Thursday, September 26, 2013

Head Down

7 weeks old today.

I am tired but still functioning. I realized with my first baby that I don't need as much sleep as I thought. I don't get frustrated at night when this second one won't sleep. I know that I will still get up in the morning and start the day. Strangely I don't feel all that tired. I should. Maybe it will catch up with me at some point or maybe the brain just tricks itself into feeling "normal" because there is no other choice. Last night for instance M and I were asleep by 9:45p. He was up to eat at 12:45a but then there was no going back to sleep. We were up until 3:30a. I nursed and rocked and let him cry and nursed again and eventually he fell back to sleep. I have come to HATE the pacifier. Getting up to put it back in time and time again. It will disappear shortly I fear. ;)

I feel as if I just have my head down and am plowing through one day, one week at a time. I am still on maternity leave for 5 more weeks which helps. Would hate to treat patients in a state of constant sleep deprivation. 

Two weeks ago M and I went to see a lactation consultant at the pediatricians office. M is growing like a week but was still not tolerating something. The Zantac is definitely helping the pain with the reflux but something was not right. I would feed him and then he would scream and claw me and literally try and climb up my chest and shoulders. He would eventually burp (while screaming), spit up all over us both and then he would get the hiccups and so we would start again. Over and over and over. Finally, by trial and error, I discovered that one thing he was not tolerating was the Enjoy Life Chocolate that I had put in the Mother's Milk Cookies I had made. I was also eating small amounts of it in homemade trail mix. Sigh. That is love. To give up dairy. What I wouldn't give for a piece of cheese and a Dove dark chocolate square. Soon enough I suppose.

I did have another friend who had to eliminate dairy from her diet for her little one, send me a message that said that after 7 months of no dairy she had developed adult onset lactose intolerance. I am not sure how common this is, or if it typically resolves. I intend to do a bit of research on that, once I have enough brain power to process that information. :)

I also have added back in soybean oil and soy lechtin without issues. That opens up a few options including a very select few places to eat out. We don't really eat out when I don't have dietary restrictions but it would be nice to have the option occasionally. Another thing I need to do, look up the options for restaurants.  I'll put it on the list. Ha.

1-2 more months before adding soy back in. Maybe we will be sleeping by then?!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Sometimes you just get lucky

Is there anything better than when every element of a meal works out?! When you get things all done at the same time? When everything tastes as it should, or better? Happy sigh.

Last night we had a dinner guest. He happens to be gluten and corn free. Between that and my dairy and soy free diet I had to be even more selective than usual. No problem.

The menu included...
Sweet and Spicy Bacon Chicken
Green Bean Mushroom Medley
Fat free, oil free Crispy Potatoes
Mini Morsel Meringue Cookies 

The Bacon Wrapped Chicken was a recipe suggested by our guest. He had a general recipe with no real amounts so I improvised. I have to admit that we really aren't a bacon family. I am 100% certain that I have never wrapped anything in bacon before but shoot, these were really really good!

4 chicken breast cut in thirds (12 pieces)
Bacon slices
salt and pepper to taste
garlic powder
chili powder (I omitted as I am breastfeeding currently)
paprika  (I used smoked paprika because I am currently obsessed with it)

brown sugar 

Season chicken with spices--I just guessed as I used them since the recipe didn't give specifics

Wrap chicken with bacon--1 used 1 slice for most of them but didn't have 12 pieces of bacon and half a piece seemed to be plenty as well. In the future to cut fat and calories I will probably use half a piece of bacon for each piece of chicken.
Roll in brown sugar 
Place in an oiled/sprayed dish to go it the oven ( I lined a baking pan with foil and then used a splash of olive oil to coat as there are no MSPI safe sprays that I have found. This made for much much easier clean up.)
Bake at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes

GREEN BEAN MUSHROOM MEDLEY - this comes from the KitchMe website

12 lb fresh green beans, cut into 1-inch lengths
2 carrot, cut into thick strips
14 cup butter - I used soy free Earth Balance and scanted by half
1 onion, sliced (I used half a large onion)
12 lb fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp salt
12 tsp seasoning salt
14 tsp garlic salt
14 tsp white pepper


  1. Place green beans and carrots in 1 inch of boiling water. Cover, and cook until tender but still firm. Drain.
  2. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute onions and mushrooms until almost tender. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 3 minutes. Stir in green beans, carrots, salt, seasoned salt, garlic salt, and white pepper. Cover, and cook for 5 minutes over medium heat.

This comes from Fifteen Spatulas website. Great recipe as well. My almost three year old ate all of his and asked for more!

  • 4 pounds russet potatoes
  • 2 tbsp all purpose flour (I used Gluten free Oat Flour)
  • salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Fill up a big pot about 1/2 full with cool water. Peel the skin off the potatoes, and cut them into evenly sized bite-size chunks (you want them sized slightly larger than the dice you find in board games). Place the potatoes in the water and season the water with several tbsp of salt, the same amount that you would add to pasta water. It's important for the water to be salty so the potatoes are seasoned inside.
  3. Bring the whole pot to a boil on high heat, with the lid on. Once the water is boiling, cook for an additional 4 minutes, with the lid off. Drain the potatoes, return the potato pieces to the pot (don't put the pot back on the heat), and sprinkle over the flour. Put the lid back on the pan, and shake it up like crazy until the potato edges are banged up and the flour is nicely distributed.
  4. Dump the potatoes onto a parchment lined sheet pan and make sure they are in a single layer (don't crowd the potatoes, or the edges won't get crispy). Give it a good sprinkling of sea salt and whatever other seasoning you like, and they are ready to go into the oven. Roast for 30-45 minutes at 450 degrees F, but watch them carefully because the roasting time will vary depending on the size of your chunks. 
Editor's note: I do not recommend doing the shaking of the potatoes 3 weeks after a c section. Enlist in help. Ouch. Paying for that today. (Hopefully my OB isn't reading this and shaking her head at me. I can clearly picture her doing that.)

I added a big bowl of fresh grapes to the table and that was that. I am already looking forward to making this meal again. Whooo hoo. 

I have made these many times but they are a good fall back. They require very few ingredients and almost always turn out well. I found them a year and a half ago on the Very Best Baking website. Yum yum. 

  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) I used Enjoy Life Mini Chips to stay Gluten, Soy, Dairy Free
Preheat oven to 300° F. Grease baking sheets. (I always use Parchment paper)
Beat egg whites, salt and cream of tartar in small mixer bowl until soft peaks form. 
Gradually add sugar; beat until stiff peaks form. 
Gently fold in morsels 1/3 cup at a time. 
Drop by level tablespoon onto prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until meringues are dry and crisp. 
Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. 
Store in airtight containers.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

MSPI in the Hospital

When M was born, I had been meticulously following the MSPI diet for over a month. No dairy or soy proteins and no soybean oils or soy lecithin (which are actually not proteins but fats). I had called the hospital months in advance to find out if they had dairy and soy free options and what the best way to convey my needs to dietary were. The dietitian I spoke with said that they had an MSPI menu and that when I called for my meals to let them know that I was ordering from that.

