Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The Birth of Maren Grace

My blog is a place where I’ve recorded the birth of each of our babies. I hope to get back to blogging more, but I wanted to make sure we had the birth of our sweet Maren Grace here. She is now 6 weeks old and just so wonderful and sweet. We are all smitten with her and are so grateful she is a part of our family. Here are the details of her arrival.

Back track to around my 36th week of pregnancy. Here are some pictures of my bump.

I had gone into the doctor to get a final ultrasound. They like to measure the baby and make sure everything is good because baby comes. At the appointment, the ultrasound tech measured Maren to already be 8 lb 13 oz. We knew she was going to be big, but I thought for sure in the 9 lb range.
Here’s a picture of her and her already chubby cheeks.

We worked hard preparing for her birth over the next few weeks. We finished up her adorable nursery, washed the hand-me-downs of Norah’s (as well as a few new clothes and blankets), made freezer meals, bought diapers galore, visited the temple, and squeezed in a Valentine’s date (Gentry). It was after the temple that the middle name Grace was suggested. Benj said he loved it and we knew we had her name - MAREN GRACE.

Weekly appointments came and went with not much progress. I was huge and uncomfortable. I couldn’t sleep or move very well, and the 3 older kids had to be very patient with me trying to take care of them. I tried to be a fun mom and we went to the Aquarium on Logan’s day off of school on President’s Day. That was the Monday before Maren arrived. 

On Tuesday night around 11 pm I started to panic. In my mind Maren hadn’t been moving and kicking very much. Benj and I moved my belly around, trying to get baby to respond. She just felt like a big lump in my tummy. I really started to panic because late night was usually when Maren was the most active. So around midnight we called Grandma Bradshaw and she came over while we went to the hospital. I was very uneasy the whole way there. I just wanted to hear her heartbeat and know everything was going to be ok. As soon as I sat in the wheelchair to go up to the maternity ward, I felt a couple little kicks. Once on the bed and hooked up to the monitor, baby’s heart rang loud and strong. It was the sweetest sound and my mind was immediately put at ease. They kept us for another hour and released us. We got home around 2-3 in the morning – I don’t really remember.

My Wednesday appointment (at 39 weeks) was my last. My doctor stretched my cervix to be a “solid 4” in hopes that my body would kick it into gear. I went to Fresh Market and grabbed some pineapple because I read somewhere that it’s supposed to help begin labor. I was willing to try anything! My contractions were more uncomfortable throughout the day. I was hopeful that we’d be going in soon! I was uncomfortable but the contractions weren’t convincing enough to head to the hospital. Around 10 I started tracking my contractions, but they weren’t consistent or strong enough. I decided to go to bed, only to wake up at 1:30 am with VERY strong contractions! I walked around for about a half hour before waking up Benj. I knew I was in labor and we needed to head to the hospital immediately!

We called Grandma Bradshaw (again!) to come over around 2:00. We arrived at Davis Hospital around 2:30. It had started lightly snowing and we were told I wasn’t the only one in labor that night. Apparently the change in the weather seems to bring on labor too. We checked in quickly and I was dialated to a 6! I got an epidural at 3:00 when I was a 7. Man, those contractions were strong. I kept feeling them even after the epidural and the anesthesiologist had to poke me again. This time I felt more numb. However, 5:00 came and I was still feeling them way too much! She came back again and put more in my IV. That did it. At this point I was at a 9. I knew I didn’t want to feel anything for the birth. I was told sometimes the baby sits on the nerves, but once they shift down, the medicine starts working. My legs felt like lead – haha.

At 5:15 am I started pushing and went through about 8 rounds of pushing. It felt like a really long time! 

Maren Grace arrived in the early morning on February 23rd at 5:56 am.

 She was perfectly chubby and pink. She was put right on my chest and gave a couple whimpers. After a couple minutes they took her over to suction all the gunk in her throat. Then those sweet cries came. Everyone was commenting on how big she was. It wasn’t until she was put on the scale that we knew HOW big. 10 lbs 6 oz! I was in shock!  Measured at 22 ½ inches long. The doctor said I had birthed a toddler. 

She was put back into my arms all swaddled and warm. She was so alert and latched like a champ. So so beautiful and perfect. I was in love immediately. 

Benj went with baby Maren to help with her bath. He picked out a cute red bow for her.

It was a little strange coming back to my recovery room, only for the day to be beginning for everyone else. All Benj and I wanted to do was sleep. A little hard to do when nurses are coming in and out. A spa worker came and even gave me a facial. I could’ve declined but when they said I didn’t have to move and lay down, I agreed! I fell asleep for most of it! It had snowed all night and we couldn't believe how much it had changed from having almost spring-like weather a couple days earlier. I enjoyed cuddling my baby and studying her little features. Also giving those cheeks a million kisses.

