2 Months

I really can't believe Desirae has been here for two months already!?! In some ways it feels like she was just barely born and in others, like she's been here forever. She's fitting in pretty good around here. The girls love to mother her, and although I appreciate the help, it scares me to leave her in a room alone with them :) I've come back from the bathroom a few times to find her in totally different places, and Kalea ever so innocently asking "What mom? What's wrong?" as if she doesn't know! The girls are starting to be less accommodating when they have a need, I usually am in the process of nursing when they decide they need a drink or piece of bread desperately. At first when I'd tell them they could wait, they didn't bat an eyelash, now I'm getting the stomping and "I don't want to wait I'm going to staaaaaaaaarve!" response. Ah parenting.... Let's just say as far as I'm concerned, I feel like I'm totally winning most days :P
Desi has been a pretty good baby so far, people always ask, so I guess that's a good answer. They also ask how she is compared to the other two as babies and quite frankly, my memory ain't so hot since the other two were babies 5 and 4yrs ago, but I don't remember my other babies crying that much, and Des doesn't really cry all that much but it seems more than the others did. Also, when Bryn came along I was totally in the baby zone with her and Kalea, so I don't know how much I even really noticed any crying.
Anyways, Des is great, she is full of smiles and seems to like us. She is pretty attached to me, understandably, and her fussy time is pretty much right when dinner is, so that makes things fun. She's grown tons, it seems like she's rushing to catch up to her sisters and I love/hate that. I'm guessing she's probably close to 12 pounds at this point and somehow Des has gotten super long, or maybe she's just finally uncurled, but man alive I feel like she's all of a sudden HUGE. Desirae loves to be talked to and even when she's just lying next to me on the couch, she's all smiles. It's pretty cute to glance over at her and just see such a happy little face. She's finally starting to make more noise in the form of coo's and goo's although we haven't gotten a laugh out of her yet- except one night in her sleep she laughed and it was about the cutest thing you've ever heard, but only I heard it! Perks of being the mom I guess. We are super close to laughing while awake though, I'm hoping that I get the first one, but with my luck I'll be the one who tries so hard for it and then Steve will end up being the one who gets it just on a whim! It's been so great to have had so much family coming and going lately to be able to meet Desirae. All of her living great-grandparents have had the chance to meet her and some of her great-aunty's and uncles too. My brother was finally able to participate in the blessing of one of my kids, he missed the other two while he was on his mission, and Steve's sister and her family were in town for a few weeks visiting from New Zealand and we were able to bless Desi while they were here so she was able to meet all of her aunts, uncles and cousins too. It's so fun to see everyone love our newest family member and we feel especially fortunate to have so much family around to share her with.We're really enjoying Desirae, she's just exactly what we were missing in our family and now that she's here, all is right in our world.
On her blessing day, July 7th.
 PS. My mom is so crafty. We got Desi's dress from Carter's for $20, it was just plain. My mom went to Michael's and found a few things to add some bling. We had so much fun dressing Desi up for her special day, and special that we were able to have her blessed on my maternal grandmother's birthday. She was a spunky lady, who loved some sparkle, and having family around, we definitely felt her presence that day :)


