Thursday, September 29, 2016

Dear Lydia on your 2nd Birthday

Dear Lydia,

My first memory of you happened before I ever saw your cute squished face for the first time when you were placed in my arms at the hospital. I felt you first. I felt those first little wiggles even before the doctor told me I would.

And even though you've already forgotten a lot from your first two years of life, I remember quite a lot.

I remember what it was like to just stare at you sleeping in your crib, or hold your whole little body against my chest and count your breaths at you dreamed.

I remember when you gave me your first real smile.. and your first giggle when I blew on your neck. The first time you tried oatmeal and the scream you gave me when you first tried a pickle. I remember when you walked all by yourself and I realized my baby was turning into a toddler.

The first time I could actually stick all your hair in a pony tail and I leaped for joy that your hair was finally long enough. Your love for books, dogs, and cheese happened and since we have added so many more "loves" to your list.

When you were happy you wanted to play with Dad, when you were sad you wanted to snuggle with mom. You know we love you and we can feel your unconditional love for us back.

Want to know a secret? Even on the days when I looked forward to cleaning up the last cheerio and putting you down for bed, I would miss you as I turned off the light and shut the door.

I know that today you'll eat the first half of breakfast like a champ, and the second half will end up in your bib or drawn on the wall as you get bored of eating. I know you'll ask to go "nigh nigh" at least twice before it is really time for you to go down for a nap. I know you'll probably want a treat and ask "peas" in your cutest little voice and when you messily devour the raisins or animal crackers that I feed you, you'll want more and throw a fit when I say no.

What I also know is that you will accomplish great things and find so much joy in life. I have to push my little bit of sadness aside and embrace the part of me that is thrilled by your growth and development.

I hope you will always continue to wonder and learn. I love when you constantly ask "What's that?"

I hope you continue to exclaim "wow" when you witness something awe inspiring.

I hope your love for nature and exploring never dies and that you will continue to love the outdoors.

I hope you will always be proud of your body and the miracle that it is--pointing out your beautiful belly and face and loving to see your reflection in the mirror. You are beautiful.

Never stop saying "hi" to everyone-even strangers. Your friendliness can and will brighten other's days.

Continue to be brave and try new things. And try again if you fail.

Always share and be polite. And love with that very big heart of yours.

I hope you know that you were born into a family who loves you and wants what is best for you. You have a Heavenly Father who is cheering you on and always there for you. I hope you will continue to see the good and happy things in life.

Thanks for helping me be a better mommy every day.

    ]  Mommy

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Baby Larson #2 Pregnancy Journal

Baby #2's Pregnancy Journal is finished.

It's hard for me to close the book on this last pregnancy. Don't get me wrong-I am so happy to have Adeline here with us and I was ready to be done being pregnant. But I know I will miss the time when it was just me and her.

I love documenting my pregnancies and my thoughts along the way. (Lydia's pregnancy journal can be found here) I can't believe how much we have grown as a family, as a couple, and individually. 

I often felt that this pregnancy happened at the wrong time with all the stress and changes we made in our lives in just a few short months, but now looking back I couldn't be more wrong. This little girl needed to come into our family right now at this time. We needed her.

And we are so happy she is here.

We love this sweet Adeline!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

My SECOND first night of motherhood

You may recall my first night of motherhood.. You know, the wake up call that my expectations were a bit unrealistic.

Well, you think I would have learned..

But instead I thought.. "I've done this before. I know what I'm doing"

Any thought like that is usually just Heavenly Father's way of letting you know there are some future growing pains coming. 

So I should have known as soon as that thought came into my head.

But I went on my merry way and found out the hard way (but thankfully not as hard as my first night with Lydia).

The hospital stay was different this time.. Because I was confined to my bed the whole time and also because the staff considered me an "experienced" mother (since I had a child at home) the info they would give me usually went something like this: "Breastfeed your baby every 2-3 hours, but you already know that.." "You already know this but Your baby should have this many poopy and wet diapers." Etc

I left the hospital feeling like a champ! I already know this! I know what I'm doing! I am a pro!

Whoopdie-do straight to my head. Walking out to the car, my expectations were soaring even though I had tried to keep them in a harness!

What I was failed to be told and be reminded of.. Is that every single one of us is different.. Hence.. My babies are not going to be the same and the experiences we have once home are NOT going to be the same as before.

So here I am.. Driving home from the hospital.. Baby in the back and meeting my mother-in-law to pick up Lydia. 

