All posts by Amber H

>25 Days of Gratitude Posts; Day Two

>Quick Note: I wrote this on Friday, but since I wanted to put up a recent picture of Zoe, I just got busy and wasn’t able to finish the post until today. Of course, I realize I need to write another three blog posts today so I better get cracking!

I’d say the next thing I’m grateful for are my children, but because they are individuals, they deserve their own posts. And because it’s convenient I’ll just start with Zoe, the oldest. One thing you’re going to see is that these posts are going to be personal.. I just hope you don’t mind.

In March of 2002, my Aunt Grace took me to see a GYN mostly because I had been experiencing painful cycles; I happened to be at her house when I had started my most recent -at the time of course- period and was concerned due to the pain I was experiencing. So, during that visit which involved a fire alarm getting tripped midway through my exam and having to hurry and get dressed so we could evacuate the building with my dignity intact, I found out I had a condition called Endometriosis. Typically, the doctors would recommend a procedure called a laproscopy to confirm the diagnosis, but due to the location of my lesion and the size, that was not necessary. At that point I got news that no female who wants children should ever hear.. I was infertile. Infertility could mean a lot of things. It can mean that you can get pregnant, but your body cannot stay pregnant, or in my case, my chances of pregnant were pretty non-existent. He advised for me to get on birth control because it can help control the symptoms, but he said in his experience, I would most likely never be able to get pregnant, even if there was medical intervention.

Even at 16, with future plans of getting married and having five kids (yeah that’s not gonna happen, I’ve discovered three is enough for me) were gone –well, the having kids part. I was pretty ambivalent towards the idea of adoption, and while adoption is a wonderful thing, I wanted the experience of having children of my own.

So fast forward to 2005. It’s no secret that Zoe was born only 4 months and a week after we got married, but was concieved some five or so months after we got engaged. I’m not going to go into details about that; but I can say we started doing that under the assumption that I wasn’t going to get pregnant.. and as the saying goes “‘Assume’ makes an ass out of ‘u’ and me”. (did I get that right?)

Here’s the thing though. I don’t think Zoe was my first pregnancy. About a month after we got engaged, I had an experience that I just chalked up to being another painful period -a side effect of having Endometriosis- but it wasn’t until after Ruthie was born that I realized I most likely experienced a miscarriage. I don’t mourn that possible pregnancy loss though, mostly because I’m not even sure if that’s what it was.

All of that aside I didn’t find out that I was pregnant until the first trimester was almost over. Another symptom of Endometrosis is irregular periods so I thought that’s what it was until it dawned on me to take a pregnancy test. And so I did, and the pregnancy was confirmed 2 weeks later.

I consider Zoe a miracle. She was the (first) child that I was never supposed to have according to medical science. When she was born (you can read my birth story here if you want to) I bawled. I probably cried more than she did when she was born. From infancy though she’s always been precocious. Her personality pretty much started from birth, from when the first picture of her was taken at the hospital on the scale and she’s glaring in the general direction of the camera. She quit crying at that point and was just staring and trying to take everything in.

Zoe was born at 12:19 pm on 11/24/05.

She took breastfeeding quite quickly and as you can tell here; she enjoyed eating with a side of problem solving…

“If Mama doesn’t feed me fast enough, I’m gonna feed myself!”

One of my favorite memories of her when she was about 9 or so months old, I left her in the front room on a blanket with toys while I went to the bathroom, and I came out to her breastfeeding her doll. I know that’s what she was doing because the baby’s head was about chest level and she was rubbing it’s back while holding it there.

I’m not going to lie and say parenting Zoe is easy and that she’s the perfect child; quite the opposite. She’s extremely intelligent, and at times it’s difficult to figure out what’ll work with her and what won’t. Things that will work for other children don’t work for her. For example, we tried potty training her from around 2.5 and it wasn’t until she was 3 years, 4 months old that she was finally potty trained. Bribing her with toys or candy did not work; she was completely indifferent. What DID work? We bought our house and told her that we couldn’t afford to buy diapers; so pick out a package of panties. And guess what she was potty trained the NEXT DAY when we finally put her in them full time. We felt outwitted by our 3 year old at that point. Even now it’s a challenge, but the only thing I can really do at this point is try and figure out different and better ways of approaching things.

On the flip side of things it’s keeping things interesting and yes, even when she’s driving me batty, I’m still okay with it. Granted she needs to learn better ways of expressing her emotions, but I’m grateful that I’m blessed with a child that can express themselves. I’m grateful that she has enough self confidence to say “I don’t want to.” or “I don’t like it.” because that means she has enough self worth to think that whatever she has to say is important enough to share. She’s by no means timid, which I’m grateful for. Her ability and willingness to communicate now will be beneficial later.

Zoe with frisbees
Zoe being her typical goofy self. I took this picture in exchange for her help taking a picture of me in my new dress.

For me, Zoe represents a miracle that defied medicine; and she’s literally been stubborn from conception; since it shouldn’t have ever happened if you consider my infertility. But that’s her best quality; even if it drives me crazy at times.

She’s my miracle, and I love her dearly.

25 Days of Gratitude Posts; Day One

(I’ve decided from today until Christmas, I’m going to write a blog post once a day about things I’m grateful for. Considering I’ve got three separate blogs, I will be writing my posts on the blog that’s most relevant to the subject that I’m writing about. I’ve been having a rough time as of late, and I’m hoping this will benefit me in a few ways. The first reason is to help me get into the Holiday Spirit. I can be a real Scrooge, and with 3 kids having that attitude isn’t cool. The second reason is just so I can re-channel and focus on trying to start next year off on a good foot. Something is telling me that 2012 is gonna be a very significant year. Not sure why or how; hopefully it has nothing to do with the world ending, but hopefully something positive and wonderful. And the last reason of course is to get me into the habit of blogging more.. even though I’ve said that way more than I’d care to admit. *wink)

So, the first thing I’m grateful for is my husband Jeff. We’ve been together for over eight years now; eight years, two months and 4 days now to be exact. And what an amazing time it’s been. We’ve had our fair share of ups and downs -thankfully more ups than downs- and I cannot express how grateful I am to have him in my life; as my husband best friend and companion.

