Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Forrest Robert Day: A Birth Story

Forrest Robert Day, 6 lbs 10 oz, 18.5 inches long, was born on the 10th of May, 2013 at 5:15 pm. In order for you to fully understand how much this birth meant to me as a person, a mother, and a woman, I first need to explain the circumstances of this pregnancy and also why I fought so hard for my VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean).

As many of you know, Cash was born 6 weeks early on Christmas Day 2011. The birth was beautiful, but didn’t necessarily pan out the way I had envisioned. When I realized I was in labor, I was terrified. I felt unprepared and scared. I had no idea what to expect and was worried that he was so early. To make a long story short, I had a long and painful labor that ended in a c-section and my baby being taken to the NICU immediately. I didn’t get to hold my own baby for two days.  He stayed in the NICU for three weeks to the day. This was definitely one of the most trying times of my life.  Looking back on this now, I don’t necessarily have negative feelings about the experience; after all I have my beautiful baby boy who lights up my entire life. However, I knew that this was far from the experience I wanted with my future births.  Instead of feeling helpless, unprepared, and uniformed, I was determined to do things differently the next time.

Fast-forward seven months. It was a few weeks into the month of August, and only three weeks after the very unexpected and sudden death of my wonderful father, when I took a pregnancy test. I couldn’t believe it when two lines showed up on the test confirming to me that I was in fact expecting again. Usually this would be a joyful time for any couple, but I will admit that I had a difficult time accepting this pregnancy for several weeks. There were a lot of tears shed, not because I didn’t want another child, but because it wasn’t “in the plan” yet, and I was also still doing some serious grieving over the loss of my dad. I also felt a lot of remorse and guilt about “cheating” my Cash. I felt like he would be robbed of special time with me once the baby came and felt so awful as a mother.  It was a very emotional time for us. Over the coming months these feelings gradually started to subside and I was able to get excited about this new chapter in my life.

As I prepared for this birth, I knew I wanted to try something different. I took better care of myself, I ate like a goddess, I taught and practiced prenatal yoga for nearly the entire pregnancy, and I took extra efforts to stay hydrated.  I embraced the pregnancy and the changes that were happening with my body. I learned to love my pregnant self, taking pride in my body and what it was capable of. I also took a different approach with how I was going to prepare for the labor. I had friends who had done hypnobirthing in the past and loved it. I decided to sign up for the classes and before I knew it I was completely immersed in everything birth related.  These classes taught me to birth without fear, how to take back control, how to be confident and knowledgeable about my body and my options at birth. It reinforced the notion that our bodies are made for birthing, and that we need to trust in them and the birthing process. It helped me turn fear into excitement and anticipation. Through exploring many options, I decided that I was going to do an unmedicated VBAC. I prepared diligently, listening to my relaxation tracks several times daily, doing fear releases and guided imagery daily, practicing relaxation techniques with Brody, and reading as much birth material as I could get my hands on. I hired a doula, I bought my own birthing gown to bring to the hospital, and I even created a book full of positive and empowering quotes about birth that I read each day.  I was determined to be ready this time.

Throughout all of this, I still had a lot of fear and anxiety to work through. Since Cash was born six weeks early, I had a very real fear that this would happen again, and that my baby would be taken from me and rushed to the NICU. I also had experienced contractions very early on in this pregnancy, which resulted in me having to quit work and take other precautions. I agreed to take progesterone shots weekly throughout the pregnancy hoping that this would help me go full term. I also worked so hard emotionally and mentally by doing fear release hypnosis daily, if not several times a day as I approached that 34 week mark.  Once 34 weeks came, I knew that each day that my baby was still inside me was a blessing. Then came 35 weeks, then 36, then 37! I was full term! Words could not explain how ecstatic I was about this. Then the days kept passing and before I knew it (and with my doctors amazement) I made it to my 39 week appointment. Without the stress of having a preemie baby, I knew nothing would stop me from accomplishing the birth I envisioned. I went into labor the very next day.

The Birth:

(disclaimer: since this was a hypnobithing birth, I will use hypnobirthing language. To avoid confusion, the word “surge” will be used instead of “contraction.”

