Wednesday, April 29, 2015

A Baby Story

Let's do this.

Tuesday March 3rd. 
(5 days after my due date)

It was a normal day. I cleaned the kitchen, did laundry, made a meal, invited Darin's coworker over to eat that meal (he was unavailable), cleaned the bathroom. I guess it wasn't super "normal" in the sense that I did way more than I had been doing on a daily basis at 10 months pregnant. (I felt pretty crummy at the end of this pregnancy. Doing one of those things in a day was a pretty big accomplishment). I didn't have much work to do that night so I went out and did some window shopping. I wanted to walk and keep myself going. A few times while out shopping I remember feeling a little something happening in my body. I didn't think much of it since I'd felt light contractions in the evening for the past week. I remember walking between Home Goods and World Market, putting my hand on my stomach (fully believing that I would go to the 2 week overdue mark mind you), I said to myself, "I can't keep going like this. This baby has got to come." Little did I know...

I went home. Darin worked. I wrote a blog post. At about 9 p.m. we debated watching an episode of our Spanish soap opera guilty pleasure show: Grand Hotel. We decided against it as we were both pretty tired. Instead, we read our scriptures and got ready for bed. As we were praying, I had to stop for a second because I felt something strange in my stomach and legs. It happened once more before the prayer was done. Darin gave me “the look.” That one that says, “Please stop teasing me with these fake contractions. Are you going into labor or aren’t you?” I laughed and said, “I’m sure it’s nothing, just like the other nights.”

10:15 p.m. -- Can't Sleep
I tried to lay down, but it was pretty uncomfortable. I don’t think I realized at the time that I was contracting, but looking back, I definitely was. Nothing crazy, but they were there. I decided to jump in the bathtub, because after reading like 20 zillion birth stories, it just seemed to be the thing to do when you’re 10 months pregnant and super uncomfortable and perhaps going into labor.

The tub wasn’t my brightest idea. It was slightly miserable. Does everyone else have jacuzzi tubs? Because a third of my body in the water and the other 2/3rds sticking out freezing cold was not my idea of comfort. I pushed onto my side and that definitely felt least for the third of my body that was in the water…needless to say, I didn’t last long in the tub.

11:30 p.m. -- I think I'm in labor

I went back to the room, fully convinced that I was getting back into bed and sleeping. I tried to lay down again and again could not get comfortable. So, I went downstairs. I decided that I would just turn on a movie and fall asleep on the couch. I found Notting Hill on Netflix and turned it on. I tried to lay down but couldn’t. This is the point where I really started wondering if I was in labor. I decided that I should try and time some contractions because that seemed like the next step. I whipped out my handy dandy contraction app and got to work. I only timed like, maybe four contractions altogether. They started to get pretty strong, to the point where sitting down was not happening and I had to stop and lean against the bookshelf. When I looked at the times, I was confused because the contractions were only lasting for about 30 seconds max and they were coming about every minute and a half to two minutes. I had been told that I should come in when the contractions lasted for one minute and were four to five minutes apart. Umm, confusing. What was I supposed to do?

In the midst of my confusion as to why the contractions were so short, but so close, I started to feel super nauseous. I quickly walked into the kitchen and immediately threw up. It wasn’t pretty. That’s when I decided that I really was in labor.

I grabbed a bowl and came back to the living room. After throwing up, I felt SO thirsty. I drank a bunch of water. “When do I wake up Darin?” “How do I want to ‘labor at home?’” “Is this really it?” I quickly grabbed my bowl again and threw up all the water I had just chugged. That was when I decided to wake up Darin.
12:30 a.m. -- Midnight wake up call

“Hey Dar, I think I actually AM in labor.” Why doesn't he jump out of bed that quickly when I tell him I hear Shae waking up in the morning? Strange.

No really, I loved this. Darin was running around grabbing things, packing the car. All the while I was contracting, throwing up, contracting, throwing up. I felt like I had been robbed of this part of my labor with Shae (hello induction!), so even though I didn't have "throwing up every 10 minutes" in my birth plan, I still absolutely loved this part of labor, the going into labor on my own while my husband runs around like a chicken with his head cut off part of labor. I loved letting my body decide when it wanted to go into labor, not pitocin.