Desirae Helena

A triage nurse saved my baby. Well at least, we're pretty sure she saved our baby, too dramatic?  I wish I had paid more attention to her name, she is our hero and if ever I could love a stranger, I wholeheartedly love that girl.
Steve and I went into the hospital at 11ish on May 12th fully expecting to be sent home with false labor AGAIN. The nurse we had was awesome, she hooked me up to the monitors and checked my cervix right away- so we wouldn't have to waste any time there if we didn't have to. Love her. I was still only 2.5-3cms but she said she'd monitor me for 20-30mins and then we'd go from there. I was so mad about the state of my cervix. Seriously, I walked what seemed like a thousand miles in that 10 days since round 1 of false labor, and no changes?! I didn't feel like being pregnant for longer than 40wks, been there done that, no thanks. So in the 20-30mins that we were on the monitor the nurse would randomly open the door a crack and watch the monitor and then go back out, then come back in, etc... After 30mins she said she was going to call the doctor and find out if we should stay/walk/go home. So the doctor said walk 2hrs or I could have a shot of morphine to help me relax/sleep at home and then come get checked again in the morning to see if that relaxed things and got me progressing. We said we'd go home and the nurse looked at the monitor again and said she just wanted to keep us on it for a little while longer. I asked her why, because I was now pretty aware that she was watching that thing like a hawk and could kind of hear muffled conversation about it when she'd go back to the nurses station. So she explained that she was noticed random decelerations in heart rate that weren't corresponding with contractions whatsoever, which was kind of irregular and made her wonder if something was up. We were monitored for another half hour. She cracked the door and told us she was calling the doctor in. In my mind all that was was AWESOME news, Steve did mention that it probably meant something was going on that shouldn't be, but I was too distracted with the idea that I wouldn't have to be so uncomfortable much longer... Enter Dr. Logsetty, I'd met her before a few times at the clinic, so it was nice that the doctor on call for my actual doctor was someone familiar to me. She came in and explained that because of these decel's she wasn't super comfortable sending us home, so they'd start my antibiotics, then start some oxytocin to get things going, break my water, etc... Hooray for having a baby! Steve kept gently reminding me that something wasn't right, but I just kind've decided that I was just going to be happy about having a baby and focus on that instead of being worried...
1a.m. they started the oxytocin and broke my water, side note, how weird is that feeling? With the big girls, I always had my epidural before they did that, so this was new to me. Not a huge fan of feeling like I'm peeing myself for a few hours. My labor and delivery nurse was about 5'2" and maybe a buck 5, I wasn't super confident that she'd be a real strong help during delivery and her voice kind of grated on my nerves, but she was fantastic at chatting before the big event. I asked for the epidural around 4:30, I figured it'd help me get some rest now that things were starting to feel more uncomfortable. The anesthesiologist had just been in back to back c-sections and they had been slammed with laboring women just before I got there, so he was tired. He was really nice though, even when he nicked my nerve root, I still liked him, but that was my first clue that this epidural wasn't going to be taking as well as my others had... Turns out my right side was pretty frozen, the left? Not really at all, and I didn't get access to the plunger to top things up, so I was still feeling contractions, just only on one side, so it was tolerable pain at least... At around 5:30 my nurse was heading for her break, so she filled in her cover person on baby and me and that nurse said "These decels are nothing to write home about, baby's been happy ever since they got you over here, lucky you!" Yeah lucky me! I slept for a while and my nurse came back from her break and helped me get more comfortable with some extra pillows/wedges stuck around. She left the room for a bit and then my monitor alarm thingy went off, so I called her back. When she checked the monitor her eyes got pretty wide and she said "Wow, that was a huge decel, um, I'm going to stay here and watch this for 5mins, let's prop you up differently and see if baby is happier with us then." Sounds good to me. After 5mins she tells me she's going to send another nurse in to keep an eye on that while she checks on another patient. This is around 6:30a.m. This more senior nurse comes in and watches the monitor for a while and then tells me Ashley will be back in 5mins, is there anything I need? So I tell her that I'm feeling like the doctor could probably come check me and we could try some pushing, since I'm feeling some pressure. She was super happy about that and told me she'd let the doc know, etc... Awesome. 6:40. She had literally walked out the door when TRANSITION hit, I barely was able to hit the call button to yell "I need to push now" at the nurse who answered. I can pretty much promise that the epidural only froze my leg, I felt EVERYTHING this time, really truly. Steve was totally startled out of his recliner and I kinda freaked out and cried, a lot, I think because it hurt A LOT. It scared me and I don't have a tendency to get scared in this kind of situation thanks to effective epidurals, but I really had no clue it could go from 0-60 so fast. 4 nurses rushed the room, paged the doctor a million times, got me positioned and everything set up, reminded me how to push, because at that point I couldn't remember what to do because I'm generally a lot more calm... FOR SERIOUS. I was making all sorts of noises that I'd never made before, it was intense. They told me they could see the head, I heard someone asking where the heck the doctor was, did she leave the hospital? was she paged as urgent? Try little grunts Allison, just to relieve the pressure until the doctor gets here. I tried to respond to that one, but I think all that came out was a cuss word, oops. In fact, there was a lot of cussing, I had a potty mouth in grade 7, I may have reverted to that place during this delivery... Dr. Logsetty arrived, head came out, which normally would be a YAY, but then I had to try to not push too hard for some reason. My eyes were closed pretty much the whole time after that, opening them was traumatic. I thought they were slicing and dicing my lady parts to get her out it hurt so bad. They never dropped the foot of the bed and at one point I did kinda get a glimpse of the doctor up on the bed? Did I really see that? They finally let me push the rest of her out at 6:58 a.m., put her kind've on my belly, and told me to open my eyes and look at her, at which point I see them vigorously rubbing her on my belly, then I see them lift her limp little body up and besides the chatter of the nurses and hearing CODE GREEN STAT, I look at Steve and say "She's not crying or moving. Why isn't she crying? What's going on?" And now she's on the warmer beside the bed surrounded by people, but I can't see because Steve is standing there blocking my view, telling me she's absolutely perfect and fine, and everything's okay, and I did a great job, but I still don't know what's happening.
Finally she cries, and I cry and the doctor finally brings her to us- that 10mins was probably the longest of my life. At this point all I know is that she's alive and from what the nurses were saying to each other "aw her face is so bruised". So the doctor hands me the baby, congratulates us and lets me know she's looking for tears, etc... Cue my awesomeness "Um, you mean you weren't massacring my lady parts that whole time?? " Dr. "Nooooo, I had to cut the cord from around her neck" "What? I thought you were destroying me down there!" Laughter! Actually I think I was laughing and crying huge tears of relief! After all that I actually didn't really tear at all, so that was great news. Dr.Logsetty hugged me twice before she left the room, no joke. What I know now, is that the cord was wrapped so tight around Desirae's neck that the doctor couldn't get her fingers in there to loosen it at all. She hopped up on the bed to literally cut the cord from around Desirae's neck, which is why it seemed like it was taking so long, she was being fast but careful. Here I was hoping to have a delayed cord clamping, haha, my plans never work out. She had Desirae resuscitated before the team of people who normally do that had any time to get to our room. Desirae's apgar score was 3/9/9, her face was pretty swollen and bruised and her left eye has a broken blood vessel that  still looks pretty gnarly, all from the events of her birth. The decelerations were very likely happening because of the cord situation in there, we really have no idea how long that was going on. If we had gone overdue we might've had a stillborn baby. So like I said, I really love that triage nurse who paid attention to what was going on with my baby and responded to that quiet voice that told her something just wasn't quite right.
Birthday: May 14  Time: 6:58 a.m.  Weight: 8lbs 2oz  Height: 20 inches
Hair: Dark brown, mostly in the back  Eyes: Dark blue so far
So far we're really enjoying having Desirae in our home. The girls love her and fight over who gets their turn to hold her first every morning. They're fascinated by her diaper changes and love to make faces and say how diapers are so gross, babies are gross and wiping bums is gross- I agree with diapers and wiping bums being gross, but I think my baby is pretty much not gross at all. She's still learning how to work her mouth/tongue, so nursing is it's own adventure. I'm pumping and the girls have an odd fascination with that too, I hate to think what Kalea tells her teacher/friends at school! Desirae is still pretty sleepy, but she is starting to wake up more during the day and she goes some longish stretches at night. There were a few mornings where I actually woke her up because I thought she'd slept too long, which is ridiculous, why did I wake her?!
Steve is loving this baby just as much as the other two, he is such a baby-man. I have to laugh whenever he talks to Desi because his voice goes so high and he sounds so mushy gushy, totally not the usual Steve voice. It's fun to see him bond with each of these girls though and he is definitely loving all the baby snuggles that he's getting, we both are. The big girls never cuddle us anymore- unless it's totally inconvenient, like when I'm trying to nurse Desi, that's just so much fun...
Anyways, we are getting somewhat back to normal. I'm getting used to less sleep finally- I felt like a zombie for the first 2.5wks of Desi's life, poor kid, it's no wonder she slept so much! She's much more wakeful now, finally figuring out the nursing thing and hopefully happy. I haven't quite figured her personality out yet, and I honestly can't remember this stage with the other two, except very vaguely, so I have no clue if she's happy/content or what, but I'm loving her. We're starting to see smiles and she's starting to make some cute baby noises now, so maybe she's warming up to us too!
I probably won't post anything else for a while, but I'm still alive!