It was about six in the morning on the 8th of May, when my water broke. I had just finished going to the bathroom when I stood up and a small gush of fluid ran down my leg. My initial thought was that I wasn’t finished going to the bathroom so I sat back down. Nothing else happened. Then I stood up again and the same thing happened. “Oh great” I thought, “now I have no control over my bladder.” After a few minutes of this I quickly realized that my water had broken. I was so excited. I was ready.  I informed Brody and he took the day off of work. After a few hours I started to get concerned because I was not having any surges and I didn’t appear to be going into labor. I knew that most women will deliver safely within 48 hours of their water breaking with no problems, but also knew that doctors encourage you to only go about 24 hours before intervening. We decided to go on a long walk around the neighborhood to try to encourage surges. They came, but were very sporadic and spread apart. Once back home I decided to take a nap and relax. After a few hours, I woke back up and was excited that the surges were moving in the right direction. I texted my doula (Laurel) to give her a heads up and then decided to bake some cookies for her as well as for the nurses and doctor at the hospital. The stark contrast between this onset of labor and my first labor were unbelievable. With my first I was immediately in tears and shaking because of fear. This time around I was as excited as a little kid on Christmas morning; baking cookies, banana bread, and getting together other treats for my birth team. It was a welcomed change.

As the day went on the surges slowly progressed but I was able to walk and talk through them. Later that afternoon my mom came over to pick up Cash. Reality hit me as I was packing him up to go, that he would no longer be my only baby. A wave of emotion came over me as I tried to give him a few extra hugs and kisses before he left. His whole life was about to change, but I knew deep down that it would be changing for the better.

Brody and I spent the afternoon watching movies and relaxing. I was laying comfortably on my birth ball breathing easily through each surge. Later on in the afternoon my Doula came over to check in on me.  As soon as she arrived I felt the surges slow down and nearly come to a stop. I think it was because I subconsciously was worried about putting her out since I knew I was still in early labor. She was sweet though and encouraged me to not worry about that. We watched another movie and afterwards went on another walk to encourage labor to speed up.  The surges were about 5 minutes apart but were very manageable so Laurel decided she would go home while I napped and ate dinner. After only a few hours I called her back because things had sped up significantly. She arrived at about 9 pm and we continued to labor at home for several hours. As each surge came, she and Brody would help me to my hands and knees and apply pressure to my hips and back. She would whisper to me to relax and to go deeper into my meditation while Brody practiced light touch massage. At one point Laurel sat by my bedside and read me a fear release script as I tried to relax through surges.  It was getting more noticeably intense and I started to feel that it was time to go to the hospital. I knew I wanted to do a lot of my laboring at home, but also wanted to get to the hospital in time to get comfortable and situated before the birth. I also knew that since my water had broke that going into the hospital would put me “on the clock” and could possibly start to pressure me to interventions that I did not want.  Laurel, who is trained to do cervical checks, told me that she didn’t want to check since she didn’t want to introduce any bacteria that might cause any type of infection or complications, but encouraged me to try to check myself (since you are immune to your own germs). I went in the bathroom and did my best but wasn’t very confident in what I was doing. As I was checking a huge gush of fluid came out all over the bathroom floor. When I came out of the bathroom Laurel tried to explain to me how to tell how open (dilated) I was and we came to a guess that I was a 5 or 6.  That was enough for me to feel ready to go to the hospital even though I knew they would hook me up to an IV and administer antibiotics.

At about 1:30 am we packed up the car and were off. After a short car ride, and several intense surges in the parking lot, elevator, and hospital hallway, I was finally set up in the triage room and the nurse was checking my cervix. My heart absolutely sank when she told me that I was not even a 2. I started to have flashbacks of my first birth and felt very, very discouraged. Laurel explained to me that because my water broke, there was a possibility that my surges would be much more intense than they would have been without the water being broken. I threw a small pity party for myself as I thought about how much longer I had to go and how intense my surges already were.  I put on my hypnosis tracks and tried to get my courage back. They emitted me to the hospital and took us to my room. 

After we got settled in, the doctor came in and informed me that they were starting the antibiotics and that I had a few options. They were willing to let me go a couple of hours to progress on my own, but warned me that if I hadn’t shown much progression at the 24 hour mark of my water breaking they would need to talk seriously about a c-section.  I had only a few hours to prove that my body could do this on its own. I broke down, crying to the nurses that I didn’t want another c-section. This was the only moment in my labor that I felt fear; fear that my control would be taken away as well as my dreams of a vaginal birth. At this point I had to make some critical decisions. I had my birth plan, that I prepared so diligently for, but also knew that sometimes you have to sacrifice some of your wishes. I knew going into the birth that I wanted to go without an epidural but also knew that the most important outcome was the VBAC, regardless of how I achieved it. After discussing the options with Laurel and Brody we decided that the best option at this point would be to get the epidural so I could rest, seeing as the labor had been going for so long already and had a long way to go. I felt confident in this decision and empowered knowing that without that rest I would not be able to deliver vaginally.  The epidural was amazing; I’m not going to lie. It was what they call a “walking epidural” which means I could still move my legs, and still feel each contraction, but it took the ease off just enough that I could rest in comfort. It kicked in quickly and we were all able to get some much-needed sleep.

