Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Our blessed 2013 year

Looking back on this year it was just such an amazing ride. So many goals were completed and life achievements occurred. But most importantly I feel that my close relationships have gotten stronger. I feel that Jared and I's marriage got to be more unified, closer, and adaptable. I've grown closer to my own mother and father as they helped us buy our first house, and especially since the arrival of my sweet Hilton. My mother has shown me so many things about how to be a good mother, and it wasn't until my baby made his appearance that I grew to truly appreciate the work and life of a mother.

But most importantly I feel that I myself have changed significantly. I've become incredibly fiscally responsible. I'm the bill payer in our house and am in charge of making sure we save enough for the car payments, mortgage, and general bills. I got to watch and experience my body doing an amazing feat of creating another human being and being able to give birth to that most precious creation. I have seen myself become more determined by finally pushing to the end of my degree and taking the large step of graduating from college. I am officially a college graduate with a bachelors degree! Five years of tears, sweat, and blood went into that and I will (hopefully) never take the experience for granted.

The largest change I have seen in myself was becoming more patient. More patient with Jared, with life, and mostly with myself. I have grown to know myself a little deeper than I did at the beginning of 2013, and I hope that I can learn and grow even more in the year 2014. It's funny how so many things were unplanned at the beginning of this year, and how they just feel into place. We wanted to buy a house, but had no real plans too. We wanted to have a baby but had no control over the timing. I wanted to be done with school but wasn't ready to make the last sacrifices to make it happen. It's so true that the Lord has a plan for us and that we cannot understand or control the timing; but we can have faith that he knows what is best for us and what we need from our time here on earth.

I'm so grateful for my life, for my husband, my health, my baby, my dogs, my house and car, my job, but greatest of all I'm grateful for the belief that each day is a new day and that I can always do better today than I did yesterday. It's inspiring and that's what I'm hoping for this 2014 year. To live each day inspired and to take each day as a blessing. To the comforts, joys, and challenges that lie ahead, here's to 2014!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Letter to Hilton: two weeks

Little man this has been the slowest and fastest two weeks of my life having you join our family. The nights seemed to drag on as I tried to soothe, feed, and change you while I myself was completely exhausted. But the days went by too quickly. I have watched as you have done so many of your 'firsts': first smile as you farted (you do this regularly now), first coo as you looked outside at the light coming in through the window, first sneezes, and first smiles just to name a few.

I think back to just two weeks ago when I was impatiently waiting in the hospital for you to decide to come. What a magical and spiritual experience that was for me and your dad when you finally came into the world. I find myself wishing that we could go back to that day, how excited I was to no longer be pregnant anymore but to actually have a baby of my own, and how ready we were to become parents. Did we really know what we were getting ourselves into? We will never be able to relive that experience, but I hope we will never forget it either. At the moment you were born I had ceased waiting to become a mom, and became one. And I re-become one each day as I figure out how to calm you, how to help you feel better, and how to decide what's best for you.

I find myself wishing I knew exactly what you needed, this bottle vs. that, or if you want your diaper changed vs. you have gas. But it's all in the journey of figuring it-and you-out. I love your little soul, you are such a sweet spirit. You are well tempered, patient, and curious already. You don't like pain and I wish I could take it away from you in an instant so you didn't have to experience it. But that's the wonder of this world, we have to experience our own pains and joys, but as your mother I wish I could spare you the pains.

Mother. I am a mother. I didn't really ever grasp it's full meaning until having had you in my life. You have opened up so many parts of my heart I didn't know existed and I am grateful for the added levels of love you have brought into our lives. However you have also brought worry, what if this catastrophe happens, what if you fall and hurt yourself, what if you get sick, but mostly for me what if I'm not good enough? I often lie awake thinking, 'am I doing a good job?', 'will he love me?'. I want to be the very best mother possible for you: the one you need.

