Thursday, June 26, 2014

Another Birth Story

While I was pregnant, I loved to read any birth story I got my hands on. So here I am sharing mine. Stop right here if you don't want to read a novel or if it might be TMI!

So on the morning of April 24th, 2014 I woke up feeling a little different than usual. Not that I knew I was in labor. I didn’t want to get my hopes up! I had myself convinced that I was gonna go a week late and have to be induced like all the other first-time moms I knew of lately. Also I really didn’t want to ever think I was in labor and go to the hospital, only to have them send me home because it was "false labor". Plus I still didn’t officially know what a contraction felt like anyway (boy, do I now!)

Anyway that night I had been waking up feeling kind of not good but Dr. hush told me if they were real contractions, I wouldn’t be sleeping through them so I’d try to go to sleep to see if they were real and then I could. In the morning they seemed a little stronger. Jacob didn’t want to go to work, but I didn’t want him to stay home and us get our hopes up if it wasn’t real. So I sent him to work. What reassured both of us was the fact that I had a regular appointment set up with Dr. Huish for that morning so I told Jacob I’d go to it and see what he said.

I spent the morning switching off between kneeling down and doing a few other positions off this paper we had for labor positions. But then a contraction stopped and I’d feel fine and convince myself it wasn’t real. Then they'd come again and I timed them the best I could. They seemed pretty regular but I still didn’t want to get my hopes up! I took a bath and called my mom to take me to the appointment just in case I was in labor. She was watching my nephew Oliver so he came with us and he was so good at the appointment. All the way there and in the waiting room, I was still timing my contractions and they were pretty regular.

By the time I got in to Doctor Huish, he just checked me right away and told me I was dilated to a 6 and 90% effaced! (the appointments weeks before I had been successfully dilating to about a 3.5 I think) I knew that was good but I didn’t know it meant this was for real happening. He told me I was IN LABOR and to head to the hospital! What?! I’m seriously in labor?! I cried so much, I couldn’t even believe it was true. I was so proud of my body and my Penny for coming on her own, a day early!!

I called Jacob bawling, and made sure to tell him right away that they were happy tears, and that he needed to get his bootie down there. Then I called my cousin Leah and left her a message (I had already invited her) and my sister Karen, while Jacob called his mom and sped there. At the hospital, they didn’t let Oliver back so my mom had to stay out in the waiting room while I went in alone. I was fine then but it really was kind of sad, not quite how I imagined. But whose labor story is anyway?! I went and did some paperwork stuff while having contractions and not being able to walk. The front desk lady informed me that “I could do this on my own!” That was awful, I did not want her telling me that, my husband was on his way! I was NOT going to do this on my own!

So they took me back and I’m not sure they believed me that I WAS in labor, just sent here by Dr. Huish. They were kind of confused, and asked me if I was on the induction list. Anyway, they did let me in and I had to change into the gown thing on my own which was confusing, especially while I was having contractions. Then they checked me, and I was a 7 by then! They asked me questions I don’t remember, and I felt soooo lightheaded and my ears felt distant from everyone in the room. I told them and they said I needed to breathe slower. Jacob got there finally (actually he got there a lot faster than I expected :)). And it was amazing. So so wonderful that he was there with me and I was not gonna do it alone. I tried to focus on my breathing while he answered the rest of the questions.

Then they wheeled me into a new room, and gave me my epidural thank GOODNESS!! Those things are amazing. They said I did really good for that part, I was having contractions while she was giving it to me but I held really still for her. Tiffany (my INCREDIBLE nurse) informed me that I was Streb B positive and that they were gonna try to hold me off from delivering for at least 4 hours because they had to pump penicillin through my arm. The doctor’s office did test me for this but apparently never informed me of it so it didn’t work out as ideally as far as that could’ve. She would’ve diluted the penicillin but she didn’t and it burnt/hurt my arm pretty darn bad. But it’s okay, the epidural felt amazing.