The Feminist In Me Rejoices and Cringes... At Other Feminists

Growing up in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is an awesome thing, my life has been greatly blessed for it. I am by no means a ra-ra, wear pants to church to support the cause feminist, but changes in the church over the last 6 months are really exciting for my gender. I haven't spent years and years frustrated by anything because quite honestly, I don't feel like women have been all that oppressed in the church. I strongly believe that the Lord prepares each generation and provides continuous revelation that benefits the rising generation of each particular time period. I had never given much thought to the fact that a woman had never said a prayer in a General Conference session before today, but you can make dang sure that my daughters were flanking my sides with folded arms and bowed heads to witness that "historic" and long over-due moment in the history of our church. It was another awesome moment and I'll write in our journals about it tonight before I go to sleep. This link THRILLS ME! http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/church-adjusts-mission-organization-implement-mission-leadership-council  Has anyone else ever wondered what a Mission Presidents wife's role is in the mission field? I mean besides being the "mission mom" it's always seemed pretty vague what she actually does, guess what? Now she has lots to do! Hooray! Hooray for bringing Relief Society leadership into the mission field! Hooray for sister missionaries having the opportunity to lead and train and provide watch-care for each other in the mission field! Hooray for my daughters and their daughters and their daughters! Without sharing much, I can honestly say that this is a fulfillment of a blessing my husband received that we didn't really understand the logistics of, being that we're the parents of daughters, until the events of the last 6mths. We are excited for our daughters to lead out in ways that previous generations haven't had the opportunity to. I'm feeling like, these recent revelations are just as much for me as they are for my girls. I feel like the Lord is saying "Hey mothers of daughters, you've got more teaching/training to do." I've literally felt a shift in my life about how and what I need to teach my girls to prepare them not just for potential motherhood but for their own missionary service. I'm grateful for the blessing that this is in my life because I feel like my role is being actively enhanced as well. I've been feeling a deep need to prepare myself spiritually for this next baby, no other "nesting urge" has come so strongly. I felt it with my other two, but not in nearly the same way. A lot of the messages of Conference today talked about making our homes places of peace and a refuge from the world, for our children and for their friends. I'm grateful for those messages and for the confirmation that these desires that I have for my own family are things that I should be focusing on.
Now a small-ish/large-ish rant!
I've been doing some reading tonight, to see the reaction to some of these things from the ra-ra feminist population of the church. I mean, they're carrying the banner, so surely they must be pretty excited about life right now... Or not... Yikes! When the more activist-type feminists in our church write disapproving things about Priesthood Session of conference on their blogs, it gets me upset, mostly because Priesthood Session is for the men/boys of the church. Can I get real with everyone for a minute? The men of the church need that session and sorry, but the disrespectful and rude things certain feminists nit-pick about get me fuming. I'm steaming over it right now because the women in the church get their own sessions of conference as well. Have any of these feminists noticed that the Young Women's Broadcast in April and Relief Society Broadcast in October are considered part of General Conference??? Do we sit in those meetings picking apart how so-and-so's talk only referred to young women and not young men? NO, because those talks are written specifically with the Young Women or Relief Society sisters in mind! DUH! They speak to their audience and we are all blessed to have access to audio/visual/text copies of all of these things. We can all learn from it without picking it all apart or getting enraged over the smallest things. Mountains out of mole hills sisters. Life is SO sweet for women and girls in the church right now. I have no problem with the fact that I'm asked to serve in the ways the Lord sees fit. Not one part of me believes that the church is run by a bunch of men who are out of touch with the current needs/desires of women in the church. They are men of God, it's so obvious that He knows what we need/desire and as we are ready and prepared to receive things, He reveals them. Now let's start being more happy about it and cut these Priesthood leaders some slack, the Lord is rocking their world too.


