Sunday, July 31, 2011

Family Visiting and Baby Blessing

This past week, my aunt and her family have been visiting from Colorado. It has been fun visiting with them and getting to know my cousin's personalities again (because they live so far away, the last time I saw them was 5 years ago). They have five children ranging in ages from 6 to 16 (2 girls and 3 boys). We've had fun having dinners, pool parties, singing contests and just chatting. I loved gathering together with family and hearing stories from my mom and her sisters' childhoods. It's been fun laughing at old memories while making new memories. DeJay, my aunt Melissa's husband, didn't know he was going to be able to make it, but he did! He came on Friday and I am so glad that he was able to come for the baby blessing!!

The baby blessing was fabulous and we had quite a turn-out. Lots of people came to support us and Caleb as he received his blessing. Caleb was dressed all in white. Jeff held him as he blessed him, while Barry (my father), Papa Ray (my grandfather), Bob (Jeff's father), Delbert (Jeff's grandfather), Evan (Jeff's brother), Jason (Jeff's brother-in law), and our Bishop (Sorensen) stood in a circle to participate in the blessing (while Ashur, my cousin, held the microphone). Caleb was perfectly quiet during the blessing, which was a blessing in itself. Before Jeff even began, he started getting emotional. It truly was beautiful and I feel so blessed to know that so many people love him already and that we are so well supported as a family.

The picture below shows most of those that were able to attend, but we had other family members and friends that were able to come just for the sacrament portion and then had to leave for various reasons. I am so glad that they were able to come as well.

Jeff, Caleb and me after the blessing at home. :)

Caleb before leaving for church.

After church, we had lunch at my house with family. I loved being gathered together as a family. I love having my family around me. My aunt Susan prepared a lunch of taco fixings, 7 layer dip and cupcakes. It was definitely a full house (especially considering the size of our home), and was worth the clean-up afterwards. I don't think this day could have gone any better. It was perfect!! I am so grateful for my family and friends and for my husband who holds the priesthood. I am grateful that he was able to bless our little baby boy. I am grateful for the new addition that we have in our family and that he is such a joy and so well-loved by all. Basically, I am grateful for my life right now. :)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

4 Weeks!

Four weeks ago today, I was just getting home from having a little baby boy at the birthing center- only four hours after I had him. I can't believe it's been four weeks already. It is crazy how fast these four weeks have gone, how much I have loved, learned and enjoyed this time. Though my body is forever changed, I am sleep-deprived, and don't get to shower every day, I am still in awe at the little wonder. I still have to pinch myself sometimes when I look at my little boy- because sometimes, I still think it must be a dream (the best dream). These last four weeks, I have learned so much about my little fella. He has grown so much and we've grown a lot together- from those first few scary days and nights when he wasn't eating and seemed to be gagging himself and would stop breathing, when he was losing weight and having a hard time nursing, to now- where he has gained plenty of weight (he was 10 ounces more than his birth weight at 2.5 weeks), tummy time is a daily occurrence, he sleeps on best on his side or tummy, loves sleeping on my chest.

Here are some things about my little guy:

* He smiles every single day. I love it! And I hope it never changes.

Just one day old.

One week old.

Two weeks old (possibly one of my most favorite pictures ever).

3 weeks old.

* He has curly hair and I love it! It has already grown in his four short weeks. The longer it gets, the curlier it looks.

Jeff thought it would be a great idea to brush his hair out.

His curly hair after a bath.

I just love his hair!

*He had his first real bath about a week ago. He liked it at first, but then was ready to be done with it.

*He tolerates Tummy Time pretty well... and can really get his head up.

Just look at how he holds that head up. :)

* He has a tight frenulum (he's tongue-tied).
Not happy- but I wanted to get a picture of his tongue. (1 week old).

*He LOVES being outside- too bad it's so hot these days!

Sunday afternoon walk- 8 days old.

Sunday afternoon walk- 8 days old.

Getting some sunshine- today- 4 weeks old.

