Everybody Needs A Pill

In today’s society, there is a pill for everything, God forbid anyone feel anything or get to the root of the problem with lifestyle changes. Why would you want to do hard work when there is an “easy” way, a pill to pop and the problems go away.

Or do they? Have you seen those warnings at the bottom of commercials for any drug they are advertising? They aren’t there because it might happen. They are there because they HAVE happened. People’s organs have shut down. People have died. Think that statistic is miniscule. Think that won’t be you? Think that won’t ever happen to anyone you know?

If you are friends with us, you know it did. Instead of listening to my gut, I listened to the pharmaceutical companies and we landed in the E.R. after an excruciatingly long ambulance ride with my oldest son.

And that’s just our story, the one that wasn’t recorded as an adverse reaction to a vaccine (so those low stats they told you aren’t accurate after all). I know people think I’m crazy, crazy for having a baby outside of a hospital, reckless for not vaccinating Zekie, straight up hippie for using oils (I’ve seen the eye rolls when I mention them), but that’s ok.

Everyone is entitled to their own views. I hope instead of judging us for our path, you will dig a little deeper and see why we’ve made these choices. Here are a couple clips that a friend posted recently that struck a cord with me. Check them out and see what you think. Have you had a reaction to a medication before or been prescribed one you don’t need?







Free Market Health Care?

Here’s an interesting article on why the government can’t save our health care and why a TRUE free market would be best.

The Free Market had Nothing to Do with our Health Care Crisis

Here’s a chart from the article that shows how health care expenses have risen steadily since 1929:

Sources: Samaritan MinistriesNot Even Past

Prayers of Healing

I was recently given this book, Prayers and Promises for My Little Boy and as I was reading through it, one particular prayer hit me (as is often the case):

“Lord, because you have instructed us in Your Word that we are to pray for one another so that we may be healed, I pray for healing and wholeness for – Kingston. I pray that sickness and infirmity will have no place in his life.

I pray for protection against any disease coming into his body. Whenever there is disease, illness, or weakness in him, I pray that You, Lord, would touch him with Your healing power and restore him to total health.”


Would you pray this with us for total healing (& guidance on the right steps for that)?

“Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” —James 5:16

Samaritan Ministries

Mid-July we took the plunge and signed up for Samaritan Ministries. We sent off our application and money and waited for that approval phone call to come. July 23rd our phone rang. As soon as we hung up with SM, we were back on the phone calling to cancel our health insurance.

If you have never heard of SM it is not health insurance. It’s a “biblical, non-insurance approach to health care needs”. Here’s what that means. Instead of sending our money off every month to a large company that most likely spends it on over employing incompetent employees and finding ways to weasel out of covering bills they are supposed to pay, we are now sending our money directly to different people each month to share their medical bills. (Can you tell I’ve had good experiences with insurance companies in the past 😉 )

Here’s the break down:

For our family of 4 (or your family of 3, 6, 9, 12, I didn’t see anywhere a limit on how many kids you could have, but don’t hold me to this) our monthly share is $405 (and that number won’t increase until all members, 33k+, vote to approve an increase.). Every month SM sends out a statement with where we will send our money that month. One month we might send $405 to Sally Jo in TX for her shoulder surgery. The next month we may send our $405 to Ramon in MN for his broken foot. Each month we send our money to another member in need to help share the burden of their medical costs. We know exactly where our money is going and exactly how it is helping other people. We can include letters of encouragement and pray for people all over the country that we’ve never even met. Can your insurance do that?

Doctor bills under $300 are your responsibility, but for sharable needs over $300, members across the country send their monthly share to help you pay those bills. You are responsible for the first $300 of a sharable need, but if you have more than three sharable needs in a 12 month period, the $300 is also shared for all needs after, making it a total of $900 maximum out of pocket for the year.

If your bill was $700 with no discounts, then you would be responsible for the first $300 and SM would share the remaining $400. On the contrary, if your bill was $700, but you received a discount of $300 from your medical provider, making your final bill $400, then SM considers the $300 discount as if you paid the first $300 and shares the whole $400 balance with members even though you didn’t technically pay the additional $300 out of your pocket. I hope that makes sense the way I wrote it.