The next half an hour is kind of a blur of me standing around not sure what to do but get through the contractions while Darin ran around grabbing everything. I remember standing upstairs in the hall, holding on to the banister. He was running past me with the suitcase. A contraction came on, he dropped the suitcase and pushed against my back where I needed it. The next little while at home went like that.

Darin called Sara. She came over to watch Shae. I called the midwife. I told her what I was feeling. I had two contractions while I was on the phone with her. I had to stop talking and breathe through it. In my head I was thinking, “Okay, this is good. I don’t think I’m supposed to be able to talk to her during the contraction if it’s really turning into something. Good job Brillante. You’ve passed the test.” She asked if I wanted to labor at home longer or if I wanted to come in. I was pretty nervous about the hour long drive and didn’t want to wait too long, so I told her we would come now. She agreed that that would be smart. Right after talking to her I went to the bathroom and threw up again. This is where I started chugging gatorade instead of water. I felt SO thirsty. It was SO good.

1 a.m. -- Longest hour

We walked to the car. It was raining. Had to stop a few times while contracting. Climbed into the car gripping a big red bowl praying with all my might that I would somehow not throw up on the hour car drive.

Being in the car straight up SUCKED. I could NOT get comfortable. I wanted to stand up so badly, but couldn’t. The second half of the drive things really started to pick up. Being on my knees was awful. I was having terrible back labor. I just sat there wanting so badly to find a position that felt good, but couldn’t come up with anything. I began to hold on to the door handle on the roof of the car. I kind of pulled myself up on it and gripped it tightly through the contraction. It seemed to be the best thing, although still pretty awful. I remember yelling constantly out to Darin, “I’m cold!” “I’m hot!” over and over again. He said that he started to figure out where in the contraction cycle I needed the cold and when I needed the hot and started changing temps automatically. Then I started telling Darin I was getting pain meds as soon as we got to the hospital and that was that. He kindly nodded back. Pretty sure I was going through transition at this point of the car ride.

We pulled off onto the I-95 exit. I felt relieved because I knew that meant that we were only about 5 minutes away. We quickly found a parking spot on the parking deck and I jumped out, I was SO ready to stand up and get out of the car. The second I got out, I threw up. (SO happy I didn’t throw up in the car. Miracles are real).

2 a.m. -- Getting to Labor and Delivery.
(VCU is a HUGE hospital. It was a good long walk to L&D).

We made our way to the deck elevators. We got in. I threw up again. How did I still have anything in me to throw up? I guess it was just a vicious cycle of throwing up, drinking more, and throwing up again. But I couldn’t stop drinking. It felt so good to gulp down the gatorade even though I knew I would just throw it up again.

We passed the information desk and I apologized to the men there and said that I just threw up in the elevator and that I wasn’t going to be able to clean it up. They said not to worry about it. While going up the escalator, the man turns and says, “By the way, congratulations!”

I guess I could have used a wheelchair, but the last thing I wanted to do was sit down. I walked through the hallways, contracting every minute or two. I could feel it coming, I would slow down and then stop. Darin would drop everything and hold me and sway with me, right there in the hospital hallway. Thankfully it was the middle of the night so there weren’t a lot of spectators, just a few, but I didn’t care. We got to the elevators, a man was holding the door for us but I was feeling a contraction coming on and told him to just go. I held the trash can by the elevator and Darin, again, helped me through it.

We got to the 6th floor without any contracting but the second I walked out a big one came on. I was moaning, grunting, hollering, who knows what else...basically doing everything BUT trying to relax and breath rhythmically through it like I should have been. The midwife quickly came around the corner to the elevator. She grabbed our little suitcase and told us to follow her. We stopped at the reception desk where I probably signed my life away, who knows what else. I had about two or three contractions before we finally finished the paperwork.  I leaned against the counter and said that I really felt like I had to poop. The midwife reassured me that that was normal. I remember there was an older couple sitting outside the Labor and Delivery area. They watched me. I think. I wish I could put myself in there shoes and see what I looked like. On second thought, I probably don't want to know.

