Thursday, August 11, 2011

The birth story.

Here we go. The story to which you already know the ending, but for whatever reason, you still want to read, and I still want to write. Enjoy.

Getting there

So, you may or may not know that I'd been having contractions for a while. And I'm pretty sure you know that I was dilated to a 3 for a few weeks. That makes for some uncomfortable time in a preschool classroom, I can tell you. There were a few times when I timed contractions. This succeeded in freaking out my mentor teacher, who doesn't have any kids. I think she thinks that going into labor is like it is in the movies. Like "Holy crap I'm in labor I need to go to the hospital now or the baby's going to pop out on the floor! Somebody do something!" I tried to explain to her that I was pretty sure it wasn't going to be like that...but I don't think she believed me.

So anyway, contractions had been happening. And they continued to happen on Saturday, July 30. Maddy was with my mom up at my Grandma's cabin, so I was seriously taking advantage of the school-free, Maddy-free time to do some nesting and baby shopping. We bought our double stroller and hung stuff in the nursery. I went shopping and finally got the girls the matching dresses that I had had my eye on for a while. I cleaned the house, which was WONDERFUL. I was basically amazed at how much I got done.

And then, that evening we started timing contractions in earnest. And I had a few contractions that hurt just a little more than previous ones. And we decided to go for a walk. A storm was coming in, so it wasn't especially hot or anything, which was nice. We didn't walk for too long, because my mom had gotten back into town so we needed to go pick up Maddy. But we walked, and we timed. The contractions didn't stop after we got home and got in the car.

**Side note: Dallin grabbed the hospital bag before we left to pick up Maddy. I think he was really ready to have the baby that weekend. Side note over.***

And they continued at my parents' house. Pretty much everyone said we should go to the hospital. I resisted. It was still July! My baby wasn't due until August. Yes, it was only a week before her due date...but it still felt like a big difference. There was no way it could be time already, right?

Well, Dallin and I went for another walk and I gave in. Sure, we could go to the hospital. I wasn't afraid of getting sent home...I was afraid of them admitting me if it wasn't really time. And honestly, I still feel like I could have waited. I really do. But I didn't wait. I kissed Maddy goodbye, trying not to cry too much. And we left.

We got there about 9:30 at night, and sat down with a fairly cranky lady to give her all my info. Then we headed back to triage. A nurse with an Australian (?) accent gave me a gown to change into. Dallin had some issues tying the gown up for me and was still trying to figure it out when the nurse came back in. I must have looked pretty awful or something because she told him to not worry about it - I needed to get on that bed.

So I did, and when all was hooked up and examined and so on, it was determined that I was dilated to a 5. Aussie said that alone was pretty much an admission ticket, but they would monitor my contractions for 20 minutes or so to make sure they were regular before making anything official.

Dallin and I passed the time by talking about how our baby was going to be born on Harry Potter's birthday, as well as using Dallin's phone to listen to possible labor/birth songs. (**Side note: We didn't actually want/have any labor/birth songs. Side note over**) Dallin suggested "She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy," but then decided "What Hurts the Most" was more appropriate. My man can make me laugh even when I'm in labor.

Being there

Well, needless to say, I was admitted. We were escorted to the labor and delivery room where we met our nurse for the evening. We did some more paperwork and got me hooked up to an IV. I hate IVs. Seriously, I think getting that thing was more painful than my contractions were.

Then the epidural man came in. He was a nurse anesthetist, rather than an anesthesiologist, which apparently freaked Dallin out, although I didn't find that out until later. I didn't really think much of it at the time. I asked him if I should wait until my contractions actually became painful to get the epidural, and he said there was no reason to.

And thus began the worst part of the evening.

I was freezing from the IV. I was anxious about getting the epidural (there was no way it could go as well as it did with Maddy). The combo of the two sent me into a full fit of the shivers, and for whatever reason, I couldn't have a blanket until the epidural was in. (Questionable?) So anyway, I was miserable.

