Thursday, April 26, 2018

Meet Isabelle

Isabelle Larson
born April 24, 2018
at the University of Utah Hospital
at 1:35 am
8 lbs
20 inches
3 days before due date

The Story:
   A little preface to the delivery is this- towards the end of pregnancy this baby's movements really started to slow down. This was a little concerning for my doctor at the time and she spoke with me about being induced. I was nervous about the idea of an induction, but after thinking, praying, and talking with Brian about it, we decided it was best. The date was scheduled for Monday April 23.

Monday April 23-I had been feeling light contractions through the night, but not closer than 10 minutes apart. I was told to call the hospital an hour before we were supposed to go in and when I did I was informed that there had been a few emergencies through the night and that they didn't have a room available for me and that I should call back around noon. This was honestly hard to hear-but almost a relief too because by now I was nervous and I didn't feel like my house was "clean enough" to bring a new baby home to. So I spent the morning deep cleaning the floors of my kitchen and family room.

By noon my contractions were still coming every 8-10 minutes but weren't painful. We called the hospital again and was told there still wasn't a room available so Brian and I went to Jersey Mikes' Subs (THE BEST) and watched Lord of the Rings on Netflix (it's a long movie and we needed the distraction ha). I even took a small nap. Finally around 4 pm I was told they had a room available.

The car ride was surreal. It just didn't feel like this was happening for real. My past two births have been much more dramatic and this felt so much more relaxed.

As we walked into the hospital I wanted to tell people around me walking by, "Do you know I'm here because I'm going to have a baby?"

I was checked in around 5 pm and we got ourselves set up in our room.

We kept giving each other goofy looks and strangely awkward giggles. It is just a crazy feeling-the moments before you know life is about to change. Brian kept joking that the baby needed to come either before or after the Jazz played the Thunder (and was grateful he had time to enjoy the whole game before she made her arrival ha).

Things got rolling pretty quickly. Due to the contractions I had been having I was already a 3 (which my last appointment 4 days before I had only been .5). My nurse predicted that had I not been induced that day I probably would have gone the next evening anyway with the consistency and rate I was progressing.

I was put on Pitocin and my dad came and visited with Brian as we waited. My blood pressure kept dropping which resulted in me being lightheaded and given extra fluids, but otherwise things were pretty chill.

At 9 pm I was given an epidural that only took to my right side and it wasn't very strong at all. It was probably the most uncomfortable I have been with an epidural and that is saying something because my epidural with Lydia only took to one side also. I could feel every contraction-they were just muted a little.

Around 10 pm my mom and sister Raquel came to the hospital. It was super nice to have them there and was a great distraction for the wait as well as pushing through each contraction.

Finally at midnight they checked me and I hadn't progressed much. I was really bummed but almost immediately after the nurse left the room, I  started feeling the contractions really hit hard and come closer together.

After another half hour the urge to push was becoming stronger and I told Brian to tell the nurse because I felt like things were about to get hopping.

And just like that I was at a 9.5.

My doctor was paged and soon the room began to fill with people. I was kind of surprised at the fast pace things started to move. 

People were pouring in the room and hustling about getting things all ready. The bed was lowered and lights were turned on and tools were laid out. It felt unreal once again. 

Doctor Ostler asked if Brian was cutting the cord and the OB Resident said, “No the mom is” And I was super hesitant. I wasn’t really sure if I wanted to cut it because first it seemed totally weird and second I didn’t want to ruin my first moments with my baby by interrupting to cut the cord. That just seemed bizarre. But the resident was kind of pushy. She kept saying things like, “oh you’ll love it” And “just do it” and so I was like.. well.. okay?

Then it all started.

It took all of 2 contractions of pushing.. and at 1:35 am, I heard her. Her cry. 

And there she was. In my arms. Flailing her little arms and looking right at me.

I held her for a moment and just cried. 