The walk to my L&D room felt SOOOO long. Finally, we arrived. I turned to the midwife and desperately asked, "What do you want me to do?" I climbed into the bed for her to check me. “Please don’t tell me I’m only a 3 or 4,” I thought, fully expecting to be a 3 or 4. “You’re complete,” she said. Say whhhhaaatttt???! “Wait, what does that mean..? Like, I’m fully dilated?” She nodded. I felt so relieved when she told me I was complete. I remember feeling happy because an epidural wouldn't be an option. Happy because I was doing it, and it gave me strength to keep doing it.

She said that the baby was still pretty high up and needed to come down more, so we would wait to push. She asked if I wanted to get in the tub or shower, I said tub. While the tub filled, I continued to have pretty strong contractions. Darin using his hands to apply counter pressure did NOT feel good. The only thing that felt good was having his entire body as my counter pressure. He pushed his body up against mine and held me and we swayed back and forth. It was the only thing that got me through them.
I got in the tub. Darin ran to the bathroom and threw his swim suit on and was back right as I was having another contraction. We stayed in the tub for about 20 minutes. Towards the end of this time I really felt like I had to poop ("urge to push" I suppose is the appropriate term, but to me it feels more appropriate to say it like it is). This was also when the midwife seemed to be getting a bit worried about the baby's heart rate being so high. She said that it would be best if I just went ahead and started pushing.

3:15 a.m.-- "Push em' out, shove em' out, wayyy out." -Bill Cosby

I climbed onto the bed and my water popped, err, exploded. Everyone started laughing because water shot across the room and hit one of the nurses. I was oblivious to all of this and confused as to why anyone would be laughing at a time such as this.
I pushed. And pushed. And pushed. It felt so long. I felt helpless. "This is my second baby, aren't I supposed to cough and have her shoot out of me?" Not the case. Even with the olive oil the midwife put around her head to help her slide out easier, didn't seem to help much (although I'm sure it did).

4:03 a.m.-- Houston, we have a baby.

Finally, I gave what felt like the most monumental, epic, gargantuan push known to man and she came out. Coolest feeling EVER! And kind of weird, but still really cool to feel her plop right out of me. And just like that, I wasn't pregnant anymore, and I could instantly tell (like I said, it'd been a rough second half of pregnancy).

They put her on me. She wasn’t crying. She didn’t look like she was breathing. It sounded like her heart rate had been all over during the labor so I was nervous. As much as I wanted to hold her, I wanted them to take her away and make sure she was okay. It seemed like hours before she finally started to cry. It was such a light cry and only lasted a short time. They told me that she was breathing very rapidly and they were concerned about that. She also passed some meconium that they were worried about. After a few minutes things seemed to be okay, the NICU people left, they brought me the baby and I was able to hold her. I tried to nurse her. Then they came over and said that they wanted to check her out again. They looked her over and called the NICU team back in. Then they took her away…

They explained that because of the stress of labor (super high heart rate that plummeted super low while pushing), her glucose levels were very low. They said that they needed to take her to the NICU in order to stabilize those levels. They also needed to give her some antibiotics because there was a chance of infection since I didn’t get the antibiotic for group B strep in (thankfully my water didn’t break until right before I pushed...and even though I know it was dangerous to not have the antibiotic, I loved not having an IV).

The room calmed down. There was some placenta delivering, some stitching, lots of blood pressure cuffing and water chugging.

They left us in the L&D room for quite some time, like a couple hours (They moved us so quickly in Provo). I loved how relaxing it was to lay in the dim room where we had just met our daughter for the first time and process everything that had just happened. It was awesome and yet strange. I had just delivered a baby, and yet, she wasn't with us. That was hard.

She ended up staying in the NICU for four days. Although it was hard to not have her in our room with us we are so thankful that she was properly cared for to ensure her health and safety.

Wrap Up

All in all, I absolutely loved this labor experience. Maybe it's because I disliked Shae's labor so much, maybe it's because I could really feel my body working, maybe it's because throwing up and being naked in front of a bunch of strangers is liberating...who knows....all I know is that it was great. I feel extremely blessed to have had such a positive birth experience, I needed it.

Darin was my rock. We didn't even get to do any of the cool laboring techniques we had learned or get lost in the Enyaesque play list Darin had made for me...everything just happened so quickly. With that said, I couldn't have done it without him. Even in the car where he felt just as helpless as I did since he couldn't help me, I knew he was there. He talked to me, breathed with me, and gave me strength. And that's the story of how this precious baby came to join our family.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Last Week's Happenings

This is the face of a little boy who finally pooped in the potty!

