Incense, Oil and Scented Candles; Is it safe?

26wk preemie
My daughter five days after birth.

How safe are these things? How safe are these things around our children? What about babies and our pets?

Parents make a lot of sacrifices for their children. They change their lifestyle, child-proof their homes and try to do what is best for their children. And sometimes parenting advice from experts conflict with other experts and even with common sense. It’s not easy being a parent. Mistakes happen. Hopeful the mistakes are minor and no lasting damage is done.

But I’m a preemie parent and a Pagan. Before I brought my daughter home a lot of things had to change in my life. I had to give up my cat; allergies run in the family as does asthma. And that still hurts even six years later and I am still petless.  The smokers in my life had to smoke outside and strip off whatever they were wearing to come inside. I even gave away my cacti; my only houseplants, due to fungi and mold issues that I have.  I stopped painting my nails. I stopped using air fresheners. I switched to unscented dryer sheets.  I stopped doing and using anything that effected the air quality in my home.

Looking back, I remember reading an article about the dangers of scented candles and oils back when I was on several mommy forums while pregnant  It scared me. Candles were bad, candles were good; nobody agreed which was which. I didn’t use air fresher sprays, kept all airborne sprays to a minimum, banned perfume and cologne and cleaned a lot with Lysol. Everything that goes into the air could effect her ability to breath. I was determined to give my daughter the best chance of being healthy by keeping a healthy home.

I changed the way I practice, drastically. I used joss sticks in my daily practice. So much so that it required daily dusting to remove the buildup of incense dust. Back then, that was a small price to pay for those moments I stood before my altar lighting the incense and saying my prayers.

For me it was a no brainer to stop using incense for my daughters well-being.  I didn’t switch to candles or oils in my practice because it felt too risky. Watching her struggling to breath in the NICU during her three-month stay, it didn’t make sense to continue that aspect of my practice. Even today, despite her being a healthy and active six-year-old I haven’t returned to using incense unless it was an outside ritual and away from my daughter.

This experience makes me wonder what other Pagan parents are doing. Do they cut back when their babies are born? Move their practice outdoors? Or eliminate the use of these items for a while?

The Peanut Butter Wars Have Started

Great. Every one of you peanut butter banning mommies are more than willing to starve my child during lunchtime to protect your own! So what I am supposed to do? Let her starve because of your child’s allergies rank higher than her need for nutrition?? Where in the world do I get equal accommodation for my child?? Peanut butter is her top protein, milk, cheese follow after that. She’s damn near mildly allergic to everything else;EVERYTHING ELSE! So far, nothing severe, just rashes and some mild wheezing and it’s only upon ingestion, and a few with physical contact in typical amounts.

She’s not even in school yet and I see this battle coming. What about her and her needs???
She’s a preemie, and has eczema and allergies do run in the family. She just got to odd load of it all.

I’m sorry.. but death trumps malnutrition any day.
Your child can be force fed, you can’t un-kill a child from anaphylactic shock.

You are a cold woman. Just what is the point of having an epi-pen if not to prevent death? And no, my child can not be force fed when there is no reason to do so. Her nutrition as it stands is more than adequate due to peanut butter. But banning it, will cause malnutrition. And how is that even acceptable?? How in the world can you even think that?!

Are you ignorant? Epi pens can’t always prevent death!!  Not to mention that person spends a minimum of 24hrs being hooked up to heart monitors? Why you ask, google epinephrineand see the side effects and risks. tachycardia, acute pulmonary edema, tremors, hypertension. etc. Umm you said your child can’t be force fed…well if she goes on an eating strike, yea she can. and WTF no one said ban peanut butter from your home, just don’t freaking send it to school IF a child has an allergy. It’s honestly not that complicated.Call me cold if you wish, but I’d rather have a child with a feeding tube than one in the grave.

You really don’t get it do you? One missed meal, one missing PBJ a day for a school week is enough to cause malnutrition for MY child! But you are willing to endanger my child!! All because you want to sanitize the whole world from PB!! Because you live in fear.

Good Lord Woman. She has special nutritional needs. Where are her accommodations?!
It is that complicated. I’m just glad PB isn’t the only food she can eat and she came real close to that already.

Hmmm nope I still don’t get it. Your child can be saved from malnutrition, the ones with peanut allergies cannot be brought back to life.

You sound like you are living in fear as well… that missing one PB sandwich is going to kill your daughter? You can find alternatives to peanut butter. Your child will eat if she’s hungry enough, if not she CAN be force fed through a tube, it’s really no comparison

At least you know you’re not getting it. And now I know it’s going to take doctor’s orders and a lawyer just to ensure she can get the meals she needs. Peanut butter is saving her from protein deficiencies, which makes the whole she can get a feeding tube pointless.

