Sunday, June 8, 2014

Brooklyn's Birth Story

So guess what? I had a baby! Almost 8 ½ months ago, but still… I wrote her birth story months ago, but I never published it on my blog. I always enjoy reading other mom's stories, and I shared Yale's on here, so I thought why not? Forgive my tardiness. It's long, but enjoy:

Brooklyn’s due date was September 26th. A month before she was born, I jokingly started telling friends and family that I didn’t care when she came, as long as she came in September. In general, I was feeling pretty good up until a  couple weeks before she was born. Even up until her due date and then until the day she was born, I was able to continue exercising and was able to move around pretty well. However, I knew that this meant she wouldn’t be coming early. I still wished for it though. At 38 1/2 weeks, the doctor asked if I wanted my membranes stripped. I said yes. I was already dilated to about a 2 and 80% effaced, but nothing happened. A week later, they were stripped again. My due date came. My due date went. I was losing it mentally. Anytime I woke up in the middle of the night, I’d stay awake waiting and wishing to feel a contraction. I was so ready to be done being pregnant and to meet our daughter. To help keep my sanity, I spoiled myself the day after my due date. I went out to get a pedicure. The other ladies there knew I was past my due date, and they just kept sneaking glances at me. I know it was because they were expecting me to have a baby at any given moment. I should have started faking contractions. One of my biggest regrets is that I didn’t.

Then September 30th came. The day started like any other, still pregnant, no contractions, patience wearing thin. I went to the gym, complained to the guy at the front desk, told him “I better not see you tomorrow” again. I went to my doctor’s appointment without Lish, because they were getting boring, and I talked with the doc about induction. I didn’t want to be induced if I didn’t have to be, but we set up a time to be induced anyway on October 3rd, a week past my due date, because I was getting annoyed. My membranes were stripped for a third time, but I wasn’t feeling hopeful anymore. I was under the impression that I was just going to be pregnant forever. (Those who have gone past their due dates will understand. It’s not logical, but you definitely feel that way.) Right after my appointment I ran a couple errands, to get them done “just in case.” Again. I hated sitting at home, waiting, so I always ran our errands to get myself out of the house and be distracted. I got home around 4. Lish and Yale headed out to walk to a park so I could have some quiet time (read: time to do homework). I started a load of laundry and suddenly my water broke, but it wasn’t much. Not like how it was with Yale. And I didn’t feel any contractions. I called Lish to let him know, just in case. He asked, “Oh, should we come home then?” “No, I’ll call the doctor’s office and see what they suggest I do and then I’ll let you know. But just hang out at the park for a while.” The doctor’s office suggested I head over to the hospital. I called Lish back to let him know, but to take his time because I still wasn’t really experiencing any contractions. We also called our neighbors to let them know, since they were watching Yale for us until my mom (who was “on call”) came down. I called my mom to let her know, but told her to not leave yet. I said to wait until we got admitted, just in case it was a false alarm. Contractions started about 4:45, and I thought, “Alright! It’s finally happening.” Lish and Yale got home a couple minutes later. We got all of our stuff together and headed out right around 5:20. 

Turns out my water did break, but not much, but because I was having regular contractions they admitted me. By this time I was dilated to a 4 but still about 80% effaced. I was ushered to my room, which was a really nice, designed for natural childbirth room. The lights were dimmed, there was music, candles, and a giant jacuzzi tub. I stayed in the bed until I was all hooked up, then I got in the tub for a couple hours. While I was there, Lish and I started comparing the birth stones between September and October, and decided September was prettier, so it was even more motivation to get her to come quickly! The nurse (Kim) came in to check on me and I was dilated only to a 5. The contractions had started getting harder and harder, especially on my back. I didn’t remember my back hurting as much when I was in labor with Yale. I had only progressed one centimeter in 2 hours, so I was feeling pretty frustrated, and the contractions were getting to the point where I was thinking I might not be able to handle that much more labor without any medication. 

