A Birth Video

a big huge thank you to my sister Hannah for putting this altogether. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, you should really get a photographer/videographer in your family. It's wonderful. 

A Birth Story: Zoey Rhys

Definitely shooting for the worlds longest, most detailed birth story. I think I nailed it. 

Carsen's pregnancy and the time after he was born was extremely difficult for me. Not only was I extremely sick for months, but I experienced antepartum anxiety and depression (which I wasn't aware was even a thing) that started immediately after becoming pregnant. In fact, I remember wondering if I could be pregnant because the shift in my mental state was so sudden and far off from "me" that I couldn't make sense of what was going on with any other explanation. After he was born, it morphed into Postpartum Depression and I was left feeling pretty broken. 

When Carsen was about 8 months old, thanks to a wonderful therapist and a newly found daily meditation practice, the numbness, overwhelm, and anger began to fade and I finally began to feel like "me" again. But still the thought of having another child and opening myself up to another traumatic pregnancy was more than I felt capable of. 

Two years ago, almost exactly, I attended an all-day yoga and meditation retreat with my parents and sisters. While participating in one of the guided relaxation portions of the day I had a beautiful and powerful experience that told me we would have another daughter, and that she was "ready when I was." Though it was a relatively quick experience, I had a sense of what this child's personality was like and how ready and prepared she was to come here to our family. She had a job to do, and she was anxious to do it. And even though it was no longer on my list of "potential baby names," I wasn't able to get the name Zoey out of my head. 

The biggest blessing from that whole experience was it left me feeling healed from how broken I was after the last pregnancy. I didn't know when we would be ready, but I finally felt peace knowing I could do it again. 

Fast forward to May of 2016 with me staring at a positive pregnancy test and Jake lovingly asking me to smother him with a pillow. It might have taken a little (long) while for the whole idea of a third baby to really, actually, sink in. 
The pregnancy was hard. Trying to put it into words probably wouldn't do it justice. It's hard to know how to describe what it is like to be that sick for that long to someone who has not experienced it without seeming dramatic. But it pushed me physically, mentally, and emotionally much more than was comfortable. My SPD flared up about halfway through and by the end I was limping around regularly, and in quite a lot of pain wherever I went and whatever I did. 

As I entered the last month, I thought surely this baby would come early. I hit the wall of being *done* early on in December and figured that must mean things were happening sooner than later. Since we had decided early on to keep the gender a surprise, we tried to prepare the best we could, but there were a lot of things that were left up to "we will just have to see when he or she gets here." And for a planner like myself, it started to make me a little crazy. The experience with knowing a daughter was coming to our family was also weighing heavily on me because, although I felt like I was carrying a girl, I couldn't know for sure. And doubts started to creep in leaving me feeling confused and worried. I would love another son. Having Carsen and getting to experience raising a boy has been so much fun. And giving him a brother would make me SO happy. But if this baby was a boy, that would mean I would have to be pregnant again in order to get our girl here, and that was more than I could handle. I feel ungrateful saying that; I can have kids. My body can get pregnant! That is such an incredible gift I will never take for granted. But pregnancy is so extremely difficult for my body and I didn't know if I could physically or mentally go through that again. But there was nothing left to do but wait, so that's what we did. We waited. 
39 weeks pregnant

January 9th was my due date and I woke up feeling no different than any other day, except for a sore throat and what felt like the beginning of a cold. I had some contractions, but they were the same as the ones I had been having regularly for months. I went to my 40 week appointment and found I had not progressed more than where I had been two weeks prior. Mentally at that point I was only able to handle a day at a time, so I made my 41 week appointment and prepared myself for another day. As I left my midwife cheerfully said "good luck! You can do this! Sometimes when I tell people I'm on call for the next day they go into labor, so, I'm on call tomorrow! Maybe I will see you!" 

