Saturday, February 18, 2017

Our Favorite Time of Day

Motherhood is more thrilling, wonderful, difficult, exhausting, miraculous, and more beautiful than I could have ever imagined.  These past four months we have navigated:

  • Nursing: no one could've prepared me for how hard this is. Haven has never consistently latched so the only way we've been successful is using a nipple shield; I used to feel guilty and try weaning her, but right now I'm okay with it-maybe we'll try weaning again, but maybe not.
  • Reflux: we endured an emergency room visit and stay at Primary Children's Hospital to diagnose Haven with some severe reflux. She has been a new baby ever since we started Rinitidine and BioGaia probiotics, we've even recently started weaning her Rinitidine down!
  • EVERYTHING that is encompassed in sleeping habits: swaddling, reflux bedding, self soothing, trying so hard to get her to take a binky-unsuccessfully...she has gone through phases of cat naps to three hour naps, up every two hours and a record 7.5 hours straight the other night. We still don't have consistently long or short naps OR good or bad nights-they're all over the place. Lately, she's been comfort nursing like crazy. 
  • Milestones: baby girl mastered smiling in November (1 mo), laughed for the first time in February (3 mos), rolled front-to-back in January (3 mos) and back-to-front in February (3 mos). She is obsessed with sucking on her bottom lip and her fists, loves her ears rubbed, and is starting to grab toys and bring them to her mouth. 
  • Mom returning to work: this one has been hard. I'm so blessed to have a career I love, an incredible company and work family to work for, and very few hours a week (10-15) BUT this has been hard. I don't feel like I can be 100% at work or at home and that's been tough. We've adjusted and thank HEAVENS she takes a bottle like a champ. The greatest blessing of this has been seeing the bond that comes from the one-on-one time she has with her daddy--they're such buds!
Whether we are having a hard day or a perfect day, I always look forward to our nightly routine. Both Marshall and I say it's our favorite time of day-we love the giggles, the family time, and the sweet memories that come from doing the same thing every evening. This week I decided to pull out the Nikon and be more intentional about documenting this routine, instead of just relying on snap shots on my phone. Here's a peek into evenings at the Hall's:

Play time! Enjoying Haven's faces, playing with toys, practicing standing and sitting, video chatting with family all over the world, and tuckering this little girl out!

Bath time! Yes, we give her a bath every night. I know this is probably excessive and most pediatricians would say it's unnecessary-however, this girl has reflux, which means she has some serious neck cheese at the end of the day, no matter how efficient our burp cloth wiping is!
Daddy gets her out of her clothes while Mommy gets the bath temperature just right.
Haven loves sucking on her washcloth. Her little mouth will follow my hand as I try to wash her until I give in and let her have it. 

Lotion time! Girlfriend's got Eczema like her daddy so we're pretty serious about our lotion regiment over here.

Jamma time! Cutest PJ wearer in the land. 

Book time! We always pick a fun children's book and take turns reading each page spread to a very attentive listener! My heart melts when she looks at books and smiles at our voices, I love sharing my love of books with her!

Family prayer time! We are trying to teach her to fold her little hands, but for now we're just happy if she listens! 

Swaddle time! Lights out! Lullabies and Comfort nursing to sleep! 

We sure love this little Chirp! 

Monday, November 7, 2016

Haven Rae Hall - October 19, 2016

"No love in mortality comes closer to approximating the pure love of Jesus Christ than the selfless love a devoted mother has for her child. When Isaiah, speaking messianically, wanted to convey Jehovah’s love, he invoked the image of a mother’s devotion. “Can a woman forget her sucking child?” he asks. How absurd, he implies, though not as absurd as thinking Christ will ever forget us...You see, it is not only that they bear us, but they continue bearing with us. It is not only the prenatal carrying but the lifelong carrying that makes mothering such a staggering feat. Of course, there are heartbreaking exceptions, but most mothers know intuitively, instinctively that this is a sacred trust of the highest order. The weight of that realization, especially on young maternal shoulders, can be very daunting...To all mothers in every circumstance, including those who struggle—and all will—I say, “Be peaceful. Believe in God and yourself. You are doing better than you think you are. In fact, you are saviors on Mount Zion, and like the Master you follow, your love ‘never faileth.” I can pay no higher tribute to anyone." -Elder Jeffery R. Holland, 'Behold Thy Mother'