I think of how quickly these past two weeks have flown by and know that in a blink of an eye you'll be two months, and then two years old. I think of how I'll hold you when you're scared, and kiss you hello and goodbye and just because I want to. I think forward to holding your hand, helping you experience all the wonderful things this life has to offer. I hope that you'll have big dreams, I hope that you'll remember to be kind no matter what, and mostly I hope that you'll love your father and I, like we love you.

Hilton, the day of your birth was such a special day for us, but so is each day since. No amount of poop, spit up, pee, and crying could make me love you less, in fact they help me to love you more because my strongest tie with you is caring for your needs and getting to experience your innocence as you encounter the world. I love you so much my little Hilton and I will try to take each day as a gift and not for granted. And I hope that you know that I love you. I think you do as you look into my eyes when I'm feeding you or when you're content to just lay and flap your little arms and look around the room cooing. I love you little Hilton, and I always will.

Things you're currently doing:
You love to be in the swing, it's the only way I can get you to sleep sometimes
You moan and grunt when you're asleep, it's just so cute I could watch you all day
You hate sleeping lying flat on your black
You only like to have your diaper changed if its in a warm place, and cold wipes-you LOATHE those
You like having diaper cream put on, it feels good on your bottom I think
You love your fuzzy blankets, they keep you extra warm and are super soft against your delicate skin
You stretch a lot when you start waking up from napping, which is of course adorable

Daddy:loves your sweet smiles you give when he talks to you
Mommy:loves your cute stockinged feet and your many facial expressions
Hilton:loves being rocked after eating
Adi and Aspen:love snuggling with you, and you seem to like it too

Weight Gain Stats:
Birth: 7 lbs. 15 oz.
2 weeks: 8 lbs. 14 oz.

p.s. you're first Christmas went great at only twelve days old, you were so adorable in your outfit (which you didn't even get dirty all day, it was a miracle!) and everyone loved holding you and getting to snuggle with little Hilton.

Hilton with Grandpa Todd

Monday, December 23, 2013

A (little) Man's Best Friend

One thing I was really worried about during this pregnancy for the transition to life once he was here was how Adi and Aspen would react to his arrival into their lives. I often times thought, 'They have a rude awakening coming once he's here' mainly because I knew they wouldn't be as spoiled with undivided attention. But also because I knew the family dynamic would change so much. Obviously my priority is baby which meant that they wouldn't be getting as much attention from me, which made me feel awful. I love our pups, and I can't imagine life without them or being unable to give them the same amount of attention as pre-baby.

A couple people asked us if we planned on getting rid of them once the baby arrived. To us that was absolutely not even a question or thought. Yes they are big dogs, and yes they have lots of energy. But they are also extremely obedient for me and Jared (not so much strangers). To us they are family members-we're now a family of five not three and we wouldn't dream of getting rid of them.

Quite a couple of people also asked if we were worried about them being too rough with him, newborns are of course fragile. I had never seen either of them around a newborn or baby before, but I knew Adi loves to interact with kids. She adores them actually, whenever kids come around she wants to play and its really sweet to watch. She's really a gentle giant, but I can see how people would be concerned about her around a newborn. Aspen isn't afraid of children, but she doesn't really want to 'play' with them. The only thing she really ever wants to 'play' with is her tennis ball.

So when some close friends of our had a baby three or so months ago I asked when they came over the next time if we could see how Adi and Aspen would react. They have a dog as well and so were willing to bring their baby over so our dogs could experience their first newborn. Honestly they were just curious, of the smells, sounds, and size of this little being. Adi was a little to much in the face as she often is with any stranger but once we got her to understand that she had to keep a bit of a distance she did really well. Aspen sniffed, but seemed disinterested quickly and only wanted to play with her tennis ball. Because of that experience I was rather worried about how Aspen would react and if she would feel neglected once baby arrived.

Now that baby is here one question everyone asks is how the dogs are reacting to him. And it's not at all like I was worried about. I was worried they would feel severely neglected, or would get jealous. But it's been just the opposite, both have been very conscientious of where he is and coming to check on him if they're with Jared. If I leave the house with Hilton for a time, when I get back they always have to give him a thorough sniff check when he gets through the door.