While I was resting I kept using some of my hypnosis techniques that I had practiced so diligently in preparation for this birth. Throughout this pregnancy, I have always felt a closeness to my Dad. I had a distinct feeling that this little baby was with my Dad, preparing to come down to meet me. I also believed that this baby would teach me things, things that I “missed out” on learning from my Dad since he was taken at such a young age.  Everything my Dad didn’t get to teach me, I would learn from this baby throughout the rest of my life.  During this meditation, I was taken to places that were meaningful to my Dad; places where special memories were made; places that we went together; places that we both loved. It felt so real. I felt an overwhelming feeling of peace and comfort during this time and when I “woke up” again I knew that everything was going to work out for the best. I felt confident and at ease.

Once we all woke up we decided to do some natural things to help labor progress. I wanted to do all that I could because I knew that the next cervix check would make the difference between a c-section and a VBAC. They needed to see progress. We did more pressure points, we applied clary sage and fennel essential oils to my belly, and I even took out my breast pump and started pumping for some nipple stimulation. After two hours the nurse came back in to check me and I was thrilled  to hear that I had progressed to a 4! The doctor came in to tell me that even though I had passed my 24-hour point, they wouldn’t need to intervene as long as it continued to progress on its own. This was a huge blessing to me because some doctors would not be willing to let me do this. I was so happy. I knew I still had a long way to go, but also was confident that my body was able to do this.  

By this point it was late morning and I decided that I wanted to have my mom, mother-in-law, and my son come visit me. It was so nice to have them come visit and encourage me. It was a welcomed relief from the hard work that labor had been so far. Hours continued to pass, the nurses came in to check me periodically and each time I was progressing, slowly but surely. Finally, finally, finally, she told me that I was a ten and that soon I would be able to start pushing. She told me that I had a small cervical lip that was in the way but that with some gentle pushes and a little more time it might go away.  At this point I had everyone except my birth team leave the room and I started to use my breath to gently push past that cervical lip. The nurse came in after about an hour and said it was completely gone. She told me that I could now push when I felt the urge to push. It was wonderful that she respected my wishes and didn’t do any coached pushing throughout the entire delivery. I asked her at this point to turn the epidural off because I knew that my pushing time would diminish drastically if I could feel more, and I wanted to be able to feel this part as insane as it sounds. 

Here comes the crazy part. I pushed, and I pushed hard, and hours were passing. I was starting to get frustrated and exhausted. At this point I was coming up on nearly 35 hours of labor and I didn’t know how much more I could do. The epidural had worn off and all I could feel was pain. Yes I used the pain word….I told myself that during this labor I would avoid that word, and this is the only time I vocally said it, but it is what I felt. Pain. I started to fall apart emotionally. I cried and begged the nurse to turn the epidural back on. She did, but it didn’t work. I kept trying to turn it up with no avail. I could still feel so much. I checked out for a while, deciding that I had no energy left to push. I laid on my right side and felt as if I was going in and out of consciousness.  I have no idea how much time passed while I was in this state. The next thing I hear is the nurse coming in to tell me that the baby’s heart rate was not recovering very well from the last three surges and that if it continued to do this, the doctor would come out of the surgery that he was currently in, to come and take me back for an emergency c-section. She said that now is the time to do something if I wanted my vaginal birth and that she would help me get there as long as I listened to her and did what she said. “When the doctor arrives, he better see the head” she told me. This immediately snapped me out of my daze and I knew what I needed to do. I turned to a new position on my back, grabbed my legs while Brody and Laurel supported them, and started to push with everything I had during each surge. The nurse encouraged me with each surge without coaching me. Instantly the baby’s heart rate recovered and the tension diminished. I continued to push though, seeing that time was not working in my favor at this point. Laurel called for back up since she was so physically exhausted and two more doulas arrived shortly. I had so much support in that room, it was unbelievable.  Natalie, one of the back up doulas, hugged me and whispered some energy work to me helping me get the courage to continue, while everyone else continued to encourage me in other ways.