It's Good to Be Us

I've been trying to formulate this post for a while and just figured it's time to just get it out. It's partly frustration, partly just wanting people to be more thoughtful/careful with words.
K, so we have a neighbor friend who is probably going to be baptized in the next month or so, super exciting! We referred the missionaries to her and never heard anything back from them (frustrating) but she knocked on the door a few weeks ago to ask if she could come to church with us, etc... which was pretty cool, albeit we were running behind that morning, we still got there in time for sacrament, just not as early as we'd like. I can't take much credit for initiating any of the situation because Kalea is really the best missionary I know, she knocks & walks right in! LOL So that's kind of how we got to know this neighbor and her daughter, just my kids escaping from my house and letting themselves into hers- precious/awkward, but great ice breaker! Anywho, the missionaries that we have right now are um, for some reason very unfriendly with us, which is confusing to Steve and I, and I think to our friend. So the next week our friend came to church again and when Steve took Kalea to go escort her daughter to Primary while I set up my classroom, a really interesting exchange happened. He told our friend that Kalea had gone over and knocked on the door to see if they were coming to church this morning and our friend was like, "Oh yeah, these two (gesturing to the missionaries) are making me come really early now since we were late last week" and this young, very young Elder turns to her and says "Well yeah, you don't want to be like these guys" gesturing to my husband and daughter, and basically disrespecting our family, in front of our friend who looked at him like he was an idiot. So here is where I'm at, after a few weeks of cooling off from the whole thing.
First, I understand 19-21yr old boys think they know a lot, and choose their words less carefully than the vast majority of the general adult population. So that is what it is, I would blame it on the guy trying to be funny, but Steve said the tone wasn't funny at all, so we can just blame it on immaturity and rudeness instead. We're praying that kid grows up in the next few years or he might never have the opportunity to be like us, poor him.
In one of my most favorite books, Covenant Hearts by Bruce C Hafen, he writes,
The fountainhead of human love flows from a marriage between hearts knit together by covenants. When those headwaters run pure, children and grandchildren will later sing their own hymns of grateful praise: "For the love which from our birth,/ Over and around us lies."
Imagine me singing the following then...
Steve and I have been greatly blessed to have been raised in homes where the gospel of Jesus Christ has been central to our lives from the minute we arrived on this planet. That doesn't mean we've lived it perfectly nor would we want to, or what need would we have for a Savior? But it means that it's been there, in us, every step of the way and at times when we've strayed, we've been able to come back to it. It's the foundation of our lives and when people talk about how the doctrine of Jesus Christ saves people, we know that to be true because we've lived it individually and together. We've made covenants with God individually, and together, and have been sealed in the temple, there is no vow between us of "til death do we part". Death has no power over our covenant. We live and strive to do our very best in this life and we have the promise of eternity together in the next. Our children are wrapped up in the safety of our covenant, they are ours, forever, we are theirs, forever. At 3 &4 years of age, they each have a personal relationship with their Savior and their Heavenly Father, we know because we get glimpses of it every now and then. They're teaching each other how to pray, they're asking us to read them stories about Jesus, they know all the words to "I Am a Child of God" and we hear them singing it often without prompting from us. There is a sweetness and joy in our home that words really can't do justice, even on the worst of days, it's here. Our parents and other adults close to us have taught us basic principles of self-reliance, how to set 10% aside for the Lord and how to give of ourselves whenever we have a chance. I've never lived a day on this earth without access to scripture, or access to people with knowledge of them or who have been able to teach me the gospel from them. This doesn't make us better than anyone, obviously we can't get ourselves together in time for church on Sundays, we're getting better though. This doesn't mean life is without it's struggles, we have lots of those, but it means that through these struggles we have hope that there's more to life than just this life, a sense of the bigger picture, and we know where to turn when we need help. There are a lot of people in this world who don't have that and are constantly searching for it. We are so very grateful to have what we have and to be able to share it with the people around us. I'm so grateful that one of the first conversations I had with my friend was about families, and what we believe about God and our relationship to Him and how much He loves us. That's the best kind of conversation to ever have, and I'm pretty sure it opened the door for two young men to enter my friends house. We have so much to be grateful for and we can only hope and pray that our friend is able to have the richness of these blessings in her home and family for generations to come too.
In short, that Elder has much to learn about just how great and awesome it is to be us.


