Wednesday, September 6, 2017

From the Memory of a One Month Post-Partum Mom----Soren's Birth Story

         For months Sharlee and I drove 3 1/2 hrs to Prescott for appts. and the same back. I was so excited to be using the same midwife that my mom had when she delivered me.
         Sharlee and I went to Prescott on July 11th to stay and await Soren's arrival.  I was advised on the 6th to take it easy, no carrying Sharlee (difficult when her famous line was, "hold you, hold you! HOLD ME!"), no exercise, take Cramp Bark 5x a day for a week, because of signs of labor. We needed to make it to 36 weeks for our planned home birth.
        Daddy drove to Prescott on Friday nights after work and went back home on Sunday afternoons.         When August hit, I said that I was going to have the baby on Friday night after Ryan arrived or it probably wouldn't be for another 2 or 3 weeks. I was anxious. On that Friday, August 4th, Ryan got to Prescott about 8pm. Grumpy and Jules were out on a date. We put Sharlee to bed and we got to bed about 10pm.
        I woke up about 2:45am to go to the bathroom. I went back to bed and immediately started having strong contractions. Trying so hard to sleep, I finally turned my brain on after a few of them, because it seemed like they were pretty close. I opened my tablet to the Baby Center app. and used the contraction timer tool. I tried to keep sleeping, but hit the button for the beginning and end of each contraction. They were mainly 4 and 5 minutes apart. Once it got to 4:30 I decided it was a reasonable time to wake Ryan up.
        I told him, "We are going to have a baby today!" I had to say it a couple of times for him to grasp the words through his foggy, sleep brain. I waited until 5:30am to call Paula Matthew, our midwife. She said she would shower, get her coffee and make the drive from Skull Valley. I kept telling Ryan I felt so bad calling her and didn't want to bother her early, have her rush over and then wait "forever" for anything to happen.
       At this point Ryan and I went upstairs. I went in to Jules and Grumpy's room to tell them Paula was coming. Grumpy's face popped up with such sleepy excitement and said, "You're in labor?!" My mom asked something like, "you seriously called her this early?" (She told me later that I didn't look in distress).
Bustling Around!
       It was time to get ready, if we weren't already. Ryan and I went down to our designated birth room where Sharlee was sleeping in her pack n' play. With skill, Ryan moved Sharlee down the hall and placed her on the bed we had been sleeping in without her even cracking an eyelid. Ryan then made me Cream of Rice cereal (seems to be my pre-birth/ in labor breakfast) and I was able to take maybe 7 bites. Then as Paula and her assistant Deborah were pulling up I made my way downstairs. As they all bustled around and set up the birth pool I was on the floor working through contractions. Then I leaned against the bed to hang my belly. Paula had me get up and she checked me. I was about 5/6cm and around 7/8cm during a contraction.
       Once the pool was ready I got in and my contractions seemed to be almost gone for a while, a lot of space between them. Then slowly they came closer again.
       Paula said if they broke my water I would have this baby...that it would just save us some time. The ladies left the room so Ryan and I could discuss this. I was nervous, because I knew it would be a way to just increase intensity and I was feeling nervous for the "peak" and was starting to be a little anxious for being a mom of two. Ryan said a prayer for us and we decided-- We want to hold this boy! So Ryan went and told them we wanted to have them break my water.
       My bag of waters was pretty tough to poke through, but it worked.  I thought I would feel a pop, but nothing. It just created a leak. I went through more contractions in the birth pool.
We decided I should change positions. I got out of the water and went to sit on the toilet. The contractions started to come more often and felt more intense out of the water. I felt like pushing so we made our way back to the bedroom. I was going to get back in the pool, but I didn't. I stood basically right inside the door of the room through some contractions. Then squatting deep through more, while amniotic fluid spilled out. I decided to move to the bed, as my legs were feeling like jell-o in the deep squat.
        Paula checked me and during a contraction I was fully dilated. I began pushing with my contractions. After a few, it was getting real. Paula was doing perineal massage using olive oil. I caught a glimpse of a clock around this point and it was just before 10am.
I felt like my pushing wasn't doing anything, but they assured me he was moving down. My left leg got really achy and I moved it around and stretched it. Paula said it was a good sign of the baby moving down. As I pushed they gave me a cool cloth for my head. Ryan held my hand and stroked my hair. I told them that labor was sensational, full of sensations! In my mind I kept reminding myself that I needed to stay positive, my brain was a super roller coaster as thoughts of doubt came in my mind and I would shut them down with affirmations.  Through the pushing I may have used a 4 letter "sh" word two or three times.
         As Soren's head began to emerge, I was so excited and determined to get him out. He had so much dark hair!
Those feelings in my body were so intense--but I pushed through (I really didn't have any other option, haha). His head came out, it looked pretty purple to me. This worried me some, but was also just encouragement for me to get him all the way out. I reached down and held his head as I pushed to get his body to come through. I felt as his knobby shoulder and sharp elbow popped out and the rest of him seemed to easily slip out.
I brought him up to my stomach. Ryan and I  began loving on him. So perfect!
       Paula told me to think of my placenta, thank it it for supporting my baby. It soon came out. Ryan was able to cut the umbilical cord.
        The midwife and assistant pretty quickly were able to make their way upstairs so we could be alone.
        I tried to get Soren to nurse, but I couldn't get him to latch. He wouldn't open his eyes, because it was bright in the room.
        When Paula came back down she told me to express some milk for him to smell and taste. He latched and nursed, but really was not too hungry. We are SO grateful to have this handsome boy!

