A Crunchy Conventionalist

I’ll never forget the disdain on the MD’s face in the ER.

“When was the last time she peed? Has she recently experienced any head trauma? How much did she weigh at birth? Did you have a natural birth or C section?”

I tried to gather my emotions and mental stability in order to answer all these questions, yet they seemed to lead to no resolve. Until she asked me “Did she ever get the flu shot?”

“No”, I answered.

“Ooohhh…….Well you may reconsider now huh?”

You see, we had brought Jane in to her newborn appointment after having a quick, natural birth 3 days prior. Jane was not interested in eating and getting more and more lethargic. I planned on meeting with a lactation nurse and addressing this issue at the appointment. I did not foresee the trauma that was actually at hand. When we arrived for our appointment it became apparent that Jane’s temperature was dropping, along with her heartrate, blood pressure and respiratory rate.

A very kind, sweet nurse who I will remember forever dealt with our emergency in the most calm/hasty fashion I had ever seen. Jane was immediately rushed to emergency. Upon arrival it was quickly discovered that her blood sugar had crashed and this was the cause of her lethargy and some ongoing seizures, although it was unknown why.

Nurses held our hand, social/care staff made sure we were hydrated, fed and supported. And actually all MD’s involved were patient and understanding of our trauma.

Then there was Flu Lady.

I had decided not to take any vaccinations during my pregnancy. And wanted to take our time researching, praying and figuring out what was best for Jane’s vaccinations schedule. But Flu Lady led me to believe that my newborn was blue, sick and dying due to my ignorant choice of not administering the flu shot.

Wow.

1 point for the Crunchy Team.

Image via redbubble.com

 

Then there was Natural Nancy. Natural Nancy was a medical professional of the opposite sphere. She heard of Jane’s story months after we had been discharged from the ICU. “Finally, this is someone who will empathize with me.. Who will really have some insight and answers”, I thought. I politely gave Natural Nancy a play by play of our traumatic ER experience. How some of the finest specialists took 1 month to discover Jane’s underlying cause of sickness. I eagerly replayed the events just knowing she would have something thoughtful to say, or have a great direction to suggest.

She answered, “Ooohh…. Is it because you vaccinated her?”

1 point for the Conventionalists

………..

Mommy’s, the best thing I can say to you was already said by Tina Fey in the movie Mean Girls, “There’s been some girl on girl crime here”.

Jane had not been vaccinated. One camp blamed me for not doing it and the other blamed me for thinking I had done it. As a new mom, you can imagine the feeling of just simply not belonging.

This should not be.

HERE’S MY GIGANTIC DISCLAIMER BEFORE I GO ANY FURTHER:

I consider myself a “crunchy” mom. I eat organic. Some of the greatest people I know strictly abide by natural practices. I believe in whole body healing. I do not think medicine or vaccinations are a cure all. I believe you need to honor what you put in your body and how you treat your body. I believe health is a gift. I believe you need to be wise and limit sugar and processed ingredients. You should try essential oils. Go outside and hike. Don’t use Splenda. Try not to put parabens on your face and scalp. I believe God has given us all we need and His way is best.

ALSO:

I eat Hot Cheetos ( And I won’t stop ). I have tried to use essential oils to control my daughter’s seizures and they have not worked. But her medication has. My daughter could not go outside for 1 month after birth and did not have my immune boosting breast milk for 3 weeks, so yes, she received some vaccinations. I would love to be her doctor and provide everything she needs, but in the instance of her initial emergency, I could not help. MD’s, IV’s and ongoing medication saved my daughter’s life.

And the truth is, I carried trauma from a perfectly healthy natural birth all because I was induced (due to high blood pressure). Trauma that I believe would not exist if I was a part of a different “camp”. You know, the one that schedules C-sections to better accommodate their pre-existing Italy trips? (Please see my post on judging others, of which I am a criminal offender right now).  I imagined taking a hike and birthing my child on a mountain, and read lots of books about how if that wasn’t how it happened then I was interfering with mother nature. (Okay not exactly, but you catch my drift).

