Sunday, March 22, 2015

When life hands you yellow, and it isn't lemons...

Last weekend was the annual dying of the river in Chicago for St. Paddy's day. We went with our awesome friends to see it and it was so cool. Pictures do it more justice than words, so imagine all of the Chicahgo streets filled with people in green and then... 

On the Train with our good friends

Yay Chicago! 

Green River

Getting tired. 

The dads and their sleeping sons (yes, Bruce fell asleep like that…)

This week it was 70 degrees on Monday! And today it snowed. Ugh. I ran outside 4 times this week, and each time I went over 5 miles. I'm feeling happy about that. Bruce came with, and he sure loves it outside. Although, let me tell you what, running with a stroller is like running with an open umbrella, a heavy one. It's twice as hard to get anywhere and I relish the day when Jared can baby-sit for me so I can do a real run and use both arms. I only get to use one arm these days since I have to push the stroller. It's a little difficult. 

Baby Vogue. Loving that warm day. 

I am also going to classes at the YMCA--there is a weight lifting/cardio class that rocks--BODYPUMP, and I'm so sore today from my workout yesterday. We talked in church today about the GC talk about going with confidence before the Lord, and how we should take responsibility for our spirituality and for our physical well being. I'm working on both and feeling better every day because of it. The Lord Truly inspires his prophets and apostles--looking forward to general conference in a few weeks! 

ugh, he's just so cute I have no words

Today was a parenting adventure. Jared was sick so I took Bruce by myself to church. I got there a bit late, and Bruce had poo'd on the way, but I didn't think it would be too bad and I really wanted to take the sacrament. So I went in and sat down. After partaking of the bread, I noticed that my leg felt a little wet, and I looked down and Bruce's pants had a big ol wet spot on them, so off I ran to the mother's room and whisked those pants right off. Sure enough, inside was a nice big puddle of yellow baby poop. It's very runny since he's still only on breast milk. Unfortunately, it also got on his onesie. And I forgot a change of clothes! So I cleaned him off (it took a million wipes) and took off all his clothes. Luckily, I had put him in a vest before church. So, all he had left to wear was a vest and a diaper…and one sock (the other one got poop on it). He looked ridiculous. I made several Magic Mike references to a friend. And as I stood there, wondering if I should just go home, some of the other moms came in and offered us various articles of clothing. Some were too small, and the others were tights for girls, but one lady had a pair of extra pants. They were very large, but I was so grateful for her kindness in lending them to me. It was so nice to be able to stay at church, and to have people tell me, no, don't go! You just got here! I felt very loved and very grateful. 
Life is an adventure, and it can be hard and dreary and sometimes full of crap (literally). But, if you take a second to pause, there will be people and things put in your way that will help you get through it, and come out on top. I was feeling pretty defeated--I mean, my skirt was all poo-ey and my son was naked. But the Lord answered my unspoken prayer and sent me friends to help me feel better about it all. 

Hahahaha mom
I made you clean my poo

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Post Everyone Wants to Read, or How We Got a Moose

November 4, 2014

A cold and windy day (naturally--it is Chicago). I woke up at 3 am with stronger contractions than I had experienced before. I had had Braxton Hicks contractions for a few days. But these were much stronger. A contraction is a weird thing, it's like your stomach has been turned into a vise and someone is slowly cranking it tighter and tighter. Then suddenly, that pressure stops. Remember, at this point I was 41 weeks along in my pregnancy and desperately ready to NOT be pregnant anymore, and there was pretty much NO ROOM inside me for the baby to go when these squeezings occurred. Except down and out--which is the whole point. But I get ahead of myself.

After tossing and turning for about 5 hours, I decided to wake up officially at 8 am. Jared had school, and my mom and I drove him to class, then went to a park to go for a walk. I was mostly trying to kill time since I had a doctors appointment at 1 and they were going to check me to see how far along I was. We walked about 3 miles before I had to call quits. Then we met up with a very good family friend for lunch. The whole lunch my mom kept asking me, are you still having contractions? You're awfully quiet. Our friend goes, Oh yes, she's having them, I am watching her face. Mother was pleased, since she wanted that baby out as much as I did. Lunch finished and I was starting to be really uncomfortable.

