Hello World!

(Not Wren!)

Well, sort of Wren… Juney Wren Jones was born at 11:08AM PST on Tuesday, November 29th at Ronald Reagan UCLA Hospital. She is 18.5″ long and 7.25 lbs heavy and she kind of looks like this:

So far so good! Tweeny is doing fine too!

If you want to email Juney (she can read it when she’s older), it’s Juney at wrenjones dot com!

Not Salt!

Meet Betsy, the 8-yo Samoyed we just got two days ago from a foster family via the Samoyed rescue!

She has a bad case of separation anxiety, but seems to work pretty well otherwise.

She doesn’t bark in the car!

The Inside Scoop

My dad doesn’t want to know the gender, so he better not read this post!

We just went back for our twenty week checkup/ultrasound and as usual they gave us a DVD which I have ripped to YouTube (it’s just everything they did.. 17:10 long.. I cut out the first 2:20 of the intern bumbling around to keep it under the 15 minute YouTube maximum).

See if you can figure out what gender it is from the ultrasound pics! Check the comments for the answer!

The 3D pictures are kind of funny because the ultrasound technicians are all like “So CUTE!” and all I can think is “for a pig face!” The one face-on isn’t so bad if you don’t look above the bottom lip I guess..

Same story, different ending!

Rhianna just commented on the gbs and alternative remedies post:

Hi there!

I was just reading your blog. You are correct in saying there is so little out there about the Dangers of GBS… my son was born just 2 weeks before your Wren, he got pneumonia caused my GBS also. Luckily, we were in the hospital for his birth and the nurse happened to hear him making the noises while breathing. He was my 2nd baby and my 1st was a grunter, so I thought it was similar, but you are right, there is a certain noise that a child in respiratory distress makes and it’s hard to just know it isn’t normal when you hear it.

The nurse took him and got him checked out. They started antibiotics right away, while running tests, later to find out it was GBS. My labor had been only 2.5 hours start to finish, so I hadn’t gotten the antibiotics. He was though born at 37w2d, so his risk should have been slightly lower… he was a healthy 8lb baby and healthy in every way, other than the sudden early-onset of GBS.

Anyways, all this to say, I’m due in the next 4 weeks to have another baby. I’ve done lots of natural treatments to prevent the GBS, just in case, but I will also get the iv during labor… it’s a scary thing, but the hospital will be monitoring my baby immediately after birth to be sure there are no signs of it happening again.

I’m so sorry for your loss. I appreciate the effort you are putting into getting the word out there about the dangers of GBS. It is a very scary thing that so many people don’t understand how important it is to be tested and to be treated. If you
are interested, you are welcome to email me and see how my 2nd birth goes and whether this baby has any GBS complications… I know you are expecting another baby (or I gathered that from reading your most recent post) so I know you’ll be hightailing even more research… Thanks again.

Hey Rhianna,

Wow, our stories are so similar… just two weeks before, within 4 days gestationally, no IV, and pneumonia due to GBS. Thank you very much for the note.. I only wish we hadn’t had a home birth, maybe our story could have turned out like yours.

We’re pretty worried about GBS again now with this pregnancy, but are confident that if we just get the antibiotic IV as soon as Tweeny goes into labor or her water breaks, and if we carefully monitor the baby in a hospital afterwards, we should be fine.

We are also considering perhaps even doing a planned c-section at 39 weeks (if we get there!) to REALLY minimize any chances of GBS entering the uterus even before labor (possibly resulting in stillbirth) or infecting this baby during labor. You might want to talk to your doctors about this possibility too.. it really is the overall safest way to get the baby out! 🙂

As I’m sure you already saw in the post, alternative remedies for GBS really don’t do anything. They shouldn’t hurt really(except for douching! Never douche!), except in that they provide a dangerous false sense of security. The ONLY thing that matters is getting that IV as soon as you can and monitoring your baby after birth. Since you already had a prior baby with infectious GBS disease like us, you don’t need to get tested this time around… for this and all future pregnancies you just get the IV.

I would love to hear how it goes this time around. I’m confident everything will go fine though! Good luck!!


New Babies!

