Thursday, December 3, 2015

Darla's first birthday

While at our Thanksgiving getaway last week, we celebrated Darla's first birthday! 
Here are a few videos, but I can't believe I didn't take any actual pictures!

Singing Happy Birthday

Here's Darla's first introduction to cake. She's not so sure about the squishy texture.

Eventually she decided the taste was worth the mess, but she was still going to attempt to be ladylike.

 Her presents were a hit! Yay!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Paul's 4 and Darla's 9 months (with videos!)

Here's just a quick little update on the kiddos.

Paul's reading ability has shot through the roof! I no longer dread his quiet absence, because it often means he's off reading a book to himself, and not secretly getting into mischief. (Although that still happens on occasion.)

He also enjoys the outdoors and runs like a mini athlete. He absolutely loves playing catch, racing with, or tackling his daddy. 

Gradually, we're seeing fewer and fewer screaming fits from Paul, which has been awesome! In fact, right around the time he turned four years old, Paul turned a corner in his emotional development. I think he's finally realized that putting THAT much effort into resisting mom and dad is just not worth it. 

He's also overcoming his shy side and will go out to talk to other kids at the playground. He loves telling jokes and making people laugh. He's such a fun person to be around!

Here are a few of his recent sayings:

1. “I’m sick. I don’t have cancer, I’m just normal sick.” 

2. While Blair was making mini "pizzas" on bread for them both, Paul says, “You know that flavor when you throw up in your nose?" Blair said that "yes" he did know that flavor, "why?". Matter-of-factly Paul answered, "That’s what the cheese smells like, but I still like to eat it.” When Blair was telling me this story he had me smell the Parmesan cheese, and I almost gagged! Paul was soooo right!

3. "What's this to learn about?" Paul asked as he took an Italian-English dictionary off the shelf.
"That's to learn another language" I say.
He responds, "I'm just looking at the words. Don't worry. I'm not going to learn another language."

4. While driving Paul observed,
"Hey, the sky is following us!" After persistent questions from Paul, I eventually tried my best to explain why closer objects appear to pass faster and farther objects appear to pass slower. He listened intently then sat silent for a while staring out the window. Finally he exclaimed in a hushed tone, "That's hard to know."

Here's a video of a daily occurrence in our home. Paul's toilet reading material of choice is always his Piggie And Gerald books from the library. In the beginning you can only hear him reading, but then I  was able to sneak my phone into the doorway without him noticing.

Darla just turned nine months a few days ago. (What on earth?!) She is really starting to burst with personality! She likes to show off her seven (almost eight) teeth in sniffs and giggles as she excitedly watches Paul dance around her and make up silly songs for her. 

Darla is a champion eater, just like her brother, and she's quite demanding about her meals. She's normally a fairly quiet baby unless she's near food and their's not anything currently in her mouth. (This mama's secret eating is almost impossible these days with a baby who can smell a square of chocolate from across the room.)

She loves to wave hello and goodbye. She's also finally starting to make some progress in the movement department. If she's motivated enough, she'll army crawl her way to an object. But she still is much happier to sit on her bum and enjoy her entertaining brother.

Darla already loves to "share" too. She'll take a treasured toy or food item and hand it to you or try to shove it in your mouth. If you accept her offering, she'll burst into fits of snorting laughter!

Here's a video of her "Darla" babbles. It's a couple months old, but she still sounds a lot like this now. 

 My little ham Paul...

I almost explode with joy quite frequently with these little ones and with my amazingly awesome husband Blair! I don't know how I got so lucky!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

How Being a Mom Helps me Understand Kate Kelly's Excommunication

This analogy came to me over the last few days, but it requires a little background explanation:

While debating current issues with my cousin, he suddenly felt the need to attack my religion by saying that "Kate Kelly was excommunicated for asking a question" . This sounded silly to me and the answer so obvious. I responded that she did not just ask a question. I told him that I - and many of my church friends - ask the same kinds of questions Kate Kelly did and we're still enjoying full membership in the church. How could he not see the difference? I wondered. I came to the conclusion that the one experience which has expanded my understanding on issues like these more than any other is motherhood.

