Friday, August 22, 2014

A blanket for Maisie

3 years ago I learned how to knit. I fell in love with it instantly, but it was difficult to stay motivated. I could only make scarfs and at the time we lived in California and even in the winter, you can't really warrant using a scarf. So I would complete a scarf and then not knit anything for months and then pick it up again and make little doll house blankets, bows and random things, but I had yet to complete a big project.

My grandma (Maisie's (middle) namesake) knit all the time and made all the grandkids a blanket and I loved that rainbow "holey" blanket as it was called. I knew I wanted to make blankets for each one of us, but I lacked the confidence and yarn. So when I finally got the courage and found yarn that I loved (man, yarn addiction is an expensive thing) I decided to make Maisie a blanket. I let her pick out colors and upon opening the box I discovered that the yarn that I thought would be more of a bright tangerine color, was more like a dull orangey gold. I was disappointed at first, but when I paired the two colors together it made it feel vintagey and possibly something my grandma would have picked out which made me like it more.

Those first few days I knitted until the tips of my fingers were bruised and my joints in my fingers ached. I was making this blanket big (really big) because I wanted her to be able to use it for a long time and it was major work on my inexperienced fingers. I was so motivated to make that blanket, but then I stopped. Life got busy and knitting got put on hold and thus, the cycle started. I would knit for a few days and get a lot of work done and then go a few weeks (er... months) between. This went on for a year and a half. The blanket could have been finished (had I been more diligent) in probably a month or so, but it was my first big project and life was hectic that it got put on the back burner A LOT. 

Anyway, a couple months before Ellie was born I had a nightmare that there was a complication during childbirth and that I had died. And instantly my brain thought of the blanket. What if I died and never got to finish it and give it Maisie? It haunted me. I called a friend and asked her that if that did happen, could she finish it and give it to Maisie and being that I have awesome friends, she said she totally would. But this nightmare lit a fire within me. I didn't put that blanket down- Maisie would play outside with friends for hours and hours while I knitted my heart out sitting in the shade of a nearby tree. This went on for days and then finally at 1 am I finished it. I casted off, weaved in the ends and placed it nicely on Maisie's bed hoping she would see it when she woke up. Next thing I know Maisie jumps into our bed and wakes me up with "Mommy! You finished my blanket! I love it!" it was such a great feeling knowing I made something for her that is so unique and one of a kind. And my mama heart hopes it's something she treasures for a long time.

A couple days ago I wanted to document Maisie and her blanket so we had a fun little photo shoot in her room while daddy was on Ellie duty. Maisie was very excited and cooperative for the first 5 minutes and then started getting really silly and wanting to take "halloween pictures". In the pictures you can see the silliness progress into full on creepy. That's my girl though and I wouldn't have it any other way.

starting to get silly

yup, we are there.

haha, who is this child!?

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Tautphaus Park Zoo

While Austin's parents were in town, we decided to brave the weather (it was rainy every day they were here. Which is insane because in the year we have lived in Idaho I don't think I have seen it rain for more than a couple hours tops, let alone for days!) and go to the zoo in Idaho Falls. I am so glad we did because even though it was semi-rainy, it wasn't cold at all or uncomfortably humid. It was refreshing actually. The zoo itself was really fun (and decently priced- all four of us could go in the future for less than $20) and also really pretty. Maisie thoroughly enjoyed herself and fell in love with a roaming peacock "he wants me to follow him... where are you taking me little buddy?" haha! It was a good day. I look forward to going back in the near future- it definitely exceeded my expectations.

p.s Ellie was with us too, but she was sleeping the whole time.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

All about our little Ellie

My in-laws came to visit 10 days after Ellie was born. After the first day of their visit, my mother in law, after spending quality time with Ellie and getting a good sense of her temperament, pegged little Ellie perfectly...

"angel baby" she called her.

Maisie wasn't a difficult baby (okay she was, but I prefer the word challenging, more than difficult haha). Maisie had no predictable patterns, would constantly snack (breastfeed) around the clock often nursing more than 45 minutes and never giving me or the areas that fed her a break... even at night. Oh man, especially at night. Breastfeeding was hard, extremely painful and so not intuitive, but we worked at it until it became second nature. She was crazy colicky from the hours of 8pm-10pm and then the rest of the evening was just a party for her, that little night owl. I thought that's just how all babies were because I hadn't known any different... until now.