I'm hoping to document this story so that I can remember all the details from that day to share with Haven one day and so that I can continue to be reminded of the miracles that took place when this beautiful angel came into our lives the evening of October 19, 2016. Hopefully you enjoy it, all the tiny details included!
Haven's due date was October 20th, however for a couple weeks I had felt some off and on labor pains and leakage that resulted in a few "false alarm" visits to the hospital. Now that I know what a contraction feels like I'm hoping to avoid going in unnecessarily in the future. Throughout this two weeks, every time I was checked I remained at "maybe a 1" with no signs of progress. Frustrated and anxious to meet Haven, I set an induction date for the 13th, when I wasn't progressed we moved it to the 16th, when I still wasn't progressed we decided to move it to her due date. My OBGYN, Dr. Carlson, was going to be on call Thursday night, but not Wednesday night, so we decided to move the induction to Wednesday so he would be the one delivering her. Tuesday rolled around and I was an anxious mess the whole day. I had a doctors appt in the early afternoon (still only a 1) and was instructed to call the hospital at 5:30 to confirm there was a room for us at 6:00pm. Marsh got off work early to come home and have dinner before we left. When he got home I was pacing the (spotless) apartment because I'd run out of things to do and couldn't sit still. After a minor pep talk to calm my anxiety (it had finally hit me I was going to have to get her out of me), we were ready to say goodbye to our apartment of just us two for the last time. So at 5:30 we headed to Popeye's Chicken (major fried chicken cravings throughout my pregnancy) and I called the hospital. The nurse said they were slammed and to call back at 7. I was devastated. We ate our dinner and went to walk around Fred Meyer to look at baby clothes because I couldn't bear the thought of returning to our apartment without Haven. As we were walking around, I was super grumpy and was not enjoying even the cutest baby clothes. Marshall took me aside and reminded me that the person who was taking my spot was likely having a scary emergency and that we were blessed to be awaiting an *elective* induction to deliver our healthy baby girl. Perspective. So I was a little less devastated when I called back at 7 and they said they would call me in a couple hours or to call back at 9:30 pm. At this point, we knew we had to go back home. Marsh got a little nap, I cleaned the already clean apartment and sat and stared at the TV. Then Marsh and I decided to play some cards to try and distract me and make the time pass. At 9:00 I asked Marsh if I should just call in, he said not to because if they said "no", I would wish I would've just waited until the right time. No less than two minutes later, the phone rang and the nurse said, "we're ready for you! Eat something now because you won't be able to again until you meet your baby!" So I gulped down a protein shake and some toast and we headed to the hospital! My mom was originally going to wait for the call that I had been admitted to start the drive to Idaho, but when I called her she was already half way on the journey!
Once at the hospital, we were assigned our delivery room (it was perfect and spacious and I'm so in love with the Portneuf Hospital and nurses!) My nurse, Carrie, started my IV and as soon as I said "I've been told I have good veins, so this should be easy", she stuck me and my vein blew (lots of blood), she stuck me again higher up, it blew. She got another nurse and she went for my left arm, it blew. Higher up on the left arm, it blew. After four attempts and what would become four large bruises in the coming days, they decided to call an IV Therapy Specialist. They were busy in the ICU, but once they came they were able to use an ultrasound to find a deeper vein and first try was a success! I was finally hooked up to fluids and we could begin the cytotec to encourage dilation. 

We started my first dose of cytotec around midnight and contractions started around 1 am. Welp, contractions were everything I thought they would be and 10x worse. I labored hard with continued doses of cytotec from 1 am to 6 am. During that time I tried walking the halls, bouncing on a yoga ball, pacing the room, laying in bed, but the only position I could handle was sitting in a hard chair and using the arms to push up when the contraction hit and my mom and Marshall would stand by reassuring me and helping to encourage me to relax as best I could.I seriously had the most incredible coaches. By about 6 am the contractions were so intense that my water ruptured, I was shivering from head to toe, freezing, and needed to get back in the bed to get rest in between and have the energy for the next one. I was still only at 4 cm. 