      *  It was so cool to be able to have this baby in the home I grew up in, in the room I grew up in! It was such a wonderful and truly calm morning. I could hear clanking of breakfast happening upstairs, Sharlee saying "Mo-ee" (more) while eating pancakes and the occasional 'Mom!' I knew that everyone was excited up there. My sweet sister came and took Sharlee so she could have fun with Auntie C  and her cousin. After Soren was born and the ladies left, Ryan and I were the only ones at the house with Soren for a bit, all napping. Truly though, I could not fall asleep.

*   Soren was born at 10:18am. The entire labor was under 8 hours and I had no tears. It was awesome that I was not exhausted from a long labor like I was with Sharlee. I was able to have a clear mind and not be 'out of it' as I would say I was last time.


video




This is the afternoon after birth. 

 
Getting the stats!


video  <3  <3 <3






Friday, January 13, 2017

Animal Style Cheeseburger Family

So, I am still in school. Surprises, surprise. That is what happens when you get married and have a baby and are still trying to reach some of your goals...like graduating college.... hear, hear!!! I think I can say I am "nearing" the finish line. Well, this morning I had to write a family systems model paper. After sharing it with my husband he encouraged me to post it for all to hear.
So, here you are!


A family must function together, including all parts in the working model. The goal is to accomplish many different things, but the ability to do so is dependent upon the individuals and their relationships with one another. My family functions well together, but there are things about the relationships within the family that are not always harmonious. As a whole, functionality works out.
The Sandwich

            The Larsen family could be compared to many different functions or objects, but one that fits well is the Larsen family as an In-N-Out Animal Style Cheese Burger. These sandwiches are great and many people desire them and want to be near them in some way. People see or hear of the Larsen family and most often it is a positive reaction. The components of this sandwich work together in unique ways, but each part is necessary and does contribute in positive ways.
 The Bun
            My father holds the family together. He makes sure that everyone stays in line and is 

included. He understands the importance of family and makes sure that family is first. He protects it 

in a way that is sometimes quite bold. The other members of the family many times were unable to 

be involved in other activities or to get involved in other systems such as sports or too many church 

activities, as this could take away from the strength of the home sandwich. Other members of the 

sandwich were occasionally frustrated or upset when they started to slip out the side of the sandwich 

to try out some other systems and were quickly squeezed back in. All members have seen how this 

has been a strength to the sandwich and that the sandwich is the most important system. As I said, 

the father, or bun, holds the family together. The bun in a way is giving the whole family a hug and

 this is something that the bun did often. He would join the whole group for a big sandwich hug.