From day/night one, Ellie has had an calm demeanor. She mainly slept (that's what newborns are supposed to do right?) but, she slept so much those first few days that I would have to wake her up to nurse her. I have heard of very few babies that actually did that and I was always extremely jealous because those few days after birth are exhausting and the first time around I don't think I caught up on those missed hours until Maisie was over a year old (just kidding... but not really). Anyway, I have been keeping a strict journal writing down all the times Ellie nurses, is changed and sleeps and after a week and looking at all the times, I was completely blown away.  Ellie almost to the minute fed with 4 hours inbetween. And the best part? She's quick and efficient. She quickly chugs her meal and is just happy to be held and cuddled (I'm sure the full belly helps out a lot too). 

She rarely cries, but when she does it's usually just a few quick loud yells. It honestly sounds more like loud complaints than a cry. Sometimes they come out of no where and are sudden, but she is easily soothed and predictable. It doesn't take long to figure out her deal because if it's close to the 4 hour mark, she's ready to eat. If not, she might have an air bubble or needs a diaper change. I have also noticed that she starts moving her arms around a lot before she "cries". I guess it's her wind up. So if I see her wiggling around a lot, I will just immediately trouble shoot the problem before she gets upset. I think I have heard her really cry 3 times. Once when she was born, the other during a shot and the last when Austin was clipping her nails and accidentally got her skin (I was pretty upset about that last one).

2 weeks old

Things I love about Ellie:
Her top lip when she's hungry and ready to eat. She pokes it out into a duck bill shape (little ducky lips). It kills me every time.

Her noises... she makes this sharp inhale sound that kind of sounds like a goose honk. Also, her little squeaks and rapid little breaths when she's rooting around.

Her little neck that tries to support her heavy head. She succeeds for only a moment before her head jerks back down. She mostly does this when I am burping her or when I have her propped up on my shoulder. 

The way she sometimes mistakes our cheeks for food.

The way she only wakes up twice to feed at night/early morning. Once at 2am and the next at around 6:30am

Her little birth marks. 3 to be exact! She has one on her thumb almost under her nail and it's just a cute little spot. The other is on her belly right on her diaper line. Just a shape that is slightly darker than her normal skin color. And the last a perfect tiny polka dot on her shin. I never thought birth marks were cute before, but she has darling little ones.

Her sweet little spirit. Our home feels more complete and sacred now that she's here.

Things Ellie loves:

Daddy's singing.


Jelly Pop pacifiers and ONLY Jelly Pop pacifiers.

The sleepy sheep aka white noise.

Being carried in the Solly wrap (thanks Kate).

When Maisie talks and sings to her (which is a lot!)

Things Ellie doesn't love:
When mommy eats spicy food (sad for me)

Any other pacifier other than her beloved Jelly Pop.

When Maisie distracts Ellie when she's eating (eating is serious business in Ellie's book).

Hitting herself in the face with her hands.

3 weeks old

I was prepared for a hard time after she was born, but honestly it has been so much easier than I could have ever imagined. My recovery was amazingly quick and my days are filled with more baby cuddles than I had anticipated (I thought Maisie would be more demanding of my time, but she has been so helpful and self efficient that I really get to spend so much time cuddling and loving on both my girls). Little Ellie has seamlessly fit into our little family and has filled a piece that we didn't even know was missing. We all just completely adore her.

first check ups

Ellie has already had two check ups since she has been born, one at 5 days old and the other at 2 weeks old. Both times went smoothly and its great to be reassured she's growing just fine (i.e getting enough food) and most importantly healthy.

At the first one, Maisie stayed home with Auntie Katie while Austin and I took Ellie in for her 5 day appointment. We didn't have any concerns per se, but she was a little (maybe a more than little) jaundiced. The babe looked like she had a fake orange tan going on and the whites of her eyes were very yellow, which was a little worrisome for me because Maisie didn't have any jaundice issues whatsoever, so I wasn't seasoned this time around, but everything turned out just fine and there was no need for testing up at the hospital (thank goodness!).

 I was anxious about her weight because from what I could tell she was eating well (she's a very audible eater so it's easy to tell when she is swallowing haha) but its hard to be too sure except with a scale- the proof is in the numbers, but she was doing just fine.