Becoming a parent has broadened my perspective in ways I never would have imagined. I never knew real frustration until I had children. I also never knew real love and real joy until I had children. In the process of attempting to teach these future adults something of value, I have learned more about myself - and humanity in general - than one would think possible while cleaning messes, hushing meaningless arguments, and kissing owies better. Outside my little home, I watch fellow members of the LDS Church become offended and choose to leave of their own accord, or they make choices which lead them to be excommunicated, or others who become so offended they wallow in anger and curse God and His commandments. I also see people joining the Church and hear them say with pure joy in their eyes that they’re finally “home”; watch their lives transform and their relationships heal. I can’t help but see so many parallels inside my home and out, that I felt compelled to write down the following analogy. Like all analogies, it isn't perfect. It's mostly for myself, but I felt it appropriate (and may be helpful) to share with others.

The Family Night Analogy

This life is like Monday night in a Mormon home. Imagine with me that mom and dad have great plans for family night with a lesson, activities, and a treat at the end for everyone who participates. Dad's conducting and has special assignments for everyone. Sometimes it doesn't go as smoothly as it could because some kids choose not to participate, others don’t even get the message that family night has started, and others choose to argue about who gets what assignment. For example, maybe mom and dad give little Jimmy the assignment to pass something out to all the family members. The children don't know why Jimmy was chosen for this, and Kate gets jealous, "why does only Jimmy get to do that? That's not fair!" Mom and dad may calmly explain that this was Jimmy’s assignment, and she’ll get to do something else. If Kate complies and sits back down she can stay, get a handout of her own, and enjoy the rest of family night. If she gets up, tries to grab the handouts from Jimmy and continues to be disruptive despite gentle warnings, then she will be asked to leave and take a time-out.

Could one of the other kids have done it? Sure, but maybe mom and dad have a good reason they assigned the task to Jimmy. Maybe Jimmy gets restless and disinterested if he isn't given an assignment right away, or maybe that's the only task he's capable of accomplishing well on his own. Whatever the reason, the parents most likely have other assignments planned for the other children and they know what's best for each of them. Mom and dad still love all the children the same and want all of them to learn, participate, and have a treat.

Sometimes kids will compare privileges and responsibilities among themselves and speculate why mom and dad did it that way. Often someone will feel convinced things are unjustly allotted because they can't understand the parents’ reasoning. Even if mom or dad tried to explain it to them, they would most likely fight back with invalid arguments, simply because they can’t comprehend the bigger picture. The children don't have the parental perspective.

It’s important to remember that this particular family night is only one tiny instance in their childhood, just as this life is only one minuscule speck of our eternal existence. We lived before we came to earth, and we'll live infinitely longer after. Sure a lot of things can seem unfair in that single moment, but only the parents have a broader picture of each child’s identity, needs, and potential. Perhaps one child is especially gifted at something that would be needed for that night's lesson. Maybe another child has ADHD and needs things taught a little differently. Maybe two particular children need to be separated through the duration of the lesson to maintain peace. The list of potential scenarios could go on. Knowing these children before and after this family night event would provide better context as to why the mother and father do what they do.

I see Kate Kelly as the girl who was jealous of Jimmy's assignment. Our Heavenly Parents have assigned the men to administer the priesthood ordinances in the Church today. Of course women would be perfectly capable (there are plenty of accounts of it in church history), but for reasons unknown to us children, that responsibility has been solely entrusted to the men right now. Kate Kelly may be in "time-out", but her Heavenly parents don't love her any less. And despite any immature judgments from her more "obedient" siblings, the family misses her and wants her to come back to join them.

Is it a terrible thing to question parental decisions? Of course not! Questions can be such wonderful opportunities for children to learn. It's always better to ask a parent directly, rather than a sibling. If a child comes to his parents with his concerns, sincerely wanting to understand (and not just to argue), the parents may deem it appropriate to explain their reasoning to the child in simple terms he can comprehend. Sometimes parents may even conclude the private discussion with an admonition to keep what he had learned to himself, and not run off telling his siblings.