My beautiful little love is here! Brian came to my side and cried with me. He put her hat on her as the nurses cleaned her up. We both just talked to her as she cried. It felt like heaven and angels were in the room with us and I believe they were. This little beauty was here. 

She has the same furrow her sisters had and those same big eyes. She was smaller than I had expected and had dark dark hair. Her fingers and toes were so so so long and skinny that they made me laugh.  Her head is perfectly round and her hair is so dark and long. I hope it never falls out. (But it probably will). Her ears have this little fold at the top and they are so tiny! She is perfect. So so perfect. 

I kept telling her that over and over as I held her little hand. “I’m your momma” I kept saying, “and I’m so happy you are here.”

I could see the umbilical cord still attached and the resident waiting to give me the scissors. They clamped the cord and handed them to me.

It was not quite the magical experience I think the resident wanted me to have ha. Instead it was kind of gross. It was like a super rubbery thick piece of licorice and I had to cut it in a couple snips.. but I guess I can cross off cutting an umbilical cord off a list somewhere ha.

But then she was “free” and I passed her to Brian to hold her. 

Watching Brian hold her is so special. He is one of those that can’t stop crying when the spirit is strong. And there he was, holding his new precious little girl. One that I think looks just like him. 

He brought her close up to his face and kissed her and then looked at me with tears down his cheeks. “It’s Isabelle!”

All I could mutter out was "We'll see." Because I still wasn't sure and wanted to go through my list of names. 

We passed her to my mom who had tears on her face and kept telling me how special it all was. She held her close and nuzzled her and my heart melted even more. 

And then it was Raquel’s turn who just kept that darling baby right up to her face and also shed some tears. How could we all not? This new little life, this perfect life-fresh from heaven is here in our arms. It does not get any better than this at all. This is eternity.

The nurses were soon hovering around to get her weight and length. 

7 lbs 15.5 oz and 20 inches long. Pretty much 8 lbs and pretty dang perfect.

The after-delivery was much smoother (though still a little crazy) than it had been with Adeline's delivery. My uterus wasn't contracting and I was loosing a lot of blood. But they were prepared. 

They gave me methergine and a few shots of something and kept me on pitocin for an extra 24 hours after delivery. It was all to help my uterus contract so that I wouldn’t bleed as much. But I still lost enough blood for it to be called postpartum hemorrhaging. They had to push on my belly every 45 minutes for the first day to measure the blood and make sure my uterus was contracting.

While moving rooms, Brian took the birth certificate papers and started to fill them out. I panicked because I hadn’t tried all the names on her yet. We had kind of narrowed it down to Samantha or Isabelle because those are what she looked the most like to the both of us. I could tell Brian was still set on Isabelle but for some reason I just couldn’t say yes 100% on it. 

The next thing I knew though, Brian was informing me that the birth certificate was complete and he had turned it in.

I was shocked! “Wait! What name did you put down?” and he just matter-of-factly said “Isabelle”

I wanted to react, but with how firm he was being on this I thought about how maybe the reason I couldn’t decide was because this baby was supposed to be named by her daddy. Brian was so sure that he had handed in the birth certificate. I didn’t get to look over it or anything! That was a little crazy, but at the same time, I knew that I trusted him. And I really do love the name Isabelle. 

And so.. my lovely baby girl became Isabelle Larson.

Lydia and Adeline came to the hospital the next morning to meet Isabelle.

Adeline just wanted to point out all the baby's body parts and Lydia wanted to hold her for maybe 30 seconds and was more concerned about why I was hooked up to so much stuff and couldn't move well.

It was a moment of excitement to be together but also chaos and a glimpse of what life with these three girls could be once we were home. But I loved it. Truly.

I thought my heart couldn’t be any more full, but I was wrong.

Here we were, all together as a family of 5. The girls climbed on the bed next to me and we all held and looked at the little miracle in my arms. 

Welcome to our home and heart little Isabelle. You are so loved.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Pregnancy Update: 8 weeks to go!