At the doc appointment, they hooked me up to a monitor for about 30 minutes and I whipped out my book to distract myself/pass the time. They came in and said, are you feeling that? Those are really strong contractions. Yes, yes I am feeling that. Between you and me and the lamp-post, I was feeling pretty proud of myself for not succumbing to the classic movie type sorrow of contractions. But then we saw the OB and he said, well you're in labor but you're only about 30% effaced. This baby isn't coming until probably 10 am tomorrow. DANG! Not good news.

I went home and then things started to get tough. The doctors had confirmed that I was positive for Group B strep, so I needed to get to the hospital early enough to have two doses of antibiotics before the baby came, and I was so stressed about getting there on time. I think that stress put me over the edge. The night wore on, and the contractions came harder and harder, about every three minutes, and I was finding it very hard to relax. I ate half a baked potato and finally called the midwife and said I wanted to go to the hospital. She said, sure, they would admit me but she wouldn't come until I was much closer to having the baby.

After arriving the nurse told me that I was only 50% effaced (7 pm). Blast again! Labor is hard. Mostly it was a labor of will, trying to remain calm, not knowing what to expect, and being afraid of what was to come. For me, the labor is not what scared me. As I sat on that hospital bed, in the beautiful birthing room with my mom and my sweet wonderful husband, I was afraid of becoming a mother. I felt sure that I wasn't ready. I even felt unworthy. I couldn't have a baby. So many other people wanted a baby more than I did. Had I done everything I could to be ready for this new life? I started to cry. And cry. And my mom and my sweet Jared gave me hugs. They told me I would be alright. They inspired me and gave me confidence and courage. And the best advice. I had been planning to have a natural hypnobirth/water birth. However, due to moving and being apart and etc, we just hadn't practiced enough and I just was unsure it would work. My mom knew all this, and best of all, she knows me. She told me that the most important thing, no matter what, was that the baby came to us healthy, and that I stayed safe and healthy during delivery. She said, there is no shame in not having a natural birth. I know that's what you want, but if you feel like you need to change your mind, change your mind. Then she gave me once last big hug, wished us both luck, and left Jared and I to become parents in the privacy of just the two of us. I am so forever grateful to her for her support.

Around 9:40 my water broke. I could feel it, and it was like a big pop. The nurse was all, no, it's probably just a little fluid. Then I shifted and boom, splash. Okay yes your water did break. From that point on, everything was wet, apparently there was a LOT of fluid in me. With every contraction, more "water" came gushing out, but it made the contractions tighter. Just before this happened, I was up and moving around the room, bending over double when a contraction hit, and then jamming my fists into my back and sitting straight up to combat the pain. I had such back labor--like a few dozen knifes being stabbed into the small of my back right above my kidneys. The contractions lasted about 2 minutes each, and they came even more regularly than that, I felt like I never got a break. I tried so hard to do my relaxing breathing. Jared was great and so encouraging, and he squeezed my feet when the contractions came to help distract me from the pain in my back. The nurse said that there was meconium in the water, and therefore, they couldn't let me labor in the tub. My heart sank. I was banking on that. I'd heard so many good things about laboring in a warm tub, just the sound of it now is relaxing. But no, I was to be hooked up to several more monitors and confined to a sitting position on the bed. Everything opposite what I had been taught in my hypnobirthing class. But still, I wanted to soldier on. I reminded myself that I was strong and I looked at Jared and he looked at me with such love in his eyes, and not a little bit of agony also. He told me afterward that it was really hard for him to see me like that, in so much pain.

At one point, I remember kneeling on the floor, head on the cool tile, and naked bum in the air, since the hospital gowns don't close in the back. The nurse came in and I just didn't even care anymore. I asked her about an epidural, what they do and how long it takes etc. I looked at Jared again, and then another contraction came and then I decided definitely to get an epidural.

I stand by that decision being the best one I could have made at the time. I was still only dilated to about 60%, it was about 10:30 at night, and by all reckoning of all the doctors, I was still in for at least another 9 hours of labor, probably more. I was starving at this point, and although I wasn't exhausted, I knew I would be since I'd already been awake for 19 hours without sleep or rest.