I went to pick up the kids from my moms and ended up laying down to take a nap. I was feeling completely exhausted and decided it was okay I wasn't in labor because I probably needed a couple days to rest and hope my cold didn't progress. Later that evening while dropping off/picking out new library books (because even being 40 weeks pregnant can't stop our love/obsession with the library and my attempts to check out the entire library in one visit), I noticed my contractions felt more in my back (my body's favorite little form of labor) and a little more intense. As the evening went on, so did the contractions, but I tried not to time them or pay much attention. I refused to get my hopes up when I knew this could continue for days. Before going to bed I went to the bathroom and noticed I had lost my mucus plug (TMI, sorry), and a small hope snuck in that maybe this would turn into something. 

From about 10:00 on, and all through the night, I realized this probably was "something." Though the contractions were not getting closer together (they were between 10-15 minutes), they were becoming extremely intense. I couldn't take them laying down, so I would roll out of bed when I felt one starting (also very difficult thanks to my SPD friend) and lean over my nightstand while breathing and rocking side to side. Then crawl back in bed and rest for another 10 or 15 minutes before starting the process over. This continued for the rest of the night, with some a little closer and some a little farther apart.

When I looked at my phone and saw that it was finally 6:00 am I felt relieved - I had made it through the night. I didn't want to have to wake everyone up in the middle of the night if I didn't have to, and I was grateful it was finally morning. I went downstairs and tried to work through the contractions where I had a little more room. When I was sitting they were still 8-10 minutes apart. But if I was standing they were about 3 minutes. I had been really lightheaded and nauseas for a few hours and it made it difficult to stand through the contractions. I finally called the midwife on call and she mentioned I might just be dehydrated, and since I was GBS positive I might as well come in just to see where things were at and possibly get an iv. I had been dilated to a 2 the day before so I figured not much had changed. Despite how incredibly difficult and intense each contraction was (still all back labor) I had convinced myself they weren't close enough together to have made much progress. My mom came over to stay with the kids and I somehow managed to get myself to the car, and then survive that car ride to the hospital. 

Side note: someone really needs to invent a new way to get laboring women to the hospital. Contractions inside a car really is one of the worst ideas anyone's ever had. 

Once we were in triage I couldn't handle more than breathing through each contraction and so I left Jake to answer all the questions. I kind of go inside my own head during each wave, and stay completely silent besides how hard I breathe. It's not a conscious choice, my body just doesn't know any other way to labor. I think because of that they assumed I wasn't much farther than the 2 I had been at the day before. When the midwife checked me and found out I was a 6 they all picked up speed pretty fast. They were worried I was progressing quick (especially since this was my third) and I still needed at least one round of antibiotics for the GBS. They got me to a room and started hooking me up. The nurse talked to me about options for laboring but I already knew I wanted an epidural. I have always really wanted a completely natural childbirth, and I still would have really loved to experience that. But in that moment I had nothing to prove. I realized it was probably the pain and intensity of the back labor causing the nausea and dizziness and I just wanted some relief. And getting the epidural was one of the greatest decisions. I was so numb and so happy. It slowed my labor down but I was in no hurry. I was so content to lay there numbly, resting away the last hours of my pregnancy. After a while I started feeling some pressure with each contraction and I practiced pushing on my own with each one. Every contraction I would feel the baby slip down, the heart rate monitor becoming quiet as the baby moved down, and then come back up as the baby moved back once the contraction had ended. My mom and sister kept mentioning I should get checked, but I didn't know if I was really ready for it. Ready to bring this baby into the world. Ready for real life with 3 kids to fully begin. Ready to finally learn whether our daughter was here or if I would have to go through this once more. I'm positive if I had gone without the epidural my labor would have gone much quicker, but I was grateful for the extra time to mentally process what was about to happen.  
Eventually they checked me and I was at a 10 and ready to go. From there I swear it all took no more than 5 minutes. It was obviously more, but it felt so fast. Jake stood by my head, and my mom and nurse helped to hold up each leg. I pushed 3 total pushes during that contraction but didn't feel much happening. The midwife explained her job was to catch the baby and it was Jake's job to announce the gender. Another contraction came and I pushed 3 rounds before it ended. And then all of the sudden the baby was crowning and all I did was breathe and the baby sort of flopped out. Just like that, It was all over. 
I heard Jake's voice say "it's a girl!" And relief flooded my whole body. She was here and I didn't care about anything else going on in that room. They placed her purple little body up onto mine and I held her for the first time. For the shortest few seconds she locked eyes with me and I knew that she knew me and that I knew her. This was my Zoey, and she was completely aware of everything that was happening.
Details after that moment are a bit mixed together. 8 lbs 1 oz, 19.5 inches long. Her siblings met her and adored her at once (Hadley's face *almost* fell when she saw it was a girl because she really wanted a point for guessing boy on our family guessing chart, but that lasted all of one second before her face lit up in a huge grin). She latched on right away and nursed like a champ. Everything could not have gone more smoothly or perfectly. 
Later that day we finally decided on her name: Zoey Rhys. Zoey because she kind of chose it herself. And Rhys because after serving a mission in Wales, the name had always been one of jakes favorites and I finally convinced him to use it for a girl instead of a boy. The name Zoey means "life," and Rhys means "enthusiasm," and that just feels so perfectly right
We couldn't be more happy to have her here in our family. I'd go as far to say that we are all a little obsessed with her. Its amazing how one minute they are not there, and the next you are sure they always were. I think she's been more apart of things than we realized for the past while, and it just feels good to finally have her here with us. 
We love you Zoey girl, thanks a million times over for choosing us. 


