Friday, December 24, 2010

Feliz Navidad y gracias a todos.


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Little Hattie and Jack

Thanks to all of my generous friends and family who helped José and his family with Christmas and life this year. They were so incredibly grateful.


On that note I wanted to share my favorite verse of my favorite Christmas song:

O Holy Night

Truly He taught us to love one another;

His law is love and His gospel is peace.

Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother;

And in His name all oppression shall cease.

Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,

Let all within us praise His holy name.

Christ is the Lord! O praise His Name forever,

His power and glory evermore proclaim.

His power and glory evermore proclaim.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Trying to pay it forward

I know there are all kinds of charities looking for donations this time of year and money is tight for most, but Jonathan and I know a specific family who really needs some help. The dad lost his job awhile ago because of a language barrier and hasn't been able to find another job to support his wife and kids. We're planning on getting them a Walmart gift card but things are so tight for us right now that we're not going to be able to give very much. If anyone wants to throw in a couple dollars (or more) we'd be grateful.


Some anonymous people helped us out last Christmas and it meant so much. We'd really like to pay it forward this year even though we still don't have much. Comment or email me if you're interested.



Merry Christmas!


Friday, November 26, 2010

Hattie's Eye

Check it out.

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At first I thought her eyes were changing to brown,

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but now I'm pretty sure it's a rare condition called Sectoral Heterocromia.

They say it's a sign of royalty, and hey, there's even a Facebook group for it.


Awesome.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

.stuff.

.going to work every morning when a cozy baby is still snoozing in your bed is hard. very hard.

.i have great family who takes turns taking care of my hattie j. mom, janet, emily, cathy, grandma, alex: thanks. jonathan and i are so grateful.

.pumping at work sucks. i feel like a cow.

.good thing i have a fat and happy baby to show for it.

.it's crazy how you can not really care much one way or the other for other people's kids your whole life and then feel completely and totally head over heels for your own.

.they're just babies. what makes them so... like you just want to.... kiss them and hug them and be smiled and coo'ed at all day. who am i? gag. but really.

'cia almost killed a cat today. it ended up tangling itself in vines and chicken wire on our fence and hanging upside down for 45 minutes until jonathan could get it untangled. i don't much like cats, but poor cat. sorry. bad dog, 'cia. cat: try not to come in our backyard anymore.

.still haven't hung stuff on our walls. surprise, surprise.

.we got a new old car. my first car in the thousands! year-wise and money-wise. ha!

.postpartum healing sucks way more than pregnancy. and pregnancy sucks.

.i want to go to spain with jonathan on a romantic vacation. but bring hattie too because i couldn't ever leave her that far. who says you can't have kids AND foreign travels AND romance, huh? who?!

.i'm trying to brainstorm inventions so we can get rich so we can travel.

.baby coos and smiles are the most beautiful thing on this earth. so that should sustain me even if we can't travel for awhile. gag, i know. but really.

.i need clothes. jonathan needs clothes. but we're poor/stubborn and don't want to spend money on them. plus i'm not a fan of shopping. everyone just get used to seeing me in the same few things. OR, if you're getting rid of clothes, send them my way. i'll drop them off at the D.I. for ya. heh heh...

.jonathan's designing some pretty cool stuff at school this semester. i'm proud of him. and excited for him. he is a great artist. brag brag brag. my husband's got skillllzzzzzzz.

.all you moms and/or dads out there who work all day and then come home to kids and also cook and clean: how?

.i thought the christmas music was supposed to start on the radio by now. fm100, you are FAILING me.

.SO glad elections are over. and as a political science major*, that was supposed to be fun. nope.

.you know, if i could pick one thing in the whole world to be cheaper to buy... it would be diapers.

.should i sign up for a triathlon this spring? or will i hate myself for it the whole two weeks leading up to it?

.baby's waking up. yay. bye for now.


*so i graduated with a degree in a political science. does that make me a political scientist? it sounds so pretentious.

Monday, November 1, 2010

I'm proud to say that I can officially start wearing...



Because I'm not a woman anymore, I'm a mom.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Hattie's Birth Story

I've been posting about our experiences with Hattie on my private blog that Jonathan and I use as a family journal (only he and I can write in it and view it). I wanted to avoid oversharing about my beautiful little girl and possibly boring people. However, I thought I'd share the post I wrote about Hattie's birth for any curious family and friends.


We made it! Here's how it all went down...

Saturday, September 11, 2010. It was four days past my due date. Four days may not sound like much, but I was done. I felt like my body would never go into labor on its own. I was anxious for the big day to just come. I wanted to meet my daughter. I wanted my body back.* I wanted scary labor to just be over with and for everything to be okay and done. I was ready to cuddle a warm, chubby baby.