Watching his mommy take a picture.

*He loves music. He will usually stop fussing (not that he fusses very often) if we sing to him. He especially loves "Heavenly Day" by Patty Griffin. He will watch me as I sing to him. It's so precious that often it makes my eyes tear up.

Content- listening to me sing.

Me and my sweet boy.

* When sleeping and when we let him sleep on his tummy (usually just during nap time), he likes to curl his legs under him.

He's got some wild morning hair.

*He still sleeps a lot, but he's also awake more often as well, which is fun.

*He makes so many funny noises. It's almost like living in a zoo- he sometimes sounds like a horse, baby goat, sheep, cat and more.

*Lately, he's been having a hard time dealing with his gas. He is also restless when he's sleeping, but hopefully that will all change soon.

He's absolutely precious and we love having him as part of our family. He is loved by so many. Everyone who meets him comments on how sweet he is and he is. He seems to have such a sweet demeanor. We just adore him.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


I want to be a better blogger- especially now. So, I really am going to make a better effort to capture moments like these in words or pictures... I just don't want to ever forget how wonderful being a mom really is. I love my baby boy sooo much. It is amazing to me that I can love someone so much that I've only known for a short time. I love being a mom. I love being his mom. :)

Just a couple of days old- Jeff decided to take a picture of the wee one with a bunch of bananas as a size comparison.

Two days old- enjoying some outside time.

11 days old

Today- right now actually (3 and a half weeks). These are some of my favorite moments of the day. I absolutely love holding my baby. I love playing with him when he's awake and I love holding him when he's asleep.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


The Birth Story of Caleb Alexander...

Okay, so before you proceed, you should know that this is a rather long post (and I am afraid I still left out some details). So, in case you don't have time or don't want to read such a long post, here are some highlights:

June 24th- labor started at 10:30pm.

We went to the birthing center around 3 or 3:30 am on June 25th. I was 5 centimeters dilated.

The laboring wasn't terrible. The transition period was.

The wee one was born at 10:16am Sat. morning after about 10 minutes of pushing (if that).

I only slightly tore, not enough for a stitch.

He weighed 8lbs. 4 oz. He was 19 3/4 inches long. He was absolutely beautiful.

We left 4 hours after the birth.

Friday, June 24th, I went to work like any other day. That evening, I had a feeling I would go into labor, however. I’m not sure why- there were no real signs, I just knew. I even told my midwife, earlier in the week, that I was going to have a baby over the weekend. She did not believe me and insisted on making me an appointment for the following week. Friday night, Jeff went to bed and I stayed up for what I thought would be just a bit longer. Around 10:30, I started to feel a bit nauseous and then immediately after, back pains began to come and go. My first thought was “Oh man, this could be it!” But then my second thought was, “Oh man! This could be IT!”. I had been told that early labor usually starts in the back and then moves around to the front. The back pains started to get worse. I woke Jeff up and told him that I thought I was in labor. He went back to sleep- so I walked around in circles for a little while, leaned over the sofa to help relieve the pain and finally decided I would take a shower. That’s when Jeff woke up. By this time, it was about 12:30 am.

I told him again, “Jeff, I think I really am starting to labor”. Jeff didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know what to do. Finally, I suggested that maybe we call the on-call doctor. Jeff calls, and I hear “Hi, I don’t know what to do, but I think my wife is in labor”. The person on the other end said that she would have the doctor call him back. The on-call doctor calls back and says that I should go in. When I asked whom he talked to, he gave me the name of some doctor that I had never before heard of. I asked if he mentioned that I was to give birth in the birthing center when he called. I told him that that was probably the on-call doctor would deliver in the hospital. He called again and let them know I was delivering in the birthing center and again was told that the doctor would call him back.

