Sunday, August 31, 2014

Blueberry Picking

We look forward to this every year--blueberry picking at Hatcher's Pass. It had been rainy and cold all week. But Friday evening the sun came out and even though it was getting late, we headed up the mountains to even cooler temperatures and spectacular views. The fireweed is changing to the bold red that I love, and the aspens are starting to turn to gold. I do love the fall. I think this was our first family outing since Briggs was born! 
What a beautiful world we live in.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Baby Love

Oh there's nothing sweeter than a newborn. We are all so completely enamored with little Briggs. Here's some pictures from the first couple weeks of his little life, starting with the day he was born.

His poor little eyes! Above you can see the popped blood vessels in both eyes. This was when he was a few days old, it's getting better now. But it made me so sad to look in his eyes!! Below you can see the bruising on both eyes too. Poor little buddy. None of my other kids had that so it freaked me out at first. But it's healing.

I really need to get a better picture with my little buddy

FIVE kids! I can hardly believe it. Feeling so grateful, and overwhelmed :).

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Grandma A. and Sarah Visit

I absolutley loved having my mom and youngest sister, Sarah, come and stay with us. Even though Briggs didn't cooperate and come when we all thought he would, it was still so great to have them here. We didn't do a whole lot of touristy things, which I feel bad about for them. But the kids just soaked up having all that extra love and attention and building those special relationships. My mom is a way cool grandma and jumps on the trampoline with them, gets on the floor and plays with them, gives them candy and just has a blast with them. They can feel how much she loves them and we all love having her around. My house is so much cleaner and things just run better. I wish so badly it wasn't only once (or twice if we're lucky) a year that we get to see family.

Sarah helped the kids coordinate a talent show, of sorts, with varying degrees of silliness in each act. :) It was quite entertaining and the kids had fun each getting a turn in the spotlight.

We stuck close to home for any fun activities. We did the usuals: Hatcher's Pass, Independence Gold Mine, playing at the "beach" (Wasilla Lake) by our house, and the Reindeer Farm. 

This was either on my due date, or the day after. He was born at 40 weeks and 5 days.

I know it's really blurry. Every night I go in and check on all the kids and remove multiple books and toys and re-position them so they're not all over the place. This night was too cute and I had to take a picture. These two are becoming better friends as they get older. They are the closest in age and have so much fun together. Good cuddle buddies too :)

Bryn and Mads each got a little trim

I hated seeing them go, especially since I could have really used the help after Brigham was born! But it all worked out. She kept saying "I can come back! I can change my ticket!" But after two weeks of being away, I know they need to be back as a family too. And we were fine.
Every time my mom comes she is so incredibly helpful and I love her more and more. It's so hard to let her know how much I appreciate her; for everything she does and everything she is. She is such an incredible example to me and I don't think I'll ever be able to really thank her or repay her. Being a mother certainly doesn't end when your children leave the house. I need her just as much now, I'm sure of it.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Brigham's Birth

Our newest addition, Brigham Scott Weston, finally arrived! 
On Monday night my mom and I were busy making curtains, when my water broke at about 10:40 p.m. I've never had it break before labor started before, so I wasn't positive that's what it was at first. Maybe I had just suddenly lost all bladder control? I didn't say anything at first, just went upstairs and changed. But I quickly figured out that's what it was. Contractions started, but not very intense and certainly not consistent. I called my midwife a little over an hour afterwards just to give her a heads up, then we waited. Kenny pulled out his phone so he could time them, but I told him to forget about it and get some rest while he could. While he slept, I just sat in my rocking chair and listened to my hypno birthing CD which is always so relaxing. Everything was good and I was still very calm and in control. We went in to the birthing center at 3 a.m. She checked me and said I was a 6 or 7. They gave me and IV and a dose of antibiotics since I had tested positive for group B strep. After a little bit I got in the tub, and labor continued to progress well. I always really hate it when I get to that last 30-60 minutes. I ask myself why in the world I chose to do it and wonder if there's any way I can just not go through it. Childbirth is so intense and so painful. I was so grateful for Kenny's support. I know he really wishes I would just go to a hospital and get an epidural, but he still supports and sustains me, literally and figuratively. He always pulls me through to the end. I was especially glad he was holding me from behind when I was pushing, because I blacked out for a second right at the end. I did it with Kelsey too, I'm not sure why. I think it's because I'm pushing so hard and not breathing for a little bit and so I sort of black out for 1-2 seconds. I remember thinking, okay this is it I'm pushing out his body, and then the next thing I knew he was laying on my chest when I came to and I wondered how much time had passed. Kenny said he felt me go limp and started like shaking my arms because they were handing him to me. But they didn't even notice so it couldn't have been more than second. 

