Friday, April 24, 2015

Meet Eva

The other day, I had a baby.

I was scheduled to be induced on Tuesday, April 14th. On Monday night, the hospital called and said, "You're second on the list so be ready to go by 6:00 a.m. just in case!" I spent all of Monday night rejoicing that I was hours away from becoming not-pregnant. I tried to feel sad about it, and I kept trying to force myself to feel some sort of sorrow at the thought of possibly never being pregnant again, but I was so miserable, that there wasn't an ounce of sincere sorrow to be had.

I didn't think the hospital would call that early, but I was feeling optimistic, so I was up and ready to go at 6:00, just like they requested. The protocol, which I'm quite familiar with after being induced three other times, is to call the hospital at 9:00 if you haven't heard from them yet. I called at 9:00, and they told me that things weren't looking so good. A storm was blowing in, and as a result, a lot of women were coming in with their waters broken, and the hospital was full. I was told to call back at noon, then 3:00, then 6:00. At 6:00, they didn't even tell me to call back, but I called at 8:30 anyway. At that point, they they told me they had had a spot for me, but four more women had just come in. 

The storm. This picture hardly does it justice. It was a really awful storm, beginning with fierce winds that blew salt and dirt all over the valley and caused several car accidents. Trees were uprooted, shingles were flying off roofs, and trampolines were soaring over fences. In the afternoon, the winds calmed and the snow started. Note my freshly painted garage trim.

I tried to be patient and keep my cool throughout the whole ordeal. After all, I was choosing to force my baby out out of impatience and selfishness. I hardly had any excuse to complain. Also, I had felt unsure about whether I should be induced or wait it out, and when I prayed about it, I never really got a strong answer, so I pretty much said, "Heavenly Father, I'm going to schedule an induction, and if there's any reason I shouldn't go forward with it, I'll trust you to intervene." So I suspect Heavenly Father was doing just that. Deep, down, though, I was devastated. I bawled all day, and by the time the sun went down, the excitement of having a baby was long gone, and I was exhausted.

Scotty and I tried to keep ourselves busy all day. We went to Sam's Club, where my flip-flop broke and that's when I had my first good cry of the day. We went to the farm store to get fertilizer, We went to a sandwich shop and had lunch and then came home and tested out one of our new board games. We walked around the mall and went to Cold Stone where I had a delicious sorbet with strawberries that I am going to need again really soon (thanks to my sis-in-law for the gift card which I combined with Entertainment coupons and, therefore, will be able to go again soon for FREE!)

Feeling defeated, we returned home at the end of the day to go to bed. Our kids were at their grandma's house, and I was torn over whether we should leave them there or bring them home. My doctor said he would be at the hospital for other deliveries that night, so he was fine if I wanted to wait it out and see if a room and nurse would become available throughout the night. We decided to leave the kids at Grandma's just in case. Since it had snowed, Scotty ran over to his mom's house to take the kids' coats (I thought I was a great mom because I had the good sense to pack sweatshirts). While he was gone, I was trying to cry myself to sleep when the phone rang. It was 9:40 p.m. and they had a spot for me in the hospital! I told the charge nurse, "I will be there in twenty minutes! Don't give my bed away!" Then I texted Scotty and said, "Get home now! We're going!"

I was positive I would get to the hospital and find out I'd lost my spot, but when I walked in, they took me to a room! A real labor and delivery room with a hospital gown and the whole shebang!

I threw on that gown and hopped into the bed as fast as I could, knowing that, until I had an I.V. in me, I could be sent away at any moment.

New Baby April 2015

I met my nurse, which is always a little nerve wracking for me (I had a grumpy nurse once, and she scarred me a bit). My nurse was really nice, but dude! She was rough. She couldn't find my cervix (not sure why. It's always been there before). And I've never flinched at having an I.V, but I'm pretty sure she was trying to carve her initials into me. I couldn't complain, though, because this woman was prompt! If I pushed the nurse button, she was there in less than 30 seconds. She was very attentive, and she treated me like I was the only woman in the world giving birth.

Since I was Group B Strep positive, the nurse started my penicillin. I wasn't very dilated (saying I was at a three would be generous), so she went ahead and started a slow pitocin drip as well. Since Scotty and I were pretty exhausted, we both went to sleep. I had mild contractions that would occasionally wake me, but nothing major happened. Three hours later, my doctor came in and broke my water. I was surprised at how little fluid there was. I remembered there being quite a bit more in past deliveries. My contractions got painful right away. I was dilated to a four, and my labor always stalls for a while at a four, so I went ahead and got an epidural and went to sleep.