For those of you who don’t know; we met online on LDSchat in November 2002; just about two weeks after he came home from his mission. We were hanging out in the young single adult chatroom -where I technically wasn’t supposed to be at since I was still 17, but I digress- and we were kicked out after breaking the chat room rules of not using English -along with his friend Nate- luckily before that we had exchanged info to continue chatting on MSN messenger. I don’t remember the exact date although I’m pretty sure it was November 8th; I can remember is that it was a Friday night since his friend Nate signed off to go to some Singles Ward dance. I’m not entirely sure of the time, but considering the dances typically start at 6-7pm, it had to be around 8-9pm EST when we started chatting. We ended up chatting until sunrise the next morning; which according to a website I had found, the sun rose in Virginia Beach around 6:35am the next day. so, basically we’re talking about 9-10 straight hours of chatting and getting to know each other. Something significant happened that night; namely we learned that after a certain point, the chat window stops scrolling down automatically; which at that point you have to either manually scroll down or you have to close the window and open it again. I sincerely wished that we could recover that conversation, but it’s not that big of a deal. I just remember getting off the computer and being happy.. and of course tired. We ended up chatting EVERY single day from that point until we met in person; although there was a three day period sometime in April of 2003 where he got mad at me over a car problem -thanks to my dad’s faulty memory- and didn’t want to talk to me, and then a few days in the first part of September 2003 when we got hit with a hurricane in Virginia Beach and I lost internet for a few days.

We decided at some point in July if it would be REALLY cool if we could meet in person; but due to him having a job, he wasn’t able to take the time off to come and visit me -and in hindsight my dad would not have been cool with that- so we decided to wait until after my 18th birthday; two days to be exact. So, on September 27th, my good friend Joel came to pick me up from my apartment and took me to the airport at 3 in the morning (my dad did not have a car at the time) and he sat there with me sipping hot chocolate and keeping me company until it was time for me to board the plane. I will be forever grateful for his willingness to do that for me!

Doing this was a MAJOR experience for me. Not only was I flying over 2,000 miles to meet a guy in person that I had met on the internet, it was also my first time flying. Scary stuff I tell you. But my plane ride was uneventful and I safely landed here in Salt Lake to Jeff waiting for me with a bouquet of yellow roses that had red edges on the petals.

Seeing him for the first time was literally a life changing moment. I can’t believe I’m making a Twilight reference here, but there’s a part in Breaking Dawn where Jacob makes eye contact with Renesmee for the first time, and describes what he feels.

… All the lines that held me to my life were sliced apart in swift cuts that made me who I was […] 

 I was not left drifting. A new string held me where I was.

Not one string, but a million. Not strings, but steel cables. a million steel cables all tying me to one thing-to the very center of the universe.


I could see that now-how the universe swirled around this one point. I’ve never seen the symmetry of the universe before, but now it was plain.

— Jacob Black, Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyer

That pretty much sums up the experience of seeing Jeff for the first time. For a split second, his face momentarily took on this.. glow or something where it looked the same, yet different. Pure, as if I wasn’t seeing him through my dim nearsighted eyes. But with something else entirely different. Then hugging him and (yes even kissing him) was the sense of closure and completion that every person strives for. Hugging him, I realized This is it. I’m finally home and where I’m supposed to be. Here in his arms. It was as if every event and experience I had in my life, good and bad, amazing and tragic lead up to that critical point in time. I have no regrets, nor any desire to go back and change anything. I was so secure in my choice that by the time I left 2 weeks later, we knew we were going to end up married. And so we did on July 16, 2005.

I will be forever grateful for his presence in my life. And of course for him just being there for me in more ways than I can count. I wouldn’t trade in our 2,184 days together for anything.

First picture taken of us, taken on 10/03/2003

 

It’s been a while!

>Man, it’s been AGES since I blogged! Things have been kind of busy around here since I had Oscar.

So, let’s see… um, Oscar is growing very well, and is doing wonderful. He’s a great eater and sleeper and has such a laid back, chill personality; very much like Jeff!

Something we did with the girls was stick a giraffe on their heads on their first Independence Day. Obviously, we had to do this with Oscar too!

He looks rather bemused actually. As opposed to Zoe’s ANGRY face:

Or Ruthie’s “I like this!” face:

I love all three of these pictures; I plan on maybe getting a picture frame that holds three pictures to put all of these pictures together. But the various reaction between the three just shows me how different they really are.

Being a mom to three kids is honestly MUCH easier for me than having two kids. I’m not entirely sure how or why; and that will probably change once Zoe starts Kindergarten; because then for a few hours of the day for 5 days a week, I’ll just have two kids at home. It’s going to be hard on Ruthie I think more than anyone else since Zoe’s been a constant in her life since the day she was born, and while he’s cute and fun, Oscar doesn’t do much. I’ve been feeling content with the number of kids I have, and I KNOW for certainty my family is now complete; everyone that’s supposed to be here are here.

Oddly enough, cloth diapering is going much easier than I had anticipated. There’s been a few hiccups along the way, but I’m seriously thinking to myself; “This is way easy and so much better than having to worry about disposable diapers!

I’m getting closer and closer to my driver’s license! I’ve done 3 observations with the driving school and one driving time; I have two more scheduled for next week. And after discussion and weighing the pros and cons we’ve decided that I will take the driving test with a private company versus going to the DLD/DMV. I’m hoping this will all be done by August 1st; however I’m not entirely sure if that will happen. At the very latest, I need to have it by August 10th; that’s the day that kindergarten registration is. That’s in three weeks; I KNOW I can do it!

Once life catches up I’ll be able to blog more.

Just letting you guys know..

That after two or so years of inactivity, I’ve decided to start working on my website again. However, to make it easier on myself I’ve decided to instead of write my own HTML, I’m going to use wordpress to do all the coding for me to make ti easier to update my website. This will however take some time so please be patient!

Pictures of Oscar!

>Well, here’s some pictures we have of Oscar!

Here’s Oscar minutes after being born! This is the picture I sent out to family and friends announcing his arrival.

