Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Happiness is....

Autumn Leaves...

Now tell me that didn't make you smile.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

My baby just turned one! (aka...the longest blog ever)

Yesterday morning at 9:30-ish, I was leaving the temple. A year ago at that time, I had just given birth to my sweet boy after 32 hours of labor.

Here is his birth story. I'll italicize it, because it's looong, and some of you have read it before, so it'll be easy to skip if you want to. lol...

On October 19, 2005 I went to bed longing for something to change before morning. Since Nathan and Aria were both born early, the closer I got to my due date, the harder it was to be pregnant. So, I’m sure you can imagine how thrilled I was to wake up at 2 AM (Oct 20) to a small popping sensation and the feeling of my water breaking! In my excitement, I woke up Dave and started moving around. One of the first things I did was ask for a blessing. In it, I was reassured that all would be well and I’d have the all natural, intervention free birth I was longing for.

By this time I was starting to get contractions, so I called my sister-in-law to come over and sleep on the couch and called my midwife to give her a heads up. I ate a sandwich, drank some water and got everything ready to go. Contractions were about 5 minutes apart, and not terribly unbearable, but my midwife decided to go ahead and have us come in to the Birth Center. So we met there around 4:30-5 AM. My midwife checked for dilation and I was at about 2.5 cms, 50% effaced and -2 station. The fluid looked clear and there was no reason to worry, so we started walking around the birth center to see if we could speed things along a bit. After about 2 hrs with contractions coming still 5 minutes apart and lasting about 1 minute each, she checked me again and there was no progress. So, we went home.

Once at home, I did a little research to see if there was more I could be doing to encourage my body to labor more effectively, then I laid down to take a nap so I’d have energy for later. Around 10 AM I woke up and got busy. The contractions had stopped while I was sleeping. I took black and blue cohosh (3 doses, 15 mins apart), did nipple stimulation for about 45 minutes (while rotating my hips on a birth ball), then loaded the kids into their wagon and we went on a walk around the block as a family.

After a while, I asked Dave for another blessing. He agreed and it was very calming. First we prayed together and I told Heavenly Father that we wanted to accept His will. I told Him that we only wanted what was best for this baby and that I felt the best thing was letting nature take its course, but that I would do what Heavenly Father wanted as long as He would let me know what it was. Then in the blessing Dave gave me, we were reminded to be patient and told again that my body would go into labor on its own. We were reminded that through the Priesthood, all things are possible and that this child is God’s son and he would not let him be harmed. We were told that this little boy was being sent to our family for a reason and that we needed to hold to our faith and that after all we could do, God would make up the rest.

After the blessing, I felt much better, but I still needed to let go of my fears. I asked Dave to please take the kids and let me have some time alone. He agreed and I got my birth ball and a CD of soothing piano music and I just rocked and listened to the music and tried to clear my mind. During this time I was able to focus back onto my baby and bringing him into the world.

By this time, contractions were starting to pick back up again. I got in the shower to see if they’d keep going and they did. Dave came home around 3 and was concerned because it was almost rush hour and we live 30 minutes from the birth center in good traffic. So I called my midwife to update her and see what she thought and we decided to go in again and see if the contractions were doing anything. We drove up and she checked me and I had only progressed about ½ a cm. The effacement and baby’s placement was all the same as before. I was disappointed, but still determined so we decided to stay near the birth center for a few hours and keep trying to get labor moving.

We went to Red Robin for dinner, then walking around a shopping center for a couple of hours. During all this time I continued having contractions about 5 minutes apart just like before. They were slightly more intense, but still not totally unbearable. Around 7 we sat down for a while to see if they would keep going and unfortunately, they stopped again.

I called the midwife and she reassured me that most women go into labor within 24 hrs of ruptured membranes. Not have the baby, just start labor, and I was still in that window of time. She said we could choose to go to the hospital for pitocin at any time and that she just needed to know so that she could call the hospital and arrange for an OB and everything. Dave and I talked about it and decided to just go home and go to bed for some rest and let the 24 hr mark come before we went for the induction. Dave made it clear that this was becoming increasingly difficult for him to understand. He was starting to question our feelings that we’d have a natural delivery and a healthy baby, but he allowed me to make the final decision which was to wait until morning before doing an induction.

