Friday, December 5, 2014

1 year older and wiser too!

My sweet little boy turned one yesterday. We took the opportunity to start up some new family traditions. We timed him in a 400m (17:00) and gave him a birthday haircut! 

Henry had an awesome birthday. He go to celebrate with some cutie girls,

and have an awesome party with family and friends.

There was cake!Thanks Myrna Harris!It was beautiful and delicious. 

...and A LOT of toys.

Thanks to everyone for spoiling him. I woke up this morning at 6 am because I was so excited to watch him play!

Henry was smiley and happy the whole evening. I can't believe how fast this year went by. Children should simply never be allowed to grow up. I could write pages and pages on the issue. In fact I HAVE written pages and pages!! "While You're Teeny Tiny" is still in the works, which is partially why I've neglected this blog. Look to future posts to get your own copy ;) 

For now I'll just say. Happy birthday love!! 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Baby Prep Series : Buying the Big Stuff

     Justin and I were so lucky to receive A LOT from friends and family before Henry came. Justin's best friend and his sweet wife even gave us an AWESOME jogger and diaper genie. Between gifts and hand me downs there was very little we had to buy.

  With that being said there are three pieces of advice I think I can give about all that baby STUFF.

Say Yes to Hand-Me-Downs

I have made it a policy to always say yes when people offer us old clothes, toys, and gear. We have been REALLY lucky to receive some awesome hand-me-downs from friends who probably could have sold their stuff and made a bit on it. To those friends, you know who you are, THANK YOU.

Even old clothes come in really handy. I have probably bought Henry a total of 4 pieces of clothing on my own. Between gifts, my mom and hand-me-downs he has more than enough.

Make sure your friends, family , and neighbors are aware that you are happy to accept hand-me-downs. If you have the storage start stocking up! We don't have a ton of storage, but we have been able to pack in quite a bit. Once Henry grows out of a size I make sure and trim down those clothes by about 1/2. I keep a special lookout for friends and neighbors who could use secondhanders and give them the clothes and toys I am not able to store. Sometimes it feels like Grand Central Station around here when I get a box or two of clothes and consequently start trimming down what we've already got, but I think it's a good system; we do use almost every item that comes our way at least once, then it's put to even more use by those families I've been watching out for.

Hand Me Down shirt and gifted hat/jeans. 

I have even let people know that "Hey, I've got a list of people who could use stuff if I don't." I think that makes them feel even better about sending stuff my way.

Get the Big 3

While there's a lot of baby gear that's pretty much unnecessary , there are some high-cost items that you just plain need to have for baby.

1) A good car seat. 

Car seats run anywhere from $40 to $250. I found our's secondhand from a "Buy and Sell" page. It had been used 1 year and originally ran for about a hundred, plus it went with my stroller. I paid $50. It's been a great car seat, I especially like the triangular handle which makes it so you can shift your grip when the thing starts giving you a dead arm.

There are two things that I think I might come to regret though. Firstly, after I bought the thing secondhand I happened upon a couple blogs and comments talking about how you were putting your baby at risk buying seconhand because if the car seat had been in an accident it could have invisible cracks in the plastic that would result in your baby being ejected through the vehicle in a burning inferno disaster with a sign saying "This mother doesn't care about her child." My Mom thinks that's super ridiculous and our car seat has worked just fine for us, but there is a less rational part of me that suffers from a fit of anxiety about it from time to time.

Secondly, it's just a plain old infant car seat. The law here in AZ is that babies have to be rear facing until they're two and Henry's definitely not going to make it that long in this car seat. I find myself wishing I had just bought the convertible ( which carries infants-2 then converts to a front facing for your 2-4 year old) and saved myself $50. However, I have been told that it's nice to start with the infant seat because you can carry the baby around in it where the convertible has to stay in the car.

 I'll leave you to pro and con this purchase for yourself, but just be aware that it's a pretty big cost. If I had some time before my baby was coming I might buy a Target giftcard with $100 or so bucks on it and save it exclusively for that car seat. You don't want to buy the seat itself ahead of time as the laws and standards for car seats are constantly changing and you'll want an up-to-date piece of equipment.