Mission Accomplished!

This month there are a few things that I must-do that I don't particularly want to do. Most of them have to do with asserting myself as a parent and, as they say, "advocate for my child". Oy, I am not a fan of starting conversations like the ones I need to have this month, it's been stressing me out. I also need to advocate for myself a little bit and I'm not really looking forward to how that conversation is going to go, but I'll be happy when it's over.
Yesterday Kalea and I made our way to the Children's for her regular eye appointment. She was SO well behaved the majority of the time, and the rest were just minor hiccups that happen anywhere. The optologist we had was one we hadn't met before and I had to tell her to use the shapes that Kalea is familiar with or she won't cooperate for the exam. Once she did that she was able to get a great exam and was a lot more patient with Kalea. Then we waited for our specialist. It turns out there are a bunch of student doctors rotating with her right now so for the more intense part of the exam we had Adam. Truth be told, Kalea cooperated much better for him than she has EVER cooperated for anyone else there. It was great, and if you know Kalea's doctor, who's a little bit of a sharp shooter and not overly warm, it was nice to have this guy as a buffer, to help her bedside manner be a little more friendly, knowing that I was going to have to start an uncomfortable conversation. We got through the whole exam pretty well and the whole time I'm wondering when I'm going to get a chance to bring things up with Dr.C because she talks a lot and very fast and sometimes, so much that your head spins and she's out the door before you get a word in. So we got to the end of the appointment and she says "Well I think we'll see her again in the summer" and in my head I think how in the world am I going to start what I want to say. I literally had no clue so I just opened my mouth, and a miracle happened. I am pretty sure that what I had to say came straight from Kalea's Heavenly Father. We were able to discuss some of her behaviors that indicate to me and others how frustrated she is with her eye turning. We discussed her "sensory issues" and the access she has right now to aides who can help her adjust post-op, who we would really love to have help us with that, who we won't have ready access to when Kalea's 8 (suggested age for surgery).
At one point I was so bold to literally say "We can't just talk in circles about a surgery that could help her, that you want to delay until she's 8. I want to know every detail of what that day will look like start to finish, including what actually happens in that surgery, so as her parent I can make an informed decision about what's going to be best for her. I need to know so that we can start explaining and preparing her for that, and we can't wait until she's 8. I don't want her to have the surgery because other people notice her eye, I want you to help us because she notices her eye. So please help." GULP did I really just say that???
But guess what? Dr. C finally explained everything to me, start to finish. She finally explained why she would prefer to wait, but she heard my concerns, and she was concerned that Kalea is so aware of how she's different too. We love this doctor, but she really has no clue how much kids notice things in others and in themselves. She's finally understanding how self-aware Kalea is, and she agreed to make our first pre-op appointment for the first week of March! We'll have 3 of those before they book the surgery, but now the ball is really rolling.
HUGE VICTORY FOR KALEA! Small victory for mom, because this has so much more to do with Kalea. I'm so grateful that I had some help in knowing what to say and how to say it so that our doctor would get the bigger picture and start thinking less generally and more specifically in regards to our child. I am learning lately that doctors tend to generalize quite a bit, instead of treating each person as a unique case, not okay for our family. Hopefully this first victory gives me the courage I need for the rest of this months conversations.


A Very Long Picture-less Pregnancy Update and The Return of Pregnancy Kidney Stone(s)

