Saturday, November 30, 2013

Friday, November 29, 2013

Brian's Turkey 5k

Brian is so funny when it comes to running. He can't be pressured or talked into it.
But he'll randomly decide to do it every so often.
When I first suggested he do the Thanksgiving race at the Rec Center, he said no.
Then I brought it up again a few days later and he said okay!
Fortunately I had an extra free registration code too (love my job!) AND I had the foresight to put Brian in the Clydesdale division, so he'd win a pie.
Brianna and Courtney ran the kids 1k race, and Bennett stayed with me snacking on the post race strawberries and bagels.
Lovely weather, big medals....the only thing that could've made it better was if I could've run too!! I really miss it.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Decorating Gingerbreadmen

I was a little lame this year for Thanksgiving. At least by typical standards. We didn't go anywhere (besides the 5K Turkey Trot). We didn't have a big ginormous feast with family (no invites! sad!) We didn't do anything especially-special. We just hung out as a family. Played. Had a small turkey and mashed potatoes. Went on a long afternoon walk. But decorating these gingerbread men was a highlight! Growing up, we almost always decorated gingerbread houses on Thanksgiving. I think my grandparents started the tradition, and my parents continued it. I'm quite sure I won't get AS into it as my parents/grandparents did, simply because I refuse to buy *that* much sugar and bring it into my home. But small simple gingerbread men like this? Perfect. Bought it all in a kit at Costco for $9. Kept them busy for a full hour!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Discovered Discovery Gateway Childrens Museum

I don't know why we hadn't ventured out to this place before. Too far? Too expensive? I think I tend to not do these types of outings because it seems senseless to me to DRIVE somewhere and PAY for fun, when I can just WALK to a nearby park or the pool and play for FREE. But this morning I found myself at home, no plans, realizing the kids would go nuts if we stayed home again all day. Fortunately someone posted on a FB Page about the Discovery Children's Museum having a free admission day (with food drive donation). So I told the kids that if they spent the morning cleaning their rooms and other various disaster zones we'd do the big afternoon outing. That kind of motivation works well for Brianna...the 3 yr olds still get easily distracted every 20 seconds. Anyways, so we went...and it was AMAZING!!
That place is phenomenal, we love it! My snapshots don't do it justice. All the different hands-on, so perfect for my kids. Charity just slept in my carrier the whole time, minus a couple feedings and changes. We stayed for 5 HOURS and I ended up buying a family membership! Looking forward to going again soon.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Charity McKell - Birth Story and Pictures

My favorite photo of her! Those blue eyes are now brown.
It's hard to know where to start.... and hard to know how to put something as incredible as BIRTH into words.
I'm at home now, 3 days postpartum (edit: 8 days. Took me a long time to get this done!), and already it's all getting blurry.
We had a whirlwind of a weekend!
Thank goodness we've got lots of pictures.
And there are some images in my mind I think I'll never ever forget.
WARNING:  Super long detailed {potentially TMI} blog post.
Quick version:
First family picture!  These people are my WORLD.
HIGHLIGHTS:  Unmedicated VBAC! (vba2c). Amazing support from Brian, Doulas, Midwife, friends, ward, and hospital. Big healthy baby! 8lb 10oz, 20.5 in, tons of dark hair, great nursling.
LOWLIGHTS: 25 hours of intense labor. So so so painful! Slow recovery. Little overwhelmed.
Full story: (photos in random order):
The black & white version of this pic
looked much better, so I posted that on
Facebook. 250+ Likes, 100+ comments!
Felt very loved!
Starting at the beginning.... Friday night, Nov 8th - my due date, according to one ultrasound - Brian and I had just put the kids to bed and were sitting down to get some work done on our laptops while watching Shark Tank. I had had a totally normal day and was kinda disappointed that labor hadn't started that morning, as it had with Brianna - right on her due date.
Because due dates are an EXACT SCIENCE, right?! :)

Still, I felt like I was WEEKS overdue, since I had wanted to deliver a little early, for many reasons.
But there is someone that knows better than I.
Note to self: trust in the Lord's timing a little better! Everything works out as it's supposed to.

