Monday, February 27, 2012


A List of Things I Tell My Four Year Old To Do That I Should Remember Myself:

Don't Whine.

Make Your Bed.

When You Want A Toy, Ask. Don't Grab.

Say Please.

Are You Done Playing With That? Then Put It Away.

Say Thank You.

You Have The Power to Choose. So Does Everyone Else.

Thank You For Saying Please and Asking Nicely, The Answer Is Still No.

Hold My Hand.

This Is Not Something You Need To Cry About.

Be Patient.

Don't Be A Bully.  Just Because You Are Bigger Than Her Doesn't Mean You Get Everything.

Take A Deep Breath.  Now Tell Me What Happened.

Once You Lick It, It Does Not Go Back In The Peanut Butter.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

A Week Ago Today.

disclaimer: If you don't like birth stories, stop reading now.

Hallie's Birth Story
Hanna's Birth Story

Like the day before, I woke up at 4 am because I was wet and needed to change.  The difference from the day before was that this time there was blood.  I cleaned up as best I could and got back into bed.  Not long after laying down the contractions started.  I halfheartedly paid attention to them, trying to count how long they lasted in my head.  One one thousand, two one thousand...

I didn't want to get my hopes up, it seemed too ironic and I really really didn't want to get sent home two days on a row.  I tried to get comfortable and ignore them.  That worked until about 5:30 am, when I thought I should maybe start paying closer attention to them.  I woke Devin and asked him to help me keep track.  When he heard about the blood he wanted me to call just because of that, but I was not walking into the hospital again unless I was having powerful contractions.  Devin and I counted contractions for a few minutes, enough to convince me that I had some time, so I got up and took a shower.  I did whatever else I could think of to stall, and then there was nothing left but to call my midwife.  Like the day before she told me I had to go in.  She had made me promise earlier in my pregnancy that I would call her early enough in my labor that she could get to the hospital because she lives 30 miles out of town.  That is why I went in much earlier than I wanted to.  I woke my mom and told her this time there probably really would be a baby and to leave her phone on so we could have her bring the girls to meet Heather.

Well, I got to the hospital, I was dilated to a six.  They got me settled in the bed and then it was time for the iv.  I had to have an iv because of the group B strep.  I told the nurse to please be very careful because I had had a bad experience with iv's in the past, and not to be alarmed if I cried.  She found me an iv needle that they usually only use in babies, that's how small it was.  She checked both my arms for a good vein, and found one that seemed very promising.  I took a deep breath, focused on the tiles of the ceiling, squeezed Devin's hand and willed myself not to scream.  She began.  My vein collapsed.  I cried.

She looked all over my arms for another promising spot, and didn't feel confident about finding one.  Someone else came and looked, and also was not willing to try again.  I might have still been crying, it hurt so bad I didn't even feel the contractions anymore.  She went and called the anesthesiologist.  He was literally walking out the door to go home, but he came back in to see what he could do.  I think I love that man.  He searched my arms, and found one he thought he could work with, and before I could blink an eye he had me all set up and ready to go.  Which isn't to say that it didn't hurt, but I managed not to cry that time.

I thought that I had stopped having contractions during all the fuss about my iv, but apparently I had just been so stressed about what they were doing with needles that I just couldn't feel them anymore, because a quick glance at the monitor showed they were stronger than ever.

I got into the jacuzzi for a while, and Devin read to me from James and the Giant Peach.  He was just starting chapter 3 when Joann said that I needed to get out of the tub unless I wanted to have a water birth.  I strongly considered it.  Mostly I was just so relaxed and comfortable I didn't want to get back out.  I mulled it over for a minute, and then decided that this time around it would be better for everyone if I did get out of the bathtub, but I am telling you now, if I have another baby, don't be alarmed if I give birth to her in the jacuzzi. It was that great.

So I get back in the bed, and the pushing commences.  Like with Hanna I didn't want to push yet, and so I just sort of gave a half hearted effort.  Heather was turned sideways anyway, and they were having trouble turning her (perhaps because I wasn't really pushing, ha!)  But the pain was quickly getting to the point of being unbearable, and I was getting pretty close to a breaking point.  Joann said, "Amy, we're at that spot now where if you want to have this baby you have to actually push for me.  If you give me three good pushes in a row during one contraction I promise you will get to hold this baby."  And I looked her straight in the eye and I said, "Promise?"  (even at the time I said it I could not believe I was being so bold. It may have been the most confrontational thing I have ever said in my life.)  She looked back at me and said, "Well, I can't promise that it will happen the first time you give me three good pushes, but I can promise that it is what you need to do right now to hold her."  My next contraction started.  I closed my eyes and said a prayer for strength, because I still wasn't quite sure I was willing to take the step into that next level of pain.  I opened my eyes, took a deep breath, and pushed. One. Two. Three. The contraction was over.  I couldn't do it again. I knew I couldn't.  The next contraction began.  I repeated my prayer, more fervently this time, with the added phrase, "I need this to be over now."  One. Two.  I could not push again.  Joann could see me weakening, and she said, "Look Amy, look at your baby." and I looked up, and Joann was literally holding her in front of me.  I could see her.  I wanted my baby so badly.  I gave her that last push, and then do you know the sweet relief that comes after that?