The day after delivery I received my menu. As I was looking through it, I knew that it didn't seem right. I noticed several cereals that I knew were off limits as well as wraps, breads, bagels, and entrees that I knew I wouldn't be able to have. In the hospital's defense, MSPI really does stand for just milk/soy PROTEIN intolerance and doesn't include fats and oils. The thing was, I had worked so hard for a month to make sure that everything I ate was completely dairy/soy free, and I wasn't about to let the hospital food negate all that hard work. My husband and my mom stepped in and provided dinners. I always had enough for the next day's lunch. I could order fruits and cereal that I knew to be ok with rice milk. Patrick brought me a few groceries like peanut butter, sprouted wheat bread, pretzel sticks from Trader Joe's, and Trader Joe's Salt Water Taffy! I had packed Enjoy Life Vanilla Graham cookies as well as Enjoy Life Smore's snack bars for a little treat. I also called down to the dietitian and explained my concerns to them.

On Monday, my discharge day, I called to get lunch and requested a salad with veggies. The gal that answered said, "oh, that is crossed out in red on your menu". Apparently over the weekend or Monday am, someone had done through the entire menu's ingredients and marked out all of the items I was not ok'd to eat. She listed off a few entrees that I could have and for whatever reason really wanted me to have a baked potato. I politely declined but asked for a green vegetable. Later, someone from dietary came up to profusely apologize for the issues. I explained why I was being so careful but let her know that I was not at all upset and that I understood completely. 

I have to say I was very very impressed with the hospital staff for making an effort to see that my nutritional needs were met. My mom and Patrick saved the day with food from home that I trusted.  It's funny, you would think that a hamburger patty would be safe no matter what. My mom sent two hamburgers with all the veggies over one night including homemade pickles!! They were delicious and didn't need a bun. If I would have asked for that from the hospital thou, it would most likely have been cooked on a grill sprayed with a spray containing soy. (All of the cooking sprays I have found have soy in them.) My mom also made homemade pizza with her own pizza sauce and a crust I recommended from Trader Joe's. She made everyone else's with cheese but left the cheese off mine and I didn't miss it at all! She sent two kinds, one with hamburger (I think she thinks I need more meat in my life!) and veggies and the other with chicken and sun dried tomatoes. Soooo delicious both hot and especially cold!

I guess the moral of the story is, trust your instincts. It isn't worth "ruining" a lot of hard work and ending up with a crabby baby just because someone doesn't understand what you need. I had a great experience and I was very lucky to have wonderful people watching out for me. Don't hesitate to take your own food to the hospital and don't be shy about letting them know what you can't have!

E meeting M for the first time with Grammy supervising.

Grammy getting snuggle time with the new babe.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Love Resides Here

I've been away for a week or so. In the hospital with our new little one. The birth story is for another day but in the meantime I would like to introduce M.

He was born on Thursday 8/8/13 by Cesarean and was 7.0 lbs and 20 3/4" long.

He is perfect and I am in love with him. His big brother E has taken to him, luckily.

I have to say that I am so blessed to be surrounded by all my boys. Couldn't ask for anything more (except maybe to be able to carry more than 7 lbs). :)

Sunday, August 4, 2013

A day in the MSPI life

As I have stated before, the first time I eliminated dairy and soy from my diet I was overwhelmed. This time, as I have had time to think about it and be a bit more methodical it has been really no problem at all. As I have also said before, I am eliminating ALL dairy and ALL soy including soybean oil and soy lecithin to start with. This will make it a bit easier for anyone else who is looking for recipes to follow. Unfortunately, you still have to check ingredient lists as products do occasionally change.

I thought I might just document what one MSPI mom eats in a day. The options really are a bit more broad than one might think. I suppose it also depends on whether or not you eat meat, or wheat, or eggs but those are all to be included here. The ingredients that we avoid other than dairy and soy include ALL food dyes and as many preservatives as possible. I am 37+ weeks pregnant now so I don't yet have a newborn. I am also feeding a hungry husband and toddler and they do eat dairy and soy.

First Breakfast
- half a banana
- 1/2 Tablespoon Jif Creamy Natural Peanut Butter (Peanuts, Sugar, Palm Oil, Contains 2% or less of: salt, molasses)

Second Breakfast
- one piece of Trader Joe's sprouted wheat bread toasted
- 2 egg whites
- one piece of sliced ham (organic slices from Natural Grocers - check ingredient lists)
- one slice of GO Veggie American "cheese" (Organic Rice Base (Filtered water, Organic Rice Flour), Potato Maltodextrin , Rice Bran Oil, Pea Protein, Rice Maltodextrin, Calcium  & Sodium Phosphates, Contains 2% or less of Sea Salt, Carrageenan, Mono  & Diglycerides, Natural Flavors, Lactic Acid (non-dairy), Apocarotenal (Color), Beta-Carotene)
- Trader Joe's ketchup (Organic Tomato Puree, Organic Sugar, Organic White Vinegar, Salt, Organic Onion Powder, Organic Spices)

- Homemade salad with spinach and romaine lettuce,  black beans, corn, quinoa (I always have cooked quinoa or couscous in the fridge ready to go), tomatoes, and homemade Balsamic Vinegar Dressing (click on link for recipe) from a recipe I got from a coworker. It is the only dressing I ever use even when I am not adhering to the MSPI "laws".
- apple

- grapes
- Trader Joe's Honey Whole Wheat Pretzel Sticks (enriched wheat flour (flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), honey, whole wheat flour, sugar, salt, palm oil, ammonium bicarbonate, malted barley flour, sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), yeast)

- Tomato Vegetable Soup
- Corn on the Cob
- Cantaloupe and blueberries
-two pieces Trader Joe's Salt Water Taffy (Corn syrup, cane sugar, organic extra virgin coconut oil (expeller pressed), natural flavors (strawberry, sour apple, red licorice, watermelon, banana cream, wild cherry), egg whites, malic acid, salt, colored with vegetable extracts (red radish, red cabbage, tumeric)
- multivitamin

-Outshine Popsicle - Cherry (water, cherry juice from concentrate, sugar, cherry puree, citric acid, beet juice color, natural flavors, guar gum, vegetable juice (for color), ascorbic acid (vitamin c), carob bean gum, tumeric color extract)

MSPI Tomato Vegetable Soup

I found this recipe on

 With a few simple modifications, it was MSPI friendly. You have to be pretty cautious of bouillon as it often contains dairy and/or soy. I found this brand at several of the natural grocery stores in town as well as on Amazon. It is a little pricy but I have used it several times with good success.