I say “babies”, but it’s just one. I say “babies” because we thought early on maybe we’d have twins because we did IUI and right before the doctor injected my spermies he saw two eggs! And because Tweeny got so big so fast this time!

But it’s just one, and it’s a boy or a girl still. We’ll find out more details on that in a month!

GBS warning signs and symptoms

Guggie Daly posted a comment:

I’m sorry for your loss! I wish that along with the routine testing and routine administration of antibiotics, the CDC would compel doctors to share the warning signs/symptoms with EVERY mother. Antibiotics given during labor are not 100% effective, but the false sense of security can lead to a fast, deadly ending.

I wish you would edit this to add the warning symptoms of neonatal infection and to tell the parents what to do when those symptoms are present.

She makes a good point!

I don’t have audio or video of all the warning signs, but I do have at least good audio and video of the “labored breathing” or “grunting” that Wren was exhibiting. Feel free to use and distribute the clips below however you’d like.. and if you have any other media examples of GBS warning signs and symptoms, please post links to them in the contents and I’ll update this post!

The stated warning signs are: breathing issues or grunting, difficulty feeding (especially if they fed earlier), fever or other temperature issues, seizures, stiffness, extreme limpness, or any unusual change in behavior.

Go to the emergency room if any of these symptoms occur, or if you’re not sure. Newborn babies are very delicate!


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One Year Dead

Happy Birthday little guy.

I wish I could meet the one-year old you. I don’t even know what one year olds are supposed to be like. Walking around I guess, not talking yet? Maybe still crawling. Eating solid foods I suppose. How big are you supposed to be now? 20 pounds? 30 pounds? 40?

I love you. I still can’t really say your name, Wren, out loud without starting to choke up. Most of the time I’m in the car by myself I cry a little. I blame myself for your death. Nothing matters anymore but you and Tweeny. I made epubbud for you but who cares?

If only we’d never seen the fucking “Business of Being Born.”

If only we didn’t live in hippy dippy Santa Monica.

If only we couldn’t afford to do a home birth.

If only there had been some pregnancy complication.

If only the OBs had told us WHY we shouldn’t do a home birth.

If only the OBs had explained GBS to us.

If only the OBs had called when the positive test results came back.

If only my birthday hadn’t been on March 4th.

If only we didn’t go to Vegas for my birthday.

If only you came a day later.

If only you came a few days earlier, while we were in Vegas.

If only the midwives fucking gave a shit about GBS back then.

If only they’d stuck around longer.

If only anybody else was around, and maybe recognized labored breathing.

If only we’d been better at googling “baby makes breathing noise.”

If only we’d gotten a pediatric appointment for the same day.

If only I hadn’t laid you on my chest and read a magazine.

If only I hadn’t been wearing a red shirt.

If only I’d done some research.

If only I didn’t get stuck in one frame of mind.

If only we hadn’t been so goddamnned smug.

Happy Birthday Wren.

GBS and Alternative Remedies and Treatments

About three months ago Marti from Group B Strep International asked if I would be interested in writing up something about all the various “alternative remedies” and “alternative treatments” for GBS and how effective they were.

I said “sure!” And here it is, 3 months later (also available as a 1-page word doc):

Group B Strep and Alternative Remedies

The CDC has a clear protocol for treating GBS in pregnancy; test every pregnant woman for the presence of the bacterium at 35-37 weeks and if found administer an antibiotic IV when water breaks or labor begins.

This is the only treatment that the CDC has found to be effective against GBS, but it works very well. There are two reasons why.

1. Group B Strep Comes Back

GBS is everywhere in our environment. Until a GBS vaccine is developed, it is impossible to eradicate it permanently. GBS colonization will often return to a healthy woman within just hours of using antibiotics.

2. Group B Strep Is Weak

GBS is not a particularly “strong” bacteria. Although many people are colonized, only those with very weak immune systems actually get infected.

This is why the only effective technique against early-onset GBS infection in newborns is an intrapartum antibiotic IV. It eradicates GBS exactly when the baby is susceptible.

Alternative Remedies Target the Wrong Things

Unfortunately, all known alternative remedies fall into one of two equally ineffective strategies: they seek to eradicate GBS before labor (even if effective, GBS will likely return quickly), or they seek to strengthen the immune system of the mother (already plenty strong) or child (far too weak without the help of an injection of powerful antibiotics). Even when successful, they are ineffective.

