  Possibly through sheer force of will.  Here's your recap.

About 6 weeks prior to my due date, I found out that my midwife would be on vacation.  It felt very much like the scene in the movie "Knocked Up" when Katherine Heigl realizes her practitioner who she interviewed about "being there for her" would not...be there.  Nonetheless, when receiving very personalized care, this is one of the drawbacks and one that I was prepared to deal with.  By holding my baby in until my due date.  My midwife would be on vacation from June 16th-23rd, so I'd just have my baby after her flight landed, of course.  It would be perfect, because that was when I was due.  

Many pregnant ladies I've encountered get to the end of pregnancy and they are DONE.  I get it, I totally do, but I just wasn't like that.  I had a very comfortable pregnancy and I like babies to cook just as long as they need.  With that said, Cece arrived a week ahead of schedule, so the fact that my midwife's vacation would be during my 39th week was a smidge stressful. 

While I wasn't considered to be a candidate who needed to go to the hospital as opposed to the birth center, (because I was NOT diagnosed with polyhydramnios - yay Natrum Muriaticum!) I still wanted to visit the hospital where I could end up...just in case.  With the possibility of going with a "backup" midwife a reality, there was a higher likelihood we would be in the hospital.  If any other patients from either of the two practices was in labor at the same time and needed to go to the hospital, I would need to go also to receive care from a midwife.  So, about 4 weeks before D day, we went to visit Einstein Montgomery Medical Center.  It is amazing!  It is a brand new facility that works with midwives in the area.  The only hospital to work with midwives in the area, so it had my support in that regard.  I had also been assured that so long as I was not a high risk case, I could be treated by a midwife in a room as if I was in a birth center.  It was comforting to visit, if even just to know what entrance to go to and where to go once inside.  As it turned out, time was of the essence and it was very good to have a clear head as far as directions were concerned.

The following week, we visited our "backup" midwife, Ronni Rothman of Woman Wise Midwifery.  Ronni is awesome.  We gave her the recap of our history as it pertained to my first labor and birth experience.  She was very laid back, direct, but also very warm and funny.  She was someone I knew I would be comfortable having by my side during birth.  She made a very positive impression on Jeff, so that he was hoping I went during week 39 so he could "hang out" with Ronni more.

So, we had all our ducks in a row.  My goal was to make it through the last day of school and that is what we did.  The last day of school was Monday, June 17th.  It was a half day with students though as an encore teacher, I would be covering one assembly and presenting at two assemblies.  Easy.  At midnight on Sunday, my water broke.  With my first pregnancy, my water did not break until we were in the hospital so this was a new experience.  I think it was important that my water broke first so that I could take any contractions seriously.  Up until then, I had pretty regular contractions but had dismissed them as Braxton hicks.  If my water hadn't broken, I very likely would have had a baby in the car by myself.  When my water broke, I called the midwife.  I was advised that if the fluid was clear, I was safe to labor at home and wait until labor progressed.  There was no nursing coverage at my birth center during the overnight hours that night so if I were going to get checked it would have been at Einstein Montgomery and though they are quite liberal, they are still a medical institution and like others, if I went in with my water broken I would be staying in.  I took all this to mean that there would be nursing coverage the following day (a mistake I probably should have clarified).  

So I came up with the following plan.  Jeff should sleep and get as much rest as possible.  I ate "breakfast" in case I was in more intense labor and less inclined to eat at a more traditional breakfast-ing time.  I decided that if labor pains weren't crippling that we should go to school.  Jeff would drive and stay with me.  Cece would stay home with my mom.  Since then people have shared with me that this was crazy. But if you know my daughter you might realize that laboring at home would have been far more stressful than laboring at school, in a lovely quiet library by myself. What would you choose?  