I keep being blown away by how fast each week is going. I've realized that I have SO much to do to get ready for this baby's arrival. I am sweating buckets thinking of putting Lydia and Adeline in the same room to sleep-but that needs to happen sooner rather than later so that they have time to adjust before she arrives.

I keep being told that it is nice that we are having a third girl because we already have everything she needs and at first I believed that. But what I am realizing more and more is that, first off-this baby is entirely on the opposite seasons of Lydia and Adeline. Second-We also need to upgrade our car to fit 3 car seats as well as buy a car seat for Lydia, move Adeline to Lydia's old one, and our baby carseat expired so we need to get a new infant one. We bought a bunk bed for the girls because the crib will be the baby's as well as dressers since we need to have a better system for their clothes and closets. And then a million little things like bottles and binkies and diapers, etc. This baby is much more expensive than Adeline or Lydia believe it or not!

The girls have no idea what new "life" is about to come their way. I feel confident that they will love their new little sister, but I am worried about juggling the needs of a newborn and the demands of a 3 year old and 18 month old. I am sure they will be helpful but I do worry about the "too much" love and help part.

I also find myself still struggling with names. I would love to tell the girls that it is "baby so-and-so" in my belly and have them prepare that way. I just can't wrap my head around what to name her. I have a few names we like but nothing is standing out or anything. We'll just have to wait to see her I guess.

Brian starts a rough rotation this next week for a whole month. I am nervous but I pray it will fly by and at the same time give me time to do all that needs to be done in preparation.

I am still working out and it is my goal to work out until the end of this pregnancy. So far I actually have been feeling really good and I can't complain. I have had to hold off on a lot of cardio due to the pressure in my lower half.. But I have been doing the BBG PWR program and love doing the weights because I feel a good work out while not overdoing too much on my body. I have loved feeling strong and much healthier this pregnancy.

Here we are with our traditional Fondue for our anniversary, as well as a day-to-day shot of our mornings in this household with these busy girls. I am grateful.

Monday, March 5, 2018


I was reminiscing through wedding pictures and stopped at this one. Here we are, just little babies at 19 and 22 years old, lost in our own little world that we had just started. Unsure of what the future might hold or where life would take us, but knowing that if we had each other we'd be able to conquer anything and everything.

And here we are now, 7 years later and look at this life we have created. 

And below is that same look so many years later. How grateful I am for this life-for our spunky 3 year old, sweet 18 month-old, and this new little baby of 32 weeks. This look has so much more love and meaning in it.

Adding another page to our marriage journal and it is crazy how quickly this little journal is filling up!

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

The Name Dilemma

Can we talk names? Not what to name this baby.. but the whole concept of naming your child.

It is the second question I get asked after "How are you feeling?"

I wait a moment and then there it is, "So what name have you picked?"

When you tell people that you don't know what you are naming your child yet they don't believe you "Oh so you are keeping it a secret?" And when I say no, they say "Well you must have some ideas! What are they?"

People assume that you must have ideas because they themselves do.. and if they don't have ideas, they have opinions. I still remember plenty of eye-rolls and negative-sounding "Oh's?" when telling possible lists of names for my other kids.

I remember flying alone with Lydia from Chicago to Utah to visit family when she was 7 months old. I had several different people ask me what her name was during my flight or time in the airport. When I would respond "Lydia" I started noticing how people's reactions were genuinely pleasantly surprised. Every one of them mentioned how much they loved the name-and it felt sincere. I've been there when people have said, "Oh that's a nice name" or "Hmmm. How do you spell that?" or "say that again?" or "I've never heard that before..." to someone else's child when the parents have spoken their name.. all said nicely, but missing the sincerity.

Now.. not that I want to base my entire decision off what other people think or their reactions-just that I liked the feeling of other people liking my child's name too.

When naming your baby it is hard not to think of every personal reference from our lives.. the character from that movie.. the elementary friend who threw a book at your head, the coworker with the weird pen-clicking problem..