We went home and were in bed by 8PM. I thought for sure that I would wake up with contractions that night but I had a hard time sleeping. I had a few contractions that woke me up, but they would never stay regular. I woke up around 11 PM and did nipple stimulation for an hour with no change. I was increasingly more aware that the 24 hr mark was approaching. I tried to sleep again and Dave woke me up at 3 AM. He said he wanted to do everything we knew one more time. So I took some more black and blue cohosh and we did more nipple stimulation. I spent time rocking on my hands and knees, rocking on the birth ball, and squatting. Around 5 I got in the shower and Dave was timing my contractions. They were still the same. 5 minutes apart, 1 minute long and not terribly hard to endure. At 6 I called my midwife again. She said we could either come up and be checked (traffic was picking up again for morning rush hour) or she would call the hospital and we could go in around 7 for an induction. (7 AM was when the on call doctor would change). I was having a really hard time making a decision at this point. I was torn between staying true to my feelings and just waiting it out or going to the hospital and getting it over with. I felt confusion with nearly every scenario I played out and was having a hard time feeling any peace. Dave made it clear that he was done waiting and wanted to just go to the hospital. But then he said, if it will make you feel better, you can go get checked one last time, but we won’t come home again. If there’s no progress we’re going to the hospital. Suddenly I had peace and knew that the next step was to go to the birth center again.

My midwife was wonderful and met us yet again. She checked me out and everything still looked good (heartbeat was in the 150’s, fluid still looked clear, blood pressure was fine and contractions weren’t causing too much stress on baby) but I still had no change as far as dilation and effacement were concerned. This was devastating. I knew that meant I was going to the hospital and I didn’t understand. Trying to make that mental shift between the birth I had dreamed about for 9 months and a birth that I wanted to avoid (in the hospital with interventions all over the place) was incredibly difficult. In a last ditch effort to arm myself with information, I called Heather (my friend who is a doula) in tears to see what she thought. She basically agreed with my midwife that it sounded like everything still looked good as far as baby was concerned and I just needed to weigh the risks. On one hand there was pitocin which makes a more intense and difficult labor and increases the risk of extra interventions, including c-section, which I was definitely not prepared for. I knew that having pit would make for a short, fast and hard labor because I had done it before when I had my daughter. But on the other hand, it had been 30 hours since my water had broken and since I’d been checked several times, I was running a risk of infection and possibly just delaying the inevitable of an induction anyway.

Dave was ready to go to the hospital and I decided that that was the next step. This was so hard for me because of the blessings I had received. I did not understand why I would get all those promises only for them to broken in the end.

We left the birth center at 8:30 AM and made our way to Valley Medical Center (about a 30 minute drive). As we pulled out of the parking lot, I was hit with the most intense contraction I had had thus far and I made Dave stop the car so I could breathe through it. Once we were on the road I made a couple phone calls (to my mom, who was watching our kids and my Aunt, who was going to take pictures at my birth) and was met with relief from both of them because apparently everyone was worried about how long I had waited with ruptured membranes.

As we were driving, the contractions started to pick up. I was breathing through contractions that were about 3 minutes apart while Dave talked through his feelings of confusion about why we felt the spirit prompt us to wait for the natural birth. After all, here we were, on the way to the hospital for an induction that I had been avoiding for so long. I just listened because frankly, I didn’t know what to think or say. In some ways I agreed with him. Why would I have felt so led to wait it out for over 30 hours when in the end I was just going to be induced? Why would I be promised multiple times that I’d have the natural labor I had so desired only to have it not happen? It just didn’t make any sense.