Another pro of this model of health care sharing is that when you have doctor appointment you are considered self pay. If you’ve never been self pay at a doctor appointment before, it’s pretty amazing. Not only do you know exactly how much your appointment is going to cost before your appointment, (how many times have you been told that they don’t know exactly how much your appointment will cost until it goes through insurance, but it will be roughly anywhere between $200 and $10,000?) but you get a self pay discount.

Example: I was making an appointment to have an ultrasound at a hospital a few years ago and I asked for a price quote. I was told it would be anywhere from $800 – $1,100. I choked and then said, “for self-pay?”, “oh no, you receive a 75% discount for self pay”. You know how much I actually paid when I went in, $125. Seems hospitals like not having to go through insurance either. Hello less staff, less paperwork, less headaches.

Now granted hospitals are typically much higher in the discount giving department. Most doctor offices are in the 10-25% range. But with this model, we get to shop around and pick who we want to use. We don’t have to settle for a doctor we might not like as much only because he accepts our insurance and the other doctor doesn’t.

We have a couple friends who have been using SM and rave about how the process is easy and they can’t imagine ever having to use traditional insurance again. They are who introduced us to this company and why we are now members.

Speaking of friends referring friends, they also have a pretty awesome referral bonus. If you sign up and list us as who referred you, we will get a large credit on our account after you are a member for 3 months. So make sure to tell them we sent you. 😉

These are just the highlights too. We’re excited to be using them now! Check them out and see what you think.

Update 10/8/14: This month our “share” was reduced by 10% because more money was sent in then needs published last month. Now that for sure never happens with insurance!

Update 12/12/14: Our monthly shares were reduced in November and December too. Amazing!

Ultrasound Vs. Birth Defects

While pregnant with Zekie I started to hear rumblings of a link between ultrasounds and autism. But when I began to research it a little bit more, I found research studies were suggesting ultrasounds might not only be related to the rise in autism, but in other birth defects as well. Have you heard this before? Yeah, doubtful your doctor brought it up, probably not because she was trying to hide something, but more likely she doesn’t know either. Here are some excerpts that I found especially interesting and the links to the full articles are listed below if you would like more information.

“As the FDA warned in 2004, “ultrasound is a form of energy, and even at low levels, laboratory studies have shown it can produce physical effect in tissue, such as jarring vibrations and a rise in temperature.”(9) This is consistent with research conducted in 2001 in which an ultrasound transducer aimed directly at a miniature hydrophone placed in a woman’s uterus recorded sound “as loud as a subway train coming into the station.”(10)” – (1)

This statement supports what Jeremy and I had already suspected based off the movements of Kingston during his 19 week ultrasound. He moved away from where the wand was placed and would even cross his arms in front of his face which gave us the impression he was aware of the ultrasound happening and not particularly happy about it.

“The idea that a prenatal ultrasound can be hazardous is not new. The previously mentioned 1982 WHO report, in its summary “Effects of Ultrasound on Biological Systems,” stated that “…animal studies suggest that neurological, behavioral, developmental, immunological, haematological changes and reduced fetal weight can result from exposure to ultrasound.”(25)”

Two years later, when the National Institutes of Health (NIH) held a conference assessing ultrasound risks, it reported that when birth defects occurred, the acoustic output was usually high enough to cause considerable heat.(26). Although the NIH has since stated that the report “is no longer viewed…as guidance for current medical practice,” the facts remain unchanged.

Despite the findings of these two major scientific gatherings, in 1993 the FDA approved an eight-fold increase in the potential acoustical output of ultrasound equipment (27), greatly increasing the possibility of disastrous pregnancy outcomes caused by overheating. Can the fact that this increase in potential thermal effects happened during the same period of time the incidence of autism increased nearly 60-fold be merely coincidental?” – (1)

“Despite long-standing evidence that ultrasound induces thermal effects and that thermal effects can harm fetal brain development, the cause of autism has remained so elusive to researchers that many autism societies use a puzzle piece as part of their logos. Particularly confounding is the fact that ASD plagues the children of high-income, well-educated families who have the best obstetrical care money can buy. Why would women who took their prenatal vitamins, observed healthy diets, refrained from smoking or drinking and attended all regularly scheduled prenatal visits bear children with profound neurologically based problems?”(1)

“What all industrial countries do have in common is the quiet yet pervasive change in obstetrical care: All of them use routine prenatal ultrasound on pregnant women.

