Friday, March 21, 2014

Signs of spring

Spring will always be my favorite season. I love the sweetness in the air and how suddenly everything seems like it is in bloom. A couple days ago I took advantage of a sleepy baby to snap some pictures of the signs of spring around these parts.

Blossoms are my favorite.

I'm really good at killing plants, but so far these daffodils (above) and tulips (below) that I planted in the fall are growing well! Fingers crossed that they survive me long enough to bloom.

My lilacs are just about to bloom!

The bees love the blossoms on my neighbor's crab-apple tree almost as much as I do.

Happy first second day of spring! ;)

Monday, March 10, 2014

"Sorrow that the eye can't see"

I stumbled upon this quote Sunday morning and it resonated with me. 

You know the hymn "Lord, I Would Follow Thee"? There is a line in it that says, "In the quiet heart is hidden sorrow that the eye can't see." I love that. I always have. I've never really been one to broadcast my challenges or ask for help, even when I really need it. Instead, I tend to keep things inside and deal with them on my own. I know I'm not the only one that is an expert at putting on a cheerful facade when I'm struggling, and knowing that many others around me are dealing with "sorrow that the eye can't see" makes me want to treat others with the gentleness and care that I crave when I am going through a rough patch. 

Moral of the story: be a little more gentle and patient with the people around you, whether you think they deserve it or not. You don't know what they might be going through. Show a little more love and kindness. You never know how badly someone may need it.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Eli's newborn photos

I can't believe Eli is already more than two weeks old. He's changed so much in such a short time, and that's very bittersweet. I am going to miss this brand-new stage, when he's still tiny enough to curl up in a little ball on my chest and has that sweet baby smell. I love it. I'm so glad I get to spend every day (and most of the night... which I won't miss as much, let's be honest here) soaking it all up. 

I took these pictures when he was 5 days old. Considering my lack of photography experience, especially when it comes to babies, I'm really happy with how they turned out! I'm glad I'll have these to help me remember what he was like when he was this small. 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Eli's Birth Story

Once upon a time, I had a baby.

Before I forget the details I wanted to write Eli's birth story down. I thought I'd post it here too. 

My goal for childbirth (besides the obvious #1 priority of getting my baby here safely) was to have a positive birth experience. I didn't want to remember giving birth as traumatic or scary... I wanted it to be a happy thing. Because of this, I chose to give birth naturally if at all possible, meaning without any drugs to either speed up labor or relieve pain. I've always been a little anxious about childbirth and I felt most comfortable with this approach. Call me a hippie if you like... you won't be the first or the last to do so. ;)

I woke up the morning of the 20th with a contraction. I'd been having them every evening for several days and this one wasn't much different than the ones I'd had already, except for the fact that it was in the morning. That was a little out of the ordinary, but I didn't want to get my hopes up. I was a few days past my due date and really wanting to get labor started naturally before the induction I had scheduled for Tuesday morning. Going into labor on Thursday would be so perfectly timed in every way that I was sure it couldn't really be happening, so I just went back to sleep and tried not to think about it too much. After about an hour, however, they started to get stronger and were a little uncomfortable... something I had yet to experience with any of my previous contractions.

After an hour or so they had become quite a bit more uncomfortable, so I hopped in the shower in hopes that the hot water would help me relax. Oh, it felt so good. I stayed in there for a long, long time just soaking it up. At this point, I figured he would probably be born late that night or (more likely) sometime the next morning. My contractions were getting closer together and a little more uncomfortable, but if I lay on my side and breathed deeply I still felt pretty good.

Dallin came home for lunch (and brought me some delicious soup... bless that man) and we decided that he should go back to work and finish out the day. I still thought I had quite a bit of time before things would really start happening, and I didn't want to show up to the hospital until I needed to so I could labor at home for as long as possible. But after he left, things really started picking up. My contractions became quite a bit more intense and close together, and I had to really focus on breathing and relaxing during contractions. After an hour I texted Dallin and he ended up coming home soon after that.

Dallin gave me a priesthood blessing, and then we left for the hospital around 2:45, and about halfway there I started freaking out a bit. Wait a second, am I really ready to go to the hospital? Am I going too soon? Am I really having a baby?? I asked Dallin to pull into the church parking lot for a minute so I could make up my mind. Two intense contractions later my mind was quite firmly made up and we were zipping back to the hospital.

We headed into the hospital, rang the doorbell at the labor and delivery wing (Nurse: "Hi, can I help you?" Dallin: "Yes, we'd like to have a baby."), and headed in. They took me into a room, hooked me up to some monitors, checked my progress (4-5cm and 60% effaced) and then admitted me.

Things were really starting to pick up when I got to the delivery room. I had to sign a bunch of papers (quite the trick when you're contracting, lemme tell ya), and once that nonsense was over with one of the nurses suggested that I bounce on a birthing ball. I tried that for a minute but didn't stay there long. I was most comfortable laying on my side, eyes closed, with Dallin close by, and that is how I labored for... well, however long I was there. Time wasn't really on my mind at this point. Everything in me was focused on breathing deeply, relaxing every muscle, and allowing my body to do what it needed to do.

I'm amazed at how peaceful I felt during this time. My contractions were quite intense, but I always felt like I could manage the pain. Honestly, I'd describe labor as uncomfortable, intense, and exhausting more than painful. The name is fitting, I think. Labor is just that... labor. I'm not saying it didn't hurt, because it certainly did, but it was a different kind of pain than I've ever experienced. I suppose it's just something you have to feel yourself to understand. It was really something else to lay there, completely focused inward, feeling myself get closer and closer to meeting my baby with every contraction. The human body amazes me. 

After a little while, maybe an hour or hour and a half, my contractions started to feel different. You know that feeling in your gut when you're crying, like really crying, or when you sneeze? How your abs tighten up? That's how it felt. When I realized what was going on -- that I was feeling the urge to push -- I tried to explain how I was feeling to a nurse. She didn't really believe me at first, but one of the other nurses checked my progress just to be sure. Lo and behold, I was already 9+ centimeters dilated and 100% effaced. Everyone started running around getting things ready. I guess none of us were expecting to have a baby show up so soon, especially not me! It wasn't until now that I learned that they had not been able to reach my doctor. They tried calling her again (and finally got a hold of her this time, thank the heavens above) and told me not to push... as if that were possible. There was no stopping it at that point. Thankfully, my doctor wasn't very far away and got to the hospital pretty quickly, suited up, and within a couple minutes I was squatting at the end of the bed ready to begin pushing in earnest.

I was still trying to wrap my head around the idea that things were really happening, that my baby was really almost here, but once I started pushing everything became very real. My focus shifted from working through my contractions to working with them to push him out. I pushed really hard for what I think was 20 minutes or so, and little baby Eli James was born February 20 at 5:53pm, a little under 3 hours after we got to the hospital, and around 10.5 hours after I went into labor. He weighed 7lbs 12oz, measures 18 3/4 inches long, and scored a perfect 10 on the APGAR test. 

They put him on my chest right away and Dallin cut the cord. Holding Eli's warm little body close to me and looking at his perfect little face was the best feeling in the whole world. Nothing compares to the happiness, relief, and contentment I felt when they put him in my arms. 

These two boys have my heart. I love them more than I could ever say.

We were pretty tired. Can you tell? ;)
And isn't this wee man-child the cutest thing you've ever seen?

1 day old
5 days old
5 days old
I'm definitely not biased or anything, either.

Welcome to the world, baby Eli! We love you so much already. 

Also, if you were to decide to start sleeping a little more at night, we wouldn't object. Just saying.