A couple hours later, I woke up in pain. I'd had the anesthesiologist do a mobile epidural, and I was starting to feel my contractions pretty heavily. I had the nurse check me so I could guesstimate how much longer I'd be in pain. I was at a six, so I assumed I still had a few more hours, but half an hour later, it was go time!

My doctor had gone home to shower, so we waited about fifteen minutes for him to get back to the hospital. I pushed three times, and BAM! There she was!

Okay, maybe BAM! Isn't the best way to describe her arrival. She didn't come shooting out, but they're not kidding when they say that after having so many kids, they pretty much just fall out. I pushed with hardly any effort. It was so simple and peaceful... until my fluids came gushing out at the doctor like a fire hose. Everyone in the room had to jump out of the way to save their shoes. It was so grossly awesome!

I was a little surprised when they laid the baby on me, and she was laying perfectly still without a sound. I figured if something was wrong, someone would have said something, but after a second, I asked, "Is it okay that she's not making noise?" They assured me she was fine and that some babies are quiet when they're born (a first for me). Right after that, she started crying. She was purple and squishy and had a smear of vernix on her head that looked like she'd been coated in cream cheese. 

New Baby April 2015
The snuggles. They are the best!

She weighed 7 lbs 13 oz and was 22 inches long. She was our first "bald" baby, though she's not really bald (she has some hair around the back of her head and some peach fuzz on top). She clocked in at 6:34 a.m. on April 15 (a tax day baby)! My labor was 7.5 hours.

We named her Evalene, which is a combination of my grandparents' names, Evans and Marlene. On the blog, she'll be called Eva (with a short 'e' sound, but really, you can say it however you want. I'll probably never know). 

My recovery in the hospital went well. I had very little pain, just some cramping, as can be expected. The pediatrician gave us the okay to leave a day early since I had been given two doses of penicillin during labor, and Eva was healthy. I was grateful for that. The day Eva was born, I was perfectly happy sitting in the hospital doing nothing, but the next day I went stir crazy and couldn't wait to get out of there and eat non-hospital food. 

Since coming home, things haven't been easy. I'm muddling through the initial "Crazy." I started my new semester at school, but my mind isn't handling it well. I've already missed an assignment, and I spend a lot of time staring at the computer reading the same passages over and over without anything sinking in. I'm an emotional basket case, and even though my body feels really great for just having given birth, I get wiped out quickly.

But with all that, it is so overwhelmingly beautiful to have a newborn. I could stare at her all day and marvel at everything she does. 

I'm so glad she's finally here!

New Baby April 2015

Saturday, April 18, 2015

And We Have Ourselves a Baby

New Baby April 2015

She's here!

After a long day of waiting for a call from the hospital, I was induced on Tuesday night at 11:00. The baby was born at 6:34 a.m. on Wednesday. She weighed 7 lbs 13 oz and was 22" long (my longest baby!) 

Everything went so well. I don't think any part of my delivery could be improved upon. It makes me want to watch my back a bit because I don't think the selfishness and impatience I exhibited during the last few weeks of my pregnancy warranted such an ideal delivery. 

More to come...

Must go snuggle...

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Contemplating Holland

The other day while I was waiting for a friend, I perused facebook for a moment and saw this article about Elder Holland.

For those of you might be unfamiliar with him, Jeffrey R. Holland is an apostle in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Our Church has twelve apostles, just like Christ's Church did when He lived on this earth. Elder Holland is one of my favorites (here is one of my favorite talks he has given).

I read the article, and I liked what it had to say. It talked about the writer's personal experience in crossing paths with Elder Holland. I have never met Elder Holland, nor any apostle for that matter, but I have been thinking about Elder Holland a lot lately because of something I learned in school this semester.

 I took a marriage class, and one of the books I had to read was The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John M. Gottman (highly recommended - hopefully someday I'll be able to write a post about it).

One of the best things I gleaned from this book came from this paragraph:

"Human nature dictates that it is virtually impossible to accept advice from someone unless you feel that that person understands you... people can change only if they feel that they are basically liked and accepted as they are. When people feel criticized, disliked, and unappreciated they are unable to change. Instead, they feel under siege and dig in to protect themselves" (page 149).