I wept in devastation when they told me my daughter may have a very rare disease called galactosemia, in which she could not take my breastmilk. I imagined all the other mommy’s glaring at me while I fed my baby thick white liquid out of a bottle while they sat underneath paisley printed breast feeding covers. (By the way, she did NOT end up having that unfortunate disease and she IS breastfed. To find out how I went from ZILCH to exclusively breastfeeding, please ask!! And I may just post about it!)

And yes, I continue to get comments and am treated like a child, as you can imagine, at most doctor’s visit (of which there are many) when told that if I don’t give my daughter the Tdap vaccine she’ll probably catch whooping cough and have another near death experience. By the way, one of the adverse effects of the Tdap is possible seizures .. “So, would you like to schedule those 6 rounds for today or tomorrow Mrs. Harris?” Um, let me think about it….
*Takes her Britax stroller and high tails it away from those crazies while she obsessively takes care to NOT touch any hospital door knobs…* 

If I forced myself to choose a side, I will never win. My daughter will not get ALL she needs. And I will inevitably be lacking something. 

AND MY FREEDOM MESSAGE FOR ALL TO HEAR IS:

You do not have to choose.

Phew. Everyone go enjoy a Pepsi while you rub essential oils on your feet. (And seriously, take it easy on the Pepsi, it’s pretty gnarly no matter which side you’re enjoying it from).

I have found that there is only one way to live when it comes to navigating the crunchy vs conventional medical world and its moment by moment. Hour by hour. Sometimes minute by minute.

Some days you need to say no to chocolate cake and yes to a big ol’ spoonful of garlic and apple cider vinegar. Other days, you need to enjoy a day in the city and eat some funnel cake from a hipster food truck.

One moment all you need is coconut oil for your little one’s ailment. The next you may need a doctor’s advice or help that only an emergency department can give.

My point is to simmer down everyone.

Embrace your moment, and follow your gut.

Fear no man.

Hug everyone!

Be patient. With yourself. And with others.

Say goodbye to guilt.

Crunchy or conventional, you do you!

 

I will forever be grateful for Flu Lady and Natural Nancy for teaching me that only I know what’s best for my baby. And guilt helps no one, even when it’s self induced. For helping me live in freedom of expectations and thriving in a place where I trust my gut, know my baby, and live with heavenly wisdom, even if it comes in the form of MD’s or Naturalists. And I dream of a world where Crunchies and Conventionalists live in harmony, exchange their unique gifts and findings and laugh about life over a big bowl of organic hot Cheetos, for if that is not harmony and the perfect unification of camps, I don’t know what is.

 

 

Jane’s Space

20140815-172110.jpg

 

It has been a rough couple weeks friends, and I am so happy to post something refreshing and fun. As our battle for Jane’s health continues, I long for a serene getaway and I have learned to take solace in the smallest of things. An unexpected latte, a moment alone, a talk with a friend, a cool summer night, her first high five (yes!!), how she said “Charlie” out of nowhere for the first time the other morning (no, I don’t know a “Charlie” and I’m not sure who he is but I’d like to know why my daughter knows his name), her first pony tail, and the small details of our home.

With so many things out of our control, it’s nice to have a space that is entirely up to our say. A place to rock her, make her feel comfortable, in routine, peaceful and happy. While it is far from finished, I want to share a little bit of our sweet “Jane space” with you.

I am far from a Pinterest mom, but I do my best ;-) I wish so hard I could handle grey walls with matching neutral upholstery and meaningless Ikea furniture, but I just can’t. I thrive on messy, eclectic and personal. And don’t forget, inexpensive! Everything below shows my attempts at just that. Get ready for an overload of sentiment and meaning and cutesie things!

20140815-172323.jpg

 

1. Jane’s crib was a hand-me-down from my nieces. Pottery Barn FREEBIE for the win!

2. The banner above Jane’s crib was made for my baby shower and it lives on :)

3. The frame below the banner was found at a garage sale by my mom. I framed one of our very favorite verses for this season of our lives in it and hung a peacock feather that someone gave us from our wedding. I’m so personal and sentimental right now!

4. The rocking chair was my great grandpas. ( I know, you can’t even handle me right now). The faux fur throw is Ikea $9.99! And the white pillow was specifically picked out by my mom if we had a girl. Spoiler alert, we did :) Rich and I picked out a mustache pillow for if it was a boy. The mustache pillow lives on in our living room.