I really had wanted to wait until I was at least a 6 or 7 before getting my epidural, in case it slowed labor, but by 7 am when my OB came on shift he broke the remainder of my water, started me on pitocin, and I ordered the epidural. In order for me to remain still enough for the epidural they gave me some IV pain medication ( I don't remember the name), but man-it was great! My mom and Marsh just laughed at me because I literally went from writhing in pain to a drug induced happiness and even said something like "I feel like I'm floating on clouds". So, needless to say, I should stay away from pain meds because I like them too much. The epidural was one of my worst fears about delivery. I knew I was going to want/need it, but was terrified of all the complications and it not taking. The resident was very reassuring, answered all my questions, and ensured me that he was very experienced (was getting is license the next month). Marshall watched as they placed the epidural and it wasn't as bad as he expected, either. After the epidural I could still feel a pinch in my lower back on the right side, so my nurse had me lay to one side and that helped it take over both sides. At that point, Marshall and I played some cards, then I decided I should probably rest because I'd been up for about 24 hours and knew we still had quite a ways to go. 

I continued to be checked every couple hours and steadily progressed to a 7 by about noon. Around 1 pm I woke up violently throwing up my cranberry juice and red popsicle from earlier. I felt so horrible because it then took a team of nurses to transfer my half paralyzed body into a wheelchair, change my bedding and wardrobe and get me back in bed while i was tethered to an IV, catheter, internal fetal heart rate monitor (this was placed because Haven's heart rate was freaky steady and they wanted to see more variability during contractions), and internal uterine contractions monitor. So that was our early afternoon adventure. About an hour later, I started feeling some pain in my right lower back. I looked at the contractions monitor and they were starting to go off the chart with intensity. I pushed the button to administer more epidural from the IV and heard this beeping, looked at the IV and my epidural was out. Empty. Wearing off. We called the nurse in and she said she'd page anesthesiology. She also checked me, I was at a ten. Within ten minutes I started feeling the pressure and knew I needed to start pushing. The nurse encouraged me to "hold on" while we tried to get more epidural medication, while I "labored down" which basically meant allowing Haven to get further down with each contraction. By 3:15 I couldn't resist pushing and the nurse set up the bed so I could begin. At this point, my cute nurse Roxy told me that she was done with her shift at 5 pm and wanted to meet this baby so I better get to pushing! She had warned me that first time moms can sometimes push for a couple hours, but that she thought I would go much faster. Well I started pushing with every contraction and made very little progress but grew increasingly tired and the pain got worse and worse. By this point I was getting help from my mom and Marshall to help with my legs so I could use pressure to work in my favor. Well an hour went by, then an hour and a half went by, and the nurse said I still hadn't made much progress. Haven's head would inch forward with each push, but as soon as the contraction ended it would settle back where it was. Meanwhile, the pain was getting worse and worse with no relief. I was hit with the most intense contractions and pushing with no build up to prepare my body. I was exhausted and 5 pm came and went, my nurse left and wished me luck and the new nurse, Mercedes, came in. She had me push for another 15 minutes and Dr. Carlson came in to determine if he should head home or wait in his office. At that point I was in so much pain, the new epidural bag came but for whatever reason, did not take. Dr. Carlson said we could start exploring options, such as C section or vacuuming, but that it was up to me and he'd wait to hear what I thought. I asked the nurse what she knew about the vacuum and her eyes got wide as she said, "well I'll let the doctor talk to you about that if we get there. But, Brooke, you can do this. I only want you to think positive thoughts". We pushed for another 15 minutes and no progress whatsoever, at this point I really wanted to give up. They determined I should try and rest for just a minute. My sweet husband gave me a quiet priesthood blessing of comfort and strength, my mom went to go text the family and ask for prayers, and then came to me and gave me some beautiful and reassuring encouragement, she spoke words I will never forget. My husband's priesthood, prayers from family, and a very distinct awareness that there was help from the other side, a miracle occurred. It was a very sacred experience and I would love to tell you more about it in person, just ask. I went from excruciating pain and being so close to giving up because I had no having no pain between contractions so I really could rest, pushing accurately so that they were efficient, and being able to use a mirror to see my baby enter this world. After pushing for over two and a half hours, within three contractions I went from little progress to meeting my baby. As my doctor walked in he said "well I was feeling bad for you, but I don't now! Here we go!" The NICU team filled the room (as a precaution), they pulled out mirrors and lights and all of a sudden the nurses said, "look in the mirror, she's crowning!" I looked down and that was all the motivation I needed, I couldn't even hear her cry over my own cries of happiness. At 5:55 pm, Haven was born. As I looked in her eyes, I knew her. That was my sweet daughter and every second of those 18 hours was worth it. 