Anyway, I labored at school walking around, sometimes pausing to lean on the circulation desk.  Jeff reflected that students were coming in to check in items and I would assist them, breathing a little more carefully at times.  I presented at two assemblies.  During the first, I ended up being last in the order so for the second I asked my principal if I could go first for reasons that were obvious only to myself.  If I mentioned that I was in labor, moreover that my water had already broken, I would have earned myself a first class ambulance ride as far as my principal was concerned.  There was one and then two and three teachers who became aware.   One asked if I could cover the second assembly.  I explained that I wasn't comfortable doing so because I may need to leave with short notice.  This left her a bit frazzled and a teacher who encountered her down the hall put two and two together and kept checking on me periodically.  

In the meantime, I put Jeff to work doing some heavy lifting.  I needed some overhead projectors moved and would have done so myself, but since he was there.... He needed some "busy-work" as he was getting antsy.  My first labor experience was speedier in one sense so he wasn't used to all this waiting around nonsense.  He expressed that he could have gone out to Starbucks...he kept asking, "Anything!?!"  I kept replying, "Really...really?!?"  

Sometime around 10 AM, the midwife checked in and I explained that I was at work.  She chuckled.  I explained that it really made the most sense.  And it did because my workplace is ten minutes (if that) from the birth center.  Then she broke the news to me that unless I could hold out until 6PM, I wouldn't be having the baby at the birth center.  There was no nursing coverage there.  So we would be at Einstein Montgomery.  That's a little further away. I was comforted before at being close to the birth center.  Things started to pick up a bit but contractions still seemed somewhat erratic.  They didn't seem to be evenly spaced or always getting closer together.  There was also an end of year luncheon I was really hoping to make it to, but that would not be happening.  A mere 20 minutes before the luncheon, it was time to go.  To at least get closer to our final destination.  

I called the midwife to let her know my next plan.  I told her we were going to drive in that direction, pick up lunch, maybe go for a walk to get things moving along.  She laughed and asked if we were going to Plymouth Meeting Mall.  I told her I was thinking of the Farm Park, a large park with a walking trail that just so happens to be (literally) across the street from the hospital campus.  So we went.  And we picked up hoagies from Wawa.  At that point I was still hungry.  Evidently, two breakfasts were not enough.  We parked at the Farm Park and I got out of the car.  I started to walk to a lovely picnic table then remarked to Jeff that instead I would sit on this rock right here in the middle of the parking lot.  This behavior he was familiar with.  During my first labor on the way into the hospital, I sat on a speedbump.  He said something to the effect of, "This is more like it."  We eventually made it to the table but by that point I knew it was time to cross the street.  I encouraged him to eat his lunch as we didn't know how long the next portion of our journey would take.  Sadly, I looked at my sandwich and couldn't imagine eating it at that moment.  I called the midwife again and she surprised me that she "knew" and had left after our last conversation.  She had called ahead, the hospital had my room ready and she would be there in five minutes.  

After Jeff finished, we somehow got back to the car and across the street.  He dropped me off at the  outdoor eating area tables by the front door while he parked the car.  He got to me.  He then went back to the car to get the only thing we really needed inside: a cooler.  More on that in another post.  In the meantime, Ronni arrived asking if I was out for a refreshing afternoon and we all walked in together.  I felt so supported by both my husband and my midwife.  We joked in the elevator and as we walked back.  We went directly into our room and got down to business.  We arrived in the room at about 2:30.  

Unlike my first birth, I had complete freedom to move as I saw fit.  I still went very internal but tried things that were suggested and spoke up when I didn't like something.  Monitoring was still necessary as the baby's heart rate was hard to gauge.  But Ronni did the most amazing thing.  She literally followed me with the monitor.  I went to the bathroom, she followed and monitored.  I changed positions, she followed and monitored.  If monitoring has to happen, that's the way to do it.  Like with my first birth, I knew the best way to figure out what might be causing any issues with the baby's heart rate was to figure it out outside my body. Being free to get into a natural birthing position,  he was born quickly at 3:59 PM.  His cord was wrapped around his neck but Ronni deftly removed it and he revived right away.  She advocated for any measurements to be done quickly to get my baby back to me but she also was realistic about some repairs that needed to happen on my end too.  