2) A Stroller.

I LOVE our jogger. We only have one car so that thing has mobilized me in ways nothing else could. It motivated me to start getting back into shape and it's been fabulous for everyday use too. My advice is to get yourself a jogger and just use it as an everyday stroller. I mentioned earlier that we got ours as a gift so this may be an item you might think about putting on a registry. I registered for mine at Target. It's not one of those super expensive joggers, but I love it. For those interested it's the Babytrend.

 I have contemplated getting a little umbrella stroller for those few times where we're in crowds and such, but really there haven't been too many instances in which I've felt uncomfortable with mine.

3) A Breast Pump.

I had NO IDEA how much I would use a breast pump. It is absolutely essential for working mothers who plan to breastfeed, but even staying home I have used it quite a bit. It is so nice to have an electric, double pump too. The double pump takes you from being tied-up (haha see what I did there) for up to 40 minutes to being able to get quite a bit done in 10-15. I substitute teach so the quick pumping has been a BIG DEAL for me, but also you don't want to be stuck to a pump for very long when your chubster starts crawling TRUST ME. I use the Medela hospital grade pump. They sell it for around $220--and extra parts for it-- at Target.

Heads up if you have a pet, they like to chew on the plastic parts so keep it out of reach. If you find yourself buying extra parts like I do, check Goodwill first ( guys I promise that's not gross the plastic parts don't touch your breast or the milk so you're good). I got my extra part set at Target for like $26 on sale then saw the same thing at Goodwill for less than $2.

If you think you might end up applying for WIC while you've got a little one, hold off on saving up for that pump. You can rent a WIC pump for free for the first year if you qualify.

Don't Overpurchase

My final piece of advice for this post is not to get caught up thinking that you need every little thing for your baby. Some things are more important for different climates, some things depend on your personal situation, and some things are just plain unnecessary. Talk to other moms in your area and find out what things were important for them. As much as you want to plan ahead, a lot of the "stuff" you need will depend on your child. I went out and bought quite a few sets of pacifiers and Henry won't even look at them. Think about your current family dynamic and ask the people close to you what equipment will be important.

Next post I'll go over the less costly stuff you can pick up at yard sales, etc.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Baby Prep Series : Build a Flexible Wardrobe

   A friend of mine asked me to write a post about what baby items are truly necessary , and how to prepare for baby well before he or she arrives. I am so happy to oblige that I think I'll do a series.  I am certainly no expert being a new mom myself, but I have learned quite a bit in the last 10 months and it will be really fun to share what I know with you.

    Start Now

Even if your baby is little more than a thought, there are things you can do to start preparing to expand your family. Motherhood brings a lot of changes, to you AND your wardrobe.

            Start Building A Flexible Wardrobe

Nothing can prepare you for the drastic bodily changes that occur during pregnancy. You might look at pregnant women and think "She looks pretty much the same except with a basketball under her shirt." You're wrong. EVERYTHING grows and EVERYTHING stretches and you will be utterly amazed at how stinkin' huge you are in the end. Facts of life my friends.

I made the mistake of thinking I could sneak by with a few maternity tops and 2 pairs of maternity jeans. By the end I was wearing my mom's housecoat around feeling like a blimp. I wish I had invested in more maternity pieces because I felt awful about myself and I was uncomfortable in t-shirts that were much too tight. So even if that day is far off, you can start getting ready for family life right now by picking up a cute maternity top/dress from the sale rack every now and then. I wouldn't go too crazy buying maternity pants though---the fact is your bottom is probably going to expand much more than you can even imagine at this point.

So large...and this is the good pic. Those are my faithful maternity jeans that I wore pretty much everyday. I chose a sweater and scarf to minimize the hugeness. 