Our Heavenly Parents are so loving, forgiving, patient, and consistent. Their methods and programs may change as the family grows and as more children come to join "family night", but their love and goals for their children never change. Some will choose to whine and pout about what's not fair even to the point of refusing to enjoy the rest of the activities completely. A good father still loves them, but cannot force them to have fun and participate, so he gives them their space and waits for them to decide to come back. (If you've ever dealt with a tantruming two-year-old, you'll know what I'm talking about.)

As a parent myself, I now understand so much better God's dealings with His children. I'm beginning to understand just how much we really don't understand - how shortsighted, forgetful and simple-minded we are compared to Him and His perspective of eternity. Things really do work out best if we trust our Heavenly Parents in obedience, and treat our siblings with love and kindness. I see so clearly how any backbiting, judging, tattling, demeaning or shaming never comes from Heavenly Father. It’s always a sibling. Sometimes they feel justified in treating others this way because they’re enforcing Mom and Dad’s rules, but it’s still wrong. Our Father will always use methods of gentleness and love.

Maybe some children feel like they're not a part of this analogy. They're not even inside that house of love. Maybe they've wandered to a place so far, they can't comprehend deserving to come back to something so lovely. I can say with surety that through Jesus Christ, our older brother, we can be made clean no matter what we've done or how far we've strayed. There is no muddy place too deep, too far, or too dirty for Him to come and help you out. He has descended below all things. All you have to do is call His name and your personal Redeemer will be there by your side to make that journey home with you. I know this is true, more than I can ever describe.

We can come home for family night whenever we give up our childish and selfish desires, and trust our Father in Heaven. Because, unlike mortal parents, our Heavenly Parents love us and know us perfectly. They always want all of their children near them and happy. But, just like any good parents, they leave it up to us. It’s always our decision.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Paul's reading and Darla's sitting up!

Here's a loooong overdue update on the Hasler kiddos.


Paul quit his all-day thumb-sucking addiction cold turkey, all on his own, in October 2014. (Hallelujah!) 

Around that same time, we started doing Joy School twice a week with the Nilsens (which he's been loving!). And we started doing daily reading lessons with him from this awesome book my mom recommended:
Paul has learned to READ! 
He's not even four years old yet and he can read books like Dr. Seuss and Mouse and Mole! (I may have a little mommy pride going on.) 

Need proof? I was finally able to sneak a video of him reading a library book he'd only seen once before this video was taken. 

He also loves working on basic math. Although, that's a little slower in coming. He must take after his mom. ;) 

Another thing Paul struggles with is controlling his temper. If you need proof of THAT just come look at his "holy" bedroom door; it looks like someone's taken an ax to it! I never imagined motherhood could be so emotionally draining and morally taxing. There's a huge, intelligent, and very strong willed spirit in that little body. I love him like crazy, but I've got to direct that energy in the right direction somehow!

Here are a couple of recent "Paulisms":

While holding a ruler next to Darla Paul announces, " she weighs sixty-nine eighty percent".

Paul: "Do you know how to get to heaven?"
Blair: "How?"
Paul: "I know the way. You just go straight up like a helicopter!"

"Storms are cool to watch! But not the kind that break your house."

Darla has been a gem of a baby. She's almost six months and just learned how to sit up on her own. She can say "dada" and other similar babbles. She also tried eating sweet potato just a few days ago which was somewhat successful. 

We are all obsessed with her adorable smiles and laughs! 

Just one more. She loves her big brother!

Blair and I are beyond blessed with these beautiful children!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Darla Rae Hasler's Delivery