I do not write posts like this to complain.. just simply to be honest and upfront. If there is anything I have learned about myself through the years.. it's that I set expectations for myself whether I mean to or not.. and these expectations often cause me to learn deep heart-felt and growing-pain kind of lessons.

My [unrealistic] expectations had been this: Drive home from the hospital, pick up Daughter #1 and laugh and talk the whole way home about how happy we are to be a family of 4. Walk into a sparkly clean home and let Daughter #1 and #2 "play" together on the floor while Mom showers and Dad makes dinner and takes care of the kids while Mom gets to take care of her needs. Then snuggle on the couch as a family and read books and watch a cartoon and eat the brownies that Dad made knowing Mom wanted to eat something sweet. Then put the kids in bed and go to bed ourselves with me getting up every 2-3 hours to feed the baby. (I had remembered from my first experience that it was about every 2-3 hours that I had, had to get up... I also remembered that I wanted to put the baby to sleep on her tummy instead of back and that I would take the baby into her own room if she was too fussy). I finally expected to wake up in the morning and have Brian take the kids so I could catch an extra hour of sleep before meeting the day.

Of course.. none of this happened.

Lydia was exhausted from playing hard at Grandma's and likely had, had little sleep and lots of sugar.

Needless to say, she was hyper and ornery at the same time. She was super excited to have the "baby" in the car, but curious on why she was there and where the heck mom and dad had been the last few days. So some pretty big emotions going on for this almost 2-year-old.

Once we pulled into the driveway, Brian grabbed Lydia, and I grabbed Adeline. Walking into the house this time wasn't weird at all. It felt natural.. like this should have been happening for ages.

But that is about where the 'natural' part ended.

Lydia started throwing a fit as we walked in the house. Brian (who hadn't gotten much sleep so he was very tired himself) got pretty mad at her for throwing the fit.

I found myself putting the baby down, and rushing to intervene and explain to Brian how Lydia was feeling and that we needed to be very sensitive and understanding.

He left to change his clothes while I put Lydia in the tub, fed the baby, started unpacking from the hospital, had to go to the bathroom myself and call to him to come get the baby... then dress, feed, and clean Lydia.

I thought to myself.. "I just had a baby.. not even 2 days ago. Where the heck is my husband and the help he is supposed to be giving me?"

The baby was crying because her feeding was cut short and Brian had put her down to answer a call.

I felt a small bubble of anger in my gut, but put on my big girl panties (no pun intended because after having a baby you wear granny panties for a while) and set to work.

After some time, Brian came back out and apologized that I was doing everything.

I think he expected me to say, "You're fine honey. I have this." but instead what he got was, "I am doing everything. Go change the baby's diaper."

That night I put Lydia down early because she was exhausted. I was feeling a tiny bit emotional because I hadn't even had the chance to shower and felt gross and so tired. Brian and I cleaned up and then went to bed ourselves around 8. I had set everything up in our room with a bassinet and the baby's room across the hall for an easy and comfortable first night at home.

I put Adeline in the bassinet and laid in bed. Brian fell asleep immediately and I found my eyes just closing when I heard Adeline cry.

Up.. grab the baby.. Feed her. Lay back down.

32 minutes later baby is crying, I'm quickly grabbing her so I don't wake Brian, feeding her.. back to her bassinet.

30 minutes later, Adeline's spitting up (Darn it.. forget about the whole burping thing AGAIN! So hard to remember when you still don't have your milk in!). I take her into her room to clean her up, feed her, BURP her, and back to my bedroom to sleep.

27 minutes later I give up on the bassinet, feed her, put her in the crib, and back to the bedroom to finally fall asleep.

My night went on like this for a good 5-6 hours.

I found myself setting the baby down in her crib and sitting in the rocking chair for 10 minutes of sleep or whatever I could get.Why wasn't this baby sleeping? Were her nights and days mixed like I had heard can happen? Was she starving and frustrated that my milk hadn't come in yet to really fill her up?

The baby starts crying again. Repeating feeding her, putting her down, trying to close my eyes.. feeding.. diaper change... going to the bathroom myself, feeding her, burping.. trying to sleep... etc. etc...

By the 13th feeding (Just throwing in a number there) I sat in the rocking chair and silently cried a little.. letting the tiredness and feelings of failure sink in.. and what made it worse was when I [once again] felt the urge to go to the bathroom and [once again] didn't make it.

What is wrong with me? I was supposed to have it all together this time!