I got up late in the morning wondering what to do with myself that day. I was slightly self-pitying and a little depressed. Jonathan was working on homework so I headed over to my parents' house to hang out with my mom for awhile. She was canning peach and blackberry jams and earlier she'd made some peach cobbler and fresh salsa. So I snacked and we chatted and half-watched an old Mel Gibson western movie that was on television.

After awhile I headed back home and got a little teary on the way... just pregnancy hormones and the frustration of being pregnant past my due date. I crawled into bed with a book and eventually fell asleep for a long nap. I woke up around 7:45 and went to the bathroom. As I was washing my hands after, I felt like I peed a little more... but then it stopped. I thought maybe something was up but I didn't feel like telling Jonathan because I didn't want to get his hopes up and I was in denial that anything would ever happen labor-wise.

I went out and sat next to Jonathan at our desks and googled "how do i know if my water broke?" As I started reading, I shifted in my seat. A small gush. I went back to the bathroom. Nothing. Back to the desk. Slightly painful contraction. Nothing. Shift in seat. Small gush. Slightly more painful contraction. I told Jonathan that I thought my water had broken. He wanted to know if I was sure.

Sorta...
(painful contraction)
Probably...
(Small gush)
Yeah... I'm sure
(more painful contraction).

I told him we should go to the hospital so we started taking our time getting our stuff together. I got my toothbrush and makeup and added it to my hospital bag. Jonathan grabbed some extra clothes and homework stuff. Then the contractions really started hurting. I had to stop what I was doing and breathe. I grabbed the car seat out of the nursery and was getting very anxious to leave.

On the freeway on the way to Intermountain Medical Center, I realized that I hadn't timed my contractions at all. I knew they wouldn't send me home if my water had broken, but what if I was being silly and it didn't? I had a small moment of doubt until the next contraction kicked in. It was a doozy... Ouch. By the time we got to the hospital, I was comforted because my contractions were 3 - 5 minutes apart. But man did they hurt.

We parked and walked into the women's center around 8:45. The woman at the desk seemed doubtful even after I told her I thought my water had broken but they got me into a room (#17) and sent in a nurse. By this time I was in a lot of pain. Every contraction was worse than the one before and I couldn't believe how much they hurt. The nurse checked me and said she couldn't tell if my water had broken for sure. I was confused by that because, ahem, what about the big wet spot under me on the bed? She thought I was at about a 4.

My mom and sister showed up sometime around here. I was in a lot of pain. I've said this before and I'll say it again: I do not know how women give birth naturally. I just don't. The nurse wanted to call my midwife to make sure it would be okay for me to get my epidural. I was ready to fight if my midwife had any issue with it. Luckily, my midwife said that of course it would be fine for me to get my epidural right away and that she would be to the hospital soon.

Getting the epidural was kind of scary but I was up for anything to end the agony. The hard part was staying still enough through the pain to let the anesthesiologist get the needle in. I was terrified that I would jerk and he'd stab my spine and I'd be paralyzed forever. But he didn't and a few minutes later... sweet, sweet relief.

Once I got my epidural, I remembered to start documenting the day with photos

My midwife, DeeDee showed up a little before 11:00 PM. I had had a couple of my prenatal visits with her and she was my favorite midwife in the practice so I was really excited that she happened to be on call that night. She checked me and said I was about a six and then sat and chatted with us and charted. I loved having a midwife because of the personal attention I got from her. She was in my room from the time she showed up at the hospital until I delivered. We talked about her past experiences with labor and delivery, my fears that the ultrasound would be wrong, my plan for labor, etc. It was great.

My awesome midwife, DeeDee Fedorchak

Meanwhile, my first labor and delivery nurse went home and a new one came. I was a little surprised because the new nurse seemed old. Really old. The second she walked in the door, my mom asked her what her name was and if she had worked with Dr. Larkin at LDS Hospital before. She confirmed that she had and my mom said, "I knew it, you were my labor and delivery nurse when I had Amanda." Crazy! The nurse that helped deliver me was there to help me deliver my oldest daughter.

My Labor and Delivery nurse, Karen (I think that was her name. Mom?)

A short time later, around 11:15, my midwife checked me again because I was feeling some pressure (My epidural was great. I could still feel my legs and feet and move around. I could feel each contraction but without the huge amount of pain.). I was already at a 9. I went from a 4 to a 10 in a surprisingly short amount of time... Maybe that's why it hurt so bad. My midwife said that I could start pushing really soon if I wanted but since she'd heard me saying that I didn't want a 9/11 baby, she said I could wait until midnight to start pushing if I wanted. I decided to wait so we just relaxed and chatted.