See, he was really 8 lbs, 9 oz!

He really likes sucking on his thumb. Taken 4/15/11
I love this expression! Taken 4/23/11

Oscar sucking his thumb after taking a bath. He sure loves that thumb. 4/23/11
Being wiggly on the quilt that I made for him. 4/25/11

Laying on his belly on the quilt I made. Love that little pout! 4/25/11

And of course, can’t forget a picture of the kids together.. kind of sad this is the first one, but we can work on getting more.. although I think it captures all of them perfectly.

Zoe’s usually a nut, Ruthie is nosy and Oscar just sleeps… 4/24/11

Oscar’s Birth Story

>Well, here I am blogging from the hospital. I figured it would be best for me to do so while I can remember everything the freshest. So here goes.

The whole time I was pregnant with Oscar, I’ve seen my doctor on Thursdays; Jeff and I decided out of the day of the week, that was the best day for us. So of course, I had an appointment on April 14th. I went in, and I was weighed, which I guess is my final pregnancy weight.. 141 pounds. Since I was 113 pre-pregnancy, that leaves my total weight gain at 28. That day, Jeff and the girls were with me. So, during my checkup, I had mentioned that Oscar’s movements were not as frequent as they normally had been.. for the duration of the pregnancy he was extremely active; I could feel him constantly waving his arms around as well as kicking his feet, and occasionally he’d pivot from his favorite position with his back on my left side and occasionally roll around to the middle, but he’d always go back. Obviously this is a sign of concern, so Dr J went ahead and finished checking me.. I was showing sizewise about 38 weeks and 5 days, and then she checked my cervix, which had gone to 4 cm and still quite thick, and of course Oscar’s heart rate which was fine. During the examination, I had been having contractions that were apparently obvious to her trained eye.

Due to his decrease in activity, which has been occurring sometime in the last few days prior to him being born, she had one of her nurses set me up on the heart rate monitor they have in office for about 20-30 minutes. While she was initially setting me up, I was having another contraction, which caused her to have to wait until it was over to properly set it up. And of course, in the time I was hooked up, I had probably 6 or so contractions. We had initially decided to do an elective induction slated for Wednesday the 20th , since while I have been able to tolerate the pain, I’ve been increasingly getting ornery and it wasn’t good. I had ambitions of having an all natural labor and delivery, but my changes in temperament was overriding any benefit from holding out hoping for natural delivery. So of course after being on the monitor, and seeing what was happening, she decided that it might just be better for me to just go down and get admitted to labor and delivery that day instead. She called down and then told us she’d be down to break my water before heading home. The admission occurred roughtly a bit after 5 pm.

She came down and was able to break my water a bit after 6, and noted that I had some minimal progress to 4 plus, which I guess means that I was almost to 5 cm. Since there was another mama having a C-section, the anesthesiologist was not available to give me an epidural until after she had sufficiently recovered. During the wait, I realized there wasn’t any way I was going to be able to labor naturally, because with every contraction, my uterus was putting pressure on the underside of the right side of my rib cage, which was pushing out and causing the pain to wrap around the middle of my back. Even now barely 25 hours after birth, my ribs are still VERY sore, and probably will be sore for quite some time.

Anyhoo, I was finally able to get my epidural sometime around 8:35 to 8:50; I only know the time because I was watching Bones, and I was able to gauge the time based on plot progression. I sort of missed the entire last half of the show; so I’m going to have to catch up on it later via Hulu… but that’s not really relevant, haha. After getting my epidural, the nurse -who was pretty awesome- checked me and I had progressed to a 5, so on came the pictocin, that probably came around quarter after nine. The nurse speculated that I would probably end up having Oscar after midnight, since I wasn’t progressing very quickly. And man, I was feeling the contractions VERY strongly at that point. There was super intense contracting going right above my pelvic bone as well as vaginally. We had to boost the epidural twice, and even after it had taken full effect, I was still feeling the contractions.

Anyway, since Jeff’s parents and youngest sister had showed up to wait it out for us, and the girls were getting really bored and restless -not to mention the c-section Mama had complained about the noise the girls were making, and we felt kind of bad for her- we all felt it was best that they go home with Shayla, and they could come back after Oscar was born. I was somewhat puzzled that Shayla wanted to come, but it ended up working out very well; thankfully we live super close! So while Jeff was gone, I was able to have a really nice chat with John and Wendy, and then Jeff got back probably sometime around 10:30ish. Just seconds after he got back, the nurse came in to check on me, and of course to check on my progress. Her face went from the ‘clinical professionalism’ to complete and utter bewilderment. I thought it was very odd, and then she said “Um. You’re fully dilated and effaced.” to which there was a collective “What?” and she said “You are ten centimeters dilated and you’re completely thinned out. I’m gonna go and call Dr J to let her know so she can come up.” We waited for about 15 minutes, during which time some additional nurses came in and set everything up; and of course there was a nurse from the nursery as well for Oscar on hand. Of course there was an air of shock, since I had been on the pictocin only for an hour and fifteen minutes, and I was able to progress THAT quickly. For some reason also, I could feel my emotions starting to shut down a bit -not negatively of course!- and I kind of entered this weird state of calmness and serenity, and I sort of felt an inward turn of focus. I felt almost detached, but at the same time very wrapped up in the moment. I have to admit, it was a very odd state to be in.. I guess that’s when my birthing instincts really kicked in! I had at least three or so contractions, and I could feel Oscar moving out just a bit each time.

Once Dr J got here, I was obviously ready to push! While I was pushing, we were all speculating how big he was going to be; she guessed on the smaller side, and asked how big the girls were (7lbs 6oz) so we were speculating he was going to be about the same size. After about 4 pushes, he was out! He was placed on my belly, and the first thing I noticed was he had a head full of THICK hair. And that it was black. The next thing I noticed was he was actually pretty hefty and solid. After the cord was cut, they took him over to get looked at by the nursery nurse. And that’s when we were hit with a big shocker.


He was 8 lbs, 9 oz!