20140815-172345.jpg

How bout that thumb tack huh!?

20140815-172436.jpg

This pillow is the pillow of a princess. Also great lumbar support.

The window wall of Jane’s room is my second favorite view. With the windows open during the day you can smell gardenia’s blowing in from the plant right outside her window (A gardenia bush, one of my mom’s favorite scents. Jane is named after her, “Jane Margaret”). Too much precious, I know. It’s also another wall with more space for me to show off my sentimental values :)

20140815-224455.jpg1. This is a picture I made for Jane the day we found out we were having a little lady. Her name was a secret but anyone who saw the initial pre-birth took their guesses :) The snow white tin was mine (or maybe my sister’s? Well it’s mine now!) growing up. The bird was in my parent’s house and actually used as decor in my friend’s wedding. I’m unstoppable!!

20140815-172406.jpg

 

1. Both the air plant and stitched “J” are gifts from my dear friend who lives on the E.Coast. She hasn’t met Jane yet but they are both tiny and fierce and have overcome a lot and continue to do so. Christina, this is my tribute to you. <3


20140815-172416.jpg

The bedtime corner. A fru fru lamp. Another “pre-girl” purchase (meaning you keep the receipt in case it’s a dude baby). And our little reminder that Jane means “God has been gracious”.

20140815-172456.jpg

 

I used to not like this wall with Jane’s changing table/ dresser as much as the others but now I do. It was the “catch all” station. But after hanging these ADORABLE garage sale little girl pictures it added just the thing for me to take pride in this space. I’ve asked for it’s forgiveness and promised to never abuse it again. Jane has thick wavy hair. My husband loves dogs. It was meant to be.

20140815-172527.jpg

Hidden high above the world is this little detail. A koala given to Jane by a small friend, who happens to be the daughter of fellow Eco Chic Diaries blogger, Julie Hamilton. She’s a quirky one and little does she know I actually am in love with this little guy.

 

20140815-172511.jpg

My advice for your space? Keep it fun. Don’t decorate like a grown up. Make it meaningful, don’t play by rules. Love your space.

And now for the gag reel:

 

20140815-172632.jpg

 

That’s real life people!!

20140815-224434.jpg

 

A Blog Tour

I’m so honored to be invited to ” A Tour Through Blogland ” by Sarah of “Little Bus on the Prairie” (She lives on an actual bus… with CHILDREN. Champion award). A weekly snippet of bloggers all around CA and beyond who live life simply, beautifully, and realistically! I’m fairy new to blogging so it’s quite validating that someone finds your life stories worthy to be read, let alone explored! Thank you Sarah for inviting me on the journey, and to all new readers, welcome to Hil’s Kitchen!

ORIGINS

Harris Family

 

 

2.5 years ago I married my best friend and was a simple living, semi bored house wife who worked from home and volunteered at our church, and enjoyed a more natural way of life. I have always had a love for food (I get it from my parents) and happened to marry one of the most selective eaters of all time ( he’s gotten better, and I’ve learned how to put it nicely ;) We are also frugal, tight budget, normal people so I liked making the most out of what we had when it came to meals, and always had a knack for writing, thus Hil’s Kitchen was birthed.

Fast forward 2 years later, we became youth pastors, we bought a house and had a little baby girl named Jane (We like to do things all at once). Jane almost died on day 3 of her life and spent 28 days in the ICU for a condition called hyperinsulinism (which she no longer has! ) . The after effects still follow us everyday as Jane is now 7 months old and (for now) experiences frequent petite mal seizures. Our days are filled with hard prayers, neurology visits, and as you can imagine, budgeting for cheap meals is  no longer the topic at the forefront of my mind, but rather my precious little 13 lb. tinker bell fighter of a baby girl, Jane Margaret :) She and my new journey of mommyhood are now what you’ll mostly find on Hil’s Kitchen.

 

How Does Your Writing/ Creative Process Work? 