I could not stop laughing.  That was my baby.  She was out, and I was free.  The first thing I said to Devin was, "I guess I'm starting to understand now why you run marathons."

And we all lived happily ever after.

Oh, and I only needed three tiny stitches this time!! My biggest baby and she tore me the least!
THANK YOU HEATHER.  She was born at 10:24, and the girls were at the hospital meeting her by 10:50.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Fear Factor

I knew walking into the hospital that morning that I would have to face my fear.  I have two main fears when I am pregnant, and the intensity of these fears increases as the end of nine months approaches.  The first fear is that something will go wrong while I am in labor and I will have to have a procedure done that will require needles going into my body.  (Namely, that I will have to have an emergency c-section and get an epidural, but it also includes needing to be induced, and/or getting an iv.)

The second fear is no less real and while it may sound silly to you, it is no less frightening to me than the first.  I am afraid that I will get to the hospital and they will not admit me, and I will have to go home and wait some more and then "try again".*

On Saturday morning when I walked into the hospital at 5:45 both of these fears were pounding in my head, making my heart race.  The evidence in this was when they took my pulse: 145 at rest.  Yikes.

Friday night had been like any other night.  I had tossed and turned, barely sleeping.  It became a different night from any other when I woke at around 2 am, soaking wet and not sure what had happened.  I went to the bathroom, changed my clothes, and got back into bed.  I slept until 4:00 in the morning when I again was awakened by wet clothing.  Again I got up and changed, not sure what was happening because surely this wasn't my water breaking.  Right?  I got back in bed and tried to pretend everything was normal, because, this was normal, right?

Around 4:30 I couldn't take it anymore.  I wasn't sure at all that it was normal.  I woke Devin and asked him what he thought. He said "call the midwife".  So I called her.  She said that since I tested positive for group B strep they had to be very careful, and that I definitely needed to come in and check if my water had broken.  I said, "But, I am not having any contractions. So, if you see that my water has broken are you going to have to induce me?" She answered, "Well, we'll give you five or six hours to see if they start on their own and then yes, we'd have to induce you."  Cue racing heart.

I woke up my mother, told her she was officially on duty for watching the girls, and that we'd let her know what was happening once we got to the hospital.  We left.  The whole drive to the hospital (it takes about 20 minutes to get there) I kept telling myself that I would be fine, but deep in my gut I was still just plain terrified.

Either my water had broken, and they would have to induce me because I wasn't having contractions, or it had not yet broken and they would tell me to go home.  I tried to keep from panicking.  When that didn't work, I tried to keep from letting my panic show.  I was moderately more successful at that.

We arrived at the hospital, and walked in.  We were there for about three hours while they waited for the test to come back, and guess what?  I actually was dilated to a five, and having contractions!  But they were very weak, and I could barely feel them - we only knew I was having them because I was hooked up to the machine.  The results came back and huh, my water had not broken.**  They hooked me up to the ultrasound, just to double check.  Plenty of fluid in there.  Well, well. Looks like I'm going home folks.  Thanks for trying. We'll see you later.

*I'm not sure exactly what it is about being told to go home that scares me so much, perhaps it goes back to my school days and the feeling that I had failed a test.  Or perhaps it is because by the time you are that far along you are miserably uncomfortable and just want the baby out - and don't make me go home!  Hallie kept saying to me the week before this " But mommy, let's just go to the hospital. Don't they know how to take babies out?"  Well yes Hallie, they do, but they won't just take any old baby out at any old time.
**I asked her what all of that fluid could possibly have been, and she wasn't sure.  She said she had been certain that my water had broken, which is why she wanted me to have the additional ultrasound.  She said it could have been my mucus plug thinning and slowly leaking out... but I guess we may never really know what it was.