Animal Sauce
            This component is of great importance. Without this sauce, our mother, we would just be any other sandwich or family. This animal sauce smothers goodness all over the other members of the sandwich. She adds moisture to the bun and is exactly what he needs. They frustrate each other sometimes, because they don’t always see the need for one another’s specific traits. That is something that happens when you have been around each other for so long. This sauce brings so much joy to the sandwich, because she is sometimes a comedic relief when things seem to be “same old, same old”. This sandwich is always fresh and something to look forward to and the sauce puts it above the rest. All others unique qualities are just accentuated from the love that the animal sauce sprinkles all over.
Patty
 Everyone loves the patty, because that is the point of the whole sandwich, right? All other ingredients to follow are striving to please as the patty does in some way. The oldest brother is the patty, first as he is all about the meat in his hunting life. The family refers to the patty as the golden child. Zachary is so beloved by his parents and all his siblings look up to him. He is most often sweet and juicy, but if by chance you get a burnt edge, that is something that really can’t be masked by the other flavors. Someone such as the tomato, who is most often of great support to the patty, at times may get a bad bite and is quite put off by the patty and his rank way of expressing himself. That one bite does not ruin everything though. Once the tomato can get over the foulness of that bite, the continued experience is still pleasurable. Sibling interactions areinteresting. It is not always going to be positive and wonderful, but the components to this sandwich have always gotten back into good terms, being tight in that bun.
Lettuce
            The lettuce thinks it is so necessary, and it is, but it really doesn’t give a huge “pop” to the sandwich. It is a subtle crispness, that others might not realize has such a profound effect on the others. Ciara is the older sister that makes sure that everyone knows what they should be doing and how they should be doing it. 

 Cheese
            That cheese gets a lot of attention, as its name is in the sandwich. Isak is loud and can cause a scene. You pay extra for that cheese, but it really does make a difference. He makes everyone laugh and smile. I guess that is why we are supposed to say “cheese” when we smile in a picture. Depending on what kind of cheese he is for the day, sometimes there is a sharp bite, but this is a rare occasion, as most often Isak is a mild cheddar that anyone likes and can handle.
 Tomato
            I, being the tomato, have a unique role. Many people do not prefer tomatoes amongst their other preferred members of a sandwich. Alone, many people would discard the tomato, but if you keep the tomato in the sandwich you would realize that it is not completely overpowering, but it lets you know it is there. The tomato sometimes competes with other flavors, such as the onion, as both have some boldness. As you sink your teeth into an animal style cheese burger, you might notice the onion, then the tomato, then back and forth a few times, wondering which sensation you are more pleased with. You come to terms that both are wonderful and necessary to the whole. That banter happens occasionally.
 Onion
            The onion is sometimes a last thought to add. Not everyone orders it. In the beginning the patty made it clear that the onion was not necessary. There were enough members of the sandwich already. Once the onion was within the sandwich no one second guessed the presence of the new member. That onion sometimes can be quite loud in opinion or flavor. He makes sure he is heard. Spencer often gets frustrated that he is the youngest or last thought before the sandwich is complete, but he makes up for it in his loud ways and power he exerts.
Conclusion
            There is so much going on in this family that it is often hard to understand how all of the ingredients work together, but overall it is a pleasant lunch to have. All of the little parts that sometimes have their bickering or frustrations are little in comparison to the goodness to the whole, and as said before that animal sauce covers everything in love and remembrance of the importance of the whole. That bun really helps to hold it together too.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Thankful for a Shower