I don’t think anyone in the room was expecting him to be that big.. I know I would NEVER expect that in a million years. Jeff and I were under the impression just based on the fact that the girls were the exact same length and weight, I had some sort of maximum capacity limit, and we were expecting him to be around that same weight range. I always thought that for my 4’11” height, and extremely petite frame, that I was only going to be able to carry a baby that was around seven and a half pounds.. considering that’s about average, I was totally content and perfectly fine with that. A lot of people are usually shocked that the girls were as big as they were, and that I was able to carry them to full term on top of that. I should mention that he was also 20.5″ long as well, so he was slightly longer than the girls were.

And the most amazing thing of all? I didn’t tear. I tore and required an episiodomy with both girls, but not with Oscar. Funny how things work out like that sometimes.

Sorry the post has no pictures; Jeff’s been taking home the camera, so any good pictures we’ve taken I currently don’t have access to. I’m so glad that I didn’t have to wait until next Wednesday either; I don’t want to know how much bigger he would have been.. I know for sure over nine pounds.

And I guess I’m going to have to change the blog name now too that he’s here; however that can wait.

Ruthie’s Birth Story

>So, unlike Zoe, I knew my due date with Ruthie, which was Valentine’s Day of 2008.  So, the day before Ruthie was born (she was born on Saturday, February 9th, 2008), Jeff and I decided at the last minute to make plans to celebrate Valentine’s Day the Saturday before by going out to lunch and then catching a movie; I don’t remember what movie we were planning to see now, since we didn’t actually know when she was coming. I had called up Jeff’s mom to babysit Zoe and she said, “Well, I’d be more than happy to watch her, but I don’t think you’re gonna actually make it.” My response of course was to “Don’t tell me that!” and then she chuckled and we hung up.

So apparently, my mother in law was right, since we were getting ready, and my water broke roughly quarter after 12. We were running behind, and she had just barely called Jeff about 5-10 minutes before. Jeff had reassured her that we were getting ready, and to expect us to be there within the next 30 minutes. I think my water had broken right when he hung up. I remember I was standing up and reaching to grab my purse off of the couch when I felt something pop and fluid leaking. I then said loudly to Jeff, “You need to call your mom back!” and he said “Why?” to which I responded, “My water broke!” He then called her back, and I do remember there was laughing involved. Probably had to do with her prediction. I did think it was somewhat funny, but I was more concerned about getting a change of clothes and getting Zoe ready even faster. We get into the car, and on the way to the hospital, I called my parents to let them know my water had broken and that we were on the way to the hospital. We get there at about 12:45, and the lady at the desk asked if I was sure that’s what happened. I explained to her that this was my second pregnancy, and that my water broke with my first child and so I knew 100% that’s what happened. Then that’s when I found out that I was not the first to get admitted that day for my water breaking, I was lucky number 8! Apparently, favorable atmospheric conditions will cause your water to break if you’re close to your due date; in this case, there has to be a drop in barometric pressures. When I got to the hospital, I was 3 plus cm dilated, and I was 80% effaced.

After we get there, we just sit around and wait. My inlaws showed up at about 3:00pm to sit with us at the hospital, mostly because they were bored and had nothing to do. I got to 4 plus at about the same time they showed up, and stayed there for quite a while. Then at about 5 pm, before the pain got too bad, I requested an epidural. That was done right, and this time I was able to move my legs around sleep for some time to get energy, since I hadn’t eaten anything for breakfast, and obviously not for lunch. I HATE the policy of no eating while a woman is in labor, and it didn’t help that Jeff went to Wendy’s and was eating FOOD IN FRONT OF ME. And let’s not forget my favorite fast food place is WENDY’S. Then at about 7pm, they -being everyone else but me- decided that Zoe needed to be taken to my sister in law’s house and I started bawling. I don’t know why, but the idea of Zoe not being there upset me more than anything else. So, my father in law took her over, and at that point I was about 5 cm dilated. And then things really took off from there. They were probably expecting me to take much longer than I did.

My father in law got back at about 8:15, and at that time, I was dilated to nine plus! They quickly called the doctor, and while I was waiting for him, I apparently went from 9 plus to fully dilated; all I had to do was sit straight up and rock side to side a few times. It was quite funny because while we were waiting for the doctor to show up, we were making jokes and every time I started laughing, I was feeling Ruthie sliding down the birth canal a bit more. While waiting for the doctor, the nurse asked if we wanted to know what color hair she had, and we said yes (of course!!!) so she had me to a little push, and that’s when we found out that Ruthie had black hair. At this point I had crowned without actually doing any major pushing. It was amazing knowing that my body was doing this all on it’s own without me doing any work!

My OB got there at about 8:20 and got prepped and ready and the nurse let him know I was about to laugh her right out, and to hurry up! So then when he was completely done prepping, he had me start pushing. I pushed through 3 contractions, and she was out at 8:34. She probably would have been out sooner but after the first two contractions that came almost back to back, the third one was about 4 minutes after the first two. So we literally just stood -well I was laying down of course- and waited. The nurse did try to correct my pushing, but the doctor told her that I was doing just fine, and to not worry about it.

She was 7 pounds 6 ounces -6.2, but they rounded down to 6- and 20 inches long. And because she had come out so quickly, her head was perfectly normal shaped; absolutely no conehead. Zoe had one, but Ruthie didn’t. In addition, I tore in two areas. The first tear was in my perineum, and was just a first degree tear. The second place well… if you invision the area being a clock, I tore between 12 and 1.. my labia minora tore, and I had to get stitched up there. The tearing looked really bad for about 6 months, but after the swelling went down, you can’t tell that there was ever a tear that occurred in that area. I really think the fact that Ruthie came so quickly, and because her head was perfectly shaped it stretched me a little more than I could take, and that’s why I tore in two places. And I don’t think I mentioned Zoe’s APGAR scores, but they were also the exact same as Ruthie’s.. 8 and then 9. It’s so odd that they were both the same size and had the same APGAR scores!

