Staci Bishop

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 #nYn Recap

As I look back at 2014 a lot has happened at nurturing YOU naturally.

For starters, we welcomed two new doulas, Maritza & Rachael. By growing our team we were able to assist more families than ever! I am so thankful to be working with these ladies. They are fantastic at what they do and are such an encouragement to the moms & dads they work with.

In March, Rachael and I were able to attend the Empowering Fearless Birth TN Conference. It was a great opportunity to learn and to network with other birth professionals. I can't wait for the conference in 2015! Why you ask? I'm one of the coordinators and it's already shaping up to be another top-notch event for moms & dads of Middle TN.

Finally, I was able to travel to Uganda this summer and share some nYn love with expectant mothers through educational seminars & prenatal exams. We also provided 150 nYn lip balms to missionaries serving in and around the areas of Kampala & Jinja.

As I look back at this year I was also curious to see what information you found most helpful on our website. Here's a quick look back at the top posts for 2014.
    5.  Declining Travel Vaccines 
    4.  Five Natural Products For Cold & Flu Season 
    3.  Free Gifts For Mom & Baby 
    2.  Five Ways Your Doula Loves & Cares For You 
    1.  nYn is Going to Uganda 
I have a few new ideas for 2015 and I can't wait to get this year underway. It's going to be great!

Happy New Year to you from all of us at #nYn.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

[REVIEW] The Nourishing Cupcake - AKA Happiness in a Jar

Back in September I went gluten free. I wasn't sure if I had an intolerance but I was having awful headaches and wondered if my diet could be the culprit. Elimination diets are basically a big ole experiment. While reducing gluten didn't fix my headaches (but a trip to the chiropractor did), I noticed some other changes (more energy, less gas/bloating, less joint inflammation) so I decided to stick with it. For someone who thought she LOVED bread, I sure didn't miss it near as much as I thought I would. However, dessert is a whole other problem. No brownies, no cake, no cookies. Hmpf!

One of my favorite sweets of all time is a homemade whoopie pie. They can be hard to come by so I have been known to improvise. With cupcakes. Because if you take half a cupcake and and flip it up on top of the icing.... ta-dah! You have yourself a whoopie pie. Except that gluten free eaters don't get cupcakes.

Until now.

Enter The Nourishing Cupcake. This brand new business just launched in my area and I am so tickled about it. For starters, all of their cupcakes are gluten free. Bam! But it gets better.

They are also grain/soy/corn/dye free AND...

they are sweetened all naturally with no refined sugars AND...

they are made with Local and Organic ingredients!

This is probably the healthiest cupcake you will ever eat. It's 100% guilt free!

Now, I know what you are wondering. "A healthy cupcake? How's it taste?" I'm glad you asked.

Monday was my birthday and a sweet little sampler arrived on my doorstep. I had an opportunity to sample 3 of their "Cupcake in a Jar" varieties. For starters, I was born and raised in Alabama. I'm convinced that all good things come in glass jars. This was no exception because there were actually TWO cupcakes stacked on top of each other. Each jar comes adorned with the cutest little wooden spoon to boot!
My sampler included Purely Peppermint, Cookies & Cream, Vanilla Bean & Chocolate. Yes, I tried all 3 flavors. No, not on the same day but it took a lot of restraint. 

Oh my stars! Happiness in a jar, I tell ya.

The first thing I noticed was how absolutely delicious the icing was and oh so creamy. Next, the cake part was really smooth and full. In my brief experience with gluten-free cooking I have found that baked goods can be dense and grainy. This was not the case at all with The Nourishing Cupcake. Even my 7-year-old declared them scrumptious!

The peppermint was my absolute favorite. I have a soft spot for chocolate & mint pairings and this cupcake did not disappoint. Here's a quick peek at the ingredients.
mint infused chocolate cupcake topped with 
peppermint cream cheese frosting and organic candy cane bits

Nourishing Ingredients: organic black beans, local free-range eggs, organic Madagascar vanilla extract, organic peppermint extract, sea salt, organic coconut oil, organic maple syrup, organic stevia, organic cocoa powder, aluminum-free baking powder, baking soda. Frosting: organic cream cheese, organic butter, organic maple syrup, arrowroot powder, organic Madagascar vanilla extract, organic peppermint extract.

See? Told ya they were healthy. But you will need to do a taste test of your own to verify the yumminess factor.

The Nourishing Cupcake can be found at Farmer's Markets around town each week.
  • Downtown Nashville  |  MONDAY  |  4-6 pm
  • Franklin  |  THURSDAY  |  10-12 pm
  • East Nashville  |  THURSDAY  |  3-6 pm
  • Hendersonville |  Local Pickup Anytime
They also deliver so you can do a custom order for special occasions or parties. Contact Michelle Hiatt at or  615-630-3717.

Until you can taste one for yourself, you'll just have to drool over these pictures. They are not only delicious but gorgeous too! View the full album.
The Nourishing Cupcake is passionate about changing the way people eat just like we are passionate about nurturing YOU naturally. I dare say we share a common goal. Be sure and check them out and try a cupcake, guilt free!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

5 Natural Products for Cold & Flu Season

It's that time of year again. Cold & Flu season is upon us. This year, with Enterovirus D68 and Ebola running rampant, I'm getting calls earlier than ever asking for preventative measures to keep families healthy this winter.

Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor. These are simply home remedies that I have researched on my own and applied to my family for health and wellness. 

A BIG part of staying healthy is lifestyle, so I always start there first. Simple changes to your daily routine such as proper hygiene,  water intake, adequate rest, exercise, and dietary changes go a long way in keeping you healthy.

Below are my TOP go-to supplements for cold & flu season. All products* mentioned are liquid or chewable so they can be taken by children as well.

1. Elderberry Syrup - This is the #1 item I recommend. It has amazing immune boosting properties! It has been shown to both shorten and relieve the symptoms of the flu.

2. Vitamins - Vitamin D has been shown to decrease upper respiratory infections and Vitamin C has demonstrated anti-viral properties. Research also shows that Zinc can shorten cold symptoms by 40% and reduce antibiotic use.

3. Herbs - Astragalus & Echinacea are the way to go here. These two herbs enhance the immune system and increase white blood cells which fight off bacteria and viruses. This combo tincture is great!

4. Essential Oils - If you can only get one essential oil, it needs to be lavender. It has both antiviral and antibacterial properties. Plus, it helps you sleep at night. If you can add others, I would recommend Germ Fighter for purifying and Immune Aid for boosting your system.
5. Probiotic - It has been said that disease starts in the gut (Hippocrates). The best way to counteract the bad bacteria is by making sure you have plenty of good bacteria. A good probiotic also reduces inflammation in the body. 

BONUS ITEM # 1: Local, raw honey - This item is not available on Amazon but if you can find it locally, stock up. Not only does it help with allergies but it is full of vitamins and antioxidants. It's also really helpful for soothing a sore throat or cough.

BONUS ITEM #2: Colloidal Silver - This is a new item that I've added to our medicine chest. I don't take it daily but will take it at the first sign of symptoms. It's been touted as a natural antibiotic. It's controversial in the medical community but most natural options are.

Those are my top recommended items for every household this cold & flu season. I think you will find that your family stays healthier and recovers quicker by using these natural methods. For my full coverage of cold & flu season, you may find this blog series helpful.

*Amazon links are included for easy ordering. Please note that these are affiliate links.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

[GIVEAWAY] Pink Stork $100 Prize Pack

If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, I'm glad you stopped by. I have an awesome giveaway for you. Even if you aren't expecting, this giveaway is perfect for any woman wanting to boost her health naturally. Just, stick with me until the end. I promise you are going to want these products too!

Expecting a baby is an exciting time. However, all that excitement can be quickly halted by pesky morning sickness, experienced by 70-90% of pregnant women. Symptoms of nausea and vomiting may vary from mild to severe. The most extreme form of morning sickness is called hyperemesis gravadarum, which can result in dehydration and weight loss. HG typically requires medical treatment and possible hospitalization. Hyperemesis gravadarum has been in the news most recently because of Kate Middleton who has experienced this condition in both of her pregnancies.

Research points to some possible causes of morning sickness.

According to Obstetrics & Gynecology (April 1998), 90% of women with HG also tested positive for h. pylori. The most common treatment is antibiotics but many are not approved during pregnancy. In addition they can be expensive and cause anti-biotic resistance. However, this study showed that probiotics have an inhibitory effect on h. pylori and reduce the associated gastric inflammation. Another study showed that h. pylori was rapidly inactivated by lauric acid, an ingredient only found in breastmilk and coconut oil.

Research also shows that women with hyperemesis gavadarum are deficient in magnesium. In fact, magnesium replenishment is part of the standard protocol for dehydration. I first learned about magnesium deficiency during pregnancy over at Modern Alternative Pregnancy and have been reading more and more stories of women who have had success in eliminating debilitating morning sickness by supplementing this mineral.  However, you need to understand that magnesium is most effective when absorbed through the skin.

The good news? Pink Stork carries a full line of all-natural products shown to attack the root problems associated with morning sickness.

nYn has teamed up with Pink Stork to offer one lucky reader a prize pack valued at over $100 containing these full-sized products.

Pro - Prenatal Probiotic

I always encourage a good probiotic, pregnant or not. This one contains 6 probiotic strands known for fighting bacteria. Gut health is SO important!


This product I'm really excited about. It's derived from coconut oil and is a form of lauric acid. Not only does it help fight bacteria but it's an immune booster as well!


Remember, the best way to get magnesium into the system is through the skin. Many women are lacking this key mineral. These pure and natural magnesium flakes are perfect for a warm bath or foot soak.


If you are out and about and on the go, this mist is perfect! It is packed with magnesium to ensure quick and convenient relief. Women are using it to aid sleep, increase energy, ease migraines, relieve nausea and more!

To enter to win, see the Rafflecopter giveaway below. This giveaway will end on Monday, September 15th at 11:59 pm. A winner will be selected at random and notified via email.

