Friday, December 14, 2012

Liana's Birth Story Part I

Reading birth stories before I gave birth was so incredibly interesting and exciting. Even the most boring ones helped me understand the process. I literally read hundreds of them. So here goes my experience birthing Liana!

Before I ever was pregnant I didn't have many opinions about childbirth. Despite my mother giving birth to all four of us kids naturally, I thought getting an epidural wouldn't be too big of a deal. But again, I really hadn't put really any thought to it.

The day we found out I was pregnant. The photographer didn't know. :)

A few months into pregnancy I decided that I wanted go to natural. I would think about this tiny baby inside of me who I already loved so much and I thought, "Why would I not want to really experience bringing this baby into the world?" It was a quick and uncomplicated decision, but as soon as I made it, I knew it was right, and I was so excited.

I was really private about my decision. I didn't want praise or disappointment. I didn't care what other people thought. I wasn't doing it for them. This was for me, my baby, and my husband to experience.

I did, however, have two really interesting experiences  with two different labor/delivery nurses who attended my church. Since they were nurses, I felt comfortable telling them my birth plan when they asked me about it. When I told the first my plan she jumped for joy! She was so excited for me. She told me that I was strong and that I wouldn't regret my decision. She told me I could do it. The second nurse scolded me. She had the most serious look on her face and said, "You know, they created the epidural for a reason. You aren't being realistic if you don't get it." I was a little shocked at that conversation. But I was more determined than ever that I would be an active participant in my daughter's birth.

A month before my due date I was showing no progress towards giving birth. I wasn't too surprised by this because my mom was weeks late with all of her babies, except for me, her last, and I came right on my due date. (See mom, I AM perfect.) But then the real kicker came when the doctor told me that if I was a week overdue they would have to induce me. I asked if I could maybe go a little longer to see if the baby would go on her own and the doctor told me that I would become a liability and they would not deliver the baby. I was so sad to hear this. I knew that inducing labor made further medical interventions much more likely.

At 40 weeks, 5 days.

I knew I was going to be induced. I never felt one single contraction. I think I was 3 cm and 70% effaced at my 40 week appointment.

The night before my induction, my mother flew in. I was so happy to have her there. The hospital called and told me that I was scheduled to come in at 5:30 the next morning. I remember trying to go to sleep was so hard. I had been getting really poor sleep for the the last month of my pregnancy and I was starting to retain a lot of water. I remember just feeling so excited to know that withing hours I would meet my daughter. I kept on imagining what her face would look like. I just wanted her to be cute! I told Jerry that if she was ugly and people told me she was cute I would say, "You don't have to lie to me! I can see!"

The morning of my induction came. I ate a fried egg and piece of toast. Jerry gave me a beautiful priesthood blessing. It was so surreal to leave my apartment knowing that the next time I stepped inside, it would be with a baby. My baby. That came out of my body. be continued...

Friday, November 23, 2012


I am giving a talk on Sunday, which I have not prepared.
I have ~15 pages of research papers to write in less than a week.
I have 10 online lessons for a class due in 2 weeks.
My house is a disaster.

So, naturally, I thought I would write a blog update! (after a 10 month hiatus)

I had a baby. Hopefully I will find time to write out my birth story. It's a pretty boring story, but I got the best baby ever out of it!


I try not to have bragg-y updates on facebook. But I figure if you are reading my blog, then you will love me enough to get through some bragging.

Liana is the best. She was a calm and very aware newborn. She was sleeping through the night (12 glorious hours) by 3 months. And now she is NINE months old! And almost walking! She is the cutest. really. She makes this face when she's happy where she scrunches her nose and bites her tongue between her 4 little teeth.. and it makes your heart melt! She squeals with delight anytime we say "Cock-a-doodle-doo!" Thinking about her just makes my heart hurt; it feels like it is going to burst with love and adorableness and kittens.

Jerry is applying to jobs. He went to DC two weeks ago to visit federal agencies and non-profits. Let's just say he is submitting his resume to a certain federal agency which-will-not-be-named ;). So it was a success. Actually right now he is in the other room writing some essays for a prestigious federal management job program.. but I hear snoring, so maybe not.

I had my final senior voice recital 2 weeks ago. My parents and sister came, which made it extra special. Maybe if I am feeling confident one day, I will put up a recording. I am just so excited to have a lifetime full of singing. People keep asking me, "What will you do now?" And there is just so much I want to do that I have a hard time answering. All I know is that singing will always be a major part of my life. When I'm not making some sort of music I feel useless.

I have been having a full life in the last ten months, I hope you weren't worried about me, Internets! Maybe once I graduate--in 2 weeks-- I will make time to blog. I really do enjoy it. I actually have some posts already written out, I'm just weird and haven't posted them for various reasons.

Okay, back to writing a talk. (For those non-Mormons out there, in the LDS church our Sunday worship services include hymns, sacrament, and short "talks" by various members of the congregation.)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Baby, I love you. But you make me huge.