It took me a good while to get back to my normal size, and during the interim I did not fit into a single piece of my pre-pregnancy clothing. At that point I was sick of rotating maternity clothes! For the post-partum stage you are going to want a couple pairs of basic black yoga pants with a panel. You can pass them off for slacks if you pair them with the right top and they won't bother your incision and such if you end up having a c-section. You might also think about picking up a pair or two of stretch jeans/slacks 2 sizes bigger than your usual size-you'll thank me later. Also, my mom bought me a really cute PJ outfit for my baby shower. It's PJ bottoms, cutesie top and a long sweater with a cinched waist. BEST INVESTMENT EVER! My Mom says it's the best gift she's ever bought me because I wore...ok so much. I've almost worn them out and it hasn't even been a year!

This was probably really silly of me, but I simply did not realize how ill-fitting my clothes would be post pregnancy. Even though I am back to my pre-pregnancy size, I am shaped differently. Before I got pregnant I guess I thought that once I lost the baby weight my old clothes would be just fine--this has not been my experience.

On top of this, breastfeeding presents a clothing conundrum. While breastfeeding you'll want to wear tops with easy access to the goods and you'll probably be quite a bit bustier than usual. Bearing these factors in mind, you can stock up on button-up shirts with a little more room up top.
Got this thin, buttoned blouse at Target. It was a splurge but it's been a life saver. It's one size larger than my usual size (which as you can see in the picture was necessary even 3 months post partum).
Even back at my pre-pregnancy weight a lot of my shirts are too short. (Thanks to the breastfeeding bust).

If you know a family is in the near future, you can start prepping by making your wardrobe more flexible. There are also a few key purchases and suggestions I have for all that baby gear so stay tuned for the next post.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Brief Grief

Maybe it's all the Harry Potter I've been reading, but I'v been thinking about loved ones lost lately. As I snap photos I'll find myself sad that I won't be able to share them with my Auntie or Papa, or Justin's sweet Grandmother. What I've realized, though is that my grief for them has matured past being sad for them and mostly just being sad for me because I miss them. I think there's some kind of ultimate truth to that feeling. It is we who are crying because it is we who have suffered the loss. For me, thinking about death this way allows me to understand it better--to fear it less.

In any case, I don't think I should be too sad about not being able to share the photos. Photos are captured moments, a kind of proof that time can be made tangible--and when you are talking about death, that is a very comforting thought.

May I present some moments I've captured lately?

Saturday, July 19, 2014

New Year's in July

  I have never been good at setting achievable New Year's resolutions. During 2013, for example, my resolution list consistent of the following:

                            Get Pregnant
                            Have a Baby

While it just so happened to work out that I checked both things off my list last year, I didn't exactly choose goals that were well within my control. Last year's goals are just one example . Usually I scrawl out a list of goals on New Year's day that are vague or impossible. "Be a better person" and "Get to the Olympics" are repeat offenders (you get the gist).

This year , though, I am proud to announce that I did things differently. This year I wrote down those vague and seemingly impossible goals and turned them into a list of projects that I knew I could complete.
I took " Be more cultural/artsy" and turned it into "Start a Book Club". "Be a better person" became "Put on a talent show for charity." See the full list
                                                 -Start a Videography Business
-Finish Writing a Motherhood Poetry Book
-Lose 40 lbs (baby weight)
-Put on a talent show for charity.
-Take a personal finance course
-Read 3 medium level books in Spanish
-Start a book club

I am writing about this in July because I am happy to report that I can check off starting a book club and losing 40 pounds. I am working at starting my videography business, writing my poetry book, and taking a personal finance class.

In other words,  I am optimistic about checking each of my goals off by December!

How are you doing with your New Year's resolutions? Got any tips for making them doable?

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

A Picture's Worth a Thousand Words

Today I got a lot done before Hen woke up. Once he did wake up this happened:

And the rest of the day was pretty much obsolete.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Half-Birthdays and Busy Days

Between Hen and I, we've started: attending a writer's group, SOLIDS,a videography business, ROLLING, 3 books & 2 netflix series,and as of today SCOOTING, since my last post.

It's been a while, but time is flying by for me. Henry is 6 months old today. I can't believe it. I simply can't believe it. I am holding on to moments, both happy they've come and sad they're going. It's given me quite a lot of inspiration for the book of poems (Motherhood themed) I'm writing...did I mention I'm writing a book of poems?!22 so far and quite a few of them edited too.