*This giveaway is Sponsored by Pink Stork. All opinions and text are my own.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, August 18, 2014

[REVIEW] Motherwit (Logan & Clark)

Motherwit: An Alabama Midwife's Story
By: Onnie Lee Logan & Katherine Clark
Preview Here
Note: Book has multiple covers.
This book comes up quite a bit on recommended reading lists for birth books. It's the story of Onnie Lee Logan, an Alabama midwife, born in 1910.

This book follows her childhood, training, and life as a midwife all the way up until the 1980s. Through storytelling in her own dialect, she details not only the changes to midwifery during those years but the changes occurring in South Alabama as it relates to culture and discrimination. Ms. Logan worked among the poorest of the poor, both black and white. It was very interesting and saddening to see how these people were treated by medical professionals. Namely, they basically refused to treat them at all. Her story also gives the chronological decline of midwifery in the state of Alabama all the way thorough the outlaw of it, which is still in effect today.

Parts of this book infuriated me, as I knew it would. I think it is absolutely absurd the unfairness of not allowing midwives to practice. In addition, the history of Alabama in regards to race pretty much disgusts me. For the record, I'm allowed to say that because I was born and raised there. In that essence, it was a hard read.

One uplifting feature of this book was Onnie Lee Logan's unswerving faithfulness to God. More times than I can count, she credits God with her skills, abilities, and intuition. She also is extremely passionate about birth and babies, even stating that she would happily miss meals to deliver a baby. Like most passionate birth workers, she truly appreciates the honor and awe that surrounds the birth of a new life.

For a "granny midwife" delivering in poor conditions with patients who received little-to-no prenatal care, she sure had some amazing outcomes. I wish the book would have gone into a bit more detail about specific techniques used to achieve such results. However, this book was more about the story of her life versus her midwifery skills.

If you are selecting this book, just understand that you are getting a memoir of her life. This book is not specific to her years practicing as a midwife. Overall, it was a good read with good historical references.

Friday, August 1, 2014

FREE Nursing Items | Happy World Breastfeeding Week!

To kick off World Breastfeeding Week we have FREE items to help make nursing easier and more comfortable for both mom and baby!

Click on any of the links below and use code NYN4BABY at checkout to receive a FREE product. You will only be responsible for shipping costs. You can order just one item or all four using the same code! These make great gifts for expecting moms. 

Use Promotion Code nYn4BABY TODAY!

Use Promotion Code nYn4BABY TODAY!

Use Promotion Code NYN4BABY TODAY!

Use Promotion Code nYn4BABY TODAY!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

[REVIEW] Monique and the Mango Rains (Kris Holloway)

Monique and the Mango Rains
By: Kris Holloway
Preview Here
I was encouraged to read this book prior to going to Uganda. However, the timing didn't quite work out so I'm reading it 2 weeks after my return.

The story details the Peace Corp assignment of Kris Holloway starting in 1989 when she is assigned to a small village in Mali, West Africa. It is there that she works alongside Monique, a young midwife. Kris learns first hand the cultural, financial, and physical hardships that the people, particularly the women, face in Nampossela. She works tirelessly alongside Monique who serves the mothers and children of her village and neighboring villages. In addition, she has her own family responsibilities to take care of despite the lack of support from her husband.

Parts of the book were difficult to read as the oppression of women is strong. Overall, I really enjoyed learning more about African culture. It was also enlightening to see how things slowly but surely change and grow over time. Then again, there are some things that never change. The storyline flows easily and I had a hard time putting this book down. With only 208 pages, it's a quick read too.

As a doula, I appreciated the midwifery details but this was not the main focus of the book. The heart of the book was these two women, who come from very different backgrounds, and their developing friendship that ultimately tests the limits of miles and time. This book will make you laugh and cry as you see the struggles they face to bring health and healing to the village women and, ultimately, to themselves.

It's definitely a must read for someone doing humanitarian work in Africa or for a person who loves and appreciates the determination of women and the bond that ties us together.  I can see why it was recommended for me.

*Affiliate link included.

Monday, July 14, 2014

From Traumatized to Fulfulled

I don't talk a lot about my personal birth experience.

Sure, I complain about being pregnant because that was a process that was not kind to me in any shape, form, or fashion. I also tell plenty of stories about how my child flat out refused to sleep and I nearly had a nervous breakdown at 7 months old from sheer exhaustion. But, I skip the birth. Why?

It was and still is the most traumatic experience of my life.

Parts of it can still get me riled up but, for the most part, I've come to terms with tLG's birth story. It's really hard to explain with words the way her birth affected me and it's nearly impossible for someone else to understand unless they have experienced a traumatic birth themselves. It took me a year before I could even begin to process what happened, much less talk about it. For 365 days, I looked at my perfect baby and felt that she was ruined. I was broken and she was imperfect because of it. Trust me, there ain't no crazy like first time mom crazy especially when trauma is involved. Back then, if you would have told me I would become a doula, passionate about all things pregnancy, birth, and babies, I would have laughed. And probably cried too. I cried a lot back then.

By the time tLG was four I couldn't get enough of learning about pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding. It was healing in a way. During those years I had become the go-to person in my circle of friends, and even acquaintances, for advice on these topics. That's when I first thought about pursing doula certification. I started the process but, after reading the first chapter of the first book on the recommended list, I was emotional and furious all over again. I wasn't ready. Even though my traumatic birth experience was the spark that started this whole journey, I knew I couldn't be a good doula while still carrying my own baggage. A year later I was finally able to read through the books without getting enraged and mourning my birth experience. I completed my certification and started attending births with a fresh and open perspective. I felt free! FINALLY!

