David’s Birth Story

 - by Brittny

Today is David’s 7 month birthday, so I thought maybe it was time I get his birth story posted to the blog.  Guess that’s what happens when you have your 4th child, things are a bit busier than they were when Sam was born 😉  So David’s birth story is going to have to start a little further back though because his pregnancy was much more eventful than our other children’s.  I’ll warn you, as always, this post is REALLY long.  I finished writing it one night and it was 10 pages long, so I put it aside so that I could edit it down the next night and I succeeded in making it only 12 pages (before pictures)!  But I write this all down more for me than for anyone else and I want to remember all 12 pages (or however many pages this happens to be after my next round of editing…)

For starters, we weren’t planning on having David when we did.  Towards the end of 2016 Eric and I had the conversation of whether or not we wanted to have a baby again in the next year.  It was time to lock in our insurance choices for the next year so it was a good time to evaluate those things.  I had vowed after my back problems with Maeli’s pregnancy that I was going to get in shape before getting pregnant again, but it was 3 years later and that hadn’t happened.  Things were kinda busy and hectic and we decided that it wasn’t time yet.  So I scheduled my annual checkup with my midwife so that I could renew my birth control prescription.  However, my checkup was scheduled for a little while after I’d run out of birth control.  I wasn’t too concerned – with our 3 older children it had taken about 3 months after going off birth control to get pregnant so I didn’t think it was really too likely that I’d get pregnant in that short interim – I know, famous last words :P  So I had a couple weeks without my prescription and I decided that I’d wait until the end of that cycle before starting my new batch.  In the back of my head I was also telling the Lord – ok, I’m not really ready to have another baby right now, but if it’s time, here’s your opening.

During that time I started noticing that my back was having some issues again.  I’d started wearing boots that had a little bit of a heel as my daily footwear and I thought it was probably due to those, so I ditched the boots for sneakers and called my mom for some advice on exercises for my back.  A week or so went by and I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror one Saturday night and thought – I look chubbier than usual. Not that I have a nicely toned physique most of the time, but I could just tell, I had more squish than was my normal… and I was about a week late.  I decided that I would take a pregnancy test the next morning, just in case.

I took the pregnancy test into the bathroom the next morning feeling like I was being paranoid.  I had one on hand so it wasn’t like I had to go out and buy one but I just wanted to talk myself out of thinking that’s what was going on.  I can’t even tell you how surprised I was when it came back positive.  Obviously, I knew it was a possibility but I *really* didn’t expect it to be positive. I sat there letting it set in for a couple minutes before hopping back into bed with Eric (we had 1pm church so there was time for sleeping in) and tried to gently wake him up.  I tried to wait until he was reasonably awake before springing the news on him, but I don’t think I succeeded as well as I would have liked – my nerves were a little high at that point :P  I asked him, “So… what would you think if we were to have a baby?”  He looked at me quizzically and I continued, “Because…. We’re going to have a baby.”  If he hadn’t been awake yet, he was then!  Eric was even more surprised than I was because even though I’d told him about my less than stellar adherence to birth control protocol, he hadn’t fully realized how much so.  He asked me how I felt about this news and I told him that I wasn’t expecting it but that of course I was happy about it, and when I turned the question on him his feelings mirrored mine.  We’ve been asked if David was an “accident” or a “mistake” – absolutely not.  David was a surprise to be sure, but just as it wouldn’t be an accident or a mistake to win the lottery it was not an accident or a mistake to have David.  We were not planning on him but we were certainly excited about it, and especially now that he’s here we can’t imagine our family without him.  We’re glad that Heavenly Father had a better plan for our family than we did.  He is an unexpected blessing 😊

Of course, just because David is a blessing didn’t make his pregnancy easy – at all.  In fact going through that pregnancy is probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life.  I think partially not having intentionally signed up for pregnancy made it a little harder.  After trying to have babies before, a hard pregnancy was still hard but there’s the feeling at least of, “well, I knew this was what was coming.”  I think more so though it’s a lot harder being pregnant for the 4th time at 31 than it was being pregnant the 1st time at 23 – go figure :P  I had a rough first trimester – the back pain obviously wasn’t caused just by my high heeled boots and I immediately had to limit the amount of walking and bending I did so that I could make it through the day.  The “morning” sickness was also pretty bad this time around.  Of course, my morning sickness isn’t terrible compared to a lot of other women’s, so I can’t complain too much – I think I actually threw up maybe once this pregnancy, but I had a very sensitive gag reflex and generally felt miserable, tired, hungry, not wanting to eat, nauseated pretty much all the time for a few months.  Also my blood pressure drops pretty low in pregnancy which isn’t necessarily dangerous, but it can feel pretty freaky.

We didn’t wait to announce the pregnancy to everyone.  We told our kids and our parents right away and announced it on Facebook the next day.  Yes, I know people feel like that’s sharing way too much of my personal life with everyone, but to be honest, when I’m pregnant it’s kinda miserable and I need people to understand why I’m kinda miserable.  I need to have the people surrounding me able to say – “Hey, I know you posted that you’re having a miserable time with morning sickness right now and I noticed you put on pants today anyways.  High five!”  I hope that by being open about the things that I struggle with people feel like they can be open with me about their struggles and we can both help each other.  I feel that way about accepting help too.  As much as I want to be able to be independent and strong and do things on my own, I try to accept help from other people because 1) it’s really helpful (obviously) and makes me more able to do the things that really matter and 2) I hope that when they need help they think “Hey, I made soup for Brittny that one time and she wasn’t too proud to accept help, I bet she won’t judge me for needing some help too – I’ll call her!” I strongly believe that we all need each other to celebrate with and mourn with and by being open with others it can bless us both.  That’s not to say that I don’t understand people who choose to be more private or that I judge that choice – I just sometimes feel like people look at me and think I post so much of my life to Facebook because I’m seeking attention or don’t understand wanting to be private.  I do get it, but I’ve just decided for me that I’m happier being open with my circles of friends.  My other reason for wanting to post right away is that I hate trying to decide who is important enough to tell in person or first or whatever.  Our parents get first dibs on the news (if you contributed DNA to the child you probably should get some preferential treatment) but after that I don’t want to have to decide who gets to find out when – or risk that someone who feels like they should have heard the news from me finds out through someone else.  I have too many people that I love too much to feel ok with anyone feeling like they weren’t included in something like this – better to let everyone know at once and avoid that drama.

The best news came at my first appointment when the doctor measured David on the ultrasound and told me that he was measuring about 2 weeks ahead of what I’d calculated!  What’s funny is that meant that when I went in to my doctor’s appointment to renew my birth control prescription… I was already pregnant!  That made me feel a little bit better about not starting the prescription right away.  My thought at the time had been that I’d wait until the end of my cycle just in case I was already pregnant so that I wouldn’t hurt the baby.  In retrospect I think that was inspiration and I’m so glad I listened.  I was extra glad because I had felt like I was bigger and having more symptoms than I should have for how far along I was.  I was nervous that I might be expecting twins!  So not only was I glad to be closer to the finish line than I thought but to have the symptoms make sense and not be twins was a huge relief too!

During my second trimester the nausea at least started to wane and I could eat pretty normally again.  My gag reflex never receded entirely but I was able to eat more normally and my energy came back.  Of course, one of the best parts of the 2nd trimester is getting to find out the baby’s gender.  When we went in for the ultrasound we were thinking the baby was a girl.  Partly that just seemed nice and neat – we had two boys, one girl… we were due for another girl, right?  Also I’d been extra sick when I was pregnant with Maeli and I was extra sick again so it seemed reasonable to think this was a girl as well.  When we went in for the ultrasound the first thing the ultrasound technician got was a view between the legs and she didn’t even have to tell us what the gender was – we could see for ourselves!  I think David was a bit perturbed that we’d been thinking he was a girl and he wanted there to be NO doubt in our minds that he was a BOY!

In June it was Eric’s & my 10 year wedding anniversary and we felt that was worthy of a celebration!  We also realized that with the arrival of a new baby we probably wouldn’t be able to get away with just the two of us for about 3 years between finishing off the pregnancy and having a nursing baby.  That lit a fire under us and we booked a cruise to Ensenada that we were able to just sneak in before the 24 week cut off for cruise travel!  Neither of us had been on a cruise before and it seemed like a fun way to get to do a vacation without too much planning – it was :)  I wasn’t able to do a lot of the activities that you’d normally want to do between my back and general pregnancy restrictions, but we enjoyed just having good food, good entertainment and (best of all) good company for a few days 😊

I also gave us the assignment of naming the baby before we got home.  I like naming the baby as soon as we can after finding out the gender.  I like being able to refer to the baby by its name rather than just “the baby” or “it”.  It helps me bond with my babies before they’re born, and I think it helps the older kids to bond with the baby too.  They can look at my belly and we’ll talk about David, and make plans for David, and then when they come to the hospital to see us – there’s David!  The same David we’ve been talking about all this time!  For me it just makes the baby feel like more of a real person once they have a name.  We had a list of names going onto the ship but David wasn’t at the top.  We knew that we wanted to give the baby a middle name of James after Eric’s dad and we were considering the names Aaron, Adam, Caleb, David, Hyrum, Isaac, Jared, Levi, & Micah.  I liked David but the name sounded too close to Daniel and we’d end up calling the two boys each others’ names all the time (I was right – we do).  Also, we like naming our children after scriptural people to give them someone to look up to – and while David (in the Old Testament) starts out pretty awesome… he doesn’t exactly end the same way.  We tested out each name with the middle name and ruled some out.  We tried them out with our other kids names (i.e. “Sam, Danny, Maeli, _____ get in the van for Cub Scouts!”… If the name didn’t fit in that mix that was going to be a problem 😉 ).  We kept coming back to David and I decided that David and Daniel weren’t really too close – we already had Samuel and Daniel after all and those two names were pretty similar.  I also decided that even though David in the Old Testament doesn’t end up so great, that doesn’t de-value the good things he did at the beginning.  Plus his later failings serve as an important cautionary tale that none of us has ever done so great things that we are beyond where we could fall from grace and we must always remain vigilant that our deeds are good.  It was so nice to have a name for our baby and to be able to call him by it when we got off the boat.

As I got closer to the 3rd trimester I got the doctor’s order for my least favorite part of pregnancy – the gestational diabetes test.  I have a pretty serious phobia of needles and that test is the worst, not only do I have to get poked with a needle, but I have to drink a drink that sets off a timer that “you will be poked with a needle in one hour”.  The psychological game there is pretty brutal.  I got the order and then I took it home to figure out when I could schedule it with Eric so that he could come to drive me home afterwards.  Between not wanting to schedule that appointment and waiting to try and coordinate schedules with Eric and the general craziness of summer… it might have been 10 weeks before I got that appointment scheduled.  In fact, I waited so long that my doctor finally called me and said, “uhm, are you ever coming back?”  They didn’t let me wait to figure out a time that would work with Eric’s schedule at that point and just scheduled my next appointment then and I then just had to tell Eric to work with it :P  The test itself went reasonably well – I came *really* close to passing out but managed to stay on this side of consciousness.  But I was glad to have that part of the pregnancy over with.  I did all of the bloodwork for the whole pregnancy at once just to avoid having multiple pokes and so that was a huge hurdle for me to get past.  I didn’t have any history of gestational diabetes or risk factors, and I knew that I’m pretty healthy overall so I wasn’t stressed about the results, I was just glad to be done with that!