Your welcome for editing out most of our pride and joy that day. 
We're going on two days in a row! This is almost as big as birthing a baby in our highlights of the year category. A close second. He's been so good at peeing in the potty for months now but just couldn't bring himself to poop. He always saved that for nap time and night times when his diaper was on. I don't know what clicked this last week, but thank you for clicking. He was so calm through it all too and looked up at me from the potty and said, "I did it!" with the biggest grin on his face. Priceless. 

Other things that happened last week...

My family stuck around for a few days after the blessing. Shae was in heaven.

Belén got snuggled to pieces.

A.J. decided that he is never having kids.

Again, Shae was in heaven. Not so sure about Uncle Philip on the other hand.

Terra Mystica happened. It was as intense as it looked.

The Pocahontas took us across the river.

Whenever we've taken the ferry across the James River it is always to go to the farm and pick fruit.  The weather was perfect for a ferry ride last week so even though the farm is currently closed until next month for strawberry picking, we decided to jump aboard anyways.  We looked some things up to do in Surry and found Chippokes State Park. We walked along the beach and found some really cool shells, climbed rocks, and had a picnic lunch.

Shae wanted to climb up to Uncle A.J. so badly but just couldn't figure out how to do it.

Oh the pouty lip. I can't get enough.

The state park holds the Chippokes Plantation which is one of the oldest continually farmed plantations in the country.  It began as a working farm in 1619. In 1854, the Chippokes mansion was built. We took a quick tour of it (quick due to some little hands that wanted to touch everything and eyes that were heavy with sleep calling).

The fam took a stroll around the gardens while I nursed the bebe. 

It was a really nice outing. We sure will miss that ferry.

My family left on Wednesday. It was sad to say goodbye, but we're glad that we get to hang on to this girl for the summer. It made the goodbye slightly less hard on Shae since someone was staying behind to love him.

First ice cream of the season. It was a success. 

We ended the week with a beautiful visit up to the D.C. temple. (I promise Darin didn't wear his preppy polo shirt into the temple. After our session, he lent his white shirt to someone in our branch who needed one). We always go back and forth a few times once we've set a temple trip date on whether we should actually go or not. It's harder with summer and nice weather approaching because the traffic is extra bad. It makes for a long day. However, we never regret going. (Even when I get home at 11 p.m. and still have a bunch of reports to edit before the morning...) We sure will miss this special temple when we move (but we definitely won't miss the traffic! Luckily yesterdays traffic just meant more time to listen to the Serial podcast. Now we understand what all the fuss has been about. We might just have to go back up sometime this week so that we can finish it...).

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Baby Blessing

Darin blessed Belén on Sunday. It was beautiful. He blessed her with faith, patience, charity, spiritual and secular knowledge, to be a strong woman, the gift to serve others, and be an instrument in the hands of the Lord.  We have felt so much love this past month and a half from our wonderful friends and family. We feel so blessed to be surrounded by so many great people who love us and our new baby.

Our sweet friends Mark and Lisa came down from Maryland. They have always been like family to us. It was wonderful to see them.

Do I not have the best looking husband in the world? I like to think so.

We are so in love with this little girl! 

Friday, April 10, 2015

Brother and Sister

I love that Shae has a little sister. He has been so cute with her...and a little rough too (lets be honest). Yesterday I was in the kitchen doing the dishes and look up to see Shae's blanket covering her face. I asked him to take it off and he just looked up and smiled at me. As attached to his blankie as he is, it surprises me how willingly he shares it with her. When she's asleep in the swing he likes to put the blanket over her legs and then sit on her legs...or he throws it on top of her while she is asleep in the pack n' play.

Pretty much any time I glance over at her he has placed something on top of her. He likes to stuff his matchbox cars under her legs and give her the baby doll to sleep with. A few times he has gone over to share his food with her.

Basically, I feel like my new mom job is to be Belén's bodyguard. I can't leave her side if she is on the floor. Shae wants to be doing whatever she is doing if she is on the floor. (But isn't it sweet how he grabs her hand! I didn't even tell him to do that! And how he is showing her her face in the mirror).