The nurses kept asking if she wanted pitocin.  I was so confused.  First, the baby was already here, why on earth would I need/want pitocin now?  I have since learned that research has shown pitocin post-birth helps to significantly reduce the chance of uterine rupture and has become a standard of care.  There is a high likelihood that I received pitocin after my first birth and was never even told - add that to my list of grievances.  Generally speaking, pitocin is a synthetic form of oxytocin which is produced naturally when a baby breastfeeds so if immediate skin to skin and breastfeeding are encouraged, oxytocin will follow which will also reduce the chance of uterine rupture.  Off soapbox.

When Elliot returned to my arms, he latched right away and ate like a champ.  I was filled with bliss.  He was and is perfect.  

Elliot Orion Zschunke
8lb 2oz

While we did not experience a birth center birth (technically) we truly had a positive and liberating experience to birth in a natural way within our four walls that just happened to be within a hospital.  I am so happy that institutions exist that still trust women's ability to bring babies into this world without unnecessary interventions and that support midwives to do the work they do best.

Family Selfie
Skin to Skin with Daddy
Our amazing midwife, Ronni Rothman
Heading Home!

The Belly 2012-2013

Since I did not post "belly" pictures on a weekly basis here faithfully as I did during my first pregnancy, I created a video compilation instead.  Enjoy!  Look for ultrasound photos, weekly pictures of Elliot and a birth story coming soon!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Guess What...I Had a Baby!

Seriously though, I did.  And I'll tell you about it as well as what his big sister, Cece's been up to lately...working on it :) 

Monday, May 20, 2013

My good friend, Braxton

During my pregnancy with Cece, I experienced Braxton Hicks contractions once.  One afternoon, while still at school, I experienced contractions that I thought could be the beginning of the real deal.  I drove home (at the end of the school day), and continued to time them.  They petered out to nothing.  I chalked it up to Braxton Hicks contractions.

During this pregnancy, for weeks already, I've been experiencing contractions.  Not at all regular, just definite "toning" contractions, getting my body ready.  And they feel just like contractions (well, how early contractions feel to me).  Not painful, necessarily, but an involuntary tightening of the muscles.  Like two hands wrapping around the top of my uterus for the sides and giving a nice squeeze.  My stomach will feel hard to the touch and then relax, and then the baby will kick and squirm and move.

My midwife indicated that these contractions are probably what helped to get his head down.  Oh!  I forgot to mention that piece of good news.  He is head down!  And has been that way for a while now. One thing about the possible polyhydramnios is that he has a veritable Olympic size swimming pool in there and could just as easily turn again, but I'm just going to be happy that he's in position for now and go with that.

Anyway, back to contractions.  So, for people who know how quick my last labor was, this can be a bit unnerving.  My sister asked, "How do you know they're not real contractions."  I know.  Well...I guess I don't, but I'm pretty sure.  I will know when I can't stand through them that THEN they are real.  So, that will help.  So, if you see me clutch at my stomach, don't be alarmed.  If you see me curled up in a ball on the floor, that might mean...something.

Also, the name Braxton is starting to grow on me.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Group B Strep - Prevention is the best Medicine

The next adventure will be the Group B Strep culture.  36 week appointment will be a big day!  I tested negative for Group B Strep during my first pregnancy, but a friend who tested positive during her second pregnancy raised my awareness of what a positive reading would mean.  Four hours of antibiotics prior to delivery of a baby.  And, if labor is longer, antibiotics every four hours.  So, this hadn't occurred to me before, but I try to avoid antibiotics if I can find a natural way to remedy an issue.  And (knock on wood), we haven't had an infection with Cece that required antibiotics yet.  And I like it that way.  Antibiotics are a modern medical miracle, but so are probiotics and having a healthy overall system.  Overuse can throw things off.  And use before baby is even born can really throw things off, before they even get a chance.  That said, Group B Strep is serious business.  If passed to a newborn, there can be complications.  I don't make less of that.  But, after some research, it seems there are measures I can take to prevent a positive reading and that I can continue to administer to prevent a positive environment during labor and delivery.  And I plan to.  For anyone looking, here's the code words you need to know:

  • Garlic
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Tea Tree Oil (diluted)
  • Yogurt
  • Probiotics
Have fun!!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Fluid Levels