The next week the test results came back, and they weren’t what I’d expected.  All of the general tests were fine – I didn’t have any of the diseases they were testing for, my iron levels looked fine – all that good stuff.  Unfortunately the diabetes numbers were just a little bit north of what the doctor would like to see for a confirmed non-Gestational Diabetes diagnosis.  NOOOOO!!!  She would have liked to have scheduled the 3 hour test (4 blood draws over the course of 3 hours – my worst nightmare) but she knew that I’d never come back and go have my baby in the woods on my own.  So instead she recommended that I get a blood glucose monitor and observe a diabetic diet.  When she told me to get a glucose monitor in my head I laughed at her and said “oh yeah right”.  I knew there was no way that I was going to be able to do my own blood tests.  I barely made it in to have someone else test my blood – how on earth was I going to test my own blood on a regular basis?

To be honest after my doctor called in the order for the glucose monitor I waited a day before I could wrap my head around actually going to pick the thing up (to be even more honest I really considered if I even *would* go pick it up).  I was trying to take it in baby steps.  It then took me another day before I could even pull it out of the bags.  I finally did and tried reading the instructions.  I got about halfway through before I started crying and hyperventilating just trying to wrap my head around it.  Just reading the words about poking, lancets and squeezing blood were too much for me to handle – especially knowing that these were things I was going to be expected to do to myself!  I know that makes me sound like a crazy person and I’m really not an overly dramatic person on the whole.  But no matter how hard I try I can’t seem be reasonable about needles – and I really do try!

My doctor had asked me to get a blood glucose reading 4 times per day – before eating in the morning and 1 hour after each meal.  I tried to convince myself that I could get those readings myself but I could barely be reasonable enough to let Eric do it for me so that didn’t happen.  I feel really blessed though that Eric was awesome with me.  He wouldn’t push me to do the blood tests even though he would encourage me.  So I would let him know when I finished eating something so that he knew that he had to do the blood draw in an hour – I knew if I just tracked it myself I’d chicken out when the hour was up and convince myself I had something more important to do and never tell Eric.  I had better integrity if I told Eric at the beginning rather than waiting until the end.  We’d have to go upstairs, lock the door to our room (the kids weren’t going to be helpful and don’t need to know how unreasonable mom was), turn on a TV show, then I’d run my hands under hot water (to promote good blood flow) while Eric prepped the glucose monitor.  Once my hands were warmed up I’d come out, pretend like I was just watching the show and give Eric my hand.  He learned pretty quick that he only had about one try to get a usable blood sample as I couldn’t get myself to sit back down for a second attempt – either we got it or we didn’t but I couldn’t do it again if it failed the first time.  Once he got the sample I would quickly jump off the bed and go wash my hands off again – mostly so I could indicate to my brain that we were done and get my stress levels back down.  Then I’d sit and watch a few minutes of the show while I got back to normal and then I could return to whatever I was doing beforehand.  My usual remedy for needle-related anxiety is chocolate… but that was obviously off limits with the whole diabetic thing ☹

To be honest I was really worried that having Eric sticking me with needles was going to create some subconscious trust issues for me.  However, the opposite happened.  Because Eric was so kind with me even when I was unreasonable, and he helped me without just letting me off the hook, I really learned to love him even more than I already did (which is saying something because I already loved him quite a lot).  I feel SO blessed to have him by my side throughout everything in this life, I couldn’t ask for a better husband.

As you might have guessed… I didn’t get all of my glucose readings in.  Not by a long shot.  I had some really high readings and lots of reasonable readings, not really enough to be super conclusive but I was proud of myself to have gotten as much done as I did.  However, I was absolutely religious about the diet.  I didn’t cheat on it, although at first I had a hard time just figuring out what things were ok to eat and what things weren’t, but I never once got to the point where I said, “just this once I’m going to eat x”.  I actually noticed that when I ate the things that were higher carb that my heart would get a little racy like I had associated with my low blood pressure, leading me to wonder if the problem was really gestational diabetes rather than low blood pressure.  Anyways, my doctor never was able to definitively diagnose me with gestational diabetes but I managed to get through the final month of pregnancy on that diet.

The diet was tough, I had been trying for awhile to limit the amount of meat that we were eating and was erring on the side of adding more carbs – so I had to change that to go completely the opposite direction.  I mostly just found things that I could eat myself and planned different meals for Eric and the kids.  It wasn’t terrible but I had the hardest time getting enough calories while staying on that diet.  I was hungry a lot but I didn’t want to get my glucose levels too high.  Plus, eating was scary because I knew that one hour after I’d eaten I was supposed to do a glucose check so I had to *really* want to eat to make it worth going through that again.  I actually started losing weight during that last month of pregnancy, which was a little bit scary.  Not that I didn’t have weight to lose, but I wanted to make sure I was eating enough to sustain my baby – I just couldn’t figure out what to eat!  My doctor wasn’t worried and said it was normal, but it was not the most fun way to end the pregnancy.

About 3 weeks into the gestational diabetes I was walking around one morning and felt… uncomfortable.  Ok, so that sounds ridiculous, I’d been uncomfortable for about 33 weeks at that point, but my digestive tract felt wrong.  At first I thought I was just constipated (I was on a weird diet, it seemed like a possibility).  But as the day went on that didn’t quite seem to explain my discomfort.  So I started googling things and came up with that I probably had appendicitis judging from where the pain was.  I was pretty certain of this until I went to the bathroom and noticed that my urine was totally brown.  A little bit more googling helped me diagnose myself as probably having a kidney stone – awesome.  I went into urgent care that evening and the doctor confirmed that most likely that was the case – although they understandably didn’t want to do any abdominal imaging on a woman who was 37 weeks pregnant, and wouldn’t have been able to see much even if they did because of the baby in the way.  I was given an antibiotic in case it was a kidney infection and told to drink lots of water to help things pass.  I was also told to stop taking Tums for my heartburn as all that extra calcium was a possible culprit for creating the stone in the first place.  Another suspect was the high protein diet from the gestational diabetes.  I was starting to feel like I just couldn’t win.  My mom had a kidney stone when she was pregnant with her 4th child, who was also a boy.  I know I look a lot like my mom, but this was a trait I probably should have let her keep to herself :P

After the kidney stone I decided I was DONE with being pregnant.  With my other babies they had liked to stay put and cook past the 40 week mark so even though I was only 1 day short of 38 weeks I knew I was looking at probably 3 more weeks of pregnancy if I let nature take its course.  Between the kidney stone, back problems, blood pressure issues, and (of course) gestational diabetes – I was ready to throw in the towel.  I went in for my next midwife appointment and scheduled an induction for 10/4, i.e. the day I hit 39 weeks and was eligible for an elective induction.  To be honest, more than the kidney stone I was worried that since I had let the gestational diabetes go unchecked for so long (and I had not been eating healthy during that time) David was going to be too big to be born naturally and I would have to have a c-section.  I knew I was losing weight but the baby was still growing.  I wasn’t sure whether I was worried that I was undernourishing him or overnourishing him – but I didn’t feel great about either one.  I’d been debating scheduling an induction on those grounds, but the kidney stone pushed me over the edge.  I had my mom book a flight to be here to take care of my older kids and started counting down the days.

The day before my induction was the day of the annual Utah STEM Fair.  We had gone the year before and it had been a highlight of the year – they had asked for months afterwards when we would get to go again!  So even though it was more walking than I really felt up to, I decided to go for it!  It seemed like a fun “last hurrah” before becoming a family of 6 – one last time to enjoy just being the 5 of us.  It seems silly but just before having each new child it feels like we’re closing a chapter of our lives and while we’re so excited about the new baby we’re adding to our family, there’s a little tinge of sadness to be leaving the previous chapter behind. I always have felt like there’s something a little bit sad about moving on from each stage of life and having a chance to celebrate the family we have just before it changes always seems appropriate.

That day happened to also be a Tuesday which is when we have all of our commitments outside the home, and we’d need to pick my mom up at the airport that night.  Busy day!  I didn’t tell the kids about the fair until we were actually ready to go so they wouldn’t be disappointed if by the time we completed all of our other commitments I wasn’t up to it.  But we made it through preschool, violin, dance class, a haircut and music class and I was still ready to go!  We got there later than we would have preferred but the kids had a blast checking out all of the exhibits and I waddled around looking for anywhere I could sit for a second, all the while thinking – I’m going to have a baby to . mor . row.  It was a really funny experience just being there with all of these people doing a normal thing while feeling like there was something so huge that was about to happen to me and people didn’t really know.

When the fair closed we had to divide and conquer – Eric had some work that needed to be finished before taking the next couple days off, and I needed to pick my mom up at the airport.  We had both scored Olive Garden pasta passes though and wanted to use them to get dinner that night.  After some deliberation we decided that Eric would take Sam and Maeli to one Olive Garden on his way home and I would take Danny & my mom to a different Olive Garden after picking her up from the airport.  Don’t worry, I still didn’t break my diet – not even for Olive Garden!  I found out that they would substitute steamed broccoli for the pasta and had that and salad for a very satisfying last dinner of pregnancy 😊  It was a late dinner but it added to the celebratory nature of the day – and we could do it without even having to pay for my meal, score!

Of course that night would be the night that people had trouble sleeping.  Maeli started having a nasty croupy sounding cough (just as I’m getting ready to bring home a newborn – awesome) and everyone got to bed much later than planned.  I seriously considered cancelling the induction because it didn’t seem like we would be ready for all that would entail… and truth be told I was still apprehensive about needing an IV – and even though consciously I wouldn’t have pushed it back for that, on a subconscious level I’m sure it made the idea of rescheduling seem more sane than it was.  Plus, I’m not generally a big fan of being induced (even though I’ve basically been induced with 3 of my 4 deliveries).  I still have a basic belief that babies are best left to be born when they’re ready and all done being cooked, but we don’t always get the ideal situations and we work with what we have.

In the end I got up the next morning, got dressed and we headed off to the hospital.  Eric tried to convince me that I wasn’t supposed to eat before the induction (because anesthesia stuff)  but since I hadn’t been given that instruction from the hospital I ate a couple of fried eggs and a vitamin water.  But it made me nervous that I was doing the wrong thing anyways.  The nurses later confirmed that I had made the right choice and I absolutely ought to have eaten beforehand since I had a long day of hard work ahead of me!  Phew!

We got to the hospital late (our scheduled arrival time was earlier than our usual waking up time – even without kids developing nasty coughs in the night) but we were able to get checked in quickly.  I told Eric that I felt funny walking into the hospital with a suitcase – like we were heading into a hotel for a fun getaway :P  Hopefully if I ever go for a spa getaway it’s considerably more comfortable than childbirth 😉

Once I was changed into a lovely hospital gown and had answered all of their questions it was time for the IV – dun dun DUN!  Luckily I had a very understanding nurse who listened to me.  See, even though I’m not good at needles I have at least pretty well established how I can get through them – I need to be hydrated, have reasonably high blood sugar level, warm up my arms, have someone keep talking to me about anything not related to the needles, don’t look at the needles, don’t expect ME to keep talking (I need to just focus on breathing deeply and staying conscious), and don’t try to tell me how not a big deal it is (I know it’s not a big deal, but bringing my attention to the needles makes me face it more head on and I’m more likely to pass out).  It’s also good if the nurse tells me when they’re NOT ready to stick me with the needle (i.e. “I’m just looking at your veins, cleaning things up” etc) however they don’t have to tell me when they ARE going to stick me, and it’s definitely a bad idea to tell me to be ready because that elicits my fear response and all my veins shrink right up, if they say something like “ok, little stick” right as they’re sticking it in that’s fine but don’t give me more time to freak out.  The most important thing is “what thou doest, do quickly” and let me try to pretend that this isn’t happening – the less we talk about the better.  I’ve had nurses try to have me do it their way instead of my own way and while I really appreciate their intentions and experience, I know myself and other techniques make it worse rather than better.