Those lips!

Meeting daddy! Marshall was really sick for a couple weeks before the delivery and continued to be sick the day of her delivery. The doctors recommended he not get too close to Haven and it was almost unbearable to watch him have to hesitate around his new little girl. Lets just say all of those missed kisses and cuddles have been made up for by now. He's such an incredible husband, daddy, and support to both of us. 

Nana was able to be there for all of the labor and stood just outside the curtain for the delivery so that we could have that precious moment with our little family, she even was able to record Haven's first cry and my dad was able to hear her entry, as well. My mom was there to help me become a mom, and I am so grateful. 

Haven had a massive cone head and large blood pooling in the back of her head from sitting in the birth canal for so long. Luckily, it was healed and beautiful within a few days!

Grandma and Grandpa Hall were there waiting in the waiting room for her arrival, she got to meet them very quickly afterwords! She is so blessed to have these two in her life, they are such devoted grandparents!

Porter, our nephew, was absolutely adorable with Haven. He had anticipated her arrival for a long time and was giddy with excitement when he saw her. He's so sweet with her and talks in the most precious baby voice to her. She's a lucky girl to have so many protective boy cousins in the Hall family and her angel cousin Carly. I felt very distinctly that Haven knows Carly and that she helped Haven prepare to come to this family.  

Meeting Papa! She stared at him so intently whenever he would hold her. I just know she is completely aware of how much unconditional love she will always have from her Papa. He's already given her the nickname of "Chirp". 

The first time Abram was present soon after the birth of a baby! He was on his mission when our other niece Duffy was born and it was so fun to see his amazement at this tiny, perfect little human. 

She is going to have too much fun with Uncle Kirby, she's so lucky to have an uncle with such a bright and energetic spirit. 

Needless to say, she hasn't been set down very much since being born! We're all pretty crazy about her!

Brady finally became an uncle! I'm so grateful for technology so that Brady, Sherstin, and Duffy could be so present during her first few hours despite the distance from China. We constantly send little videos and pictures of this sweet little girl. I have been so grateful for how much they love every sight of her and how much help Sherstin has been as I transition into motherhood. 

Duffy became a cousin! I love the look on her face, like she's totally aware of the fun/trouble they will get into together. Two girls, only 11 months apart. I'm so excited to watch them grow up together. 

"Wait, they just let us take her home?" 

Haven is wise. I can already tell she will ponder deeply. Her favorite place is when I set her up on her changing table by the window. During the day she just stares out the window so intently. Haven Rae loves light. I pray she will continue to seek out the Light of the world throughout her life.

“How is it that a human being can love a child so deeply that you willingly give up a major portion of your freedom for it? How can mortal love be so strong that you voluntarily subject yourself to responsibility, vulnerability, anxiety, and heartache and just keep coming back for more of the same? What kind of mortal love can make you feel, once you have a child, that your life is never, ever your own again? Maternal love has to be divine. There is no other explanation for it. What mothers do is an essential element of Christ’s work." -Elder Jeffery R. Holland, 'Behold Thy Mother'