Monday, March 31, 2014

20 Seconds of Bravery

In the movie "We Bought a Zoo" the main character talks a lot about how in life sometimes all you need are 20 seconds of bravery to change your life. Cameron seems to live by that.

When we first met we were singing at a BYU devotional with the Men's and Women's Choruses. I moved in to the very edge of the alto section so I would be sitting next to the tenors. I said to myself, "I'm going to meet a tenor today." That's when Cameron's 20 seconds started. He saw me, recognized me from choir functions and the notorious Men's Chorus Comercial, and decided to sit down and introduce himself.

He had another 20 seconds of bravery when he asked for my number.

And when he found me on facebook after I was a jerk and didn't reply to his text.

And when he asked me to be his girlfriend.

Or to kiss me for the first time.

Or if I would be his wife.

He had a lot of moments when he decided to be brave the summer we met, and I am so grateful for all of them. Here's to more moments of bravery! (like raising a child, graduating college, and everything else coming our way)

Monday, March 24, 2014

Zebra is The New Pink!

Admittedly, body image is something I struggle with a little bit. I didn't think it was when I was skinny and fit and had great skin, I was fine with being in a size 6 and I didn't want to lose weight and I wasn't obsessed with the number on the scale. But once I started gaining weight I started caring more. I gained a good 35 pounds during pregnancy and sadly it doesn't automatically fall off as soon as the baby pops out.

So, my life has a new normal. I don't have as much of a waist as I used to, I have bags under my eyes from not sleeping enough, I'm closer to 150 lbs than 115, I sweat more, I smell like spit-up, and I have so many stretch marks on my tummy that I look like a zebra. But you know what? Zebra is this year's pink! I am beautiful, even with my scars. I never showed my tummy off anyways, so what does it matter? My husband still loves me, I am taking care of my body (minus the not sleeping part) and I can be confident in my own, albeit stretched and saggy, skin. I may not look like a supermodel, but I used my body, with divine help, to build another body and create life, and now I use my body to sustain that life.

So I say, bring on the stretch marks! Bring on the few more months of maternity clothes, the tired eyes, the hours of nursing, the spit-up and exploded diapers on my clothes, the sore biceps, the abs that will probably never be quite the same. They may not be glamorous, but I wouldn't trade them for anything because of what they represent. I am a mother. I have a baby boy who I love with all my heart, my husband loves me and tells me I'm beautiful, I know that the Lord loves me, and that's all I really need.

I choose to be proud of my body. I choose to love myself. I choose to be grateful for this miracle, no matter the sacrifice. I'm so grateful that happiness is a choice not a circumstance.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Getting to Know Samuel

I love my sweet baby. I always wondered how new moms, or even "old" moms of a new baby could ever say anything about what their baby "likes," but I'm much too proud to say that I think I'm figuring out some of Sam's likes and dislikes.

He likes eating. A lot. Seems pretty obvious, but when he realizes that within a few seconds he will be eating, his eyes light up and he starts breathing fast and he opens his mouth like a little bird. It is the cutest thing :)

He doesn't like dirtying his diapers. His face always turns red and he grunts and whimpers until he's done with his business. He also strongly dislikes when he has gas in his tummy. Thankfully his grandma had the foresight to buy some baby gas medicine before she left. He seems to really like how it tastes. Why can't grown-up or even kids' medicine be so yummy?

He loves being held and snuggled. He is usually a very content baby, as long as he's in someone's arms! I love that. My arms do get tired, but I love holding him. He can nap for hours if he's being held.

He has mixed feelings about being swaddled. If he's awake, he does not like it, and will break out in a matter of minutes. If I can get him swaddled when he's dozing, then he'll sleep much more soundly than if I don't wrap him up.

He likes lying on his tummy for short amounts of time. Usually not more than ten minutes, but he's getting really strong!

He loves it when his daddy and I sing to him. It helps him calm down if he's fussy, and he seems to be more alert if we sing when he's calm and not sleepy.

He likes to hold his head up, and look at lights, or things with a lot of contrast, like our tan and brown curtains.