I got out of the tub not too much later after that so my doctor could check me. I was asked if I wanted the rest of my water broken, which would help speed things up, so I said, “Of course!” When the doctor checked me I had dilated to a 7 or 8. He broke my water at about 10:30 and warned me that the contractions would start coming harder and faster. I felt like they were already at that point, so it didn’t feel like I was progressing too fast. I didn’t move from the bed after he broke my water because I was comfortable and didn’t want to exert any extra energy. I was actually feeling pretty tired like I wanted to sleep. Between contractions I would shut my eyes, just wanting to sleep. Finally, around 11:15 I decided I could start pushing. The urge wasn’t too strong yet, but it was definitely getting there. We let the doctor and nurses know, and they got everything prepped for it. Then the doctor explained the pushing “guidelines” to me. This was the only point in my entire labor where I felt out of it. It was hard staying focused on what he was saying because my urge to push was growing so strong. Lish was also texting at this time. He said he was letting our parents know I was about to start pushing because apparently they wanted to be informed. After I was all situated, a contraction started coming and the doctor started guiding my pushing and breathing. I pushed 3 times during the contraction. After the contraction had gone away the doctor told me to push again. I said, “But I’m not contracting!” He said, “That’s okay, just push.” I pushed one more time and Brooklyn was out. It was so fast I couldn’t believe it! I barely felt the ring of fire, which was by far the worst part with Yale. That last push was so tiring, but then I was done. Everything about labor and delivery was so much easier for me the second time around. My doctor was amazing. Besides checking his fantasy football all night, Lish was amazing. (For the record, he was losing but came back and won that night.)

Brooklyn Talia Harris was born at 11:26pm, just before October, like I wanted. And she was beautiful. She weighed 7lb 8oz and was 20 inches long. My doctor looked at me as I was holding her and said, “Have you ever considered teaching childbirth classes? You had such good control!” He delivers lots of babies, so I took that as quite the compliment. I nursed her a little bit before we were taken up to the postpartum floor. We had her in the room for a little bit but then had her taken into the nursery so we could try to get some sleep. It never works out like that though. I was so exhausted and I barely slept. Brooklyn was brought into the room around 5:30 for me to try to feed her. She had been sleeping and still didn’t seem all that interested in eating. I just took the opportunity to snuggle with her for an hour instead. 
In the morning the nurses came in and told us that Brooklyn’s levels still weren’t quite right (they had let us know right after she was born, but were keeping an eye on it). Her heart rate was pretty low, around 90 bpm rather than 120-140, and her respirations were really low, 12-15 breaths per minute rather than 30-60. They kept checking her throughout the day but because it was remaining pretty low, they wanted us to stay another night. 

Lish headed home so he could be with Yale when Yale got up and then bring him to the hospital to meet Brooklyn. While everyone was gone I started nursing Brooklyn and had to stop because the contractions were so bad. I actually ended up throwing up because it was making me so nauseous. That was the only part that was worse for me the second time around, the contractions after birth. Yale, Lish, and my mom showed up around 9 that morning. It was so amazing to have Yale meet his little sister. Lots of very sweet moments. And holding both of them was so precious to me. They stayed for a bit and then took Yale home to take a nap. They came back after his nap and had dinner at the hospital. It was so nice to get to spend that time as a family, but so hard to have Yale come and go.

We had her sleep in the nursery again that night. The next morning the nurse came in and said, “She’s finally acting like a normal baby.” I looked at her and said, “You mean she’s crying?” (She rarely cried at the hospital. I kept waiting for the ball to drop.) The nurse gave me a funny look and said, “No, her heart rate and her breathing are like a normal baby.” Apparently she was almost transferred to the NICU. Thankfully she came around on her own! They also said her bilirubin levels were some of the lowest they had ever seen, which was great. She was nursing pretty well, and overall a very content little baby. She still is. We were so happy to get home and be together as a family. (The hardest part about being in the hospital was having to tell Yale that we couldn’t come home yet.) It was so nice to get home and get settled back in with our family of four. We love our sweet baby Brooklyn and are so blessed to have her in our lives.