So, I posted a little about the possibility of polyhydramnios this time around in my Natrum Muriaticum post.  That was before my ultrasound and after using natrum muriaticum.  At the time, my fundal height was measuring 2 weeks ahead.  I did some personal research and looked back at my notes from my first pregnancy.  Fortunately, my neurotic self who had lots of time on her hands during her first pregnancy kept meticulous notes.  So, I went into the ultrasound armed with a pre-conceived notion of how many units of fluid would qualify me as having high fluid.  Granted, my midwife caught onto this nonsense a bit earlier in this pregnancy than my OB did in my last pregnancy.  My notes indicate that I was measured at 34 weeks and 36 weeks during my last pregnancy and my ultrasound this time around fell during my 32nd week.  So, the percentiles are evidently different depending on how far along the pregnancy is, etc.  Last time around my fluid measurements were 29.4 and 30, respectively.  This time around it was 21~22 and it was declared "upper limit to normal".  I heard normal...did you hear normal?  When I went to the midwife an hour later, she indicated that that was all well and good, but 12-15 is more like "normal."  And, the Fetal Diagnostic Center had already scheduled a follow up ultrasound for 36 weeks, so I upped the ante on the Natrum Muriaticum and I'm hoping for the best.

Again, since these posts have been sporadic at best, I might as well combine the latest and greatest information.  In the meantime, my super positive and supportive husband decided and convinced me that the Natrum Muriaticum MUST be working because I was shrinking before his very eyes.  Definitely more compact.  Definitely...

I had another appointment with my midwife two weeks later.  Instead of measuring 2 weeks ahead, I measured 3-4 weeks ahead.  So, at 34 weeks, my fundal height measured 37-38 cm.

Jeff just couldn't believe it.  We looked at pictures from my pregnancy.  We have one for each week.  He said...see, here...it's really big, but then it gets smaller.  As we clicked through and my belly kept getting bigger and bigger and bigger, and he says, "See here, it's really big, but then..." and then we got to the last and most recent picture.  It didn't look like I'd wasted away to nothing.  To be kind.

Here's the play by play from Week 30-34

Do you see the shrinking?

Friday, May 17, 2013

Tight Pants

So, this is now a few weeks ago as I intended to post in a much more expeditious manner to update you all about my ultrasound, fluid levels, etc.  But, first things first.  On a very "Monday" Monday, I found myself sitting at a desk for an inordinate amount of time.  And when I stood up and went to walk, I found myself in an excruciating pain.  So, I sat down again.  And googled.  It felt like what I imagined round ligament pain would feel like.  And I'd been anticipating experiencing round ligament pain because this was my second pregnancy and that's what I've been told to expect.  So, I did.  So, I googled round ligament pain.  And it indicated it would be a sharp pain.  Yes.  That would last a few moments and pass.  Um, no.  And then I panicked.  This was what everyone talked about.  The utter pain of being pregnant.  Thus far, I had been so lucky, so fortunate, to feel comfortable during pregnancy.  But now, all that was over.  I'd be in pain for the remainder.  Alas, it had come time to walk students back to class.  And so, I did.  Or, well, I hobbled.  And I talked to a teacher that I had borrowed a pregnancy support belt from before and tried to figure out if I had it somewhere or had returned it.  And then I went to the bathroom.  And when the waist band of my pants was no longer cutting off the circulation just below what used to be my waist, the pain went away.  Completely.  I had reached the point in pregnancy when all pants needed to have a very stretchy, very large panel.  Or else I couldn't walk.  NBD.  So I called Jeff and my amazing, stupendous, wonderful man of a husband drove a new pair of pants to my place of work so that I could get changed.  It was that or mumus from here on out.