Although I was so physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausted, an overwhelming feeling of power overcame me at this point.  With each surge I pushed as hard as I could. At the end of each surge I would scream. This wasn’t a scream of pain (although I could feel just about everything) but rather a scream of control. I was in control and this was going to happen the way I wanted it to. I am embarrassed to think of what everyone was thinking outside the room, but I in the moment I didn’t care. I was using every fiber in my being to give birth to this baby. That is when they told me that they could see the head. I reached down to feel it, as if I didn’t believe them, and there it was. I was close. The nurse also informed me that the baby was posterior facing (which might explain why I had been pushing for so long with not a lot of success). Posterior facing babies are one of the leading causes of c-sections seeing as it is much more difficult for the baby to pass through the birthing canal this way. I didn’t let this discourage me. Each surge was getting more and more effective and I could feel the baby moving down. Finally, the nurse had to run and get the doctor because he wasn’t going to make it in time. When he came in he was surprised to see how close I was and immediately get set for the birth.

 I worked, I yelled, I screamed, I grunted. I cried out to the baby, asking him to please come now. I remember pleading with my Dad in my head, telling him that it was time to let him come, that he needed to say goodbye, and that I would take such good care of this baby.  At this moment, I very distinctly felt a hand on my shoulder. When I opened my eyes to see who it was that was touching me, I was very surprised to see that it wasn’t anybody from the room. I had always been a believer that God sends angles down to help laboring women, but now I had a conviction that it was true; I felt my Dad in the room with me.  At this moment, the final song of my birthing CD started to play. It was the instrumental theme song from the Forest Gump sound track. It was one of my Dad’s favorite songs, one that we listened to so many times together. Brody and I were overcome with emotion and with one final push, the head was out, and without much effort the rest of the baby followed. Tears of joy were on were on nearly everyone’s’ faces as they placed the baby on my chest. Brody kissed me and whispered to me that we should name him Forrest, which seemed so fitting after the birth. His middle name would be Robert (after my father).


I did it. I had my VBAC. I gave birth to my son.  With so many things that could have worked against this (premature breaking of my water, slow dilation, cervical lip, posterior facing baby, 38 hours of labor and 4 hours of pushing,) I still did it. 


I’m so grateful for all the supportive hands during my labor. I couldn’t have done it without my amazing husband Brody, my wonderful doula Laurel, as well as the back up doulas Natalie and Mary, and of course the nurses and doctors who so graciously read and followed my birth plan, exercising patience and care. Also, I cannot leave out all my supportive family members and friends throughout the pregnancy and amazing birth.  But also I need to recognize myself and my own abilities. I am a strong person and I believed in myself throughout the entire process. I never doubted my body’s capabilities and trusted myself. I was never out of control, never helpless, never fearful. Instead I was in control, informed and empowered.

Daddy holding Forrest

Cash Meeting his little brother for the very first time!

Two car seats!

My little Forrest

Friday, May 3, 2013

A Letter From Mommy

My Dearest Cashton,


 I’m writing this letter to you because in a few short days you will no longer be my baby. Well, technically, you will ALWAYS be my baby, (and I will always have the right to call you that) but shortly you will become a big brother and you will no longer be my only baby.

I just wanted to tell you how much you have changed my life. You light up each and every one of my days. You are growing so fast and getting so smart each and every day. You are the sweetest baby I have ever met, and I'm not saying that because I am your mother. You are so trusting of everyone, so friendly, kind, playful, handsome, smart, adorable, and amazing.  I have loved being your mommy and love watching you grow…. although I wish you wouldn’t grow so fast.

 Some of my favorite things about you are the cuddles that you give mommy each morning and night. You love to snuggle right up next to mommy.  I also love your little babbles. You say “gol gee” all the time and it is so cute. You also know words like kitty “kee” and boo woo “boo.” You know where your toes are and will point when I ask you to show me.  You love it outside and constantly bring me your shoes so we can go play. You point out the window and say “day” and sometimes get upset if we can’t go outside. You also love shoes; you will put my boots on your hands and walk around the apartment wearing them. You are a silly boy. You are just learning to dance when mommy plays music to you, which is really cute. Also you love to make messes, but you often put everything “away” after…. sometimes we find things in really funny places. The other day I was packing up my hospital bag for when the baby comes and inside it I found a spatula, a can of chicken, and one of your toys. It made me smile!

You love food! A few of your favorite things are cheese, scrambled eggs, bananas, peanut butter, and pasta of any kind! Mommy has to sneak some veggies into your food though because you need to grow up big and strong.  You also have two different “voices” as we like to call it. You have your “Brody voice” where you are very loud and like to yell, and then you have your “Nikki voice” where you whisper and are very quite. We never know which one we are going to get.

