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Sunday, April 29, 2012

The stories I write

On Amazon, I can publish short stories, such as novella's, but if I want to make any money off of them, I should really stick to publishing novels. On Literotica, I can publish short stories, but the characters all have to be at least 18, which sucks because some of my best stories have underage characters! Sigh...

I get way better feedback from Literotica, but I like Amazon better. So in all of this, why should I continue to post to my blog? I'll tell ya... because I can post the awesome stories where the characters AREN'T yet 18. Such as Butterfly. Now, all I need to figure out is how to create a page on my blog where I can organize all my stories and give brief descriptions of them. I think that would help a newcomer looking for something to read find something they like :-)

Saturday, April 28, 2012

An Amazon Author Page!

So, after much procrastination, I have decided to create an Amazon Author Page in an effort to attract more readers and sell more books. When it goes live, the address to my author page will be: www.amazon.com/author/roxannepackard

Simple enough to remember, right? lol!

Friday, April 27, 2012

My Natural Miscarriage

Updated 4-15-13: Since I originally posted this, I have had 1300 views. None have commented, so I don't know if my post has comforted or helped as I intended it to. Based on the two most common searches that direct people to this post, I have decided to give the most helpful info right up front. #1 - Yes, there can be and often is a foul, nasty smell like something died. That is a sign that there is still tissue in there that needs to come out. My smell went away when the last of the tissue came out. If it smells like something other than a dead and rotting corpse - such as yeast or fish - then it could be a sign of infection. See the comment section for my original thoughts on this. And #2 - Can you use a Diva cup during miscarriage? I was told no because the risk of getting infected is much too high. If anyone has tried to use a Diva cup and it worked, please let me know so that others can make a better informed decision. Thank you!

Update 1-21-14 
I've had a second miscarriage which was completely different than the first. You can read about it here: Second Miscarriage 

First off, the term natural miscarriage means having a miscarriage without the use of a surgical procedure called a D&C or using drugs to basically speed things up if they are not progressing in a timely manner. It is much like the term natural birth refers to giving birth vaginally without the use of drugs.

To me, all miscarriages are natural, otherwise they'd be abortions, but I am using the term Natural Miscarriage to refer to the fact that I did it here at home without speedy drugs or surgery. (Fyi, I did not mean any offense by that statement!)

When I was first told that my baby had died, and had been more or less floating lifelessly around inside me for 4 weeks, I was understandably upset, but I quickly decided that I would just go home and wait until it either came out or I became infected and NEEDED medical intervention. The very first thing I did was go online to ask for help from friends on an email forum dedicated to raising healthy children through nutrition. These ladies are VERY smart, and almost always have an answer to any question!

Their overwhelming sympathy helped me a lot, but they also pointed out what little there was on the internet posted by women who had been through this. After reading this account of one woman's Natural Miscarriage, I was inexplicably comforted. I felt like I could do this unexpected and sad task of miscarrying without intervention after all. There were other posts I read, but they were few. There is a site dedicated to miscarriages, and that helped a little too, but really it was reading about others that helped me the most.

That's why I decided that I would post my story on my blog as soon as I felt up to writing about it. Maybe - from this day forward - other women will come across my post here and take comfort from my experience.

To start at the very beginning, I feel it is important to say that I was diagnosed with diabetes in 2001. Both before and after my diagnosis, I had had a very hard time conceiving. I'd been trying since I was 16, and at the time of my diagnosis, I was 21 and married. It took a few years of seriously studying nutrition before I had my condition under control enough to get pregnant, but then I conceived and gave birth to two boys. I was 25 when Gryffin - my first - was born. (To me, that's almost 10 years of trying to conceive, with no luck whatsoever.)

After Phoenix was born - my second - I took what I knew about nutrition and my body and added enough carbs to my diet to prevent conception, but not so many that my diabetes went out of control again. It worked for 5 years. I never once even skipped a cycle - which was actually weird for me. My cycles have been utterly erratic since I got my first one at age 12.

Over the years, more and more carbs wormed their way into my diet, but I'd still probably be considered moderately low carb. Suddenly, I missed a cycle. I contemplated going in to the doctor for an A1C test to see if I had gone too high carb for my body, but decided to just wait and see. When I missed a second cycle, I suspected that I might actually be pregnant, so I took a home pregnancy test. You can read about that here.