We waited around for four hours. Londa (Jacob's mom) got there, then since we were supposed to wait for 4 hours, she went to grab some Subway. She didn’t make it all the way there before my water broke so she came back. But Tiffany closed my legs so it wouldn’t progress. Leah got there, then Karen. Then Elle (Jacob's sister) even showed up! I had invited her but didn’t actually expect her to come so that was exciting. My mom kept talking like Penny wasn’t gonna wait until 4:30 to come so I kinda didn’t think she would either. But she did! The penicillin got all through me like it was supposed to! So then Tiffany checked me and I wasn’t quite dilated to 10 yet.. or maybe I wasn’t effaced all the way. I don’t know. Anyway, she put a big exercise ball peanut thing in between my legs for a little while.

Around 5 she had me start to push for real. My mom was holding my right leg and helping me hunch over while Jacob was holding my left leg, giving me kisses and feeding me glorious ice chips (they wouldn’t let me eat anything else that whole time and I’d already thrown up my half a bowl of oatmeal from that morning). Leah, Londa, and Karen just watched and Elle sat on the couch. I sure don’t blame her for not getting front row seating. I guess I wasn't breathing good enough because they had to give me oxygen almost the whole time I pushed. I pushed a ton, threw up almost as much, and Jacob would tell me that he could see her hair. She has hair, how exciting! Tiffany was INCREDIBLE to motivate me and let me know when my pushes were really good and count to 10 really enthusiastically to keep me going.

Dr. Huish impressed me with how involved he was. Jacob had learned in nursing school that the actual OBGYN basically just goes in to catch the baby and their job is done when the cord is cut. But Dr. Huish was in and out for the whole 2 1/2 hours that I pushed. Motivating me and whatnot. Sadly, Karen had to leave at 7 because her kids didn’t have a babysitter or something. And also SO sadly, Tiffany’s shift ended at 7 so she didn’t even get to meet perfect Penny Blu with all the effort she put into it! They put a mirror there for some of it and it helped but didn’t help. I liked seeing Penny’s head but I didn’t like seeing it go back when I stopped pushing. Kind of felt like one step forward, two steps back. I am SO GRATEFUL for the amazing epidural and that it worked good on me! I know epidurals don’t always work well for people. But it was perfect. I felt the pressure but not the pain, and I could still move my legs a little bit!

Close to 7:30, Dr. Huish informed me that we had 2 options. I could keep pushing and it would work out and Penny would come, but I would definitely tear. Or he could cut a little bit to make room for her and direct where the tear would be and he’d cut it to the side. I honestly wasn’t worried one bit. I chose the episiotomy. So he cut me (I didn’t feel it at all.. didn’t even know he cut me at the time). And the next pushes her head came!!!!!!! Then I had to push just a little bit more for her body. All of a sudden she was laying on my chest, little cone head, covered in her own meconium (poop), those almond eyes I didn't expect at all, and ears crinkled down.. and so incredibly perfect.


I’ll be honest, that moment wasn’t the huge "angel choir glorious" moment for me that some others talk about. Obviously I loved her to death and knew she was perfect. But I was also just super glad I was done pushing. She didn’t quite look like the baby I had subconsciously imagined would come out of me. She had real big cheeks and almond eyes. Sadly, the giant cheeks have gone down a little bit since then. Happily, her giant cone head has gone down since then! And her crinkled down ears have gone up! So I loved her. Jacob loved her. Everyone loved her. Then she had to be taken to the nursery because she wasn’t breathing too well with all that meconium inside her. That was so sad, but I was completely assured knowing that Jacob went with her.