I knew how the process was supposed to go. Small prick, weird numb feeling, lots of pressure. It seemed like last time, this all happened pretty quickly. This time, there was the small prick, but then we had to wait for that to take effect. And then, when he was giving the second shot, he told me to let him know if I felt any pain. Well, it didn't hurt, really, but I definitely felt the prick of the second needle. Which FREAKED me out because I was pretty sure I wasn't supposed to feel anything but that weird pressure.

Because of the freak-out-ness, the rest of the process was a bit of a blur. They might have stuck me again with more numbing medicine, or just waited longer for the first shot to take effect. I think they gave me more, but I honestly can't remember. I just remember shivering. And I remember the nurse having to get Dallin a chair, which he probably doesn't want me to tell you. But I want to tell you because for some reason, the thought of my sweet husband going pale with worry about me makes my eyes all watery.

Once the epidural nightmare was over, I got a warm blanket (seriously, that was all I wanted in the world at that point), and the nurse helped me roll on my side so I could get some sleep. I tried to get Dallin to go get some food, since he hadn't eaten that night, but he wouldn't. He just stayed with me and slept, too. The nurse came in to roll me over every hour, which makes for not the best sleep. My mom got to the hospital around 1:30 am, and I don't think she slept for the rest of the night. She's kind of awesome.

Well, by 6:30 or so in the morning, I hadn't progressed. I was maybe almost a 6. Lame. I had been given some pitocin and it hadn't helped. Super lame. But THEN, my doctor got there at about 7:15, and he broke my water. This is where it started to get exciting.

The main event

So the water was broken, and everyone figured this was going to get things moving. But I, for one, was definitely not ready for just how fast it would go. The very next contraction I felt felt much stronger. And yes, I could still feel my contractions through the epidural, which I thought was a good thing. The nurses kept saying I could up the medicine amount so I wouldn't feel them at all, but I really didn't want to do that. I liked that I could feel them happening without being in pain.

By 7:45. I knew this baby was coming.

My little sister wanted to be there when the baby was born, which I was cool with, so Dallin texted her. The room was prepped. I was checked again 10 minutes later, and the doctor said something like "This isn't going to take long at all."

Enter all the insecurities.

So, let's just say my sister didn't make it (sorry, Sarah). Three big pushes, a few little pushes, and whaddaya know, there was Charly. 8:05 am.

It really was a precious moment. Of course, her full head of hair was pointed out right away. I remember thinking it took her a little too long to cry, but of course it really didn't. I also remember thinking that she was so big. I had thought she would be bigger than Maddy, but not by a whole pound!

When she was wiped off and handed to me, I just looked at her and sobbed, and was so glad that I finally understood how I could possibly love another little girl so, so much.

The after party

First of all, and just FYI, our "friend" the cyst came out with the placenta, as planned. And let me just say - ew. Moving on...

Charly girl was weighed and measured and declared perfect. My sister and her husband got there. I was returned to a more comfortable position and allowed to hold my baby girl properly.

The next few hours were lovely, filled with visits from family and such. Maddy was pretty indifferent towards the baby, which I decided was better than automatic resentment. Dallin gave me the "2 peas in a pod" necklace I wanted. It's totally adorable - the necklace and his thoughtfulness.

We stayed in the hospital for just one night. We could have stayed another, I suppose, but I was ready to go home; I was going a little stir crazy in the hospital. So we were home Monday night. My mom stayed with us for the next few nights, staying up with the baby and only waking me up if Charly needed to eat. She also took Maddy during the day so I could rest. I mentioned that my mom is awesome, right?

Life, so far

So far, Charlotte is a great baby. She sleeps a lot, which makes those times when she's awake and looking around that much more precious. I'm pretty positive her eyes are going to be blue. It's taken some time for us to get used to nursing, and we've already had some (painful) issues in that department, but we are getting the hang of things and the past couple days have been especially promising.

Her hair is incredible. My sister's sister-in-law took some newborn pictures of her, and you can see the highlights in it (click here). Apparently, Dallin had hair like that as a newborn, too. I guess she's already a daddy's girl. She has such a pretty face - she almost doesn't look like a newborn. She likes to be held, but is also pretty content to lay on a blanket and chill.