Darla Rae Hasler's Delivery Story

An accidental water birth

The Pre-Labor Clues

Although I was surprised she came two days early, in retrospect, I did have some big hints that labor day was looming near. So for all you nine-month pregnant women out there who are looking for subtle hints that your baby's coming soon, here were a couple of impending labor signs I experienced the day before Darla was born:
  1. I finally had the nesting urge kick in. I cleaned and organized several closets and we finally set up the crib in our room. 
  2. I was very antsy and irritable all day. I was so impatient with Paul by dinner time I almost cried with frustration.
  3. I had a sudden burst of energy and went for a ninety minute power walk in the morning.
  4. For the first time in my pregnancy, I had a major decrease in appetite. That was very weird to me.
  5. I had diarrhea all day long. (Sorry. You can't avoid TMI in labor stories.)
  6. My braxton hicks contractions were much more frequent than usual, and my lower back was crampy.
At about 10:00 pm on Saturday, November 22nd, I felt a tiny leak, which I assumed was urine. (Wetting my pants was nothing new to my third-trimester self.) But when it kept leaking in little bits, even after using the restroom, I decided to take more notice. After laying back down in bed at about 10:30, something changed and the tiny leak turned into a gush. This was not pee. I'm so good at suppressing false hopes, that it took me quite a while to convince myself that, yes, this really is the real thing and I needed to tell Blair. I decided to wait until contractions were something to speak of before sounding the labor alarm. Sure enough, I felt a slightly painful contraction radiate from my lower back. I told Blair, and I sensed that familiar excitement from him. The next contraction didn't come for another 7-10 minutes, but we both knew how quickly things could progress so we texted my mom and the Nilsens. Gary came over to spend the night with Paul before my mom would pick him up in the morning. 

Getting to the Hospital

The ride to the hospital was much more relaxed and pleasant than the ride to Paul's delivery. My contractions were only slightly painful and were about 6-7 minutes apart. We strolled through the Emergency doors at around 11:45 and spoke light-heartedly with the man at the desk. It was not serious yet. However, I do remember telling Blair that I was pretty tired. It worried me to be feeling so exhausted at the beginning of this marathon. I still had a nasty cough from a lingering cold, and I had lost a lot of sleep in the last few days. 

We were in Triage for a while. It was pretty obvious my water actually broke; I was leaking all over the place. The contractions were picking up in intensity as we waited in that room, talking to the RN, head nurse, and midwife. They were awesome and kept asking us what we wanted from them and what kind of experience I hoped for throughout labor. When I told them I wanted to use the labor tub, they said it was all mine whenever I wanted it, but the midwife kept stressing that they do not do water births and that I was to get out of the tub as soon as it was time to push. The head nurse felt Darla through my tummy and predicted a baby around 7 lbs. I tore very badly with Paul so I asked them for tips on how to avoid tearing this time. They talked about holding off and going slowly. I laughed in my head thinking about the freight-train intensity that took over my body last time. I told them that Paul was out in about three pushes - less than 15 minutes, but that I would try to go more slowly this time.

At around 12:30 we were taken to room #1 - the largest room and closest to the tub. Contractions were pretty painful by this point, (though I could still talk through them), and were about 2-3 minutes apart. They started the process of looking for a vain to give me the first round of antibiotics. (To our disappointment, I tested positive for Group B Strep again. I didn't get the full dose of antibiotics with Paul, so we had to stay at the hospital longer than we would have liked. I really wanted to avoid that this time.) They jabbed my arm and digged around for a vain... in vain. Just like last time, they had to call in a vain-poking expert, and just like last time, the expert resorted to inserting the hep-lock into the back of my hand *shudder*. I had to be hooked up to the antibiotics for about 45 minutes, during which, I signed all the paperwork. (Below is a picture of the actual room I labored in... at least for the first little while.)

Not Fun and Games Anymore

As it got closer to 2:00 am the contractions (I use this word a lot. Not sure how to avoid it.) were painful enough that I had to stop, consciously relax, and breath through them. We had the lights dimmed and Blair had some soothing music playing. After using the bathroom, I had Blair ask the nurse to bring me a birthing ball. The ball felt good to sit and bounce on between contractions, but during each contraction, I had to brace myself against the bed. They were so intense, it was getting harder to focus on relaxing. It didn't feel like back labor this time, which was nice, but it was still super painful. The RN asked me if I wanted to use the tub yet. I said "no" simply because I didn't want to jump in the tub too early and stall labor. I think it was the very contraction after she left that made me change my mind. I had Blair call her back so they could get the tub ready. I was getting desperate for some kind of relief.

The Heavenly Water! 