And the truth is that all of those people eventually melt away once there is a baby you love attached to that name.

Giving your child a name also means you get to try and figure out how other kids may twist them into mean nicknames. And even then, if your child makes it through school nickname-free, maybe you just so happened to pick the "most popular name of the year" and so your child's name is no longer "Ashley" but a morphing of the first name and last initial.. "Ashley K" because there are 7 of them (Ashley was a popular name of my generation).

This picture is from Baby Larson #1 Pregnancy Journal
When naming Lydia, Brian and I took a few names to the hospital but both had internally decided Lydia was what we liked. When she was born, Brian said, "Look! It's our Lydia!" and at that moment I couldn't think of any other name we had talked about to "try" and so she became Lydia.

With Adeline it was 100% different. Brian thought it would go the same as Lydia's had but it didn't. When Brian brought her to me after she was cleaned up he said, "It's little Isabelle" and I immediately knew that Isabelle was not her name. She didn't look like Isabelle. So she became Adeline.

Now the pressure is much different this time around and you think it would be easier since we have done it twice before.

One of William Shakespeare's famous quotes from Romeo and Juliet that has run through my mind a few times is, "“What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

Very often the first information we learn about a person is their name. And that first information can be so important to a good impression.

But now.. I have a 3-year-old that loves to ask people what their name is and then tell them hers back, "My name is Lydia Larson" she'll say. I signed her up for preschool in the Fall and I think that was when it really hit me just how important her name is. Not only do I need to love it.. so does she! This is the name that will learn to clearly write, the name she'll tell every new friend she ever makes. It will be cheered at dance recitals and soccer games, and scolded on late curfew nights. It is the name that will go on resumes and will be so much apart of her identity.

With all of these thoughts (and probably a million more that I could write down) I am left feeling a bit stumped.. and I'm second guessing every name that runs through my head. We are in the single digit week countdown now. That is almost 8 weeks left to compile a list..

I guess I'll continue to just look at these two beauties until I can figure a name for my next beauty. I'll just enjoy their blooming personalities with Adeline's curly hair and BIG brown eyes and new found love of balls (which we don't have because Lydia never played with balls) mixed with Lydia's straight straight straight blonde hair and blue eyes and love for dresses, purses and backpacks (she has all of the above in this picture).

Friday, January 19, 2018

Baby #3 Pregnancy Journal

I'm over halfway through and haven't posted Baby Girl #3's pregnancy journal yet. Journaling can feel so tedious at times but I am always grateful I write these thoughts and feelings down.

Both Lydia and Adeline's pregnancy journals can be found here.

These two pictures are pretty accurate of our lives lately. The top shows a tired husband who is just a bit stressed about his future career choices and current rotations. It shows an instant cheeser of a baby who isn't so baby anymore. At 16 months Adeline loves the camera and smiles at anything she thinks is a phone or camera. She is one happy child except for when food is around-she becomes very hangry and greedy.

Lydia is opposite in so many ways. Getting this child to eat is an adventure every day and she will RARELY look at the camera. In fact, when I was taking her New Year goal pictures, the way that I got her to smile was to have her "Little People Minnie and Mickey Mouse" kiss behind the camera. This girl has so much sass and is ALL GIRL and will constantly beg to wear dresses, make up, and have her fingernails painted.

And then there is me.. usually needing a shower and telling myself I'll take one while the girls nap and then laying down for a nap myself. I'm feeling the nesting vibe but tiredness overpowers the motivation and I keep hoping that as time gets closer I'll just do all I want done. In just 14 weeks there will be a new face in these photos and my heart is so full when I think of how different our lives will be. I often don't feel there is enough room in my heart to love another human as much as I love these people but I have said that before and then had my heart grow and overflow with love. I look forward to that happening again.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Welcome 2018

As 2017 comes to a close, I can't help but have Albus Dumbledore's words ringing in my head, "Another year gone!...What a year it has been! Hopefully your heads are all a little fuller than they were.."