Delicious Tomato Vegetable Soup (adapted from

1 (28 ounce) can tomato sauce (Hunt's brand is MSPI safe)
5 cups water
1 cubes vegetable bouillon (Rapunzel Vegan Vegetable Bouillon with Herbs is the brand I used)
1 bay leaf
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning - Hyvee Brand
1 1/2 teaspoons dried parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon hot red pepper sauce (I used Trader Joe's Chili Pepper Sauce - chili peppers, distilled vinegar, sugar, spices, xanthan gum. They recently added that this is made on shared equipment with wheat, eggs, soy & fish. I used it anyway as I put just a splash in and the ingredients weren't dairy or soy directly.)
2 stalks celery, sliced
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 small zucchini, chopped
1 cup frozen corn
1/2 cup uncooked Trader Joe's Orecchiette pasta

In a large pot, mix the tomato sauce, water, vegetable bouillon, bay leaf, onion, garlic, Italian seasoning, parsley, sugar, salt, pepper, and hot red pepper sauce. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer at least 30 minutes.
Stir in the celery, carrots, zucchini, and corn. Cover, and continue to simmer 30 minutes.
Stir pasta into the pot, and continue cooking 10 minutes, or until pasta is al dente.

We liked this. I am not sure it even needs the pasta and I might consider adding mushrooms and maybe using my immersion blender a bit next time. YUM! Ate half and put the rest in the freezer for a more tired evening. 

MSPI Safe Balsamic Vinegar Salad Dressing

Homemade Balsamic Vinegar Salad Dressing

I got this recipe from a coworker about a year ago. I made a few adaptations but it is the only dressing I eat now. Super easy and delicious. I always have these ingredients on hand too which makes it convenient.

Balsamic Vinaigrette

-1 part Balsamic vinegar (1/4 cup) to 2 parts oil (1/2 cup)

-1-2 T of honey

-1 T of Dijon mustard (double check ingredients list for MSPI safe brands. I use Trader Joe's)

-1 tsp of garlic salt

-pepper to taste

Mix everything together except the oil.  
Gradually add oil by whisking.  
The Dijon mustard is the key to emulsification, if the oil and the other parts are not combining well, add more mustard, but be careful because it can definitely take over in taste.  


Black Bean Burgers

We are not vegan or vegetarian or paleo or any of those other things. We don't tend to eat much meat. I really, really don't like raw meat. It ruins the whole dining experience for me. I do best when I can put it in the crockpot and ignore it for the day.

These black bean burgers were delicious, and at least for me, they were the perfect solution to rectify a hamburger desire and keep it meat free. There is just something way less gross about mashed black beans and veggies than ground meat. Yuck.

On that note, this recipe came from Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom. She has great recipes. I've been searching around on her site and have come up with a few more to try.

I made a few adaptations to this recipe to make it MSPI safe. Double check your ketchup, bread crumbs, and substitute Worcestershire Sauce for soy sauce  or use homemade "soy sauce". The boys ate theirs on sandwich flats and I ate mine without a bun but topped with lots of fresh veggies. I used spinach greens, a few red onion slices, tomatoes from our garden (yay!), and my mom's canned bread and butter pickles along with ketchup and mustard. One can never have too much ketchup, just so you know.

Oh and I was exhausted and having contractions every 7-8 minutes so photos were not on the do to list but ours ended up looking very much like Scattered Mom's so click on the link below to see photos of her results.

MSPI Black Bean Burgers adapted from Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom
(Makes around 15 sliders)


  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup white onion, diced
  • 2 15.5oz cans black beans, rinsed and drained (I realized after I got started that I only had one can of black beans so I substituted the other can for kidney beans. Turned out to be a great decision!)
  • 1/2 cup sweet corn (I used frozen as I try to avoid canned)
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce (I used HyVee brand Worcestershire Sauce as it is MSPI free and I was out of homemade "soy sauce".)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped (or cilantro paste)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2/3 cup bread crumbs (I used organic bread crumbs from Trader Joes as they were MSPI safe. It required over 3/4 cup to get to the stick-together point.)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  1. Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and onion and saute until onions are tender. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl mash black beans using a potato masher until desired consistency. Add in corn, ketchup, soy sauce, cumin, cilantro, salt and pepper, onion and garlic and until well combined. Fold in bread crumbs until mixture holds together. Form into patties and chill for 10-15 minutes. 
  3. Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Cook burgers until crispy, about 5-8 minutes per side depending on your stove top heat.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Not so bad after all... and Guacamole

So the "peanut brittle" I made the other night that I thought was a disaster? Perfectly fine on day two. Don't ask, I have no idea. Go check out Averie Cook's for the recipe! Easy, microwavable, fast, and yummy. Even if you do accidentally use cashews instead of peanuts. Ha!

As for the guacamole, delicious. I don't really love guacamole but my husband does so in the name of love... find this recipe on Picture Perfect Meals. I left out the jalapenos because I didn't have any. No harm done there.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Big huge-mongous flop

E has been talking about the huge-mongous church that we walk by when he and I walk the dog. It cracks me up every time. :)

Anywho, speaking of huge-mongous... I had a flop of that magnitude for dinner tonight. I made banana oatmeal pancakes and I am not even going to post the recipe or the link because I am fairly sure they should never be made again.

I ended up eating egg whites on sprouted wheat toast and the boys suffered through a couple of pancakes doused in syrup and then had snacks.

Then I made chocolate microwave peanut brittle. Also not so good. Nuts. 0 for 2 on the MSPI recipes.

Off to make a menu for next week and try again tomorrow. Black bean tacos and homemade guacamole. Much more likely to taste delicious.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Breastfeeding Class

Saturday I attended breastfeeding class through a local community breastfeeding center called MilkWorks.

In a nutshell, I really wanted to BF my first little one. My husband and I went to the class offered by the hospital. It wasn't helpful or maybe I just didn't know what to listen for.  Regardless, the little person in there didn't take notes and it went in one ear and out the other. He and I just couldn't get it together to make it work and after months of pain, tears, frustration, and more pain my husband gave him a bottle of formula and saved everyone's sanity. Thank God. Patrick did things with that babe that I was just not able to do. He gave him his first bottle, he gave him his first formula, he increased his feedings to proportions that I would have thought would have made a baby explode but every time they worked. Smart man.

I remember trying to nurse E and sobbing because I was bleeding and raw and tender and rock hard. I could hardly stand to have the water hit me in the shower, to wear a bra, to not wear a bra, to feed him, to not feed him, to pump, to not pump. I would sit there and feed him and cry because I knew I would have to do it again in just a few hours. Eventually, months in, we started E on a reflux med and switched to expensive fancy formula. I began to heal and eventually didn't have to pump anymore. It was so frustrating, I could have fed the whole block but my babe couldn't tolerate it. The freezer was full to capacity, we bought another small freezer and I still had milk to spare. I couldn't donate it because I was on a medication. In the end, Patrick had to perform yet another act of kindness and throw out the milk. I couldn't bring myself to put liquid gold in the trash.