What was so different with Ruthie’s birth is that it was way less stressful. I had an amazing nurse who refused to rotate patients, because she wanted to stay with us until the very end. Also, the atmosphere was just so wonderful.. we were cracking jokes, and laughing, and instead of treating Zoe like she was an annoyance, she gave her a hat and blanket and a little pink tub for Zoe’s doll that she had brought along; she even gave Zoe a newborn diaper to put on the doll! It was also great to have my OB deliver Ruthie, versus having another doctor do so. We think that he lived close to the hospital because from the time he was called to the time he showed up, there was maybe 10 minutes of waiting. And of course when I got my epidural, I specifically requested that they give me fresh batteries due to what happened with Zoe, and so they obliged, I remember watching the anesthesiologist unwrapping a battery pack and putting into the machine.

I think the best part though was when she came out, they put her right on my chest and gave me towels and things to help clean her off.. a major difference between the treatment I recieved after Zoe was born. I later on found out that our nurse was given “The Nurse of the Year Award” for our hospital the year before (2007) and the anesthesiologist was named “Anesthesiologist of the Year” for our insurance group the year before as well (this is no easy feat, since we are covered by the largest insurance group in the entire state of Utah) and of course my OB was just so amazing, so I had a great team working with me. In addition, I was able to get Ruthie to nurse within half of an hour of her being born. We did have issues with her having an over-vigorous latch, but with patience, and some time with the lactation consultant, I was able to learn how to help correct it; and was able to correct it after we went home. I ended up breastfeeding Ruthie until 2 weeks before her second birthday; however it was not self weaning; we had to abruptly stop her from nursing; something she did NOT want to do, but after 2 days of being firm about it she stopped asking to nurse. I’m grateful that I was able to have a fantastic nursing relationship with both girls.

Obviously, there were major differences between the deliveries of the girls. And I think this time around for Oscar, I want to do things a bit differently.

  • It was pretty frustrating just laying there.. and laying there. I had brought some embroidery to work on, but that bores me pretty quickly, so I didn’t do much with it. I want to get up and MOVE. Walk around the maternity ward or even my room, and maybe even sitting and bouncing on a yoga/birthing ball. My SIL did that with her last labor and delivery, so I want to ask her how that helped her. Even if my water breaks, I think I can still walk and move, provided I have adequate protection from the fluid leaking out and leaving puddles; most likely those disposable mesh undies and pads they give to moms to catch the postpartum bleeding.
  • I want to try and go natural without an epidural. My pains with Ruthie never got bad, and I honestly think I could have stuck it out. I plan on asking my OB what’s available for short term pain management, and I’ll see if they even have nitrous oxide available at my hospital. I know it’s currently only available at two hospitals in the US, but I’ll never know if I don’t ask! And hey, I might even start a cool trend in my area. I think if I go into the hospital with the mindset of “I can do this!” then I CAN DO IT!

Zoe’s Birth Story

>Since I’m a pretty active follower of cloth diapering blogs, and I of course follow cloth diapering moms on twitter, I was having a conversation with one the other night.. she was up later than usual and asked if anyone was on, and I said of course.. it’s amazing how much you can squeeze into a short blurb!  Anyway, she shared her daughter’s birth story with me, and it dawned on me I never posted mine online with either of the girls. She had expressed interest in reading my birth stories, so of course I’m now writing them out here; I’m going to start with Zoe’s since she was born first. The first reason is to share my stories of course, but the second reason is to kind of help me process both of their deliveries and kind of help me know what I want with Oscar’s birth. Thankfully I had the foresight to type and print up Zoe’s birth story and printed it out and put it in her scrapbook so I’m gonna refer back to this to type it up. It was over five years ago!

So, here it goes.

I had contractions start up a few days before Zoe was born, but it wasn’t until November 23rd that they were bad. I remember we had gone to run some errands at Linens ‘n’ Things, and Target. I don’t remember why we had gone to LnT, but we had gone to Target to pick up drinks for Thanksgiving dinner the next day. I remember walking around the stores and having contractions, but it wasn’t until we were checking out at Target that I told Jeff I needed to sit down, since the contractions were kind of getting strong. After we checked out, we drove over to Sonics to get some Route 44-sized Strawberry Limeaids.. let me tell you those things are so many levels of epic. Jeff started to get tired at around 9:30 so we went to bed, and something told me to lay a towel on the bed, so I did. I curled up on my left side and was reading Harry Potter and the order of the Pheonix, and then around 10, I felt a trickle.  I thought it could have been my bladder leaking a bit, since I had just finished drinking a huge beverage in a short time.

So I got up to go to the bathroom, and as soon as I relaxed to pee, I felt this huge gush of fluid and then this loud wet plopping noise.. and I looked in the toilet and saw this huge white blob… apparently the gush of amniotic fluid dislodged my mucous plug in one piece. So I woke Jeff up and told him my water broke, and of course he had to ask “Are you sure?” and I was of course VERY sure. So we got dressed and toodled over to the hospital.

So after getting hooked up to monitors and whatnot, the nurse tried to test the fluids that were on the chuck pad I was resting on and then vaginally swabbing, but they all came back negative. The nurse called the doctor on call and he said for her to use her own judgement. I think she didn’t really believe that my water had broken, and in the middle of her spiel about first time moms not knowing what’s going on, I felt this trickle of fluid so I cut her off and said “I’m leaking fluid again.” so she uncovered me quickly and visually confirmed that I was in fact leaking amniotic fluid, and so they transfered me to a labor and delivery room. Of course, after I was getting transfered, that’s when I started leaking fluid like crazy and was leaving puddles everywhere.

At around one in the morning, my contractions were starting to get uncomfortable, and after being prodded into it, I decided to go for an epidural. I was able to get some sleep after that, but then because I was moving around so much while I was asleep it had slipped out a bit and had to be redone.. not sure what time it was when this happened. The scary part was not being able to move my legs. AT ALL. It sucked because when I shifted positions, I had to either have Jeff move my legs for me or I had to call in a nurse. I don’t know how people who are paralyzed deal with that on a daily basis, my hat seriously goes off to them.