Anyways, the nurse I had was awesome at listening to me and did everything just great.  She made sure to tape the lines down tightly so they wouldn’t wiggle, and she made sure to get all of the blood testing they needed through the IV port rather than making me go for another round of sticks.  When I was induced with Danny it took an hour and several pokes to get the IV set up, so you can imagine how relieved I was to have that part go smoothly.  Once we were set up then it was time to wait.  Since we hadn’t gotten much sleep the night before Eric and I both laid down and tried to sleep.   I think Eric got an actual nap in and I at least closed my eyes and pretended to sleep to get some rest.  I kept having to answer questions and my adrenaline was a little high so actual sleep didn’t really happen, but I at least got to relax.  All of my labors had been pretty quick – 8 hours for Sam, 4 for Danny, 3 for Maeli… I wasn’t expecting for things to take very long and was expecting them to be pretty intense, so some rest at the beginning seemed wise.  We were all set up by 9am and I was sort of expecting that we’d have David shortly after lunch.  While I was resting my nurse was talking to another nurse about how they coded different things and mentioned that Pitocin was a “high risk” drug – which I sort of knew but it was still jarring to hear her say that while we were starting me on it :/  It didn’t give me a lot of confidence in what the rest of the day would hold – especially since I’d already had enough complications with this pregnancy.

Eric woke up from his nap and my contractions were regular but not intense.  He hooked his tablet up to the TV and we watched some shows while we waited, and Eric did some work.  A couple hours later the contractions were uncomfortable but still nothing earth shattering.  I could still carry on conversation through them, even if I preferred to do some deep breathing to manage them.  A little after 1pm I sent Eric out to get himself some lunch – it didn’t seem like anything was going to change dramatically in the next little while and it seemed wise to let Eric get some food while he had the chance.  Luckily the hospital is right in the middle of a ton of different restaurants so Eric didn’t have to go far to get some Café Rio.

While Eric was gone I checked some of the notifications on my phone and found that one of my neighbors had sent me an Instagram message.  She was close to her due date too (there were about 5 ladies in our ward that were due within a couple weeks of me) and was in the hospital that day for some issues she was having.  She wasn’t in labor yet but was going to be induced the next day and was sitting in a little room all alone.  She decided to come over to my room with her IV and visited with me for a little while as we were both alone in the hospital.  I wish we’d thought to get a selfie of the two of us – how often is it that you and a friend get to visit each other while you’re *both* in the hospital?  It was definitely a unique experience!  I was grateful to have a familiar friendly face to be with me while I was waiting alone for a little while.  Even though I really was glad to let Eric go get some lunch, it wasn’t fun being in the hospital room alone and I was glad to have someone there who could call for a nurse if something suddenly went wrong.  I wasn’t expecting anything like that, but it was just comforting to have someone else there.

Eric came back from lunch and we continued watching shows, me being uncomfortable, but mostly just waiting for things to ramp up.  Slowly the contractions were getting a little stronger, but still nothing that I couldn’t manage a conversation through, although perhaps with some wincing.  Around 3pm my midwife came in and checked my progress.  She asked if I wanted to try some other positions to which I responded that I didn’t really – I was pretty happy where I was.  She looked at me like I was being obstinate so I clarified that I wasn’t saying I *wouldn’t* change positions but if we were doing it just based on what I wanted… I didn’t feel any burning desire to move from where I was – at 39 weeks pregnant moving around always seems like a huge chore, so all things being equal I’d just assume stay put.  With that cleared up my midwife told me that David was still up pretty high and it would be good to move around and see if we could get him to come down to start making progress.  Well that was a horse of a different color!  Progress sounded good to me so we started moving me around.  I don’t remember what we tried first but we put me on a birthing ball bouncing around for a little while, and put the bed in an upright position and had me hang over the back, and laid me on my side with a large peanut shaped ball between my legs.

Moving around did the trick!  My labor started to pick up and David made his way down into the birth canal.  By 4pm I’d gotten to 4cm dilated and David had dropped enough so we broke my water and things really got intense.  It’s so awkward having contractions after having my water broken because every contraction feels like I’m peeing myself.  Not like any part of labor is all that glamorous or not gross feeling – but that is especially gross feeling.  At that point things really started to hurt.  We kept moving my positions between hanging over the back of the bed, the ball, and on my side.  Within an hour the pain from the contractions was so intense that we finally got to the point where we turned the TV shows off as they were only serving to agitate me rather than distract from the pain.  I needed all my focus to be on just trying to relax between contractions.  I am not loud when I’m laboring which has led in the past to nurses not really thinking things are getting close (the doctor barely made it into the room to catch Danny because they didn’t think I’d gotten that far yet).  Luckily my midwife recognized that even though I was quiet it was because I was in the zone, not that I wasn’t progressing, and since she was done with her appointments for the day she stayed in the room from soon after my water was broken until the end.  I was so grateful for that extra attention and coaching.

We kept changing my positions and checking my progress, which continued to be steady.  Probably around 6:30 I started to feel the urge to push.  My midwife checked me and said I was really close.  On the next contraction I couldn’t not push and my midwife could see that and the nurses gathered around for the grand finale.  I was still on my side (which was the position that I made the best progress in while being the most comfortable) so someone held up my leg while I pushed David out from that position.  It was a weird position for giving birth I’m sure but I wasn’t really ready to move at that point.  It took maybe 5-10 contractions for me to push David out. I’d have a contraction and push as hard as I felt like I could without tearing for probably 30 seconds, and then get about 30 seconds to catch a deep breath before another big contraction would come and I’d push again.  Finally his head came through and on the next push I was able to get his shoulders and the rest of his body out.  He was here!  It is the weirdest feeling in the world to go from having a small human being in you to suddenly pushing them out and feeling so empty.  Not a bad empty, sort of a cathartic empty.  The second weirdest feeling is delivering the placenta.  It doesn’t hurt really but it’s this huge squishy organ that comes out all at once.  It’s very infrequent that you pass entire organs out of your body which is probably why it seems so strange.  It felt SO good to be done with being pregnant and to have my body back to myself again.  I told Eric over and over for the next day, “I did it.  I’m done.  I’m not pregnant anymore.  I’m NOT pregnant anymore!”  It had become such a defining part of who I was for the last 9 months that I had to keep saying it to convince myself it was really true – I’d made it!

David was born at 6:46pm and was 6lbs 12oz and 20.5 inches long.  I’d been worried about him being too big but he was actually the smallest of my babies by 13oz!  I’m still so glad that I went ahead with the induction.  It was SO nice to know that my older kids were settled before heading to the hospital.  It was also awesome to know that we could get a good night’s sleep beforehand and that Eric could plan out his day away from the office in advance.  Also just having a defined finish line was so helpful at the end of that long pregnancy – I’m not sure that I mentally could have taken 2 more weeks.  Besides which, as I mentioned before it was awesome to have my midwife there and able to really coach me through the delivery.  All things considered, I would likely choose to be induced again if we have another baby.

As soon as Eric posted to my mom that David was here our older kids were over the moon and started jumping up and down begging to come see him.  I had already arranged with my mom that I was ok with them coming up as soon as David arrived – once things were reasonably cleaned up in the delivery room they were welcome to come see him.  I had a few stitches but they were taken care of quickly – my midwife says it looked like I’d just torn in the same place I had with my previous births (Sam was 8lbs 11oz with a 90th percentile head, so…. yeah, there was some tearing there that has opened up with each subsequent delivery).  To be honest after giving birth I feel like having visitors come right away.  I just did something monumentally hard – I want to show off!  I might not look amazing, but neither do marathon runners, it’s still good to have people you love with you to share in the achievement and the joy of a new baby.  Besides no one is really looking at me when there’s a cute baby to look at 😉  I know everyone is different but I basically want the people I love to come and give me a high five and tell me I did a good job, and ooh and ahh over the cute baby that I’ve managed to produce.  I’m too amped up on adrenaline to rest for quite awhile anyways so people might as well be there to celebrate with me.

My midwife and nurses kept commenting how impressed they were with the control I had during delivery.  I guess that I did an especially good job of not pushing too hard or too fast and causing myself to tear.  I would bet that that’s primarily because I didn’t have an epidural so I could feel everything stretching and could tell what would cause me to tear.  I remember them saying the same thing about when Maeli was born – maybe it’s just something they tell every mom so that we feel good about ourselves 😉  I don’t really know how I would have done things any other way so I’ll just take it for what it is!

The kids arrived with my mom at the same time as Eric’s parents arrived.  They had arrived home from their mission in Washington D.C. just that day and they were leaving to go visit naother one of their kids that weekend so it was perfect timing!  It was so great just to have everyone there – and to finally get to eat some carbohydrates!  The nurses told me to get my order into room service quickly before they closed for the night and I was excited just to have some real food after a full day of very minimal snacks and a really hard workout!  I don’t even remember what I ordered but I was excited for real food.  They also brought me in some snacks – graham crackers, saltines, yogurt, super exciting hospital snacks 😉

While the kids were oogling David and we talked to our parents about the events of the day the nurses kept coming in every few minutes to check on me.  The first few times the nurse seemed moderately concerned that I was bleeding more than she would have liked.  That was highly disconcerting.  Considering how I feel about blood you can imagine that the idea of having a hemorrhaging problem after birth would really scare the dickens out of me.  However there didn’t seem to be anything I could do about it and the nurse wasn’t panicked or anything, so I just relaxed as best as I could and tried to ignore how very nervous that made me.  My mom gave me more wide eyed concerned looks, but I felt like there wasn’t anything that I could do about it so I was trying not to waste my energy on worrying.  I think she was concerned that having the extra people in the room could be a hinderance if something needed to happen, but I figured I wasn’t exerting myself by letting everyone be there, and it made me feel better having them there.  I relaxed as best as I could and assumed that if the doctors needed to do something with me they would shoo my family out and do it.  Luckily after a few rounds of concerned looks things seemed better and the nurse stopped commenting on it so presumably things were fine.

Also during that time a nurse came in to get all of David’s preliminary tests and procedures done.  She took him to the other side of the room from my kids to weigh, measure, poke and prod him.  My mom was unimpressed with how gentle (or not) she was being with David and looked at me like, “hey, why isn’t anyone snuggling that cute baby and making him happy?”  I obviously was in no place to hobble over and help out but I was grateful when my mom went over to hold his hand and try to comfort him a little while that was happening.  They poked him a few times and put the goop in his eyes – but somehow no one managed to actually wash him off.  We actually didn’t get him washed off until he came home and was a few days old :P

When my dinner came all of our visitors cleared out to let us get settled in for the night.  I was a little sad to see them go, but it was getting past the kids’ bedtime and it was time for us to get some rest too.  Of course “rest” in a hospital is relative.  The nurses came in every hour to check my temperature, blood pressure and bleeding until about midnight.  Then they started coming in every 4 hours.  At one point I’d fallen asleep for a little while and then woke up just before I thought they were going to come in again, so rather than going back to sleep I decided I’d just wait for them to come in.  So I waited… and waited… and waited.  It ended up being closer to an hour and a half before they came in again so I probably should have tried harder to go back to sleep, oh well.  I just don’t sleep well in the hospital – the sounds are weird, the bed isn’t mine, people are coming and going, and there’s always a possibility someone might want to stick a needle in me.  It’s not my favorite place to be.