Finally it is 4 in the morning and I am positive I've had a full 22 minutes of sleep the whole night.

I cry lightly to myself and in desperation I grab the baby and pull her into bed with me.

"I am a terrible mother" I think.. "I have no idea what I am doing. I thought I did but I don't. I think I have gone backwards this time."

And as I am about to fall asleep, I have the thought.. "You are doing your best" ring out clear in my mind. And I fall asleep..

And the miracle is.. so did the baby..

Just like that. She slept in my arms for 4 hours straight.

And the other amazing part is.. I slept for a couple of those 4 hours!

When I woke up with Brian and Lydia that morning.. I was feeling like a champ again. I had gotten a couple hours of sleep!

And as we went about our day and when feelings of failure started to swirl around me as I restarted Care Bears for the second time.. I had those 5 words ring out again.

You are doing your best.

I have been thinking about all this since.. I have to keep telling myself exactly that... I am doing by best. And so are all the other women out there. Some new moms may really just have it all come so naturally but I am not one of them. And though things are not so natural.. they still are me doing my best.

And let me throw in.. my husband is a great guy. Yes.. He wasn't the big help I had expected him to be the first day home. But he is a superb father and a wonderful husband and he is also human. Residency has kicked his [and our] trash and I shouldn't have had such unrealistic expectations but I'm not going to lie and say they weren't there either. He is also doing his best even though his best might be a bit more ornery [at times] than mine.

I truly hope that on the third or fourth or whatever first night of motherhood that comes in the future, that I will just learn to let things go and live and let live.

I need to be fine with the fact that I will do my best even if that means the baby (and myself) doesn't sleep the whole night or that my husband is also tired and not as helpful, or that I can't control my bladder after giving birth.

It's still my best. And that is enough.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Meet Adeline

Adeline Larson
born September 5, 2016 (Labor Day)
at the University of Utah Hospital
at 10:39 pm
8 lbs 14 oz
20.5 inches long
1 day overdue

The Story:
     Monday September 5 (Labor Day): Now it had been a running joke that I would labor on Labor Day and have this baby.. and what started as a joke became a reality as Labor Day rolled around.
I had been feeling contractions since the day before (Sept 4-my due date) and I had been suspicious all weekend that my water had broken and I was leaking. By Monday, I was sure my water was leaking and that we needed to head to the hospital.. But I was nervous to go in and be turned away and be seen as a silly pregnant woman. So I held off for the whole morning. I even called the doctor on call and talked to him where he told me I needed to come in soon and not put if off any longer.

So… I finished packing the bags, loaded the car, and Brian and I took off. We left all our stuff in the car just in case we were turned away and got to OB Emergency center around 3 pm.

To check to see if your water is broken they do 3 tests.  2 came back negative and 1 positive so they had to redo the tests to see if my water was truly broken.

We waited.. and waited for the results. And then we waited some more. My contractions started getting stronger and closer together. They had been coming at 10 mins apart all day pretty lightly, but now were coming every 5. Brian and I decided to go walk around. As we did so I had to slow down every now and then when a contraction hit.

My new worry became that we would be turned away and then I would just have to come back a couple hours later because I would be ready by then. We went down to the cafeteria and shared a salad bar. I did find myself wondering if that was a good idea because I really thought that I was in labor.. And I didn't want to be sick during it. But I also just didn't want to get my hopes up that we would be having this baby so I sat there and ate through the contractions.

We took this while waiting and waiting for the tests to come back positive

When we returned to the room, they came in and told us that we were being admitted and would be staying at the hospital. They confirmed that my water broke and that they were going to move me to labor and delivery. So around 7 we went to labor and delivery where they got me changed and got us comfortable...

Brian and I felt so odd about the whole thing-there was no panic or worry or build up really.. It felt so odd.. My contractions were getting closer and stronger and they told me they would be putting me on Pitocin to get me going faster.

My nurse's name was Camilla and she was such a doll. So stinking cute with us. She told us we were her only patients and that she would take great care of us. Which she did. She ordered the Pitocin and had an IV put in me. (I hate hate HATE IV's. Soooo much.)

Once it was in they started me on fluids. My contractions started feeling stronger than ever and I turned to the nurse and said "wow, that Pitocin acts fast!" And she said she hadn't even hooked me up yet. I then said "well I may need an epidural sooner then" and she said she would go order it as a big contraction hit me.