Quick note about her name: We named her Brooklyn in memory of my friend, Brooke Wilberger (although Brooke was not short for Brooklyn). Talia means "Heaven's dew" in Hebrew. Plus, they're beautiful names.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Year in Review - 2013

Remember how I used to be really good about blog posts? I would even write about stuff no one cared about. That's how much I had to say. Those were the days. Before I had a toddler. Before I had school. Before I watched our neighbor's baby. Before I got pregnant again and had a toddler. Before I had a newborn and a toddler. I guess what I'm trying to say is toddlers ruin everything. I'm kidding, mostly. I love my little man.

Anyway, my sister and sister-in-laws have inspired me to catch up on my blog. There is no way I can fit everything that happened in, so I'm doing a condensed version. Let's say this is what my Christmas letter/card would have said if we had sent them out this year. Here we go.

You know how at the end of the year you think, "How will next year top this?" That's how it was for me last year. It was a great year. We found out in January that we were expecting. (Great way to start the year, right?) I also started working on my Master's degree through Southern Utah University in Sports Conditioning and Performance. In February we went on the annual winter family cabin trip. Always a good time there.

We took a trip down to Arizona in March to visit some friends.

I want to say April was pretty low key. (I hope I'm not missing something there.) We did have some family come visit us that month.

In May we headed up to northern Utah because my sister and her husband were graduating. A few days after graduation, my mom, sister, and I took a trip out to NYC for a few days. It was rainy and fabulous!

June was a busy month. I had to go onto campus every day for two weeks for school. Then Lish went out to DC to play a part in our good friend's baptism. Then we headed up north to meet our niece Grace.

July was not quite as busy. It was the last month I watched Presley, which was bittersweet for me.
In August we headed to Huntington Beach. That was a great trip, again. I also had a baby shower that month and we just tried to get things ready for the baby.

Lish and I went on our first overnight trip in September with just the two of us and no Yale. We went to Vegas and it was so much fun. The rest of the month we just played the waiting game. And we waiting right up until the end of the month. Brooklyn was finally born on September 30th at 11:24 at night. It was a perfect way to round out that month!

October was chalked full of visitors. It was a little crazy with a new baby, but at the same time it was nice to not be alone with two kids very much.

In November, Lish, Brooklyn and I headed out to Atlanta for Lish's Criminology conference. Yale headed up north to bounce around between grandparents for a week. I think he had fun but he had some separation anxiety when he got home. My dad and Alisia came down for Thanksgiving. It was fun to host them and have a  big Thanksgiving feast.

December was another busy month. First we had Yale's first friend birthday party. We went to the fire station. It was a success. Then we had some family come down for Brooklyn's baby blessing, but it snowed here in St. George more than it had snowed in over 100 years. That was a little crazy. We ended up having the blessing at home because church was cancelled. Then Lish's dad, sister, and her kids all came to our house for a few days. And we all got sick. But it was still crazy and fun. A couple days later we headed up north for Christmas. We were still sick, which was not fun, but it's always a good time to spend the holidays with loved ones.

That was pretty much our year. Like I said, it was a good one. We saw lots of family, took a few trips, had a baby. Even though it's already February, I can't wait to see what this year has in store for us!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Hooter Hider Tutorial

My sister asked me to do this for her, so don't pay attention to this post, or pay attention if you want to learn how to make a hooter hider.

one yard of fabric
half of a yard of boning
a small amount of fabric for the pocket (usually white or another light, neutral color and a softer material)
2 - 1" D rings
2 cloth diapers/burp cloths (optional)

26" x 36" cut out
2 1/2" x 10" strip
2 1/2" x 18" strip
2 - 7 1/2" x 20" cut outs (for the burp cloths if you so desire)
9" x 9" for the pocket (using the other fabric)