In the morning my nurse came in to remove my IV.  To be honest, I like having the IV removed almost as little as I like having it put in as strange as that sounds.  They needed one more bit of blood work from me – a final glucose level to check that things were back to normal after giving birth.  As I talked to the nurse she thought she could probably get that blood sample when she removed the IV without doing an additional poke – she didn’t want to guarantee it but she said she’d try.  I can’t tell you exactly what happened (I was of course pretending that nothing was happening and just trying to stay conscious), but somehow she made that work and got me out of having an another poke.  She quickly made it onto my list of favorite people 😉  Even better, the level was back to normal and I was freed from having to do glucose tests any more – hallelujah!

Throughout my pregnancy I kept thinking, “I never want to do this ever again.  This is so miserable.  Don’t forget how hard and miserable this is.  Nope, never ever ever ever EVER going to do this again.  This is the last time, absolutely, 100%, never doing this again.  I’m getting too old for this.”  That resolve at least doubled when I was in labor, and doubled again while in the final transition and during the actual birth of David.  That whole day in the hospital I kept thinking, “This is no fun at all, I really really don’t want to have to do this again.  DO NOT forget how hard this is!”  The pregnancy wasn’t just physically hard but it really was mentally exhausting.    After getting through all of that I really couldn’t fathom doing it again.  The day after his birth I was laying in the hospital bed and staring at my precious newborn baby and thought, “Awww, look how cute he is!  This is SO special and wonderful and worth EVERYTHING.  How sad would it be to never get to have a brand new baby like this again?  I could do this again!”  Of course the other part of me was screaming, “WHAT!?!?  Have you not been here for the last 9 months?  Do you not remember what happened YESTERDAY!  It hasn’t even been 24 hours!  You haven’t even left the hospital!  You still have an ice pack stuffed in your underpants!  What do you mean you ‘could do this again’?!?”  Both sides are completely true – having David was so worth everything I went through, we love him to the ends of the earth and back and more.  If you were to send me back to the end of 2016 and give me the choice of going through it all again or not having him I would 100% go through it all again, no question.  But man, contemplating doing it again…. That’s going to take a lot more convincing.  So far our kids have been spaced out like this – Sam to Danny: 2 years, Danny to Maeli: 3 years, Maeli to David: 4 years.  So if you’re wondering if we’re done or not just check the pattern… we can talk in 5 years 😉

The next day contained all the routine post-birth things – the pediatrician came to evaluate David, my midwife came to check on me, billing wanted us to pay our bill up front, we filled out the birth certificate – all the things.  I had asked my midwife beforehand that we be discharged as soon as possible, generally 24 hours after birth, so long as everything looked good.  So as we went through all of our checks we got the oks from the doctors to be discharged at the end of the day.  As we got close to that 24 hour mark I had Eric help me shower and change back into normal clothes and we waited for the nurses to get all of the paperwork approved.  It took about 2 hours longer than we’d expected because they lost some of David’s bloodwork samples or something but finally they cut all the tags off of us and we were free to go home!  As we were leaving the nurses asked me if we didn’t have insurance or something – they were astounded that I would want to go home so quickly.  I guess most moms want to stay as long as possible where they have people to care for them, make the food, take the baby sometimes, all that good stuff.  We have reasonable insurance, but even with that an extra day in the hospital is a pretty pricey affair.  But more importantly, I just would rather be home!  If I didn’t have good care at home my feelings might be different, but I was going home where my mom would be there to help cook meals and tend my children and Eric would be there too.  Plus no one would be coming in to poke and prod me or my baby while we were sleeping, I could have my own bed with my own blankets, I could snuggle with my kids and know that Eric wasn’t stuck sleeping on a couch.  Unlike the nurses I can’t understand why anyone would want to stay in the hospital!  The care is great, but I’m still happier to be back home.  Room service meals is nice, but for the price… I’ll get someone to pick up takeout from a really good restaurant rather than be stuck eating hospital food thanks ;)

My mom was able to stay with us for 2 weeks which was SO wonderful!  My recovery with David was harder than it was with my other kids, not for any particular reason but it was just harder.  I didn’t have any unexpected complications or unmanaged pain, but I wore down faster and had a hard time keeping my energy up or exerting myself much (by exerting myself I mean, walking around a little).  I wasn’t in any more pain than I would have expected, but I was just so easily drained.  My guess is that I really did lose a decent amount of blood during/after the birth and it just took that long for my body to regenerate my blood supply.  Obviously not so much as to need intervention, but more than I had with previous births and enough to cause a difference in recovery.  Luckily by the time my mom left to go back home I was starting to feel normal-ish again and ready to ease back into our routines, and even slowly get back to not just pregnancy normal but pre-pregnancy normal.  It’s been really eye opening to see just how much I let go of during the pregnancy as I’ve been able to pick things back up.  We also decided after this pregnancy that I probably ought to switch from taking a pill for birth control to having an IUD instead (since I clearly wasn’t doing a great job of taking a pill).  Even more surprising than how much better I feel not being pregnant is how much better I feel having changed birth control methods.  I hadn’t realized just how tired my other birth control had made me.  It didn’t help that when Eric and I first got married I had mono which took a long time to recover from, and then I had Sam who was a terrible sleeper, then pregnant with Danny, then another baby and dealing with sleep, then pregnant with Maeli and another baby.  It was difficult to separate exhaustion from mono/being a mom from birth control side effects – it was just my normal!  But now that I’ve switched I feel like I am fully awake for the first time in over 10 years.  I had no idea!  We switched just to give ourselves a more surefire method of birth control, but I might be more excited about getting my energy back than not having to take a pill every day!

David has been a delight to have in our home.  I can’t imagine our family without him and it absolutely blows my mind that we’d actually consciously decided that we were content with our 3 kids and didn’t need any more.  How sad!  It’s so bizarre how perfectly happy we can be not knowing what blessings could be ours if we were to just [fill in the blank].  Anyways, while he’s been a delight David has not been an easy baby.  He struggled with colic for the first few months and pretty much just wanted to be held all the time.  Luckily, Sam had colic too and since he was our first we didn’t know that it was a hard thing we sort of just thought that’s how babies were – until we had Danny and Maeli and realized that it wasn’t always like that :P  But having had the experience with Sam with colic we felt like we knew what to expect.  Honestly just having that expectation already set differently made all the difference.  We knew that we likely wouldn’t be able to put the baby down and we’d just need to take turns holding him, walking with him, bouncing with him etc – and we could work with that.  It wouldn’t last forever and we’d make it through, and just because our baby was upset didn’t mean we were bad parents or doing something wrong, it was just the way it was.  I slept a lot of nights on the recliner with the TV on, Eric and I would try to let each other take naps when we could, and mostly I just let other things go knowing that eventually “this too shall pass” and we’d get back on top of those things then.  Sam is now our best sleeper!  I mean, he’s 9, but still, he figured it out eventually!  David has the most intense stare, he will stare into your eyes for the longest time, and then just smile.  It makes you feel like the most wonderful person in the world – if this baby thinks you’re worthy of this kind of adoration you must be a pretty amazing person!  His siblings are still completely enamored with him, I can’t put him down without one of the kids going and getting up in his space or carrying him off to somewhere else to snuggle with him.  I hope he always recognizes just how lucky he is to have siblings who adore him like his siblings do.  We truly feel so blessed to have him in our home and are grateful every day to have him!

Introducing Maeli Esther Hansen

 - by Brittny

Our beautiful baby girl :)

Well, since my last post was announcing the gender of our baby, and since she’s now two months old, I guess it’s fitting that this one is to announce the arrival of that baby (see also: I’ve been a terrible blogger and need to repent)!  Our daughter was born on 09 January 2014 at 6:15am.  She weighed in at 7lbs 9oz and measured 19.5 inches long.  We’ve named her Maeli Esther Hansen.  Maeli is Mandarin (pronounced May-lee) and it means beautiful.  We later found out it also means calm, or peaceful in Polynesian.  Esther is Eric’s paternal grandmother’s middle name, as well as obviously the name of the biblical heroine.

Note: This post is extremely long (no surprise there), I wanted to document a lot of the pregnancy and some experiences that lead up to Maeli’s birth for my own sake as much as anything else. If you’d like to skip that and just read the actual birth story you can click here to skip to that part of the post. Or feel free to just scan through for pictures, I won’t be offended :)

We went through a lot of debate on what to name her.  Maeli has been on Eric’s list of girl’s names since we first got married since it’s a Chinese name, but one that doesn’t sound strange to an American ear.  I loved the idea when we first were pregnant with Sam but obviously, he wasn’t a girl so we didn’t use it then.  Since then, I’ve found that I loved having scriptural names for both of our boys so that as we’ve read our scriptures I could point out to them “Hey look, Samuel the Lamanite, just like our Samuel!” or “Hey, we’re talking about Daniel and the lion’s den, we have a Daniel in our family too!”  I really like having good role models for them to look up to in the scriptures.  So I wanted our daughter to have a scriptural name.  I’ve also liked that our boys have middle names that are family names (Samuel Eric obviously after his dad, and Daniel Curtis after my dad).  I wanted to do the same thing for our daughter, but we weren’t planning on giving her a middle name – which meant we had a pretty tall order to fill.  Maeli didn’t fit either of those criterion.  I also feel like physical appearance is too big of a focus for most women and I didn’t want a daughter being raised thinking that physical beauty was what we prized above all else in her.  So there was a lot of back and forth.  Maeli wasn’t sitting right, and neither was Esther or any of the other names on our list.  I just didn’t feel settled.  Finally one day I had the idea of breaking tradition and giving our daughter a middle name.  Suddenly the name just felt right – Maeli Esther.  I really like the way her name all goes together with the meanings too.  Beauty, both in appearance and spirit, was obviously a quality of Queen Esther that factored heavily into her story.  Esther in Persian means star, so Maeli is our beautiful, peaceful star.  I especially liked passing along Eric’s grandmother’s middle name after getting to know more about her during her funeral in December of 2012 – not long before we decided it was time to have another baby.  She was an incredible woman and someone that I’d love for my daughter to emulate.  I’d like to think that Maeli and her Great Grandma Leona spent some time together on the other side as they were coming and going.

Anyways, that’s how Maeli got her name, here’s the story of how she got here.  As those of you who follow me on Facebook probably already know, this was a rough pregnancy for me.  I can’t complain too much because I know there are many women who have much worse. Even still, this pregnancy was a lot tougher than my previous two and I felt pretty beat up overall.  First of all, my “morning” sickness was much worse this time around than with Sam or Danny.  I’ve heard some women say that they have easier pregnancies with girls, and some say they have easier pregnancies with boys.  Apparently I’m the type of woman that was made for bearing sons, not daughters.  With Maeli I was sicker and for longer.  I only actually threw up once (yes, I can hear those of you who’ve had real issues with morning sickness starting an orchestra with the world’s smallest violins) but I felt like garbage for about 4 months.  Food was very unappealing to me and I was near throwing up on a daily basis.  I was only able to keep it under control with a regimen of vitamins and forcing myself to eat the right things at the right times even when I didn’t want to.  My gag reflex was also so much more severe for the whole pregnancy than it usually is, and while it’s better now, I’m starting to think that my normally strong gag reflex might never return.