My whole point is what about her accommodations? I’m not looking at feeding the class PB snacks. I’m not looking causing a problem because of some pre-purchased snack that has PB in it. I’m just concerned about my child and what she eats and in this case what some folks are more than willing to prevent her from having during school hours.
I know there are ways to accommodate both medical issues. In no way will I accept that my child’s issues are less than another’s. Different issues, yes. Different consequences, yes. But not unimportant.

My daughter is a preemie, born at 25 wks and she’s got some odd ball issues. Sensory integration is just one of them and it severely affects what she will eat and then add GERD on top of that. The very foods that she eats are the very ones that are on the allergic lists. Everything else she doesn’t touch. And she was this way in the womb, this is really her, not stubbornness, not going on a food strike; This is not her being a typical kid. Peanut butter is her main protein. The girl is made out of it! Banning peanut butter from public school doesn’t take into account her issues at all. And there is no damn reason to put her on a feeding tube when her nutrition is okay as long as her diet doesn’t change drastically from what it is now. I wish she’d eat more foods. But I’m damn glad she eat as much peanut butter as she wants. She’s healthy, thank the Gods!

Going Off Line for a while.

Previously posted to a mom’s group and has been edited.

I’m heading down to El Paso to be with my sister and to meet my new nephew. I’m going to be there for a month. I’ve been busy packing my ass off which is why I haven’t been too active.

My little girl is going with me. We got cleared to go from her doctor. Her ears are looking much better and her lungs sound clear. Which is seriously great news. I’m glad we are all feeling better. I just wish I’d stop stressing. I’m giving myself heartburn with all the worry. I just don’t like the idea of being out of reach of her doctors and my husband. I’m going to on my own with her.

So, I’ll chat with everyone later. More likely when I get back.

Later alligators

My baby has a cold.

Previously posted to a mom’s site and has been edited.

I hate it when my baby gets sick. She’s got a full blown cold; runny nose, fever, cough and even the eye bugies. She’s been fighting it for since Sunday. Any time she gets a runny nose we end up fighting croup in the middle of the night. Tuesday night wasn’t too bad. It resolved after a steam treatment and exposure to the cold outside air. Last night was different. She stayed croupy all night till early morn when she starting having a cough. Thank the Gods, it’s a productive cough.

We spent the night on the couch. She couldn’t get comfortable anywhere else. She’d wake up very croupy when I tried to lay her down in her crib. Mind you I don’t think either one of us got any real sleep. She still scares me with her periodic breathing. It’s gotten better but it was starting to freak me out. Just watching her breath and pause for five seconds is very unnerving. There were a few times that I shook her awake because of it.

Today, she’s been a bit sleepy, not so hungry and not so active when awake. I know she isn’t feeling well when she just sits in my lap for a few hours. Normally she’s so active it’s a wrestling match to change her diaper. I’m not looking forward to tonight. I just don’t know what this night will bring.


In the middle of the night she starting running a high fever and it wasn’t breaking. Then it spiked to 104.3 and she vomited. We took off for the hospital. Still running high and not breaking easily. Gave her Motrin, and eventual broke the fever. Got a few chest x-rays done and they say she’s got pneumonia. No tests or cultures taken. Prescribed a short term high dose antibiotics. Told to switch from Tylenol to Motrin for fever relieve. It works better and longer. She’s starting to rest and sleep. Still not up to her usual active self yet.

Pneumonia scares me. I’ve got too many stories of my family members just up and walking around with it and not showing any symptoms of it until its beyond serious. Who knew that fever sometimes is the only indicator for pneumonia?

Emily’s Birth Story

Previously posted to a mom’s site and has been edited.

Hi, I’m Emily’s mom and this is her birth story. I never thought I’d have kids. I’ve been trying for a long time and nothing ever happened. By the time I give up and start to move on is when I did. Now I’m 30, married almost six years and a SAHM in Virginia. My daughter is a 26 week preemie and now a year old, nine months adjusted. She was born March 1, 2007 at 10:27pm at 26wks gestation. She weighed only 2lbs 2.3oz. She is my whole world.

It was a fairly pleasant pregnancy and wasn’t deemed high risk but it was my first. We had been trying for the last ten years to have a child, without success. Just the old fashioned trying. There is no money for IVF and things of that nature. I got pregnant out of the blue. Silly me, I thought morning sickness was just a really bad stomach bug; the rotovirse that was going around at the time. I happened to be working at an IVF lab when I found out. I love the lady’s there. They just know, you know? Sometimes I wonder if there isn’t something in the water after all. I remember that day clearly, Oct 13, 2007 and the utter shock when two pink lines showed on the test. My life has never been the same since. I quit smoking that day and I’ve never looked back. I took my vids, ate better and drank my milk; I’m lactose intolerant. I ate like a horse, an apple a day and didn’t gain much weight. That worried me throughout the pregnancy. Every doctor told me that it was alright. She was growing alright but it’s still very strange to me.