I was a mom finally, and Jacob was a dad. :)

The rest of the hospital stay was full of:
-scrumptious hospital meals of whatever I darn pleased (and I didn't even get acid reflux with anything!.. complete opposite of pregnancy)
-Tons of super thoughtful visitors
-A completely awful first night because I was so tired from, you know, giving BIRTH! Also, we had no idea how to take care of this perfect baby even though we were her parents and our nurse was pretty bad to say the least. Jacob says he remembers pacing the room while holding Penny trying to keep her from crying so I could sleep and just thinking "What did we get ourselves into?! Who allowed us to be parents?!"
-A very difficult time trying to breastfeed. We stayed an extra day at the hospital just for those blessed lactation nurses who gave me hope. (It was hard for a week or so but now is incredible and SO WORTH IT for me!)
-Mesh underwear with literal diapers full of ice on my bum.
-Poor Jacob sleeping on the couch
-Never changing a single diaper (THANK YOU Jacob!)
-So much family cuddle time
-A few happy breakdowns. Just so overwhelmed with how blessed we were, it made me cry a lot.

And now I have a precious 2 month old! Boy time flies! She is jabbering to herself in her deep voice on her playmat with toys right now!

Congratulations for getting through that lengthy and wordy post! I promise more pictures and less words from now on.

Monday, January 6, 2014


I'm gonna quote one of Jacob's favorite songs (it's in our wedding video too!)
"Blessed is this life, I'm gonna celebrate being alive!"

I have a billion pictures to post and realllly hope that I actually do soon. But for now words will have to do.

How Jacob and I have been so BLESSED LATELY:

-Where we LIVE. We moved from our tiny studio right by the temple because.. well, it was a tiny studio. With no storage. And a swamp cooler. And it smelled weird. We sure miss living literally one house away from the temple and seeing beautiful brides and families around the grounds. And we miss being so close to cute Main street where we biked around a lot! We don't miss the closest grocery store being Rancho Grande.. or the fact that we never actually got everything put away in that dinky little place! We never really felt attached to the ward and the #1 lame thing was the distance from our parents! (Yep.. we were only a few miles further than we are now..) Anyway, NOW we live right in between our parents! But still in our own ward and stake. It's fun being in my Aunt Denise's ward! We sat by them in church until I learned the extent of my RLS (Restless Leg Syndrome.. or Rachel Lyn Stradling.. hehe). Anyway, my constant bouncing leg shook the whole bench and I asked my cousins if they noticed.. one did. Haha so I felt really bad. We live in a little quadriplex where neighbors come in all different types and sizes! As in there have been some really interesting times.. and some really great times and friendships made. We have a little backyard that we share with our nice neighbor across from us who never actually goes out in the yard, which is nice! We love our home with a huge pantry and closet space and room for our own washer and dryer! Which is a whole 'nother story of a blessing in itself! (Let's just say Heavenly Father let all other craigslist deals fall through so that we could end up with the awesome washer and dryer we now have for the cheapest price we saw out there!) We plan to live here at least until Jacob gets out of nursing school in a year and a half.

-SCHOOL. Somehow, school for Jacob has worked out perfectly. Before his mission, he honestly didn't give a ton of thought to college/career. Yet, he gave just enough! (With the help of his amazing mother). Turns out he had prerequisites from high school classes he had taken, and he took a few more online classes before he left for his mission and then got on the waiting list for nursing school! Which is.. whaddya know.. at least a 2 year wait! No time wasted!! So he got home, did one semester at MCC, and then got in to nursing school through Maricopa Community College. He's finished with the first semester and it was pretty tough, I am so proud of him! As for my school, I graduated MCC with an Associates in Elementary Ed! Yep. All I have is an Associates and I am proud of myself. To be honest, it's farther than I thought I would get before having a baby. (Due to a childhood filled with sisters getting married and having children ASAP). So at least I've got something to my name. Thinking now of BYU Idaho pathway program to get a bachelors in Marriage & Family.. if that even works with my Associates. To be honest, I haven't started looking into it yet..