By the time we got to the hospital the contractions were really starting to hurt, but I wasn’t convinced anything was changing. After all, they just kept stopping before, these would probably stop too. But by the time we parked the car and walked to the entrance I could barely walk anymore. I had to stop 4 times between the parking lot and the doors to the hospital to breathe and sway through a contraction. When we got inside, it was literally like a movie when an older gentleman at the information counter jumped up and put me in a wheel chair and got us headed to the maternity wing. I was grateful, as the contractions were becoming more intense. We got there and the nurse showed us to our room and said call if you need anything and then left. As far as they knew, I was there to be induced and they were in no hurry. I went to the bathroom and put on a hospital gown. I came out Dave was there and he helped me through about 4 more contractions. (he told me later, that he had a feeling he shouldn’t call the nurse just yet…he wanted to see if my body was actually doing it right finally!)

Then the nurse came in and I told her that these were really hurting and something might have changed. She calmly had me get on the bed and strapped me up to the monitors. She checked between contractions and said I was dilated to an 8! I said “yes! That’s transition! I might not need pit!” and then doubled over with another contraction.

The pain was mostly in my back and I realized the baby must be posterior, so I asked if I could get on my hands and knees. She asked me to wait through a couple more contractions before doing that because she was noticing that baby’s heart rate was decreasing during contractions. So I did and then I started to feel pressure to push. By this time it was becoming a bit of a mad house. Nurses were frantically setting things up and trying to get an IV in me (the first one didn’t take) and the doctor had shown up and was getting her garb on. I heard a lot of chatter about meconium in the fluid and that didn’t make sense to me because it had been clear all along. They didn’t seem to be sure if there was meconium or not but were getting ready for the possibility.

With each contraction the baby’s heart rate was dropping from about 150 to 50 and then it would recover during the breaks between contractions. The doctor said I wasn’t quite complete but that I could push if I felt the need. She was doing perineal massage and that HURT. Dave was pushing on my back and I found out later that not only was she doing the massage, but she was trying to turn the baby into position to get him out. I was having a hard time pushing because of the back labor and the perineal massage. The sensation seemed a little off to me, but I managed to get some good pushes in and finally could feel him descending. When his head was about halfway out they told me to slow down and breathe so I wouldn’t tear. Then when his head was all the way out, we found out why his heart rate kept going down. The cord was wrapped tightly around his neck and he had passed meconium in the amniotic fluid. I heard somebody call for a NICU nurse to come down and I heard my husband say “just cut it off!” about the cord around his neck. The doctor did, and one big push later and my boy was out. It was 10:11 AM. It had been about 40 minutes since we had gotten to the hospital. Everything seemed to go in slow motion at this point. Everybody was very calm but very efficient. There was a team of nurses suctioning the meconium out of him and trying to clean him up and check his vitals. The doctor was checking me out and said I didn’t tear. I asked if the baby was okay and she said he was. They didn’t want him to cry yet until they could get him suctioned out. She said he was doing really well and not to worry. It took some encouragement for my body to release the placenta, but it finally did and once Gabe was declared to be okay, I was allowed to hold my little boy.

I didn’t hold him long, because I was so weak, but Dave held him quite a bit until I was able to nurse him. (it was about 30 mins after he was born). I nursed skin to skin and he latched right on a nursed like a champ. It was then that I realized that everything happened the way it was supposed to and that Heavenly Father knew exactly what he was doing. I believe I needed to be at the hospital for Gabe to have that immediate and efficient care that he received after being born. I did end up going into labor naturally and I believe that saved us both. Because of the natural labor, there was time in between contractions for Gabe’s heart rate to stabilize. When I was on pit with Aria’s birth, there was literally no break between the contractions. This time, however, I had time to relax between each contraction and Gabe had time to recover between them. If he hadn’t and his heart rate had stayed down, I probably would have ended up with an emergency c-section which I would have been knocked out for because I didn’t have an epidural.

Because I had been seeing a midwife previously, she made sure that the hospital was aware of my desires for labor and delivery. She made them aware of my past birth history and was an advocate for me. She spoke to the doctor personally and made sure she knew everything. Because of that, the doctor took very good care of me and I didn’t have any tears or complications.

Our faith ended up being strengthened. I truly believe that angels were there and watching over all of us and I wouldn’t have changed a thing. I got the natural birth I was longing for (and that was needed for the most safety for Gabe). Dave and I both got our faith strengthened, and our son was born in a place where he could receive the immediate care he needed. Heavenly Father kept all of His promises and was able to grant the desires of my heart in the meantime.