"Apprehensive Optimism"

Contractions started right as Jimmy Kimmel came on and we were heading to bed.
So instead we watched Jimmy and began timing with our app.
The show ended and we started cleaning the house.
For 3 hours.
It's amazing how much we can get done without kid interruptions!
 Contractions went from 8 min apart to 6, 5 min apart, then when they got in the 3's, around 1:30am, I decided it was time to call the doula. She got here within 25 minutes, and her apprentice arrived shortly after.
Then our long night REALLY began.
Courtney's first poke at the babe

I suggested to Brian that he go get some sleep while I had these ladies helping me.
Contractions had died down a little, becoming more sporadic and varying widely in intensity.
So I knew it wasn't active labor, and I had long suspected I'm not the speedy laborer type.
Little did I know how nonspeedy I really am.... the total time from beginning contractions to baby born ended up being 25 hours!
Just call me QuatroMom
Jessica and Stacey and I spent the early morning hours getting through each contraction.
They did all kinds of things to help me. I tried to rest/sleep through them for a couple hours, which kinda sorta worked.  
I must have zoned out to some degree, cuz I don't remember the movies changing, but they got through 3 entire Will Smith movies while helping me (it was one of Brian's multi-movie pirated discs from his Africa trip, similar to the ones we bought in the Philippines. Anyone who's been out of the country knows what kind of disc I'm talking about :)
The ladies and I went on a long walk outside starting at 4am. 
That was an odd experience... tromping around the neighborhood, pausing every 5-6 minutes to keel over in pain. Wanting to go home and go to sleep SO bad... and having flashbacks of my friends and I in our early teen years, thinking it was SO fun to sneak out roam around at night. What was I thinking?!!

That is NOT Smith hair. 
The kids woke up around 7am, so Brian got up and helped them. Of course they were very curious about mommy and her 2 new friends hanging out doing odd things, like squatting, swaying, noise making, etc.
I told Brianna they were here to help me get the baby out, and she was thrilled.
She wanted them to hurry up.
Unfortunately, there was no hurrying to be done. In fact, as the morning progressed, contractions got more tolerable, and stayed 6-10 minutes apart.

I guess applying counter-pressure is a 4 person job.  
We were all sick of staying at the house, so we decided to do what any woman in latent labor would naturally do: HIT THE YARD SALES!
Not even joking. I scored some great stuff, including a HUGE gorgeous rod iron wall clock, and cute shoes for Brianna.
I actually only made it to 1 yard sale before it was time to do the next most logical thing a woman in labor does:
A Turkey Trot.
My goofy doula, Jessica, on a
"birth high" in luxury Suite 3! Um, does
she think this is FUN?!
We've gone to this same one for the past 2 years and didn't want to break our streak.
Sadly, I wasn't quite in shape to win the 5K and big frozen turkey again. But we enjoyed walking it, and I was able to keep a semi-straight face through contractions.
The kids loved it - tons of crafts, prizes, face painting, food, etc. It was only awkward when someone asked when I was due, and I'd have to answer, "yesterday," then Brian or Jessica or Brianna would chime in, "she's actually in labor RIGHT NOW!"
And then their eyes would get large and they'd slowly take a few steps back.

Laura Zaugg, CNM. I'm so glad I chose her as my HCP.
She did an excellent job catching the somersaulting baby.
I started feeling really bad for my doulas. They had been with me for about 10 hours, were probably tired, and it looked like there wasn't any imminent delivery happening.
So I asked if they'd like to take the afternoon off.
And get this - they did, but didn't go home and rest - they went down to American Fork to hit up the rest of a big state-wide doula conference! Now that's dedication to the job!
Because right when that was done at 5:30ish, they had to rush back to me for the REAL birth party.

Normal contractions just go up and down. One peak. Mine
towards the end (at an 8 and 9) were INSANE. Multiple
peaks going off the chart. That explains the uncontrollable
screams that came out of me when I was supposed to only
do "low noises." 