Work was not easy. Being in construction the work is hard. Eight hours a day on my feet. I got lucky and everyone let me take it easy. I did what I could and sometimes I wonder if I did push a little too hard to get my job done. I don’t like being a slacker. By the time I needed a break, I was put on maternity leave. I was just coming up on six months. I was only home for three weeks.

Then the ball dropped at 24 weeks and 6 days. Way too soon, my due date was June 11. It started with a trickle and a faint pain. I tried to wait it out, thinking it was Braxton Hicks. Then I had a discharge, a very worrisome discharge. No doubt about it, I had to see the doctor. My monthly appt was just a few days away and I didn’t think that this could wait any longer. I called into my OB-GYN, chatted with the nurse. Told to wait for a call back from Doc on Duty and was sent directly to the hospital to be checked out. So I went to the OB-GYN Triage.

The waters were infected and I was but on antibiotics and I was in labor and already dialateing. I spent two and a half days in the hospital on magnesium-sulfate, getting the steroid shots and was completely starved the whole time. Popsicles and ice does not a meal make. All I wanted was a Slim-Fast. I’m glad I decided to stop at IHOP and have dinner before going. It’s still little things that me me thankful. They thought I had stabilised out with the labor; got me off the mag drip and gave me a trial run with no major contractions. I was being prepared for a stay with bed rest. I must say that trying to use a bed pan by myself after mag drip and not moving for two and half days is fucking hard. By nightfall they decided that I could eat and when I finely got something to eat the ball finished rolling down hill. All I got to eat was soup, cream of chicken hospital soup. I could have swore it was the best soup ever. They really did starve me. Labor restarted suddenly and fast; she was in breach position but was taken via emergency c-section.

I was lucky to get the bikini cut instead of classical. When we had came in I was carrying her high and was warned that I might end up cut vertically. I really didn’t want that. It scared me. It’s traumatic, my experience was. And I’m not sure I want to open up about what I felt in those long moments. The next morning all the nurse had to say was if I wanted to see my daughter I had to get up out of bed and pee. Sure thing..I just about jumped up to do so but my body was a bit slower than that. Being in a wheelchair, holding onto the IV stand, entering into the NICU for the first time; it’s still clear. I only had eyes for her, the whole world didn’t exist except for her. I cried. I touched her hand, it was a big as my finger, palm and all. So beautiful and so fragile.

While recovering from surgery, I pumped, and visited my daughter just about every day. Some days I spent all day there. Other days, I didn’t but called in each shift to see how she was doing. I still remember each time the NICU call my heart just dropped to my toes. All they wanted was permission for transfusions, medications and to check up on me and pumping.

I tried milk enhancing herbs, and refused Rx medication for milk production (too many contradiction from my medical history) and still lost my milk. I never had it fully come in. It took two weeks for anything to show up. At the most I only got 20cc in a 24 hour span. That’s not enough to feed her. When I did quit, I didn’t even get a chance to get discomfort from engorgement. That really pissed me off, it was insult to injury. My own body not being able to feed her, it still hurts.

There were some really great nurses there. The older nurses I’m thankful for. They introduced her to a pacifier early, so she learned how to suck and drink from a bottle. They always seamed to know what to do. Early on Emy took a liking and disliking to various nurses. I trusted her instincts, for they were always right. I also took a strong dislike to one nurse. She was a woman who radiated negativity; in body language, in words and even actions. I would not trust my daughter to her. I sat with Emy when that bitch was on shift, all night, every night.

She spent 105 days in NICU. She overcame breathing issues; two months on vent-off and on hood and nasal cannula, anemia requiring five blood transfusions, pneumonia, strep blood infections-twice, staph infections, many many NEC scares which shut down her feedings, reactions to sedatives, survived laser surgery for ROP and maintaining her own temperature. She was pumped full of drugs, less than half of which I know. Breathing treatments, antibiotics, iron, sedatives, reglan, caffeine, erythromycin, lasicis, and a slue of other things; she was on. All in all, she ate and grew. The staff loved her, the doctors did good and she came home a few days after her due date weight 6 lbs 5 ozs, still having major reflux, anemia, apnea, bradycardia, tachycardia and over stimulation issues and one hell of a startle reflex.

Bring her home was terrifying. No longer were they nurses around to help. No longer were there machines to tell me what was going on, We were warned early and we did out best to heed them. We came home with an apnea monitor but that was barely any assurance at all. Even having the CPR course didn’t relieve the anxiety. The up side was I could do kangaroo care now. So I really became her bed for about a month. Co-sleeping at that point was more medically necessary than want as her monitors would go off all the time and she needed constant attention. The first week home was the hardest. She wasn’t on any medications and her reflux really started to kick in. I tried everything possible to help her and nothing was enough. It took medication to get it under control and even with that it was trial and error.