He was born at 4:54 a.m., about 2 hours after we got there. He has so much dark hair and is by far the biggest baby we've had! He weighed 9 pounds, 8 ounces and was 22 inches long. Head and chest were 15 inches. (Our next biggest baby was Kelsey, who was 8 po. 1 oz.) He is perfectly healthy and handsome. He has some bruising on his face, and a popped blood vessel in his left eye from a speedy birth. I think he looks like Tyler when he was born, only with chubbier cheeks. Once the baby's born you only have to stay for 3 hours, so we were home by 8 a.m. right after all the kids woke up. They were SO excited to meet their new little brother. I hadn't slept the entire night, and Kenny didn't get much sleep either. So we were both so exhausted, obviously. I was so grateful my mom was still there so I could just hide in my room and sleep for several hours, waking only to feed him. 

We were the very first ones to have a baby in this new birthing center, since it's a brand new facility and they had just barely gotten certified from the state the day before! We were joking that Briggs was just waiting for that so he didn't have to be born in the other birthing center that neither of us liked. It also meant they gave us a big gift basket with a whole lot of expensive things which we would have never bought! :) It was really nice. My mom and Sarah were tremendously helpful that day, but had to fly home that night. I was so sad to see them go, but I was also very grateful for the time I did have with them, and that Brigham came before they left so she at least got to see him! 

Another nurse, Mary, was also there and she took it upon herself to take a lot of pictures and gave us a CD of them. I was so glad because we don't normally have pictures of such a big event! Hopefully these aren't too much to post on here. I know I'm a hot mess, but this is it, raw and real.

We are overwhelmed with gratitude and love for this new baby in our family. I love, love newborns and the special spirit they carry with them. We're all still recovering, but so happy he's here.

The fabulous Elrod's, who own and run Integrated Women's Wellness. They're a husband and wife team, he's a Dr. and she's a midwife. I love them and would recommend this practice to anyone!! They are bringing us a yummy Ihop breakfast in bed :). I'm pretty sure I scarfed that meal down in less than 2 minutes!

Ready to go home!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Large, But Not In Charge

I thought I had everything figured out with my pregnancies and my body. I am pretty consistent in that I carry them right up to the end, and they're born within the last week. Kelsey was 1 week early exactly. But I've never gone over. So when my mom was scheduling her flight to come here so she could help with the baby, we thought it was going to be nice and smooth. I picked her up early the morning of Aug. 2nd. I was even thinking there'd be a chance she might miss the birth, but that would be okay because the time I needed help the most would be the days and week following. My actual "due date" was the 7th. We were all super surprised when we actually got to that day. Surely he would have been born by then! But with each passing hour of each passing day, and not a whole lot of contractions to show for it, I grew (and continue to grow) more and more depressed. Now it's the night of the 10th and my mom and Sarah will be gone in 48 hours. Still no sign of him coming anytime soon. It's hard to express how upsetting this has been for me. Not just because I'm sick of being pregnant, though surely I am very sick of it. But because they came here for almost 2 weeks to be able to help out with the baby, and now they might not even get to see him at all. That's a lot of time and money, and I feel awful. I know it's not my fault, but it's hard to not feel any pressure when I'm the only one carrying the baby! I've gone back and forth a lot about whether I should just be induced so that things could work more in our favor. Mostly my favor. Meaning I'll actually have help when the baby's born. Kelsey's birth was just so crazy and we were so lonely and isolated and knew absolutely no one. This time was going to be different. We made very deliberate plans, that for any of the other kids would have been perfect. But this little one is sure throwing us for a loop. It is proof to me that just when I think I have everything figured out, I realize that I have absolutely nothing figured out. That can be very frustrating because having a baby is sort of a big deal, and yet I get no say in when it happens and how it plays out. I suppose there's a lot of good lessons in that for me to learn.

I feel bad for my family because of how ornery it has made me. I have been feeling so angry. Not really sure who I'm angry at, but I know it gets taken out on those nearest to me and I don't mean to. This morning was especially bad. I didn't want to go to church and hear comments, and mostly didn't want to go to nursery (we had 17 kids today) as it is so hard and uncomfortable physically. But the opening hymn was Count your many blessings, and it was really humbling to think about the words as I sang that song. I really do still have so much to be grateful for. Even though he's late, the baby and I are both still very healthy. I feel blessed to be able to have another child at all, so it put me in my place. My favorite line from that song was where it said "count your many blessings angels will attend, help and comfort give you till your journey's end." I don't know when this journey is going to end. It feels like I'm just going to be pregnant forever. But I am definitely calling on the assistance of angels as I endure these days and weeks, and certainly for the delivery of my ever-growing baby boy. Then I couldn't even sing the sacrament hymn because I was crying the whole way through. Kenny said he was worried that maybe I was having painful contractions and just wasn't saying anything haha. Oh how I wish that were the case. But the spirit was really strong for me as I felt like my prayers were finally being answered, like I was finally heard and received so much comfort. Obviously I'm an emotional wreck right now.

I'm trying to relinquish my need to control this situation and trust that the Lord is mindful of me and what I'm going through. I still don't know how things are going to work out, but they will. Even if I don't have my mom here when he's born, we will survive. We always do. As much as we try to avoid it, sometimes we just get to do hard things. That's life. And I CAN DO HARD THINGS. I will keep telling myself that.