It was around 3:00 am when we got to the labor tub. It was large and deep and very inviting. Oh, the relief from that warm water was indescribable! I sank into that heavenly water, rested my head on the head cushion, and didn't move from that position for at least an hour. The contractions became somewhat bearable again and I was able to relax through each one. The long breaks between contractions was a luxury I didn't get to enjoy during hard labor with Paul. (Below is a picture of the labor tub I spent three hours in.)

As labor (I use this word a lot too) progressed, I was getting restless again. Time started to drag on and on in that dark room. It felt like we'd been in there for days as the merciless pain pummeled me over and over again. I was starting to lose my cool. I was able to keep my focus and relax through the first half of each contraction, but each one was just too much, and by the second half I was thrashing and moaning. That familiar frantic feeling started to creep up inside me. Darla, for some reason, liked to move and squirm during contractions. Oh my word, that hurt so much! Plus my occasional lung-hacking cough turned the the torture level up ten notches. I was so exhausted that I actually started to feel my body trying to doze between a couple contractions, but, of course, sleep was a distant fantasy.

I thought, I need a blessing. Five seconds later Blair asked if I wanted a blessing. It was short and encouraging and perfect. Shortly after receiving that blessing, I was given a slightly longer break and was able to actually fall asleep for a minute! The best part was that I was able to wake up before getting hit by the next contraction. When I did wake up I said, "What? We're still here?" It felt like a nightmare-come-true, but that one minute of sleep was surprisingly helpful. I could stay on top of the waves again... somewhat.

The Heavenly Popsicle! 

I was nauseous, but my hunger was stronger. At around 4:15, I asked for something to eat. The nurse gave the options of jello or a popsicle. The popsicle was the right choice. The cold felt so good in my hot body, and it was slightly distracting to suck on something. I highly recommend eating a red popsicle during labor. Despite the nausea, (and the fact that I'd been watching my mucous plug float around the tub water with me), Blair said I inhaled that popsicle like a vacuum.

At 4:40 or so, the RN hooked me up to the antibiotics for the second dose. She said that I only needed to stay pregnant for 30 more minutes in order to receive the full dose of antibiotics and be in the clear. She administered it at the highest speed which caused the skin in my hand to sting and throb. I didn't mind the sting, in fact I welcomed anything that would potentially distract me from the contractions (yeah, right). At 5:15 the RN unhooked me from the antibiotics. I made it!

At about that time, Blair set up music in the tub room after asking me if I wanted it. The music was helpful in a strange way. It made me feel like I was in a dramatic scene from a movie where I was on my deathbed, or fighting in an intense battle in slow motion. For some reason that heavy emotional feeling gave me the ability to breath deeply like I was supposed to. The best song to labor to is Hallelujah by Billy Joel. It's calm and relaxing, but doesn't mock the seriousness of what's happening. It makes one feel like a silent, fierce fighter!


I just have to take a paragraph to say Blair was an amazing coach. He kept giving me water to drink, would talk me through the contractions, rub my neck and shoulders, kiss me and tell me what a wonderful job I was doing, assure me that I was strong and that each contraction was getting me closer to the finish, demonstrate deep breathing, sing or hum quietly, and keep a fresh washcloth on my sweaty forehead. The only times he left my side were to get something for me. I kept thinking that if I were him, I'd be asleep in the chair. Not to mention, Blair's the kind of person who doesn't flip out over seeing someone in distress; he stays calm and level-headed and the grossest sights and smells of labor don't even phase him. I can't believe how blessed I am to have him by my side during labor and throughout life. As long as he's next to me, I feel like I can do anything!

The Final Stretch...?

Blair and I like to compare labor to running a race. For the last hour or two Blair had been telling me I was in the hardest stretch, which meant I was almost done. It certainly felt like I had been in transition for hours already, which is what I kept telling him, but as each contraction somehow got stronger and longer, I'd realize how delusional I must be. I thought that since I'd been through this before, I'd know what I was going through and could tell when I was in transition, but now I felt so out of touch. I desperately wanted someone to tell me exactly how much longer I had to endure this, because I obviously had no clue. What mile mark was I at? We both wondered out loud whether the water was slowing my labor down. Blair said he didn't think that was necessarily a bad thing since my last labor gave me no breaks and this one was. I wasn't sure how I felt about that. I don't think I was capable of thinking rationally at that point anyway. The scariest part of labor is not knowing how much longer one has. That, to me, makes it harder than running a race.