 Another one of my favorite things is how lately you come up to my belly and kiss and hug the “baby.” You will be such a good big brother. You will be such a good example to your siblings and will always look after them. I know that right now you don’t know what is coming, and you don’t know how different things will be. Mommy worries that it will be a hard adjustment for you because I wont be able to give you all of my attention. I hope you will always feel how much mommy loves you. You will always hold a very special place in my heart that nobody else will be able to fill. I love you more than words can say and have loved the special time we have been able to spend together over the last 16 months.  We have a few more days of time together, just the two of us, and I will make the most of every second. We will go outside as many times a day as you want, we can go to the park and swing and go down the slides. Ill read as many books as you want! We can snuggle all day and night. Ill let you make messes and ill help you make them. Ill even give you a little extra peanut butter if you want it.

I love you peanut, love, Mommy

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Cash's Story

So where to begin…Obviously it has been a while since I have blogged and a TON has happened, but for readers sake I will try to keep it as short as possible.

WE HAD OUR BABY!! Cashton Porter Day was born on Christmas Day at 7 pm exactly. And yes for all you math people, he was early. 5 weeks and 1 day early to be exact. What possessed this little one to do such a thing is still a mystery to all of us but nonetheless we are so blessed that we had those extra 5 weeks with him. Here is the story of how the drama unfolded.

It was the week before Christmas and uncomfortable is an UNDERSTATEMENT to describe how I was feeling. I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t stand, I couldn’t sit, I couldn’t lay down; and the thought of another month of being pregnant pretty much put me into a deep depression…ok not really, I'm being a little dramatic, but it was BAD! Then one day out of nowhere I was completely better. I had a ton of energy, I could breathe, and I had this urge to deep clean the entire apartment, make frozen dinners for once he arrived, and set up his entire nursery. And yes, I had heard about this whole “nesting” thing that happens before you go into labor, but I was still a month out so I didn’t think anything of it. Little did I know…

It was Christmas Eve that I started having contractions at about 11 am. We were at a family Christmas party, and at first I wasn’t sure what was going on. All I knew is that they were consistent and getting more intense. Finally, four hours later, I was convinced to go to the hospital to see what was going on. At first the nurses told me that I was most likely in false labor (which is where your body thinks you are in labor but nothing happens). False labor can be just as painful as real labor but without the prize at the end. A little frustrated that this is how we were spending our Christmas Eve, we waited for the nurses to confirm what they suspected. After an hour they came back in and were surprised that I was actually dilating! This was the real deal they said, however since I was so early, and since I was dilating so slowly they said they were going to try to stop it. They sent me home, but before they did they doped me up on a mixture of morphine and ambien… and yes I slept well that night… They told me one of two things would happen. A) The contractions would stop and not come back, or B) they would stop, but come back in the morning full fledged and there would be no stopping it.

The contractions stopped and Christmas morning rolled around and I seemed ok. We headed up to Sandy to celebrate with our families. Literally as soon as we walked in to Brody’s parent’s house the contractions started again. They increased in intensity fairly quickly but I was aware of how slow I was dilating and wasn’t going to go into the hospital until I was ready to pop this thing out. So we decided to open gifts. Before I knew it, the contractions were getting pretty hard to handle. I would open a gift with a smile on my face, and then immediately after curl up on the couch in tears for about 40 seconds, and then return to opening my next gift. It was quite the site…. I think Brody’s grandpa almost drove me to the hospital himself, but I insisted that I was fine and we went to my parent’s house. By this time the contractions were BAD. We walked in the door, sat down, and literally stood back up, announced that we were going to the hospital, and walked back out the door.

My contractions were about every 3 minutes and were lasting about 90 seconds. Lets just say Brody drove well over the speed limit to Orem and my mom thought she was going to be delivering a baby in the car…. As we got to the hospital I “walked” in to labor and delivery and they quickly checked me. I was dilated to a 3. My heart sank. They had no explanation as to why I was dilating so slowly, but the hooked me up to be monitored and gave me some morphine. They couldn’t help me out more than that since I was only 35 weeks. The contractions continued to get closer together, and finally were to the point where they were basically overlapping. They continued to give me morphine shots but considering that I hadn’t eaten in nearly a day my stomach wasn’t too happy. Before I knew it I was throwing up everywhere (more than I think I have ever thrown up in my life). The pain wouldn’t go away and it was literally the worst pain I have ever felt. You know when you see labor in movies and the woman is screaming in pain…ya that was me. I was swearing at the nurses, I was losing consciousness in between contractions and I didn’t know how much more I could take.