Then at her 2 week appointment most of her umbilical cord had already fallen off, but there was still a spot that was still bleeding and to be honest Austin and I were afraid to touch it haha. So the pediatrician took an alcohol wipe and cleaned that sucker out. She still had a teeny tiny spot that still wanted to bleed a bit, but it was much prettier now and we got the "ok" for her to take real baths (yay!). Then Ellie needed to do her 2 week old heel prick test which was heartbreaking, but Ellie really didn't cry too much. It was just a couple of upset yells.

Let's get to the numbers shall we?

 7 pounds 8 oz & 19 (?) inches
sidenote: the nurse who measured Ellie at birth messed up big time, she told us she was 21 inches long, but at this appointment we found out she really was 19.5 and NOT 21 inches so who knows what it was at birth.

5 days:
7 pounds 9 oz & 19.5 inches
They still are expecting babies to be under their birth weight at 5 days old, so it's a really good thing that she had already surpassed her birth weight.

2 weeks
7 pounds 14 oz & 20.5 inches
40th percentile all around. She's just a little petite thing, but she has the most kissable rolls I have ever seen.

She's thriving and healthy and that is a blessing I try not to take for granted.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Rainbow Lake

Just a few days after leaving the hospital we decided to brave our first outing. I had been feeling great, still catching up on sleep missed during labor and the hospital stay, but physically feeling good. I felt bad that we hadn't done anything fun while Katie was in town (no Yellowstone, Hot Springs, Bear World etc.), she was pretty much a glorified nanny for Maisie and a maid/chef for the rest of us. So I wanted her to be able to do something fun while she was here. We had made tentative plans that if I hadn't gone into labor by Thursday, we would go paddle boarding, hoping it would help kickstart labor (haha could you imagine a 10 month preggo woman paddle boarding!?) But since Ellie finally decided to come, we obviously didn't follow through on those plans. 

So after our first weekend home and Ellie being only 4 days old, we packed up and headed to Rainbow Lake (it's maybe 5 miles away haha). I sat lake side with my two girls while Austin and Katie paddle boarded. I tried to get pictures of them, but I don't have a decent lens for long distance shots (they were on the other side of the lake where paddle boarding was permitted and the girls and I were on the "beach" side). But I did manage to get a good picture each of both Ellie and Maisie.

Ellie 4 days old

Maisie 4 years old (and her sandcastle)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The eventful birth of Elizabeth Hazel

Well, Ellie is now 3 weeks old, so it's about time for her birth story.

To read about the week and day leading up to Ellie's birth click here

On the 23rd of July, I was awoken from a much needed nap with some pretty strong contractions, but nothing too alarming because I had worse and much longer with the false labor just 6 days prior. I was groggy and frankly still cranky from the exhausting day, but I knew I was up for good. I didn't feel like getting out of bed just yet, so I laid there and pulled out my contraction counter. I coldly chuckled to myself as I deleted the "contraction history" from days prior when I was mentally and physically ready to have this baby and the sting from thinking back on that false alarm quickly snapped me out of my wishful thinking of could this be it? I closed the app on my phone, turned off the screen and tossed it down toward the edge of the bed where it couldn't easily be reached (that's not too far when you are 40 weeks +3 days pregnant haha). I laid there so bent out of shape that it was hard to be positive about anything so I tried my best to clear my head and relax. Little did I know that less than 12 hours later my precious Ellie would be placed in my arms.

While laying there I could feel the contractions work themselves into a pattern a lot quicker than the false labor had. I waited for 5 more and to me, it seemed to be pretty consistent gaps between, but without my phone it was hard to be completely sure, so that's when I caved and whipped out my fancy contraction counter to discover my suspicion was right. These were very consistent- lasting within seconds of each other in length and frequency. I decided to pick up my sorry behind and made my way down stairs where I discovered Maisie and Katie making dinner and Austin slaving away on a bench he was making out of pallet wood he found near our dumpster (he later told me he went out in the garage because I wasn't too fun to be around haha) I sat at the bar counter hunched over with a defeatist  attitude when Austin came in for a drink of water.  He squeezed my shoulder and asked me how I was feeling. I then admitted I was having contractions. Austin rolled his eyes and said "we'll see where that goes" but seeing how I was 3 days late how could this not be the real deal right?