Anyways, my inlaws showed up at the hospital at around 10 am, and they were fully expecting to be home not too long after that. It was fine and dandy for a while, until around.. I’m wanting to say 10:30 or so, the epidural machine died, and I spent the rest of my labor unmedicated. I’m assuming it had died sooner, but it took that a while for it to wear off. I also remember moaning and even screaming, and they were telling me to ‘calm down and stop screaming’ which of course didn’t work. And then they also gave me oxygen.. not sure why though. I had initially wrote, “Women who chose to have natural labor should have their heads examined; it was extremely painful!” (I’ll address this later of course) Oh, and I threw up at this time too. A lot. I’m not sure what caused it.. since I know they heavily dosed me with pitocin, so it could have been that, or it could have been the shock my body went through when I went from pain free to experiencing natural labor. Our bodies are made to deal with the gradual increase of pain, not going from 0 pain to 10 in a matter of seconds.

The doctor on call came in, and determined that while Zoe was head down, she wasn’t completely posterior facing, and manually turned her to face down properly. This was not fun I tell you that. So then, he came back a while later and said I could start pushing. Being a first time mom, I don’t think he expected me to progress so quickly beacuse he came in after 20 minutes to check on me, and was surprised at how fast I was progressing. 25 minutes later after that, Zoe finally came into the world at 12:19 pm.

I’m not gonna lie. The OVERALL labor was good, but the actual birth and delivery was bad and somewhat truamatic. I was kind of pushed to have an epidural, and of course it crapped out on me twice. I realize now too in hindsight the ignorance of my comment about women who chose to have natural birth. I think had I been mentally prepared to experience the pain, it would not have been so bad. In addition, I think the epidural wore off during transition, which according to my reading is the most painful part of labor.  Oh, and the delivering doctor was HORRIBLE. He had terrible bedside manners.. he was short and rude with me, and then when they put Zoe on me to clean her off, he and the nurse chewed me out for wanting to help clean her off, and they both kept telling me to stop touching her, and I think at one point my hands were moved off of her. In addition, he YANKED my placenta out without any abdominal massage, and I’m pretty sure when I started crying too loudly, I heard him tell the nurse “get her to shut up.” Maybe he said quiet down, I don’t remember. And then, since it was traditional for the doctors in the OB group to give out baby shirts, I remember him throwing my shirt at me and then walking out. I still have the shirt, but for reasons unknown, I never put Zoe in it.

I’m grateful though that I had a lactation consultant come in right after Zoe was born, and we were able to establish breastfeeding pretty quickly. Zoe nursed like a champ and self weaned at 1 year old.

I guess what I can take away from my birthing experience with Zoe, is if you’re gonna have an epidural, at the very least request fresh batteries with the drip… my epidural crapped out the second time because the batteries had died and by the time they had figured it out, it was too late to start it up again. Oh, and if you have a bad delivery, don’t hesitate to bring it up. The doctor that delivered Zoe was NOT my OB, and I had the misfortune of getting him because he was on call. Thankfully now though he’s retired, so no more women will experience having him deliver their babies.

Do I have PSTD from my birth with Zoe? No. Parts of it bothers me and I wish I had been a bit more educated, but I know it could have been a lot worse. I took my experience with Zoe, and made sure certain points of my labor were better with Ruthie.. and it was. But more on her birth story later.

Eight Point Two Eight Six Weeks Left

>Well, according to my LMP due date, that’s how much longer I have left until my due date of April 13th. (eight weeks 2 days for the mathematically uninclined) Either way, the end is near, and I find this to be a comforting thing, but also a bittersweet thing, since this is for sure our last baby and therefore, my last pregnancy. It’s been a while since I actually blogged about Oscar or anything in regards to the preparation of his impending arrival, so here goes! Oh and before I start, my last appointment was last Thursday on the 10th, and my weight was at 129.6 which puts my total weight gain so far for this pregnancy at 16 pounds. It’s roughly the same amount of weight I had gained with Ruthie at this point. So seriously, he’s right on target with my due LMP due date if that actually counts for anything.

So, in case you were curious, we did decide to cloth diaper (I just realized halfway through writing this particular paragraph I’ve blogged about this already, but I’ll do it again anyway). I had a cloth diaper store picked out after we decided to have another baby, but before we tried for conception. The store is called Diaper Junction, and they are based out of my hometown of Virginia Beach, Va. I’m not gonna lie to you, this is probably the BIGGEST thing that attracted me to their store. I won’t take back what I said previously; I honestly don’t see myself moving back; however I do have a part of me that will always belong there. Must be beacuse of all that ocean water I accidentally swallowed while swimming; most likely it makes up 5% of my blood content. 😉 With that said, we bought a full stash (25 diapers with 50 inserts; each diaper came with two and one diaper was actually free) back in December; and I actually got the box of diapers on Christmas Eve.. so I consider it a present to myself.. teehee. I should mention though, that Jeff was NOT really on board with it, until I found out that Diaper Junction was carrying Kawaii brand diapers; I got them for $7.95 each. When I found out they were carrying this brand of diapers, and told him how much they cost, and sharing that I was told previously they are pretty comparable to BumGenius -my original brand choice- he finally said “FINE! Get them!” and then replied after that “I’m not really sure what I just said fine to though.” (I should mention this converstation was through chat and not actually face to face) So I ordered my diapers, after sharing the link to them and asking for his input on the colors we should purchase (he said “Everything but the light blue.”) So I ordered six blue, six light green, six yellow and six red. Here’s a picture of part of my diaper stash…

You’ll notice the red diapers missing. Well, I ended up washing the diapers about 3 weeks ago, and discovered when I was stuffing them and snapping them down, that not all of the diapers were snapping properly. So, I called Diaper Junction, and they let me know that they would fix the snaps for me for free, provided I ship the shells back to them at cost, and provided them with proof of purchase from their store; I just went ahead and sent them my original sales receipt. I’m expecting them back today, along with my second order of stuff, that also includes another free diaper; the brand is a mystery though. This will bring up my stash to 26 diapers.. I’m really excited! So, now I bet you are curious as to what I’ve actually spent on everything, right? Well here’s the breakdown.
My original estimation of total cost including disposable newborn diapers and target brand disposable wipes was $719.96.. yes this does include tax. However, this was factoring in buying BumGenius diapers. However, this estimation is now old, and is actually very off. Here’s how it’ll break down now. Of course, I’ll share the previous breakdown.