Oh dear, I am a hot mess when it comes to organizing thoughts!  That’s why I love my “note” app on my Iphone. If I ever get an idea I am quick to jot it down in there as life is too busy to assume I will remember anything! I also am horrible at self discipline so finding fellow bloggers (like Sarah), or a community of people that requires me to write is absolutely perfect. I need the pressure. Without the pressure I will eat nachos and lay by the pool all day. Or practice “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” on the piano in the middle of August. (You think I’m joking). I am currently doing a summer series for a local business in our area called Eco Chic. Check out some of the amazing diaries! Things like that push me into structure and this little wild flower needs that.

 

My Muse’s 

My main inspirations are obviously my husband and my daughter. Though I never want to label us as a family with “needs”, I obviously have a little bit of experience that I’m sure other mom’s with sick babies want to hear about. It can feel really lonely so I’m happy to provide some light :) I used to think that I needed to come up with some fabulous photos like the blogging queen herself, The Pioneer Woman, or travel to Italy to be a legit blogger. But most of my musings come from every day experiences. Jane is only 7 months old but she is hilarious. And motherhood, it is super humbling. Like the other day, I forgot Jane at Cost Co. It was on Fathers Day. She’s alive and okay so lets be honest, that’s hilarious. I couldn’t help but immediately think, “That one’s going on the blog”. Or sometimes we have super sweet mother daughter moments, and instead of keeping it to myself, it’s my civic duty as a blogger to share it with ya’ll. It’s humbling and takes boldness, and the audacity to think that people actually CARE, but if there’s anything I’m learning through my sharing and our journey with Jane it’s that people want REAL. So I try to document that as much as I can, even if it’s not pretty.

 

4th

JaneHilBed

20140426-111108.jpg

What am I currently working on? 

Currently, I’m trying to work on a post for Eco Chic Diaries. What has been hard with Jane and her current bout with seizures is it’s hard to process what lessons are just for me, and what lessons I need to share with the world. Some things should be kept sacred, but some things may actually save a person’s sanity. So right now, I’m trying to sort through those thoughts before I post :)

 

Why blog? 

People need your story!  Whether it’s how to eat organic, being single at 35, how to train for a marathon, or living in a bus to save money, someone out there needs to hear it. I know I love finding stories that speak to my hurting heart. I’ve already connected with one specific mama through Instagram, Katie Ewing of Praying for Paisley. It’s seeing stories like her’s that help keep us inspired as a family, and help remind us that we’re not alone and we can keep fighting and keep dancing :) . I think that is what blogging really comes down to, and why it’s so popular… people want to know they’re not alone. Whenever I feel insecure or like no one cares to read what I write, I try to remind myself of that. So when in doubt, just do it! You never know who needs to hear what you have to say, no matter how happy or sad it may be.

 

Our next stop… 

Faye

I’m so excited to introduce you to the next stop on our Tour Through Blogland , From Faye! Some of you who don’t know me probably already know who she is, and to that I would like to say, why yes, I do know her personally ;-) She’s one of my inspirations, she’s hilarious and all about green living and knows how to keep house work interesting, which is a gift. Check her out and your welcome in advance for forever changing your life and introducing you to your new obsession. :-)

28 Days of Jane: Everybody Has a Story

Before Jane, I was a judger. A hardcore judger. If you gave your baby formula. Judged. If you couldn’t kick postpartum weight. Judged. If you gave your kid sugar too early in life. Judged. It’s a wonder I had any friends at all!!

But then came Jane. Jane taught me that everybody has a story.

See before Jane was born I had a great story. Simple really. My husband and I dated for 2 years. Married on the 2 year mark. Got pregnant and had Jane on the next 2 year mark. We had good jobs. We had just bought a house. I had an easy pregnancy. We went on vacations. Young wild and free. Easy. That was my story.

20140516-145530.jpg

After Jane, I had a different story. I had messy unkept hair. I never wore make up. I wore the same navy blue zip up hoodie everyday in the hospital with maternity leggings. It was suspected that my baby had galactosemia, a disorder in which she could not absorb my breast milk. So my baby was fed soy formula (a HUGE no no if you had asked me prior, and a huge no no amongst the “natural” minded people I hung around) through a feeding tube.