I kept up with the contraction counter and it quickly became evident that we were going to be having a baby soon. This is a screen shot of what my contraction counter looked like at by 8:17pm...

As excited as I was, I was still emotionally drained from the stress of the week leading up to that point. I also then realized that my awesome midwife wasn't on call and that mean't that I would be getting who I refer to as "dingbat". She seriously is clueless and not very helpful or confident and to me she just seemed so blasé.. so I was upset about that a bit, but even more so, I was incredibly relieved that I would finally be meeting my little Ellie (even though it still seemed so surreal). We made arrangements with my friend Sarah to come over and be with Maisie through the night once we decided to head to the hospital (that way Katie could come with us right away). Austin and Katie stayed up with me until 1am and when they decided to try to get some sleep, I calmly (even though the contractions were pretty intense and only a few minutes apart) got into the shower-turned-bath loaded with lavender essential oil. It was wonderful- I could feel the stress melting off between contractions. I hopped out of the bath and stood in front of the mirror starring at my round bare belly one last time, watching it shift and roll with every move that Ellie made. With all the worry about not feeling her move earlier the day before and having a stressful non-stress test, little Ellie made it clear she was just fine- dancing wildly around inbetween contractions. She was so ready to come out and boy, was I so ready to meet her.

My contractions continued to get more and more intense, but between them I still felt good, tired, but good. What does good feel like while in labor? Well I was able to blow dry and straighten my hair and put on a tiny amount of makeup between- sure it took me 3x as long as it should have, but believe me it's no easy task while contracting only a few minutes apart. At 3am I texted Sarah and told her it was time to head over. Then I woke Austin and Katie up, packed a couple last minute items and made my way downstairs. I held onto the counter for dear life in a deep plié position while borderline hyperventilating (which should have been the first clue that I was starting transition). Sarah came over while I was starting a rough contraction she looked at me and then looked at my sister and whispered "she's so close" and boy, was she right. When I was able to pull myself together (and away from the counter) we made our way to the hospital. Maybe it's the perks of living in a small town or that it was 3:30 in the morning, but there wasn't a soul on the road, but even with no one else around, we actually got caught by a red light. Don't worry though, Austin blew right through it. I smacked his arm and chewed him out- "you're just using my labor to break the law! I am totally fine, I didn't ask you to do that!" Austin still laughs that I could be in the throes of labor and still able to call him out, but that's what wives are for right?

We pulled up to the hospital where we had to enter through the E.R entrance. After checking in and answering a handful of questions they made me wait for what seemed like forever until a nurse could come wheel me up to Labor and Delivery (in reality it probably was only 10 minutes tops, but still, hospitals make me uncomfortable and labor is obviously uncomfortable, so to me it felt like eternity). This is when I realized that I was starting transition because I started going into what I like to call "panic mode". Need a mental image? Just imagine me crying softly and ever so pathetically, uncontrollably shaking and to top it off hyperventilating. Once the nurse came down she asked me about a "birth plan" I told her I initially wanted to try for a natural labor, but that now I am second guessing it. We all kind of chuckled at that statement, but I was seriously uncomfortable. The nurse took me straight to the delivery room (not triage) and after noticing that I was unable to regulate my breathing looked me straight in the eye and gave me a pep talk "You are in transition and you can't panic now. I know this it's difficult, but you need to take a few deep breaths and calm down. We are going to get you in the tub as soon as possible, but for now you and your baby need oxygen, so breathe with me." She then started doing some of the typical lamaze type breathing exercises and without a beat Austin and Katie were doing it too (I wish there was a video of that because that would be funny to watch now). After being confined to the bed (it's the worst while in labor) being strapped to the fetal heart rate monitor and a quick cervical check which confirmed all of our suspicion of being in transition- a solid 7 cms dilated- double what I was only so many hours earlier. I was anxious to get into the tub and be able to zone out without so many people breathing funnily in my face, but the nurse responsible for inserting the I.V was really struggling (my veins are deep and like to hide and roll) so after 30 minutes of being poked they finally got a good enough one and immediately put me in the tub.