When it was finally time to start pushing, I was really happy to see that my midwife kept the lights dim. She didn't bring out the huge harsh surgical light from the ceiling as she said she doesn't think it's very comfortable for newborns to have all those harsh lights on them right away. She also let me stay on the long bed rather than taking it apart and making me scoot down and get into stirrups like a lot of the doctors do. It was a really nice environment and I felt mostly at ease... but of course a little bit nervous. I just wanted our baby to be safe and healthy.

As I started pushing, Jonathan would hold my right leg and the nurse would hold my left and count through the contractions for me. My midwife sat at the end of the bed and just said encouraging things. She let me decide to push when I felt the contractions instead of telling me by what the monitor was showing on the computer. After a few pushes, the baby was descending at a nice slow and steady pace so she kept telling me to just push as hard as I could.

My mom and Emily started to get really excited because they could finally see the baby's head and there was hair! I pushed really hard the next time, and much to everyone's surprise, including the midwife's, her whole head came out. My midwife had to lunge forward really quickly to catch her as her whole body quickly came out. It was 12:47 am on Sunday, September 12th. I was sitting far enough forward from pushing that I actually saw her come out of me. It was amazing. They put her pink, healthy, crying little body right up on my chest, blood and goop and all and I loved it. One of the first things I noticed about her besides her cute face was her large hands. Just like mommy! haha...

My first gory look at my beautiful girl

Jonathan taking his first look at his girl

It's possible she wasn't too excited to be here right at first :)

Since they weren't expecting her to come out so fast, the nurse and CNA for the baby weren't even in the room yet like they usually would be. The labor and delivery nurse frantically paged them and they eventually came. They weighed and measured her, gave her a quick check, and then gave her back to me. 8 pounds 3 ounces, 21 inches long.


I love this epic hand shadow photo.


I got to hold her skin-to-skin on my chest for a long time while the midwife started the arduous process of stitching up my battle wounds. It turns out that because of Hattie's quick arrival, I had some pretty crazy tearing. It took the midwife 1 hour and 45 minutes to get me all stitched up. Two times the stitching got so complicated that she had the on-call obstetrician come in and give her opinion and take a turn stitch me up. Needless to say, I lost a lot of blood. Again, thank heavens for my epidural. By the end of the stitching, though, the drugs were wearing off and I could feel the needle going in and out of me. Yeesh. I do not want to repeat that anytime soon.


I was loving the baby on my chest, hating the endless stitching.

Jonathan was out in the hall with his parents and Hattie for the last half of the stitching. After it was done, they dropped in to say hi to me and then it was just Jonathan and I. The nurse sent Hattie up to the nursery and told me I'd be on my way up to recovery soon.

Jonathan's cute parents getting their first look atBaby H

After a slight roadblock (my blood pressure dropping a ton, throwing up, almost passing out, and freezing and shivering uncontrollably) they finally had me go up to my room on the recovery floor sometime around 4 am and Hattie was returned to us. A CNA came in and gave her a bath. Sadly, she hated it. Her little cry was so cute though.

Hatin' her first bath

Finally done with the labor, stitching, wooziness, nausea, barfing, and chills and up to recovery. Made it!

We had a lot of nice family and friends come visit us Sunday and Monday.

Jonathan's siblings, Joseph and Kristine

My sis, Emily

Sis - in - law, Rachelle

Jonathan's bro, Sam

My friend, Tiffany

My dad's first time holding his first granddaughter

Mi madre

Little Bro, Josh

Other little bro, Ben

Monday evening we were discharged after I talked my midwife out of making me get a blood transfusion. I had to walk around the recovery floor for 15 minutes to prove I wasn't going to pass out.

Driving home with Hattie was a little bit of a surreal experience. Two people became three... just like that.

We are loving our little Hattie and all of her cuteness. She has brought a wonderful spirit to our home and I can't believe how much love I have for someone I've known for such a short amount of time.

After all of the tips and tricks I tried to get labor going, I'm going to have to say that what finally did the trick was the delicious peach cobbler my mom made. Say what you will about walking, spicy foods, and sex, but what did it for me was a little self pity, a long nap, and some delicious homemade peach cobbler.

Nature might have had a bit to do with it too. You never really know.