Considering that I had never even known I was pregnant with my first two until much later, I decided to wait until I was 12 weeks along before going in again. After all, only one prenatal appointment is needed each month for the first trimester or so. I figured I had no reason to go in. I really didn't. If everything had gone the way it was supposed to, I would have had no need to go in. If I had gone in sooner, I would have just learned the terrible news sooner. It actually wouldn't have changed anything. My baby apparently died just one week after I'd had my pregnancy confirmed. I write about finding out about this in this post.

So now I am at the main point of this post. The actual process of miscarriage. After being given the bad news, I came home to wait for the baby to come out. On Friday April 20th, I started to bleed. Several large clumps came out of me that looked like bits of organ. If you have ever seen chicken liver, then you know what I am talking about.

By Saturday afternoon, I thought the worst was over. I had even almost stopped bleeding completely. It felt like the end of my period - those days when I am still bleeding, but it's so light that I still need my Diva Cup (My Diva Experience), or at least a rag. This made complete sense to me. My regular periods start out kind of heavy, and then end up pretty light. I have little to no cramps, and rarely need anything to cope, not even Advil. As it turns out, that was just the warm up act.

I had no trouble on Sunday. I got out of the house, met up with some friends, and didn't suspect there was more to come. I went to bed early, about 8 or 9 PM. I was tired, and felt justified in going to bed early. I woke up at about 2 AM. There really wasn't a reason I woke up. I felt no pain or anything. This is actually a pattern of mine: going to bed and waking up at random hours, so I thought nothing of it. I kissed hubby goodnight as he went to bed.

Then, around 3:30-4 AM, I noticed that I was having increasingly painful cramps like contractions. I decided to take a double dose of Advil to combat the pain. They didn't help in the slightest! My contractions came fairly regularly, probably less than every 2 minutes. At 4:30 AM, I was online complaining that the pain was more than my natural high tolerance could handle. At 5:18, I was crying, sobbing, and just generally angry at life that this miscarriage business had to hurt so damn much!

I mean seriously! Ever heard of a get out of jail free pass? A miscarriage should be an automatic get out of pain free card! You hear that Mother Nature! You hear that God! We women go through enough pain just being women and having babies. If you are going to decide that - for whatever reason - a particular baby is not going to grow full term and be born, then do a woman the courtesy of NOT making her go through the worst pain imaginable!

Sigh! Anyway, the pain got so bad that I emailed my doctor asking him to prescribe me some vicodin. His nurse called me back just after their office opened up for the day, and I soon had am Rx waiting for me at my nearest pharmacy. Ironically, I didn't really need it by then.

But that's jumping ahead in the story. As I was suffering this horrible pain, I made very frequent trips to the bathroom, because every time a contraction hit, it felt like something wanted to come out. 99% of it was more chunks of placenta and whatever else needed to come out. Wait, that's probably more like 80% of it was blood, and 19 % of it was placenta. You get the idea.

I mostly let my hubby sleep. I knew that I would need him to be up with the kids when they woke up, so I left him alone, BUT... I wanted to kill him for not waking up and holding my hand as I went through this! Our bathroom is literally next to our bedroom, so I kept wondering why he didn't hear me sobbing and come find out why.

It eventually occurred to me that we had a heating pad somewhere around here, and that might help. I couldn't find it, so I woke my hubby up to ask him where it was. As I suspected, he knew exactly where it was, but even though I was sobbing as I asked him my question, he didn't sit up to comfort me or ask me what was wrong. He already knew, and figured that I just wanted to be left alone. I didn't, but as I already said, I knew it was in my best interest to let him sleep and then deal with the kids later.

A half hour after I went looking for the heating pad - which helped a LOT! - I felt dehydrated like I hadn't drank water in YEARS! I sipped on a glass of cold water from my fridge, but it was tap water, and I don't think it helped me hydrate like water should. In desperation, I went in to my bedroom and shook my hubby awake.

"I NEED WATER!!!" I cried out. "Go buy me some from the store!"
"Okay honey, I'll buy you some as soon as I wake up. I don't think I could even drive right now, I'm still so tired."

It was about 6 AM at this point, so he had really only had about 4 hours of sleep. I know he was too tired, but I again had an urge to kill him. I am NOT the type of person to cry, beg, or insist on something unless it is important. At that moment, I was crying, begging, and insisting on something that was vitally important! In frustration, I went back out into the living room to try drinking more cold tap water from the fridge.