If you would have told me I would go to Africa on a mission trip and put those doula skills to use, again, I would have laughed. Hysterically, this time. I don't do foreign lands.

In the US, doulas follow a scope of practice that limits us to emotional and physical support only. Doulas do not perform medical tasks. When we recognize warning signs or are presented with medical questions, we give our clients resources and refer them back to their care provider to discuss their options and finalize their decision. I take my scope of practice very seriously but that has not prevented me from continuing my training and knowledge to gain additional skills. Birth is sometimes unpredictable. I like to be prepared. It's my darn type A personality. I've never had to use these skills and I don't advertise them but they are are a nice little tool to own. Just in case.

Fast forward to June 2014 and I hopped on a plane to Uganda, Africa. There, I'm not bound by scope of practice. As a certified doula, I have more training than most of their TBAs (traditional birth attendants). Not only was I teaching comfort measures on a daily basis but I was answering questions about pregnancy and birth. It took me a day or so to settle in and realize that even though I was prevented from answering such medical questions in the US, I may be the only "care provider" these women have ever seen and will ever see during this pregnancy. Any sound knowledge was better than none at all and certainly better than what they may hear from the local witchdoctor.

On some days I worked alongside a midwife, other days I worked alongside a nurse, but occasionally it was just me and a translator. Most of the questions and symptoms we encountered were mild and easily resolved but if a question was outside of my knowledge bank, I encouraged them to go to the clinic or hospital. I was also doing basic examinations including blood pressure, fundal height, fetal positioning, and heart tones. I can't tell you how amazing it felt to be able to put my skills and knowledge to use. I didn't have to tuck it away and hide it anymore. Not only that, but it was appreciated by the on-the-ground medical workers who needed reinforcements. In addition, we were welcomed by the village women who sometimes don't have access to medical care either because of transportation or financial reasons.

Several of my friends and family have said that seeing pictures of me in Uganda brought smiles to their faces and tears to their eyes. Even I look at these pictures and see the glow on my face. I was in my element and loving every second of it. I never in a million years would have guessed that measuring, palpating, and dopplering (ha!) bellies would be in my skill set and that I would enjoy doing it. I love talking pregnancy, birth, and babies to no end.
In Uganda, it is estimated that our team helped educate over 1000 women and worked with at least 150 in a clinical setting in the span of 10 days. Crazy, huh? What's even crazier is trying to wrap my mind around the fact that the most traumatic event of my life spurred me on to complete the most fulfilling thing I've ever done. On a different continent, no less.

And now that I'm home, I'm wondering, what in the world is next? Clearly I'm no good at predicting where this passion is taking me. I guess I'll do what I've always done.... approach it with with a fresh and open perspective.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

nYn in Uganda | Declining Travel Vaccines

I recently traveled to Uganda, Africa for 2 weeks with Mercy for Mamas. Due to my personal convictions about health and wellness I elected not to receive any vaccinations or malaria prophylaxis. Below you will find the natural remedy protocol that I used during my time there.

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. The protocol listed below has not been evaluated by a medical doctor or natropath. This is simply the regimen I came up with after doing some research on my own.

For starters, let's discuss Yellow Fever. In retrospect, and after more research, I do not think it is required. Per the CDC, a Yellow Fever Vaccine is only required for entry into Uganda if you are coming from a country with a risk of Yellow Fever. The US is not on this list and I was traveling directly from the States.

What about re-entry? Again, per the CDC, the US has no vaccine requirements for entry.

I obtained a Yellow Fever card and exemption letter from a local travel doctor but, in the end, I don't think it was necessary. I was never asked for mine.

Other recommended vaccines include Typhoid, Hepatitis A & B, Diphtheria, Tetanus, Polio, Rabies, and Meningitis. Mefloquine or doxycycline are also recommended for malaria prophylaxis. To see the full list of CDC recommended travel vaccines, click here. For help finding a travel doctor, click here.

I personally looked at the 3 biggest threats (Malaria, Typhoid, Yellow Fever) and took steps to prevent those illnesses. I started this regimen about a week before I left and continued them a week after I returned home.

Immune Boosters - Echinacea, Astragalus, Goldenroot. I took 1 dropper full each morning and evening. I use Herbs for Kids because the taste is so much more pleasant. Probiotic. I took 1 capsule morning and evening. I specifically chose this one because it did not need to be refrigerated. Lavender. I placed this on my pillow every night not only to help with sleep but to fight bacteria. Elderberry. I took 1 lozenge morning and evening. Lemon. I put 2 drops in my water bottle each day. These are all for overall wellness to boost my immune system to fight off bacteria, viruses, and parasites.
Typoid Prevention - Coloidal Silver. I took 1 dropper full every morning and evening. This was mainly to protect against Typhoid or any other bacteria. I also made sure to consume only bottled water, no ice, and well cooked foods. I used boiled water for brushing my teeth. 