So, that part wasn’t very fun, but that wasn’t what really made this pregnancy difficult.  The real problem was my back.  I’d had some problems towards the latter end of my pregnancy with Danny, but this time around I started having problems at around 8 weeks.  By the time I was about 14 weeks I had frequent days where I would not be able to walk at the end of the day because my back was in such terrible shape.  I was really worried about what I was going to do.  Dealing with some issues for the last few weeks of a pregnancy is expected, but starting at 8 weeks?!  Not being able to walk for 7 months was not really an option as a mother of two boys.  So, I started to go to a chiropractor.  I’ve always been a little dubious of chiropractic care but, through regular visits she was able to get me back on my feet and I was able to walk again.  I still had to limit what I did so that I didn’t push myself too far.  However, by 25 weeks I stopped having episodes of not being able to walk.  Our house didn’t stay especially clean and I felt exceptionally lazy, but being able to walk up the stairs at the end of the day was worthwhile.

After I got my back under control then my blood pressure started getting low.  Luckily, this had also happened with my pregnancy with Daniel so I knew what to expect and how to keep that under control as well.  Lots of water, don’t freak out when it feels like your heart can’t keep up, lay in specific positions etc.  As scary as the feeling is, knowing what was going on made it much easier to work with.  Then at about 32 weeks I started having lots of contractions.  I’d had some Braxton Hicks with both of my boys so I wasn’t surprised to have the contractions, but I was surprised at the frequency and intensity so early on.  Every time I would get up and try to do just about anything – picking up toys, fixing meals, washing dishes – I would start to have regular contractions that would only be stopped when I sat down.  I was very concerned that I would end up having Maeli prematurely.  My sister had her baby at 35 weeks and so I’ve seen that those babies turn out just fine.  But I’ve also seen how miserable their first few weeks of life are, and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.  I mentioned these contractions to my midwife and she told me what I expected to hear – my cervix wasn’t changing yet (which is what they would worry about) but don’t push it.  If activity made them come on stronger, then I needed to limit my activity.  Simple instructions but I was again reduced to feeling terribly lazy.

Luckily I continued to not make progress for another 5 weeks.  Once I got to a point where we safely could have her (37 weeks) I started trying to do more of my regular activities, and pushing myself further but of course, if I induced lots of contractions at a time I just felt like garbage by the end of the day.  Over the next three weeks I tried lots of things to help convince Maeli to come a little bit early.  I was hoping that she would arrive before the new year so that we could have all of the medical bills in one year.  Plus, it would certainly have been nice to have gotten the tax break for another dependent for 2013.  Even more so, my parents were able to come to Utah for Christmas and the week or so following and were hoping for Maeli to arrive before they left.  Well, they all came for Christmas and I hadn’t had the baby yet.  The boys all went skiing on Christmas and my dad injured his knee requiring further surgery – no baby.  My brother Cody stayed up here to have sinus surgery and my mom stayed with him for an extra week while he recovered, still no baby.  My mom and Cody finally decided they would stay up until my due date, and then they would have to give up on me and go home.

The day before my due date (03 January) I had an appointment with my midwife.  All this time I’d been having so many contractions, I’d been drinking red raspberry tea, using sage oil, walking stairs, and trying all kinds of things to induce labor.  While all of those measures would get contractions going, even going at a relatively regular pace, none of them got actual labor started.  So when I went in to my midwife I was feeling pretty run down.  I had thought that she’d said that at this appointment they were going to perform a non-stress test on the baby and do an ultrasound to check if it was time to give the baby an eviction notice.  Apparently I’d misheard because that was actually what would happen at the next appointment if I made it that far.  But thinking it was this appointment I brought my mom, the boys and Eric to the appointment since I thought they would all enjoy seeing Maeli in the ultrasound.  I felt like a bit of an idiot when I discovered my error.  At the end of my appointment my midwife told me that whenever I wanted to have the baby she’d be happy to have me come to the hospital and she would break my water.  I’d made enough progress that she could induce me by breaking my water (which would be my preference) rather than using pitocin.  She had another mom laboring that night so she seemed to be hinting that as long as she was there she might as well have two patients.

I was really torn, I was very done being pregnant, my mom was going to leave the next day, it was a Friday afternoon so we’d have the whole weekend for rest and recovery… the timing was very appealing.  However, I have a strong personal belief that it’s best for babies to let them stay put until they’re done, not just when the mom is done.  I just think that Heavenly Father designed the whole process so that the baby can come when it is totally developed and really ready for the world.  I know that babies are just fine when they are induced, but it just seems like they’re better off if they can come on their own timing.  I’d also read a blog post that put forth the idea that maybe babies that are overdue are saying their last goodbyes and getting their last bits of instruction on the other side, and it’s a little rude to take that away from them just because we’re uncomfortable.   Obviously that’s not doctrine, but the idea sat well in my mind.  So, I had a hard time thinking of forcing Maeli out before her time.  Also, it’s rather difficult to think of making yourself go through labor right away.  Even though it would make me much more comfortable in the long run, and I was going to have to go through it eventually anyways, it was still hard to contemplate making myself do it.  I waffled for a lot of the evening, and finally my decision was made for me as much because it had gotten too late as anything else.  In the end I did feel better about that decision (or lack of decision), but I did feel like I was cheating everyone else out of an easy fix just to accommodate my birthing preferences.

A day or so after my mom left Eric made the comment to me that he didn’t really think that I’d ever go into labor on my own and that we’d probably end up inducing me anyways.  While that was sort of how I was feeling too, him saying it out loud sort of broke my spirit.  While I’ve always had these beliefs that the best thing to do is to let babies come when they’re ready, I’d never gone into labor on my own before.  I’d ended up being induced with both of my boys out of medical necessity.  I was desperately hoping to go into labor on my own, but I was starting to believe that despite all the contractions that I’d had, it was just never going to happen.  Maybe my body just didn’t know how to initiate labor.  I was crushed.  I spent the next couple days in a bit of a funk and just feeling depressed that it wasn’t ever going to happen.  I’d sent my mom back home (who I would have liked to have had there for the delivery) and I’d end up being induced anyways.  Eric didn’t know before reading this post that his comment had hurt me so much, and I don’t blame him for how I was feeling at all.  These feelings had been there before but him saying it made me face them.  It was just the thing that pushed me over the edge.  I was in a bit of a dark spot for a few days.

Then on Tuesday, 07 January one of my friends posted a link to this article – God will give you more than you can handle: I guarantee it.  Basically the post says that life is hard, it’s supposed to be hard, and it’s even supposed to be more than we think we can take, but if we turn ourselves over to Christ He can help us through it and we can handle our trials with Him.  (Obviously all that was expressed much better in the author’s blog post than I did in one sentence, but that was my basic takeaway)  I cried as I read through that post.  That was exactly how I’d been feeling.  While the trial I’d been given surely wasn’t to the magnitude of Job, I was about to the end of my rope and didn’t know how much longer I could hold on.  After being sick, having back problems, contractions without end for months, I just was worn out.  I knew I could turn to the Lord for help, but somehow this helped me realize that I needed to, and it was ok.  I wasn’t just being a baby.  This was why Christ suffered for us, so that He could help us in times of need and that I not only could but should turn to Him for help.  I prayed more diligently for help and I really felt a lot better and like I could handle what I was going through.  I was even able to accept that I probably would have to be induced, and that that would be ok.

The Birth

In the evening on Wednesday I was having regular contractions again, but that had happened towards the end of just about every day for the last month so I tried not to get my hopes up.  After the boys were in bed Eric and I spent a little bit of time together and watched a show.  I also drank some more red raspberry tea and used more of the sage oil.  The contractions weren’t really letting up, even when I laid down.  I was getting hungry so I got up and made myself a quesadilla, just in case I did go into labor I didn’t want to be hungry.  The contractions were getting pretty regular but I decided I’d try to get some sleep and figured that if I could sleep through them then they weren’t intense enough for me to go to the hospital.  So I went to bed around 11pm.

Sometime after that Danny climbed into bed with Eric and me.  I wasn’t sleeping really well, but I was at least resting and getting intermittent brief naps.  At about quarter to 2am I woke up with Danny’s head against my head, pushing me out of the bed.  Annoyed, I decided to get up and go to the bathroom rather than attempting to just reposition myself.  While I was going to the bathroom I realized that my contractions were really getting to be rather uncomfortable and that I’d had 3 of them within 10 minutes.  I imed Eric (who hadn’t been able to sleep either but was trying also to rest a little bit) and told him that we should probably get going to the hospital.  He quickly got out of bed, and started gathering the few things that we would need to go to the hospital.  He called his parents and asked them to come stay with the boys.  When we were pretty much all ready to go Eric called one of our neighbors to ask her to come wait with our kids until his parents came.  I felt really bad in retrospect about having her come because as we weren’t 5 minutes from our house when we saw his parents’ van driving down the mountain to our house.  We’d thought it would have taken them longer to get out the door and didn’t want to wait for too long before leaving, but we could have certainly waited 5 more minutes had we realized they were that close.  On the way to the hospital I texted this picture to my family:

Baby mario

Baby Time!

To most people it probably seems exceedingly stupid that I sent my family a picture of Baby Mario from Mario Kart Wii.  It probably is.  But it’s an inside family joke.  When I was pregnant with Sam my family was really into playing Mario Kart.  If you play Mario Kart as Baby Mario his little catchphrase is “Baby time”!  So towards the end of my pregnancy with Sam my family would text me, or call me, or message me and ask if it was “baby time” with Baby Mario’s silly voice.  This was my way of letting them know that it was in fact, baby time :)  Like I said, it really was stupid, but I’d thought of it a few days before and downloaded the picture of Baby Mario to my phone just for the occasion.  My family got a kick out of it and it told them everything they needed to know.  This picture was indeed worth a thousand words!

We arrived at the hospital and were into the room by about 3am.  The nurses called my midwife to see if she would admit me.   I was 3cm dilated and fully effaced (if my memory serves me correctly) and having contractions about every 3-5 minutes, so the nurses were reasonably certain I’d be admitted.  Eve approved my admission and things got started.  I’d thought that Eve and I had made a deal beforehand that I didn’t have to have an IV (if you haven’t been a previous reader of our blog I have a pretty severe phobia of needles).  Apparently the deal I’d actually made was that since they had to do blood work anyways they could set up an IV then.  Boo.  So the nurses tried to get an IV in me between contractions.  The first attempt failed as they hit a valve in my hand.  My hand was bruised for probably 3 weeks afterwards.  Luckily, the other part of my deal with Eve was that we would only make one attempt with the IV and if it failed we’d just do the blood work the easier way and forego the IV.  My contractions were strong enough at that point that I was having to really focus and breathe through them.  I was loath to lose my down time between contractions freaking out about having the blood work done.   Finally we decided to just do the blood work during a contraction and even though it made for a more miserable contraction, we were able to get the blood work done and I didn’t have to give up my brief resting period.  I don’t know exactly how long everything took, but Eric posted to Facebook at 4:30am that we’d successfully completed the blood draw and that contractions were coming 2 minutes apart at that point.  That’s probably about right with all the admissions questions that were asked, getting changed, calling the midwife, two attempts at the bloodwork etc, an hour and a half doesn’t seem unreasonable, but my sense of time is very skewed as you might imagine.