A few minutes later, I changed my mind. I wanted orange juice, which would at least coat my throat, and make it feel hydrated as I cried and wailed from the pain. Also, it might help keep it feeling hydrated as I "hee hee hoo hoo" 'd over and over.

At about 7:30AM, I sat down to write an email to a midwife I'd previously consulted with about my pregnancy. I wanted to know how much longer this whole process was going to last, and other questions. By the time I finished it, my water had broken, and then the gestational sac came out.

Yep... my water broke! I really hadn't expected that. I thought the sac would probably come out whole. Prior to any of this, I figured that my womb would only have to open a little, that it wouldn't be any more painful than my regular period, and that the sac would just slip out with no more ceremony than a large blood clot.

BOY WAS I WRONG!!! Maybe now you understand why I thought it was all over after the little bit of stuff I had passed on Friday night. THAT was what I had expected.

After the gestational sac passed - which to me looked like a mostly roundish flat organ-like thing, again kinda like a chicken liver - my pain decreased dramatically, but was still there. I added more to my email message to the midwife, telling her what had happened, and asking if that was it.Was it finally over now? I hit send at 7:57, updated my facebook status, and then went to lie down in bed. I held the heating firmly to my womb area, and breathed as calmly as possible.

It was then that I got the call from my doctor's nurse, and they agreed to prescribe me the vicodin. Irony, right? The call from the nurse woke my hubby up, and he understood enough to realize that I was asking for a pretty serious drug. This must have made it hard for him to get back to sleep, so he got out of bed, and offered to make me breakfast. I was actually pretty hungry by this point, so I asked for eggs, but I just could NOT bring myself to get out of bed, and hovered on the edge of sleep for another couple of hours.

Around 11 AM, I got out of bed, feeling a lot better - and tired - but still wanting that vicodin. We went to the pharmacy, picked it up, and then went to the grocery store to pick up a few things we needed, such as that spring water I had desperately wanted earlier on.

By 3:30 PM, I felt about 90% better than I had 12 hours earlier. Whew! :-) That's the good news. It may hurt, but really it's over pretty quickly. I even went online to ask my friends on the forum full of smart moms whether or not it was okay to use my Diva Cup. The consensus was no, lol! I wasn't really surprised by this verdict :-)

So now that I have been through this experience, I have a few tips to share:
#1 - If you are "lucky" enough to be told that this is going to happen before it actually does, ASK FOR YOUR FAVORITE SERIOUS PAIN KILLER OF CHOICE!!! Yes, you can get through it without painkillers, but unless you have severe reactions to all painkillers, WHY???

#2 - If you - like me - like to avoid paying for environmentally horrible products every month, you absolutely CAN get through a miscarriage using cloth pads. I made just one reference earlier about using rags, but that's exactly what I did. When using my Diva Cup during my period, I use a soft old wash cloth - aka rag - as a back up should my cup leak. 

We have a stack of old rags - a really BIG stack of old rags that my husband and I use for clean up after intimate activity, and I also use them during that time of the month as a back up. During this miscarriage, I couldn't use my diva cup at all, and I didn't want to buy pads just for this, so I carefully selected rags as needed from this stack. For the first heavy bleeding, I used rags that can be more accurately described as old hand towels. These are thick and absorbent, and I'm not entirely sure what they started out as since we've had them since practically the very beginning of our marriage almost 11 years ago.

They measure about 12 inches by like 10 or 11 inches. When folded in half - so that the long side is folded in half - they are just about perfect to replace a pad, except they conform to your body better. I discovered that they don't need to be changed very often. Even with a heavy flow, it still takes a while for the blood to leak through to the other side. I changed them more often than I probably needed to because I have a huge stack of them, and could.

Now that the flow is much lighter, I'm using regular bath time wash cloths. Old ones, but still the standard size of what? 9x9? 10x10? I haven't measured, heh heh. I also fold them in half, and probably wouldn't need to change these more than once a day, except that I want to. After changing the cloths, I let them soak for a bit so that it doesn't look like I murdered someone later on should someone happen to look though them for some reason.

So far, I've gone through less than 2 dozen of them in... 7 days. If wanting to use old rags or cloth menstrual pads during a miscarriage, having at least 2 dozen is a good idea, UNLESS you have regular access to a washing machine. In that case, 6 would probably be more than plenty.