I spent the afternoon getting a few things done around the house...went to one other yard sale... but mostly just attempted to rest in between contractions.
I hid myself down in the basement on a bed with my phone, contraction timer, water, and a bunch of pillows. Should've turned the phone off, since I used valuable rest time talking to people instead (Mom, Mere, Linds, and my stressed-out Grandma Smith, who should NOT have been told I was in labor, since she freaks out so easily and kept fretting about me delaying my hospital arrival).
Brian and the kids checked on me occasionally. I tried different positions during contractions to see what felt the best.
Those hours went by in a blur. I did a lot of phone time, somehow mostly with Lindsay (oldest sis, in Seattle). She felt bad for me, as the hours passed on and she heard my voice break down in pain several times during our conversations.  She asked for my address, supposedly so she could have a pizza delivered to my fam for dinner.
Her double chin makes me so happy.
I also find the male-pattern-baldness pretty endearing. 
But as it turns out, that's NOT what she wanted my address for..... instead, she sent a SINGING TELEGRAM HULA GORILLA to come visit me with balloons, a pumpkin pie (my fav), leis, and some funny jokes. It was the single most thoughtful and weird thing I think anyone's ever done for me!  HERE is the video of it!

Laura, my midwife, knew I was in labor because Jessica had called the Labor and Delivery dept early in the morning, letting them know I'd be coming at some point, and to reserve Suite 3 (the best one - meant for the woman trying for unmedicated births). So Laura called and checked on me a few times and helped me determine when it was time to come in.
She phoned around 6pm, heard my voice, and told me to go straight to the hospital and she'd meet me there.
I'm so glad she told me that, or I would've kept putting it off. I wanted to have the kids down in bed and have everything set for our (angelic, superstar, amazing) friends that were coming to stay with them for the night.
Let's call this one..... "Pain.'
I never imagined it was POSSIBLE to be in such pain.
But I just had to leave.
Jessica took me to the hospital and Brian came just minutes behind us, after getting the kids settled with the Maruji's, our neighbors/friends/shining-examples-of-awesomeness. They dropped everything to do this for us, and they've only known us for a couple months. Huge lifesavers.
I don't know what we would've done without them. We don't really have any family in the area to call on - at least none that had offered any help at all - so it was our WARD family that saved the day!!
They've been awesome these last few days. The Coffields, the Hoggans, Wendels, Andersons, and several others, including our sweet elderly neighbors.

Upon our arrival at Lakeview, we all crossed our fingers during that initial "check" for dilation.
I was prayingprayingpraying for at least a 6.

The sun was rose early Mon. morning, lighting and warming
us up as we snuggled. Seriously magical moments. I soaked
up every second, knowing our peaceful days were numbered.
I feared more than anything being told a low number.... meaning I wasn't progressing normally. But then the good news... a 7! SEVEN!! We all high-fived each other. I think there was squealing going on (especially since doula apprentice #2, Bethany, had just arrived. So it was now a full room of serious support!)
They put an IV line in me, with a hep lock. Meaning that nothing was going in, but it was ready in case of emergency. That's standard protocol for women wanting a VBAC. Very annoying, but nothing to throw a fit about.
It would've been nice if they could've found a vein the first time... instead I had to endure like 5 different attempts in different parts of my arm/hand, so I looked like a drug addict.
Brian started signing forms, and got the Josh Groban music going on the ipad.
I feel like Josh Groban was an absolute key in my successful unmedicated VBAC.  
Just kidding. Kindof.
The man I love holding the new baby I love!
Let's call this one... "Complete Exhaustion."
I never even imagined it was POSSIBLE to be so tired. 
But seriously - I loved having good music going. I can't imagine birthing in silence (well, as silent as a hospital room full of people).