I noticed I was shivering occasionally. I couldn't tell if I was actually cold, of if my body was just so exhausted from handling pain that it was twitching and flipping out. In any case it made me think about temperature, which made me realize the tub water was not nearly as warm as it used to be. At my request, the RN showed Blair how to filter in warm water again. That change was so amazing, I wondered why none of us thought of doing it sooner!

Despite the water being warm again, I was feeling less and less in control of the waves of pain that were now officially one on top of the other. No breaks to contractions creates the same panic as getting no breaks for air in waves of water. It's exhausting and it's honestly terrifying. I was praying silently at this point that delivery would come quickly because I was beginning to lose my mind. I was feeling defeated.

Then, I Felt It... 

...that incredible force I remembered so well. My body was heaving and pushing. I was afraid of pooping in the water. Although I'm sure it was very apparent from the grunting that came from me, I told Blair once the contraction was over that I felt very "pushy". The RN must have called in the midwife and head nurse at hearing me say that, because they came in pretty quickly. The head nurse asked if I wanted to be checked and I said "yes" because I knew this was it. She seemed to think she could take her merry time, explaining that they can  check me while I stay in the tub and blah blah. I said "hurry!". When she eventually did check my cervix, she said she still felt some of the sack on the baby's head and that I was barely dilated to a seven. Then she added, "actually, it's more like a six". That was slightly disappointing to hear, but that didn't change what I was feeling. I knew my body was getting ready to push this baby out.

The head nurse said she thought I still had some time if I wanted to stay in the water for a few more contractions. I was glad to hear that because I did NOT want to get out of the water, nor did I think I could if I tried.


As soon as they left the room, not even five minutes since the last "pushy" contraction, all hell broke loose! My body squeezed me with more power than I thought it had. I opened my mouth to say I needed to get out of the tub, but instead of my voice, I heard an ugly, guttural scream escape me for the duration of the delivery... which was not long at all. I felt everything happen in super speed. At 6:14, her head descended, crowned, and forced its way out in a matter of seconds. Thank goodness the RN was still in the room. She heard me scream, told Blair to pull the emergency cord for the extra staff, and told him to go open the door. I heard her say, "Breath!" then, "Oh! Here's the head!". Within the five seconds Blair had turned to get help, our baby was born and he missed seeing it. It was nice to be so light and mobile in the water. I was gripping the side of the tub with one hand and was half floating on my side until Darla came out, at which point I was on my back so the RN could place her on my chest.

Meeting Darla

The head nurse and midwife were in the room very fast, but not fast enough. I was already holding my baby and trying to make sense of what just happened. The first thing I noticed was the brown and red water that surrounded me. I was sitting in a giant toilet bowl. (Birth is a beautiful yet gross thing.) Then I realized I was holding my baby! I looked down at her. She was completely covered in creamy, yellow vernix, and she was so perfect. I immediately felt a deep love and responsibility for this little soul. I noticed she wasn't crying and I wondered if she was breathing. The RN must have wondered the same thing, because she started vigorously rubbing Darla's back. We came to realize she had been breathing all along through her nose. She was so peaceful. Unlike Paul, who opened his eyes right away, Darla kept her eyes closed and almost seemed to sleep her way into the world. Blair was right there by my side again, saying, "you did it!" and, "there she is!". They let him cut the umbilical cord, which was kind of short.

Meanwhile, my body was in shock. I was convulsing and shivering and twitching. The shaking didn't stop for a full hour after delivering her. At one point the nurse asked me to move my leg, and it took me a couple seconds to make the mental connections necessary to comply. ("Where's my leg? How do I make it move?")

 The very same midwife who stressed the importance of getting out of the tub, was now very congratulatory and saying things like, "You did a wonderful job!" and "You're our first water birth!". Blair later told me that the nurse who was overseeing the birth floor for that night actually came into the room during this time. The head nurse who told me I was only dilated to a six only minutes before was now defensively trying to explain the situation to the head head nurse. (I obviously don't understand the medical staff's hierarchy.)