The nurses switched at this point, another blessing, since although my first nurse wasn't bad, she wasn't sweet. I needed someone sweet. My new nurse came in with the anesthesiologist and they did their thing. I sat on the side of the bed and leaned on my nurse, head on her shoulder and clenching her scrubs to keep from moving when the contractions hit. At this point my entire body was shaking uncontrollably, a common occurrence in labor so I'm told. For me it was one of the worst parts, since I couldn't relax, my body kept shaking,  I couldn't feel the epidural itself, other than once it was plugged in, I could feel the meds spread through my body. That's a weird feeling. But what a relief. I could still feel the contractions, but they were reduced to feeling like they had a few days prior. I felt a great swelling each time the pinch of the contraction occurred, but it was small enough that I was able to doze. Fortunately Jared could too. We also turned on my favorite audiobook, the one I had listened to as a kid to help me get to sleep. The comforting sound of my favorite story ( The Call of the Wild) being read to me, in combination with the drugs, finally helped my tired body to relax.

And that's I think what did it. That's what finally got me closer to having a baby. The nurse told me that the midwife would come in at midnight. We slept through that and at 2 am, the nurse came back to check me. I had been feeling slightly stronger, and slightly different contractions for awhile at this point--they were lower and more pushing than squeezing, I used my relaxing breathing techniques and visualized pushing the baby lower. I also used my hands to push that kid down. When the nurse checked me she got startled and said, THERES A BABY HEAD THERE! I was so excited! Unfortunately, the midwife was still at home since no one expected the baby to be ready-normally epidurals can slow down labor so they figured they'd come in a few hours. That epidural fooled them all. An hour later, the midwife arrived, and after that, everything was wonderful.

It was the type of delivery that you would want to have. The room was dark and peaceful. We were the only people in the L/D unit that night, so it was quiet in the hospital. The early hour was a little enchanting. Jared and I were tired but our nurse and our midwife were wonderful. The midwife kept me talking, we talking about different vacations, and family stuff and favorite foods and all the while she'd have me push. She told me I was a champion, and a natural and that I had good body awareness. She told me to take it easy at one point so I wouldn't tear. I could feel the profession of our baby coming out. He pushed against my ribs with his feet so he could help me help him get out. I was able to feel his little head. Jared's face, once he got over the shock (understandably, I'm sure it wasn't pretty), was so rapturous of this little baby being born. I suppose it must have been about an hour of pushing because of the time of birth, even though it only felt like 20 minutes to me, when at 4 am our little boy came whooshing into the world. Jared was able to cut the cord, and one of the nurses tried to take our son off to be measured, and I, and the midwife-bless her forever for this, said no, let mom hold him. I got to hold out little fat, big, handsome baby in my arms and on my chest and it was glorious. I didn't cry, I was just utterly so happy. Jared was so happy, and he did get choked up a little. It was so wonderful. When they did measure and weigh him, and do his other newborn things, Jared held his hand and kept him safe by talking to him and our little one didn't even cry once he heard his dad's voice. That for me was the sweetest. Seeing my two men together and loving them so much. Then I got to have that baby put back in my arms to nurse him. That's an odd sensation the first time. But very cool.

I don't remember the nurses or the midwife leaving, but suddenly, there were me and Jared and our little boy. Jared turned to me and said, Bruce, his name should be Bruce. I just have a strong impression that that is his name. Since the name had been crossed off our list a few months prior, I was surprised, but wholly pleased. We three snuggled on the bed and slept for a few more hours until it was time to move to the recovery room.

The rest of the hospital stay was routine but really nice. I had excellent care from the nurses. My mom came a little later that morning and snuggled and praised us and our new baby. I felt so happy and so much love. All my fears of the night before were gone. I knew we were in good hands, and not just in the hands of the people around us, but in the hands of our Heavenly Father, and I knew He was looking out for us. Everything had worked out perfectly, and retrospectively I have no regrets or negative feelings about Bruce's birth. He was so healthy and so strong, and that was exactly what I wanted. I've said multiple times since then, how Bruce is the perfect baby for me; how my heavenly father knew exactly what kind of baby I could handle, and he gave me the perfect one. I have absolutely loved being a mom, it's an entirely new role, but I have found myself more capable than I ever expected, and full of hidden talents--like patience--who knew? All the things that I've prayed to be my whole life, those gifts have been granted to me now to fill my role as a mother.