I can't believe it's already been a month since he was born! I'm so excited to keep getting to know my little boy and watching him grow! Family is such a blessing.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Almost One Month Old!

Tomorrow Sam will be one month old! Can you believe it? Where does the time go? We are going to have to do something to celebrate. He is growing so fast! He is already getting to the point where his newborn clothes aren't baggy anymore. It's so excited to see other little things he's learning to do. Yesterday he made his first noise that wasn't a grunt! It's so exciting to get to hear his little coos starting to come out. He's also learning to scoot! Yesterday we put them down on a blanket on the floor on his tummy and he scooted a good foot within a minute or so. We're going to have to keep a close eye on him once he can actually crawl. He's also getting pretty good at holding his head up and looking around. It's pretty darling when he's been doing it for a while and his neck starts to get tired so his head wobbles while he tries to keep it up.

This little boy always seems to be hungry. I'm pretty sure I feed him for at least six hours a day. That makes it a little bit hard to get anything done, but I really enjoy it. I love to just hold my little boy and watch him grow. I'm so excited that he's gaining weight and getting chubbier! Cameron and I were both so skinny as kids I figured none of our babies would ever have rolls. Sam isn't quite there yet, but he's on his way!

He doesn't like to sleep for very long unless he's being held. Usually I try really hard to put him back in his crib once he falls asleep so that he can be used to it, but this morning I was so tired that I just lay down on the couch holding him on my tummy and we both napped for a couple hours. That was such a blessing. Sleep is a hot commodity around here these days.

I'm so happy to be a mom and to have the blessing of being able to stay home and take care of my little angel baby myself. I love him so much and would probably go crazy if I had to spend the whole day away from him. It's going to take me a long time to finish school, but I'm going to do it! My number one goal has always been to be a mom, so I'm determined to keep working at that and putting my family first.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

An OLD post: My Fiancé Loves Me

I was just going through some old blog posts and found one that I'd never published. I wrote it in August of 2012, before Cameron and I were married. It made me smile to look back on, so I thought I'd share it.

In 82 days I get to marry my best friend. I am so grateful for him. Let me tell you why...

A couple weeks ago I got the stomach flu, and it was no fun. He came down with it first, so I went over to his apartment and brought him orange juice, ingredients for a berry smoothie, a thermometer, and some crackers. I didn't stay long because I had to finish (and by finish I mean do most of) packing and cleaning and moving out of my apartment. When I got home I started feeling a bit ill and decided to try and pack as quickly as possible while my health deteriorated. I unfortunately didn't get as far as I would have liked. I started feeling like I was going to be sick so I lay down. After about two hours of sleeping I felt a tiny bit better, tried to pack a little more, and talked to Cameron for a little bit. He said he was feeling much better and asked if he could help. I didn't want to say yes since I knew he was unwell but eventually I gave it, packed what I had ready in the car and went to pick him up.

After we dropped some things off at my aunt and uncle's home, we went back to my apartment. Cam started packing up my kitchen and I continued to work on my bedroom until I had to lie down again. And that's when I found out it was the stomach flu. So as I lay on the couch becoming well acquainted with my trash can, my wonderful fiancé packed and cleaned my kitchen, bedroom, toiletry cupboard, everything. He got everything in the car, and helped me walk out.

He took me to my aunt and uncle's home where I would be staying for two weeks, lay me down on my futon, got my bucket for me, and started unpacking the car. He came in every so often to bring me water, wipe my face with a cool towel, all that jazz. After he got everything unpacked, which was very late at night, and I had fallen asleep, he went home.

And came back by about nine in the morning to take care of me. He read me books, went to the store to buy me gatorade, helped me walk to the bathroom, living room, anywhere I wanted to go and made me feel like a princess. He's so wonderful.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Labor and Delivery: First Time's the Charm!

Our beautiful little Samuel Raymond came two weeks early! Everything went so smoothly and I am so grateful for that. Honestly, I was expecting parts of it to be a lot harder, or at least longer. I'm so thankful that my dear Cameron was with me the whole time and that he was so strong for me. He is my greatest blessing.