Malaria Prevention - Black Walnut and Wormwood. I took 1 dropper full morning and evening. This tastes terrible (no Herbs for Kids available in this blend) but these are some of the best herbs available for fighting parasites. 

Yellow Fever Prevention - Vitamin C. I took 2 tablets once a day. Great for fighting viruses.
Mosquito Bite Prevention - Mosquitos are carriers for both Yellow Fever and Malaria. I used my nYn Bug Spray which contains Lemon Eucalyptus (different from Lemon and Eucalyptus) throughout the day and made sure to sleep under a mosquito net each evening. I was also taking MSM, 1 capsule twice a day. It contains sulphur and repels mosquitos. 

I didn't get 1 mosquito bite. Another member of my team had more than 50 bites. Poor girl. :( Granted, something was biting me but it wasn't a mosquito. We think it was some sort of ant. I simply put a little tea tree oil on the few bites and they healed right up.  

Treatment - I also carried several things with me to treat disease should I become ill. Activated Charcoal, for stomach upset. Capsicum, to control internal bleeding, particularly with Yellow Fever and Malaria. Homeopathic phosphorus, treats Typhoid, Yellow Fever & Malaria. Quinine is also a known treatment for Malaria. My travel doctor also sent me with a prescription for an antibiotic and an antifungal, just as a precaution, but I didn't need either.

I also carried a wide variety of essential oils with me in addition to the ones mentioned above including peppermint, grapefruit, ginger, frankincense, rosemary, bergamont and eucalyptus. Just in case. 

I am very pleased to report that I did not have any issues on the trip. Some others on my team experienced nausea, vomiting and diarrhea that, thankfully, either resolved on its own or was treated with antibiotics. 

I hope that this guide may help someone else who is preparing to go to Uganda (or another country) but is unsure about the standard medical protocol for international travel. 

*Note: This post contains affiliate links. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

nYn in Uganda | Mercy for Mamas

I've just returned from an amazing trip to Uganda with Mercy for Mamas and wanted to share a quick update.


Mercy for Mamas was started by Melissa Busby who adopted from Uganda in 2010. She learned that her daughter, Mercy, was orphaned because her mother died in childbirth. Melissa began to dig into the grim statistics about birth in Uganda and learned that 1 in 32 women die from pregnancy or childbirth related complications. It was then that she discovered Mama Kits.

These contain the basic supplies that a woman needs to have a clean and sterile birth (cotton wool, soap, gloves, cord tie, razor blade, plastic sheeting). In Uganda, a woman cannot deliver at a hospital unless she provides her own supplies. The cost of these items is only around $7 but many village women do not have the means to purchase them.

In an effort to honor Mercy's mother, the Busby's asked a few friends back in the States to help them purchase some Mama Kits for distribution. The idea took off like wildfire and Mercy for Mamas was born. To date, this organization has distributed over 10,000 Mama Kits in Uganda.

Fast forward to 2014 

A couple of times a year, Melissa takes a team of women to Uganda to distribute the kits and I was honored to tag along. We were in Uganda for 10 days and distributed about 2000 kits. We put 1000 directly into the hands of pregnant mothers and the other half were left with organizations that work directly within the communities for future needs.

Not only did we distribute the kits but we provided prenatal education and did basic examinations. We had a Ugandan nurse traveling with us who translated the information into Luganda, the native language. She talked to them about hygiene, vaccinations, the importance of prenatal care and when to be seen. In Uganda, the average prenatal care consists of just 4 exams.
Agnes, teaching under the gathering tree. 

I shared information on comfort measures during labor, birth, and breastfeeding tips. I was shocked to learn how the village women treat each other in labor. It's not supportive at all. I showed them ways they can work together to ease a laboring mother's discomfort. We also had a L&D nurse on our team and a pediatric nurse who addresses questions and concerns in their area of expertise. Overall, I felt like we provided them with some solid information that they most likely had never heard before.
Demonstrating the abdominal lift.

We set up several clinics for basic examinations as many of the women had never been seen for prenatal care. Others were experiencing what they felt to be a complication. Sometimes our clinics were on a bus, behind a curtain, or just a mat on the floor. Most of the things we saw were mild and easily resolved such as sciatica, heartburn, round ligament pain, general aches and pains, ect.  We referred out issues like UTI, yeast infection, elevated blood pressure, and STDs. By the end of the week, we had easily performed 100 exams but I totally lost count. Some of these mother's had never heard their baby's heartbeat before and it was so sweet to let them listen to that precious little swooshing.

To recap, we visited 6 villages, a women's prison, 3 crisis pregnancy centers, and 2 orphanages. We also held 2 missionary dinners to encourage expatriate women who are working full time in Uganda and building the day-to-day relationships with these women.
This little one had a tongue tie. 

It was an amazing journey! I have plenty of specific stories to share so be on the lookout for more posts coming soon. In the meantime, you can learn more about Mercy for Mamas here or read about the trip from our photographer's perspective.
Mothers and babies who delivered with a Mama Kit.
Note: All photos courtesy of A Southern Ruckus. Was so thankful to have her on the trip!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Uganda Prep Update #3: Health & Wellness

I leave for Africa in just 2 weeks. Eek!