With such exposure to diseases that lie dormant in a hospital environment and no first line defense of my skin to skin contact, or breast milk, vaccinations seemed almost like a no brainer where before we were “on the fence”. My sciatic nerve was pinched in giving birth to Jane and made walking postpartum almost unbearable. So I hobbled everywhere and it took me double the time to do “normal” things during our 4 week hospital stay. I ate nothing for 1.5 weeks out of nervous shock, then ate EVERYTHING for the next 1.5 weeks out of… aftershock?

My how my story had changed.

We would go to places like Whole Foods (ya know, where all the cool soccer moms shop? Oops, I just judged again…), and a little hip coffee shop full of entitled college students (Whooooaaa, judging again!) that became our oasis. It was in these public places that I could feel the eyes. The questions. The judgement.

“Wow that girl should do her hair”

“Well that girl’s not a threat in those grungy clothes”

“Why is that girl limping?”

“Oh, she must be like 5 months pregnant” (All you postpartum mommies feel me on that one)

It was then that I realized that they didn’t know my story! They didn’t know that I had JUST had a baby. That she was currently getting hooked up to IV’s in ICU. That we hadn’t been home in 3 weeks. That I had only used a public/community shower since I had given birth. That my husband and I weren’t just 2 college kids on a date, we were celebrating our 2 year wedding anniversary in a way we never expected right after being told that I could no longer breastfeed my baby.

I just wanted to scream, “Don’t you judge me! I have a story!”

20140516-145613.jpg

Or more recently, today at Big Lots I did a REALLY bad job of pulling into a parking spot . I guess I cut off a lady walking in the street because she not only gave me a really dirty look but started talking to another guy in the parking lot about me. Then as she drove away she pointed her finger at me and her lips were moving really fast and her face looked really mean and based off her countenance I’m guessing she was thinking things like,

“Irresponsible”

“Selfish”

“Rude”

And probably lots and lots of expletives :)

What she DIDN’T know was that I hadn’t slept in 2 days. Jane is teething or growing or manifesting demons. Not really sure which one. Maybe they’re all the same? She didn’t know that I was a sleep deprived woman thinking about money, groceries and the evening’s dinner plan, trying to squeeze in an errand between work phone calls and while my mom watched my cranky child. And while she may have been right about my horrible parking decision, she was most likely not seeing that I actually had a story.

And everybody does. The trendy hipster at the coffee shop. The nurses who do or do not administer your child’s vaccines. The mom who doesn’t breast feed. The one who can’t lose weight after baby. The one who loses “too much” weight after baby. They all have a story.

Instead of seeing a person at face value I began to try to my very hardest (we are only human afterall) to see passed the “obvious”. That woman looks really happy on Instagram but is she actually really lonely right now? That mom acts so protective over her children but did something traumatic happen to her as a child? That woman sure does post a lot of selfies! Is she reaching out for compliments she never receives? That single girl does whatever she wants, what a life! Is she really longing to settle down and for a family of her own right now?

I guess my point to all of this is, be kind mama.

Be kind to the woman handing her kid a bag of cheetos for a snack, be kind to the one who breastfeeds till 2 yrs old. Be kind to the full time working mama who can’t wear her baby all day long and the one who doesn’t let her baby go. Be kind to the one who cosleeps and doesn’t cosleep. To the telemarketer and the door salesman. To the one who vaccinates and to the one that doesn’t. To the one who is back at the gym and the one who can’t get out of bed. To the angry checkout clerks, or hasty baristas. To the mommy who wants to work. To the one who doesn’t , and to the one who has to.

Their story may not be yours, but they have one. Everybody does. Even the soccer moms at Whole Foods and the cranky ladies found in Big Lots parking lots :)

 

 

20140516-145641.jpg

20140516-145706.jpg

28 Days of Jane: And We Danced

This summer I am thrilled to be writing for a fantastic team of  REAL women, sisters, daughters and mommies at Eco Chic Diaries!

Stay tuned every week through the summer for what I’ll be posting here and there for the Eco Chic team! 

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

28 Days of Jane: And We Danced

you've got mail bench

 

I have watched You’ve Got Mail over 475 times. You can not beat 1990’s/early 2000’s Meg Ryan. Can. Not. Beat.