6 hours later…I was still only a 3. At this point I still hadn’t even seen a doctor because lets face it, it was Christmas and he wasn’t going to come in until he absolutely had to. Finally, assuming that they knew, I mentioned that the baby had been breeched in the past few ultrasounds and wondered if this could be causing the problem. The nurse had an “ah ha” moment and said that she would order an ultrasound. Why I hadn’t been checked since arriving at the hospital is still something I will never understand to this day. Sure enough, baby was trying to come out butt first, which explained why I wasn’t dilating. Now the doctor had arrived. They tried to turn the baby but had no success.

At this point I had been in labor for going on 30 hours. I was exhausted and in unimaginable pain. For those of you who know me, you know I am deathly afraid of needles and going into this the IV and epidural were two big concerns for me. However after 30 hours of labor I was begging them to poke me. During both I didn’t even shed a tear…this was a miracle in itself that I still cant believe happened.

Before I knew it, I was pain free and unable to move or feel from the waist down, and being wheeled off to the OR. Brody was coming with me and looking very attractive in his blue hospital attire….

Once in the OR, they prepped me for the C-section. Normally, this would have been a time of great anxiety for me. I don’t do well in hospitals, especially operating rooms; I was about to be cut open, my baby was early, he was under stress, and my blood pressure was plummeting as we spoke. However, I was so calm and at peace. I just knew that everything would be ok and didn’t have any fear. I know that this can be attributed to the priesthood blessing that Brody gave to be before leaving to the hospital. I have no other explanation for this miracle, and know that it was through the priesthood that this occurred.

And then I heard the cry. That first breath of air. He was here. I couldn’t see him yet (in fact all I could see was a big blue sheet) but just hearing that cry INSTANTLY made my 31 hours of labor COMPLETLEY worth it. I can’t describe in words the feeling of hearing your baby cry for the first time. This instant, without question, was the single best moment of my life.

Our Christmas baby arrived at 7 pm exactly, weighing in at just 5 lbs and 3 oz. He was a little guy, but boy was he a cutie. When they finally showed him to me the first time I was convinced that my drugs were too strong and that I was hallucinating because no new born baby could be that cute. I kissed his cheek and then they took him to the NICU for evaluations.

Cash was fine, just premature and needed to stay in the NICU, and little did I know how hard the next few weeks would be for us. I was discharged from the hospital after four days, and leaving him there while I went home was one of the hardest things I have ever done. I cried for nearly 5 hours straight that night. Cash stayed in the NICU for three weeks to the day and Brody and I spent hours each day with him. He had his setbacks while in there, including getting RSV and having to be put in isolation, but he was such a little trooper. He gave me courage when I didn’t think I could do it anymore. We received so much support from family, friends and from the ward during this time. We had dinner brought to us nightly for 3 weeks straight. We had countless prayers uttered on our behalf and even had a family fast. Those three weeks were some of the most trying times of my life, but I learned a lot about myself and became stronger for what we were going through.

But our NICU trial did end. The day we were able to bring him home was one of the most exciting things I have experienced. We gratefully said goodbye to the nurses who had been taking care of our baby for nearly a month and welcomed Cash to his new home, a home with no monitors beeping constantly, no IVs or oxygen tubes, and only two caretakers, me and his daddy.

Life in the NICU is about having strength when weakness makes the most sense. Of tuning in when tuning out is the easiest path. Of advocating without the confidence to do so. Of having faith in the Devine plan rather than anger at my situation. Of being positive when everything seems to be working against me. And being the mother my baby can be proud of long after its over. 

I am so grateful for my little guy, who taught me so much about patience and gave me courage when I needed it the most. “Too early” turned in to “perfect timing.”

Cash is now home and doing so well. Brody and I are sleep deprived but enjoying every second of parenthood. I honestly couldn’t be happier and am so blessed to have my little family. I love my husband and my son; they have both brought so many blessings into my life.

I guess my attempt to keep this post “short” failed miserably, but that is ok. For those of you who stuck with it and read the whole thing, I hope you enjoyed reading about the little glimpse of heaven that I experienced on that day and continue to experience everyday by being a mother.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

FIrst Comes Love, Then Comes Marriage, Then Comes...

....THE BABY in the baby carriage. That's right Brody and I are having a baby boy!! We are about 21 weeks along and getting more and more excited everyday. Here is a recap and some highlights of the last few months.