               Many a mother has talked about the struggle of getting a shower in everyday. Yeah, it's hard. Now, I am one who previous to becoming a mother probably showered every other day unless I had worked out or something (I used to workout? Go me!). Now though, "the struggle is real". It was pretty impossible in the early days of motherhood, but lately I have been able to put that little child in her high chair outside the bathroom door with a mound of toys and I get a few minutes before she starts crying because all of her toys are now mysteriously down the hall.
             Today as I got to take such a shower I started to think about how very blessed I am to have a high chair where I can contain my little offspring and keep her safe while I am out of reach. Then somehow I got on a little role of counting my blessings.  I was so grateful for my shower (even though it kind of dribbles out),  running water!, being able to find food that doesn't make my sensitive stomach sick, air conditioning!, having a family, dark chocolate covered almonds, so many things!
          I have probably said this before, but I wrote a super eloquent blog post in my head earlier today about all of this. I wish you could read it and really understand and know what I am saying. I want to remember to be grateful. Uhhhh, I have been weighed down with the "want what they haves" recently. I have so much!

          Side note, Rybot taught a wonder lesson on Sunday about the importance of keeping a journal. My journal writing has been pretty intermittent,  but we learned how it is important to write down thoughts, impressions, even the humdrum of our days, because it can bless others and it can bless our future selves. I hope that the things that I record will benefit someone, even if it just brings a simple smile, but hopefully things that I record will cause myself and others to act. We need a lot more of that these days. Not drama acting, but being bold, helping others, and just to keep on going when life is heavy.
 

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Movie Joy

I love watching good, wholesome movies. Mostly I love watching cheesy movies or chick flick movies. I am blessed with a husband who usually let's me pick the movie and gladly sits with me through it. I find great joy in the funny things said in movies and these are often great topic starters for lively conversation.
One of my favorite things (though sometimes irritating) is picking apart or analyzing movies on the car ride home or just while getting ready for bed after watching a movie.
One movie that we love to watch is "Marley and Me". Now, there is plenty to laugh at in this movie. The thing is, sometimes the least likely part of a movie turns out to be our favorite or holds sentimental memories for us. In the movie the husband surprises his wife by taking her to pick out a puppy. I love this, because I would love to be surprised with a puppy. Well the lady tells them the prices for male and female, but then points to the one the wife is holding and says that one puppy is less. She holds him up and says she was going to pick him anyways, but she is going to call him their little @#&**&% puppy. Now after having watched this movie together a few times we were driving in the car somewhere and Ryan says, "I just don't understand why she says they are going to call him their little Clarence puppy. It is so random!" This to me was soooooo funny! I asked him what he was talking about and I shared with him the news that it made a lot of sense because they are calling him their clearance puppy, you know, because he was a discounted price.  Now this whole part is foreshadowing to the rest of the movie and the clearance puppy's wild behavior. The lady selling the puppies must have known there would be trouble.
So, that's all I have to say about that, except if you are going to watch movies or spend your time in front of screens just for entertainment, watch some good, wholesome movies and talk about them and the lessons they teach! Sometimes you get an extra bonus, Clarence!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Is this real life?

There are a ton of things that come into play when you are a new mom for the first time. I say for the first time, because I can imagine each time you have a baby you are once again a new mom.
Can you really prepare for what motherhood will be like, really prepare for those first weeks that just run together...one huge, wonderful, emotional blur? In the first few weeks people kept asking me how I felt, how SharleeOli was sleeping, if I loved being a mom, etc. I told people flat out that I thought every woman with more than one child was out of their minds, because how can someone live and function feeling this way? I had never known such exhaustion, frustration and many other things. A lot of people looked at me like I was crazy for seemingl not just being overjoyed and bubbly about the whole thing......I was, but it was masked by all the crazy.
Let me tell you, I am in total awe of every mother for how well they act while having no personal space, ever. I am probably painting a picture of myself being a very selfish, self-centered person, but honestly I have always loved children....I used to cancel dates if I had a babysitting gig offered, because a gang of little boys to play with was a guarantee of a fun night. But, when you are the mom, you don't get a break... you don't get to go home at the end of the night to your own silence...you don't get to close the bedroom  door and return to the scene in the morning...there is no certainty of what the night will hold. That was something that really stressed me out at first...I had serious anxiety about what my nights would entail.
Now, a mere 12 weeks into my life long work (because I know being a mom will never go away, 😊) I am starting to feel like a human being...well I have slowly felt more and more alive. Everyone talks about how you forget the first days of motherhood and that is why women are crazy enough to go for more rounds, but I think it is true. It all goes SO fast. Sharlee is not even 3 months old yet and she is dead set on sitting up by herself...she has pretty much accomplished it in about 4 days of trying. Now I wonder, did I wish away those first couple of weeks more than I enjoyed them? I enjoyed everything about her, but maybe my mind was clouded from exhaustion and hunger...haha, but I think that is the way it is supposed to be.
Sharlee is my best friend and I know everything I possibly can about her and I get to learn more every day as she develops such a unique personality.
What a pure blessing it is to be Sharlee's mother and friend, to care for her and be her advocate while she is young and whenever she needs me.