In COMPLETELY different news, one of my amazing cousins created a video "redux" of Tight Pants Body Rolls.  A song I'd never heard of before she did so.  And since you may not have either, I will post the original video as well because the resemblance is uncanny.  Enjoy as you laugh at my tight pants and hers.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Natrum Muriaticum

With my first pregnancy, I had polyhrdramnios, a condition in which there is too much amniotic fluid.  The opposite condition, oligohydramnios, is more dangerous, but both carry their risks.  With this pregnancy, I had one appointment where our midwife thought I might have too much fluid, but then at the next appointment, she was certain I did not.  At my most recent appointment, she was pretty sure I did.  And, so it begins.  My fundal height is measuring two weeks ahead.  I'm looking big again.  It all makes sense.  During my pregnancy with Cece, I looked on the bright side.  I got so many more "pictures" of the baby during ultrasound to measure fluid depth.  It was deemed "idiopathic" meaning, there was no known reason, i.e. nothing was wrong with the baby.  And, that it was unlikely that I would experience the same condition with another pregnancy.  So, that was good.  But, for this pregnancy, I was really looking forward to fewer pictures, less risk, more "normal".  When the midwife had me schedule an ultrasound, it felt like a loss.  It was also a realization that...it's me.  This is something my body does when pregnant.  And that made me sad.  I feel like I put my babies at risk.  The midwife discussed some possibly necessary measures to control the birth and the release of waters to minimize the risk of a prolapsed cord, or a prolapsed foot for that matter.  Because...in addition to polyhydramnios, or perhaps because of it, he's not flipping over...yet.  There's still time, of course, but time's ticking, kid.  He was transverse, meaning he was lying sideways, but at my last appointment, he was foot first.  So, after all of my appointments at the birth center, I still might end up in a hospital setting.  But, I feel like I trust my midwife and her instincts and would still feel more comfortable in the hospital with her than with anyone else.  She also had some suggestions for managing the extra fluid.  A homeopathic remedy called Natrum Muriaticum.  It should balance the fluid.  So, I've been taking a dose each night and, if nothing else, it makes me feel like I'm doing something proactive.  I wish I had known about this during my first pregnancy, so that's why I wanted to share out about it.  I've also been doing some specific yoga exercises to encourage this little guy to move it already, especially while he does all of this extra swimming pool room to do so.  My ultrasound is this Tuesday, as well as my next appointment, and fingers crossed that they'll find something positive, either lower fluid than expected, or a baby that has figured out he's supposed to be upside down already.

And, continuing with looking at the positive.  All this extra fluid is probably what makes me feel perfectly comfortable during pregnancy...except for, well you'll read all about it in the next post.... I feel the baby kick much more this time around, but I'm not short of breath, I don't feel like he's damaging any internal organs, etc.  Overall, I can't complain.  I feel so lucky and blessed, and we'll work through any challenges from here to the end.

Did I mention that he seems to move more than I remember feeling Cece move?  Did I mention that Cece's a pretty active kid?  Oy.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Housing Crisis

So, we hear about the housing market pretty frequently on the news.  And things are looking better, but for those of you that were in the dark for about a year, which was...everyone, after a while, I wanted to catch you up on our very own, personal housing crisis.

Our condo was on the market for one season, from March-November in 2011.  We had lots of "interest".  One potential buyer came through 3 times!  So, our price stayed stagnant that season because we thought that buyer was...buying.  She didn't.  That's ok.  When it came down in November, we had someone call our realtor to say they were interested, and we were about to put it back up for them to make the purchase...then they said they weren't that interested.  Like not right now.

So, it came down, and when it came time to re-list, we did some homework.  We interviewed three realtors and decided upon Helwig Realtors.  Mandy Helwig is AWESOME!  She works her butt off to make things right when they are wrong, to market the house to every possible corner of the earth, and talk it up to all of her various connections, and it pays off.  She generally sells homes quickly.  And that's exactly what we were interested in.  Not exactly what we got, but we'll get there.