Well, when two people love each other very much...jk... where to start... well Brody and I decided that we didn't want to wait to have kids, so i guess thats how we ended up where we are. We first took a home pregnancy test at week 6. It was a pretty surreal feeling seeing it come up positive almost instantly. ill never forget Brody's reaction of "Oh SH@*! it worked..." (don't worry I slapped him for the language and he's learned his lesson...kinda). Anyway, we were so excited that the next day we told our families, early we know, but lets just say we aren't good at keeping secrets. We decided that we weren't going to tell anyone else until week 12, which at the time seemed like forever away!

At 9 weeks we had our first appointment. This probably was one of my favorite appointments because we were able to hear the baby's heartbeat. Ive said it before and ill say it again, there isn't a more amazing feeling in the world than hearing your baby's heartbeat for the very first time! All of it all of a sudden became very real.

Meanwhile, the early pregnancy symptoms were all there, extreme tiredness, strange cravings, vivd dreams, and moodiness. At the beginning i was so tired that i would sleep for hours and hours during the day. I kept thinking to myself that "man, they aren't exaggerating this tiredness thing." I wondered if everyone else was as bad as i was. It was only after a few weeks of this that i had my blood test done and the test revealed that my thyroid levels had dropped significantly (causing most of the tiredness). Once i had the proper dose of my medicine in me i felt a hundred times better.

Unfortunately with the blood test they discovered a few other things. because of my hypothyroidism i would need to get my blood tested every month. YIKES! Also, they found out that i was O neg blood type meaning that if my blood mixed with the baby's blood it could be potentially dangerous. So to fix that i have to get shots throughout my pregnancy to help my body react the way it is supposed to if blood does in fact mix. Now all of this might not seem that traumatic but if you know me personally, you know THAT IT IS. I have a DEATHLY fear of needles and im not exaggerating. I pass out nearly every time i see them. in the past, any time that i have needed a shot or my blood drawn i have to be tranquilized. Seeing as they cant medicate me now that i am pregnant i knew right then and there that i had a tough road in front of me. Luckily i have had a very supportive husband who has helped me get through each appointment. I am also happy to report that each month, the appointments have gotten slightly easier and less traumatic. The first appointment was a DISASTER however. I was so worked up that i passed out and peed my pants. yup embarrassing i know. Since then ive done a little better, but by no means has it been easy!

On a more comical note...by week 12 my strange cravings had taken over my life. All the old foods that i used to like, i couldnt stomach anymore. Foods that i never liked before were suddenly the only things i wanted to eat. One day all i wanted was taco bell...NOTHING else would do. Another time all i could eat all day was bread with mustard on it. ya i was crazy. Perhaps the funniest episode was one time when i had been sick all day and nothing sounded good to me to eat. It was around 3 am that i sat up in bed and told Brody that i really really wanted to go get a cheeseburger. This might not seem weird at first but when you realize that i am a vegetarian and haven't eaten meat in 4 years...insisting that i get a cheeseburger was pretty dang strange. But Brody thought it was hilarious so he took me at 3 am to get a cheeseburger.

i loved every bite!

At week 13 we went in for our second appointment. At this point some of my early symptoms were starting to go away and i was starting to feel normal again. At the appointment we had a little scare. the nurse first tried to find the baby's heartbeat with the doppler hand held thingy (dont know what it is called, all i know is i dont like it). After about 5 minutes of not being able to find it she looked up and saw the terrified look on my face. ONLY then did she tell me that it was till early and that not being able to find it this way is normal. THANKS NURSE! why do they do that to mom's if its normal to not find the heartbeat? but long story short they did an ultrasound and everything was fine and dandy.

Week 16 we went in for our next appointment and since we were moving back to utah we asked the doc to see if he could find the gender. he was nice and did an ultrasound for us. The little baby was being stubborn and it was difficult to tell but the doctor was able to make a guess. He said that he was 85% sure that it WAS A BOY! we couldn't have been happier.

At about week 19 i literally popped. my belly was pretty non-existant (i just looked fat) before that. Coming home to utah was a real treat because i got strange looks from everyone...you know the look where you can tell they are wondering (but dont want to ask) if you are pregnant or just gaining a lot of weight. ya super uncomfortable.

One of my favorite memories so far is when we announced the gender of the baby. We decided to have a little family party and do something fun to announce it. We had a little dinner and had everyone guess the gender, weight, length and birthdate of the baby. afterwards, we had dessert. I made cute little cupcakes and the cake was either died blue or pink (boy or girl). Everyone got there own and had to open them at the same time. And since the doctor said he was 85% sure it was a boy i died 85% of the cakes blue and 15% pink. it through people off a little bit when some people had pink and some had blue, but the word was out. a little Brody was on the way!