The tub was awesome, but not during the contractions- I'm convinced nothing would have soothed out those doozy of contractions because they literally took my breath away. The contractions were on top of each other and lasting excruciatingly long minutes, but between the contractions? -the tub was glorious. I could completely relax. Austin and Katie thought I was sleeping until a contraction would roll around and immediately remind them that they were extremely lucky they weren't the one in labor. Then when my contractions were back to back and I had maybe a minute between them I did what I didn't want to do, but I was desperate for relief... I inquired about an epidural. I became fixated on seeing the angel of an anesthesiologist roll in with sweet, sweet relief. But the nurse said I had to have at least two full I.V bags in before they would do it. So after being in the tub for who knows how long, maybe 45 minutes? I made my way to the room and asked if they could call the anesthesiologist. They said they would, but thought it best if we did another cervical exam to see if I had made any progress. Sure enough still a 7... I about lost it. I looked at the nurse and dingbat midwife and insisted they call him up NOW because the contractions were too much to not be making progress. I wanted that epidural in place the second that last bag of I.V fluids finished dripping. Shortly after that are when things got intense.

 I paced back and forth and clung unto Austin during contractions trying anything to work my way through them. Then I got onto the birthing ball (which remember when I was in labor with Maisie I referred to it as "the birthing ball of death" but this time it was amazing). I bounced while tilting my pelvis in circles (kind of like a hula hoop motion) balancing on the balls of my feet- I didn't stop doing it between contractions because I was in the zone (and the contractions were so close together it's not like I had much time between anyway). During the worst of the contractions I remember imagining that the contraction was a bolt of lightning running through my body. I remember pushing down on the balls of my feet and willing/imagining/pushing the contraction out of my body through the exit point on my feet. I know, It sounds insane, but I was beyond primal by that point and irrational/crazy thoughts are just part of the fun. I started to experience insane pressure and noticed I would instinctively bear down a little bit and it felt so much better than just breathing through them. I remember thinking to myself Sammie your waters haven't even broken, so its definitely not time to push easy does it.
After particularly hard contractions I would cry out softly "where is he?" or just beg pitifully "please, please". Then to top it off the cordless monitor they had around me wasn't picking up Ellie's heart rate very well, so the nurse was trying to position it better all while I was bouncing. She made a comment about how being on the bed would help her out, but I paid no attention to her because there was no way in heck I was moving until the anesthesiologist came in. Austin then started asking me to get into the bed because of the monitor issues "you know you have to be in the bed to get the epidural anyway so you might as well be ready now" but again I zoned them all out because having contractions in the bed was equivalent to torture to me. Then I finally heard the words I was looking for "he's on his way!" Then and only then, I got onto the bed. He walked in and instead of being the angel I had fantasied he'd be, he quite frankly was a jerk. He wouldn't listen to me as I told him to give me a second and when I wiggled and pleaded with him to stop, he snapped at me "you are going to have contractions regardless, so I need you to stay in position... I am not going to wait. And you CANNOT move." I told him that I needed to move over and push because the pressure was almost unbearable, but he snapped at me again and pushed down on my back so I would curl over which was beyond excruciating. I cried because I felt so helpless and the guy I THOUGHT would help me wasn't making it easier and before he could ask me the mandatory questions he is supposed to ask before he could start the procedure my water exploded.. Yup, full on exploded. Oh and for that minute I felt extreme relief because the pressure of the water was gone. That moment was no joke, heavenly, but only for a moment and then even more immense pressure than before, but this time it was Ellie. I started yelling out "she's coming! I need to push! Stop!" But looking at the midwife and nurse it seemed as though no one believed me. No joke I could feel her crowning and head coming out and I started to panic. The anesthesiologist continued to snap at me while I struggled to arch my back because well, there was a baby coming out of my body. He kept pulling and pushing my body into position while Austin squarely held my shoulders. Still unable to get into the desired position the jerk-of-an-anesthesiologist wanted (he was seriously groaning and sighing every time I would move- I am pretty sure if I could have seen his eyes they would have been rolling- he was terrible and he deserved the pain of a million labors) Katie started yelling "arch your back Sammie! Like a scared cat! Like a scared cat Sammie!"Finally Mr. Meanie-head inserted the catheter, but before he could inject the medicine I rolled over where my midwife looked under my gown and was surprised that she could see Ellie's head. I then began yelling/crying out because of the intense pressure. It wasn't as much of a pain yell (haha yes it was), but more of a terrified/shocked yell. I was in shock that without any hard pushing she was just slipping out. Austin, Katie and the midwife were telling me she was pretty much out, but i didn't believe them because Maisie was crowning for 45 minutes before she finally came out, but Ellie had no intention of waiting even a fraction of that time. The anesthesiologist inserted the medicine and realizing it was much too late he looked at me and said "this would have done you some good 30 minutes ago"... yeah no duh Sherlock.  So after only being at the hospital for a little over 2 hours, the midwife told me to push and with some hesitation, a little begging and a few pitiful tears (I really, really, REALLY wanted the epidural to kick in) I began pushing and 3 minutes later at 5:52am with absolutely no numbness at all, Elizabeth Hazel came screaming into the world. And once again, I experienced love at first sight.