I told my birthing crew - nurse, midwife, doulas - that we needed to have this baby out before midnight, so she'd share a birthday with her Aunt Samantha. That gave us about 4 hours.
We narrowly made it, with just 15 minutes to spare! It was a late night for this party. I'm sure they all went home and basically slept thru Sunday. Or were zombies. Though Brian seemed to have good energy when I sent him off to church that next morning... perhaps it was an adrenaline high....
Back to the story.
Every woman in labor needs a doula.
Preferably 3 doulas.
Looming over us the entire time was the knowledge that we were being "watched" by an OB at home on her laptop, tracking all the readings. By law I guess, Laura, a Certified Nurse Midwife, can't attend a VBAC client without an OB back up on-call.
Laura's usual back up - who is totally cool with VBACs - was out of town for the weekend. Her second choice said no  (lame scaredy cat!). Thankfully her 3rd choice agreed, with stipulations. Any indicators of fetal distress meant cesarean delivery. The problem was... it's VERY difficult to keep a fetal monitor on when you're moving around! And of course I wasn't going to just lay in the bed and suffer through the increasingly painful contractions. That's the worst position to be in. 
So, to the rescue, Jessica held that monitor to my belly the WHOLE time. That had to be exhausting.
Which didn't even occur to me until muchmuch later, since anyone's discomfort in that room paled in comparison to mine.
But still - I appreciate their endurance SO much. Even Brian was exhausted the next day, and sore. When he told me that I was like, "what?! Sore from WHAT?!" I had very little sympathy.
"Haven't slept in 48 hours. Exhausted and hurting
like crazy. But yeah, SURE, let's get this done! Thumbs up!"
But that was selfish of me, cuz he really did have some tough jobs. He had to do all the SERIOUS counterpressure, with me yelling at him to press harder, squeeze more, hold me stronger, etc.  For hours. Few people are used to workouts like that!
That final hour of contractions before pushing was KILLER. I'd like to repeat that at least 5,983 more times, which still wouldn't suffice to emphasize how painful it was.
Going from an 8 to a 10 makes the most excruciating marathon look like a turkey trot.
This is the photo Brian took right after birth.
He texted it to my parents. Mom said she
loved the expression on my face....and was
concerned the baby looked SO BIG!

I was determined not to scream, because I knew that would be counter productive. You're supposed to do LOW noises, which help you open, versus HIGH, which tense you up.
Yet I know I screamed out several times in ways I didn't even know I could scream, and totally without control.
Jessica got me back in check every time.
Yet enduring those contractions was nothing - NOTHING - compared to pushing.
Pushing = an inch from DEATH. Sososoooo painful.  In my mind I was 100% sure I could NOT do it. I had NO energy left, after being awake almost 48 hours and having gone through so much physically and mentally (including one major crying breakdown, as we were heading to the hospital and after I kissed my children goodnight). I didn't even really have that "urge to push" like most women describe. But I was at a 10, my water broke (Laura took care of that when I was at a 9 and not progressing), baby's heart rate was dropping, so it was time.
They told me pushing lasted about 20 minutes total. Which they said was fast. Really?!  Count to 20 minutes, in seconds. There's nothing FAST about that, considering the pain I was in the whole time.
"BAM! Just done it!" --proud daddy
It was maddening.
I swear I was on the brink of passing out during that last push. Or going craaaazy.
But then they brought out a mirror, and showed me Charity's head just barely there. Laura got in my face and said her heart rate was dropping alarmingly low. I begged her for help, saying things I knew were ridiculous, like "I know you have a vacuum!! Forceps! HELP ME!" And she firmly told me that at this point, there were no other options, I just HAD TO DO IT.
Everyone was YELLING at me to push (which, in hindsight, I appreciate because I NEEDED that). My body was yelling even louder that it was impossible. Absolutely impossible.
They put some oxygen in front of my face and I shoved it away saying it was suffocating me. So illogical, but there was nothing that made sense in that room anyway. How could there not be an escape? There's always an escape from pain.