By 5:09am I was dilated to 6cm, but my water still hadn’t broken (yes, I’m relying on the posts Eric did on Facebook to help me with my timeline, they’re the only real markers I have).  I think it was a little while before or just after that check I needed to go to the bathroom so they disconnected my monitors and Eric helped me to the restroom.  I was very uncomfortable at that point and hoped that emptying my bladder would help a little.  While we were in the bathroom I asked Eric to run back to the bed for one of the vomit bags, and then I rid myself of the quesadilla I’d had the night before.  Guess I would have been better off being hungry when I went into labor :P  As intense as labor was getting at that point, I did feel a little better after that.  At least all of the action was concentrated on the main event and not split with my digestive system.

When we went back to the bed I don’t think my monitors got hooked up correctly and they stopped registering my contractions, and we didn’t have those monitors working for the rest of the time.  I know a lot of women don’t like the monitors but they were really helpful for me because Eric could see when I was having  a contraction and would help talk me through them.  However, luckily Eric is awesome and quickly learned to take me squeezing his hand as a signal that a contraction was starting and would help count off the rise and fall of them without the assistance of the monitor from that point on.  One of the nurses even commented afterwards that she wanted to have Eric come in and train all the dads on how to support their wives during labor.  I don’t think she was just being nice either, Eric really has been an incredible support to me in all three of my labors.  I don’t know what I would have done without him.

A sneak peak to after the birth – Eric and Maeli’s first picture together :)

A little before 6am I asked Eric if he could give me a blessing between my contractions.  However, after the next contraction I told him that I was having a hard time not pushing against the contractions.  He called the nurse and asked her to check me.  They didn’t really think that there was going to be much progress made because I’d been laboring pretty quietly.  They thought they’d be coming in and telling me I’d made minimal progress if any.  However when the nurse checked me she was surprised to find that I was almost fully dilated.  They quickly called Eve and told her it was time to come in and deliver this baby (she was still at home in bed at this point)!  The next 10 minutes while we waited for Eve to get there were some of the longest of my life.  Any woman who has had the urge to push and tried to hold back against it knows that it is one of the hardest things you could ever have to do.  There really isn’t a comparison, but imagine the urgency of an EXTREMELY full bladder, like you’ve drunk 2 gallons of water all at once type full, and now you’re locked in a room watching videos of waterfalls and are not permitted to pee.  It’s not a perfect analogy, but that’s an idea of what the feeling is like.

After the nurse checked me and had left the room Eric gave me the requested blessing.  It wasn’t a long blessing (there was only about 60 seconds between my contractions at this point), but it gave me a lot of comfort.  Basically I was told that I was so close to the end and that I wasn’t alone and that everything would be ok.  I was once again so very grateful to have my wonderful Eric there with me.

Finally Eve came.  After a contraction she checked me and said there was just a tiny bit of cervix left before I should start to push.  After one more contraction that was gone.  She broke my water and then I was ready to push on the next contraction.  On the first contraction afterwards they could see Maeli’s head.  The nurses and Eve told me afterwards they were impressed with the control I had to push her out slowly which saved me from much tearing.  On the next contraction I was able to push her out completely.  They cut the cord and we had our sweet Maeli here.  I thought they’d already delivered the placenta but I still felt weird, like there was still something inside of me that wasn’t really part of me.  A few minutes later they delivered the placenta and I finally felt like I was normal again.  I don’t know how else to describe the feeling of relief and peace from being done with the whole ordeal.  I certainly wasn’t normal again, I’d just gone through childbirth, a process that certainly deserves some recovery.  But after the whole ordeal of pregnancy, with back pains, nausea, tons of contractions… it felt so good to be done.  I feel like I really understand why they call it being “delivered” of the baby.  I did feel like I’d been delivered from a very difficult ordeal and it was finally – after 9 long months – over.

Brittny and Maeli after the birth

One of the awesome things about the hospital we delivered at (Lone Peak Hospital) is that they have rooms that are LDRP – meaning that you stay in the same room for labor, delivery, recovery and post-partum.  With Sam and Danny I’d had to move rooms after a brief recovery period (like one hour) to another unit.  It was so wonderful to not have to move!  They had Eric help wash Maeli in the sink right there in the room and everything that was done was done right there in the room.  The only time they had to take Maeli out the entire time we were there was for a brief hearing test.  It was wonderful.

As soon as the nurses had pretty much cleared out (probably by 8am or so?) Eric called his parents to see when they could bring the boys to come meet their new sister.  They decided to come around 10am.  Eric changed into some pajamas and almost immediately passed out on the couch.  When the boys came in they tried snuggling with him and talking to him, but he was out cold.  He did sort of say hi to the boys and give them hugs, but he didn’t even remember doing that much later.  Luckily the boys were just happy to see Maeli and their mom and didn’t mind too much that their dad was unresponsive.

Our three beautiful children, aren’t they great?

Eric was rightfully extremely tired from the whole ordeal.  Although, he did say it was better that he hadn’t gotten to sleep the night before because if he’d only gotten a few hours of sleep and then been woken up he probably wouldn’t have been nearly as helpful as he was during the birth.  It wouldn’t have been so good to have mostly asleep, non-responsive bear Eric during labor :)  I on the other hand tried to sleep but I was too amped up from the whole experience and couldn’t really sleep.  I rested and tried to even do so with my eyes closed, but I finally accepted that it was just as good to rest with my phone in my hand and playing on Facebook as I was pretending that I was going to get any sleep.  When Eric woke up we watched some TV together and just enjoyed a day of resting, being together, and having our new baby there.

My sister Taylor came with her husband Ryan and son Skylar in the evening, along with our boys and Eric actually got to see them that time.  I hadn’t realized it because we’d had the blinds drawn in our room, but that day we’d had a pretty significant snow storm.  We were really lucky that Maeli came when she did because we were able to drive to the hospital in a lull between the storm.  It had been snowing really well in the morning on Wednesday and I’d expected terrible road conditions but we were pleasantly surprised.  When we drove down the mountain in the middle of the night the roads were actually totally clear and we’d had perfect visibility the whole way.  When my sister was driving back to my house on Thursday night the roads were pretty bad again.  I think angels were definitely watching over us and making sure we didn’t get stuck in that storm!

We sent Maeli to the nursery for the night so that I could actually get some sleep.  The next morning we were ready to go home.  We got the ok from all the doctors and by noon we were discharged and heading home to our sweet boys.  They’d had a pretty rough time with us gone and it was good to have us all home and get to start our new chapter of life together as a family of five :)

Baby Clothes

 - by Brittny

Before we had Sam over 4 years ago my Uncle Paul offered us the hand-me-down clothes from his son Preston (born just under a year before Sam) as a way to get us started on clothing our new bundle of joy.  We’re not especially fancy dressers so we eagerly took him up on this offer.  Little did we know then that the clothes Paul had were the conglomeration of a couple of his sister-in-laws kids clothes and by the time each new kid had received the clothes and added a few more, the collection was enormous.  About a year after Sam was born my sister also had a baby boy and we agreed to share the clothes up until our boys got to similar sizes at which point we decided to just split the clothes for those sizes.

On Friday I decided it was time to put away Sam’s 3T clothes in favor of some 4T clothes.  Below is a picture of the box of 3T shirts that I came up with when I started packing them up. Please note: This is ONLY shirts.  There is not a pair of pants or socks or underwear, or a coat inside that box at all.  Furthermore, they are ONLY 3T shirts, 2T is in another box and 4T are now hanging in Sam’s closet.  Also, I purchased only a handful of these shirts (just a few things for back-to-school, family pictures etc).  And this was AFTER Taylor and I had gone through and donated to DI the things we didn’t really like  and split what was left in half!  Oh, and there are a few more shirts that I just pulled out of the dryer yesterday that still need to be added to that collection.

Unbelievable right?  It’s been such a huge blessing as I’ve had my two boys to hardly have to worry about purchasing clothes, especially as they seem to grow from one size to the next so quickly!  So once again, THANK YOU UNCLE PAUL!

So as we’ve been trying to anticipate whether the newest member of our family was going to be a boy or a girl I’ve been thinking that it would be kind of nice to just be able to pull out all those boxes again and do the same thing.  Despite my boys conviction that the baby is a girl I’d somewhat hoped to avoid having to figure out how to actually keep a baby clothed of my own volition!  So, today we went in for the big ultrasound and…..

It's a Girl!

Image courtesy of MelonHeadz.

It looks like my boys were right after all!  I’ve sort of suspected they might be, I think that kids have an extra connection on those kinds of things.  It was Sam’s very first reaction when he found out that we were having a baby (“It’s going to be my sister!”) and Danny last week, unprompted, told me “Mommy, you have baby in you tummy? It baby girl!”  Also, everyone says their pregnancies with their boys have been very different from with their girls and this pregnancy has been SO much different for me than my other two.  During my last appointment my midwife was having a hard time keeping the baby’s heartbeat on the monitor and said that she always had a harder time with girls hiding than with boys and afterwards kept slipping and referring to the baby as a “she” rather than “it” (let’s face it, it’s awful having to call your baby “it”).  So I think we would have probably been a little surprised to have found out it was a boy :)

We are of course very excited for this new adventure in parenting.  I’m not sure that I’m ready to have to shop for a whole wardrobe, or have to figure out little girl hairstyles and how to do the princesses/bows/frills/dresses thing.  I know I am a girl, but I’m not super girly.  This should definitely be an adventure.

More importantly than finding out the gender was of course finding out the overall health of the baby.  The ultrasound tech told us that everything was looking good development-wise and that her growth is on track for my January 4th due date.  Our little girl was in a great position for the first part of the ultrasound for getting some cute pictures of her profile, but towards the end was more camera-shy and curled up into the fetal position and didn’t want to show us anymore.  Luckily we’d gotten pretty much all the measurements we needed by then so that was just fine.

Anyways, we’re so excited to get to meet this new member of our family in a few more months!  We’ll share with you some of the ultrasound pictures of our cute little lady below :)


It’s a girl!

She was waving to us!

Little feet! Her ankles are crossed so they might seem backwards

A Caution Against Buying Jeans Online

 - by Brittny

I’m sure a lot of you (like my dad) will start to read this and think, man I really just do not care one bit about Brittny’s jeans.  Trust me, the conclusion is worth reading through the rest of this.  I promise.  Money back guaranteed.  If you get to the end and decide it wasn’t worth the time it took you to read this then I’ll come over and clean your house for a couple minutes (or whatever you might have accomplished in the couple minutes it would have taken you to read this :P )

So a few months back my favorite jeans developed holes in the knees so I decided to break down and buy some new ones.  I decided to try a slightly different fit of jean from the ones that had been my favorites for awhile.  So I tried some jeans on in the store and in the fitting room they looked pretty good, but the store didn’t carry short sizes so I went home and ordered them online.  When they came in the mail I really liked them… for a little while.  Then after wearing them around I found that the pant legs rode up when I wore sneakers, and weren’t doing me any favors around the waistline, they rode up when I sat down, they rode down when I walked… in short, they were awful.  But since I’d only just gotten them I couldn’t bring myself to go out and invest in another pair of jeans already.  So for awhile I just wore them anyways and hated how I looked whenever I put them on.