I know, my ugly cry face, but I still love this picture. It perfectly shows the moment we met our second daughter, our little Ellie- It's love and relief all wrapped into one.

fresh little bundle of perfection

Since my waters broke and then maybe 5 short minutes later Ellie was born, there wasn't a lot of time for her to expel the fluid from her lungs. So she was quite blue and gurgley. You could hear her struggle to breathe a bit and so the nurses did their best to get as much fluid with a nasal aspirator while I cuddled my precious baby, but when they finally took her out of my arms for an official weight (over an hour after she was born) the nurse wasn't happy with her oxygen levels. She was still on the bluish side and after trying a handful of things to raise her oxygen levels, they finally had to tube her and suck fluid from her lungs and stomach. That seemed to have done the trick because thankfully her oxygen levels shot up to normal levels and has been great ever since.

After delivering the placenta the nurse unplugged the epidural (it was only in for maybe 20 minutes) which then started to kick in, which I was so thankful for because I had moderate to heavy bleeding, which made the midwife nervous about possibly hemorrhaging, so she pumped me full of pitocin and roughly kneaded my poor and traumatized uterus for 10 minutes. Which even slightly tingly and semi numb still hurt like crazy! So even though I never did get the full effects of the epidural it sure helped out with the post labor things... now if only it worked more on the birth part hah.

Within 2 hours I was up walking around, able to use the restroom (oh my goodness, I didn't go pee for a whole day after Maisie because I hurt so badly and my bladder was bruised- it wasn't until they threatened to catheter me that I finally went) and shower. Just 2 hours after birth I didn't even feel like I gave birth, it was so surreal. I felt like I could go hiking... seriously. It could have been the mix of new baby high, no tearing, and a relatively quick birth (about 12 hours start to finish) that made for a near perfection post partum experience. I feel truly blessed to have had such a sweet recovery period.

More pictures? Ok!

This is the picture Austin sent to our parents to announce her arrival.

The picture we sent to all our family and friends later that morning.

family of 4

As you can see just the next morning, my pain level was only at a 1 it was amazing!
Also, Ellie was and continues to be a champion eater and waste maker. :)

Saturday, August 9, 2014

pre-birth story

The week leading up to Ellie's birth was full of ups and downs and it would feel wrong not to include the moments/days that led to her birth. So if you are looking for all the birth details they wont be in this post, but you will get a good sense of my mental state before going into labor. I promise the birth story is coming up soon, but until then, I present to you her "pre-birth story".

Lets start at my 39 week appointment with my midwife- on the 15th we found out I was dilated to 2 cms and 80% effaced. We were over the moon and prepared ourselves for a sooner than later birth (big mistake). A couple days later (the 17th) we were completely convinced that I was in labor- I had contractions for 14 hours that grew in intensity that got to only 4 minutes apart and stayed that way for over 2 hours! My good friend and neighbor, Sarah hung around me all day and even she was convinced it was the real thing (she has 5 kids and her last was born just 4 months ago, so she's a pretty reliable source when it comes to all things pregnancy, labor, baby and children)  She also marched me around the neighborhood militant style for a couple hours and forced me to eat spicy tacos. After my late night walk and my belly full of spicy tacos I went home where I started to pack my hospital bag. At two in the morning I was pretty uncomfortable, but mostly tired. I decided to lay down and prayed that I would have a distinct feeling on when to call the midwife (who lives 30 minutes away), but I felt pressed that I should just try to get some rest. Sure enough I fell asleep and the contractions while they didn't stop, became less frequent and died in intensity. This lasted for days. Seriously. Contractions and the consistent-growing-in-intensity-this-is-the-real-deal-I'm-in-labor contractions for many many days (and nights). I was over it.