It was never about me proving anything to myself or to the world. It was all about following the promptings of the spirit and believing that God is bound when we do our part.

Gabriel means God is my strength. John means God is gracious. How true it is and I’m so grateful to have this sweet child of God in my family.

And now, a year later we had quite the shin-dig for his birthday! We had a birthday/halloween party and invited several families to the par-tay. Now for the pictures....they tell stories better than I do.

My kids with their almost-cousin.

The food...Kitty Litter cake, Jack-o-lantern rice crispy treats, caramel corn, eyeball cookies, a cake and rootbeer on dry ice. (Thanks to my mom for everything but the Kitty Litter cake...that was mine, and thanks to Albertsons for the Cake, Root Beer and Dry Ice!)

My sister the witch...(hehe) and Gabe not so sure what he thinks about the dry ice...

We had lots of activities...a balloon tower game, pin the wart on the witches nose, carving pumpkins, a ghost hunt and my favorite, donuts on a string.

I had the most fun watching this boy. He picked a donut that was just a tad too high for him.

Getting the LAAAAST one. (ok, except the one behind her that is obviously too easy to waste time on)

The cake... Aria gave him a hand. We tried to work on blowing, but every time I put a candle in front of his face he'd start laughing and wait for me to blow it out.

Debating if he should just put the whole thing in his face at once...

Decided against it, but squishing it in his fingers was a blast!

The presents. Look at that expression!

All in all, it was super fun! But next year, I'm totally having an adult only halloween party.

Monday, October 16, 2006

So much for cooties...

Nathan has his first crush...

I went to pick him up from school one day last week and he was chasing a little girl around the tree and playing tug-o-war with her jacket. They were laughing and giggling. When Nathan saw me he said 'bye' and came running over and she said "Bye, Friend!" to him.

I asked him who she was and he said in a very dreamy voice...."Natalie Parker." (not her real name)

So a few days later Dave asks about her. They had a long conversation about her ending with Nathan saying "I think she has a cat. I'm going to draw a picture for her of her cat. Well, first I'm going to make sure she has a cat and find out what it's name is. Then I'm going to draw a picture of my cat that lives at Grandma's house next to her cat. I'll write Fella, that's F-E-L-L-A 'cause that's my cat and he's white with black spots and then write her cats name."


I remember my first crush. Kevin Wood. I met him in Kindergarten and he moved away in 4th grade. It was devastating. lol. In third grade he even gave me a necklace for valentines day. *sigh*....young love....

Here he is...bottom row. I'm the one in the yellow on the top row. I know, I know...he was too short for me anyway.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Looked for some new places at the park this time...

and I found a couple good spots.

Happy almost Anniversary!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

He's a mover!

I think my Gabe is going to be like this little guy in a few years. I love this picture because it shows his energy. Constant movement!

Here are the rest from the shoot.

Sunday, October 08, 2006


1. The Paper Bag Princess. How did I miss this book? It's my new favorite kids book. If you are a girl, or have a girl, or know a girl....go buy this book. Aria and I found it while searching for Princess books at the library. We LOVE it.

2. These cookies are yummy. But I made a few (dozen) too many. Don't be surprised if you live near me and find some on your porch.

3. Nathan currently wants to be an artist when he grows up. So, I informed him that his Mommy dearest is an artist. After a rousing round of "no you're not," "yes I am" and an explanation that photography (and music) are types of art he looked at me like I'm a complete moron and said with all the attitude he could muster, "Then....where's your hat?"

4. Gabe says Aria now. It's cute.

5. One of my high school bff's and former college roomie is moving to my city! Woot! Now, to get the other one over here. (Anna, are you listening to me???)

6. I'm having a lot of fun taking pictures in the Fall here. It's much prettier than where I used to live and spent the last, like, 9 Falls.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

We're off to see the wizard!

My favorite thing about family pictures is watching the family interact with each other. At the end of this shoot, Grace and her son skipped down the road singing "We're off to see the wizard, the wonderful wizard of Oz..." and I believe I even heard a strain or two of "The Lollipop Guild."

See, there they go!

This next one is my favorite....