Back to Saturday's class...
The first half of the class was really frustrating to me. I spent a good portion of time keeping my mouth shut. I was the only not-first-time-mom there. It was just a different perspective, a more cynical one unfortunately. The video that the RN teaching the class showed was of all of these new moms wearing white with happy babes in white disposable diapers BF'ing with no problem. There was no pain, no crying, no difficulty, no projectile vomit, no exhausted looking parents with disheveled hair in the middle of the night. The RN/lactation consultant was really good but she kept talking about how this was such a natural thing for babies to know how to do. I disagree, I think that it takes practice and that some babies and moms are better about it than others. I didn't want to scare anyone but...

I stuck it out and you know, I came away with lots of great tips and suggestions that I am hoping I remember to try. These are some of the things that the lactation consultant talked about that hit home with me.

1. Positioning is huge. For me, one of the big problems last time was the Cesarean incision and pain. Really the only hold I could comfortable do was the football carry. One of the more natural positions if possible is to lay reclined and let the baby lay stomach to stomach more upright on your chest. I never even thought, or was told, to try this.

2. Position the baby so that the chin comes in first and you bring the baby to the breast, not the other way around. The baby's chin (bottom jaw) should be moving on breast tissue, not nipple in order to prevent soreness.
3. Hold the baby's shoulders and neck but try to keep hand off the back of the head. This will allow baby to throw their head back and create a vacuum seal with tongue.
4. Feed both sides initially. If you have lots of milk and production is not an issue then it is ok to only feed one side. The beginning of the feed is for hydration (think skim milk) and the end is the milk that is full of fat. If you have more milk than the baby will take in one feeding and you nurse both sides half way, they never get to the good, creamy, filling milk. (This occurred to me last time but I had no idea who to even ask.)
5. If you produce a lot of "extra" it is ok to pump just a tiny bit off the top to relieve the pressure but just like any other supply and demand, if you pump to empty you will make more to accommodate. Sometimes it is best just to let that leak.
6. I need to do a bit more research on this but she said that babies who are born by C-Section often have more gut  irritability. This is due to not having their gut colonized as they go through the birth canal. She recommended a probiotic in order to try and get some of the healthy flora and bacteria into the babies gut. I plan on looking into this a bit more. This has nothing to do with whether or not they have a dairy/soy protein sensitivity. It just helps to create a more healthy environment in there. Shoot, it might be good for mom too. :)
7. The biggest thing that I took from this was "if it hurts, get help". If it hurts, unlatch baby carefully and finger feed or syringe feed so that you can heal. When I lived in Omaha, I felt like there was no body that I could call for help. I talked to two lactation consultants who told me to "stick it out, it will get better". Well, it didn't. This time I have a plan of who to talk to. That in itself is a relief.
8. Another thing that she said was that breastfeeding releases oxytocin in the mother and helps to relax. Mother's who breastfeed have a lower rate of postpartum depression... UNLESS BF'ing doesn't go well. Then it can make things exponentially worse. Yes. I whole-heartedly back this statement.

I have to say, I really want this to go well. I really, really, really do. And to the woman in the video who was teary when talking about how her husband who hated bananas would get up early to make her a peanut butter and banana sandwich; girl, I totally get it, sometimes it's those little sacrifices that mean the world.

Tomato Basil "Cream" Pasta

This recipe comes from the Oh She Glows website. (Check out all her other stuff while you are there!)
So, yum!! It's actually a vegan recipe but lucky for me this also makes it MSPI friendly. Click here for the original recipe. I have also copied it here for convenience along with her original link.

Easy Tomato Basil Cream Pasta

Lightly adapted from Vegan Yum Yum.
Yield: 2-3 servings
  • 2 servings uncooked spaghetti (I used the leftover angel hair from Trader Joe's that I used in Mexican Noodle Soup from a couple of posts ago.)
  • 1 large ripe tomato or two smaller tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste (Trader Joe's brand for me)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2-4 garlic cloves, minced (I used 3)
  • 1 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 3-4 tbsp water or wine, (optional but I did use water to thin it out a bit)
  • 1-2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup packed fresh basil, finely chopped

1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Chop tomato and add it to the blender/food processor (including skin and seeds). Now add the cashews, water, and tomato paste. Blend until smooth.
2. Add your pasta to boiling water and cook pasta according to package directions.
3. Meanwhile, add olive oil to a large skillet and heat to low. Add the minced garlic and sauté for a few minutes being careful not to burn it.
4. Pour the sauce from the blender into the skillet, stir, and bring to a simmer. Add the salt and let it cook for 4-5 minutes, watching closely. You may add water or wine to thin out the sauce to you desired consistency, but this is not necessary.
5. Remove sauce from heat and stir in the chopped basil and pepper. Once the pasta is done cooking, rinse and drain it. Add the drained pasta back in the pot and now gradually add pasta sauce until your desired amount is achieved. Stir and serve immediately. Makes 2 servings, likely with sauce leftover.

This was so good. Sadly, my husband was at baseball out of town and the toddler doesn't necessarily appreciate a good sauce and asks for plain noodles with Parmesan cheese. I'm going to go with more for me? Ha. Most of it is squirreled away in the freezer for more tired days ahead and easy thaw and prep. Yay for garden tomatoes and basil in the winter time.


So this may sound like an easy one but I remember very clearly after my first little one that I couldn't get it together enough to even figure things like this out. I am sure the rest of you aren't quite this paralyzed by sorting the MSPI diet restrictions out. Maybe it was the sleep deprivation, maybe it was the denial, maybe it was the screaming baby or maybe it's just me but the combination froze my brain cells and I couldn't even get something like this made. Therefore, I decided that no recipe is too basic. If nothing else, I will come back to the myself in the next few months. Wink.

So, yesterday with my husband out coaching baseball (again) I made BLTs for E and I. Well, he eats, bread, bacon, lettuce, and fruit separate and I eat a sandwich. :)

* Four slices toasted bread
      - I used Rudi's 100% whole wheat sandwich flats that I bought at Natural Grocer's. Their products are all allergen free. I also keep Trader Joe's Sprouted Wheat Bread in my fridge, also MSPI safe.
* 1 tomato sliced
* 4 strips of Trader Joe's peppered turkey bacon or Peddler's bacon cooked.
     - Double check labels on bacon as it may contain cassein, neither of these brands do. We so rarely buy bacon that I really had to double check this.
* Lettuce or spinach of any variety
* Soy Free Vegenaise
     - This is a mayo type replacement. It's actually pretty darn good. It ingredients include: (vegan, gluten free, dairy free) Expeller-Pressed Hi-Oleic Safflower Oil, Filtered Water, Brown Rice Syrup, Apple Cider Vinegar, Pea Protein, Sea Salt, Mustard Flour, Lemon Juice Concentrate. Really, nothing crazy! I buy this at Natural Grocer here in town. I am sure that it is sold at Whole Foods as well, we just don't have one yet. I have also seen the original version at our local grocery store in the Health Food section but they don't care the Soy Free.