Maddy's adjusting pretty well. She's a little more clingy than she used to be, but she's nice to the baby and likes to watch her sleep. She also seems like a giant. I change her diaper or even just look at her hands and am blown away by her big-ness. I think she'll be a good big sister.

The end

Hey, we made it! I tried to keep things to a minimum for you, but my minimum is higher than most, so good for you for making it to the end.

We ended up with a lovely, healthy baby girl and I feel so insanely blessed. Life is beautiful.

Monday, August 8, 2011

35 Things: July Update

Can I just say that July was a rough month? Seriously, towards the end of June, Dallin and I started to realize just what the month of July was going to be like, and it was almost enough to make us quit. Of course, the prospect of post-July ended up being enough to keep us going. And we closed out July with quite the bang, so it wasn't a completely awful month.

Here are the things I accomplished this month:

5. Attend a missionary discussion: Dallin is our ward's Ward Mission Leader, so I'm a little surprised it took me so long to get this one done. I didn't actually go to a discussion with the full-time missionaries, but Dallin and I went to give a new member discussion to a lady who recently started coming back to church. I'm really glad I went, even though it was kind of out of my comfort zone. Hopefully I'll get to go to another one sometime!

7. Create a meal plan (once a week every month): SO PROUD that I did this this month. Go me.

12. Bake a new cookie every month: I actually made 2 new cookies this month. One was crazy good (Peanut butter butterscotch chippers - Dallin especially loved these) and the other was aight (Chocolate chip and peanut butter truffle swirled cookies). {Click on the recipe titles to go to the recipes}

27. Graduate from grad school: Indeed, my pretties. This was the month in which I completed all my coursework, and now, I'm officially DONE. I will post later about how this feels. Rest assured, that post will include words like "glorious" and "freedom."

35. Complete an act of service every month: Been there, done that.

You may or may not have noticed one gaping hole in my accomplishments this month - no new books. Seriously, I didn't read a single book in the month of July. So awful. I look forward to getting back on track with that, though!

Also, the nursery is sooooo close. I just need something perfect to go over the crib. If I haven't found that something perfect by the end of this month, then I'm just going to call it good. I LOVE how it's turned out so far!

Also also, do you guys want a birth story post? I started writing one, and it was pretty long, and really, what do you need to know more than that I went into the hospital pregnant and came out with a baby? But I dunno, I like reading other people's birth stories (for whatever reason), so I might just write one no matter what. TBD.

Thanks for reading, friends. Happy August!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


These past nine months have been full of uncertainty for me. Observe:

"I'm sick, stressed, and exhausted. What if I lose this baby?"

"I think it's a boy. I want it to be a girl."

"I'm definitely fatter this time. Is it going to go away?"

"My student teaching starts when?!"

"Another ultrasound? What is this cyst thing?"

"My back hurts so bad I can't even walk, let alone exercise."

"It's so hot. What if I go into labor too early?"

"Seriously, though. I don't fit into anything."

"How is Maddy going to handle a baby in her house?"

"I'm going to love her as much as I love Maddy...right?"

"Breastfeeding? Again?"

And they didn't stop. If anything, they got worse. And before I knew it, the stirrups were coming out, and so was my baby girl. And if you can believe it, in those few seconds, a million new worries came over me.

"Have I been a good mom to Maddy while it was just me and her?"

"Can I really have two kids?"

"What if something goes wrong with the birth?"

"This went by so fast. I'm not ready."

"I'm not ready."

Seriously, you guys. That's what I was thinking. That I just was.not.ready. Pretty much my insecurity at its worst. Sad, but true.

Of course, less than 10 minutes later, I saw this little head of hair for the first time -

and I sobbed. I swear, I cried harder than I did when Madelyn was born.

Because I knew that I had been so, so wrong.

I was totally ready.

And so, without further ado, I present to you

Charlotte Harris

7.31.2011 - 8:05 am

8 lbs 9 oz

20.5 inches long

Pretty and pink and complete with natural highlights

She's lovely. We're home and doing great!