First, cut out all those lovely pieces. Then we'll start with the big piece. I always start with the sides of the piece first. When the hooter hider sits, the sides will be the shorter length. Fold down the fabric about a 1/4" all the way down the side. (I use my fingernail to press a crease into the fabric.)
Then fold the material over again all the way down.
Pin those sides down, but leave an inch or two at the bottom so you can fold it up. Guess what you're gonna do now? Yep, fold the bottom using the same technique. Before you pin it down though, fold that small piece of fabric for the pocket corner to corner diagonally. Stick that fabric on one of the corners of the hooter hider where the folds will fold over.

(Do you see my tiny little arrow on the 1st picture? Put the corner of the pocket on that creased corner.)

After you get everything pinned down, just start sewing. Sew both sides first and then the bottom. As with starting all sewing lines, go down about an inch or so, then sew back up, then sew back down so all the edges of the sewing line are nice and sturdy and won't fall apart.

Now let's move to the top. Fold the fabric 1/4" down first, like how we did on all the other sides. Then you'll fold it over again but wider so that the boning will fit through it. This will usually be about an inch wide.
You'll want to sew the bottom side of the fold over and the top side, so be sure to leave enough room for those stitches, and also be sure to have the top stitching be right close to the edge.
Then slide the boning in there. Make sure it's right in the center. It will stay there because we are putting our straps on each side of the boning. 

So let's move on to the straps. Fold both straps in half length-wise and then sew. That's it for the shorter strap, but for the longer one, sew one end of the strap as well.

Once those are sewed you come to my least favorite part. Now you have to turn those babies right side out. You can do it using whatever strategy you think works best. For the longer strap I usually use a pencil or pen to help me. 

When they're turned right side out, iron them flat. Then fold a tiny bit down for where you'll attach it to the hooter hider. You'll fold down the unsewn end of the longer strap and both ends of the shorter strap. Before you pin the shorter strap on, slide the two D rings on there and then pin it on the hooter hider folded in half. It doesn't really matter which side you pin each strap onto, just be sure to pin them right at the edge of your boning. (Come to think of it, I usually pin the shorter strap onto the right side of the hooter hider because most people are right handed so it's easier to strap on. But either way works.)

Sew those little lovelies on there. They will usually be harder to sew on because of all the material you're trying to sew through, but just give the fabric a little push or a pull if it needs it. I go all the way around where those straps attach twice, so it's making two squares.
After the straps on on there, sew a little line right up by the D rings so they don't have very much sliding room. Otherwise it gets tricky to have them stay in place.

Last step on the hooter hider - back to the pocket. Use a ruler or measuring tape or whatever so you can measure it evenly. I've found that the entire length of the pocket piece is about 12", so I make a mark at 4" and 8". From those marks, draw a line with a pencil, all the way down to where it meets the fabric and add a third line connecting those lines.

 Then just sew along those lines so you're making a three-sided square. I usually start on the top side and just follow it down, turn the fabric, follow it down, turn the fabric and follow it down so it's continuous.
When you're done sewing that pocket, the front side of the hooter hider will look something like this:
(Don't mind that I can't sew a straight line.)
Now your hooter hider is complete!
You may be thinking, what should I do with this extra fabric? And that is where the burp clothes come into play. Perhaps you already cut out the pieces for the burp cloths. Good for you! Let's get into it then.

If you haven't already, iron the cloth diapers. They are usually very wrinkled from the packaging. Then take the material and fold down the long sides down about a 1/4" to a 1/2".
Place it on the cloth diaper and center it as best as you can. Pin down the sides and the fold over the ends and pin those down too (just below the diaper's edge).

Now just sew everything down. I like the way it looks when I sew a little into the cloth, rather than from edge to edge, but you can do it however you wish.

Welp, now you're done! You have just made a pregnant or nursing woman very happy. YAY!