I'm so glad Charity was a pretty good nursling from the start!
However we've got a few tongue/lip tie red flags.... =(
Running a marathon? Stop running. Toothache? Yank it out. Freezing? Get a blanket. Hurting? Drugs.  But I had no options.
It was push or die.
But I saw her little head, and I wanted my baby. I wanted her NOW!
Before the last surge, I changed from repeating "I CAN'T DO THIS!" to a timid, "ok, I can do this, I can do this. Please God, please God help me....." and then I held my breath and gave it everything. EVERYTHING. Pretty sure I was an inch from passing out.
Suddenly it was over. The insane pressure was gone. I felt her slippery body slide out. No shoulder push - I tore too badly that she literally somersaulted. Jessica later said she wished so bad she had video'd that somersault. Charity's legs and arms were flopping all around in Laura's hands and arms.
I love her soft chub! SO FUN to have a
plump baby! I had to cut off her lower
half to keep the pic appropriate, but
seriously, her thigh rolls are even more
 amazing. Love her hand sucking too!
But Laura was amazing - she brought my baby right up to me and got to work assessing and repairing.
She asked if I wanted any painkillers through the IV, and of course local anesthesia. OH HECK YES! I told her to give me whatever they had.
Part of me felt bad saying that, since obviously it was going to get passed to baby in tiny amounts during the next day or so of breastfeeding. But I was DONEDONEDONE with hurting.

Baby's first GRIP! Pretty strong!
Earned her an APGAR OF 9!
Though honestly, the very best form of pain relief came from holding my baby. Seeing her, kissing her and holding her next to me - right on my chest - was amazingly helpful in forgetting what else was going on.  And apparently there was a LOT going on. Laura later told me she'd never seen anyone tear like that.  Hmm. Lovely.
I won't go into any more details on that, since heaven knows who is reading this post, and it's already beyond TMI :)
Charity was very alert and active for the next couple hours. She latched on right away, even before the umbilical cord was cut by Brian (which we both agree is a little cheesy of a tradition, but did it anyway).
I'm a big believer in delayed cord clamping.  Honestly, with all of the evidence (and common sense) that supports it, I don't see how it's not standard practice. I'm glad I got to deliver in a place where a request like that was easily granted. And likely would've been done whether I requested it or not!
My youngest, my oldest, my desperate need for a shower.
In general and overall, Lakeview Hospital was fantastic. I have some significant qualms about their (lack of) lactation services/care/advice, but I won't go into that. It wasn't a problem for me, obviously (not that I know everything, just that I *do* have reliable resources), but I feel bad for all the moms going home with their newborns not having a seen a real Lactation Specialist of any kind. Breastfeeding = such a natural thing, that most often does NOT come naturally! And that can attributed so much to our culture and society... silly simple things like obsession with clock-watching... EEK! Digressing again. Back to the story....
I finally let Brian have his turn holding Charity. Nothing sweeter than seeing the man you love holding the baby you love.
I called my mom with the good news. Though I would've loved to have had her there, I'm glad she didn't have to see me go through birth. That would've been tough for her.
And she would've been attempting to lure the anesthetist in the room upon arrival :)
It was fun sharing the happy news with her over the phone. I then called Lindsay and Meredith, and the next day texted my other siblings (cuz that's how we roll).
We moved to the recovery suite. I quickly realized this recovery wasn't going to be much easier than my c-section recovery. But whatever. She was OUT and healthy. I've got my baby - my body will heal.
It's just not a fun or quick process.
Pretty sure I spent about 93% of our entire 48 hr hospital stay just staring at Charity and snuggling. She never laid in that glass/plastic bin. The other 7% was a combo of texting, picture taking, and corralling the older kids during their visits.
mmmm......I'm going to ATTACK you with kisses,
yummy baby!
I only realized at the end that I never even watched the tv that was in there. The Charity baby show was entertaining enough :)
Speaking of the older kids' visit....they are CRAZY about her!
I suspected it would be an emotional moment for me to introduce my new little love to my other 3 little loves. I was right.
Especially when Brianna started singing to her. Melted my heart!
However, they soon became more interested in the "patient and guests" fridge/freezer just a couple suites down, well stocked with treats.
Initially my plan was to get out of the hospital ASAP. Who needs all those shift checks and blood pressure monitoring and crap? Waiting the full recommended 24 hours was a stretch, in my mind.

