5 Ways to Help Your Friend Whose Baby is in the NICU

A stay in the NICU is a very hard phase to live through – for both the family and the baby. Many NICUs are not as family friendly as they like to think they are, and amenities and comforts for parents are often overlooked.  Of course the main goal is to provide the babies with child-centered care, which is a good thing, but there can be a lot lacking for the families hanging in the balance – clinging to threads of hope for their babies.


Our youngest son, Jotham, was born with Spina Bifida. He was full-term, but was in the NICU for twenty-nine days due to complications from hydrocephalus. I walked into the NICU thirty minutes after giving birth to him, and didn’t walk outside again until he was leaving in my arms. Twenty-nine days straight was a long time in a very hard place, and yet I met other parents that had been there for much, much longer.


Some NICUs put multiple babies in one room with privacy curtains to pull between bassinets. This doesn’t leave a lot of room for a parent to be near their baby, and often the facilities like this don’t allow parents to stay overnight. If a family is fortunate enough to be in a facility with private rooms, there is usually a pull-out couch or recliner for staying overnight, although bathroom facilities are generally lacking since the patients don’t need a toilet. We were thankful to have a private room with a couch to sleep on, enabling me to stay with Jotham for his whole NICU stay.



We learned many things during Jotham’s NICU stay, not the least of which was how much we’re loved! Our friends and family bent over backwards for us. Without them, we never would have made it through with much sanity left (we’ve needed the remaining sanity for the all the PICU stays we’ve been subjected to since ?).


Here’s a list of five things that were helpful to us during our time in the NICU. If you think of more ideas, please leave a comment at the bottom of this post!

Mold Avoidance 101: 3 Principles We Follow

What is Mold Avoidance?

We started using the term “mold avoidance” after reading the book, A Beginner’s Guide to Mold Avoidance: Techniques Used by Hundreds of Chronic Multisystem Illness Sufferers to Improve Their Health.

This book contains methods that were very foreign to us. They even seemed a bit off the wall. I joined a Facebook group that was moderated by one of the book’s authors, and thought people in the group were doing pretty extreme stuff. Many were getting rid of all their possessions and leaving their homes in search of healing living environments. I kept up with the discussions and experiences that were shared in the group, and had no idea how meaningful their discussions would eventually become for us.

Fast forward several years, and yikes – we were living the strange phenomenon of hypersensitivity to mold toxins. Many people equate mold toxin hypersensitivity to peanut allergies. A small amount of peanut dust or oil can kill a person who is allergic to peanuts, and mold toxins are capable of causing the same reactions. It sounded like strange fiction to read other people’s reports. They couldn’t go in certain buildings, or purchase from specific stores, without severe adverse reactions. Experiencing it ourselves gave us a first-hand look at the “unraveling” of a life of comfort, and one wrong move could land us in the emergency department for life-threatening anaphylactic reactions.

We pieced things together, and realized how much of an impact our environment was having on our health.

Our church, our house, the homes of loved ones, our libraries, our grocery stores – everything became menacing. Our bodies were threatened by our everyday environments, and it seemed bizarre that such tiny particles (mycotoxins and mold spores) could wield so much power.

We’ve since made it through that tunnel of nightmares and are basking in the light on the other side (well my kids would say we’re baking in the light, but that’s because they’re adjusting to our move to the desert ?). Multiple anaphylactic reactions per day have changed to only a couple times a year. How did we do it?

A whole lot of God’s grace mixed with a bunch of mold avoidance!

Learning Along the Way

We made contact with multiple people that had experienced mold toxin exposure. Weeding through the details of their stories, we began to realize that mold avoidance techniques had the quickest, most positive outcomes. The people that were restored to good health after hitting rock bottom had all implemented some principles of mold avoidance. What initially seemed off the wall to us, became one of the only things that made sense! 

Homeopathy 101: Is it Really What You Think it is?

I Do Not Think it Means What You Think it Means.

-Inigo Montoya, The Princess Bride

Do you know what the term homeopathic means?

I’m not sure what you think of when you hear the word “homeopathy”, or how you might use it in a conversation with someone.

I remember the days that I was clueless to the difference between two terms that many people use interchangeably: homeopathic and holistic.  I’ve had a number of conversations where people tell me that they prefer homeopathic remedies to pharmaceutical drugs, but then it becomes clear that the conversation is about holistic medical treatment, not homeopathy.

The term holistic medicine refers to a way of approaching an individual’s health as a whole.  Some doctors treat in a “car mechanic” fashion.  They tend to look at the problem that is making the most noise and either medicate it into silence or remove it.   Holistic medicine considers that the noisy body part may be an alarm for something underlying that needs investigation.  Holistic medicine has an appreciation for the way that our bodies are made, that every part of us is so inter-connected that to separate out various systems without considering the whole does a disservice to the patient as well as the body.  The best medicinal methods consider every alarm that is sounding, not just the loudest one, and how they might be related with each other.

Homeopathy is not entirely removed from holistic medicine, but it would not be correct to use the two terms interchangeably.  Homeopathy is under the umbrella of holistic medicine and is a way of treating symptoms that stimulates a healing response within the body so the body is enabled to heal itself.  Homeopathic medicine is a very sensitive way of treating and considering very specific symptoms, some of which may be so minute, that the patient may not have even realized or given much attention to them.  It is a way of treating that is based on the premise that “like heals like”.

In order to select the correct remedy for treatment, a homeopathic practitioner, or the sick individual or their care provider, considers the patient’s symptom profile as a whole, along with specific preferences and aversions.

For example, say Suzy comes home from school and says that she spent time outside at recess that day, despite it being cold and windy.