See easy! This would make two sandwiches. Served with fruit, raw veggies, or Stacey's multigrain Pita chips, it is a great quick lunch or dinner. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Mexican Noodle Soup

Yes, it is summer. Yes, we usually save the soups for winter but this just sounded too good.

Mexican Noodle Soup from PETA's website. Yeah, PETA has recipes. I stumbled across this one on Pinterest. A little strange but delicious.

I used my new Ninja for this. I absolutely love that thing! A smidge pricy but so very worth it. It took about 6 seconds to puree the top four ingredients perfectly. Happy sigh. It is the little things. Gonna be good for baby food. And it can go in the dishwasher. Yes!

Mexican Noodle Soup
4–6 large tomatoes, cut into large cubes
1 medium white onion, cut into large cubes
1 clove garlic
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil (I used Olive Oil)
1 16 oz.-pkg. cut fideo or 1 16 oz.-pkg. angel hair pasta, broken into 1-inch pieces (I acutally ended up only using half of a package and that seemed to be more than enough. If one used more I think more broth would have to be added.)
32 oz. vegetable broth (Trader Joe's brand is MSPI safe)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 Tbsp. pepper
2 Tbsp. oregano
2 Tbsp. cumin
Chili flakes, chopped serrano chilies, or diced jalapeños, to taste (optional)
Cilantro, and sliced avocado, for garnish (optional)
  • In a blender, purée the tomatoes, onions, garlic, and oil. Transfer to a large pot and cook over medium heat.
  • Add the noodles, broth, salt, pepper, oregano, and cumin. For a spicier soup, add the chili flakes, serrano chilies, or jalapeños. Cook for approximately 12 to 15 minutes, then simmer until the noodles are tender.
  • Garnish with optional toppings, as desired.
Makes 10 to 12 servings

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Sneaky Dairy

It seems like although soy is in everything, it is fairly easy to identify. Soybeans, soybean oil, soy leichtin to name a few.

Dairy, not so much.
I frequently refer to this list when something sounds like it might have dairy in it.

This is from the website. This is  a really nice source of information for dairy free but if you are avoiding soy in all forms as well it won't necessarily be accurate regarding products that are safe for MSPI. I figured that was obvious but just throwing it out there. They have cook books, recipes, suggestions, and contacts for questions.

Obviously this is not all inclusive either. This is just another source of information. You can always check with the manufacturer as well. Sometimes ingredients and processes change, which means a once "safe" product or ingredient may not be "safe" the next time around.


Acidophilus Milk
Ammonium Caseinate
Butter Fat
Butter Oil
Butter Solids
Buttermilk Powder
Calcium Caseinate
Caseinate (in general)
Cheese (All animal-based)
Condensed Milk
Cottage Cheese
Delactosed Whey
Demineralized Whey
Dry Milk Powder
Dry Milk Solids
Evaporated Milk
Ghee (see p109)
Goat Milk
Half & Half
Hydrolyzed Casein
Hydrolyzed Milk Protein
Iron Caseinate
Low-Fat Milk
Magnesium Caseinate
Malted Milk
Milk Derivative
Milk Fat
Milk Powder
Milk Protein
Milk Solids
Natural Butter Flavor
Nonfat Milk
Potassium Caseinate
Rennet Casein
Skim Milk
Sodium Caseinate
Sour Cream
Sour Milk Solids
Sweetened Condensed Milk
Sweet Whey
Whey Powder
Whey Protein Concentrate
Whey Protein Hydrolysate
Whipped Cream
Whipped Topping
Whole Milk
Zinc Caseinate


Artificial or Natural Flavors/Flavoring – These are vague ingredients, which may be derived from a dairy source. A few of particular concern are butter, coconut cream, and egg flavors.
Fat Replacers - Brands such as Dairy-Lo® and Simplesse® are made with milk protein.
Galactose – This is often a lactose byproduct, but it can also be derived from sugar beets and other gums.
High Protein or Protein – Ingredients noted with no further details may be derived from milk proteins (casein or whey). This is particularly true in “High Energy” foods.
Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein - The processing phase may use casein, but only trace amounts would likely remain.
Lactic Acid Starter Culture - These cultures may be prepared by using milk as an initial growth medium.
Lactobacillus – This term is noted often as a probiotic. It is in fact bacteria, not a food byproduct, and is named as such for its ability to convert lactose and other simple sugars to lactic acid. Though often utilized in milk products to create lactic acid, on its own, this ingredient is not always a concern. However, in some cases it may have been cultured or produced on dairy, and thus have the potential to contain trace amounts.
Margarine - Milk proteins are in most brands, though not all.
Prebiotics – A newcomer on the digestive health scene, these are indigestible carbohydrates. They are quite different from probiotics, which are living microorganisms. Prebiotics, such as galacto-oligosaccharides, lactosucrose, lactulose and lactitol may be derived from milk-based foods.


Calcium or Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate – Stearoyl lactylates are derived from the combination of lactic acid (See any potential concerns with lactic acid below) and stearic acid. They are generally considered non-dairy and safe for the lactose intolerant and milk allergic (again, see below). However, the stearic acid may be animal derived, which could be a concern for vegans.
Calcium, Sodium, or Potassium Lactate - Lactates are salts derived from the neutralization of lactic acid, and are rarely a dairy concern. For example, it was noted that the lactate found in one brand of orange juice was made from sugar cane.
Caramel Color – Anything with caramel in its title may sound like a dairy red flag, but caramel color is typically derived from corn syrup and occasionally from potatoes, wheat, or other carbohydrate sources. While lactose is a permitted carbohydrate in the production of caramel color, it is rarely, if ever used.
Lactic Acid – Lactic acid is created via the fermentation of sugars, and can be found in many dairy-free and/or vegan foods. Most commercially used lactic acid is fermented from carbohydrates, such as cornstarch, potatoes or molasses, and thus dairy-free. Though lactic acid can be fermented from lactose, its use is generally (I said generally; where concerned, always check with the manufacturer) restricted to dairy products, such as ice cream and cream cheese.


Calcium Propionate
Calcium Carbonate
Calcium Citrate
Calcium Phosphate
Cocoa Butter
Cocoa Powder
Coconut Butter
Coconut Cream
Cream of Coconut
Cream of Tartar
Creamed Honey
Fruit Butter (Apple, Pumpkin, etc)
Glucono Delta-Lactone
Lecithin Oleoresin
Malted Barley or other Grain-Based Malts
Malt Liquor
Malt Vinegar
Milk Thistle
Nut Butters (Peanut, Almond, etc.)
Shea Butter

The above information is copyright Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living by Alisa Marie Fleming and It was created for informational purposes only. Always use due diligence in consumption of manufactured foods where food allergies, sensitivities, or intolerances may be a concern.