I don't drive much. Jerry always drives. He prefers it that way, and so do I.

The result of this is that when I do drive, my skills have greatly decreased. This is especially true for parking. My parking skills are really quite embarrassing. I am that girl in the parking lot who re-parks 4 times, during which 4 separate sets of cars think they are going to get my spot until they realize that I am just an idiot.

The other night I was running late to teach a voice lesson on campus. Thankfully the lesson was at 7:00, which is also the time when all the parking becomes public. So I thought it would be no-big-deal for me to try parking in the staff parking in front of the HFAC. Well there must have been some big performance that night because at 6:58 the parking lot was already full with a dozen more cars roaming for spots. I was super upset because I was going to be late for my student. By some miracle I saw someone pulling out of a spot right in front of me! As soon as they left the spot I realized why.. they weren't leaving, they just couldn't fit in the parking space: the cars on either side of the space were both over the lines, making it just barely big enough for a car, but not for openable car doors.

I don't know what confidence came over me, but I decided I would try to fit in the spot. On my first try I was able to get into the spot! I was truly shocked at myself. My car door opened just enough for me to be able to get out, and there was just a few extra inches between my car, my body, and the car to the left of mine for me to be able to squeeze my body through.

I taught my lesson. I practiced this aria.

When I went back to my car the car to left of mine left and had been replaced by another. There were still cars scowering the parking lot. Someone even spotted me walking and followed me to my spot. When I saw my car I was horrified. The car to the left of mine had literally parked 18 inches away from mine. I knew there was little chance that I would be able to fit between the cars, but with the car waiting to take my parking spot, I felt some performance anxiety and decided to just try(since it worked out when I parked a few hours earlier). I was successful in getting my 39-weeks pregnant body between the cars, but once my car door was open, it was physically impossible for me to get in the car.

So I decided I would try going through the passenger's side and climb over to the driver's seat. When I started to walk around the car I could see that there were 3 cars behind the car waiting for my spot. Thankfully, there was plenty of room for me to be able to get into the passenger's side. Once I got in the car, I realized that the "climb" over to the driver's side is not something a person in my condition should ever really attempt. It took pushing and leaning the seat all the way back, and adjusting the steering wheel all the way up to allow for there to be enough room for my huge, inflexible body to get over to the driver's side. By the time I got everything back to normal and pulled out of my spot there were even more cars waiting for me.

I am used to having cars wait on me because of my lack of parking ability, not because of my lack of fitting-into-my-own-car ability.

Friday, January 20, 2012

The L-Word

Before Jerry and I ever liked each other I would drop by his apartment every once in a while. This was because it was my brother's old apartment so I knew some of the guys (namely, Patrick). One day while I was there I happened to mention to the group of boys that, "I will never tell any boy I 'love' him until we are engaged." It was true. I felt so strongly about that word.. love. I didn't just want to toss it around!

Fast forward a couple months. Jerry and I had been dating for about a month. We spent every waking moment possible together. And when we were both at work we would IM each other constantly. So really the only time we spent apart was when we were sleeping. I really liked him. a lot. I was scared. I kept on remembering my creed/goal/standard to never say "I love you." And I wanted to break it sooo bad. But there was a fundamental problem. Jerry was present when I told that group of boys about my feelings about that love word. I had no idea if he was paying attention when it happened, or if he even remembered it. But in my mind I knew that if he remembered and I dropped the l-bomb on him, he would think that I wanted to get married.

We started saying stuff to each other like, "I just think you are really cool." But with all this meaning. It was juvenile. But, for me, it was what I had to do to get by without the l-word.

After a Saturday full of swimming and having fun, we went to Doc's pizza. In a college town full of cheap places to eat with sub-par food, this place takes the cake for the worst food. Of course, to Jerry it meant endless helpings of pizza, cinnamon buns, and rootbeer, so the quality of the food was not important. I was not very impressed, but accepted the fact that Jerry was indeed a bachelor and this place was good to him.

Although the food did not please me, the entertainment did. There were a few other tables of people there. And they were all filled with.. for lack of a better word.. white trash. We had lots of fun people-watching and commenting on odd behaviors. While laughing at one particularly funny observance I made, Jerry said, mid-laugh, "Oh, Danielle, I love you." His tone was very jovial and he said it in a way that you would say to any person you thought was funny.

But my mind raced. I stopped laughing and immediately snapped back, "What did you just say?" (I said it with extra emphasis on the t of 'what')

Jerry stopped laughing. He looked at me and gave me a smirk. "I love you."

My heart stopped. I thought I was going to throw-up. (It's hard to say whether it was from food poisoning or extreme shock) Without saying anything, I ran to the ladies' room.