She left after plugging me in to the Pit and I started having the worst pain ever.. I couldn't sit still and hated the vital sign equipment they had put on my arm and finger and then with IV I felt like such a prisoner. I wanted to yell out and scream in pain.

I couldn't believe how terrible these felt and tried to make it to the bathroom to urinate and ended up wetting myself as a big contraction hit and as I also started throwing up.. at the same time. Talk about multitasking!  

It was awful and I just cried to Brian while he held my hair away from my face as I threw up. He kept telling me that when the epidural got here I would have to sit still so they could put it in and I didn't think I could. I couldn't sit still at all when the contractions were hitting and they were coming every 2 minutes now.

And then… the buzzing and beeping started and my world went fuzzy and I started to shiver and shake. 

I was struggling to open my eyes and was feeling light headed and like I had been given a huge dose of some sleeping medicine. An oxygen mask was placed on my face and I felt like I was having this out-of-body experience and looking at myself in the mirror.. It was bizarre and scared me a bit.

When I did peek I saw the room was full of people and could hear panic in some of their voices. The nurse checked me and saw that within 45 minutes I had gone from a 3 to a 7 cm dilation. I remember her exclaiming that this baby was going to be here quickly and if I wanted the epidural then the anesthesiologist better get there soon.

It was only then that I realized that the baby's heart rate had dropped and that they had taken me off the Pit (I had only been on it for 10 minutes).  

They had me get on all fours in hopes that the position change would help calm the baby. They were putting a monitor on the baby's head and had given me medicine to stop my contractions. 

It felt like a super long time to me and I had to keep being told to breathe and stay awake. I remember feeling worried about the baby but not being able to focus on much for long.

The anesthesiologist started prepping my back for the epidural. I was able to hold still long enough for him to put it all in. And I felt relief immediately. I was shaking and still struggling with keeping my eyes open but things began to come a bit more into focus.

I could tell the baby's heartbeat started to slow down and return to normal because the room started to empty out and the tension that had been felt died down. 

They checked me again and I was a 10. So in about an hour, I had gone from 3 cm dilated to a 10 and ready to push. Dr. Sharp turned to everyone still in the room and said, “Okay, she’s ready to push!” 

My heart did a flip flop and I felt sick again.. I still couldn’t keep my eyes open and my heart was pounding so hard in my chest I felt like people would have been able to see it jumping around… I couldn’t be ready to push right now? I needed a second to recover.. We had been telling our families that I was probably going to labor through the night and have the baby the next day.. this was happening too fast!

Brian was on the phone with my sister Camille, who thankfully was not far away and would be the only family member who would be able to make it to the birth.

She was about 30 minutes away and I asked Dr. Sharp if we would be able to wait since the baby’s heartbeat was now stable. 

He agreed and I was so grateful.. not only to have my sister on her way, but that I had a few minutes to calm down and breathe through the last craziness of the hour. The more I sat there, the more calm I became and the more confused I became on what in the world had been going on. 

So I asked Brian and he explained that I had been given Fentanyl, a pain medicine that makes one really sleepy-that explained how it was hard to keep my eyes open. He also said that the baby hadn’t reacted well with the speed at which I was laboring and they had given me shots to slow down the contractions.

For the next 20 minutes, I just closed my eyes and calmed myself down. I could feel slight pressure that the baby was getting in just the right position.. 

As soon as Camille walked in at 10:20ish, the nurses and doctor followed in behind her. I got a quick hug in and everyone got ready and in position.

The medicine they had given me to slow my contractions had also stopped them. There were no contractions on the charts to know when to push. So.. I was on my own and just pushed whenever I had my breath. It was a weird sensation to push and not be able to feel my legs. With Lydia’s birth, the epidural had only taken to one side and so I still felt everything in the other side and had known when to push. 

This one I had nothing.. So I just pushed on my own. After a few pushes, there was then an exclamation that the baby had shoulder dystocia and they started pushing on my stomach..

But then.. there she was.. my chubby red baby. 

She didn’t immediately cry and they whisked her away to check her glucose due to the medicine I had received to slow my contractions.


They cleaned her off and I watched as Brian brought her over to me and my heart melted. 

He said, “It’s little Isabelle!” and immediately I thought.. no.. she doesn’t look like an Isabelle. 

And I told him “No, It’s Adeline.”

My heart grew even bigger than I thought possible. They placed her on me and I just told her how happy I was to see her and that she was in my arms finally.