Oh! And #3 - Have a good heating pad ON HAND!!! It'll work even better if you remember to use it before you're at the screaming stage, lol!

That's it! :-) That's all the advice I have. Should you happen to get advance warning, have these three things on hand, and it'll be over soon enough. The physical part anyway... the emotional part can take a lot longer... but no matter what, remember, you are NOT alone!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Sort of a strange thing to blog about, I know, because there is no set recipe for burritos, but I remembered to take a pic, so I thought, WTH! Why not?

I started by browning about 2 lbs of ground beef. I probably only needed 1 lb, but my hubby likes to freeze them in 2 lb packs because we normally make things in double batches so that there are leftovers for lunch the next day. As the beef was browning, I added Organic All Seasons Salt to it - which is basically an organic version of Lowery's all purpose seasoning salt - AND RealSalt brand sea salt. I find that this combo tends to make the meat taste almost like the taco meat you'd get from Taco Bell or by using a taco seasoning package.

Once it was cooked, I turned the heat off, then I cut up one extraordinarily large organic Roma tomato. After it was diced into chunks, I placed a flour tortilla on a plate, slathered it with a spoonful or two of organic Refried Black Beans, Sour Cream, the diced Romas, and Organic Romaine Lettuce that I cut/shredded as I layered it onto the burrito. After that, I added some cheese, and finally topped it with the taco seasoned ground beef.

I find that putting the beef directly on the cheese will help it melt. I prefer to leave the lettuce, tomatoes, and sour cream cold, so I do not heat the whole thing up in the toaster oven, though I could. In fact, if I wanted to, I could layer the beans, cheese, and meat on the tortilla, toast it in my toaster oven for about 4-5 minutes, and THEN toss the rest on it. Whatever works :-)

Anyway, since I use large tortillas, just one is plenty to fill us up! Remember I said I managed to remember to take a pic? Well, here it is!

Granted, you can't see all the ingredients I listed, but they're there! Oh, and I accidentally tossed more meat on here than I intended to, so if you are thinking "Damn, that's a lot of meat for one burrito!" that's why :-)

Lastly, I also love to make Cilantro Lime Rice to add to the burritos. I didn't tonight, but I have in the past. To do so is easy, especially if you have a rice maker. Just add a dash or two of lime juice and a generous sprinkle of cilantro to the rice in the maker just before you set it to cook, et voila! The only thing I haven't ever taken the time to make that I do occasionally like on my burritos is corn salsa, but I'm sure I'll get on that one of these days :-)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Can I be Brutally Honest?

My thoughts are still a bit disorganized, so if this comes out all jumbled, I apologize. I thought all day about how to write this. I know I have to write it because it won't get out of my head otherwise, and I WANT it out of my head. So, I am just going to come out and say this.

Today, I went to the doctor to get my 12 week check up and an ultrasound. I insisted on the ultrasound because I spotted a little on Monday, and I just wanted to be certain that everything was okay... as it turns out, it's not. According to the ultrasound, my baby stopped growing at 8 weeks, and there is no heartbeat. I'm told there can be no mistake and no hope.

So, I've spent all day wondering why. What did I do wrong? Why did I find out I was pregnant at all? It seems a bit cruel to me that I find out I'm pregnant when the ultrasound said I was 6 weeks 7 days along, and then the baby died just one week later.

Did the baby die because of something I did? Was it because I was stressed out over the lawsuit? I did receive a letter saying that they were going to have a hearing to determine if we would really owe over 12,000 dollars to an insurance company because of an accident that happened in 2008. Ironically, I didn't find out that the hearing gave a default judgement of yes we owe that money until AFTER the baby had died.

Did the baby die because this was supposed to happen? Was this one of those life lessons I am supposed to learn? Was this part of my plan? (Note: when I talk about plan - life's plan - I refer to the plan I believe everyone makes before they are born. The plan where they sign up for their life's lessons, and can also be considered fate in a way.)

The thing that gets me is that if this was a life lesson, the only lesson I can think of that applies to this situation is that I am too much of a smug, know it all bitch, and deserved to be knocked down a peg. I also think it may have a touch of karma in it because one day, for about 2 minutes, I wished for another woman to miscarry due to my own fears. She actually did miscarry later, but I was truly sad about it. I mourned that baby that I had so briefly feared. Does that really mean I deserve this Karma?