24 Kawaii Diapers: $190.80 (same ammount of BumGenius would have cost me $406.80)
4 Bags of Rockin’ Green Soap; Hard Rock formula* and scoop: $55.03 (I had originally calculated $53.90 from the manufacturer; however I wasn’t considering the cost of shipping which would have actually put my total to $69.44. Of course, I could have ordered it from Diaper Junction as well, and that would have cost me $67.55)
2 pail liners: $31.45 (my original estimation called for me to get two of the same brand and would have cost me $29.90; however I was trying to pad my order to get a free diaper, so I ended up with two different brands)
2 wet bags: $19.00 (original estimation was $23. I ended up getting some cheaper wet bags than I initially planned to purchase)
*Rockin Green comes in three different formulas; classic rock for normal water that’s not hard or soft, soft rock for soft water, and hard rock for hard water. We have VERY hard water here in Utah, so I have to buy the hard rock formula. If you’re thinking of cloth diapering and using this soap but are not sure what your water falls under, feel free to call your water company to find out. They have a map on their site, but unless you clearly can see where you fall under, then call the water company, that way you buy the right soap the first time around.

So my total cost so far? Only $296.28! Had I gone with my original purchases, and assuming I bought everything from Diaper Junction, it would have cost me $527.25! I should mention that my estimation did not cover the cost of a diaper pail.. AKA a standard trash can, which don’t run for more than $12 at the most. With that said, my estimation of newborn diapers and wipes remain the same, which brings up my total estimated cost to $566.60; assuming my estimation for newborn diapers are correct as well as the wipes. This doesn’t include the cost of a pail though, since I don’t know how much it’s actually going to cost yet. I plan on actually keeping track of how many diapers I change, and how long it would take for me to break even. If I wasn’t cloth diapering, I would most likely be buying Huggies. Sadly enough though, their diapers are shockingly thin.. like one diaper folded up is THINNER than one of my inserts.. this is crazy to say the least! And heck, when they are unfolded, they are THINNER than an overnight maxi pad.. and seriously there is something VERY wrong about this in my head.

With that said, clothing wise we are ready! Well mostly. I still need to buy socks, and two pairs of knit pants, and a bringing home outfit and then I’m completely covered for clothes; well for 0-3 month sizes anyway. My sister in law gave me some newborn stuff to borrow, and I was able to score a box of baby clothes that was completely stuffed full of clothes for less than $11… seriously I got a GREAT deal, and I’m baffled as to how she got all of those clothes in such a small box! We supplemented the stash with a few more things too of course.

Room wise, we have the most important thing already; the crib. However, we still need to get two fitted sheets -one to wash one to use-, a changing table, changing pad, changing pad cover -most likely two one to wash and one to use- and a sleepy sack to use instead of blankets. We used one with Ruthie and LOVED it. Oh, and I need a set of bumpers as well. I forsee a trip to IKEA in the near future!

Anyways, that’s pretty much it! I’m really excited about the upcoming arrival of Oscar! Expect a few more posts about birthing related things; including my birth stories with Zoe and Ruthie.

The Holidays Are Now Over

>Which means the closing of another year.  Each year between Christmas and probably the first week after the New Year, I always sit back and reflect on the past year, and contemplate the upcoming one.  Unfortunately I have not blogged much this year for various reasons, but I’ll try to blog and highlight the ups -and some downs- of the past year.

First and foremost, due to Jeff receiving a full month paid vacation from working at eBay for 5 years, we were able to drive across country to visit my family in Virginia, Indiana and Illinois. Seeing my family was great, and I was able to spend time with friends and family who I have dearly missed.  And while visiting was wonderful and I was able to share some of my childhood experiences with the girls, it truly made me realize and appreciate living here in Utah. While I will always have fond memories of growing up in Virginia, I can’t go back to live there ever again.  I don’t belong there anymore. In a sense, I felt detached in a way from the whole experience. I’m not saying the trip was negative in anyway or we didn’t have fun or we regretted it, but it really gave me a sense of confirmation that I belong here in Utah. The trip also made me evaluate myself as a person and as a parent.  I admittedly crossed the line a few times when losing my temper, and I saw myself in a light that I never wanted to see myself in. I have resolved to be a better parent, and I have noticed some change and success with this. But it has been an emotionally trying year in that regards, but I can say that I have improved my demeanor, but I still have a long way to go. One of the brighter sides of our road trip is that Jeff and I had A LOT to talk about on the drive to VA and on the way home.. in a sense I think it brought us closer together as a couple.  And of course, because it’s sooo rare that a picture of the two of us is taken (I think more pictures of Bigfoot exist than pictures of the two of us together), I’m sharing a picture of us from his work Christmas party:

Aren’t we adorable?!

The other highlight was getting pregnant for the third time in July.. of course we didn’t confirm the pregnancy until August! The miracle and blessing of being able to get pregnant is still just as fresh and marvelous with Oscar as it was with Zoe and of course Ruthie too. This past year or so, I’ve had family and friends who have lost their pregnancies at various stages, and even one friend who lost her child just mere days after the baby was born. There’s no words to describe the sorrow and heartbreak of these situations.. while I’ve never experienced the losses they’ve gone through, that doesn’t mean my heart still didn’t break when hearing about each loss. Each one of the women are all fantastic mothers, and it’s really not fair they’ve had to deal with the losses they’ve dealt with. I admire each and every one of them for their resolve. I’m grateful for every kick, poke and yes even the muscle pulling and popping because I know what the alternative means.  This pregnancy has been a double blessing, because I have been able to finally get answers for all of the inexplicable aches and pains and weird falls and other episodes that I’ve experienced for most of my life with the diagnosis of my Rheumatoid Arthritis. I’ve got a friend who has it, and I contacted her and she gave me an emotional boost and some advice as well as the title of a book that she recommends reading; I’m going to have to buy it soon.