*Little did I realize, giving birth wouldn't do much to "give me my body back." I may look normal again, but when you are someone's sole source of food and that someone wants to eat every 1 - 3 hours, your body is not really your own. :)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Harriet J Gracey

Our little Hattie J is finally here! 8 lb 3 oz and 21 inches. Born September 12, 2010 at 12:44 am.


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Well that was slightly anticlimactic...

Happy September 7th! She was supposed to be here today! I hate due dates!


Well after a typical day at work, a boring evening, a good cry, and a back rub from Jonathan I decided it was time to document this day with some photos. Let me tell you folks, I look HOT at 40.00 weeks of pregnancy. I know you all have probably seen those fancy cute maternity photo shoots some people get. Well we had our own classy version...


Mood Swings!


The typical belly profile shot

Get OUT!


Bare Belly!


Poor Belly Button.



So as much as I hoped that I'd be showing you all cute baby photos today I guess I'll settle for drowning my sorrows in a Slurpee, Hi-Chews, and posting pictures of my bare belly for anyone to look at. I'll probably wonder what I was thinking tomorrow.


The update? Went to the midwife this morning. I'm at a 3.5. She scheduled me to be induced next Tuesday morning if our little darlin' hasn't decided to come out on her own by then. We'll have her by this time next week for SURE!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

When's the baby gonna come?

It gets more and more difficult to leave the house these days. No, it's not because of my big belly, aching back, and swollen feet. I actually don't feel too bad. I can handle the discomforts that have come my way these past few weeks.

No, the thing that makes it hard to go out is what I get to hear from everyone. Every day.

People are really excited for you at the end of your pregnancy. I totally understand that. And I suspect they get especially excited for you when you're having your first child. This brings a lot of concerned and well-meaning comments, questions, and advice. THAT. I. CAN'T. HANDLE. ANYMORE. OF!

Here are some of my favorites comments thus far:

-"You know, the first labor is always the longest and hardest."
-"I labored 2309485000 hours with my first!"
-"You haven't even dropped yet! (this one I get all the time.)"
-"Wow! You're due next week? That went by fast!"


I also thought I'd include a list of frequently asked questions for all you curious people who don't get to see me often. Some of these questions I can understand being asked and I don't mind answering. Others I find endlessly annoying. Either way. Here are the answers... If only everyone I'm going to encounter before I have this baby could read this blog.

Q: When are you due?
A: September 7th. On Tuesday.

Q: You're still here?! (at work, church)
A: Uh... Yes I am. Would you like me to leave?

Q: When are they going to induce you?
A: Well I don't know that they will. Unless there is some sort of medical issue with me or the baby, they won't induce first-time mothers at least until you pass 41 weeks.

Q: Are you going to give birth naturally?
A: I plan to have an epidural and then push a live baby out of my you-know-where. Is that natural enough for you?

Q: Are you dilated yet? How much?
A: I was checked for the first time last Tuesday. I was dilated to a 2 and 80% effaced.

Q: Are you going to breastfeed?
A: That's the plan.

Q: Why did you decide to have a midwife? Don't you want to give birth in a hospital?
A: I researched my options and found that most women who choose the midwife route have great experiences. Midwives are generally more attentive during labor than doctors. The midwives I see have their office at the Intermountain Medical Center, where I will deliver. If any complications arise, a doctor experienced with high risk pregnancies and deliveries is always on call.

Q: Have you tried _______ to get your labor going? (spicy food, castor oil, walking, sex, the pizza at Trio, jumping on the trampoline, taking a bumpy car ride)
A: Mostly I've tried laying around on the couch. However, I was forced to shop for long hours on Friday evening and Saturday.

Q: Are you having contractions?
A: Yes.
Q: Do they hurt?
A: Rarely.
Q: Are there a lot of them?
A: Sometimes.

Q: Do you have any names picked out?
A: Hagrid.

Q: When's the baby gonna come?
A1 (I'm feeling patient): Oh I don't know... (polite laugh, smile). She'll come when she's ready.
A2 (I'm feeling devious): Uh... (blank look)... When will what come?

As I was writing this my family dropped by with some dinner for Jonathan and me. My mom yelled to me from the car that I should try jump-squatting down the stairs. I think she's just really excited to meet her first granddaughter. I'll add that to my list of things to try, Mom.

So I guess the hardest part about being 9 months pregnant is the repetitive and/or personal questions and the unsolicited advice and comments that I really don't want to hear.