Dr. D. called Jeff back and I have no idea how that conversation went. Jeff asked me if I wanted to go in yet. I said that I did not. He told Dr. D and they hung up the phone. Not long after that however, the labor pains started to increase- they were lasting longer and were coming closer together. Still not really wanting to go in for fear that I would be laboring for a long time in the birthing center and that perhaps, I was not really in real labor after all, because the pain hadn’t yet moved to the front, I still did not want to go in. However, then I had three back-to-back contractions and so Jeff suggested we give the doctor a call again and to head to the birthing center. By this time it was about 3am.

I got into the car, but it was too painful to sit while I was in the middle of a contraction- so I turned facing the back seat and knelt, while holding onto the headrest. However, that started to feel unsafe as Jeff made stops, so I turned around.

We got to the birthing center and Dr. D. greeted us. She checked to see how far dilated I was. I was five centimeters. She said that it could be another 5 hours before I was ready to push and asked what I wanted to do. I didn’t really say anything, but inside I was thinking there was no way I could get back into that car. She said we could hang out in the birthing center and asked if I wanted her to get the tub ready. I said sure. Soon after, LaToya, my friend and doula came to assist.

I started by laboring in the room, kneeling on the bed or leaning over the bed each time a contraction came. I walked around some and tried laying down some. Dr. D. asked if I wanted to try the birthing ball. But there was no way I could do that. When we were at home, I tried and it was simply too painful. LaToya helped to relieve some pain in my back by squeezing my hips. She tried some other things as well, like message and also offered other suggestions of ways to ease the pain. Jeff was also a great coach and somehow knew exactly what I needed him to do without me even telling him.

At some point, around 5 or 6am, we called our parents to let them know of Caleb’s impending arrival. My mom, grandmother, sister Ashley and her three kids, and Jeff’s brother, Evan all came. It was nice hearing them in the other room as I was laboring in the water.

Soon, at least it seemed soon, because the time was just flying by for me, I started to have really intense labor pains. They were nearly unbearable and I didn’t think I could handle it anymore. Dr. C came in and checked my cervix. She and Dr. D were talking. Dr. D asked if she could feel it and she responded that she could not. So, I knew that the time was coming. However, it didn’t come. I continued to labor for awhile, no urge to push. Dr. D then came and checked me again. This time she said that I was only 8 centimeters dilated. That was a blow. I had my hopes up. I knew it would be done soon… but it was all false hope. I started to feel the pains stronger and stronger. They seemed to be getting more and more intense. I started pleading for help. The doctors came in and said that they could break my water and that it might help things move along. We asked about any risks and decided to let them break my water if things didn’t progress soon. Later, they ended up breaking my water and then things really did begin to pick up. I began to be in more steady pain. However, between, I was still getting a break- I would enter a sort of euphoric state- where it seemed I was in a time warp. It seemed to last forever, though it must’ve only lasted for a few minutes at most. And then the next contraction would hit and bring me back into reality (unless someone spoke to me before and then that brought me back to reality). Those moments were wonderful. It was such a blessing to be able to go to someplace else for a little while, to let myself relax and not feel any pain. But when the pain came, boy did it come. It continued to get more intense. I started really pleading for help. “Please help me”, I would say to my husband and the doctors. “This baby has to come out of me”. I didn’t scream or really cry out. Mostly, I tried breathing through the pain. Then, sometimes I would moan through the pain. Jeff and Dr. C helped my pushing on my back and squeezing my hips. I apologized to the doctors several times for being a baby. I thought I was being a baby because I was in pain, more intense pain than I had ever been in before, and didn’t know what to do. They told me over and over again that I was not being a baby and that I was doing a great job.