Our heads but more importantly our hearts are much much "fuller" than they were a year ago. We have seen and felt the tender mercies of the Lord in our lives pushing us along and we have witnesses miracles as well as enjoyed the growth and learning our family has made.

About this time last year, I found myself staring at our family motto for 2016 which was CHOOSE JOY and I felt it just wasn't time to let that motto go. So we kept it for 2017 and I think it was really important for our little family to have that reminder through all that 2017 had in store for us.

I wanted our goal words printed out where we would see them and be reminded of them each day. So I made them apart of our command center in our kitchen.

And now it is that wonderful time to not only reflect on this last year's growth and goals, but to continue the tradition and pick our new goal words for 2018.

At almost 4 months we chose the word BLOOM for our sweet Adeline.

Looking at this darling girl a year ago to now has me looking at a beautiful toddler. That little baby has bloomed into a busy toddler eager to get her hands (and mouth) on everything.

Adeline's appetite has bloomed into a love of almost every food except peaches and green beans.

She has bloomed in her love for other people, especially babies and kids. She will shake with excitement and lunge out of your arms to be around others.

Her personality has bloomed and I have loved watching her thought process and to see her find things she loves. She is our observant and thoughtful little girl.

Adeline's love for music and dancing has bloomed and will continue to soar. Any beat or rhythm she will immediately pump her hand (not fist, open palm) to.

Adeline's love for books has bloomed but an unexpected blossom is her love for sports and balls. She is so coordinated at kicking and throwing balls and loves to be an active participant.

Adeline's vocabulary is truly blooming and hearing her say "Thank you" and "Pwease" will set a permanent smile on your face.

Adeline's new word for 2018 is GRASP. To grasp is to really seize or hold onto something firmly. It is our hope that she can truly grasp the world around her and how much she is loved. We hope she will grasp her new role as big sister in a few months and also grasp all the new adventures and lessons that will come her way.

At 2 years old Lydia's word was CREATE for 2017. And boy did this girl take that goal and run with it.

Lydia's personality is to create her own flare to life all along her way through it. This year she created joy and imagination in ways I would never have thought of.

Lydia has created many new friendships and loves to play and be the boss.

She has created a love for singing and wearing dresses. This little lady is all girl and creates a bit more sparkle in the world with her love of pink and lipstick and painted nails.

Lydia has created a very deep love for anything pink and that was all she initially asked Santa for, for Christmas was "a pink present."(Easy enough for Santa)

She especially loves to create through art and projects. She loves play dough, painting, coloring with anything that makes a mark, and cutting paper and string. We always run out of the "pink" items first (paint, crayons, makers and play dough dry out from overuse, etc).

Lydia has channeled her energy in creating more learning and knowledge for herself. She loves to write her name with help and find the letters and numbers that surround our billboards, license plates and decorate some of our mountain tops (We live near the V and B on the mountains in Bountiful).

She has helped create many rules and boundaries in our home and family with her endless energy and desire to test the limits.

Lydia has created a love for her Savior and loves to point him out in pictures, statues, books, etc. Recently she has taken to reminding me when I have lost something and then found it again, "Jesus helped mama find that."

This next year Lydia helped chose her word to focus on. Lydia's word for 2018 is CONNECT.

It is our hope that Lydia will connect with others, her sisters, and us as her parents. We would love for Lydia to continue to make a stronger connection with her Father in Heaven and Savior. We hope she will connect in her learning new things and her communication skills.

For 2017 I chose the word BECOME. It felt so fitting and I am happy to think of all the things I have become in the last year but I also recognize that I have so much more to do to really embrace the word become more fully.

I have become a better wife and mother but I realize that I have such a long way to go. It has been a lot of growth on patience and humility in motherhood and I feel extremely inadequate. I feel that I have much room for improvement but I am grateful for the progress I made this last year.