But what is most important today is that it's my little sweethearts HALF BIRTHDAY. A little about my 6 month (tear) old:

Henry is a laid back little guy who looks on curiously when we are out and about. He never has much to say to people, but he's doesn't shy away either.

At home he is bubbly and energetic. He enjoys yelling at the dog for hours at a time and LOVES his new tot-walker.He also loves all things water so bath time is lots of fun. Sometimes I even get out bubbles and blow them at him.

I worry constantly that I am missing important developmental opportunities, but then I remind myself that I don't want his life jam packed with activities that are "ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL".I want my lovebug to take things slowly, to consider things, to wonder, and to learn by seeing. I guess if that's my philosophy, then its super important to be a really good example for him.

Which is why some of my favorite moments with this little soul have been walking through the park, holding up a lizard for him, imitating birdies and reading stories (coughcough Tales of Beedle the Bard anyone?).

Without further ado, I've thrown together a little video of my chubba chunk , to the beat of the theme poem for my book...which I turned into a song...cuz I'm weird. Enjoy!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Symbolism of the Sunrise: An Easter Post

Around this time a few years ago (like 8?!) I went to a sleepover with a bunch of young women around my age. We had a blast watching movies and staying up late, some boys even snuck over and left roses on the porch. I don't think at the time I even realized that Easter was coming up soon, but when we were roused early the next morning by our adult leaders I knew something was up. What I didn't know was that I would be taught a lesson that would enlighten my understanding of Christ's gospel and , as cheesy as it sounds, change my life.

Whether words on a page or cultural tradition, I have always been drawn to the depth I feel when I steep myself in symbolism. I LOVED reading and analyzing The Scarlet Letter in the 11th grade. I even got an 8+ from Mrs. DeGroff when it came time to write the paper and I totally geek out over Midsummer and the Lucia Festival every year despite being only a little tiny bit Swedish. Holiday traditions are totally my bread and butter, although I am picky about them...they have to have deep meaning for me.

As a Christian and a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, symbols have a spiritual importance to me as well. Christ taught using parables and symbols, and symbolism plays a huge role in my religion and personal testimony of Jesus Christ.

It was dark as we crammed into a few cars and were chauffeured up a winding hill, arriving sleepily at the home of another one of our adult leaders. She greeted us quietly, her lowered voice indicating that reverence was required. We filed into her backyard and sat on hammocks and patio furniture, looking around tiredly. 

Next she talked about symbols. 

She talked about the cross and Christ's empty tomb, a crown of thorns and easter baskets. But she also explained the symbolism of our weekly Sacrament. She explained that each week first the trays of bread and next of water were covered in a white sheet to symbolize Christ's body, 

 that the bread we partook of was representative of the mortal body which Christ sacrificed for us on the cross, and the water represented the blood with which he redeemed us in Gethsemane. These things I knew, but , in the growing light of that morning, I truly came to understand their importance. I had never understood that I should enter the chapel somberly each week, as though mourning the death of our beloved Savior, nor that I should leave elated, having partaken of his atoning sacrifice and through that renewal affirming the reality of His glorious Resurrection.

As the sun rose behind our teacher, I was caught up in a feeling that I have felt rarely in my life. It's the feeling you get when you hear an eternal truth. But our teacher had finished speaking.It was the sunrise which spoke to me then.

For though it had been dark when we'd arrived, it rose. 

It lit up the darkness, bringing with it the dazzling color and warmth of day.

We use symbols to teach--assigning objects meaning so as to heighten understanding. What I learned that day was that this was an eternal practice.

This Easter I will take my little baby outside and show him the sun as it rises. I won't say a word.

I won't have to.

* images obtained from and turnbacktogod.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Why Sports Matter
An Open Letter to BYU-Hawaii Administrators

We probably looked funny, standing huddled as we were around a short old man. From a distance one might have seen him gesturing emphatically while a group of red-clad girls looked on attentively. Were it not for sports this situation would be highly unusual ;a  group of young girls spending extra curricular time being taught by a wise mentor.