Did this sound terribly ornery? Well that's probably because the cherry on top of everything happened at church today when an old man cornered me at church and asked me when I was due. After I told him, he informed me that a woman's first labor is always the most difficult and that he hoped I'd been doing the perineum exercises that can help prevent a woman from tearing so much while giving birth. He went on about how labor and delivery nurses are sometimes trained to do episiotomies in case the physician doesn't show up in time. Then his tangent took a turn for the worse. He said, "I don't see childbirth as a sexual thing at all. No it's a wonderful physiological thing when the baby comes. Not sexual."

Well, sir... thank you for that. You've just single-handedly given me one of the most uncomfortable moments I've had this whole pregnancy. Physical or otherwise. And I can assure you that childbirth being a "sexual thing" has never once crossed my mind and it kind of creeps me out that you even mentioned it. Also, I'll keep my perineal tissue to myself and not discuss it with men at church, thank you.

If I'm still pregnant next Sunday, I am NOT going to be at church.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

pregnant. hungry. kicking baby. have to pee. can't breathe.

So I haven't been around these parts in awhile. Last summer's tri-weekly posts about Ecuadorian adventures seem so far away but it's only been about a year and 4 days since we came home. The only Spanish I'm speaking now is the occasional explanation to a retiree of how they can withdraw money from their retirement account. What a life!

Don't worry, life is still good. It just couldn't be more different from what it was last year (besides the whole living creature leaching nutrients from inside my body. Is it bad to compare your unborn baby to your parasite?)

Well in case anyone has wondered, this summer has basically consisted of working at my busy job (which I love. Good coworkers and a ton to get done each day make for an awesome work environment), a fun trip to Newport with my fam, getting huge, nesting (organizing! cleaning! organizing! cleaning! decorating!), and spending as much quiet/alone/relaxing time with Jonathan as I can because it's about to get crazy up in here.

I'm 36.5 weeks. For those of you not familiar with the week stuff, a normal pregnancy duration is about 40 weeks. A baby born after 37 weeks is considered full term. I'm hoping to make it all the way to 40 just to give me extra time to prepare. I thought all moms-to-be were completely anxious to get their babies out out OUT! I'm not one of those. I need time! Aaahhhhh! Don't get me wrong, I'm excited to meet her. I'm just feeling slightly overwhelmed. Plus, I hear they're a little quieter and easier when they're still inside.

Baby is healthy and head is down. The midwife thinks she's 5.5 to 6 lbs. Weird cravings have been minimal... although I did have to stop on the way home from work yesterday to buy cottage cheese. That was a little weird. I've gained about 25 lbs. No stretch marks yet. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. The baby has officially taken over in there, though. My bladder, lungs, and stomach are suffering the consequences. Getting enough air is a huge challenge. Especially after eating an average-sized meal. And forget about eating a large meal. There is no room. I was about to say that I'm so excited to get my bladder back to full capacity so I can sleep through the night but I think it'll be awhile before I sleep through the night either way. Sigh. :)

Aaaand.... here's the belly at 36 weeks.


Oh. One more thing. We won't be attending a birthing class. So if there are any secrets that we need to know about that they only tell you in those classes, someone go ahead and let me know. And let's all save the horror stories for after the big day. Okay?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Boring Post... but with cute baby pictures!


I love that I have family in St. George. It gives us good excuses to take mini-vacations. This past weekend we went down to see my cousin who just returned from his mission in Brazil and to say goodbye to his little brother who's leaving for a mission to Brazil in a couple weeks.


It was nice to get away, see family I hadn't seen in a long time, and get some warmth. We also got a little taste of what it's like to live with a two month old baby. Jonathan and I shared a hotel room with my sister, her husband, and our cute little nephew Jackson. He wasn't a huge fan of sleeping the first night.


Saturday we went to Zion National Park and hiked around a bit.



Do I look pregnant yet? This was around 24 weeks. I got a little tired and achy on the trail and was starting to feel bad for my poor pregnant self when this huge, much more pregnant lady passed me on her way back. I hope I can still hike around when I'm that pregnant.

Jonathan and I can't stop laughing at his face in this picture every time we see it. It could have been such a cute picture... we have a lot of those.



Little Jackson is just starting to smile and mimic people's faces. Jonathan and I had a blast with him on the way home. Every face that Jonathan made, Jackson would try to copy him. Cutest thing I've ever seen.

Tongues out.








maybe he scared him a bit in this one...

again with the tongues. I think Jackson's got a ways to go before he can do that though.

I just can't get enough of that big open-mouth smile. A couple hours later we stopped in Fillmore and Jack pooped on Emily. I'm glad I'm not quite to that point of parenthood yet.


Oh and of course Jonathan had to bring a little treat home for 'Cia. I think they're hilarious. Check it out:

The people dogs love to eat!