I haven't really posted much about this pregnancy so far, mostly for lack of sheer desire to actually blog, but also because it's been so normal so far, different than the others but the same. Until this week, well until last month really, but for the sake of my own record keeping and maybe someone else experiencing similar pains, we shall write for the greater good! Ha! First an update...
This pregnancy so far has been pretty text book, first trimester sporadic puke-fest and tired, second trimester belly expansion and tired (actually SUPER tired?), third trimester energy- I think my 2nd and 3rd trimesters are confused but I'll take energy through the last leg of this pregnancy, that works better for my kiddos. So far at week 25 I'm not swelling like crazy and I can take off my engagement ring with more ease than when I'm not pregnant? In fact at this point with Brynlee I couldn't even get it on/off so I battled it off one day and it stayed off until a few months post delivery, that was super sad. I find myself staying up way too late and waking up around 4 to use the bathroom and then it takes forever to get back to sleep because that seems to be baby's early morning dance party time. So far I have found this one far less active than my others, unless it's a super inconvenient time for me, like those early morning hours. If I go out I'm still able to throw on my normal person jeans with the top button done up using a small hair elastic- ghetto version of a belly band I guess. I'm trying to hold off on regularly wearing my maternity stuff until the spring weather comes. Mostly because my maternity stuff that fits best is more capris and shorts, and I have this weird theory that maybe if I force my body to stay in normal clothes longer, it'll keep my hips from expanding so much this time around? BAHAHAHA I am so funny! I will be a whale by the end of all this I am sure. So far I feel like I'm carrying this kid soooooooo differently from the other two, it makes me think that maybe the ultrasound was wrong and this kid might be a boy- that could just be wishful thinking too though. I feel much smaller this time around "which is weird for a 3rd baby"- exactly the words EVERYONE AND THEIR DOG use when they find out I'm on #3. I'm amazed by it too, but I think people forget that my first two were only 14mths apart, so my body just relaxed back into baby mode and got big fast with the second. This time my body has had 3+ years to get back to normal and in that time I've found workout programs that work with the female body and changed some eating habits up, so I'm just being smarter about pregnancy in general this time and chasing two kids around all day helps too. I am pretty sure this pregnancy is more like the first since we are heading down the same road again...
It started around week 19/20, this familiar aching back business, in my mind I thought, oh geeze here we go again, but thankfully I had a doctor's appointment scheduled for that week. Ahem, this is my GP or "family doctor" who seems to be lacking some form of bedside manner that makes a doctor LISTEN to a patient. By this point in pregnancy #1 I had already been referred to my baby doctor, so GP has no real knowledge of my history with stones, the visit went like this. I lie down, he feels my belly, listens to baby's heartbeat, gets mad at me for sitting up without rolling onto my side first and then tells me there's some protein in my urine, nothing to be worried about though and asks if anything is bothering me? Which is when I say, hmmm interesting that there's protein in my urine, and I've had this weird back pain starting up again, in my first pregnancy I had two very large kidney stones and these are the same things that presented but that baby doc and I couldn't figure out until near the end. GP says of course very knowledgeably "well the protein has nothing to do with kidney stones, describe this pain to me and I'll tell you if it's stones or not" INSERT MY GIANT ROLLING EYES RIGHT ABOUT THEN BECAUSE NO MAN WILL EVER KNOW WHAT IT FEELS LIKE TO HAVE KIDNEY STONES AND BE PREGNANT but friends with doctor husbands, let it be known at least for me, this is what it feels like at the first onset, "The pain wraps around the ribcage right under where your bra sits, your back aches almost like you need it cracked, but that kind of squeezing only intensifies the pain, I can manage it fairly well with a couple extra strength tylenol and a soak in the tub, it happens for 2 nights in a row between 10:30 and 11:30 and then the pain disappears" GP says does the pain radiate into your groin? and I respond "No, but it never did with my other stones either because they got stuck in the ureter on the way to my bladder because baby had squished the tube, etc..." and he says to me "No, it's not stones, when you're pregnant your organs get squished up into your ribcage and you get pressure and expansion in there and it causes discomfort, kidney stones cause this type of pain"(which is the same as what I described only doesn't go past the kid) so I respond with, "I know what kidney stones feel like in pregnancy I had them with my first baby and this is exactly the same" GP "well we'll monitor it but it's not kidney stones" monitor as in he plans to do nothing about it and in my mind I'm thinking YOU ARE SO DUMB and other colorful words but what came out was "Have you sent my referral to my baby doctor yet, because she'll be wanting to send me for a bunch of tests right away" GP "I'm sending it right now". K now here is what the rest of the pain feels like in a subsequent stone attack, the back pain has started so you take a bath, then you get out and your boobs ache like they're going to explode and no amount of support helps them feel better. Then on top of the intense backache you want to curl up into the fetal position but you can't because it feels like a few inches below your breastbone, contractions are starting, but not labor-like contractions, because they don't radiate all the way down into your pelvis, just the top of your "fundus" (which in labor is how they start and help push the baby down and out) But no these waves of contractions are different in the sense that they roll in and out in a completely unpredictable pattern, not 5mins apart but more like seconds and then you could get a break for a long stretch while you deal with the back hurting again, and then when that subsides the front starts again. They squeeze they don't really roll in like contractions do. Then you find yourself simultaneously heaving the entire contents of your stomach into the bathtub and needing to use the toilet, and you might feel slightly feverish in that particular moment, but not really any other time. Did I mention that the pain is PRIMAL? Like, you want to tear your clothes off and your mind is completely consumed with swirling thoughts of how to make the pain go away. You wonder how your body isn't shaking like when you go into labor and then you try to use labor positions to ease your pain, but they don't help at all. This is the kind of pain where you find yourself writhing around in a bathtub of lukewarm water telling your husband in no uncertain terms that you are 100% sure you are going to die but with a stone cold look on your face that actually makes him believe you. In labor you sweat and you heave and you might cry and talk crazy, but it's all screamy talking and more innocent, and then there's this element of joyful anticipation mixed into it. The kidney stone pain is not sweaty pain, it literally dehydrates you and makes your body feel like a ton of bricks, it's hard to talk or breath or make any sound, so for the most part it's a lot of very quiet pain management. For example, I came into the bedroom where Steve was sleeping and dumped my body on the bed and literally flopped my arm near his face to get his attention and said "I need you awake" and when he asked why all I could say was "my back" in a loud whisper. This is the kind of pain that doesn't shoot endorphins into your body and make you loopy to help you cope, in fact during the pain I'm half wondering why the heck my body isn't helping me deal with the pain. This second "attack" lasted at least 5hrs, it was probably longer but I stopped checking the clock at around 3:30, it started at 10ish. In all of the medical research I've read regarding kidney stones, doctors say normally an attack will last a few minutes to an hour, but most last about 20 minutes and then there might be a stretch of relief from the pain.
If I have one more stupid man or ra-ra natural birth person tell me that it's not stone pain, or how would I know if it's worse than labor since I've had epidurals, I will punch them in the face. I can comfortably labor to 8cms and be talking and laughing with nurses, in fact with Kalea I almost didn't get the epidural because they were stuck in a c-section and the only reason I was adamant to have it was because I knew I had a stone that could possibly end up causing me pain in delivery too, no thanks. With Brynlee I only asked for it because they were right across the hall, but I was comfortable and probably could've done it without. Even with an epidural, they cut you off so that you can push effectively so you miss the "transition pain" but you feel the pain of pushing a living thing out of your lady parts. That kind of hurt and a kidney stone kind of hurt are two VERY DIFFERENT HURTS. I would rather deliver 100 babies than deal with the pain of kidney stones, I bet I would rather feel transition 100 times over kidney stones. I think nobody with kidney stones would opt to have that kind of pain instead of labor pain, or any other pain, seriously. I can't imagine what it feels like to actually pass a stone, but I'm certainly not even a little curious about it just knowing how bad it is when it's stuck. Shudder.
Now for the awesome divine intervention parts of the story. First my Dad and Steve were able to give me a blessing during the attack that helped calm my mind and realize that I was not in fact going to die, that made me feel better. I was finally able to get rest and even woke up before Steve did to tend the kids. The morning after the attack I called the baby doctor office and they sent me to the hospital where I normally deliver because the doctors rotate between the hospital and the low risk maternity clinic, so off I went. They listened to everything and were beyond nice, the nurses were great and the doctor was so interested in every detail. They all agreed that my GP needs to be smacked upside the head, so therefore I love them. They booked my ultrasound for me, and luckily I got one of the last 2 available appts left, the next wasn't until Feb.15. Huge blessing since they did find at least one stone at the ultrasound and my baby doc will have the report at my appt on Friday, so we can get moving with a treatment plan quickly now. In the meantime, they prescribed me things that can help me if I have an attack again and my file is started at the hospital already. Super grateful for all the blessings of this week so far, it's hard not to acknowledge how fortunate I am to live where I do with quick access to facilities that can help and close to family who can take care of my kids and me too. In all of this I'm grateful for the modern medicines that exist that can help me and I'll be taking them, I'm not trying to prove how tough I am, even though at this point I'd say I'm pretty much Hercules, I just don't want to feel that pain if I don't have to, I think nobody should ever have to feel that pain.
Over the past few days I've been processing quite a lot, and I find myself completely baffled. I don't know how Jesus did the atonement, I really cannot fathom not only feeling and processing the physical pains of every person who has ever existed but also feeling and processing the emotional pains simultaneously, in one night. I feel fortunate that I have a small glimpse into what He physically suffered just for me though, I am so grateful that He did that. Grateful to have some idea of just how deeply He must love all of us, and I'm hopeful that through these painful experiences I can learn to have more compassion for people in their pains and love a little more like Him.