The clean-up and stitch-up 

After about five minutes or so, they had me step out of the tub and get on the gurney-type bed. I was shocked by how much blood was coming from me When all was said and done, the room looked like the scene from a massacre. No wonder they "don't do water births"! I pitied whoever had to clean up that mess.

Amazingly, I only had minimal tearing from that fast delivery. But the local anesthetic they administered didn't even touch me. I felt every stitch. Thankfully there wasn't as much damage this time, but ouch! About an hour after delivering Darla, I took the shower I so desperately needed. It felt heavenly!

They weighed and measured Darla. She was 7 lbs 14 oz, and 19 3/4 inches long. After looking at her all cleaned up, I was surprised by how much she looked like Paul when he was born. Even her cry reminded me of him. As time goes by, though, she has definitely started to take on her own look.

Post-Delivery Musings

It's interesting that both my labors were so similar. Both times my water broke while in bed getting ready to sleep. Both times I was GBS positive. Both labors were technically eight hours long: Paul - 12:15 to 8:06am, Darla - 10:00 to 6:14am. However, unlike last time, I didn't have hard labor the entire time; real labor didn't really pick up until about 1:00am, so that's closer to five hours of intense labor.

Some differences:  This time I didn't feel the labor all in my back, like did last time. It was more uniform all around my abdomen. Also, I had an actual on-off pattern to my contractions, so I could catch a breather between each. That was certainly not the case with my first labor. Darla was moving somewhat throughout labor, unlike Paul. And, like I mentioned earlier, it was NOT comfortable.

I finally tried using a pressure-point technique for pain management that we learned in our Bradly birth classes. You're supposed to firmly press your finger at the center point between your eyebrows. I had forgotten about this trick during Paul's labor, but tried it out this time. It was hard to tell if it was working, but it must have been, because every time I tried it, I was able to stay still and calm during a contraction. I would say it's worth trying.

Yet again, I was reminded to listen to my body, not the people who tell me how dilated I am.

After this experience, I feel like water-birthing is the only way to go. If I ever do this again, I really want to have a planned water birth.

Overall, it was an intense, rich, and very satisfying experience! I love the euphoric high that comes after delivering a baby naturally. And I love the immediate bond I feel for my little family - especially Blair. There's nothing else like it! I'm so in love with my little girl already! I feel so unfairly blessed!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Baby girl on the way!

18 Weeks

30 weeks
35 weeks (today)

This little girl has been GROWING in the last few weeks. I was feeling somewhat small and contained until suddenly *POP* belly!

The heartburn miraculously stopped about a month ago (haleluja!). Does that mean the baby has "dropped"? I never know when that happens. 

 It's getting down to the wire. We just installed the car seat, but there's still so much to do! I'm still waiting for that nesting urge to kick it...

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Tillamook and Hike

There are so many things I love about Blair and Paul. One of them being they both love to hike as much as I do.

On a whim, we decided to drive to Tillamook and spend our Saturday hiking Cape Lookout (and rewarding ourselves with yummy dairy). If you haven't done that hike before, it's a beautiful 5 miler that takes you out to the tip of the cliff-filled peninsula. Would you believe that our three-year-old Paul practically did the whole thing on his own two legs... happily? There were only a couple brief stretches that Blair had him on his shoulders. This kid is a natural-born hiker! Not only did he walk more than 4 miles of it himself, he was RUNNING up the hills at the end of it! We started the hike at 1:40 and finished around 5pm. After hours of hiking he somehow had the energy to run uphill for the whole end of it! Here's proof in video:

I was fully expecting Paul to be tired and pleasant during our car-rides, and whining and complaining during the hike. But it was the complete opposite. He was whining and screaming in the car both ways, but was sooooo happy to be outdoors during our hike. Crazy kid.

It was a relief when he finally fell asleep on the way there.
These two would run ahead of me and hide until I came. Paul would just laugh and laugh!

Proof we made it!

We were all pretty tired and hungry after Cape Lookout, so we stopped at the Tillamook Cheese Factory for some well-deserved dinner and icecream.

Is is just me, or do our faces look photoshopped into the Tillamook car? We were there for real! I promise! haha