Slow Cooker Shredded Beef Tacos

Another meal to double and freeze half of for later!

I found this recipe on the The Mexican Kitchen website. It happened to be MSPI safe with a few double checks of ingredients. Yay!

Slow Cooker Shredded Beef Tacos


1 1/2 lbs boneless beef chuck roast
1 medium onion, sliced
1 cup water
1 (1 1/4 ounce) packages taco seasoning mix (I used Trader Joes Brand and only half a package)
1 (16 ounce) jars taco sauce  (I used Old Ortega - MSPI safe)
1 (7 ounce) cans diced green chilies (I used 1/2 a can to keep a toddler happy)
1 package taco shell ( 12) (There was a brand at Natural Grocer that was safe but check your ingredients list)
shredded lettuce
chopped tomato
shredded cheddar cheese  (I used a tiny sprinkle of Daiya for mine. The boys had regular cheese)
sour cream (omitted)


Place beef and onion in slow cooker. Combine water and seasoning mix in small bowl.
Pour over beef and onion.
Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours or until tender.
Shred beef with two forks.
Place beef in large bowl.
Stir in taco sauce and chiles.
Fill warmed taco shells with beef mixture.
Top with lettuce, tomato,cheese, and sour cream.

These were awesome and I really didn't have enough to freeze. Super fast and easy. I will be making them again in the next week or two to freeze for later.

Sunday, July 21, 2013


Good news! Trader Joe's (sorry for those of you that don't have one close) has MSPI friendly pizza dough and pizza sauce. I am a much bigger fan of making from scratch but I remember with clarity that this will not be an option in a month so I have been playing with "easier" alternatives.

I was going to make pizza cups from MSPI Mama's website. However, I had a toddler with a high fever and my time was needed elsewhere. I am looking forward to making these at some point and freezing them for later.

But... tonight... it was pizza in plain old pizza shape.

Super easy.

MSPI pizza -

Trader Joe's pizza crust (refrigerated in bag)
1 jar of Trader Joe's pizza sauce
1/2 green pepper
Handful of mushrooms
1/8 cup diced onion
Daiya mozzarella "cheese" shreds

* (I did use regular shredded pizza cheese on the boys half. I am working them into this MSPI thing slowly.)

Went from this...
to this.

Apparently when you are two years old pizza, a Wendy's frosty, a little ibuprofen and Chuck the Truck helps. We make pizza occasionally but the other three are certainly not regular guests at our house if we can help it. ;)

Classic Griddle Cakes

Two weeks in to the prenatal MSPI life. It is certainly easier when I am not tired to figure out what I can put in my mouth!

That being said, last night's meal was a flop. Do not make avocado egg rolls. Just saying.

I am going to use the last of the egg roll shells tonight to make something to freeze I think. Something with black beans. I just haven't decided what.

I did however make pancakes (or panpapes as my 2 year old calls them) for breakfast yesterday and they really were quite good.

These come from The Pancake Handbook. I have made many of the recipes in this book but I always come back to this one. Pancakes are my husbands favorite and so I have grown to love them too. They are the classic griddle cakes modified with Earth Balance Soy Free and rice milk. I was leery of rice milk in the beginning but it cooks into things with a much more "milk like" flavor.

Classic Griddle Cakes
Makes 24 small pancakes

2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
3 Tablespoons of sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powered
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs (beaten)
1/4 cup Earth Balance Soy free (melted)
1 1/2 cups rice milk

Mix dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Set aside. Mix remaining ingredients in large bowl. Combine all ingredients and stir until just moistened. Use 1/4 c measure to portion onto hot griddle. (I used sunflower oil on mine to keep them from sticking. I only needed it the first batch.)

They disappeared too quickly to take pictures of. Maybe next time. The boys ate theirs with maple syrup and I ate mine with honey and blueberries on top.

Friday, July 12, 2013

"Whooo Hooo"

That is the resounding answer my 2 1/2 year old gives if you ask him if he wants to get ice cream, or see Grammy, or go to the swimming pool or play monster trucks. That is the enthusiasm you may have heard out of me when I took my first bite of these MSPI safe biscuits.

Olive Oil Drop Biscuits

These may just save my sanity.  Well, maybe not quite, but it's a nice thought. Ha.

I found this recipe on Glue and Glitter's website. Click here for the original recipe. I did copy it below as well from her site but she gets ALL the credit. I was a little hesitant to use the almond milk because sometimes it is just not right for the savory but it is pretty good in these. I think I may try rice milk next time. My yield was only 10 small biscuits and it took the full 8 minutes to bake. I will be tripling or quadrupling this recipe and making them for Thanksgiving this year so that there will be some form of food other than turkey and wine that I can have. I also think they may freeze so I may try that too (although they are pretty easy to make quickly).

Olive Oil Drop Biscuits

Recipe adapted from Joy of Cooking; Yield: 12 biscuits
  • 1/2 + 1/3 cups white wheat flour
  • 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup almond milk
  • 1/6 cup olive oil
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 475F.
  2. Whisk together the dry ingredients, making sure that you break up any clumps of baking powder.
  3. Mix in the wet ingredients until the dough starts sticking to itself, rather than to the bowl.
  4. Divide the dough into 12 equal-sized balls – you can flatten them a bit, if you want crunchier biscuits – and place them on an ungreased baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 6-8 minutes, or until the biscuits turn a nice, golden brown.

I made these again tonight and I used rice milk instead of almond milk. I also added basil, oregano and thyme as well as nutritional yeast to make them more interesting. Delicious!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Tentative Plans

Edits are in red. Edited 07.30.13

Per my doctor's request I am going to document pieces of this journey. I was in her office yesterday for my 34 week appointment and telling her about my nutrition plans. I told her that the first time I tried this it was "a giant flop". We were talking about the complexities of nutrition and how when a person is not sleep deprived and in a constant state of exhaustion, it is difficult to sort through all the details. I was talking about how I had been looking into all of the ins and outs of MSPI. How I had been reading blogs, research, articles, chapters of nutrition books and she said, "are you writing this down?" Um.... no. So here we are.

Just a brief overview of my "perfect situation" plan.