Finally a couple weeks ago I decided it was just time to suck it up and buy myself a new pair of jeans that I didn’t hate (what a novel concept!).  I decided to go with a different style of jeans entirely, but from the same store.  Again the size/style I wanted were only available online so I placed my online order and waited for them to ship.  A few days after placing that order, this happened –

Yup that’s right! I’m 6 weeks pregnant with our third child, and we’re excited!  Normally I wouldn’t officially announce this early but I’d shared with enough people that word was getting around… so I figured I might as well be the one to make it official :)  Plus – while I totally understand why people want to wait to make sure everything is ok before announcing – the first trimester is miserable and it’s when you’re most in need of help and understanding.  I’d rather have people know that I’m pregnant than just wonder why my kids are running around the neighborhood wild and dirty while I just sit on our porch and drink gatorade (or fall asleep inside on our couch).

Sam is over-the-moon excited.  He saw the pregnancy test lying around and asked me what it was, so I decided to let him in on the secret.  He was bouncing up and down SO excited.  The first thing he said was “I’m going to go tell my friends!”  I told him that we weren’t telling everyone just yet, but he ran downstairs, out to our porch where his friend Claire was standing and yelled “MY MOM’S GROWING A BABY IN HER TUMMY!”  While it wasn’t exactly the secret keeping we were hoping for (another reason I figure I might as well be the one to announce it) we couldn’t have asked for a better response.  Sam’s first reaction was “It’s going to be my sister!”, so hopefully it’s a girl because Sam will not be swayed from this baby being his sister.   It’s so sweet, I’m glad that he’s excited.  Daniel doesn’t really get what’s going on, but I think he would be decidedly *less* pleased if he understood that his days of reigning as the baby of our family are numbered.

Daniel’s First Birthday

 - by Brittny

Sunday was Daniel’s birthday! I can’t believe it’s already been a year since we welcomed this cute bug into our family, and I can’t imagine our family without him.  Our celebrations were pretty low key. I figure doing too much for a one year old will just overwhelm them, and my goal is just to make it a good day for the birthday boy.

Since it was Sunday we had church in the early afternoon.  I bought him a new Sunday outfit which he looked adorable in, although a few sizes too big for our little pipsqueak.  Then we came home and it was naptime.  We tried to get Daniel to nap with Eric so that I could start making preparations for our celebration that night but he didn’t sleep really soundly.  I think he had about 3 thirty minute naps when all was said and done.  Not exactly what we were hoping for but oh well.

We had Eric’s parents over for dinner.  Daniel chowed down!  Some days he’ll eat a lot of solid foods and some days he just wants to be held, but he just sat in his high chair and ate and ate and ate!  It was pretty fun to watch.  I think it helped that one of his birthday presents was  some sippy cups with straws and so he was having an easier time drinking with his meal.  Usually we’ll start feeding him solids and he gets distracted and wants to nurse, which will put him to sleep and then that’s the end of that.  It was really gratifying to see him enjoy the food so much, especially since he was the guest of honor!

Of course we had the traditional first birthday cake mess-fest :)  Danny was very tentative at first but then he got into clawing at the cake. I don’t think he actually ate much, but he certainly enjoyed the cake so I think that’s all that matters.  That was pretty much the extent of our celebrations, nothing too exciting but Daniel seemed so pleased at the end of it all that I think it was about perfect :)

For those of you who have no desire to watch the 9 minutes of Daniel smashing his birthday cake (i.e. everyone except his grandma), here are some still shots of the action:

At the end of the day we re-watched the videos that we’d taken at his birth. It was neat to get to go back and re-live those first few moments of his life, and watch him and Sam meeting for the first time.  It was interesting to watch and I could remember how much pain that delivery caused and how exhausted I felt afterwards, but still thinking “Aww, baby!  We should do that again!”  You would think that the pain and exhaustion and everything would be a good deterrent from thinking of going through it all again, but apparently not.  And no, this isn’t any sort of announcement!  I was pregnant with Daniel while I was still nursing Sam and I got SO anemic and weak.  I weigh less now than I did then (thank you breastfeeding and a week of food poisoning) and I’m pretty sure my body couldn’t handle another pregnancy until I have Daniel weaned, which does not seem to be on the near horizon.  But these babies are miracles and I feel so privileged to be part of bringing them into this world.

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted about Danny so I’ll take this opportunity to give an update.  Danny had a rough winter and was sick nearly every week from October through February.  Never anything serious, just coughs, colds, runny noses etc.  Just enough to make him miserable :(  As a result he’s gotten into the habit of sleeping in Eric’s and my bed exclusively and I haven’t had the heart to move him out again.  It’s probably about time to start doing it but he is really fun to snuggle with.  It’s also meant that he didn’t eat very much and he’s pretty low on the growth charts.  He still nurses more than he eats solids by a long shot.  This has been good for my figure, but not quite as good for his.  I just don’t think I can keep up with the demands of a growing toddler!  So I’m working on feeding him more solids but it will be a slow process I’m sure.

One of the funny things with Danny is he started standing around 7 months, and would just stand but make no attempt to go anywhere.  He got to be a really solid stander too.  I’d watch him stand in one place for 5 minutes at a time without losing his balance. He could even squat down and stand back up from that squatting position without any trouble at all!  My mom called him a meerkat because he would scurry around on all fours and then stand up at attention and get back down and scurry around again.  It was a pretty apt description of him too!  Finally on Sam’s birthday (10 1/2 months)  he took his first couple steps.  After that he’d take a a few steps just about every day for about a month, but never more than about 4 steps and he didn’t show any interest in taking more.  Then a couple weeks ago he suddenly decided that he could walk!  And off he went!  This past week he’s even started running a little bit.  It’s so funny to see him suddenly have this mobility and just running around like he owns the place.  For some reason I feel like he looks smaller when he’s standing and walking than he does when he’s crawling.  I think it’s just so funny to see such a small thing walking around that it emphasizes how little he is, whereas it seems natural to see him crawling.

Danny’s started talking a little and jabbering A LOT.  He loves to make noises with his voice and sounds like he’s talking to us all the time.  He doesn’t have too many actual words yet, mostly just mama, dada and done, but I’m guessing that it’s going to be like with walking, all of a sudden he’ll realize that he can communicate with words and his vocabulary will explode all at once.

Daniel LOVES animals.  He is very much the opposite of Sam in that regard :)  Whenever he sees any sort of animal – the cat next door, stuffed monkeys, YouTube videos of puppies – his face lights up and he starts to squeal in a way that’s unique to finding animals.  It’s so adorable!  I have a feeling he’s going to be our child that is constantly vying for a pet.  Unfortunately for him, Eric and I decided before we got married that we’d rather have more kids than having kids and pets.  Especially since there are lots of allergies in my part of the gene pool (and Danny seems to have inherited that quality from me) pets just aren’t much of an option.  Luckily our next door neighbor has pets so we’re hoping that Danny can be satisfied with helping them care for their animals as he gets older.

Daniel really hates his carseat.  He starts squirming and crying as soon as we so much as walk up to the car now, and will cry for long stretches of time when we put him in.  We think it’s going to help when we can turn his carseat around, which we can do once he gains another pound or two (part of my motivation for feeding him more solid foods).  I know the recommendations have changed and they want us to keep him rear facing until he’s 2 but I don’t think the safety benefits of keeping him rear facing outweigh the dangers of driving around with a screaming child!  We’re making sure we at least get him to the old requirements, but then it’ll be time to turn him forwards.

Daniel shows no signs of separation anxiety like Sam had.  A few weeks ago we went to the park and Daniel spent the whole time trying to crawl as far away from me as he could.  He loves to explore and has no qualms about being far away from me.  It’s definitely been a shock to my parenting style!  With Sam if I turn to go another way he quickly turns to follow me.  Daniel couldn’t care less and would be fine heading off in the other direction whether I’m there or not.  I’m so fascinated by how much of these little guys’ personalities just comes pre-wired.

I’m sure I could keep going on about our Danny but I think that’s enough for now.  We love this sweet kid.  His smile can light up a room and he’s quick to share it with others.  We’re so glad to have him in our family, we love you kiddo!

Poor Danna

 - by Brittny

If you’re anything like me then you come up with great ideas for presents to get your kids throughout the year but as soon as Christmas/birthdays roll around you come up blank and have to scramble for ideas.  So to combat this I started a running “wish list” for each of my boys so that I could keep track of things I think they would like.  I keep them on Amazon so that it’s just a quick click to add things to each of their lists.  Tonight as I was gearing up for Christmas shopping I took a quick peek at the wish lists I’d compiled for each of my boys.  Sam’s list had 106 items, while Daniel’s list had a mere 4 items.  Eric commented that according to Amazon I love Sam much more than I love Daniel.

So to make up for this apparent neglect of my sweet baby I decided it was time for a gratuitous Daniel update!  (Ok, so I’ve been meaning to write this post anyways, but this gave me a good excuse to get my rear in gear and do it)  So without further ado, here’s how our wonderful 7 month old baby is!

I took Daniel in for a doctor’s appointment at the end of October and got his new stats –

Weight – 15lbs 14oz – 20th percentile

Length – 26 1/4 inches – 25 percentile

Head Circumference – 17 inches – 25 percentile

So all in all he’s pretty even.  When I went in to the doctor I mentioned that he hadn’t been sleeping quite as well recently and that he’d had sorta goopey eyes, but not so much so that we’d been worried about it or anything, just noticed.  I had chalked it up to allergies or something minor.  As the doctor was checking him out she was like “Oh!  He has a very infected ear!”  No wonder he hadn’t been sleeping quite as well and had goopey eyes.  Now I have to explain that really the changes were VERY minor.  He hadn’t been fussy or anything, he’d still been a very happy baby.  I was SHOCKED to find out that he had an ear infection.  He’s such a low key mellow kid and such a change from what Samuel was like as a baby.  We’ve decided if that’s what he’s like with a pretty good ear infection we’re going to have to try to listen up closely for any minor complaints because they’re likely to be worth listening to!  Aside from the ear infection though he looked fabulous.

That really pretty well sums up what it’s been like to have Daniel in our family, he’s just a delight to have around.  He’s always happy and smiling, and very friendly.  I don’t think I’ve once taken him anywhere without him making friends with someone!

He’s starting to get some fun tricks.  He can army crawl all over the house pretty quickly, and he’s starting to pull himself up to standing a little bit.  He loves to “talk” and giggle to people.  He had been a really good sleeper up until about the time he got that ear infection.  Since then he’s stopped really wanting to sleep on his own, but he’s been teething so that has definitely hindered his progress on getting back in his own bed.  He now has his two bottom teeth, and he loves to use them to eat cheerios and crackers or whatever Sam has thrown on the floor.

Daniel also really loves the TV.  It’s so funny to see his face light up when the TV goes on.  We call him our little couch potato.  And yes, I know that I’m not supposed to let my baby watch TV, but if Sam’s watching SuperWHY I’m not likely to keep Daniel from watching too, especially when he gets so excited about it!  But his favorite thing to watch on the TV is himself.  Eric will sometimes hook his phone up to the TV and show the videos he has of Daniel.  Daniel thinks this is about as cool as things can get.  He will laugh and look at the TV like “Wow, what a clever and funny baby!  He’s so smart!  Have you guys seen what a cool guy he is?!”  It’s even better to watch Daniel watching videos of himself than it is to watch the videos themselves!