Christmas 2012 or A Really Long Catch Up Post

I am super far behind on any type of blogging so I figured I should probably get updating, at least a little bit. In my defense, we have spent much of the last 3 weeks rotating sickness and are just now finally recovering enough to do more than lie in bed and watch Netflix. PS I'm so thankful for Netflix, yes I am.
Anyways, we didn't get around to doing as much as we would've liked to but we still made time for most of our favorite traditions. We were able to attend our ward Christmas party which was so well done, I didn't see my kids that whole morning! We made our gingerbread houses. I was smart this year and shopped the Canadian Black Friday deals and wound up scoring a gingerbread kit with 4 mini-houses, so the girls could really join in with Steve and my "decorating challenge". It worked out that our Elf, Sparkles brought the kit for us one day, so the kids were pretty excited to help us with them. I do think next year I'll get the normal sized houses, the mini ones presented quite a challenge for Steve and I, but they were perfect for the girls this year.
From left mine, Brynlee's, Kalea's, Steve's. I got the "modern cottage" which Steve thought looked like an outhouse, but I tried to make it the most attractive looking outhouse ever, and I think I succeeded. I was surprised by how much the girls actually enjoyed this activity this year, I really didn't think we'd end up spending as much time as we did, but it was great and it's nice to know that we are establishing traditions that they love just as much as we do.
This year we did Christmas with Steve's family on the 23rd. It was awesome and the kids had so much fun with their cousins, there was pretty much zero whining this year?? I guess they're growing up, yay! That made it a lot more fun for us too! It's so fun for our kids to have so many cousins so close in age, we love seeing them altogether. Kalea has developed the "cousin crush" and has been talking non-stop about Jaxen since Christmas, "Jaxen is so handsome, he's a prince, I want to marry him" etc etc... Of course we do the whole, "you can't marry your cousin" schpiel about a hundred times a day now, but it's cute that she loves her cousin so much. I did neglect to get any pix of the two of them together, but this one is when Serena's kids were singing Christmas songs and Brynlee decided to join in and sing along, pretty funny.
We also managed to get out and drive through the lights at Spruce Meadows a few times this year. The first time we went I hadn't brought my camera or cell phone and I was kicking myself for it because I knew the combination of frost/snow that we had wouldn't last. It was so beautiful. It still was when we went the second time, Kalea loved it both times, Brynlee slept through it both times but got woken up for a picture in the cold the second time around, heehee!