"Lokahi," he barked gruffly, his soft Hawaiian voice saturated with a power and authority that reflected times long past. "It means balance. Mind.Body.Spirit." He made a triangle with his hands, turning toward each of us in turn so that we could take it in. One of us let out a half-giggle, we were young and silly and this was all so serious. The giggle stopped short though, when Coach's doe eyes met each of ours searchingly. We quieted, more than prepared or willing to listen, with one quick look we were told we needed to listen. We knew it.

He talked about balance, trying to teach us how to balance our lives so that athletics would not interfere with our academics or vice versa, but it was so much more than that. We'd started our practice with a prayer and this lesson was of a deep and eternal significance. We felt it. 

In today's world, sports are a balancing weight. As we scurry from errand to errand, sports force us outside whether we are watching or playing. It's the game that brings us together, gives us a sense of unity. For athletes , sports are a constant, a friendly and unchanging outlet that will welcome us back from wherever life has taken us. 

If you're not a sports person, you may have experienced the following thought process: "Sports are imaginary. They're made up. Every part of them is man-made. How can something so unreal have value?"  

To which I would argue that our realities are imaginary. Think about it; everyday you go to work and follow a set of rules , spoken and unspoken, which are completely made up. You exchange pieces of paper that are supposed to have value for actual goods. You come home and watch images flash on a screen and make meaning out of words on a page. Nearly every part of your life is unnecessary,unreal and yet right now you are sitting there insisting to yourself that each part of  it has meaning. It does. You give it meaning. You're life has worth and meaning and thus the unnecessary rules you choose to follow have meaning. 

Staged performances like sports, or music, or theatre are the practice of human's making meaning without the facade of "reality". We know it's "just" another race. There's no denying that someone is putting it on. With that out of the way, the complexity of the human experience can be viewed with picture perfect clarity. She starts the race. She stumbles. We groan with her ... and then a defining moment. It would be easy to simply quit, let the pack continue on as she ducks under the flags marking the course. We know it, she knows it. But, ahhh, we are crying with her as she gets up , the resolve in her eyes cluing us in to the fact that an inner battle has been won. She has chosen to give this race meaning and we all leave uplifted by her triumph. 

Sports have significance for BYU-Hawaii. For international students, they may represent a once-in-a-lifetime chance to showcase their talent or participate at all. For all of us, they have a lasting and important impact. BYU-Hawaii cross country is where I made lasting friendships, learned eternal truths, and met my sweetheart of a husband.

 I wasn't fast enough for BYU-Provo's travel team but I was fast. I had talent that deserved more development. I had scholarship offers from several other schools. Had I not been contacted by Coach K, I would not have attended a Church school. I wanted to continue my athletic career and knew I couldn't do it at Provo. I shudder to think about the learning and opportunities I would have missed if I had made a different choice. 

All Photos Credit to Katie Belliston

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Still Soft and Squishy

As a new mom, it's always feels good when people tell me I'm "looking good". I need to hear it. I need to hear it a million times a day. I have barf in my hair and pee on my shirt and I am worn out and tired and feeling all kinds of self conscious. I have noticed, though, what I think is a very interesting cultural trend.

I've heard it quite a few times. From family, friends and strangers alike.After a casual glance at my tummy a person will say "You are getting rid of that baby belly pretty fast." or " Good job losing the weight mama." or something to that effect. I am never offended by these comments, I am ALWAYS happy and proud to hear it. Which is kind of the disturbing part. The fact is, I have vigorously exercised exactly two times since my c-section. The fact is I wasn't even allowed to exercise until last week. The fact is that between trying to regain my strength, Christmas, and breastfeeding I have been eating EVERYTHING. The fact is that my stomach going down has very little to do with anything I've done.

I don't mean to be a party pooper here, but if you are praising someone for losing weight or "getting back to normal" within 6 weeks of their giving birth, you are praising one thing: the pace at which their uterus has decided to shrink. To me, its kinda weird how frequently, how very directly, I've been praised for that very thing. Frankly, I don't think I've shrunk all that fast either.