I’m also grateful for Jeff finally agreeing to cloth diaper Oscar; in fact we got the diapers in the mail on Christmas Eve!  As weird as it sounds for being grateful for extra loads of laundry, I really feel like this is the best thing that I can do for him as well as the environment. My only regret is not having the resolve and education to do it with Zoe and Ruthie; but at least I’ll be able to do it for him.  Jeff really is an amazingly supportive husband and friend; there’s not enough words or sentences for me to express how grateful I truly am for him being in my life. He has made me a better person, just by accepting me for who I am and of course instilling good habits in me.. although it did take me 6 years of us being together for me to stop biting my fingernails. *wink*  Here’s the box of diapers…

In addition to the blue and green diapers, I also have red and yellow. And one crazy lime green one.

This past year too the girls have grown and changed so much! Zoe’s now five, and it’s kind of scary/thrilling knowing she’s going to start school next year! We had her birthday party at the Sandy Living Aquarium, and she LOVED it, and in addition, I’m so grateful to all of our friends and family who took the time out of their schedules to come and make the party more exciting for us.  Ruthie has also grown in leaps and bounds, and her personality of sweet, spunky and a bit sassy is starting to show. While it is at times trying, I’m glad that she’s developing her own personality. The girls started sharing a room not too long after we got back home from our trip, and they both LOVE it! The girls will pick on each other and tease each other, but they really and truly do love each other.. and I’m so glad that they are able to share that experience with each other. Both girls are extremely smart! Ruthie’s learning how to count; and when I mean count I mean she’ll see a number of items, and she’ll stop saying numbers when she’s run out of things to count.. no recitation of numbers just for the sake here! Ruthie’s also recognizing most letters of the alphabet. She’s a bit later than Zoe on this -who knew the entire alphabet by sight 2 months after her second birthday- but it’s still great! I need to sit down with her and figure out exactly which letters she recognizes and which ones she doesn’t, but I’m pretty sure she recognizes most of the alphabet. And of course, Zoe’s learned how to recite the numbers from 1 all the way to 100! When we’re in the car for longish drives, and she’s still awake, she’ll start reciting the numbers.  She gets stuck on 40, 50, and 60 but with hints she’ll get through them just fine.  And another thing she’s taken up doing is ADDITION. She’ll sit in the car and stare at her fingers and then randomly say something like, “Does 2 and 5 make 7?” and then we’ll say yes and then ask her other ways to make the number that she asked about.  We’re trying to teach her how to read, but because I’m not sure how I learned, and Jeff’s not consistent with sitting down with her and trying to teach her how to read phonetically, it’s slow going.  But she does know how to read a handful of words, and she’s recently become very interested in asking how words are spelled… in fact last week when we were planning our grocery list, she got a pencil and a paper and made a list all on her own! She also can recognize both uppercase and lowercase letters. Zoe aside from not really being able to read has pretty much already exceeded the requirements of kindergarten in the sense of the goals they are supposed to reach by the end of the year; so it’ll be interesting at the very least when she’s tested for entrance into Kindergarten next August. Here’s the girls on Christmas by the way.. it’s the most recent picture of the two of them together:

They are fairies!


Next week will mark the one year anniversary of us having Casey. I can’t even begin to express how.. interesting it’s been with him in our lives.  It’s certainly enriched it for sure!  He’s a GREAT dog.. even when he gets stuck on the roof at my inlaws’ house or runs up the street and comes home with a rawhide bone he didn’t have before -for the record he only did that ONCE-. We don’t have a fenced in yard… but that doesn’t matter. We can let him out by himself and he won’t run off -well he’s done that twice in the last couple of weeks but he always came home after calling for him- and he ALWAYS stays in the yard when we’re outside. He’ll find himself a patch of ground and lay out and just watch and observe, and of course he’ll play if we got his stuffed duck or a few tennis balls outside.  He NEVER dug in the garden, and with the exception of digging a very small hole once this summer to bury a milkbone, he doesn’t dig up the yard or anything. I think the truest test of his character was back in November, when he somehow sustained a 5-7 inch gash on his back/side that went all the way down to his muscle. We’re unsure how it happened, but we think he was trying to get under the chain link at my inlaws’ house, and it went unnoticed because their female had tended to it by licking it and it had started to close up and scab over. We didn’t realize anything had happened until the next day (Monday) when Ruthie had leaped on him and reopened the wound.. and shockingly all he did was cry out in pain, look at her and walked off.  I didn’t think anything of it, until Zoe said “Mommy, Casey stinks.” and then about a minute later “Casey has something on his fur.”  Looking at it from about 12 feet away it looked like he had rolled in poop -something he’s never actually done, but there’s always a first time for everything- and it wasn’t until I saw the pink flesh of his muscle that I knew something was wrong. I told Jeff he had to come home IMMEDIATELY and I took a picture and sent it to him via picture messaging. One stressful trip to the vet and $400 later, he was put under for surgery, stitched up and given a good bill of health. What was alarming though was the rate of necrosis.. the vet said that it was consistent with a week old stab wound.. despite the fact that the injury happened within the previous 12-16 hours of him getting medical attention.  He is probably the best dog to have around kids, because the girls are constantly pulling and laying and just generally rough with them and he hasn’t ever really snapped or bit them.. and I think most people say that about their dogs, but when the dog has a big gash on them and a kid that weighs about 30 pounds comes flying and flopping on them, even the most mild mannered dog will retaliate by snapping at them or even biting them.  The vet was shocked when we told her what his reaction was.. or lack of one really.  Jeff and his dad inspected the chain link fence that he was trying to get under, and they found a VERY sharp piece of fence that we think he cut himself on. When the weather gets better, they will be going and clipping the fence to make sure it doesn’t happen again with Casey or any other dog.  I’d insert a picture.. but I’ll spare you from regurgitating your last meal/snack that you ate; it looked pretty bad.

And I feel horrible about slacking on the pregnancy belly pictures.. honestly I haven’t been feeling well enough to do it, but I FINALLY had Jeff take on on Christmas! Hope you enjoy! and of course, I’ll be taking more.

I promise I’m not grumpy, just EXTREMELY tired. This pic was taken on Christmas after all! I’m 24 weeks and 5 days along in this picture.

Anyway, hope you enjoyed the update with pictures! Hope you guys had a good holiday and that you’ll have a GREAT New Year!