The first day we were home from the hospital I was doing a diaper change and Hilton was screaming because he hates the cold, and because Aspen is terrified of loud noises she went running for her hiding spot under the bed. As she's gotten accustomed to him though she stays each night with me on the bed and often comes over when he wakes up to eat or be changed to make sure he's alright. Last night was the sweetest because I had just laid him down and Aspen came and laid down to snuggle him.

Adi on the other hand has assumed the role of protector. Some people from the ward brought over dinner and Adi was very cautious about letting them too close and will actually act as a barrier between me and them. This is good because it shows she has already accepted him into the family and will protect him, but is bad because it means she growls at our neighbors who aren't dangerous people. But we're slowly training her. She goes ballistic each time the door rings or comes running if she hears the front or garage door opening to patrol what is going on.

As for the worry of them eating any baby things left unattended they have been so good, they haven't touched anything. We had heard all these horror stories of baby toys being treated as dog toys, baby socks being devoured (or buried in the backyard), and pacifiers being stolen from babies mouths. However Adi and Aspen are really good about leaving things alone when we tell them no, but he's only been here for a week so we'll see how they are down the road.

Overall things with baby and dog transition are going great, I still feel like they need more attention and each day I've improved as I have healed and Hilton goes longer between his feedings. I've been able to let them out to play for longer periods, and am able to spend time cuddling them while Hilton is sleeping. I hope they know I love them even though I can't always give them both my hands. Somehow I think they understand. They still love me and are excited to see me when I get home so I know they don't feel abandoned.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Hilton's birth story

So for those that don't know my original due date came and went (December 7th) and my wonderful OB at my 40 week appointment said that it was time to set a date for induction. From the beginning of this pregnancy I had a couple things I didn't want to happen, I didn't want to be induced and I really didn't want a c-section. But when I discussed with my OB early on about the possibility of an induction he made it very clear for the health of the baby going over 41 weeks was not something he would do because the placenta actually starts to disintegrate at that time. So I knew this whole pregnancy that it was something that may need to happen.

Well by the time I was 40 weeks I was actually begging him to induce me the next day because I was so uncomfortable. But I had to wait until I was a full 41 weeks, which was officially December 13th. However Friday's are my OB's normal surgery day and he had four big surgeries planned for the day already so he wanted me to wait until the following Monday. To him it's just his next work day; to me it meant three more days of agonizing constant discomfort and another weekend where I would have had to sit and do nothing but think of how badly I wanted to have this baby. It was still up to us and we decided to go ahead for Friday. We took a risk by being induced on his surgery day because if I was ready to deliver while he was in the middle of surgery I might have to wait and fight the urge to push to give him time to get done with surgery. But since I was only dilated to a two I felt that it wouldn't be an issue because it would take me a while to dilate to a ten (I was contemplating like ten or so hours) and then the couple of hours it normally takes to push.

We arrived at the hospital at 7:20 ish Friday morning and were very eager to check in and get going. The OB came in and broke my water once we were settled, which did nothing surprise surprise, so they automatically started me on pitocin around 8:30. Jared had already settled in for a nice nap after his graveyard shift the night before which I was fine with because I thought I could entertain myself and ride the contractions alone no problem.

They started me off easy at 4mL/hr but because my contractions weren't painful just consistent they raised it to 8mL/hr around 9:45, which is when they started to actually hurt. I was able to bear through them and kept moving, using the birthing ball, and trying to just count as I breathed through the contractions. My pitocin continually got moved up, first to 10mL/hr and then to 12mL/hr to keep the contractions consistent and keep them getting stronger. Well the problem was that as they got stronger they did as contractions do and got closer together as well. So my ability to compose myself after each contraction was severely decreased and I started having problems breathing during the contractions and they got so painful I didn't want to move. I started hyperventilating and honestly felt like I was going to pass out just sitting in bed.