So most of you are probably wondering, but where did he get his nickname? The nurse who came in for the morning shift, who transferred us to the recovery room, picked our baby up and said, he's huge! How big is he? 9 lbs, 8 oz and 20.5 inches. Girl, you gave birth to a moose!

And that's how Bruce the Moose was born.

Our first day as new parents

The best sight in the world

Our sweet "little" boy

So glad that Mom was there! 

Sunday, February 8, 2015

My addiction (maybe two)

I'll admit, I have a problem, and unfortunately for those few people that read this blog, that problem is not that I am addicted to blogging. Obviously.

A few days ago, after dropping Jared off at school I went to Costco. And shopped, and tried to breathe through my stuffy nose. That's not the story, just the set-up.

On the way home little Bru fell asleep. Suddenly I had a decision to make. I was rather loathe to head home immediately since I knew he would wake up as soon as I did. Since we had both been sick for nearly a week at this time, I wanted him to sleep and I wanted a break from baby entertaining. (mouth breathing makes me edgy). So about a mile before coming to our turn off, I decided to keep driving to the next exit for a Diet Coke w/lemon from McDonald's because double filtered water. I told myself, to justify my recent delight in DC's, that it would help prevent me from snacking, that it would hydrate me and because baby could sleep. Truthfully? I just really wanted one. My wanting for these has taken a significant jump since baby came out.

And then.

Decision made, I'm driving along the road and I see a lime green poster stuck in the snow. "It can't be for a yard sale," I thought. Too much snow. "Haha what if it says puppies?"


It Did!! Golden Retriever puppies for sale.

I nearly flipped a U right then and there and threw in the towel and shredded our contract agreement just so I could get a puppy. Because puppies are my addiction. I want a dog SOOOOO bad!! And everyone who knows me is sick of hearing about it, but I thought this story was funny, so there you have it.

I bought a Diet Coke instead.

So from now on, when I want a Diet Coke, it's cause I'm trying not to want a puppy.

This blog is also a plea to mother dearest to just breed that dog already and give me the offspring.

Monday, October 6, 2014

The woods are good for walking

Sometimes, when Jared needs a break, or he is done studying, we go for walks together. On one such walk, through a place called Lyman Woods, we were discussing the Canadian geese that fly through this area all fall long. 

Our conversation started off pretty normal, but then this happened.

Jared, observing a goose doing his business: "Oh man! I wish I could poop and fly!"
Me: "don't you think it would be good enough just to fly?"
Jared: "No, that'd be okay, but being able to poop and fly at the same time would be even better!"

Honestly, sometimes I swear I married a 4 year old. 

He's the best. 

#nofilter. I love this picture. 

Haley's favorite bug

Jared' white coat ceremony

I figured this was the best place for photos and a little update. 

A week after I arrived, I got to celebrate the white coat ceremony for Jared with him and my momma. It was a very special event. 

The white coat ceremony is done at the beginning of the education because it is a symbol that all throughout the education, the students are professionals. They should esteem themselves as such, holding in regard what they learn and do with respect and proper behavior. The entire school where Jared attends is a medical professions school, so we went to the ceremony with PA's, Speech Therapists, DO's etc. I was amazed at how many international students there are at this school. It's wonderful, but I tell you what, I would not have been wanting to read those names--some of them were really difficult. 

They had an interesting invocation and benediction, which was really like a letter written to the students. In fact, the invocation started with: "Dear Students," talk about separation of church and state. It seems that if they are going to have an invocation, they should at least call upon a generic deity/God figure, don't you think? Anyways, the speeches were really good and I am so glad I got to support Jared on this special day. Doesn't he look handsome in his white coat? 

Blurry, but if you look closely, you can see Jared about to walk down the stairs.  He'd just been given his coat. 

Our little family. 

Practice makes perfect! 