I love the line in You’ve Got Mail where Kathleen Kelly talks to big business owner Joe Fox about how her and her mother used to “twirl”.

“What is that you’re doing in that picture” he asks.

“Twirling. My mother and I used to twirl”.

Love. It.

You see, Kathleen inherited the bookstore she operates from her mother and her mother has since passed. Her mom must have built a pretty successful business in order to pass a healthy retail store along. That would mean long hours, meetings and agendas. But what does her daughter remember most about her? Twirling.

This month I had the opportunity to speak at our church’s Mothers Day Service. Code for: Watch out! Your kid is not going to sleep and everything is going to fall apart as you prepare! And that’s mostly what happened :)

Jane was absolutely crazy, she slept maybe 2 hrs in 5 days ;-) I had my actual job to do, groceries to buy, house to clean, and still prepare something encouraging to say for all the nice church people. All the while my daughter had the nerve to NEED me, and was actually being quite cranky and somewhat of a bully. Did you know you can be bullied by a 4 month old? You can.

cranky

In that moment I realized I had 2 choices: I could remain a stress case and get bitter at my messy house and crying daughter, OR, I could dance.

Hard decision, easy choice :)

I put on a new song we love from the album “You Make Me Brave”, entitled “We Danced”, I picked up my baby girl, and we danced around the living room. I think we did the waltz. Not really sure. Either way, I pressed her little cheek next to mine, sang her the words I knew, started praying for her future husband who would someday sweep her around a dance floor, and my baby and I had a little moment.

I still had a lot of things to do. I was barely prepared for the message I had to speak at our 3 Sunday services, I had no dinner planned, I still had laundry and vacuuming and dusting and and…

But I decided that while I hope Jane would someday recall me as a strong, brave, successful woman who loved her God and was dedicated to her work, I would LOVE, if when asked about me, she would say,

“She danced”.

20140521-210002.jpg

 

20140521-204443.jpg

PB&J Affair (Steel Cut Oat Cups)

“So what are your cravings?”

Is it a requirement for everyone to ask this question to a pregnant woman every day? I feel as if people are either vicariously hoping to live through my bizarre food concoctions or perhaps they are just waiting to feel better about themselves. “Well, atleast I don’t eat meatball sandwiches at 12am like THAT pregnant woman” (which I don’t by the way). Who knows. But really, I get asked this alot.

My first response would be, “Um, FOOD. And lots of it!” Except not all at once cause I feel like my stomach will explode. But definitely not longer than 2 hrs apart because then I just feel like I’m gonna die.

But this month in particular I can answer, without a shadow of a doubt, that I am craving… PB&J. In all forms. In all ways.

The other night it actually came down to this:

20131121-170120.jpg

A grilled cheese PB&J.

“Ew! Only a pregnant woman would eat that!”

To that I say “Wrong.” or “Fine. More for me”.

Do not knock this until you try it. It’s the most precious blend of warm, crunchy, sweet, salty, savory, and buttery.

I’m unstoppable. It led me to further discoveries of PB&J delights.

I had originally planned on talking about chicken for my next post. But the rain started falling here and I came across this GREAT recipe for warm, delicious, hearty, healthy Personalized Baked Steel Cut Oat Cups from Sugar Free Mom and I love.. I love… I love them.. (P&P for you fans). I had made her Personalized Baked Oatmeal Cups before and Rich and I both loved them and they contain NO sugar and only real ingredients and even some fruit! ( This is a win for me and trying to feed my picky-ish husband).

The best part is these steel cut oat cups give me the quick snack I need to stay feeling full and they absolutely DELICIOUS with a PB&J filling. Like ABSOLUTELY. She lays out the recipe beautifully at Sugar Free Mom, so make sure to click the link. The only changes I made were:

- Almond Milk instead of cows and – A flax seed egg instead of a chicken’s (1 tbsp flax seed, 3 tbsp water, let sit till like a gel, add)         – No Stevia, and not as much honey as suggested.

Still turned out AMAZING. I just heated 2 in the microwave and was SO satisfied.

20131121-170025.jpg

20131121-170057.jpg

Here’s to preggo cravings around the world!