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.

This is the afternoon after birth. 

Getting the stats!

  <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 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.
 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.
            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. 

            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.
            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.
            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.
            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 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 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


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.


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!