I'm so proud of this man. And so happy mom could come celebrate with us. 

and of course we celebrated with Oberweis

First Impressions

I have been in Illinois for exactly one month now. I figure that calls for another blog update, yes?

First thing we did when I arrived was go to Oberweis dairy. Now let me tell you a secret. Oberweis is the BEST place to get ice cream. Hands down. When we were kids, we would go there for "grade shakes." It was a reward for doing well in school. (remember how I grew up about 20 minutes away from where we live now...?) The night I arrived it was our reward for being reunited. And it was just as good as I remembered, plus extra goodness cause I got to share it with my sweetie.

The next day was Sunday. Church was smashing--I met tons of people, recognized one or two faces from Provo of all places, and enjoyed hearing Jared's stories about his nursery kids. Ask him about his puppy game, it's hilarious. One less thing to stress about knowing we are part of a good and welcoming ward.

Our apartment is about 5 miles away from the campus, and I decided that first day that even though I didn't know where anything was, I needed to stay out of the apartment and figure stuff out or else I would lose my nerve and never learn where anything was. Off I went and had a great day getting some stuff to beautify the home/ make it liveable, getting to know the area and exhausting myself. Now I'm glad I did that because I know where most everything important is. Note for mamma here: I finally found the closest McDonald's to our place. So when you come again we won't have to drive all over to get you a drink. ;)

Jared is loving school. He comes home from his clinical days so amped up about the work he gets to do on teeth. His other classes are hard, but he feels that BYU really prepared him well. He has made lots of friends (of course) and is already doing very well in all his classes. I'm even more excited about what the next few years will bring.

Italian Beef dip sandwich. The best comes from the Midwest. 
Chicago Hot Dogs. The ONLY way to eat a dog. 

We both love it in Chicago (although truthfully we are in the nearby suburbs). We live in a place called Westmont, about 20 min by train from the city. It's close to the airports also so anyone who comes to visit will be greeted in style by yours truly. Westmont has a cute little downtown about 3 blocks from our house, where the train station is. Downer's Grove, another suburb, is even cuter downtown and has quite a few more restaurants, we've sampled two so far and they are amazing, but of course, Chicago is famous for the food.

Speaking of, here's some photos of our first "date night" to a place called Portillo's. Classic Chicago style decor and food--we love this place, as you can tell from our faces. We've also gone for deep dish twice. It's a special occasion food. Special occasions are pretty much anytime a friend comes to visit. We've had quite a few special occasions.

I'm sad I haven't gotten pictures of them, but we've made a few friends here already, and the funny bit is that so far, they have been friends with other friends of ours. Some we saw only at church-Jeff and Sara here's to you, come again! Others, Austin!! we enjoyed pizza and ice cream with. We were so sad Steph couldn't make it too. Also Mamma came to visit! She has most of the photos, dagnabit, but we have the memories.

In sum: we love it here, the people are fabulous, the food is going to make us fat, the weather is PERFECT. (except Saturday when it was 37 and snowing and only the first weekend in October). The leaves are just starting to change colors, I'm busting out all my biggest sweaters, and still busting out of them--good thing this pregnancy is almost over. We are happy happy happy.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

August so far

In case you were wondering what's going on now with the Holloways, and in case you aren't one of the people I call every day to bother because I'm bored and lonely, here's what's up. 

1. My in-laws and Haley threw a baby shower for me a few weeks ago! It was darling and I got lots of awesome presents, surrounded by friends and family and cute jungle decorations. 

2. This week I hit 31 weeks! Only 9 ish more to go! 
 3. Jared's in Chicago, meeting our new wardies, eating all the good foodies, and setting up our apartment and unpacking so I don't have to do that part later. I am missing him a lot since I'm still here in Utah. He has orientation next week and starts school the week after.

3. Haley and I get together sometimes and make messes. Sisters are the best. 

4. The biggest news, is that when Jared left, he forgot our vacuum. Not on purpose. I found it yesterday, and called the airline to find out if I could take it on the place. They said yes, as long as it meets regular baggage restrictions. I'm thinking that may or may not be one of the strangest things I've ever taken on a plane, but I'm more than happy to be a little odd to save the money we'd otherwise have to spend on a new vacuum.