We listed.  Mandy took awesome pictures that showcased our home's unique features.  We had open houses scheduled well in advance, lots of showings, lots of interest.  Mandy was proactive with changing the price if interest dropped based on cold, hard numbers.  The internet doesn't lie (well, actually it does...frequently, but that's a different wiki-story), and if no one's looking, something must change.  So, it did.  And then we got THE call.  The call that said someone wanted to buy our house, and they wanted us to not have an open house the following weekend, and they wanted to put in an offer in, and they wanted to BUY our house.  And it was all so real.  We were set to make settlement June 29th.  A date I may never forget.  We packed, and cleaned, and packed, and moved.  Fortunately for the rest of this post, our plan all along was to move into my mother's house with the intent to buy the property from my parents.  Otherwise, it would have all been much more crippling.  I'm incredibly fortunate to have such a supportive and understanding family.  So, we moved on June 27th because..well, we were making settlement on June 29th.  All made sense to me.  Then we got a call on June 28th...that we were...not making settlement on June 29th.

It would take another two week to process more information on the buyer's end.  So, settlement was rescheduled to the middle of July. But, that got bumped another two weeks.  Then I got a call on the day of Cece's birthday party that that wasn't going to happen either.  There are reasons, which I probably shouldn't have known, but I did.  But it wouldn't be right to share those details about our buyer with the world.  So I won't.  But there were reasons.  And, at this point, in hindsight I should have been much smarter.  But I wasn't.  So, here's what happened next.

The buyer was all set to move...because he thought it would go through too.  So, they offered to rent the property until the settlement could happen.  At this point, the belief was that settlement could happen the middle of September, based on...information.  The rent they paid covered our mortgage, association fee, and a little extra.  Since no one else had jumped in to offer to buy the property, this all sounded good.  Worst case scenario, the mortgage was being covered for the time being.

September's settlement came and went.  We had a settlement scheduled every two weeks through the end of November.  I stopped believing they would happen.  I stopped putting in for time off of work.  I got one cancellation of settlement call during a wedding reception in which I was a bridesmaid.  Bummer.  In the meantime, our buyer/renter had signed an agreement not to have pets on the property.  But they did.  Lots.  And his "wife" never moved in, and his daughter was out. of. control.  And I got to hear about all of this from my disgruntled neighbors.  And, it just wasn't happening.  9, that's right NINE settlement dates came and went.  So, we had to do something.  We met with our realtor and drafted a letter that if we could not close by the end of December, we would need the tenants to vacate the property (with three additional months notice, so by the end of March) in order to re-list the property.  The response.  We are getting a divorce, wife moved out, cat died, we'll be out sooner.  Technically, they needed to provide us more notice, but I didn't care.  What did irritate me.  Wife moved out.  Nope.  She never moved in.  My first thought - why lie?  But at this point, very little surprised me.

When I went in to clean, the allergies were too much.  We hired cleaners to come in.  They did ok.  We looked at the carpets.  Some of them needed to be replaced.  We requested the same carpet to match the parts that were fine.  The carpet guy put in a different color, and a different pile.  At this point, I thought I'd have a nervous breakdown.  I envisioned sinking more money into ripping out the carpets, or paying to carpet the rest of the condo to match the new carpet.

Fun anecdote.  Cece was with us when I went over to check the carpets.  I was upset.  I might have cried, I don't remember.  But when we went home, my mom asked how the carpets were and I told her they were fine because I didn't want her to worry or get upset.  She was already pretty annoyed with our tenants and it wasn't helping.  So, I told her they were fine, knowing that somehow we would get it fixed.  She asked Cece the next morning about the carpets and Cece said, "Mommy was NOT happy."

On the day I checked our carpets, we had a showing scheduled for the next day.  I wanted to cancel the showing until the carpets got sorted out.  Painters were on their way too.  Fortunately, I did not.  That showing turned into a second showing, and an offer.  A REAL offer, with 20% down.  Now, the offer was nowhere near our asking price, but the thought of paying the mortgage through a season and hoping for the best was looking grim at best.  So, we took it.  And cut our losses.  Literally.

In retrospect, we bought a house during a peak (2005...could have been worse, right?), and effectively sold our house during a low (2011-12).  And, we lived to tell the tale.

Thursday, January 3, 2013


This is not a post about the fake news outlet, The Onion. Also, I know I should be blogging about this pregnancy already, but this post is about to take precedence. Trust me. So, on NYE, a friend of a friend mentioned some FB reading she had recently done on onions and two divergent thoughts.