What worries me is this idea that a "new mommy body" is not a desirable one to have. I'm soft and squishy and I won't say I don't want to get back to a runner body ASAP, but why?

 I was shocked the other day when, while reading a Tolstoy, ( can't remember the title, too lazy to go get it off the shelf) I read a line in which the main character describes his wife as finally reaching this awaited state of beauty that could only be reached after having a few children. He discusses how sharp she seemed, as a young bride, and compares it to the beautiful softness that came with motherhood. It was just unfathomable to me that the added squishy I have could be thought of as beautiful.

But I know one person who thinks it's beautiful. He kicks at it while he's eating, and snuggles in it when he's grouchy. He pinches at it with his little fingers when I hold him close. So what if I'm soft? I am a soft place for him to land.

I want to get back to what I was, but I think it takes a while for a reason--and I'm okay with that.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Henry's Here

As tomorrow will be 6 weeks since the blessed event, I guess it's about time I post about Henry's birth.

    I knew labor wouldn't be easy, but I had hoped for an experience that would be emotional, happy, and spiritual despite the physical pain and discomfort. I had read and read and read all I could get my hands on as far as birth was concerned. I was prepared. Or so I thought.

   According to my reading, my contractions would start gradually a day or two, or maybe even weeks before the big day. I might have a contraction here or there and then they would gradually get closer together and then longer and stronger. I figured at the very least they'd start out a good 10 minutes apart. I planned on calling Justin when they got to be 5 minutes apart.

   At 1 a.m. on Monday night I started having what I thought were contractions. I woke up sporadically throughout the night with pain but they weren't super strong. I called Justin at 3 a.m. out of excitement. Surely this was a sign that our baby would be coming soon. I told him not to get to antsy though, these contractions were irregular and probably just a sign that true labor would happen in the next few days.

  By 8:00 that same morning my contractions were 2 minutes apart and lasting 45 seconds. I was astonished at how quickly things had gone since all my research told me I'd be in labor AT LEAST 14 hours. They weren't unbearable either, but I was so confused. I was supposed to go to the doctor at 5 minutes apart lasting 1 minute. What the heck was this? These contractions were not behaving like they were supposed to. I knew I wouldn't be dilated too much , but I worried about Justin being able to make it in time for the birth so I decided to go into the hospital and get checked out.

   TRIAGE: Round I
            I even hate the word triage these days. I wanted to labor more at home, but I also wanted to know how close Justin was cutting it. The first time around I spent about 2 hours in triage for them to tell me I was very thin and very effaced but not very dilated. They told me to keep my 2 p.m. doctor's appointment that day. I went home and my contractions got a lot stronger, still 45 seconds, still 2 minutes apart. By the time we got to the doctor's office, it was all I could do to keep from moaning and yelling and looking like and idiot.

    When we walked in to the doctor's office, I did moan, and yell, and from the looks on the other patient's faces...looking like an idiot. They got me a room pretty quick, which I paced around in, accidentally knocking things to the ground as my mom watched helplessly. She told the doctor she wasn't sure which was worse, going through labor or watching your baby do it. At the time I was thinking " Oh it's worse doing it Mom." Though now that we're 6 weeks out I'd be willing to give it more thought.The doctor said I was a 3/4 and that I'd probably be ready around 6 or 7 that evening.

    On the way home I yelled and even screamed. I continued said screaming as I bounced up and down on that useless birthing ball, clawing at the dresser in my room and giving the stink eye to whichever innocent family member walked in. I hopped in and out of the bath tub which may or may not have given some relief...( I think it did? It's a kind of a blur.)

    Around 3:30 p.m. I was yelling, almost to the point of cursing and giving up on the whole ordeal, when the door bell rang. Humiliation immediately set in, followed by anger. Who would dare to ring that bell while I was in labor. What stranger was imposing on this intimate, animal moment of mine? How dare my mom open that door! A quavering "He-ey.," washed all those feelings away and for a moment I forgot my troubles. Justin had made it earlier than I expected him to. The pain didn't get better at that point, but my labor did. I think deep down I was really anxious that something would happen and he would miss it.