The following alternative remedies are ineffective against GBS because they seek to eradicate GBS before labor and delivery (or because when used during labor and delivery, they have not been shown to work):

Oral antibiotics (penicillin, ampicillin, clindamycin, etc..)
Intramuscular antibiotics (Note: “None has proven to
be effective at preventing early-onset GBS disease.”)
Chlorhexidine bath or wipes such as Hibiclens (Note: “Randomized clinical trials have found no protection against early-onset GBS disease or neonatal sepsis.”)
Garlic capsules/suppositories, Boric Acid suppositories (Note: Target MRSA and yeast infections, respectively. Not GBS.)
Douching with hydrogen peroxide/diluted bleach water/lavender oil/yogurt (Note: douching at all is dangerous.)
Propolis (Note: Targets salmonella. Not GBS.)
Tea Tree Oil (Note: Targets staph infections and lice. Not GBS. Very toxic if swallowed.)
Apple Cider Vinegar (Note: Slightly dangerous, unregulated; no known antibiotic properties.)
Colloidal Silver (Note: “Lack of proven effectiveness and risk of adverse side-effects, such as argyria.”)

The following alternative remedies are ineffective against GBS because they seek to strengthen immune systems:

• Getting lots of sleep, keeping a good diet, and exercising.
Vitamin C and Herbal Tea
Breast feeding (Note: Colostrum helps a baby’s immune system, but unfortunately is not nearly enough to protect a newborn against GBS.)
Skin-to-skin contact (Note: Soothes newborns and promotes breastfeeding, but does not protect against GBS.)
Probiotics such as acidophilus/lactobacillus (Note: Targets digestion and bacterial vaginosis, not GBS.)
Congaplex (Note: “These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.”)
Echinacea (Note: “Has “no clinically significant effects” on rates of infection or duration or intensity of symptoms.”)
Grapefruit Seed Extract (Note: “Independent studies have shown the efficacy of grapefruit seed extract as an antimicrobial is not demonstrated.”)
Goldenseal Root, Oregon Grape Root, Astragalus Root, Burdock Root, and NF formula EHB (Note: You should not take any of these when pregnant!)

Another alternative some still recommend is to not test for GBS, but rather to only administer an antibiotic IV if a “high-risk” factor is present during labor. In fact, this was the CDC protocol before 2002. However, numerous studies since have shown that a much more effective protection method is to simply check for GBS directly each pregnancy. Therefore, the CDC changed their recommendation in 2002 and reiterated that recommendation in 2010.

GBS is a horrible disease that kills thousands of otherwise healthy newborns a year, and permanently disables even more. The tragedy is worsened by the fact that there is a universally available easy, cheap, and highly effective prevention method. No more babies need ever get sick or die from GBS.

(Personal note: We followed an alternative GBS regimen of acidophilus, echinacea, garlic capsules, vitamin C, grapefruit seed extract, and garlic suppositories when pregnant with our son Wren. He was 7 pounds, 20.5 inches and perfect after a normal labor and delivery at home. He breastfed then died 11 hours later from a Group B Strep infection in his lungs.)

CDC Updated GBS Guidelines

The CDC updated their GBS guidelines today.. which is a pretty big deal!

They first released their guidelines in 1996, then updated them in 2002, and now updated them again today.

The full recommendations are here.

The summary of the key changes are:

• expanded recommendations on laboratory methods for the identification of GBS,

• clarification of the colony-count threshold required for reporting GBS detected in the urine of pregnant women,

• updated algorithms for GBS screening and intrapartum chemoprophylaxis for women with preterm labor or preterm premature rupture of membranes,

• a change in the recommended dose of penicillin-G for chemoprophylaxis,

• updated prophylaxis regimens for women with penicillin allergy, and

• a revised algorithm for management of newborns with respect to risk for early-onset GBS disease.

A GBS flowchart

I made this because I think the CDC one (and other’s I’ve seen) are kind of confusing. Hopefully this one is better.. it’s 100% functionally the same as the CDC recommendations.

You can download it as a PDF here too!

And don’t forget my (now recently updated) GBS frequently asked questions doc here!