July 8th, 2013 - 30 days prior to due date - Start MSPI diet (I actually started 6 weeks out because my first babe was 2 weeks early). It can take up to 30 days for these dairy and soy proteins to clear your system and so starting "clean" was important to me. For me, this includes all dairy and soy products including soybean oils and soy lecithin. According to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, "soy oil is allowed because it is a fat and not a protein. Studies show that most people may safely eat soy lecithin. Soy lecithin is a mix of fatty content from the processing of soybeans." My first baby, E, was not as sensitive to soy as he was to dairy but I am not taking chances. Other wordings that were tricky for me the first time around were words where dairy was hiding. In hindsight, they really aren't so complicated but I did not have the ability to process this at that time.
     Sneaky dairy ingredients to avoid: whey, casein, caseinate, curds, lactose, and lactalbumin
     Other items that should be avoided include hot dogs, cold cuts, commercial frozen patties, hamburger extenders, yogurt, cheese, tofu, textured vegetable protein, meat extenders, scrambled eggs, canned tuna in vegetable oil, cream, sour cream, fats prepared with added milk and soy solids: butter, margarine, mayonnaise, salad dressings, vegetable oil (often soy based), vegetable oil sprays, shortening unless the type of oil is specified, gravies, and some coffee creamers. (This list is modified from Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.)

4-6 weeks after birth I will introduce the soybean oil and soy lecithin back into my diet. If there is going to be a reaction, it should be seen within 3 days, however, it is best to wait 2 weeks (according to E's pediatrician) before introducing anything else.

If all goes well with the previous, 3-4 months after birth, I will introduce soy products (not soy milk or formula), most likely just some soy sauce in my diet. Reaction time should be the same as above.

If all goes well with soy products then I will consider introducing dairy at 6-7 months. I am considering doing this in the form of a dairy based formula as then I will not have to clear my system again. I want to wait a full 6 months because I want the baby's gut to seal off. When formula is introduced that opens his/her gut. (According to the RN that taught the breastfeeding class.)

Introducing solids to this baby will be in the same order that I introduced them to E. First veggies, then meats and fruits and lastly grains. This I will play by ear. I made a good portion of E's baby food and will hopefully do the same this time so that I have a say in what this one is eating.

All this being said, the chances of this being how things go is slim. :) I'm cool with that too. Just an outline but I am cautiously optimistic about how this will go. I have found lots of mixed information on whether the likelihood of having a second baby with MSPI is higher or lower and whether it would be more or less severe. I guess I have decided it doesn't really matter what the numbers say. If this baby has it or not, we will be more prepared.

Tonight's MSPI safe meal was Vegetarian Spaghetti.
Vegetarian Spaghetti with Lentils
1 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped or shredded carrots
2 cloves of garlic minced
1 stalk of celery chopped
1 T olive oil
- Saute the above ingredients until tender

In a large 4 quart soup kettle - combine the following and stir and simmer at least an hour
1 15 oz can of tomato sauce (I used Trader Joe's brand)
1 small can tomato paste (Trader Joe's brand)
1 jar sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup water
1 can of tomatoes
1/3 cup lentils (rinsed and drained)
2 tsp brown sugar
basil, oregano thyme, dash of hot sauce if desired
Stir in vegetables

I served this over Trader Joe's whole wheat spaghetti pasta.

The boys sprinkled mozzarella cheese on theirs. I used nutritional yeast on mine for a bit of extra "cheese" flavor. Paired with broccoli cooked with a squeeze of lemon juice and a handful of grapes. Yum yum. I think I need to learn how to take better photos of food. :)

We each ate a portion and the rest freezes quite well. 


Monday, July 8, 2013

MSPI Journey #2

Our first baby was a crier. He cried for almost 5 months but do you know what made it worse? He hardly ever cried when we were out and about. We would go to the store, or grab a quick bite to eat, or to a family member's house and the kid was cool as a cucumber. The moment we would get home and the door would close, he would start. It was crazy. I was crazy. People told me repeatedly "he's such a good baby!" and I wanted to hand him over and run (or punch them in the nose).

I've come to learn that partly he was just  a crier. I recently learned about the "Period of Purple Crying"  which fits Mr E to a T. In addition, though, when one adds reflux, colic and MSPI to a baby who is already crying you have a recipe for disaster. I tried fairly unsuccessfully to start on the MSPI diet. I learned that it takes 30 days to clear dairy and soy from your system. I learned that 30 more days of a crying baby with a stomach ache seems like an eternity. I learned that trying to read the labels to sort out if a product contains dairy or soy is like detective work. I learned that trying to do detective work while sleep deprived leads to failure. So, I pumped, I nursed (another sad story for another day) and finally about 3 months in, my husband (who deserves sainthood) said "enough, I gave him a bottle of formula, we are done with this". I was relieved. He made the call that I couldn't but should have.

We tried several formulas and ended up on Alimentum by Similac. It was expensive and lasted us about 2 1/2 to 3 days and I would have paid twice that when he finally slept for more than 2 hours at a time. Sigh. I continued to try and maintain the MSPI diet and pump but finally at about 5 months I weaned off of that. I was too afraid to try and give him the pumped milk and the freezer was overflowing.

I haven't been able to find empirical data on second babies having MSPI if the first one did but seems to me that testimonials would say that this is the case about 70% of the time. This is scary. However, being somewhat more prepared this time around is in my favor. Today I started in on the MSPI diet. I am 6 weeks from my due date and I decided to start at least 30 days in advance to let the proteins clear my system. E was 2 weeks early and so I didn't want to take any chances. I have begun to fill my deep freeze with MSPI "safe" meals as well as scout out brands/products that I can have. The idea is that in a sleep deprived state I will be less concerned with reading labels as I will have some products in my head that I know are safe. I have put countless hours into reading about dairy and soy protein intolerance, safe and not safe products, levels of reaction, and have thought long and hard about what I would like my plan to be. In the next post, I will try and lay out the plan I have in my head and then as I go along this crazy journey, I am hoping to write some posts about what I am eating, what I am buying and how it is working. When I was trying to do this with my first I kept running into walls. I needed someone to give me 2 or 3 breakfast ideas, 2 or 3 lunch ideas, snacks, etc but I never really found this  anywhere.

If this helps one momma who is struggling to get through the day, then it was worth every second because I was that mom at one point.

So as of today... let the journey begin.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

The scariest post ever

I wrote this post November 2011. I have had it just sitting in draft form for a year and a half. I shared it with very few people. Now that we are getting ready to have our second little one, I have come back to reread. I have been thinking about what doing this all over again entails and sometimes it is just interesting to read those thoughts from when they were so fresh.
“Life's challenges are not supposed to paralyze you, they're supposed to help you discover who you are.” ~ Bernice Johnson Reagon
I recently read an article on relating the 5 stages of grief to Postpartum Depression (PPD). I came across this website through a blog I stumbled across about 4 months ago. The author, Robin, is a survivor of PPD. She writes openly and honestly about her experiences, past and present. It's both comforting and heart wrenching to know that someone else feels this way and is brave enough to share it with others. Although our experiences are not identical (no two seem to be) I related so strongly to both Robin and the other women who follow her and comment that initially I couldn't read it all. It was just hitting too close to home. I read and read and stayed quietly in the shadows. I do not prefer for my personal life to be laid out for all to see. I've thought long and hard about whether I really want to write about this on my blog. I feel like I am announcing one big character flaw to the world. A flaw so big that it will affect how my family and friends look at me. I'm afraid that people will think I am over reacting, that I'm making it up but I will tell you that I couldn't make this up if I tried and I'm not sure I even mind what people think anymore. That isn't what matters.  I'm not even sure that Patrick knows how strongly this has affected me and who I am.