And so I went home.  And suffered back pain that entire day that rivaled the pain of giving birth, which happened the following day.  More on that, later.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Haunted Houses

A house that is inhabited by ghosts is known as "haunted".  Our sweet little home here has no ghosts, and is therefore certainly not haunted, and yet our family lives every single day surrounded on all sides by personalities unseen.  There is a whole troupe of these characters and some of them are of indeterminate age and gender.  I will however, endeavor to tell you what I do know about them.**

The main one is a shadowy figure known as Shurter*.  He (sometimes "she") has, by all accounts, done everything, been everywhere (but most particularly New York City) and he has seen it all.  He is at times an infant, and at others he has been as old as the age of 9.  He has a birthday nearly every day.  Sometimes he is potty trained, and sometimes he is still an infant in diapers.

Then we come to Piglet.  Piglet is Shurters sidekick.  He comes along for the ride on many of Shurter's adventures.  Often Piglet needs to be scolded for being naughty.  Hallie is usually in charge of said scolding, but I have caught Hanna at it occasionally as well.  If it is not Shurter's birthday, odds are it is Piglet's birthday. 

The mysterious Waseeth comes next.  He is Shurter's quieter, shyer friend.  He rarely makes an appearance, and strictly when necessary for whatever game is afoot.

Next we come to the real babies of the group.  (I say real babies because sometimes Shurter is a baby, but these kids are, without exception, always infants.)  Baby Rotha is the favorite.  She is Shurter's baby sister, and very consistently so.  She has no teeth and no hair, but I am assured by the local authorities on the subject that she will someday get both.

The other baby is Baby Martha.  She is very similar to Baby Rotha, she shows up when two babies are required or when baby Rotha is sleeping.  She is often crying and needs to be soothed by Cheerios.

This family also has some pets that need to be taken care of throughout the day.  There are 2 main dogs, and 2 main cats, although at any given time you may find yourself introduced, and induced to pet a barrage of others.  The two main dogs are Ruffy, of course, and Wally.  The cats are Aeesh and Oshie Ricie.  These cats sleep a lot, but love to be snuggled and petted whenever someone is willing to do so.

It does feel cramped from time to time living with all of these extra personalities, but inasmuch as they keep my girls well entertained and allow me an amount of peace and quiet I've seen no reason to evict them.  I will admit that my patience now and then runs a trifle thin from hearing ad nauseum about Shurter, he does seem to be a good fellow and so I am trying to learn to love him.

I think this will be a much quieter home when these friends finally decide to leave us.

*I don't know how to spell most of their names, Piglet being the obvious exception.
**Rest assured, my daughters do have real friends.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Little Things

Sometimes I think about the time, years from now, when my girls are grown and beautiful and I am not involved in every bit of their daily lives.
Sometimes this thought scares me.  Sometimes I wonder how much they would hate me if they knew that I am already planning on camping outside their bedroom door, my ear to the floor pressed against that crack between the door and the carpet when their girlfriends come over, or how I plan on bringing in first popcorn, then soda, then napkins, just to have something to bring me into the room every five minutes when they have a boy over.  Which of course, he will only ever be on the opposite end of the couch in the living room.

And sometimes when Hallie hasn't stopped talking in two hours I think those days might be a relief, but sometimes I love that I know all of the little inner workings of her mind.  And yet, I can already feel her slipping away and becoming her own person independent of me and what I expose her to.

Hallie has recently been singing a song she calls "Pirates to Choose" and the lyrics are as follows: Pirates to choose on earth.  The Lamanite had a bandaid, but the crab came and gave him a sticker.  For computers. On earth."  She likes to sit at the piano, and play a sweet little melody, and she and Hanna and I sing this little song.  Tonight I learned that at church Hallie has been learning a new song, and it has a line in it about the "power to choose" that we have "on earth".  And a light bulb clicked on in my head.  Suddenly this song we'd been singing at home wasn't some random thing that she cooked up in her brain to amuse me with, but it was her attempt at remembering what she had learned at church.  I had no idea.

I was going through the pictures on our camera, and came across this little gem.  I just assumed that Hallie was being silly, and I laughed a little when I showed it to Devin.  He said, "Oh, she's being King Benjamin on the tower."  And I was so sad that I wasn't there, that I didn't know that she knew that story enough to pretend that, and that I didn't recognize it as anything more than just a cute little moment in her life.  Which, of course, it was... but still.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

An Honest Look

I've heard some criticism about people who blog that they try too hard to make their lives look shiny and perfect, and of course it isn't.  I have never necessarily gone out of my way to make my life look or sound better than it is, but I certainly have never given you all the gritty details of my life. (Let's be honest, my life isn't that really what anyone would call gritty, but I do spare you the boring mundane parts.)  But today, I'm in a grouchy mood, and there is no good reason for it. And because of that I am going to give you every detail of my mundane and not so gritty life.  Then I dare you to tell me that I try to make my life seem perfect on here.  (None of you have ever said that I do that, but I suppose this post will take away forever any right you ever have to say that.)