Or is this about the time that I so stupidly bragged that I had only ever been pregnant twice, and therefore had never miscarried. At that moment, I felt like I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I could never miscarry. Turns out, I was just being prideful and ... smug... Does THAT mean I deserve this?

Along those lines, what DID I do to deserve this? Haven't I suffered enough? I mean seriously, as optimistic and generally happy as I am, I think anyone who has read my blogs for a long time will probably know that I am tired of living this life. I am tired of trudging along day after day in a life that never seems to get any better. It just keeps getting worse and worse. It's not even a roller coaster of ups and downs, it's just a downward spiral.

So, as I've said, I've thought about this all day, and if I just put all melodrama aside for a few minutes, I think I actually do know what I did wrong. The clue lies in my first two pregnancies. In those, I had to go VERY low carb just to conceive, and then I stayed very low carb throughout the pregnancy, focusing mainly on eating meat and veggies. I think it says a lot about how much my body has healed that I was even able to conceive while eating a relatively bad (for me, not bad for most people) diet.

See, over the past year, more and more carbs have snuck their way into my diet. Not so many that I am in danger of wild fluctuations in my blood sugar like I once had - early on after being diagnosed with diabetes. I'm pretty level and even when it comes to my blood sugar, as evidenced by the fact that I can actually go longer than 4 hours without eating and not start shaking when my blood sugar drops. I also can feel it when my blood sugar gets too high. I get dizzy and woozy, and just plan blah feeling. That hasn't happened in a while.

I had even gotten pretty regular in being able to go to the bathroom. I figured that I was doing something right. I even lost close to 20 pounds during the last year. I even got pregnant! Seriously, I must have done SOMETHING right!

But - as I said - over the last year, I ended up eating more and more carbs. This was not because I wanted to eat more carbs, it was because I had no choice. If I wanted our food stamps to feed all 4 of us for the entire month, I had to buy less meat and buy more carbs. Instead of eating steak and veggies (or chicken or pork and veggies) every night as I did when I was pregnant with Phoenix, I ate - WE ate a LOT of hamburger and noodles. Organic noodles yes, but honestly, the cheapest wheat based organic noodles in the store. These are highly processed and devoid of all nutrition - just as all noodles are. The only good thing about them is they are not loaded chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

Also, because we kept running out of food before the end of the month, we had to stop buying all the frozen organic veggies and berries I was buying for the last few years. Ever since Phoenix was born. I had to stop buying them because they are expensive and if I was going to insist on eating just about everything organic - and make no mistake, I do and always will insist on eating as much organic as possible - Well... I had to compromise. I bought canned veggies instead of frozen... I stopped buying the expensive uncured, nitrate free hotdogs, and the expensive uncured nitrate free lunch meats. Instead, I bought the "regular" kind...

OR was it because I had to drink nasty chlorinated tap water most of the time I was pregnant? The pure spring water that I used to buy is also too expensive for us to buy as often. GODS! I sound like a spoiled rich little brat right now, whining because my nourishing food and water is too expensive now that I'm poor. (self-derisive laugh) It really doesn't sound like we've been living on food stamps since Gryffin was born, does it? Well, I guess now that they are both eating like little adults, we need to buy more food rather than nutrient dense food. Well, we NEED to buy nutrient dense food, we just can't afford to.

Okay, so just to make this absolutely clear, my current diet is extraordinarily healthy, it's just not what my body needs in order to heal and maintain a healthy pregnancy. I truly believe that my baby died because my diet was not good enough. I have to believe that, or else I have to go back and figure out what I did wrong. This is the only explanation that makes sense...

So, anyway... I have inside me a baby that apparently died 4 weeks ago. and aside from two small spots of blood that happened on Monday, there are no signs that this baby plans to come out anytime soon. The doctor said he could do a procedure to suck it out, or there are some drugs I can take to speed things along, but he also said that many women also just like to wait for things to happen naturally.

I guess it probably doesn't take a genius to figure out what option I picked.

This is my "unofficial" announcement, because - for the same reasons that I didn't want to announce my pregnancy officially until I just couldn't hold back the excitement any longer... I don't want to hear what people are going to say, not that those people will actually say it to my face (I also wonder if this is happening because of those people who will not say things to my face wishing this to happen; sending bad energy my way) - I don't want to announce it officially until I start bleeding, the baby comes out, and there really is no hope anymore. I'm sorry if I ruined anyone's day. As I stated to begin with, I just needed to get this out.

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