I love spending my days doing the things that are most important, loving and teaching...but mostly loving and observing. People around town have told me how lucky I am to be able to stay home with her now, but that in a couple of years I will need to get out of the house and away from my children....ummmm, I hope I don't ever feel like I have to get away every day, because this is a challenge, a beautiful challenge.


These two fell asleep and left me to finish a movie by myself!

Friday, March 4, 2016

Motherhood

I just wanted to write down some thoughts. This probably won't be eloquent or as funny as it is in my head, because honestly I have a baby strapped to me right now and it is awkward to type. I could be really productive, but doing the dishes with a baby strapped to your front is kind of awkward and difficult....more so than doing it pregnant. And.......she's awake.... ha, it doesn't last long if you sit down.

One funny~~~~ When I was pregnant people started talking about using a special laundry detergent that would be gentle on a new baby's skin. So, while at Target I told my husband that was something we needed to find. So, we looked through the massive selection of laundry soaps....who knew it was such a task when you are used to just grabbing the cheapest one at Walmart. I tried to get Ryan's opinion on what one to get,but of course we were near the bikes and toys and that stuff is way more fun to look at. Well, I found some and for the next month before Sharlee was born I washed all of her clothes with this stuff. Fast forward to about day 10 postpartum. My mom was with us and doing everything for me (I have the best mom!) and she asked me at what point during the cycle should she put in the fabric softener. I told her that I don't have fabric softener and she said that I certainly did, a big white jug of it. I told her that was the sensitive detergent. She came into the living room carrying the monster bottle and read it to me. I was shocked. For a very emotional person to begin with and dealing with a massive drop in hormones I was pretty upset about this! I had been washing all baby clothes in fabric softener, thus not really washing them. Surprisingly I don't think I cried over this incidence, but I laughed about it and it was on the top of my mind for days. I think a lot of motherhood will be like this for me. (: I love that weird things like this happen in life to keep us laughing.

There is a thought that has been on my mind a lot the past two months. People always talk about how messy babies are---all the spit up, explosive diapers, etc. For the first two weeks of motherhood, Sharlee never spit up-honestly. BUT, I was still SO grateful for birp cloths. Moms always talk about how handy it is to have birp cloths around.....yeah, I know why. There are two jugs that seem to spring a leak now and again...and in the beginning it was again and again and again! Who would have thought that I would get so used to having extra cloths stuffed under my shirt, wear wash cloths under my clothes and switch them out multiple times a day!?!! It's crazy! There have been many times that I have thought to myself, 'Wow, I seriously feel like a cow!' But it's okay, I love it! hahahaa Being able to feed your child is really awesome! It's also cool that Sharlee spits up a lot now so that I can have an excuse for having so many birp cloths stuffed in the diaper bag all the time! Really though, the geysers are getting on a routine just like 'Ol Faithful. ;)

Hmmm, I have so many thoughts and great things that I want to blog about all the time, but I blog them in my head and then forget to copy them here. One last thing, how does one EVER stop taking pictures of their children?! Maybe it will catch on later, but some people probably think it is ridiculous how many pictures people post of their children in Facebook, Instagram, etc., but wow...I have probably 10 photos per day of life of Sharlee! Here is one thing I know is true already. The first child gets it all--millions of photos, blog posts, a little journal of all the firsts, etc, etc, but I am just trying to keep life simple.....