At 6 p.m. I couldn't take it any longer, not even to see the hobbits and Strider make it to Rivendell. I took it as a sign, this baby did not want to be named Strider despite my own feelings about it.

We got to the hospital and ---TRIAGE--again. Oh what a dreadful place. I'll spare you a long drawn out description and give you the short version. We were in there for 5 hours. On a gurney. Contractions still a faithful 2 minutes apart. Not working. Your not allowed to get an epidural 'til you get a room. I had decided I wanted an epidural within the first 5 minutes of being there ( you try having contractions 2 minutes apart from the get was out of my hands folks). The chick next to us HAD HER BABY IN TRIAGE because she was waiting on a room. It was at that point that I started panicking, and crying, and grabbing the nurses collar and begging her to get me a room. She did.

At 11 p.m. Tuesday they put me in a room that had heretofore been lacking a bed. The anesthesiologist was waiting for me. I had gone from a 6 to an 8 on the way to the room. I heard later your not really supposed to get epidurals at an 8, but I did...I don't think I would have survived without it...literally.

After the epidural I calmed down and even smiled. Justin curled up on the little bench next to me and we both fell asleep. I kept waking up , too excited to really fall asleep. It felt like Christmas. "The baby should be coming any minute now." I kept thinking, they even started Pitocin. Still no baby. At 3 a.m. they increased the Pitocin a lot. I didn't mind, the epidural was working.

I was confused when I awoke around 6:00 the next morning. My nurse came in and checked me, "accidentally" breaking my water ( I secretly wonder if maybe everyone was so busy that they were content to let me continue on at an 8, but my nurse knew that a labor this long was not good for me, so she threw the rules out the window and broke my water herself ...but I do have a rather wild imagination.) That did the trick. By 8:30 I was a 93/4 and ready to push( thanks to some coaching from the daytime nurse.

I pushed and pushed I was so encouraged with each push. "Good Job!" the nurse would shout " You're almost there!" "Seriously keep it up he is almost out!" " He's got hair like yours." I kept pushing, but the baby couldn't make it past a certain point. I recently found out his face was turned the wrong way. The doctor came in and after more pushing decided to try the vacuum. Let me tell you, that thing is wider then 10 cm and it is not comfortable when it fails and gets ripped out. First attempt, woooooooosh-pull-splat, Fail. Second attempt wooooooooooo-Doctorlooksatmeapologeticallyassheholdsupthescissors-gaahhhhhhhhh-pullsplat-Fail. Thrid attempt bleeeeghhhhhhooooooosh-fail. The doctor wildly begins a fourth try until the nurses- wait when did so many nurses get here- and random doctor remind her that its 3 strikes your out. "I'm sorry honey but you are going to have to have a c-section." I cried.

I cried and then begged them to put me out. "It's not really safe that way," they said. I didn't care at that point, I was terrified. "You can't have your husband with you if we put you out," said the very wise nurse, she got me, the ONE thing that would convince me. They told me to try not to push and that was really hard. The epidural was wearing off and it never had removed the feeling of pressure. I kept sobbing "HuuuurryUP" as they wheeled me into the OR ...and then out again because that one wasn't even set up. Finally they'd transferred me to the operating table, but where was Justin? "We aren't sure if your epidural is working properly since you got it from a different anesthesiologist last night." Commence panic mode. It did work , but I ended up grabbing the anesthesiologist's hand in the process. He looked at me with pity and let me hold his hand, even when Justin came in and I didn't let go. Even when I grabbed Justin's hand on the other side and still didn't let go.

The C-section itself was not too bad. It's a weird feeling, but not painful. I waited nervously to hear a cry. It seemed to take FOREVER. Finally, a short bark like squeal, Justin and I looked at each other with childlike excitement. Our baby had arrived.

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I am a videographer located in Goodyear, Arizona. Visit my site to check out my best work and the Stories Told blog.