I have become a more loving disciple of Christ. One of my biggest goals was to become less judgemental and more accepting and loving of other people's choices and lives. Honestly this one was a lot harder in the beginning of the year but I am so happy to say that it became less of a focus because it got easier to love and accept as the year went on and I found myself succeeding most of the time.

I became healthier and fit in my body, spirit, and mindset. My scripture study became more meaningful as I included a more meaningful prayer to invite the spirit in to teach me and so did my eating and exercise. My goal went from "trying to fit into my old clothes" to changing my mindset on how I ate and strived for a more effective and enjoyable exercise routine.

Our house has become more of a home as we have sought the spirit to be more present and continued to find joy in house projects.

One of the most important ways I have really stretched and grown with the definition of become which is "began to be" is in my role as a wife. Brian's second year of residency began in July and it seemed to hit with a cannon ball to the stomach as he quickly experienced true burn out. As his wife, I felt helpless, nervous, and so vulnerable. I didn't know how to help him and quickly felt drained and the onset of burn out myself. I truly had to learn what is meant to become a supporter and encourager while grounding my anchor of trust in the Lord as we had just found out we were expecting our third baby. Learning to trust in the Lord and his timing is really becoming.

My new word for 2018 is CHERISH.
I hope that I can cherish and protect all that I hold dear-my family, my testimony, the different roles I hold as mother, wife, daughter, friend, and disciple of Christ. I want to cherish change and cherish the trust that has really "begun to be" in my soul.

Brian's goal word for 2017 was REACH.
In his professional life, it was a pleasure to see the growth that he has attained in his knowledge and understanding of his patients. In October of 2016 he had a resident who was very belittling and hard on him. It brought out this "wife bear" in me that I had never experienced before. I was angry with this resident and how she treated Brian. What was such a pleasure to experience was that Brian worked with this same resident in March of 2017. We expected hell and prepared for it. When the time came though, this resident couldn't stop raving about Brian's progress and knowledge. She loved seeing his growth and working with him that she asked to work with him on another rotation after that. We truly felt Brian was reaching his goals.

And though residency took a turn of exhaustion, Brian's knowledge and skills have really stretched and grown.

Brian has reached out for a more personal growth in having a grateful journal and looking for ways to stretch his gratitude and find joy each day.

Brian has reached out in his fatherhood and love for his girls. The girls are sad to see him leave each day and look and wait and look anxiously out the window for him to return.

Brian's testimony has reached and extended through his trials but also his successes. He too has been learning to rely on the Lord's timing and plan.

For 2018 Brian has chosen the word APPRECIATE.

Brian hopes to be more appreciative and grateful. It's been a rough last few months for him with residency burn out and this word felt fitting for him in this coming new year. Brian wants to learn to appreciate more by look for things to be grateful for each and every day.

At home and elsewhere he also hopes to be more appreciative and understanding with all his girls and emotions that he doesn't always get. Spiritually and physically he hopes to appreciate his working and healthy body as well as show his appreciation for his knowledge of the gospel and our Savior by developing better study and service habits.

As the news of our dear prophet Thomas S Monson's passing last night I feel it so appropriate to quote him here as the new year of 2018 dawns.

"Be of good cheer. The future is as bright as your faith." -President Thomas S. Monson

President Monson had such a great focus on the things that matter most. His legacy and lifetime of service all done with a sweet smile will be greatly missed and I hope emulate them this year.

As I have been putting away Christmas decor, I at first felt like my house looked naked with the original everyday decor back in place. But I couldn't help but feel there was a little bit of symbolism in it all.

By the end of the year we adorn our Christmas decorations and it feels magical and exciting to feel the change of extra things filling the house. After a long year of ups and downs we feel ready for the magic and love that Christmastime brings.

But by the end of the holidays when it is time to clean up it almost feels refreshing and simple to do so. What a great way to start out the new year! Clean, fresh, and simple as we turn over a new page.

And once more in the words of Dumbledore, I'll start 2018 out with this, "Before we begin our banquet [new year], I would like to say a few words. And here they are: Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak!"