The reality of that is starting to set in and I'm trying not to panic. Ha! I've done a ton to prepare but I still feel like I have so much left to do.

This post will focus on the knowledge I have gained in regards to disease prevention.

VACCINATIONS - I finally had my appointment with the travel clinic last week and was able to secure the exemption I needed for yellow fever. There are a ton of "recommended" vaccines (hepatitis A & B, diphtheria, tetanus, polio, measles, typhoid, rabies, and meningitis) but some countries "require" a yellow fever vaccine. As many of you know, my personal beliefs and convictions about health and wellness prevent me from receiving vaccines. I believe the risk of the vaccination outweighs the risk of the disease. I also believe that a healthy immune system can fight off germs of all shapes and sizes with the aid of natural remedies. Vaccines trick our immune systems and, in the process, they actually lower our primary immune response.

Ultimately, the goal, of course, is not to contract any of these pesky diseases in the first place. I have already started daily immune boosters (astragalus, echinacea, vitamin C, elderberry, vitamin D, zinc, probiotic). I will continue these on the trip in addition to adding in super lysine, garlic, colloidal silver, essential oils such as lavender, lemon, tea tree and rosemary, and tinctures like wormwood, black walnut, and licorice root. Click here to view my complete alternative treatment regimen.

When you get down to the nitty gritty, these are the 3 most common disease threats in Uganda...

YELLOW FEVER - A virus transmitted through infected mosquitos. We will be in Uganda during the "dry season" so that should help. All of our lodging will have mosquito netting as well. Plus, I will be using natural mosquito repellents such as lemon eucalyptus (different than lemon and eucalyptus), garlic, and sulphur (natural mineral in the body). If infected, I will be treating with phosphorus, vitamin C, fenugreek, capsicum, and geranium. These are known to boost the immune system and aid the liver. The capsicum and geranium are to assist with hemorrhage should a severe case occur. There is no known treatment for yellow fever, only supportive measures.

MALARIA - A parasite transmitted through infected mosquitos. See above for insect bite prevention. The travel clinic doctor advised that all fevers should be treated as malaria until proven otherwise. A typical malaria attack lasts 6-10 hours. The known treatment for malaria is quinine, which I have in tincture form. If infected, I will also be using wormwood, black walnut, and licorice root tinctures as they are known to fight off parasites. Capsicum and phosphorus are also known to help with malaria treatment.

TYPHOID - A bacteria transmitted through poorly cooked food or contaminated water. I will only be consuming bottled water and eating well-cooked foods (no raw veggies or fruits). The travel medicine doctor advised that I take a chewable bismuch subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol) with any meal I feel could be contaminated. This is a natural bacteria killer but it only works in the stomach so it must be taken at the same time as any food or drink containing bacteria. In addition, I did receive a prescription for azithromycin to take with me just in case. He advised that all cases of diarrhea with fever should be treated as typhoid until proven otherwise.

I have a million things that I'm worried about but disease really isn't one of them. For starters, I don't plan to get sick. But, if I do, then I will address it at that time using the knowledge that I have gained and relying on modernized medical care as the last resort that it should be. God has given us some amazing natural ways to prevent and treat illness so I like to start with those as a first line of defense.

Stay tuned for my next update. It will be about packing lists and childcare, two logistical challenges that I'm currently working through.

As always, if you've been meaning to contribute financially, it's still not too late. Checks can be earmarked for Staci Bishop and sent to this address or you can click the Donate button below.

Mercy for Mamas  |  1604 Prairie Run Circle  |  Mulvane, KS 67110

Note: You do not have to have a Paypal account to donate through this link. You can also donate with a debit or credit card via the "Continue" link on the bottom left of the next page.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

5 Ways Your Doula Loves & Cares For You | Brilliant Mama Blog Tour

I'm so excited to be a part of the Brilliant Mama Blog Tour sponsored by Jenni from Pregnancy, birth, and parenting are big passions of mine!

Did you read Leigh Anne's post yesterday? She shared her best birth experience and my favorite part is when she said, "I had no idea that birth could be so amazing!" because it's totally true!

Also, make sure you visit Thrive Education tomorrow because Emi is sharing about teaching her daughter to love herself and her body. I can't wait! 

In fact, you might as well go ahead and sign up for the entire Brilliant Mama Blog Tour so that you don't miss a single post!

Now, there is one thing you should know about me. I fall deeply in love with my doula clients. There is just something about spending quality time with a family and helping them prepare for the arrival of their little one. Then, I get to be present for one of the most memorable moments of their life. What an honor! Plus, I get to visit them again when they are sleep-deprived yet head-over-heels for their little bundle of sweetness. Well, it just never gets old. I remember every birth and there probably isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about at least one of my sweet little doula families.

Doulas want you, your labor, your birth, and your transition into motherhood to be brilliant! We want to give your family the very best start whether this is your first baby or your tenth. I'm convinced that all good things start with love so here are 5 ways that doulas love and care for their clients.
1. She's on call for you. A doula will encourage you to contact her if you have any question or concern. She makes herself available to help you sift through emotional fears and pregnancy concerns. She answers calls, texts, and emails promptly. She will always have a plan A, B, and sometimes even C, in place to drop everything at a moment's notice and come to you in labor. Your wellbeing is a priority to her.