It's funny because I have this distinct memory of how I felt driving past the familiar places that meant we were almost home when I was younger - what the exit looked like lined with endless green trees, "McDonald's park," the turn to get on our street, the sloping hill to our cul-de-sac - I still remember what it felt like to drive past those spots. Feelings of safety, rightness, and joy still come to mind. Nothing going on in the world mattered because when I saw those sights, I was home. 

The freeway exit we live off of now is nothing special; its kind of ugly to be honest. Too many weeds, too much traffic, and not enough *green.* the businesses that surround it are unattractive and the whole surrounding has the feeling of "we are here to make money, not to look good" to it. But every time we get off the exit, or come around the bend to go under the over pass, Carsen yells out "we home!!" And tonight it hit me that these are "the spots" in his memory. It doesn't even register to him that it's ugly, because all of it means he is safe, we are together, and all is right in the world. It means he is still young enough that Mom and Dad can make everything better, and all we have to do is get close to our house and familiarity washes over him. It means home is still something sacred. And in today's world, I consider being able to give my kids that assurance an incredible gift I will never take for granted. 


"I need to go practice mom because when I grow up, like when I am 8, I am going to be a dancer when someone is singing on a stage."

The music had already started, and she couldn't get those words out fast enough as she moved quickly onto the carpet to begin dancing. Her movement fluidly turned from walking into a punching March, and then straight into twirls. Her body just feels the music and moves accordingly with zero over-thinking it. In her mind, body, and soul, the chances of her being a background dancer on a stage is as likely as her breathing air today, or getting put in timeout at least once. It's going to happen. If she thinks it, she can be it. I'm not sure how as a mom you keep that sort of thinking cemented into a growing child, but you better believe I'm going to fight like crazy to try. 

Mostly a fashion update

I miss this little space of mine. Ive been okay with stepping back and focusing elsewhere, because it was very needed, but I hope that doesn't mean letting go of blogging entirely. I miss documenting my life this way. I'm currently trying to get our blog books organized (2013-2015, lol) and it's making me crave more of this in my life.

Since I have no clear place to start, here are the current and past trends, patterns, styles, and colors of Hadley's wardrobe - all in one place, and in terrible quality, for your viewing pleasure. You're welcome.

^^ Thats *six* pairs of underwear she is wearing


I remember during my pregnancy with Carsen, feeling sad that I was taking away Hadley's "only child" status. I knew we wanted more kids, and I was sure I wanted her to have siblings when she was grown. But I couldn't help feeling like I was being unfair to her somehow. She never asked for it, and we had a good thing going just the three of us. I loved having the chance to give her all my love and attention, and a piece of me was heartbroken over losing that. I guess I never could have really seen how much I was giving her by bringing Carsen into our family until I had seen it with my own eyes.