1) Leaving a cut onion in a bowl will help if you have a cold (because allegedly, it draws toxins from the air and absorbs them, so it takes the "sick" out of your body). Evidently, this was done throughout history when the flu or the plague came around and people would put out bowls of cut onion in each room or on the window sill, etc. I haven't done enough research to back all the historical justifications up, but maybe I will.

2) When you do cut a raw onion, you should cook it or eat it right away, not store it, because (allegedly) it will also absorb the toxins from your refrigerator or the plastic container you store them in. The thought being that you should not eat that onion that has been stored because it now holds toxins. (This is the part that seemed mighty snopes-worthy...and was).

So, my personal cold, sniffles, coughing, sneezing recent history. On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, it was the worst. I had a runny nose, sore throat, cough, etc. So did Cece. Not what either of us hoped Santa would deliver for Christmas. I tried two Pinterest natural health remedies which were both effective but temporary fixes at best.

Eucalyptus Oil on Feet
The "Good" Stuff
And lots and lots of Marshmallows

Also, Jeff was amazing at helping out with Cece so I could get plenty of the one thing I needed most: rest.

Fast forward to a week later. Through NYE (because it's a holiday, so why wouldn't I get sick again - ugh) my nose started getting congested, so basically the opposite of what I had experienced before. Not runny, stuffy. To the not breathing through your nose extent that really impedes with sleeping and you end up with a really dry mouth and...you get the idea. Sinus headaches ensued. I went back to school on Wednesday and was losing my voice...again. Oh, and I had decided the Neti pot would help. Did that Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. With no success. The most annoying thing for a Neti pot user is to stand there with it pressed to your nostril with no progress. No flow, no clearing. That's when you know it's clogged up in there. So, Wednesday night, I made a recipe for dinner that necessitated half of an onion. And I looked at the other half and I thought.

I already had placed very little stock in #2 above. I found it unlikely that eating cut, stored onions would do me harm, so I was not trying to avoid storing the onion. I also am pretty willing to try any natural remedies, and the idea that #1 COULD work or do anything was very enticing to me. At least it couldn't hurt, right?

So, I left the cut onion out and did some research. I can't seem to find the original story, though I'd imagine it's the same one originally referenced on Snopes with a factory tour and a chemist. If anyone has the original and could post it in the comments, that would be great. What I did find were a bunch of myth-busting, hoax-slaying, Snopes websites that busted that story up. So, just so you all know. But there were still references to the historical use of cut onions around the house during or to prevent sickness. So, I went with that part. I removed the peel entirely, and cut the onion into smaller chunks figuring more exposed area would be better. The original suggestion had been to put it by the bed overnight. Oh, and another part said it would turn black "proving" that it had absorbed all those toxins from your body. It did not.

I wasn't quite at bedtime yet, so I walked around the house with my bowl of cut up onions. Figured that couldn't hurt. Forget holding your head over a steaming pot, hold your head over a bowl of onion. So, I do not know how effective this would be with an already runny nose, but for a stuffy nose. Magic. You know how a cut onion makes your eyes water and your nose run? Voila. Forward motion with my nose, loosening, clearing. Instantly. Seriously. I used the Neti pot before I started carrying my onion around and...nothing. Two hours later after sucking in some onion fumes, Niagra Falls. Straight shot. Clear through. No pressure. When I did go to bed, I kept the onion by our bed. If I started to feel stuffy, I held my head over the bowl and inhaled deeply. Since Cece loves sleeping with us, she generally joins the party halfway through the night. She's still had a cough, especially aggravated when horizontal in bed. She slept through the rest of the night with NO coughing. People. This is crazy. In the morning, I was reluctant to ditch our onion. It's the only one in the house right now. I was also reluctant to take it away from my sleeping baby's side. So, I split the chunks in half and put half in a container and left half by the bedside. I'm bringing my half to school. Apologies in advance that I, (and possibly after today the library) smell of onion. But trust me, it's good stuff. Quite frankly, I'm frightened that my nose will stuff right back up. I'm an onion addict. We also clearly need to stock up on more onions. Clearly.