She's there when you need her... because you are loved and cared for.

2. She labors with you. Birth work is often called a labor of love. Doulas have been known to give back rubs and apply double hip squeezes for hours on end. She will walk with you, sway with you, squat with you, hold you, and lean over the tub to get to you. She may even climb in the tub with you if that's what's needed.

She does whatever it takes... because you are loved and cared for.

3. She comforts you. Sometimes, it's just her presence that brings peace and comfort during pregnancy and birth. Doulas "hold the space" to allow you to do whatever your body tells you. When you aren't looking, she's noting the temperature of the room and deciding if the lights need to be dimmed or the music needs to be adjusted. She reminds you to drink and eat and go to the bathroom. She gives your partner a break. She applies cool compresses and massage. She shares encouraging words and reminders that help you stick to your birth plan.

She notices and resolves your needs... because you are loved and cared for.

4. She stays with you. Unlike other care providers, doulas are unique in that they stay with you for your entire labor. They do not have other patients to attend to. You are her sole priority. Even after the birth, she may stay another hour or two to ensure that you and your partner are comfortable with feeding, infant care, and postpartum recovery.

She does not leave you... because you are loved and cared for.

5. She follows up with you. Just because you deliver your baby doesn't mean your relationship ends. She follows up with you at home to make sure you are settling in okay and to help you process all of those new mother feelings. And since babies change quickly, sometimes even daily, she's still just a call or text away with resources and referrals.

She keeps in touch... because you are loved and cared for.

Did you have a doula? Leave a comment below letting me know other ways your doula loved and cared for you.

Are you considering having a doula at your next birth? Be sure to learn more about the nYn doulas serving the Middle TN area and what our services include.

Don't forget to check out tomorrow's dose of brilliant over at Thrive Education

In case you missed yesterday, no worries. Click here to visit Confessions of a Misplaced Alaskan.

Thanks for stopping by the Brilliant Mama Blog Tour!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

nYn Lip Balm Class $10

Have you ever wanted to learn how to make natural cosmetic products? Now's your chance.

As a part of my upcoming trip to Uganda, we will be hosting Missionary Encouragement Dinners. This gives us an opportunity to love on those who have been called to full-time work in this area. At the end of the dinner, they are given little goody bags and nYn is providing lip balms for each of these ladies.

Since I need to make a large quantity of lip balms (approximately 150) I could use some extra hands. I thought this would be a GREAT opportunity to share my knowledge with some of you. I've decided to host 2 lip balm making classes in my home on Saturday, May 17th at either 10:30 am or 2:00 pm.

Class sizes will be small (limited to 4 per session) to give each participant good hands-on experience with the process. Each session will last about 90 minutes. Maybe longer if we get to chit chatting. ;) At the end of the class, each participant will receive 2 lip balms to take home!

Interested? The cost of the class is $10 per person. Click the link below to sign up for a session time. I will update this post when each time slot is full.

Lip Balm Class  |  May 17  |  10:30 am or 2:00 pm


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Give the gift of nYn for Mother's Day

Mother's Day is just around the corner. What better way to show mom that you love her than with a little love from nYn.

Our top seller continues to be the nYn Healing Salve ($6) which is great for a variety of skin ailments including sunburn, cuts, scrapes, burns, eczema and bruises.

Up next we have the ever popular nYn Lip Balm ($3) available in a variety of flavors. Choose between peppermint, lavender, grapefruit, orange or vanilla. Unscented is always an option too!

Our all-natural nYn Laundry Detergent ($6) also comes in a variety of scents and is safe for both regular and front-loading machines.

Maybe your mom would benefit from one of our new nYn Essential Oil Roll Ons ($7). Choose between our Stress Relief or Calming blend. The first one is great for headaches. The other helps with general relaxation but is especially helpful in obtaining a good night's sleep.

Summer will be here before you know it. Why not treat mom to some nYn Bug Spray ($7)? It's all natural, DEET free and smells great!

The nYn Combo Packs ($20) are perfect for mom's purse. They include 1 healing salve, 1 lip balm, 1 roll on and 4 bandaids in a nice little pouch.

If you need a custom package or scent, let us know.
Special orders are our favorite!

Mother's Day orders will be accepted through Sunday, April 27th and will be available for pickup starting on May 4th giving you plenty of time to ship (we can ship too) or deliver in person.

To place your order, contact Staci Bishop or select 
your items in the online store

*As a reminder, a portion of all product orders from nYn help to fund our homeschooling venture. Basically, you are giving the gift of health and education. Thank You!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Uganda Prep Update #2

Just joining in? Here's the backstory....
Things are going really well as far as preparations. My financial support has been coming in sure and steady, for which I am beyond thankful. Like, you have no idea how much each donation means to me. Hashtag "blessed" doesn't even begin to cover it. The Lord has consistently given me peace and comfort regarding this trip whenever I would get worked up about $3000. That's nothing to Him! 