I didn't know that he would be the first person she wanted to see every single morning. That when she crawled into my bed before I felt it appropriate to be awake, she would use any noise as an excuse to go in and tell him good morning. I didn't know that he would ask for "shishey" anytime he woke up before her or lost sight of her throughout the day. I didn't know what it would be like to see the joy on their faces when they danced together or made lunch for each other without asking me. The way they play when they think I'm not looking is my favorite to see. I've never seen a face go from such frustration and annoyance of someone to sheer happiness quicker than they way the two of them interact. 

I couldn't fully understood that I wasn't taking anything away from Hadley - but instead giving her a best friend who can love, follow, and annoy her in a way I will never be able to. He is her favorite friend, and she is all he's ever known. And I love that they are mine. 

Hadi Says

"HAHAHAHAH mom what if my name was made out of POOP??"

"Sometimes my breathe gets lost so then I have to breathe in back in." 

"Let's play Harry potter. What is the name for the dark? I only know "lumos" for the light."

"I lumos-ed the whole house!"

"You know what mom? Barbie and the secret door is in real life. It IS REAL LIFE. It's at Disneyland."

H:"Is the place we are going far away?"
D:"Kind of, a little bit"
H:"So it's a little bit far but LOTS of close"

"Your bed is the hospital mom, so come watch my baby hatch"

D:"How are the Cheerios?"
H:"Freaking good."

from the back seat: "that was a freaking good chocolate."

I need someone to snuggle me. And then I need someone to feed me and snuggle me"

Hadley lives in her own imaginative world, and so she regularly makes up songs on the spot and sings them as she goes about her day/sits in time out. Usually I can't find my phone fast enough to write down the lyrics, but this is a snippet of one:
"Oh baby come out the door ol won't you think of me? Will you think of me tomorrow or today or will you think of me? And I'm like draw letters all of the day. Oh watch me all of the day but when you slickaway, did you know a bickaway? And I'm like cd come this way" 

"I was running super duper fast. That's why my energy is broke." 

"Guess why I'm putting stuff in my hat? Goofy puts stuff in his hat when he's in trouble and needs to have a party and stuff." 

"My mouth really wants chocolate chips and my stomach really wants m&m's"

"Mom look at those clouds! It's a upside down head! And look! It's a person wearing a tutu! And it's head is coming back, see that? Oh.. never mind. It's melting." 

"Guess how much I love you, mom? 66. No... 88." 

"Mom please don't do the things that I do when I am being mean. It's not nice for parents to do the mean things that kids do"

D: "You should eat more chickies (chicken)! You just ate one little piece and now all your other chickies are like "haaaaadiii, we want to go to the party in your tummy too!"
H: "No mom, my tummy is happy and full. There are enough persons in it. And they are like standing on each other and they are like all the way up to here (points to her throat). So if I eat another piece it will be up to there and make me cough. So, I'm not going to eat more."

"Guess how much I love you mom? One hundred eight ten BILLIUM"

"Mom one day could I hold your hand and we could fly up to the moon?"

Here's another snippet of a made up song:
"What should I do? What should I find? If you find it I will give it back to you. I search every time. I'll make it up to you. I shoouuulllld have listened to my familllyyyyy. What have I done I should have listened to my famillllyyyy. I didn't know I said a line. So every time I said it now, I should have listened to my family. Every time I'll give it back. I will say something what makes it up to you." 

"I'm chewing French fries so I can't talk to you."

D: "Hadi you have to try one bite of the soup"
H: "Fine. (takes a bite and gives a thumbs down) Ew it's bad. It tastes like ants. Ants eating blueberries and eggs. And a sea shell." 

"Want to know what I'm wishing for? For Cinderella to come, do you think it will happen? Ohhhhh maybe I need to wish it 5 times cuz I'm five. Hold on, don't talk to me, I'm making my wish."

"Sometimes when I am sad or mad, I put two skirts on and breathe"