Many of the things I learned from this book, I try to apply not only to the marriage relationship, but to all relationships. When I read that paragraph, I thought, "Yes! This is it!" It explained something I have felt and experienced but could never really identify or put into words.

One of the best places I think this teaching can be put into practice (besides in marriage) is in the way we interact in the Church. We've all heard a talk in sacrament meeting or sat through a lesson where we have felt criticized or judged by the presenter. I believe this is mostly done in innocence and should be forgiven. After all, our own biases and perceptions are often to blame, but it's always easier to place blame on the person delivering the message. I have witnessed some pretty heavy backlash at times as people have felt "under siege" and begin to "dig in to protect themselves."

One of the purposes of speaking and teaching in the Church is to help inspire one another to change - to become more like the Savior. This is accomplished primarily through the Holy Ghost, and one of the best ways to invite the Holy Ghost is to teach and speak with love. When I contemplate this manner of speaking, I think of Elder Holland. When I hear him speak, I feel loved. He brings so much emotion and compassion into his words that I can't help but feel that this man, who has never met me, loves and accepts all of God's children.

Elder Holland is the type of messenger who inspires me to be better. He makes me feel like I can change. I think he exemplifies exactly what Gottman was referring to.

I hope I can follow Elder Holland's example in my interactions and become a person who emanates acceptance and understanding of others. It is not my forte, by any means, but I think it is a valuable trait to acquire.

Life Skills You Can Practice By Playing Board Games

The deal of the day on Amazon today was for strategy board games. Every time Amazon has deals on strategy board games, I check to see if any of my wish list games are on sale. Today I may have gone a little overboard. Four new games are scheduled to arrive at my house promptly. Too bad they won't make it in time for this evening's game night.

My excitement over this purchase got me thinking about the games we love and some of the life skills we practice as we play them.

Here are a few I thought of:


Some of the games we play are known as cooperative games. These are games where, instead of players playing against each other, they play as a team against the game. In the game Hanabi, each player can see everyone's cards but their own. It is up to the team mates to help each player learn what their cards are. They can only give certain information about the cards - numbers or colors (i.e. "These cards are blue" or "These cards are two's").

In this game, you have to think before you speak. You have to consider how your words will be interpreted and whether the information you share will be helpful to your team mate. You also have to listen to each other and remember what you are told.

What a great life practice!

Team Work

Another skill that is practiced in cooperative board games is team work. In games like Forbidden Island or Pandemic, the players must discuss what is happening in the game and make decisions together. The players each have special roles that give them advantages that the other players might not have. You have to consider each other's strengths and choose who will take which actions to the benefit of the entire group.


In games like Settlers of Catan or Bohnanza, the players can trade cards. The terms of the trade must be agreed upon by all involved players. I have played these games with people who are greedy and with people who are fair. It is always interesting to see other people's negotiation style and whether it benefits them.


In many of the more elaborate games we play, such as 7 Wonders, Power Grid, or Agricola, priorities come into play. There are many things to accomplish in these games, but you can't always get everything done that you want to. Is it more important for you to have a baby or to be able to feed your family? Can you acquire more points by playing science cards or by building armies? You have to consider what you have to work with, what your strengths and weaknesses are, and whether your action is worth using a turn for.

Process of Elimination

In the game Love Letter, players try to eliminate each other by knowing which cards the other players hold. The best way to do this is to be attentive to which cards have been played and what moves the other players are making.


Dare I admit that there are many places in the world I only know of because of board games? Yes, I took geography, and at some point in 8th grade, I had to learn and identify every country in the world, but let's be honest - I only retained about 5% of that knowledge. That might even be an overstatement. Provinces and cities are their own struggle.

Thanks to board games, when I hear the name Stuttgart, my mind automatically pulls up the map of Germany from Thurn and Taxis. I know that Stuttgart is in the dark green section which places it in the southwest of the country. I know the world better because I play board games.

These are only a few of the skills one can practice by playing board games. I could name many others, like money and resource management, patience, and problem-solving.

I think that settles it: everyone should be playing strategy board games!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Two Semesters Down

Last night I took my last final for the semester, and just like that, I have two semesters of school under my belt. Time has flown! It seems like just yesterday I was facing the overwhelming prompting that I needed to go to back school.

I confess, I'm taking it slow. Gone are the days of taking 18 credit hours, like I did in junior college. Somehow I was able to handle a high course load, and work 35-40 hours a week. But I didn't have the same responsibilities or stresses back then. I was married, sure, but other than feeding my cat, I don't know what else I really had to worry about.