 I have a few...cough cough a million pictures that I feel like posting here...mostly because I am my biggest blog follower.... (:

 This was in the Mother's room at church. Sharlee was having a rough time until I let her hangout on the floor.

Ryan put this pillow here to try to keep her pacifier in her mouth so that I could eat....scarf my food down. 

Self explanatory...cutest little girl there is.


I feel like she looks like a little gangsta baby every time she is wrapped. 

This was one of my favorite days. Sharlee wanted to get up early and smile and squirm while Daddy got ready for work...I wasn't too happy that she wanted to be awake at that time of the morning. We played for almost two hours...I sneaked in some tummy time and she clonked out...WIN! I got an extra two hours of sleep on the living room floor with this cutie. 

 
Valentine's Day--the day you get to snooze all morning and wake up at church lookin' good!

Umm, some dream, eh? 

Yessssss, holding hands with my daughter is one of my favorite things.

Frills...!



I am not a foot person....I just don't like them...never thought I would even care to touch my own children's feet, but I kiss these! Seriously something I wouldn't have thought, but I just can't get enough of her feet!

This girl has the softest neck!

Snoozing---I call this the swing n' swaddle. She loves being in her swing if she is swaddled...hands free of course. 


Ready to get out in the sunshine. 

Wearing her new "turban". 

Showing me she is so strong so we can cut it with this whole "tummy time" business. 

This week Sharlee has started to have a little bit of fussiness and I found the cure...She doesn't want to wear her clothes. This girl hardly cries, but she had a fit until I took off her clothes and it turned into the best day ever....We have head a few of these since...

How do you taking a sleeping child and put them into the car to go pick up Daddy when you know that will equal pouting for the whole drive through town?

squishy cheeks. She has huge smiles when I do this. 

Love when she looks up at me with drowsy eyes!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Sharlee's Birth Story