Finally, it got to the point where I just didn’t think I could do it anymore. The doctors both came in. They must’ve known that it wouldn’t be much longer. I said, “I understand why people get epidurals and pain medications. I’m never doing this again”. I got out of the birthing tub while in the middle of a contraction, exclaiming, “I don’t know what to do. It won’t stop”. I sat on the toilet, thinking maybe that would help. It didn’t. I stood up and supported myself with a bar in the bathroom. I stood up and had Jeff help to support me. I got down on my knees, forearms on the floor… something had to help, but there was no relief. I got back in the tub. I got out again. The doctors asked if I was still contracting. I didn’ t know how to answer them, I only knew that the pain would not stop, it was a constant pain for what felt like forever- Jeff said it was about 30 minutes and he felt so helpless. My back was hurting so bad and the pain just would not cease. My upper thighs were killing me and I felt that my legs could not support my body any longer. I asked, “Can I lay on the bed?” and I did. The pain was unbearable, but there was nowhere to go. I realized then and there that I could not do this in a hospital setting. I could not be forced to lay down all during labor, especially while transitioning.

Soon after I lay down, I felt pressure and knew he was coming. I said, “He’s coming”. Jeff said later that he felt his heart jump. The doctors then told me that during my next contraction to push. Of course I had never done this before so I was grateful for their guidance. After that first push, they didn’t tell me when to push again, in fact, they backed away until I said I was ready. I was in control. Jeff was behind me the whole time, encouraging me and holding up a mirror for me so that (he and) I could see. It was an amazing experience watching him be born. The delivery was great, when I pushed it relieved a lot of the back labor pains. I felt pressure, but no real pain until his head was almost out. At that point, I stated that I could not push anymore and that I was afraid that I would tear. The doctors assured me that I would not tear and Jeff told me that I just needed one more good push and he would be out. I pushed his head out, the doctors removed the umbilical cord from around his neck and then the rest of his body practically just flopped on out. The doctors placed him on my belly. I just said over and over again, “My baby. My baby.” I had done it. I did it. I carried a baby inside of me for 9 months and then I delivered him, all naturally- with just Jeff and the two doctors. It was a beautiful, intimate moment. Seeing as how I had never before had a baby, I didn’t know that I could do it. I mean, I knew that my body was made to do it. I knew that women all over the world from the beginning of time had done it. But I just didn’t know that I could do it. Now I know I can. I know that I am able to do this and so, though there were some really intense moments- where in the midst of it, I thought I could not do it for a second, where I thought that I would never want to do this again, I can do this and I will do it again when I have more children. It was the greatest experience of my life.

After I delivered, the doctors both told me that they were so impressed with me and the control that I had during the labor and delivery, that I was not a baby. They were impressed with how well I did considering this was my first. It was so good to hear that.

I told the doctors, "See? I told everyone I was going to have the baby this weekend and no one believed me". She responded, "Next time you're pregnant, you tell us your due date because you seem to know". Dr. D said, "I wonder if you did anything to make him come". Of course I didn't. I mean, I did eat some spicy food and pineapple the day before, but would that really induce labor. He was just ready to come and I knew it. :) Also, earlier in the labor Jeff and I were commenting on how it wasn't as bad as we thought it would be. Dr. C told me later that she had to laugh at us because she knew what was coming. Overall, though, it wasn't that bad. From the very first contraction to when I had my sweet boy- it was 12 hours. I only pushed for maybe 10 minutes. The hardest part was that last hour. It did get to the point where I thought I couldn't do it. In fact, I looked into Dr. C's eyes and told her that I just wasn't strong enough to do this. She told me that I was and that I was doing it. And she's right, I was doing it... 5 minutes later, it was time to push.

We stayed at the birthing center for 4 hours, they checked on us every hour. I hemorrhaged some, tried nursing some, showered, got rested for a little while, visited with some family, got packed up and left. That night, Dr. D. called to check on us, but we missed the call- twice. The next day, Dr. C came and did a home visit. I thought how cool for the doctors to call and make a house visit. Dr. C again told me that I did a great job, that I was not a baby and that she was impressed with the control that I had. I am looking forward to having this whole experience all over again.

And now for some pictures:

I know- so not flattering... but the last picture of me while pregnant.

Laying on my chest, right after he was born.

Our very first family photo.

Minutes after he was born... he found his thumb.

Getting ready to go home- four hours old.

Home- isn't he beautiful?

Marveling at all of his hair! :)