I remember looking in the mirror. My cheeks were red from spending the whole day in the sun. I wasn't wearing any makeup. My hair was frizzy, wild, and smelled like chlorine. Did he really love me? Or was he just clarifying what he just said? Did he remember that day when I told about my feelings about the l-word? If he did, does that mean he wants to marry me? How many girls had he told this to before? It seemed so easy for him! Maybe it was just because he was simply clarifying what he said...

I splashed some water on my face and tried making my hair look half-way presentable. Whether he loved me or not, Jerry deserved at least not to be seen in public with a crazy girl.. even if it was only by people with less than 12 teeth..

I decided to play it cool when I went and sat back down with Jerry. As if nothing significant had just happened, because for all I knew, Jerry thought that nothing had.

We went back to our apartment complex where there was a group of people organizing a game of Fugitive. Jerry and I went into his apartment and told some friends to come get us when they were actually ready to play. We sat on the apartment couch. All of a sudden it hit me. I had to do it. I had to say it. I might burst if I didn't. I started shaking my legs slightly to get rid of some of the adrenaline that was suddenly pumping through my body. We just sat in silence. I felt like my lungs were being compressed, and that my heart was pumping out of my body. I was so nervous. I finally said, "I want to say something."

"Okay.." he said.

"Um... Jerry... Jeremiah, Iloveyou." And then I puffed out a big gush of air.

He gave a slight chuckle and said, "I love you, too." And then, "Is that why you've been shaking?"

"Yes! You tricked me into saying it! I was so nervous!"

"What? How did I trick you into saying that?"

"At the restaurant, you told me that you loved me! But I couldn't tell if you meant it or not. And I don't want you to think that we have to get married or anything. I just really like you, and I think it is really love, and I thought you deserved to know," I blurted out.

We were then interrupted by Craig opening the door to get us for the game. The game lasted for a while. It was a lot of fun. Jerry and I stuck together. We were both a little nervous about what just happened, but we didn't talk about it. Later that night when Jerry kissed me goodnight he added, "I love you."

I opened my apartment door. I must have looked terrible. My whole perception of what I thought love was was completely upside-down. I was confused. But I was also so happy. My roommate Audrey looked at me and said, "Is there something wrong? Did you and Jerry fight? You were both acting weird during Fugitive."

"No, actually, there is nothing wrong. In fact, it's the opposite. We told each other 'I love you.'"

I think Audrey tried to summon up some excitement for me. But I think she was mostly still weirded out. Every milestone in Jerry and mine's relationship never seemed to impress her. She now claims that she knew we were going to get married.

I have since found out that Jerry did remember me preaching about my philosophy on saying love. He claims that he was confident that he could break me of that. Also, he says that when he told me “I love you”(the second time) in Doc’s that he said it because he meant it, but he also said it out of jest because he knew that I didn’t want to say it. That little punk! I hate him.

Now we tell each other "I love you" at least a few dozen times every day. I think once our kids are old enough they are going to be so embarrassed with our frequent use of the phrase.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Baby Stuff

I am (hopefully)less than 4 weeks away from being a mom! I keep on waiting for the "nesting" to set in that everyone talks about, but it's not. So I have forced myself to make a list of stuff I have and stuff I need.

Stuff I have:
baby clothes
car seat
diaper pail
breast pump
baby carrier
a few blankets
one swaddling velcro/cloth contraption
small boppy pillow

Stuff I don't have, which I need:
baby bath(our shower or sink won't work)
baby socks
sheets for bassinet
changing pad
diaper rash cream
baby medicines (ibuprofen, gas drops)
snot sucker bulb thing
baby soap, shampoo
hand sanitizer

Stuff I will personally need, some of which are a little disturbing:
nursing bra/garments
nursing pads
lanolin cream
thick sanitary pads
diaper bag(I was planning on getting a big purse, but I haven't found one that I like yet)

Okay, so now I need your help. Is there anything that seems superfluous to get? Is there anything that I missed?

Monday, January 2, 2012

On being poor: retraction

Sorry about the last post. It was written in the middle of the night due to pregnancy insomnia, so I wasn't thinking straight. I was trying to go for a funny and sarcastic tone, but I have been informed (by my husband) that my tone did not come across that way.

We are so blessed to have what we have and we are excited about all the opportunities that we've been given. I really have never been happier. So if any of you out there were concerned or worried, please don't be. This is a fun and wonderful adventure in our lives!

On being poor

Jer and I have been married almost three years. When we were first married, we were super poor. We used all of our wedding money on rent, and returned tons of stuff to walmart and used that money for food. Then Jerry graduated and started working full-time. We weren't so poor and we started to pay off loans. Now Jerry is a graduate student and we are having a baby. Let me put it this way-- we have never been this poor. And I am hoping we will never have to be this poor again.

Believe me, I am not asking for sympathy. For some reason I find the whole thing disturbingly funny and interesting. Maybe I am just going crazy? Some people would probably find this whole situation stressful and depressing. But not us! (okay, maybe a little) I think we both know better financial days are ahead.

I mean, really, things can only get better.