On Valentine's Day, I was feeling really needy for some reason, so Cameron took me on our date early. We went to see Frozen (finally!), had breakfast for dinner, and spent the evening together playing games and watching another movie. Around midnight I started having contractions. They were about 10 minutes apart but stronger than they had been before so we decided to start timing them. Within an hour they were down to about 5 minutes apart and getting stronger and stronger. I asked Cameron to give me a blessing. I was kind of hoping there would be a definitive “yes, you should go to the hospital,” or “no, you should stay home.” There wasn’t, but he did say that I would have the strength to get through the day and that I would have a calm mind. Cameron felt strongly that Heavenly Father would be with us that day. In light of that and since my contractions were still getting more uncomfortable and painful we decided it was time to finish packing our bag and go to the hospital.

We got there at about 4 am and the nurse checked my cervix and said it was “closed and thick.” We thought that was strange since at our last appointment I’d been at 70% and 2 cm, so Cameron mentioned this to the nurse when she came back in to check on us and she checked again and decided we were at a little over 3 cm, and with my contractions going strong we got to stay! At about 6 am they checked again and I was at 5 cm. The nurses changed shifts and we got a fabulous nurse named Vanessa. She was exactly what I needed. She was so positive and kept telling me how well I was doing and that my body was made to have babies and that everything was going great.

I was really bummed when they told me that I wasn't allowed to eat or drink until the baby came. I expected not to eat but I was really hoping for water to be ok since I was having quite a bit of heart burn. Admittedly I still snuck some small sips since the ice chips weren't as effective as liquid water at helping with that. At Timpanogos hospital they have flavored ice chips! I was really grateful for that because I was worried about having the energy to push since I hadn't had any food since dinner the night before. I don't know if it was true or not, but I told myself there were calories in the flavoring. My favorite flavor that I tried was pomegranate.

At about 9am I fell asleep trying to relax (I guess it worked) and Cameron went to the restroom. Then the nurse came back in with the on-call doctor (my doctor was out of town.) I was a bit disoriented and having a contraction and he decided it was time to break my water. I was kind of freaking out because I didn’t know where Cameron was and I was in a bit of pain. I asked the doctor to wait because I wanted Cameron there but he waited until the monitor said my contraction was done and then went right ahead and did it. It was a bit uncomfortable, like all the rest of the pelvic exams, but the actual water breaking didn't hurt at all. I had to try really hard to hold it together. I was pretty upset with him for not waiting for Cameron and my contractions were hurting more and more and I hadn’t slept since the night before. 

By about 10am I was starting (I think) to move into transition. My contractions were really intense and long and only about 2 or 3 minutes apart. I was really struggling to breathe and relax and I couldn’t hold still. I was kind of writhing around and holding on really tight to the handrails on the bed. Cameron was trying to help me relax but I shushed him every time he said anything. I just wanted to keep my eyes shut and hold his hand. I had an IV in my left hand so it hurt to hold his hand after that so I just held one of his fingers for a while.

Finally when the nurse came in I told her I wanted my epidural. Thankfully the anesthesiologist was already on the floor finishing up a C-section so he came in about 10 minutes after I asked. I started feeling really nauseous from the pain of the contractions but managed to keep it under control until the epidural was in my back. I sat up on the edge of the bed and leaned on Cameron while he held my hands. The anesthesiologist gave me a shot of novacane or something similar and then put the epidural in. Almost immediately my feet started to feel warm and a little bit tingly. They got everything taped to my back (he used a LOT of tape) and then I laid back down. I could still feel my contractions very strongly and I was struggling so Cameron was alternating wiping my face with a cold wash cloth and holding my little barf bag (which I unfortunately did end up needing.) Within five minutes I was feeling less of the contractions and my nausea started going away. Within fifteen minutes I couldn’t feel much of anything and I had to have Cameron read the monitor so I would know when I was having a contraction. I felt fantastic! I asked Cameron if we could play a game, and if I had been able to feel my legs I probably would have gotten up and started dancing. It was amazing how that sudden relief gave me such a huge burst of energy! 