In countries with nationalized healthcare, where virtually all pregnant women are exposed to ultrasound, the autism rates are even higher than in the US, where due to disparities in income and health insurance, some 30 percent of pregnant women do not yet undergo ultrasound scanning.” – (1)

“One of the most popular non-medical uses of ultrasound, which can extend a medically indicated session, is to determine the sex of the baby. Could this have a connection to the increase in birth defects involving the genitals and urinary tract? The March of Dimes says that these types of birth defects affect “as many as 1 in 10 babies,” adding that “specific causes of most of these conditions is unknown.”(43)

Following this line of thought, consider what other parts of the body are scrutinized by ultrasound technicians, such as the heart, where serious defects have soared nearly 250 percent between 1989 and 1996.(44) The list of unexplained birth defects is not a short one, and in light of what is emerging about prenatal ultrasound, scientists should take another look at all recent trends, as well as the baffling 30% increase in premature births since 1981, now affecting one in every eight children (45), with many showing subsequent neurological damage.(46)” – (1)

“Ultrasonic energy is known to affect cellular membranes and cell growth.  In fact, ultrasound is used as a therapy to accelerate bone growth following certain traumatic injuries.  In stem cell research, ultrasound has been shown to accelerate development of cells.  Knowing that stems cells are developing into neurons early in the fetal development, it’s quite possible that addition of ultrasound energy might shift that balance.” – (2)

“Like many people, I took for granted the idea that whomever approved ultrasound for clinical use made sure the power levels were low enough that the developing baby wasn’t cooked by its operation, or disintegrated like dirt on jewelry in the cleaning tank.”

“Not so fast,” Manny cautioned me . . . “When ultrasound was developed, it was first used late in pregnancy, when all these risk factors are minimized.  It was also used by trained staff and the machines, being new, were likely well calibrated. Most moms did not get ultrasound at all, and those who did typically received one or two.”

The situation today is totally different.  Many doctors do ultrasound much earlier in an effort to spot other problems, like Down’s syndrome.  It’s common for moms to get three, four, or more ultrasounds done.  Finally and most disturbing, many states have “ultrasound boutiques” in malls where moms can get ultrasounds as art; for the new baby scrapbook.” – (2)

“Ultrasound exposures longer than ten minutes can cause heating, which is clearly not good for a developing fetus, if the reason for the exposure is more vanity than medical. International guidelines suggest that exposures be as low as reasonably achievable (ALARA) to detect any problems with development. More than an hour is considered excessive. The more I learned about current prenatal ultrasound practice, the more concerned I became.” – (3)

Ten years later, researchers reported the same conclusion: “Existing evidence does not provide conclusive evidence that the use of routine umbilical artery Doppler ultrasound, or combination of umbilical and uterine Doppler ultrasound in low-risk or unselected populations benefits either mother or baby. Future studies should be designed to address small changes in perinatal outcome, and should focus on potentially preventable deaths,” (Alfirevic, et al, 2010). Ultrasound very early in pregnancy may carry the greatest risk. “Also, the particular sensitivity of the embryo to physical damage together with uncertainties of both risk and benefit suggest that caution should be applied to the scanning of early first trimester uncomplicated pregnancy,” (Barnett, 2002).” – (3)

“Yes! Today prenatal ultrasound exposure is used more frequently in each pregnancy and can be eight times more intense than it was 30 years ago. Most of the clinical studies establishing the safety profile of prenatal ultrasound were based on the use of machines prior to 1993 — a watershed year in ultrasound technology and its regulation. In 1993, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) increased the allowable output of ultrasound machines eight-fold.

At the time of this increase, FDA failed to ensure that sonographers would be appropriately trained and credentialed to use the newer machines according to recommended international guidelines.” – (3) 

 Just for the record, I had 3 ultrasounds with Kingston (10 wk, 19 wk, and 41 wk) and one with Zekie (19 wk). I definitely wouldn’t do a first trimester ultrasound again, though that decision was made before I had Zeke and not related to anything in these articles.

Obviously this is only a sampling of articles on the topic, and as with so many debatable issues, there are two sides to the story. But I think this is an interesting topic and would love to hear your opinions on the matter, both pros and cons in regards to the increasing use of ultrasounds in prenatal care. Did you know there was even any possibility that ultrasound wasn’t safe? I sure didn’t before Zeke.

1. Midwifery Today – 2006

2. Autism Speaks – 2012

3. Huffington Post – 2014