So relieved she's out. OUT!!

But then I realized that I actually had it pretty good in there... a big cozy bed with controls, handy tables to hold my water and laptop and snacks, a bathroom I wasn't responsible to clean up, easy access to everything I needed, and unlimited snuggling time with my new babe. Seriously, laying there hour after hour, skin-to-skin with her... heaven. HEAVEN. 
I broke down crying several times while staring at her and thinking how grateful I am for her. And going over the whole birth process... such an incredible experience.
I still can't believe I survived that.
Feeling so close to DEATH, yet doing my part in the plan of mortality and creation.

I am so grateful to my Heavenly Father for the blessing of being a mother.
Especially being a mother now to Charity Samantha McKell!
Bennett's first time holding Charity. When we took her away,
he started yelling, "I WANT MY BABY BACK!!!"

Ugh. The bili-blanket and "goggles." She had to wear it
one night cuz she was borderline jaundice. So annoying!!

Her first at-home blowout! I was so proud of her!  :)

Brian and ALL his children!  One happy hands-full daddy!

Brianna's new favorite doll.

Charity has TWO proud mommies :)

Brian's parents came to visit Sunday evening

I love this picture. The most amazing moment ever. So REAL.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Labor Day

There's a quotable line from the movie "The Croods" where they all shout, "STILL ALIVE!"
I wanna shout in similar tone, "STILL PREGNANT!" 
Contractions have been going steady alllllll day. Sometimes intense, sometimes mild.
This morning at 10 they were bearable so we went ahead with our annual Turkey Trot in NSL (Foxboro). Brian didn't wanna do the 5k so we all did the 1 mile.
Gorgeous weather!!!  Glad I'm not spending this lovely day couped up in a hospital.   

Is this really happening....

It's almost 2am. Been cleaning the house for the last couple hours while having mild contractions. Lately - about 30 sec, 8 min apart. In that range. Brian thinks it's "kinda fun" timing them on the ipad app. He also is in cleaning mode. I think we've got more done in the last 2 hours together than we usually do in an entire week. Maybe month.
I actually just got this bassinet set up yesterday. It wasn't a huge priority cuz I figure baby will mostly sleep right with me. But it's just s'darn cute I had to set it up. Brianna was mesmerized by it. And all the cute tiny clothes I finally organized and put away.
Hospital bag is by the door. So is baby carseat. Now we keep waiting waiting waiting. And maybe hopefully get a little rest....    

Fwd: Contraction Data

I love my ipad app that keeps track of contractions for me! Here's a little sample of what I've been going through:

Average for last    3    contractions 


Average for last    5    contractions


Average for last    10    contractions


Average for last    All    contractions


Start time End time Duration Frequency Intensity Note
04:40:31 PM 11/09/13 04:41:23 PM 11/09/1300:00:52Medium
04:43:43 PM 11/09/1304:44:22 PM 11/09/13 00:00:3900:03:11Medium
04:46:11 PM 11/09/13 04:46:53 PM 11/09/1300:00:4200:02:28Mild
04:49:44 PM 11/09/1304:50:39 PM 11/09/13 00:00:5500:03:32Strong
04:54:11 PM 11/09/13 04:54:46 PM 11/09/1300:00:3500:04:26Medium
04:57:22 PM 11/09/1304:58:00 PM 11/09/13 00:00:3800:03:11Medium
05:01:15 PM 11/09/13 05:02:03 PM 11/09/1300:00:4800:03:53Medium
05:09:39 PM 11/09/1305:10:36 PM 11/09/13 00:00:5700:08:24Medium
05:12:11 PM 11/09/13 05:12:55 PM 11/09/1300:00:4400:02:32Medium
05:15:25 PM 11/09/1305:16:30 PM 11/09/13 00:01:0500:03:13Medium
05:17:29 PM 11/09/13 05:18:10 PM 11/09/1300:00:4100:02:04Medium
05:21:58 PM 11/09/1305:23:45 PM 11/09/13 00:01:4700:04:29Mild
05:24:27 PM 11/09/13 05:25:13 PM 11/09/1300:00:4600:02:28Medium
05:28:16 PM 11/09/1305:29:07 PM 11/09/13 00:00:5100:03:49Medium
05:35:41 PM 11/09/13 05:36:30 PM 11/09/1300:00:4900:07:24Medium
05:40:06 PM 11/09/1305:40:45 PM 11/09/13 00:00:3900:04:24Medium
05:43:47 PM 11/09/13 05:44:44 PM 11/09/1300:00:5700:03:41Medium
05:46:10 PM 11/09/1305:46:53 PM 11/09/13 00:00:4300:02:23Medium
05:50:34 PM 11/09/13 05:51:18 PM 11/09/1300:00:4400:04:24Medium
05:55:25 PM 11/09/1305:56:38 PM 11/09/13 00:01:1300:04:50Medium