Again for those that don't know my goal was to go unmedicated during this labor. I didn't want to be cathetered and I was genuinely concerned about having lasting back pain from an epidural. I had heard horror stories from other ladies at work who had sciatic pain from their epidurals and even people saying that they got the epidural and then it stopped working just before birth. I just wanted to avoid the whole scary aspects I had associated with getting an epidural.

Around this point probably 1:30 p.m. the nurse came in to check on my progress (five hours into actual labor already) and I had dilated...to a three. I could have cried. She said she would come back in a half hour to check me again (she said I had also fully effaced at this point so I was hoping that this meant I would start dilating faster).

That half hour felt like an eternity. By the end of it the contractions had gotten so bad I was writhing in pain, and in the midst of one I looked over at my seemingly unbothered sleeping husband and lost it. I can't remember exactly what I yelled at him but I started to cry and he could tell I was seriously in pain and he was up in a flash. As soon as that half hour had passed I was on the call light asking for my nurse to come back. She came and checked me and I hadn't changed a bit. Another contraction hit and I just couldn't even get myself to breath through it, it was like I was flailing all my limbs hoping for relief and gasping for air. 

My ability to see the end goal of having a baby was blemished by the fact I was living by the minute, waiting for each contraction to hit two minutes later. My stamina was killed by the fact that I had been in active labor for five hours-really painful labor for about three and had only dilated one whole centimeter. I still had seven more cm's to go and after calculating my track record so far of one every three hours that meant 21 more hours of labor. I'm sure it wouldn't have taken that long in reality but it's the only timing I had to go on. By the end of that contraction I started to weep because I had come to the conclusion I couldn't do it, and Jared kissed me on the forehead while holding my hand and said he thought I should get the epidural. I started to consider it and then the next contraction hit and I could barely gasp for breath. As soon as it was over I said in tears to my nurse who was standing by the bed watching this whole ordeal to 'please get the anesthesiologist', and that I wanted the epidural.

She called him and thank his blessed soul he was there within one or two more contractions, set up and administered after just one, and the wonderful thing kicked in within another two. When I felt relief I could just feel my whole body relax, my pacing heart calmed down, and my anxiety just lifted. I felt like a failure and started to cry because I'd given in, but my body was enjoying the needed rest. The epidural was placed around 2:30, and it honestly in my mind is now one of the greatest inventions ever because of what occurred next. 

Well my biggest fear after having the epidural placed is that my labor would then slow down. I had heard that from multiple sources saying that epidurals relax your body so that your contractions slow down and baby can be put into distress making the need for a C-section much higher. Maybe that's true with women who are in natural active labor I don't know, but I had the pitocin still running and so my contractions-which I couldn't feel at all-continued strong and consistent and baby was handling it all like a champ partially I think because my body had stopped fighting the labor.

My nurse came back to check on me around 4p.m. and I was definitely expecting it not be more dilated because it was only an hour after I had finally dilated to a three. She checked me and surprisingly said I was already to a 4+. I couldn't believe it. I dilate one cm in an excruciating five hour period, and another in a one hour period AFTER I'd gotten the epidural? No way. I was happy but skeptical the progress would continue at that pace, it was just a fluke. By this time Jared was starving-he hadn't eaten all day because he'd been sleeping-so he went to get food and I hung out in bed, not that I had much choice. I couldn't feel from my waist down after all.

He came back and we started watching Man vs. Wild one of Jared's favorite shows, and got through maybe one episode by 5 p.m. when my nurse came back to check my progress. And by the hugest surprise of all I was already to a 9+! How was that possible?! My nurses's very surprised reply was that my body was probably just so tired from trying to labor for that five hours it had been more counter productive than anything and that once my body was really able to relax from the epidural he could actually descend into the birth canal which caused my quick dilation. She went and called the nursery, respiratory, and someone to prep the delivery room all of whom came and got set up because, 'baby would be here in less than two hours' depending on my ability to push.