-WORK. Jacob and I work together. What?! Isn't that the best thing in the world? Honestly, it's blown my mind. In the summer, before he got hired here with me, he was working restoration. Sometimes gone til 10 PM and often working lame weekends. Call me a pansy, but it made me so sad that we were torn apart so much! Even though, yes, I am very grateful for the money he made that summer to help out our savings. Soo now, we work at a law office and I sometimes forget how happy it is that I get to be with him so much, so then I kick myself in the pants. Especially now, because it's the last week of it. He starts school back up next week and we will be working opposite days. But boy are we grateful for this time we've had! And it was fun to train him. :)

-BABY GIRL. Baby girl!!!! 1 month into our marriage we decided we were ready for a baby. We'd heard plenty of  lectures from friends and strangers alike to "wait 5 years until you have kids" or "at least finish school" and maybe that was right for them! But the more we heard it personally, the more we disagreed for our own family. Through prayer and peace, we were ready for a baby! So it took 5 months to get pregnant, but now I am 24 weeks with a baby girl! Oh my gosh, I can feel her kicking right now :). I threw up a lot from weeks 8ish to 16ish but that's where it came extra in handy that we worked together! I could go curl up under Jacob's desk and he could empty all the trash cans I threw up in.. About the gender: Jacob was leaning towards wanting a boy, and I towards a girl. But when we found out, it felt so right to both of us! We definitely would've been happy with either, but really: gender is a big role in Heavenly Father's plan and I know he is giving us a girl first for a reason. Name options: 99.9% Penny. We call her Penny every day. Middle name: still deciding. So far, we like either Blu or Lou. We've found awesome things at garage sales/thrift stores for her ranging from her crib to a diaper trash can to clothes to her room decor. We can't stop being excited.

-FUTURE PLANS. It's fun to think about the future. Right now, Jacob thinks he wants to go be a Prison Nurse after he gets his Associates. I think that would be cool! Not sure which prison or where we'd live but we're thinking it could be our little time away from family to learn and grow and all that jazz. We've heard being a prison nurse is an awesome job because it's regular hours (no weird hospital shifts thank GOODNESS) and it's a good variety of things to do (other nurse jobs specialize in an area then the worker often forgets the other things he/she learned in school). Plus, Jacob just likes that kind of stuff, his dad is a Sheriff Deputy. Anyway, other plans as far as his school and work we like to think about: definitely he'll go back for a bachelor's. Then he wants to look into somehow using the Russian he learned on his mission in his career. Who knows what'll happen, but it's fun to think about! We love to go on bike rides and look at homes while we dream about our future home as well. Jacob really wants a good porch. I usually am drawn towards a good color scheme of house and door. We both like cozy/colonial looking houses if that even makes sense.

-ACTIVITIES. We like to have fun together! Garage saling and bike riding are the first things that come to mind. Also, we've been addicted to the old 2-person game Mastermind lately. And puzzles. Decorating our house, and watching plenty of good movies. Sometimes we cook together but usually I just clean while he cooks. Sometimes we have friends over, which is when we deep clean the house. Jacob likes to play his guitar, and/or we learn a little duet. And sometimes I put on my old prom dress and we ballroom dance in our living room! (Okay, we've only done that once..)

In conclusion, life is wonderful. Valentine's Day is the next holiday. Springtime is coming. I love this weather. And this was the wordiest post I've ever done.

Thursday, March 28, 2013


I could try to make this post concise and clever, but this blog is for journal purposes so here goes! I'm gonna let my heart out!

Marrying Jacob was definitely the best decision I ever made in my life. When we were engaged, I knew I loved him and that he would make me happy forever, but I didn't understand to the extent that I do now. And I know it will keep growing, because it already has so much!

Sometimes I don't even know what to do with myself I love him so much. Like the other day when Aunt Flo came to town when we were doing our taxes at MCC. He was perfect. I guess it doesn't sound that significant that he took care of me like I was a queen, but it just meant so much to me. I literally think I felt my heart swell when I was lying in the back of the car, just looking at his face. Driving me home safely and trying to avoid any bumps or sharp turns so I wouldn't be uncomfortable.

He always makes sure we say morning and evening prayers. He reads the scriptures every morning while I get ready for work. We haven't had an official family night yet. But the other night, when I woke up from a little nap he had been reading scriptures. And he told me that he needed to take responsibility for making sure we have family night. :)

We love real life. Our honeymoon was super great but we just like living life together! Being in our own tiny little home. Washing dishes, watching movies, and going on bike rides. Especially the bike rides :). One Saturday morning we were at his family's house and he took his old longboard out for a ride. Wish I'd seen it, but he longboarded back carrying a bike! Scored me a beautiful old 'un for $10. And he won't stop telling me how good I look riding it :). And now we usually take bikes every time we go to his house!