Sent from my iPad


I should probably include a picture with this post. Like one of my massive belly. But I don't want to scare anyone. And I would have to use the panorama setting.
So.... baby's due date has come and gone. A little depressing. Trying trying trying to remember that these are just ESTIMATIONS, and could be up to 2 weeks off.  And more importantly - that we trust in the Lord's timing and that He will make sure she comes at the right time for *her*. Not for me. The right time for me was last week. Or maybe last month. I've felt very DONE with this pregnancy for quite awhile now. In fact, I can easily say it's felt like my longest pregnancy. The other two seemed to go by much faster.
We're pretty ready for this little girl. There are a few projects I'm wanting to get done around the house before she comes... but I can't imagine that will ever change no matter how much longer she takes.
The nighttime plan:  I've got 2 friends who have promised to keep their phones near them at night in case I have to call and have them come stay with my kids. Of course that's not convenient for them at all - they've got their own kids. But I don't really have any other options. Mom won't be here until Monday.  It seems like the vast majority of my peers here in UT have many family members and relatives living nearby. Like a commune.  Easy to find someone to help in these situations. Not for me!  I have a lot of anxiety about who will care for my kids when I go into the hospital and how they'll do without me here for so long (24 hrs-ish).  I kindof hope I last til Monday so I know it's my MOM.
The birth plan:  Or rather, the "birth vision," or "birth preferences," as I've been advised to call it.  So the main goal is a VBAC. I do NOT want to be cut open again. [shuddering] Goal #2 would be an unmedicated birth.  Why? Simply because I believe a medicated birth won't lead to Goal #1.  That whole "cascade of interventions" was the cause of Brianna's cesarean birth, and then the twins were a scheduled C because that's what my HCP in Cedar felt comfy with. And there were no other HCPs in the area that would do anything different for me. Plus, I was still pretty uneducated with the whole birth process. That has definitely changed now! I've done so much more to prepare.  Not enough, of course. Never enough. But the BEST thing I've done is hired a DOULA. She's awesome, and she better help me get thru this. I also like my HCP - she's a Certified Nurse Midwife. So I get the whole midwifey care (where you're a client, not a patient - cuz this is a normal life process, not a disease) but I'm still in a hospital, which is the only place I'm comfortable giving birth at. My doula is also bringing along 2 apprentices, so it's going to be a party!
The post birth plan:  I keep wondering what life is going to be like with 4 kids ages 5 and under.  That sounds NUTS. I just pray this little girl is easy going. I'm going to try and keep life simple - not taking on extra "things" for a long time. Keeping my LLL stuff low maintenance, hours super low, and just focusing on keeping my little world in order.  I also will need to work hard to get this weight off - I've gained more during this pregnancy than the other 2!  37 with Brianna, 39 with the twins, and with this one - almost 50! Ack! Apparently calories still count while you're pregnant?! Dang it.  So that will take some focus to return to my normal wardrobe. I'm also a little anxious about breastfeeding. I hope she doesn't have any issues. Because I spend so much time working with moms who have various breastfeeding problems, I see how life-consuming it can be. Most problems are a result of mismanagement and are very preventable. But many are totally out of mom's control. Is it too much to ask to just have a perfectly normal, healthy, easy baby?!  :)

I would keep rambling on.... but contractions have been going on for the last couple hours, so I better do something about that....  :)

Friday, November 8, 2013

My first baby.