It was in the afternoon when the nursery nurse came in and told us that Maren’s oxygen levels were dipping down. They were concerned enough that they decided to admit her into the NICU and monitor her for a while. When I nursed her, she spit up a LOT, mostly the yucky gunk from birth. I’m convinced after that spit up, she didn’t have any more issues with her oxygen. Both Grandma Croft and Grandma Bradshaw came to visit, bringing the kids as well. The kids couldn’t see baby since she was in the NICU, which was sad, but I was thankful to see them for a little while. They helped me eat my chocolate ice cream. Both grandmas got to pay a little visit in the NICU to see her. 

Maren was released from the NICU a couple hours later and we kept her in our room for the majority of the night. The first nights are always pretty rough with a newborn. We knew by morning that we’d like to be released that day. I was missing my bed and knew I’d sleep better at home. Plus I missed the other kids.

I did a little photo shoot with Maren before we left. 

The nurses had to find a size 6-month onesie to fit our healthy girl.

  She wasn't happy with me that I unswaddled her.

That perfect double chin!

It always makes my heart burst to see this guy hold his babies. So much love.

We finally got checked out (apparently the nursery was short staffed and it took a while for them to give Maren a final check  up). Here's Maren ready to go!

We were starving by that point and made a stop at Nelson’s Frozen Custard for chicken strips and a rainbow. It tasted so good! 

We arrived home and of course Norah wanted to meet baby Maren right away.

 Logan and Max slowly came up too (ha) and they loved meeting their sister for the first time. It was a sweet moment to see all my kids together.

I’m so grateful we had such a good delivery and received wonderful care from the hospital staff, as well as our sweet moms. They were truly lifesavers that first week. Now that the roughest nights are behind us, I feel a little more like myself and can try to enjoy this newborn stage. We love Maren so much and are so so thankful she is part of our family.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Exciting News

 Well, I'm dusting off the ol' blog! I can't believe it's been a year. I'm hopeful as I update with current events, I can go back and fill in the gaps. 

So, the most exciting news was one we got on Father's Day.
 See that faint plus sign? Yeah, just barely. But it was sure fun to surprise Benj on his special day.

Pretty crazy we're adding one more to the mix.

These kids really are so excited to have a new baby in the family. Even Max seems to get it and asks daily in his baby voice if there's a baby in my tummy.

Here's a close up of our little nugget - right around 10 weeks. It is always nerve racking for me to wait for that first doctor appointment. It was such a relief to hear the baby's heartbeat and see it on the ultrasound. He/she even gave us a little wave and I fell in love immediately. 
Due date: FEBRUARY 28TH, 2017

My first trimester was similar to what I experienced with my other three. No morning sickness, just had a bit of that icky, bleh feeling, food didn't sound good, I'd have to eat first thing in the morning, and my energy was completely gone (goodbye morning workouts). I am thankful to have good pregnancies, as I know a lot of women aren't so fortunate. 

Here's my first belly shot, right around 12 weeks when I started to notice a little bump.

Enter the 2nd trimester and I'm feeling even better. No nausea, a little more energy and a growing belly. I got this fun maternity shirt that counts the weeks of pregnancy. I'm showing even more now than in this picture, so I feel I can wear it more often. Here's 14 weeks.

On September 13th, we went to the doctor to find out the baby's gender. We didn't take the kids with us and once we found out, we couldn't wait to share the news. Here we are revealing baby's gender while gathered for Max's birthday. 

We're so excited that we'll be having another GIRL! Norah was elated, the boys have warmed up to the idea, and Benj and I couldn't be more thrilled. I'd be happy with a boy too, but it's fun to make it even and to think about have 2 daughters.

My last picture is a bit funny, but one I wanted to document because: 
1-My mom is cute and thoughtful and 2-I think they're fun (and comfy)
I have a couple goals I want to make mention of before baby girl comes:
1 - Decide on a name
2 - Redecorate the baby's room, including painting the walls, crib and dresser
3 - Sort through Norah's clothes, as well as the boys
4 - Declutter and simplify our home
5 - Catch up on the blog! As well as organize current photos and videos
6 - Plan a fun vacation before baby girl arrives at the end of February

That's not much, right? Haha. At least I will know what will keep me busy over the next 5 months!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Max's 3rd Birthday

 Max had a fun birthday weekend! On Sunday we had family over to celebrate with us (Great Grandma Bradshaw celebrated her birthday with us too). Even Grandpa and Grandma Croft and Andy made it down from Idaho after dinner.

Here's the birthday boy checking out his presents. He got spoiled with a Hot Wheels race track, train set, 2 firetrucks, a Blaze monster truck movie, Cars shirt and multiple toy cars. Noticing a trend?

In fact, the birthday boy even got a Cars cake. He was so excited!

 Trust me, he was excited. Excited as he could be for being a little under the weather.

Loved this photo of Max with cousin Colton and Logan.

 The next morning on his actual birthday, he woke up to the tradition of birthday balloons.

 We also have a tradition of a special birthday breakfast. He requested pancakes and eggs.

We had to send Logan off to school and Benj to work, but enjoyed a fun-filled day at the zoo!

Note the new Cars shirt.

Oh, how I love this kid.

One more tradition - birthday dinner. He wanted noodles, so Olive Garden it was. Good choice Max. As you can see, he was pretty happy about it too.