Gosh, I've been forming a blog post in my head for so many days and this is all it turned into. I guess I'll blog more often so that I can just get my good thoughts down as they come!

I can't wait til Jacob finished his persuasive speech for class on why everyone should get married. I'll use some of his words :)

It's just really fun!

P.s. Did I mention we were blessed with a blossoming orange tree in our front yard/alley?! Came home from our honeymoon to the best smell of my life 1 foot away from my front door.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Good Man

I like Jacob because...

He was the turkey at my turkey trot.

The kids were obsessed with him.

Owen and Drew fought over who got to cuddle with him.
Thank goodness they knew they couldn't mess with me.

He's great at the spray bottle game.

He teaches kids cool things.

He's cute.

And we're awkward.

 And because I like him.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Mission Accomplished

It's impossible to win these guys hearts over with hugs and kisses

Especially when they have such a cool uncle that plays video games 24/7

Til this beauty came along

 I've been in a Children's Literature class this semester and let's just say it's changed my life.

Somehow, I'm gonna be a Children's author and illustrator.

At least for my own children!

Anyway, I whipped out this old book from my childhood, remembering that it taught me absolutely nothing and it was straight up weird and hilarious.

Max and Briant are my closest in proximity nephews. But like I said, not so close at heart. Not their fault really, I should have known little boys don't want hugs and kisses from their aunts! That only works with the nieces.

I was getting closer to winning them over when I played speed in basketball with them. But they kept beating me so I knew that had to end.

They were over one night, and I started reading this to them.

They scoffed at all the silly situations, laughed at the ridiculous voices I used, and were sucked in to say the least.

We finished the book in two visits, despite my aching voice from reading so much. I kept trying to stop but they begged me to keep reading!

And that's when I felt that rush of joy teachers keep telling me about; to see kids grasping knowledge and loving it.

This book may not be a nonfiction documentary or whatever, but stories are wonderful. And how are kids supposed to learn to love reading unless they start with something they like?!

The cherry on top: I even got TWO hugs from Max that night! Sincere hugs without force on my part...

So moral of the story: read this to your children.
Unless you're one of my sisters, then wait for me to get to read it to them please!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

A Few Pictures A Day...

Make up for zero posts in the last 9 months..

Married Friends
  Mrs. Sunderhaus

Mrs. Freeman

Mrs. Neilson

It's kind of a wonderful thing! I love to be cheesy and hear them talk about the blessings of marriage, and see the love between them and their husbands.
It doesn't feel as weird as I thought it would to have friends right and left getting engaged, and married.
Everything seems just right. :)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Life is Life and I Like It

Life is wonderful.
Just to name a few things..

I own a Jeep (officially paid off as of tonight :)).
Raddest wheels on the road.

I love my ward friends.
We have fun in California, Mexico, Flagstaff, and Mesa.

I love the prodigy artists in the classes I get to teach.
Seriously... a 6 year old drew this!

I love seeing my parents walk along the beach.
How am I so blessed to be raised by them?

Oh.. and this guy comes home exactly a week from today!!!

 Sometimes he writes haikus in his letters.
Here's my favorite from a couple of weeks ago.

Four short weeks we'll see
It won't be too long until
You and I are we!

So basically:
The Holidays are coming up, the weather is cooling down.
I'm rereading the Harry Potter books, I'm obsessed with my family.
Cole is learning the ukulele, two of my sisters are gonna have babies! (Candace & Tami <3>
This semester is winding down, and I get hugs from my recess kids everyday.
Institute inspires me more and more every week, with the words of our Living Prophets.
Scholarship money is such a blessing, and Jacob comes home.

I can't see how my future could look any brighter than it does right now :)
(And that's saying a lot because my present is already pretty bright).