A couple days after the false labor, I called my midwife after having a big meltdown because I was so discouraged with how many contractions I was having, but having no other sign I was in labor. She had me come into the office where she did another check to find that this time I was only 3 cms and still 80% effaced with baby very in my irrational I'm-going-to-be-pregnant-forever way of thinking I took that as no progress (even though I was one more cm dilated so those contractions were doing some thing...I guess). I about had it. I then promised myself to ignore all contractions and wait for one of the "for sure" signs of labor. I wasn't going to believe it until I had other "cervical signs" (those of you that have had babies know what I am talking about), my water broke or I was in transition. Every thing else I would ignore and pay no attention to.

My sister, Katie, flew into Idaho Falls on my due date and much to my dismay, I was still pregnant. At lunch Katie told me about a dream she had a month or so back that Ellie was born on the 24th  I scoffed because there was no way I would be 4 days late... 2 maybe, but 4? No way! I thought she was just having some subconscious "premonition" because Maisie was 4 days late and her brain some how remembered that and was applying it to Ellie (I don't know what it was, but it turns out she was right). We spent the next couple of days relaxing because Maisie was down and out with a cold and I was 40+ weeks pregnant, tired and cranky.

Wednesday, July 23rd AKA the worst day of my life- okay okay, not life, but probably in my top 5 worst days and most definitely of the whole pregnancy. I had my 40 week appointment scheduled for 2pm and since we had a couple hours to kill, we went up to Idaho Falls to run a few errands. We ran into Sam's Club for a few things, but mainly the soft pretzel I was craving, but sure enough they were sold out and Heaven knows I wanted that pretzel. That was strike #1 of my worst day tally. Anyway, we lost track of time in Idaho Falls and missed my appointment (strike #2) I felt so dumb, but after calling the midwife she told me to just come in and she would squeeze me in. We quickly made our way to my appointment where we waited for what seemed like forever (totally my fault because I missed my allotted time, but still I'm not fond of waiting. strike #3). My midwife did another check and this time a 3-3 1/2 and 80% effaced so this time no change at all expect a measly 1/2 cm (strike #4) I almost started bawling right there. Then we started a stressful conversation about possibly doing an induction because my sister only had 6 days until she headed back home and the whole purpose to her visit was to be here for the birth, so I felt seriously pressed for time. My midwife looked me in the eye and told me she was convinced it would happen by itself and with Katie here. So we decided not to schedule the induction which was risky because they don't do it on weekends so my only option would be Monday a day before Katie leaves that is if they weren't already all booked up (strike #5). No bueno.

 My midwife asked if I had any questions or concerns and so I mentioned I hadn't been feeling Ellie move around very much the last few days, I figured it was due to her getting into position, but to be on the safe side my midwife decided to give me a non-stress test. What should have taken 20 minutes ended up taking over 2 hours because Ellie's heart rate wouldn't accelerate and even out (strike #6). Why that's what they are looking for? No clue, but I did know that they weren't very happy with how it was going. Finally close to 2 and 1/2 hours in Ellie got the hiccups which was great relief to me to finally feel her move, but it also accelerated her heart rate enough for my midwife and nurse to assure me everything was fine and to go home and take it easy. Those hours were so stressful, I was beyond worried and upset that some thing was seriously wrong with my baby. The way the nurse looked at the strip and tried to act like she wasn't worried, really freaked me out. I was so upset that I felt like a bomb about to go off, I am sure Austin, Katie and Maisie could all feel the tension radiating off of me. I had reached my threshold and from there on it took everything in my power to try to stay calm, but really I was anything but calm.

 I hadn't eaten since 8 that morning and it was pushing 5 o'clock- I was starving (or as I say hangry- hunger/angry- strike #7) which on top of the 6 other strikes set me over the edge. I made a huge salad and ate it while hot angry tears dripped down my face. After my salad I went upstairs where I took a little nap and then was woken up by contractions. All I could think to myself was great, now the false labor is back, but little did I know then that I truly was in early labor...