Lately Brianna just seems SO BIG to me.

Obviously having an infant coming probably has something to do with that.

But even if we didn't, she's just oozing big kid-ness these days.
She shows me tricks on the swings, dresses herself AND her siblings, reads and writes and counts very proficiently for her age, is losing her baby fat and getting that slim older kid look, refuses to watch "little kid" shows, Is kinda difficult to hold/carry, has more mature food preferences, and talks about going to college in Hawaii with me someday
(cuz we both know she definitely shouldn't go alone!!)

I love all her growing up-ness. Its a new adventure for us both.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Bedtime with C & B

Courtney asked me to hold her hand while she fell asleep.
As if I could resist!

Actually, the majority of nights I'm on the floor by her bed, because she's asked me to scratch her back until she falls asleep, or simply stay in the room "just fo a widdle bit"  (which means - until she falls asleep).  Fortunately, that doesn't take too long, and I have my phone or ipad to keep me entertained (and not fall asleep myself!)

Bennett - just 2 feet away - doesn't care. As long as I tuck him in and kiss him a million times and tell him how much I love him (which he totally loves. Or at least tolerates).

Occasionally they wake up at night and come upstairs to our room. Sometimes it's a water request, bathroom help, or wanting to get in our bed. We usually comply quickly, cuz they're just too sweet to get annoyed at. But I have found success with "rewarding those who STAY in their bed all night", and all 3 kids KNOW it.  So nighttime disturbances lately have been minimal. Which is great, because any day now.... nighttime disturbances will hit the max  :)  Bring it on, baby!

Sweet Reality Check

 I thought this was a great photo opp.... I had both babies  (I still call them babies. That might need to change when the "real" baby arrives), they were all cuddly and sleepy (post church), so I told Brian to snap a pic.
Then of course I look at the photo and realize it wasn't quite so idealistic.
My hair looks greasy, eyebrows messed up, I don't know how that random clip got there, the background shows the messy disaster of a playroom we have, and of course... there's Bennett. Sweet Bennett with his cute little finger up his nose. {sigh} Reality check - my world isn't quite as lovely as I think it is sometimes :)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Work update

In case I ever want to go back and read this blog (which I always think I'll do, but I haven't once gone back to read old blog posts since I started this back in 2007), here's a quick update on an important part of our lives:  EMPLOYMENT.
Brian has been with Cintas for about 16 months now. He likes it! It's not too much different than Enterprise, as far as hours and pay. Maybe slightly less hours and slightly more pay. And slightly less stress. So it definitely was a good thing he jumped that ship when he did  (I think - who knows "what might have been"....)
He recently got a promotion (or was transferred? Not sure which it is considered) to a different department, that allows him much more flexibility, which is lovely. He almost has normal working hours now! HA! That'll be the day...
I'm still doing my Utah Running stuff. July marked one year since I took over  This February will mark one year since I joined up with  It's great - honestly, I couldn't have a better job. Super flexible with hours and responsibilities. I've backed down a LOT lately. I used to do about 15 hrs/wk. Now it's more like 5. I really enjoy being part of the running community in this capacity, since I'm not part of it as a participant lately. There are a few RDs I have to work with that drive me nuts, but for the most part, they're all great and I sincerely enjoy helping them promote their races. And of course, hosting the free race entry giveaways on FB is a highlight. Sometimes I think I'd like to just bag it all and be done with it and just focus 100% on my family. Then I realize that I'm being dumb - I have a creative outlet that actually is somewhat lucrative and brings me personal satisfaction, with extremely little interference to my mothering style preferences as long as I keep my head on straight. It's perfect.