And all this takes us up to where we are now. we just had our 21 week appointment today where the doctor made sure that the baby was growing at the right rate and that everything was normal with that growth. He also confirmed that yes it was a little boy. no more 85%!

Everything was perfect with the baby, the heart, the lungs, the kidneys, the hands, the feet, the brain...we got to see it all! my favorite part of the ultrasound was when we were looking at the hands and all you could see was a fist and four knuckles. Then, while we were looking at them, up popped a little thumb, giving us a thumbs up! it was so cute!

Other than all that, ive been having a blast shopping for this little kiddo.

With both of his grandma's and myself, i have a feeling that this is gonna be one spoiled baby! Oh Oh and i just HAVE to show you MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE purchase of perhaps my entire life....

BABY SPERRY SHOES! aren't these the cutest darn things you have ever seen in your life? i know i know im buying SPERRYs for a baby who wont even be able to walk yet but oh well! Now he can match his Daddy!

Each day i start to feel him more and more. He is an active little guy, especially at night! Brody even got to feel him move the other day! so cool. Well my friends thats about it. ill keep you updated on how the next few months go!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

"If it Plays in Peoria...."

So I realize its been forever since ive updated this, life has just been super crazy with work and moving. As most of you know we picked up and moved right after our honeymoon to the luxorious city of Peoria Illinois. Ok maybe the world luxerious isnt the right word....actually there arent really any words to describe this place....lets just say I miss Utah. But it has been an adventure to say the least! we are only here for the summer for Brody's job and then we will be going back to Utah.

A few facts about Peoria:

1. Peoria is the largest city on the Illinois River and the county seat of Peoria County, Illinois, in the United States.

2. It is named after the Peoria tribe.

3. Peoria has become famous as a representation of the average American city because of its demographics and its perceived mainstream Midwestern culture. On the Vaudeville circuit, it was said that if an act would succeed in Peoria, it would work anywhere. The question "Will it play in Peoria?" has now become a metaphor for whether something appeals to the American mainstream public.

so exciting i know....its actually about as exciting as living here...ok maybe more exciting than living here. Lets just say im missing my family, the mountains and the beautiful utah weather, but im making the most of my time out here.

Our apartment is old but big. Here are a few pictures of our home away from home.

There have been a few really good things about living in Peoria, the main one being that it is really close to places like Chicago and Nauvoo. We have been to Chicago twice since being out here and also went to Nauvoo over the Fourth of July and went camping. Here are some pics:

We went to Chicago on Memorial Day for a Cubs game. Wrigley field was amazing! Then in July we went to Chicago to see my dad who was in town. we went to the Sears Tower (which is the tallest building in the western hemisphere), to the SHEDD aquarium and to the museum of natural history. We went to see Navy Pier which was really cool at night and had a great view. We also went to some amazing dinners (THANKS DAD!) and he bought me some maternity clothes hahaha! my clothes were getting a little too small....

And here is Nauvoo. Nauvoo was amazing and so fun to see. There was a ton of interesting history. A few of the highlights of this trip wre

1. Seeing the Nauvoo temple

2. Finding one of Brody's relatives records and his house

3. The "trail of tears" which is the trail that the Mormon Pioneers traveled down when they were leaving Nauvoo. There were journal entries from several of them that you could read as you walked the same trail that they did.

4. Camping. Camping in the midwest is NOT THE SAME as camping in utah. It doesnt cool down at night. It was hot and humid and bug infested. but still...beleive it or not...a ton of fun!

5. The raccoon that broke into our food in the middle of the night. I was terrified because it sounded like a big mean wild animal, but really the raccoon was just upset because it couldnt break into our box of gold fish. It did manage to eat a whole bag of marshmallows, a bag of chocolate chips, and a loaf of bread though. pretty sure there is a dead raccoon somewhere....

6. Seeing Joseph, Hyrum, and Emma Smith's grave

7. Seeing the red brick store. this is where the relief society was first formed and also where they held some of the first endowments for the early LDS church.

8. Going to Carthage Jail where Joseph Smith was Martyred.

Aaron Johnson's home, one of Brody's relatives. interesting fact: on the night before Joseph and Hyrum turned themselves into Carthage, they tried to flee by crossing the mississippi at 2 am. The boat that they took to cross was Aaron Johnson's. The boat leaked however and joseph and hyrum returned.

The Red Brick Store.

Grave Sites of Joseph, Hyrum and Emma Smith

Carthage Jail