Unfortunately you don’t have Daniel to watch the videos with you, but you *can* watch the videos yourself and judge whether or not he really is as clever and wonderful as he thinks he is (I tend to agree with him, but as his mother, I am a little biased ;) )  Here are some of our recent Daniel photos and videos –

This one is his favorite to watch, the one that makes him think he’s so clever :)

A few weeks ago Daniel started sniffing things. I don’t know why but I find this hilarious, so I had to get video of it!

Eric was eating a sucker while holding Daniel, this is the result of that activity :)

In case you were wondering what happens when you give a pacifier to a teething child. You can see that he also thinks this is pretty clever :)

These two pictures were taken within a day of each other.  They illustrate the perils of having a two year old brother and mom turning her back for a minute –

Yes, those are maxi pads stuck to his head. Apparently we need to adjust the child lock on one of our bathroom cabinets...

... and yes, here his head is inside the cover of a DVD case. I know the picture is kinda blurry, my camera was giving me grief and Daniel was starting to get mad so this was as good as it gets.

Sometimes things happen which don’t involve his head…

Yup, what could be more fun than putting stickers all over your brother's back?

I think that’s all for now.  The upshot is, despite Sam’s wish list being longer than Daniel’s, we really do love this little kid a LOT.  One of these days I’m even going to get around to getting a good picture of him and adding him to our sidebar pictures so he looks like he’s part of our family… but don’t hold your breath, life’s pretty busy with these two munchkins around!

Three Months of Danny

 - by Brittny

I totally thought I had posted this a couple months ago, whoops!  I think I was waiting to get some of the better pictures of Danny off my camera, but oh well.  When I get around to that I’ll post those too, but this has waited long enough!

On Friday our Daniel turned three months old.  I can’t believe it’s already been that long since he was born.  It still seems like we only just brought him home from the hospital!  He is such a good baby and getting to be so fun.  He’s super smiley and giggly.  He has overcome his fear of Sam recently and it’s so cute to watch the two of them play together.  Danny gets so excited when Sam starts paying attention to him.  I really want to get video of it but whenever I pull out the camera Sam starts hamming it up for the camera rather than playing with his little brother.  One of these days though I’ll get it and post it for sure!

He’s also quite the mover.  He loves to just kick his little legs.  After watching him get excited I better understand why I felt like he was holding kickboxing classes in my stomach before he was born.  He probably was!  On Saturday he was laying on the floor with Eric and doing his kicking while lying on his back and was actually able to use it to scoot halfway across the room!  Certainly not the most conventional way to get around, it’s pretty funny to watch.

Anyways, we just love this little boy so much and are so glad to have him in our family!

Poor Daniel, he looked so uncomfortable, but he was fast asleep so I couldn't bring myself to move him either!

Daniel’s 2 Month Check-up

 - by Brittny

Today was Daniel’s 2 month check-up so I have new growth stats for him!

Weight: 11lbs 11oz – 50th percentile
Height: 23.5in – 75th percentile
Head Circumference: 15.75in -50th percentile

If you remember from his last checkup that means he’s at the same percentiles for both weight and head circumference, but his genetics are catching up to him and he’s dropped from the 90th percentile for height to the 75th.  But all in all he’s growing well and looking good.  He really is a remarkably good baby and I feel so blessed that he has such a sweet and even temperament.

The tricky thing today was that we had shots for Sam and for Daniel… and Eric is in Atlanta on a business trip.  You might recall that after Sam’s 1 year check up I vowed never to do a checkup without Eric again.  But since this trip was planned at the last minute it wasn’t like there were a whole lot of options. I debated whether to do the checkup today and shots on another day when Eric could be there, but that would require hauling everyone down to Provo again (yes, I still need to find a more local doctor).  So I decided to suck it up and just get it over with while we were there.  I made sure to warn Sam what was happening and promise him some french fries and ice cream if he was good.  I held him on my lap and snuggled him while he got his one shot, and he did really well!  He was a little bit indignant afterwards, but he didn’t fight it or anything.  I was very proud of him.  Then we left the room while Daniel got his.  I felt bad leaving Daniel on his own, but he isn’t old enough yet to have attachment issues and I didn’t want Sam to see Daniel getting his shots and freak out over it.  Daniel was pretty sad after his shots (he had to get 3 today) but after a little bit of nursing he was happy again.  A quick stop at In ‘N Out and we were all happy and well fed.  Both of the boys fell asleep on the way home and I’m hoping for a good long nap out of Sam (Daniel is already awake) so that we can have a successful day together while Eric is gone.

Daniel at 2 Months!

 - by Brittny

Daniel is 2 months old today!  The time goes by so fast.  I still think of him as just being a tiny newborn, but really he’s becoming a strong, adorable, fun baby.  I was able to snap this picture of him on Monday.  Thank goodness for the rapid shoot mode on our video camera or there’s no way I could have caught this.

I love that little smile!  Daniel is a very happy baby and super easy going.  It’s amazing how different he is from Sam.  He sleeps very well and only wakes up in the night to eat once or twice, if I’m good and lay him down in his own bed (but he’s so cute, warm and fun to snuggle with)!  He loves his daddy more than anyone else.  He will calm down almost immediately for Eric, even if he’s been crying at me for awhile.  He has a healthy fear of Sam since his older brother *loves* to snuggle him and wants to hold him all the time.  Sam’s not quite as gentle as he needs to be with a baby, but he’s learning.  Daniel is happiest to be carried around, and luckily is happy enough in the BabyBjorn (I don’t know what I would do without that wonderful contraption).  Mostly he’s just a chill content child, so long as we keep him fed, burped, changed and out of Sam’s reach he doesn’t want much more.  He loves any sort of attention, and I’m trying to remember to spend time just looking at him and talking to him because, while he doesn’t always demand that time he definitely loves it.

We’re so grateful to have this sweet, wonderful little boy in our family.   We love you Daniel!  Thanks for being part of our family!

Daniel’s Birth – Part 3: Recovery

 - by Brittny

Once Daniel was born I sat back and relaxed.  I couldn’t believe how quickly that had all gone, and how intense that whole process had been.  From the time they got the IV set up till the time he was born was only 5 1/2 hours!  It turned out that it was a very good thing that I had been induced after all because otherwise there was no way I would have gotten to the hospital in time for the antibiotics to be properly administered before Daniel arrived.

One of the great things after Daniel was born was that they were able to just put him on my stomach while they cleaned him off.  With Sam they wanted to get him off to the NICU right away (he had meconium in the amniotic fluid) so I only saw him for the briefest of moments right after his birth.  It was cool to be able to touch him and have him be right there right after birth.  Granted I was pretty tired at that point and not really able to take too much advantage of him being right there, but it was still a really cool experience.  Then they took him over to clean him off while the doctor stitched me up.

I think the doctor was mad at me for birthing Daniel so fast because he was pretty rough while stitching me up.  Eric could tell from the faces that I was making and the way that I squirmed with each stitch that it wasn’t exactly a gentle process.  Luckily that was soon over and the doctor left pretty soon after.  Laurel stuck around for a little bit longer but there wasn’t too much for her to do at that point so she went home to her own family not long after the doctor left.

Within minutes of the stitching being completed Taylor and Ryan arrived with Sam so that Sam could meet his new little brother.  Sam was really excited to see Daniel and it was so awesome to watch him interact with his brother.  He’d been excited for most of my pregnancy to talk to the baby in my tummy and snuggle with my tummy.  We’d been talking about baby Daniel coming to be part of our family for a long time and it was cool to see that Sam really understood that better than we’d fully expected.  Sam also came up and snuggled with me on the bed, which was probably one of the very best things for me.  I was pretty shaky after that whole process so I didn’t dare hold Daniel yet, but Sam didn’t need my support so having him come be next to me wasn’t a problem.  Sam and I are buds and just having him cuddling with me was very calming and just helped me feel a whole lot better.  I was really glad to have him there, and it was awesome that we got to share some of those first few moments of Daniel’s life with his big brother there too.  It was a really neat experience to get to have as a whole family.  Sidenote: We have awesome video of these first encounters of the brothers and the first bit of Daniel’s life, but it was going to take too long to put it together for posting it here.  But I promise, once we get it put together we’ll get it up!

After a little while the Lockwoods left and my mom took Sam back to our house.  The nurse asked me if I wanted to try and nurse Daniel right then or if I wanted to wait awhile.  I was still a little bit shaky so I said I’d probably wait a little bit and let Eric hold him while I ate some of the snacks that Eric had gotten for me from the Labor & Delivery snack stash.  After a few snacks I felt better enough to hold Daniel and he immediately started rooting around.  I had thought it would be easiest if we waited until we were down on the recovery floor to feed him but I couldn’t resist his insistent rooting, so I started to nurse him.  I figured it would probably just be a failed attempt anyways since Sam took probably a week to really catch on to nursing.  I couldn’t have been more wrong!  Daniel latched right on and ate for a good 15 minutes right away!  Way to go kiddo!  That’s proven to be a pretty accurate indication of what he’s been like ever since.  He pretty much always wants to eat whenever he’s awake and he does a great job with nursing.

After I finished nursing Daniel he went with Eric downstairs for his first bath and getting fully cleaned up in the nursery.  I was left in the room on my own for a few minutes just in a state of slight shock from all that had just happened.  Even though I’d been through the whole childbirth process before it still doesn’t really prepare you for that moment afterwards where you think “holy cow, did that just happen?!?”  I was kind of glad to have those few minutes to just process the experience.  Then the nurse came in to help me clean up a little bit and wheel me down to the recovery room.

Eric was in the room not long after I got in there.  Daniel had come back with Eric from the nursery and I had nursed him some more, but then we sent him back to the nursery so that we could get as solid of a night’s sleep as possible.  I think it was about 1:30am at that point, and we were both a little bit hungry.  So Eric went down to the cafeteria to get us something to eat (luckily the cafeteria didn’t close until 2am!).  It’s a good thing he did, neither of us thought we were super hungry until we started eating the food.  He came back with a burger, some nachos and some chicken fingers… and they disappeared much more quickly than we’d expected.  Eric climbed onto the bed with me, which was very comforting, and we watched a show on his Xoom while we ate.  It was just nice to be with him and relax together after the whole process.  Once the show was over Eric went and set up his pull-out couch bed to go to sleep.  We both would have preferred if he could just stay in the bed with me, but we also both thought it’d be awkward with the nurses coming in and out.

Eric fell asleep almost immediately and didn’t wake up again until after they brought Daniel back in the morning.  I on the other hand had a really hard time getting to sleep.  My heart had started doing its racing thing again and nothing I did seemed to get it to settle down.  I really wanted to wake Eric up and have him come back and hold me, since just having him close usually helps.  However, I resisted waking him up as I knew he was pretty exhausted as well.  It took a few hours but I finally fell asleep around 4am.

The rest of our hospital stay was relatively uneventful.  We only stayed until 9pm on Saturday because we figured since both Daniel and I were doing well we could recover better at home in our own beds than we could in the hospital.  Especially since it would mean no nurses popping in and out through the night and that Eric wasn’t stuck on a couch bed.  It worked out well since my mom was still there to help take care of us during the next day, and we definitely got more rest that night.  I think we were all much happier to just be home :)


Daniel at about 2.5 weeks, he's not so sure about us :)

So, that’s the story of how Daniel came into this world.  I can’t believe we’ve had him for almost 3 weeks now.  He is an awesome baby.  He sleeps well on his own, and eats really well!  That’s about as high praise as you can get for a three week old!  It’s so interesting to me how different he is from Sam.  We love him so much and are so excited that he’s in our family!