This was a comment I posted on another blog written by a mom who has overcome PPD. "I come to this blog and over and over and over I am relieved to hear stories that sound like my own. Women who sound like me. I have a one year old (today is his birthday). I have to admit I am also celebrating that I made it one year. That he and I are still alive and kicking. There are still days and hours that are almost unbearable but it is so much better. (Seems like there may be a blog post for my blog in this somewhere.) I was too ashamed to tell anyone how miserable I was. Everyone except my husband told me that it's supposed to be hard, that this was normal, but it wasn't. I know that now. I never sought help. I was afraid it was too expensive or that I was crazy or that really, this was how it was supposed to be.  My husband was and still is utterly supportive and loving. He KNEW without a doubt that this was not right. I haven't blogged about this. I haven't talked about this. I have even tried not to think about it but maybe it is time. Maybe I can support others."

And this is where I start from. I wrote this comment in the middle of September. It is now almost exactly 2 months later and already I feel better, changed. There are many reasons for that but that is another post entirely.

Here are the  The Six Stages of Postpartum Depression as quoted in italics, with my personal changes and thoughts in normal font, from the article I linked to above.
  1. Denial: This must be what new motherhood is like. I’ll be alright. It can’t be postpartum depression, because I’m not mentally ill. I’m sure it will wear off soon. I just need more sleep. I didn't even think of PPD at this point. I mean, it didn't even cross my mind. The doctor told me it was "baby blues" at my 6 week appointment and wrote off my feelings with a literal wave of his hand. No offense, but what a dude. How the you-know-what would he even know. ...but, he was the doctor and I figured he knew what he was talking about. The word depression would have been enough to deter me if I had thought of it. I have always been upbeat, positive, happy and organized. I wasn't "someone" who would have depression.  Everyone kept telling me that this was normal and that it would get better but I couldn't see it. The only person who sort of knew what I was feeling was my husband but I wasn't very good at describing it to him and we were both too tired to have that discussion. Thankfully, he could take one look at me and know that this wasn't right.
  2. Anger: Nobody understands what I’m going through.  Why me?! This is supposed to be a time of joy. I don’t deserve this. I don’t want to have to take medication. I don’t want to go to therapy. I shouldn’t have to call a doctor. This is not fair.  In some ways, I guess I was mad about some things but these are things I am just not ready to talk about. For me, there was less anger and more grief and guilt.  I was grieving for what I considered my freedom and my old life. A life that I was really happy with and that I felt like had vanished only to be replaced with incessant crying, sleepless nights, pain, heartache, fear, and not a moment to be alone. I felt guilty for wishing for my life back, for wishing that I could go back in time and make some different decisions. I felt guilty that I was easily producing adequate milk but that the baby couldn't tolerate it. I felt like the worst mother on the planet for giving him formula and I felt like the worst wife for having to spend money on food for a baby that I should have been and was producing for free.  When I finally realized that there was an issue that may or may not have been PPD, I was angry that our insurance didn't cover prescription drugs. Between the really expensive formula and his reflux medicine, I felt like it wasn't even an option. That not only could we not afford the doctor's appointment but that we really couldn't afford any possible medications he would prescribe. I also felt guilty for feeling this way. I had a healthy (if not very fussy) baby who was gaining weight and growing and had come right home from the hospital. Weren't my husband and I the lucky ones, to have given birth to a full term baby and brought him home with no complications? I kept telling myself to snap out of it, that I was lucky, but there was only a teeny tiny part of me that believed that.
  3. Bargaining: If I just exercise more and eat better I’ll be fine. I kept telling myself, when I can run again I will feel like me. When I can put in the miles I will feel so much better. It will help. I know it will. It HAS to. When I can eat a normal diet with dairy and soy protein I will feel like myself. When I get my body back I will be happier. When I don't have to nurse anymore, or pump anymore I will feel like me.  If I could just get to the point where the baby sleeps through the night, I’ll be okay. A-freaking-MEN.  If I get closer to God and pray more, this will surely go away. Some of that was true. I would have gone off the deep end without my jogging stroller. I walked and walked and walked and walked and then I would run just one or two minutes. Next time a few blocks and I worked back up to my normal mileage and I did begin to feel better. My incision healed and being outside was a relief. It seemed like the only time that little boy wasn't crying was when we were outside. At least there was a place he was happy.
  4. Depression: I should just leave my family. I’m bringing everyone down. They all would be better off without me. My poor baby doesn’t deserve a mother like this. I’ll never get better so there’s no point in going on. I remember one run that I went on where it was just me. I couldn't take the dogs yet because I was afraid if they bolted while I was holding the leash it would cause problems with the c section incision which was starting to heal but still very tender. My husband had E at home and I had been looking forward to getting out all afternoon. I cried during the entire 4 miles. I kept thinking about how my boys would be better off without me. I was snapping at the dogs and I couldn't get a meal made to save my soul. I was unhappy, and I was sure that I was making everyone else unhappy. Hell, I couldn't even feed the kid "like a mother should".  Patrick is such a natural parent and has been from the beginning. I kept thinking that he would do so much better without me "getting in the way". I got home and told him so. He hugged me and told me that, of course, that wasn't true. And so the days continued to pass.
  5. Acceptance: What’s happening to me isn’t normal and I can’t ignore it anymore. It’s not my fault. It is okay for me to talk to a doctor. It’s okay for me to ask for help. I can take medication or go to therapy or do whatever is necessary for my health and that of my family. I am not sure I am here yet, however, I will agree that it was not my fault, it just happens. Apparently, it happens a lot more than I realized. Hmmmm, well, good to know.
When it comes to PPD, I’d have to add another stage. The stage that comes after acceptance, after the treatment, after the time when you start feeling better but aren’t 100%. I call it the post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD stage because even after a year of getting treated and getting better it took me another year just to get over the trauma of what I went through and become comfortable with motherhood.
6. PTSD: I still worry that PPD will return. I’m constantly looking over my shoulder. Every time I feel bad I’m convinced that I’ve gone back there. I feel like I’ve lost a lot of confidence in myself and I don’t know if I’ll ever get it back. I worry I hurt my child in the long-term because of how I was when he was a baby.

This was the last part of the article. The thought of being comfortable with motherhood is interesting to me. For me, it is more a fear of having a second child and going through it all again. Would it be better? Worse? The same? I'm not sure I could do this all again and I surely wouldn't want my husband to have to go through it again.

LOL! And here we are. About to start the journey all over again .With some very specific and unusual strategies in place. ;)