I felt my love for her immediately and knew that this was my baby.. my little girl. The Lord was trusting me enough to take care of another precious spirit. I was holding not only my baby girl, but the Lord’s trust in my arms.

They cleaned me up as I held her and then I passed her to Brian to hold again and then Camille. Camille was taking pictures and filming the whole time and it was so sweet of her. It made me able to focus more on the moment because I knew that I would be able to look back and see what I had missed and whatnot. Camille held the baby and Brian grabbed a few pics. It was darling.

We sat and talked with Camille and the nurse came to push on my stomach and make sure my uterus was contracting… and we all heard a gush.. like someone had poured a pitcher of water out.. and I exclaimed, “Was that blood?! Ew.. sick. I am so sorry you had to hear that Camille”

The next thing I knew I had another team of people back in the room saying I had postpartum hemorrhaging.. They were pushing on my uterus and measuring the blood that was coming out. They started poking me again and trying to clean me out. It was super uncomfortable and I felt way light headed.

Normal bleeding occurs after childbirth from open blood vessels in the uterus that provided blood to the fetus when the placenta is delivered.. The uterus typically contracts after placental separation, clamping down on the blood vessels. In a postpartum hemorrhage, the contracting doesn’t happen how it should be.

They said they were going to have to clean me out. Camille said goodbye to us since it was almost midnight and I had a team of doctors and residents and nurses there doing an ultrasound to find out if there were any clots.

Which there were..

So I had quite a few people’s hands cleaning me out and trying to get all the clots out of my uterus.. I had nurses holding my hands because it was SO painful.

Brian followed the baby to the nursery as they cleaned me out. They kept telling me how awesome I was being and how easy I was making it for them to clean me out. They couldn’t believe I wasn’t screaming.

Brian came back in and the team of people left and it was just us and the nurses that came in to check me.. and found that I was still gushing quite a bit of blood.

Again I found myself surrounded by people. This time there was an ultrasound done again and I was told they would be placing what was called a Bakri Balloon into my uterus to stop the bleeding. She said that since the D&Cs hadn’t worked, the Bakri was the next step. A Bakri Balloon is a silicone catheter used to put pressure on the uterine arteries and control the bleeding. I can’t tell you how grateful I am for modern medicine!

Putting that in was SO painful. Luckily Brian was back and held my hand and I held a random nurse’s hand in my other. I cried as silently as I could and tried not to scream and cry out as they placed it. A nurse put a cold rag on my forehead and wiped at my tears. It was such a simple and kind gesture.. I knew I was in good hands and that everything would be alright.

After everything was in place and the room cleared out, I was able to close my eyes for a bit and just rest. I wanted my baby, but I knew now was not the time for her to be with me and we needed to make sure I was recovering fully.

I was in a lot of pain and really just wanting to be sure that I would heal and I asked Brian to go find someone who could help him give me a Priesthood blessing. I needed one of comfort, peace, and healing. Brian left and came back not long later with a resident (wish I could remember his name) who anointed me and Brian then gave me a very sweet and simple blessing. It was just what I needed and as I thanked the Resident for helping, I felt at peace and knew that everything was going to turn out just fine.

The nurses came in a few times to check my bleeding and push on my stomach. 

I had lost just shy of 2 liters of blood.

Finally after 4 in the morning they decided that I could be moved to the maternal ward across the way. Brian gathered our things and I was wheeled over to room 2116 where I would remain for the next 2 days.

Once we got there, Brian went and grabbed our baby so that I could hold her and love on her before I would have to send her back to the nursery to get some sleep.

When he walked back in with her, I just could feel the sun shining in our dark little hospital room at 4:30 in the morning. All the pain and fear in the last few hours vanished and I knew that this little angel was worth it all and more. She was beautiful and so alert and looking right at us. I watched as Brian would bring her up to his face and give her Eskimo kisses over and over.. melting my heart.
The rest of the hospital stay felt like forever. I had to stay longer than I wanted due to the hemorrhaging, but I can’t even begin to describe how grateful I am to have good nurses and doctors taking care of me.

I also am so grateful for the Priesthood in my life and that Brian holds the Priesthood so that I or my children may call upon him to act in God’s name.

Lydia was able to meet her baby sister the next evening and it was darling. Though she only wanted to hold the baby for about 1 minute, she was excited and had to name every body part on the baby including her “eye” in which she gave Adeline a very good poke in the eye.

I can’t believe we are a family of four! Welcome to my darling Adeline, we are so grateful to have her here with us!