By 5:45 they had me all ready to push and I did only maybe ten good pushes before she told me to stop that I was to effective of a pusher. She said he had already descended into the birthing canal, his head was visible and he was too close to coming before Dr. Larsen could get to the hospital if I kept pushing. She called him and then probably four contractions later Dr. Larsen was there and only three more pushes and I felt a huge release of pressure and my sweet boy was born! They cleaned him up a bit and put him right on my chest just beautiful fresh and new to the world. Jared was in tears and so was I!

Hilton wasn't crying at all really, he only whimpered but was just so awake and alert it was wonderful. We just sat there and held him, in awe of this little person that was now ours. It wasn't until we got to the maternity room that it really started to sink in. As we've gotten to know this precious little soul it is very clear that he is so well tempered and he looks exactly like his daddy who is thoroughly smitten and in love with him. It's so sweet to watch them together and to see Jared's face light up when he sees him or when he picks him up.

Jared can often get him to sleep no problem when I cannot, he's a baby whisperer

It's been quite the unforgettable experience the last day or so but I wouldn't change it for the world even though I'm completely exhausted, stink, and now have a belly that's like jello rather than the abdominal muscles I know are in there somewhere. I can't wait to be able to nurture this precious little soul and make sure he stays healthy and strong. It's amazing to me how much love you can feel after only knowing him for such a short amount of time. I am completely enamored with him and would just die if anything were to happen to him. I love my precious little family and I can't wait to see how he changes as he grows. I'm so grateful for the experience of getting him here, now that he's arrived I would do it all again in a heartbeat-every bit of discomfort, every contraction, every stretch mark for this little man that I get to call mine.

My miracle:
Hilton David Smith
born December 13th, 2013 at 6:08 p.m.
7 lbs. 15 oz. and 21.5 inches long

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Baby Smith has made his arrival!

Hilton David Smith finally decided to make his arrival (honestly he was forced) yesterday 12-13-13 at 6:08 pm weighing 7 lbs. 15 oz. and 21.5 inches long. Blonde hair and blue eyes and the spitting image of his daddy.

We're so excited he's here, he's the most precious blessing and Christmas gift we could ever hope for!

First family photo

Birth story to come...

Sunday, December 08, 2013

My Christmas List

Maybe it's because I'm getting older and more mature-or maybe it's because I'm so focused on baby right now and no longer work at Nordstrom-that I've come to a realization this year.

I've become scarily scringy with money. But good scarily scringy like I'd rather buy things we need like new wiper blades for my car instead of a new shirt or pair of pants (it also might have something to do with the fact I can't fit into normal clothes currently). I'd rather save up money to buy things for the house like decorations for the spare bathroom instead of splurging on another perfume to add to my collection.

More obvious support of this change has been what I asked for for Christmas. From my parents I asked for nursing tanks which are a bit more expensive an investment than I can bring myself to swallow right now, and from Jared I asked for Shampoo (only the good brands for my hair!) and a pair of super warm mittens for driving (because my car is ice cold baby at seven am when I leave for work). And that's all I could even think of that I really want need. Sure some workout clothes would be great, but when I can't wear them until spring and once I've lost the baby weight what is the point?

And of course because of the pending arrival of baby-hopefully anytime now since my due date was yesterday-I use my spending money to buy things for him like a super nice swing and an adorable but definitely ridiculously costly church outfit since he can only wear it for three months. I look forward to buying baby things instead of frivolous things for me. Does this mean I'm going to be one of those moms that never buys new clothes and dresses in mom jeans? I sure don't intend to!

But I think this shows I'm becoming even more responsible fiscally. I worry more about paying the mortgage then I do about buying a new pair of jeans because heaven forbid I don't have a new pair for the year. Likewise I worry more about making sure we have money to buy dog food and groceries instead of worrying about not getting any of the latest trends for clothes in my closet. Trips to Costco for laundry detergent and toilet paper have become more fun than trips to the mall.

Either way the most important and valuable thing that you cannot buy on my Christmas List this year is my soon to be baby. I can't wait to add this new addition to our family and to see Jared become a father. Here's to being 40 weeks and hoping he comes soon!