I had enough in my MfM account to meet the first big deadline to purchase our group airfare tickets this week. PTL! The next deadline isn't until the end of May where I have to pay for accommodations. If you were planning to donate and it slipped your mind, it's not too late! You can donate through the Paypal link online. You can also make a tax-deductible donation by sending a check to the address below and earmarking it for Staci Bishop. 

Mercy for Mamas  |  1604 Prairie Run Circle  |  Mulvane, KS 67110

Two weeks ago, I finally made it to the post office and sent off to have my passport renewed. Let's just say that a wee bit of time has passed since my last passport photo at age 19. I may have aged just a smidge. 
Up next is trying to find a travel clinic in the Nashville area who will allow me to receive my Yellow Fever Card with an exemption. Due to my personal convictions about health & wellness I have decided to decline the recommended vaccinations for international travel and this area of Africa. Yellow Fever is the only shot "required" for entry into Uganda but I should be able to file an exemption, according to others who have done this. Of course, it may be easier said than done but I'm certainly going to try. The alternative is going without the card and hoping I'm not asked for it when going through customs. I'd rather not take that chance if I don't have to. 

I've also began my research into alternative therapies and immune boosters against malaria and typhoid, the biggest disease threats in this area. I will be sure to do a complete post on that when I've got my regimen nailed down. 

Many of you have asked how you can become more involved by providing Mama Kits. I can't tell you how much it excites me that this cause has pricked your heart as well. You can make donations through Hope Venture on a one-time or recurring basis. The kits are a mere $7 each and provide sterile birthing supplies for a clean and safe delivery. They are then distributed by Mercy for Mamas on trips like the one I'm joining this summer. 
Please know that I treasure each one of you who are following along with me on this journey! Until the next update.... 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

[REVIEW] Birth Story: Ina May Gaskin & the Farm Midwives (Documentary)

I was surprised to see this documentary on the shelf at the library. I thought the only way to see it was through a live screening. I've seen it twice before but I giddily checked it out from the library and watched it again at home. This time, I viewed it with my 7-year-old daughter.

Ina May Gaskin has been called "the most famous midwife in the world." This film details how she got her start in midwifery and how The Farm Midwifery Center has developed and changed over the years.

Her husband, Stephen Gaskin was the founder of The Farm after he traveled the country on a speaking tour with a caravan of followers in the early 1970s. The Farm became the largest intentional community (commune) in the U.S. reaching a membership of 1000 at its peak.

"We had a dream to be in community, to help each other out, to raise our children in a different way and to take care of the planet." - Farm resident

With a large amount of young families, navigating birth quickly became a priority. Ina May assumed this role by chance but it became evident that this was her life's purpose and she has now been in midwifery for over 40 years.

"I've learned from books. I've learned from doctors. I've learned from midwives. A lot of stuff I've learned from women and allowing myself to be instructed by women." - Ina May Gaskin

The women of the original community would often get together to share their birth stories and eventually they turned them into written pieces.

"If a woman is afraid, she will not be relaxed. We were creating our own culture about birth and fear was not going to be a part of that." - Ina May Gaskin

A compilation of these stories was put together into a book entitled Spiritual Midwifery published in 1975. This book has now been distributed all over the world and is even used as a textbook in some countries.

"Midwives predate doctors but this profession is in danger of being wiped out by the ever increasing Cesarean rate... If nobody has labor there will be no need of a midwife and a lot of knowledge will be lost." - Ina May Gaskin

Currently, women are coming from all over the world to have their babies at The Farm, even as far as Africa.  Families typically come a couple weeks before their baby is due and stay up to a week afterwards.

Ina May has been working on a project for many years, The Safe Motherhood Quilt, which brings awareness to the increasing maternal death rate in the United States. America ranks 50th in maternal death despite the face that we spend more per capita than any other country. Ms. Gaskin maintains that this problem is fixable.

"We need more people to see real birth." - Ina May Gaskin

The Farm has delivered all types of babies in a variety of scenarios. They still train their midwives for breech deliveries which is currently not being taught in obstetrics. Ina May also has a technique named after her, The Gaskin Maneuver, that works well in a shoulder dystocia situation. The Farm Midwives have a large Amish population that they work with and continue to deliver those babies by candlelight with no running water. They do not induce women and have a very low Cesarean rate.

"We still follow the same principals that we always did. You always do the least invasive thing first." -Ina May Gaskin

Overall, I felt this was a beautiful film that really captured the spirit of The Farm. They interviewed many of the retired midwives as well as the new generation of midwives who are filling the gap. Ina May is often seen at home with her husband Stephen and it's interesting to see how their love and respect for each other has grown over the years.

My daughter was hesitant about seeing the birth scenes at the start of the movie. She even said she didn't want to have babies. By the end of the film, she declared that she, in fact, did want to have babies. Not only that, but she wants to have them at home in the tub with a doula and a midwife. As an aside, she also said she didn't want to go to the hospital because "they are too fancy and might mess something up." I love that she is being shown from an early age that there is nothing to fear about birth and it's an everyday, normal occurrence where fancy hospitals aren't required.

If you want to see Birth Story, a digital download is available online or you can purchase the DVD. Or you may check your local library to see if they have it available, as mine did! ;) Be sure to check out the extras. They were full of great information too.