Now I'm just taking it one semester at a time. I don't want to set aside my family for school. It's important to me that I'm still present as a wife and mother. I've been prayerful about what kind of work load to take, and the Lord has definitely provided me with the direction that I need. Since I start a new semester in a few days (and I'm having a baby, but I'm not talking about that because I promised), I was only going to take one class for Spring semester, but when it came time to register, I had the prompting, "You can handle one more." I began praying about what class to add to my schedule, and the answer came in the form of a course number: FAML 360. When I looked up the course, I had to laugh. It's Family Stress and Coping.

Bring it on!

Just to make things even better, I looked at the syllabus the other day, and it turns out, I already own the book that's required for the course, and it's full of marginalia. What a wonderful blessing!

I am truly loving school. There are things about it that I don't like, of course, (homework, anyone?) but I feel like the things I'm studying are really enhancing my life.

I know that many people do not consider online school "real" school (I'm guilty of having this perspective in the past), but I'm working through an accredited university, I'm networked with some great people in the field, and the courses I am taking meet the criteria set by the NCFR to become a Certified Family Life Educator (there are a limited number of colleges in the nation that meet this criteria). Regardless of what anyone else thinks about my education, I know that I am doing what my Heavenly Father wants me to do. I don't know all the specifics of what I will do with this education in the future, but I know that I am on a course that is correct for my life right now, and that is a wonderful feeling. It's also wonderful that my degree is relevant to my life whether I choose to work or not. I really can't go wrong, so I'm not worried about what to do after I graduate. I think things will fall into place as they should.

A year ago, I had no idea this is where I was headed. I'm still in shock sometimes because any plans I had for school were much farther in the future. I had to really push myself out of my comfort zone to make this choice, and dare I admit? I'm really proud of myself. I'm proud that I received a prompting and followed through. I'm proud that I left my comfort zone because that's a very hard thing for me to do.

I have been very blessed though this journey.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Belly Comparison

People are talking a lot about my belly these days (especially the kids at church who have suddenly become fascinated by it). Everyone is asking if I think I'm bigger or smaller than my other pregnancies. Scotty and my friend, Michelle, both think I'm smaller this time around. I think I've been about the same with all of my pregnancies, other than Nicky's since I weighed about 15 pounds less back then. I think the only real difference in my belly size is what I wear and what I eat. Some clothes more flattering than others. Bright patterns and colors obviously make things look a little bigger. And when I've eaten a meal, everything is a bit larger. 

For my own enjoyment, I went through my photos and found some of the final pictures from each pregnancy to compare belly size.

39 Weeks: Nicky 2006
39 Weeks Pregnant
Facts about my delivery with Nicky:
1. I was induced at 41 weeks
2. I was Group B Strep +
3. Nicky's heart rate was low during labor (cause unknown)
4. He was delivered via vacuum extraction (I don't recommend this)
5. We knew we were having a boy
6. My labor was 24 hours
7. He was born at 7:58 p.m. weighing 8 lbs 9 oz


39 Weeks: Daisy 2009
40 Weeks
Facts about my delivery with Daisy:
1. I was induced at 40 weeks
2. Daisy had a low heart rate during labor (turned out to be umbilical cord compression)
3. I hated the resident who broke my water
4. I had a nasty nurse who, fortunately, was later relieved by a nice nurse
5. We didn't know what we were having
6. My labor was 8 hours
7. She was born at 11:58 p.m. weighing 7 lbs 3 oz


40 Weeks: Zoe 2012
Facts about my delivery with Zoe:
1. I was induced at 40 weeks
2. Zoe was breech (the doctor was able to turn her)
3. I was Group B Strep +
4. We didn't know what we were having
5. My labor was 7 hours
6. She was born at 8:52 p.m. weighing 8 lbs 9 oz


38 Weeks: Baby Girl 2015
Facts about this delivery:
1. It's a girl!
2. I am Group B Strep +
3. ?????????


Facts overall:

1. I usually gain about 25 lbs each pregnancy (I'm right on track with that this time)
2. I have been Group B Strep positive three out of four times (I'm bummed about this because that means no early discharge, and they slow my labors so I get antibiotics for at least 2 hours)
3. All of my babies have been born at night (which makes for a long first night in the hospital and poor lighting for pictures)
4. I've been induced every time (and will probably be induced again this time)
5. I always have babies in years divisible by three


Are you tired of all these pregnancy posts? I'm sorry. Like I said, it's the only thing I can talk about right now. I promise you two non-pregnancy posts before I discuss pregnancy again (which means I better not have this baby for at least another week to give me time to follow through). 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The Crazy

I'm really stressed out, and we all know that the best way to handle stress is to ignore it and do things that are completely unrelated to the tasks that are causing the stress. Hence, the increase in blog posts lately.