Cameron suggested I rest since I probably would need the energy once I started pushing. I figured he was right and, after telling him to go get himself something to eat, I fell asleep pretty quickly. Not too long after the nurse came back in and said the doctor wanted her to put in an internal monitor to measure the strength of contractions so we could know if labor was moving fast enough. Apparently it wasn’t, because the doctor decided I needed Pitocin to speed up my contractions (it’s normal for them to slow down after getting an epidural.) Before I got the Pitocin, the doctor got called away to an emergency at another hospital, so I had to wait until he got back for the pit because he didn’t want me to deliver when he wasn’t there.

Finally he got back and I got my meds and contractions started picking up nicely. Thankfully I didn’t feel a thing, so Cameron and I were able to take a nap for a while. After an hour or two the doctor came to check how I was doing dilation wise, and I was ready to push! I was so glad he woke me up more gently that time, I might have had a heart attack if he’d just barged in and told me to start pushing.

The nurse came back and helped for the first little bit. We got ready and Sam was crowning within one push! That was crazy to hear. I was expecting to be pushing for a long time before that happened. I only pushed through four contractions before the nurse called for the doctor. We had to wait about fifteen minutes for him, and my mom arrived from Michigan just a few minutes before he came to deliver the baby! Talk about great timing. While we were waiting for both of them the nurse asked me to push one more time just to make sure Sam wasn’t going back up the birth canal. She was having Cameron count to 10 for me for each push and before he finished saying “three,” she yelled, “Stop!” Sam had not gone back any, and she was worried she’d have to deliver the baby right there if I kept pushing.

The doctor finally came in and they raised the bed, took the end away, and got my legs up in the stirrups (which was pretty comical since I couldn’t feel them and when I tried to move them they were all wobbly and I was less coordinated than the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz.) Everyone got ready and on my next contraction I pushed three times for about 10 seconds each, which is what I had been doing previously. When I finished the third push I leaned back and relaxed and everyone in the room yelled, “keep pushing!” I thought something was wrong, like the baby’s cord was around his neck or something, so I pushed really hard and I had the strangest sensation of suddenly having nothing in my stomach. Miraculously, my eyes were open for that last push and I saw my stomach fall a good six inches at least and then I looked where my tummy had been and the doctor was holding a tiny, white person! Sam was born!

A few seconds later they brought him up to my chest and laid him on my skin while they rubbed the vernix off of him and tried to keep him crying. He was the sweetest little thing I had ever seen. I don’t remember if I said anything to him or not. I was so overwhelmed at finally being able to hold and see him. I could feel the spirit so strongly. This was my sweet little angel, sent straight from Heavenly Father. I was crying and when I looked around for Cameron he was crying, too. We both touched our little boy and helped wipe him off. I was so incredibly happy and just wanted to keep holding him forever. With him in my arms and Cameron holding both of us, I knew that's what Heaven must be like. There is no greater joy than being with my boys.

A few minutes later they took Sam to the warming table to check his vitals and clean him off and Cam went with him. Cameron just talked to him quietly and Sam grabbed onto his finger and watched his daddy calmly while the nurse checked him over. They brought him back to me and he was all pink and perfect. He was hardly wrinkly or cone-headed and my reaction was, “he doesn’t even look like he was squeezed through a pelvis at all!” At some point in my bliss I realized that Cameron hadn’t had a chance to hold him and handed him to his daddy.

We made a first attempt at nursing and had a little skin-to-skin time, which apparently is very important. Eventually they wheeled me down to recovery and Cameron got to push Sam in his basinet. They brought a cot into my room for Cameron to sleep on. I was so grateful that he stayed with me because with my legs still waking up and the rest of everything below my ribs being rather sore it took me a really long time to get out of bed, so I needed his help to change diapers and hand Sam to me when he needed to eat. Cameron has always been my hero, but never so much as he was during labor and those first two nights in the hospital.

Now, we get to have our sweet little angel at home with us! He brings so much joy and wonder to our lives.