    On Saturday, December 19th, I started having contractions about 9pm. They were generally 30 minutes apart. Once I went to bed they tapered out and I got about 2-3 hours of good sleep, though I may have had a few contractions during that time. All of these had a little power to them, but I thought "labor" could still be a couple weeks out.
   Sunday, December 20th, 38w5d pregnant. I was a little upset in the morning and asked Ryan if I could come home from church after Sacrament meeting because I hadn't slept well and was SO tired. Ryan said I could just stay home, but I didn't want to miss the Christmas program. It was a good program and I am glad that I went.
   It was a little awkward to be having contractions during Sacrament meeting. When Ryan took me home after, we talked about how glad we were that my water didn't brake at church, because that would be so horrible. I took a "nap" while Ryan was at the rest of church.
   Around 3pm is when my contractions sort of "picked up". They were more intense and I leaned on counters, table, the bed, or my yoga ball for them and rotated my hips. We did video calls with my family and Ryan's family that evening and I nonchalantly exited screen view to lean on the couch probably every 15 minutes or so. I told my family I was having contractions, but they figured I was having Braxton Hicks.
   Ryan and I started to go to bed around 10pm. Ryan wanted me to call the midwife to let her know what was going on. In the end, I did not want to call that evening. I did start timing my contractions. I did this off and on through the night. I couldn't stay laying down for any of them. Some I just got on all 4's on the bed, but I pretty much wandered through the house the whole night.
    From 10:30pm to 11:30pm my contractions were: 14min, 12, 17, and 15minutes apart and lasted about 30 seconds. I told Ryan that was way too far apart to tell the midwives that night.
    From about 4:10am to 5:10am they were 9:30, 8:30, 10, 10, 11, 3:30, 8:30, 3, and 4 minutes apart. Some quite close!
   Ryan was kind of up with me at this point. He asked if he should go to work or not. I told him that he should for a few hours. I decided to take a shower, but continued timing.  From 5:30am-6:45am they were: 8:30, 2, 6:30, 2:30, 2, 2, 1, 8, 8, 4, 1:30, 4, 4, 1, 4, 4, 4, 2, 5, and 5 minutes apart, lasting about 45 seconds.
     Ryan wanted to keep timing. From 6:55-7:15am Ry recorded: 4:30, 1:30, 1:30, 7:30, and 6:30 minutes apart.
      We called the On-call Midwife. I told her it was me. She asked if I was having contractions and I said yes. She asked how far apart. I told her it was all over the place, but a lot were about 4 minutes apart. She said we could come in to the Birth Center at 8:30am--in about an hour to get checked.
   Ryan and I gathered a few things that weren't already in the car.  For breakfast I had some Cream of Rice hot cereal. Ryan texted his boss and said he wouldn't be coming in, because his wife was "going into labor". I am quite sure I was already there.
    Before we got in the car, I asked Ryan if he could give me a Priesthood blessing. He did and that helped calm me for the approx. 50 minute drive ahead. during the first part of the drive I distracted myself by slowly french braiding my hair on both sides. On the drive my contractions slowed a bit.
     I really needed to go to the bathroom and told Ryan to stop at the rest area just outside of Boise. Ryan first accidentally got off at the truck weigh station (nervous father-to-be). So I got out at the rest area and Ryan helped me inside because it was icy. I forgot to mention that it was quite snowy in Mountain Home, but on the way into Boise it turned to just rain. There were cops under the overpasses and I was joking  about getting pulled over and the cop not believing I was in labor because I wasn't screaming like ladies in the movies.
    We made it safely over to Meridian and to the Birth Center. As we entered they took us right back to the exam room and I plopped into a chair. Beth, who I had talked to on the phone said that Kellie and Melissa (student) would be with me that day, along with assistant Candice, who I had not previously met.
     They led us into the large birthing suite and Melissa and Candice took my vitals and checked Sharlee's heartrate. Then they said we could get comfortable and rest for about an hour before they would come back in.
     During that time I kept saying to Ryan that I really hoped they wouldn't send us home and say I wasn't in labor, because it seemed like my contractions were too far apart again. I beleive it was about 10am when they came back in. Melissa said she could check my progress if I wanted. I accepted. She was shocked and said she thought I was dilated to like 9cm, but would have Kellie come check. Kellie checked and said it was shaped a little different and I was a definite 5 or 6cm. Active labor is when you hit 4cm. They seemed excited and like we may be expecting an early afternoon birth.
   Melissa had also encouraged me to lay on different sides and move around a lot, because Sharlee was facing my right hip and that could be contributing to my random contraction pattern.
       At this time I was allowed to get in the birthing tub to ease the contraction "sensations". I kept the word "pain" out of mind and called it sensations and other things. I seriously spent most of the day in the tub. Ryan helped me to keep drinking water and gave me orange slices and cheesesticks.