The months passed and we checked off milestones like any other baby. The first night when she slept through the night…which really is sleeping for five hours instead of two. The first time she rolled over, held her head up, on and on. For me the big milestone was when we didn’t need the monitor anymore. That night was just as terrifying as bringing her home. After that, when she didn’t need to take iron drops anymore. I know she’s a much a happier baby about that. Recently, I can add her doc’s view that we won’t be counting her as a preemie anymore. Personally I don’t buy that view but it does say we’ve reached some type of milestone there.

Feeding her has been easy. She’s been a hungry baby from the start. Took to a nipple just like she knew it was food. Didn’t have issues with the formula at all. But starting her on homemade baby food has been slow. She’s got issues with textures so with some things I’ve had to buy the store stuff. Nowadays, she wants table food and we’re starting to get into gagging. I wonder if she’s as stubborn as me. I hope her desire to eat what we eat gets her over this bump in her road.

She’s now a year old, 22 lbs and doing relatively well. Still on reflux meds and constant watching with her iron levels. We’ve escaped this winter without RSV but caught the croup instead and only one ear infection. All in all she’s a happy baby. Just starting to talk too.


Intro Post to Parenting forum. Part 3

WOW, I’ve had a busy weekend, much more than I’m used too. Saturday we had the company’s family picnic to go too and that wore me out. I was surprised.

While there I found out that friend’s of ours son was in the hospital. We had expected them to show up at picnic but they never did. He’s only nine months old and turns out he has a serious case of croup. He had been admitted to CHKD on the Peninsula and was transferred overnight to CHKD in Norfolk. We visited with them yesterday and he’s getting better. He was able to go home this afternoon.

We had canceled on my husband’s aunt Saturday just to come home to some more friend’s of ours sitting on our porch. They had camped us out! And they were fully expecting to stay the night. Shortened version; friends from high school, have a high strung four year old daughter and live with her mother which is the cause of stress to all involved and grandmother. Which is why they were sitting at my door, running from her mother.

Saturday night I went to see Emy and of course everybody wants to come. Turns out there is some good news. They took her off the vent and have on the nasal cannula, 2L pressure & 35% O2 as of this afternoon. This is the fourth time around. She was so touchy when I saw her. Her heart rate kept dropping back and fourth. At least she was recovering on her own without dropping her O2 stats. I quickly shooed everyone home. I’m glad I’ve gotten in the habit of going in first.

To cut this short, I end up staying up late. I got to bed at 4am and back up by 11am and just got them to leave by 9pm. She can not take a hint at all. I’m wore out and I’m not going through this next weekend. My weekend was all shot up by this. I’ve got nothing done that I wanted.
I guess I’m done complaining. So to answer a few questions…..

Are you on the peninsula?

Yes I am. Newport News actually and Emy is at Riverside.

Secondly, are you military???….your reference to returning to full duty

No. As I’m still on maternity leave, I work for a local general contractor was/as a Carpenter’s apprentice. The thing about not back to full duty is that when I requested to go on light duty as per doctors orders, I was put out on maternity. LOL So at my 6 week check up I tried to get clearance to go back to full duty, they wouldn’t give it. They would give me light duty which is worthless to me at this point. I can’t go back to work until the doc’s clear me for full duty. With my line of work anything less is dangerous.

Which sucks. I know I had a c-section, I just want to know when I’ll be strong enought to work again. I’ve always worked very physical jobs and the prospect of not going back is already driving me nuts. Well I’m heading to bed… I do hope that I can continue to chat with everyone here.

Intro post to a Paranting fourm: Kinda explains what happened Part 2

Thank you guys for all the kind words.

As to the questions…
I don’t have a medical background. I wouldn’t call being an amateur herbalist as having a medical background. I do alot of research, on the net and the library. Besides it’s my daughter. I want to know what’s going on with her and what they are doing. I’m going to learn as fast as I can.

They are a bit reluctant to try kangaroo at this time with her. It really has limited my time with her. I’m having to build a repoar with each nurse and slowly work on each one as to when I can hold her. It hasn’t been very successful. As long as she on the vent they will be reluctant.

Emily’s not in CHKD. It turns out that my hospital has a level 3 NICU and she isn’t the only one there. I’ve already watch babies come in with earlier gestational ages and I’ve seen the graduates leave. It was just yesterday that I saw for the first time that a baby died. I’ve been in there watching and waiting for 51 days.

As to pictures, I’m keeping a photobucket account open especially for my in-laws. They live in Florida so it’s hard for them to make it up here often. I was surprised that I couldn’t send them the pictures via email. My pics are too big so be forewarned if you have a slow connection. I’ve tied the link to Emy’s name in my signature.