Hallie woke up at 3:00 and climbed into our bed.  I said, "Hallie go back to bed."  Devin is sick right now with the cold we all had last week, but for some reason he was feeling charitable so he said she could stay for two minutes and then he would help her go back to bed. I rolled over and ignored the whole thing.  I found out later he was up for the next two hours uncomfortable from his cold and that she had woken him out of his deep sleep cycle.  She woke up again at 6:30, and on weekdays that's fine because he is awake then too.  But today he didn't want to get up that early.  He's sick, remember?  He came downstairs with her, put in an episode of Curious George, and came back to bed until 7 when he went to turn it off and start making breakfast.  I woke up at 7:07, and Hanna woke up at 7:17.

We all congregate in the kitchen to eat breakfast.  I offer to make the pancakes and let Devin go back to bed.  He won't do it.  I tell Hallie to go wake up GramB and ask if she wants breakfast.  They come back downstairs. We all eat, except Devin who isn't feeling well, but he has to leave to go help clean the church so he heads outside to shovel the driveway.  It snowed all night and so far all day today, too.  I try at first to talk him out of going, he's sick, remember? and then to talk him out of letting the girls go outside to "help" him shovel, but he won't listen to me.  I lay down on the floor with Hanna's sweater as a pillow.  I am still like that when they come back in from shoveling the driveway.  Devin kisses us all goodbye and tries to leave.  He can't even drive down our street far enough to get past our house, so he somehow gets the car back in the garage and calls to say he can't make it.

He comes inside, I am now sitting on the couch, my enormous belly propped up with various pillows and blankets underneath which I am sweating, but without which Heather hurts me.  He begins cleaning all the bathrooms.  My mom does my dishes and cleans my kitchen.  The girls play with toys, and get in random fights over things like the pieces of the YAHTZEE game.  I try to break up the fights, but I don't have much energy and mostly just don't want to listen to the yelling.  My entire body hurts every time I move.

Devin finishes cleaning the bathrooms and begins doing the week's laundry.  He collects it all, sorts it all, sprays stain remover on the girls' shirts that I really care about, and begins a load.  Then he cleans up the laundry room from all the accumulated clutter from the week.  Most of this is usually my Saturday chores, but I'm not doing anything today.  I'm now sitting at the table reading articles from the Ensign.  Good stuff in there this month.  The girls are now pretending to be panda bears at the zoo.

Devin was finally feeling "well enough" to go running, so he went downstairs to go on the treadmill.  The girls desperately wanted to make cookies, so I told them to talk GramB into it.  It wasn't a terribly hard sell I don't think.  I help get some of the ingredients for the cookies, and then, my strength sapped, I collect the first load from the drier and begin to fold it.  Devin finishes his run, takes a shower, and we all sit down to eat lunch, the smell of fresh cookies teasing us from the counter.  I eat two scoops of leftover chicken broccoli and rice and that's all Heather will allow me to put in my stomach.  She is generous in making room for a couple cookies though, and for that I was truly grateful.

The laundry is all washed and dried and Devin folds it all (except for my one small load, of course) and then he puts it all away.  He works for a while on a lesson he has to teach at church tomorrow, and then to the delight of the small people in this household he takes them outside to build snowmen.  At this point I am asleep on the couch, and literally even in my dream Heather is pushing on my ribs so hard I'm sure they are bruised, and my hips ache and it isn't a really very restful sleep because it feels too much like actual life.  Although in my dream Reed McGrew came over with his family and a cheeseball, and he and his wife and adopted four sweet girls who kept wanting to rub my belly.  How's that for random?

And I've just woken up and written this angry blog post and now the girls are coming in through the garage all snowy and wet with cheeks pink and full of stories about what fun they had outside with Daddy in the winter wonderland we've finally gotten to have a taste of this year.

So, there's my life.  And I'm not really angry or even all that grouchy, but the selfish immediate part of me wishes that Devin would just lay down on the couch and be miserable with me instead of being Mr. Grade A Wonderful because then I wouldn't feel so bad about the absolute nothing of my day.  I'll repent now. Please forgive me. 

How's that for honesty?