        I focused on keeping everything loose and letting my body do what it needed. Ryan and I were joking and laughing. I prefer to laugh when I want to cry.  I believe it was around 3pm when they told me I could push with my contractions. It felt so good, like the feeling disappeared. Then they offered to check my progress. I accepted and they said there was still a little cervix left, therefore I was not allowed to push yet. That made me a little frustrated. They told me if I got out of the tub and walked around the room, bounced on the yoga ball, etc. that this would most likely get the progress I needed. So, for a while I did these things. Then I got more upset. Things were getting MORE intense. I told Ryan to go ask if I could push now. I really wanted to. He went out to ask. Kellie came back and said that I would know when I could; when it is pretty much impossible not to, my body would just do it. It was hard to wait for that. They got me back in the warm tub. At this point I got into my own zone and literally did not feel like I was really still in the room with Ryan.
       One midwife stayed inthe room at this point, sitting somewhat out of sight behind Ryan. I liked this, because it gave me hope that I was finally getting near the end. I was literally almost completely under the water, but my face, letting the water drown out sound. I loved what Kellie kept saying to help me. It was something like, "Your uterus is not against you, it is you." I focused on her saying, " It is you".  I really had to focus on enjoying my little breaks...resting.
          Kellie then said she thought my water broke, I said I didn't know... She then said she was going to get my 3rd dose of antibiotics going for group B Strep. I got upset and said I couldn't do it anymore. They again said I was close. I said obviously not if they were going to hook up the i.v. again. She then said I could choose not to have more because I already had the double 1st dose and 2nd dose. So we skipped it. Then they suggested I get out and go to the bed and things might progress more. I was quite reluctant, because I was really hoping for a water birth. I just never wanted to get out in case I couldn't get back in, but I just wanted to have the baby already.
        They helped me out of the tub and on to the bed. I laid on my side and Kellie worked on getting the i.v. hook up stuff out of/off my arm. At this point I was having those uncontrollable pushing contractions with seemingly no stop. (I couldn't see a clock through any of this, but Ryan said it was around 8pm when we went to the bed.)  Ryan was so sweet the whole time. During this I just wanted to hold his hand. Midwives had him give me 2 fingers to hold on to so I wouldn't break his hand if i were to squeeze. For some reason, by this point anything Ryan said frustrated me and broke my concentration.
       Kellie's voice was just really helpful. So, laying there they had blankets over me so I wouldn't be too cold from getting out of the tub. It sounded like they were bustling around, getting things ready. "Pop!" Through these intense contractions I felt like the baby was coming out. I wanted to tell them that they baby's head was coming out, I felt a bulging. I couldn't really, because they were so close together and I was so tired. then came a pop and an explosion of moisture...everywhere.
    I said, "my water just broke!" So they lifted the blankets and said that yes, it did and it was good, clear fluid. They had me turn onto my back and lifted the head of the bed some. Finally! They were proving to me that they believed we were close. Ha.
        At this point everyone was very focused and it seemed pretty soon that they said they could see her head. I was so excited, because I thought surely with a couple more contractions I could hold the baby. Well, it took longer, like probably a couple hours... ;)
  They said that I was working on getting her head around my tailbone. They kept reminding me where to focus my energy when pushing, which seemed very helpful. After awhile they brought out a mirror and told me to look so I could see her head. I refused. I felt that if I saw her head I would cry, thus wasting energy. Time kept passing though and I wanted to see if there was any progress. I was so curled around that I could see perfectly well without the mirror. Much time had passed and this seemed to be taking forever. We were using a hand towel to do a sort of "tug-of-war" to help me in pushing. I did this with Ryan and Kellie, alternately. Melissa sort of whispered to Kellie that she saw a start of a tear down by my bottom. Kellie looked and then turned to me. She told me that in her over 20 years of nursing she had only done this 6 or 7 times, but if we did not act fast on an episiotomy I would most definitely have a 3rd degree tear. I said ok. As I continued to have some contractions and tried not to push with them (very difficult), they grabbed the supplies. With Kellie's direction, Melissa placed 3 cuts to help Sharlee come through.
           Once the 3 cuts were done it seemed to be almost immediate. Possibly two more contractions/pushes and Sharlee came right out. I thought, "goodness, couldn't you have cut me 2 hours ago?"
     They immediately put Sharlee on me. Candice put a blanket over her and started cleaning us off. Kellie said that the placenta followed directly after Sharlee (was already detached) so she needed to give me a shot of pitocin.
        After they made sure all was good they left us in the room as a family for probably 30 minutes .Then then came back to do my stitches. Ryan stepped out to call his family. Sharlee was born at 11:10pm. So, we made late night calls after midnight. Ryan then went to find me some food at about 1:30am. I called my mom, as they were worried, not hearing anything since 10:30am the previous day when I was already 5/6cm.
       Candice brought me a delicious gluten free tuna sandwich. Ryan showed back with gluten free corn dogs and a delicious chocolate shake. Then they did Sharlee's newborn screen. We finally heard her weight, 5lbs. 11oz and her length of 19in.



      Looking back I think of it a blessing that I didn't get to do a water birth, because I don't know that they would have caught the start of a tear soon enough and I could have been worse off.  In preparation for labor in the weeks leading up I drank Raspberry Leaf Tea and took Evening Primrose Oil.  I am so thankful for how well labor and delivery went.