I won't bore you with the descriptive list of what is causing my stress, but I will tell you these three facts:

1. Zoe is still quite sick with RSV.
2. I have finals this week.
3. I can feel The Crazy looming.

What is The Crazy, you ask?

It's that state of mental distress that may or may not occur after giving birth. I've experienced a wide range of The Crazy - some births have been better than others, but usually, I don't realize how bad The Crazy is until I start coming out of it. Then I look back and think, "Wow! Didn't anyone notice how disturbed I was?"

Maybe they did notice. but it's not like you can tell a post-partum woman that she's nuts.

I speak with humor on this topic, but it's a pretty serious and scary thing, The Crazy.

I'm hoping that this sensation of a dark cloud following me is just my fear of The Crazy, and not actually The Crazy. Regardless, I am starting to feel a little control-freakish and territorial. I have a hard time with the elements of childbirth that I can't control. I also have a hard time setting aside the parts of my life that I need to set aside when I have a baby. Part of this is because I have control freak tendencies, but part of it is because it's too hard to go back after I've had a break. I worry that if my routine changes, even for a short while, I'll never have the motivation to return to it. This is why I refuse to take any time off school even though the new semester starts on my due date.

{38 Weeks + Easter Dinner}

I guess you, as a reader, will have something to look forward to. Feel free to dissect my future posts and see if you can detect The Crazy. 

(Or maybe it's already there?)

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The Anti-Nester

I'm not really much of a nester when I'm pregnant. In fact, during pregnancies past, I have referred to myself as The Anti-Nester. That would probably be my super hero name, if ever needed.


Sure, I get little spurts of energy and tackle big projects, but that's pretty normal for me - pregnant or not - so I wouldn't consider it anything special. I'm not a huge clean freak, in general, so I'm really good at procrastinating projects, which eventually results in behavior that might seem like nesting but is really just "catching up."

I'm not sure if that makes any sense at all, so suffice it to say that I don't believe my sudden ability to clean and organize has anything to do with going into labor.

Today I experienced one of those spurts of energy, and I wondered, "Am I nesting?"

But my gut reactions was, "Nah! I'm not nesting. I'm The Anti-Nester."

But if I was nesting, I think I might have wasted it.

I used my spurt of energy to paint the trim around my front door, side door, and garage. Then I washed my front, back, and side doors. It was a job that desperately needed to be done, but it wasn't quite as necessary as the piles of laundry that need to be washed and the respiratory syncytial virus that needs to be purged from every surface of my home.

Just in case I have a second chance, here are the things I would like to do:

  • Shampoo the couches
  • Wash everyone's bedding
  • Purge everything of RSV (this one should probably take priority)
  • Vacuum the basement
These are in addition to getting the house tidied up overall. It's not currently "company ready" - so don't come over. Unless you want to come see my newly painted door trim, but keep your expectations low. It needs a second coat, and I can almost guarantee that's never going to happen. Plus, I was assisted by a certain five-year-old daughter, so there's probably more paint on the house than there is on the trim anyway.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Ten Highlights from Easter Weekend

1. Zoe was sick all week prior to Easter. On Friday I took her to the doctor. She had (and technically still has) RSV. We've had long nights of fever and endless coughing. She had to miss two family parties, but by Sunday we tried venturing out with her.

2. I got to hold three-week-old bunnies. Squee!


3. On Easter morning, we didn't set the oven timer, and we kind of forgot about our breakfast and burned it. Oops!

4. Zoe went on her first pony ride (six months ago she wouldn't go anywhere near a horse).


5. My visiting teacher showed up Saturday night with honey butter and muffins.

6. We adopted two adult bunnies for Easter.



7. Their names are Twinkie and Donut.

8. Maybe we should have named them Thorin and Thrain (they are dwarves), but they are girls. 

9. I went for a long ride in Scotty's grandpa's side x side ATV. It didn't put me into labor.

10. Despite the horrible sickies we've been dealing with, this was one of our best Easters yet!