I lay down the swaddle blanket and he immediately jumps on it to be swaddled. (I told him to pretend to be asleep and he put his head to the side instead of looking at me, haha, because that is obviously what she does when she is asleep).


When I was taking pictures of Belén for her 1 month post, after I was done, I put her back on the couch and Shae immediately hopped on to the blanket and said, "Cheese! I turn!" (with his cup of milk in between his teeth of course, because he is Shae-the-milkman).


The other day he ran over to her and yelled, "I hold you Belén! Hold you! Hold you!" He started to pick her up. I went over and grabbed her and placed her in his lap. He immediately looks up with a big grin and says, "Mom! Picture! Cheese!" Oh man, this kid. He keeps us on our toes, but brightens our day like no one else could.

I'm excited to watch a friendship blossom between these two. Shae already loves her so much. In the morning he always asks, "Where Belén?" and he was so distressed today during nap time that she was crying that he couldn't sleep. He just kept yelling, "No! Belén!" I love his high squealy baby voice that he talks to her in (clearly he gets that from me). I just love that they are siblings. Hopefully they will too...

Total coincidence that I chose to write this post today and that it is National Sibling Day. Hope it's a good one for ya'll.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015


Last week was a fun one. I love holidays. I love an excuse to try out old traditions and discover new traditions for our little family. I love that Shae is finally getting to the point where he can participate in the holidays with us, and get equally excited about the activities we do. 

Neither Darin nor I grew up with visits from the Easter Bunny. Both our families really tried to keep us focused on Christ, rather than the baskets full of candy, eggs, and bunnies. That is something that we both really appreciate from our childhoods. We're striving to follow our parents examples and do the same. With that said, I have to confess that I believe Easter candy to be the best candy that is sold all year. Um, hello Cadbury Eggs, Starburst Jelly Beans, and Reeses Eggs.  So much goodness. I don't believe enjoying a little Easter candy ever hurt anyone (a lot of Easter candy on the other hand...). My family also included dyeing Easter eggs into our FHE the week before Easter. As kids we loved hiding the eggs throughout the house and looking for them. (Our parents probably loved it because it kept us busy for long periods of time). I know that eggs really don't have anything to do with the resurrection, but I am a firm believer in family traditions and in spending quality time together. I believe this fully falls into that category. 

This year we dyed eggs with Shae. He was so excited about all the cups of colored water and even more excited when he got to plop eggs into them.

 We ended the evening with very few eggs that didn't have cracks in them. He really dropped them hard into the water.

We also followed an idea that I found here and here to read scriptures about what what Christ did each day during the week leading up to his resurrection. I really loved this activity (even though we got behind by a few days...) and hope that we can continue it each year. Shae was good and sat at the table with crayons and stickers while we read the scriptures. He then helped us put the papers up on the wall after we were done reading.

We also had the sister missionaries over for dinner one night. They showed us this year's Because He Lives video. It was quite entertaining watching it with Shae shouting "Je-us!" and "Mare!" (Mary) throughout the whole thing. 

On Saturday we got together with a bunch of friends from the Williamsburg ward and participated in an egg hunt. We did the same thing last year. Needless to say, Shae was a bit more excited about what was IN the egg this year. (Brilliant idea whoever put pennies and quarters in the eggs. Shae immediately said, "Quarlers! Gama! Bank!" because his Grandma Sharon always puts quarters in his pockets).

Mouth full of candy. He wasn't too happy when I took the basket away from him... His candy is now safely tucked away up in the cupboard and he has no idea. How much longer do you think we can get away with that?

On Sunday, between conference sessions, we met up with a couple of our favorite families and had a wonderful Easter dinner. We did the dinner at the Trichler's home. They don't have any kids of their own yet, but were so sweet and excited about putting out eggs for everyone else's kids to find. It was really sweet of them to do. The kids loved it.

Jessica and Spencer, who also do not have children yet, loved following Shae around pointing out where the eggs were. He couldn't have done it without them, quite literally.

Easter was really special this year because we were able to listen to our prophet and apostles speak. I love hearing them testify, as special witnesses of Christ, that he lives. It strengthens my own testimony and gives me strength and a desire to continue my own personal conversion to come closer to Christ and becoming more like him.  I'm thankful to know that he does live. I'm thankful for the gospel that brings peace and happiness to our home as we live it together, as a family, and individually.