I didn't get tons of pix this night because it was so cold, but they have a huge amount of lights strung all through the grounds, enclosed display areas that you can go into to warm up and take pictures in. Skating rinks, Santa's reindeer hang out there, an awesome Christmas market in November, etc... We love hearing girls high-pitched squeals from the backseat too, it's amazing how much kids love Christmas lights, they actually squeal just as much driving around our neighborhood at Christmas time as they do when we go see displays like Spruce Meadows.

We spent Christmas Eve with our McMurray family and ate way too much and had fun watching the girls dance to our stellar Christmas carol singing. The girls had probably way too much Christmas punch and were pretty hyper all night, they did lay down to listen to Papa read from Luke II, but it seems like he read it a little faster this year, that or they just bounced right up after. The girls were also very excited about presents this year and so we had them give Stephen and Michelle and Nana and Papa their gifts to open so that they could see their reactions, it was really fun for them. Once we got everyone home and into bed, Steve and I got busy doing what parents do on Christmas Eve....
I wrapped presents and arranged them under the Christmas tree like a good Elf and Steve...
Built this masterpiece! We were thrilled as we unwrapped each piece and realized that we did REALLY well with buying a very high quality gift at an extremely reasonable price. Our girls are pretty hard on things, so we were more than happy to find a sturdy wood alternative to what would inevitably end up a broken plastic heap of a dollhouse. So far so good, all the pieces are still in tact!

*This is where Christmas takes a turn...*
At around 2:30a.m. Steve started feeling pretty sick, I'd been feeling kinda icky earlier but thought I probably just stuffed myself with too much sweet & savory food. I was wrong. Steve and I basically alternated using the bathroom all night long, it was an awful night. On the bright side, the kids slept in?! Unheard of in this house! It gave us just a little extra time to try to gather some energy for the Christmas morning festivities. We do think we know what we had now, apparently there was a large outbreak of the Norwalk virus in Calgary over the Christmas holidays, and wouldn't you know it, we had basically every symptom of that! Lucky us!

So back to Christmas morning... It was really difficult to get a decent stair picture of these two this year, they were so excited and couldn't both keep still at the same time, story of my life. Oh well, the out-takes are cute too! It took forever to get them past their stockings this year and I can't figure out why, I literally put socks, a toothbrush & toothpaste, a couple small dolls and a hairbrush each in their stockings this year and you would've thought they had hit the jackpot. If I had known I wouldn't have bought anything else besides the dollhouse! Anyways, Steve was so sick that I think he was only really aware of what was happening, not really involved, so this year I got to hand out presents! That never happens! It was awesome, I had enough time to snap some pictures and the kids were actually able to get the wrapping off their gifts before having another gift tossed at them! Not that Steve would EVER try to rush the opening gifts part of Christmas morning...
There were some really fun reactions on Christmas morning. Our neighbor has two cats and so as gifts for the girls she found two stuffed cats that look like hers and got them each little collars and had them engraved with the cats names. I think besides the dollhouse those cats are their favorite gifts, we can't go to bed without Mia and Lucy, we can't color without them and we can't eat without them, it's really cute, we love our neighbor. Nothing really beats the reaction to the dollhouse though, Kalea and Brynlee were SO excited and so were Steve and I. The best part was hearing "Daddy, you built that for me?! Oh thank you!" it was the sweetest thing. I was smart and caught everything on video and on the still camera, someday I'll figure out how to put video's on the blog, until then, you can imagine how cute this morning was. That's pretty much our Christmas, we were pretty spoiled and are very grateful for the awesome gifts and food and fun we were able to enjoy this Christmas. The girls spent the rest of Christmas day and the following few days playing with their new toys while Steve and I basically took turns sleeping. It was super special. Then the kids got sick and I got this nasty head/chest cold and we've been passing that around ever since. We did get out sporadically but really we've just been spending a lot of time at home, together, resting and trying to get better.
We did have a great Christmas we just wish we could've been a little bit healthier to enjoy it a bit more, we have high hopes for next year's fun lasting a little longer!