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 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.