In 2016 we had a couch custom built to fit our living room in our home in Grover Beach. We needed lots of couch space, even though we only had 3 kids at the time, we regularly had large gatherings and needed more couch space. Fast forward a few years and 2 more kids we are here in Utah, the couch didn’t fit our apartment or the house we rented. It barely fit in this house before the remodel. During the design process we didn’t think to much about making the space to fit the couch.
So for most of the last year and a half this couch has been separated. But with it being winter and the kids spending more time indoors it was time to put the entire couch upstairs and give the kids a play room in the basement.
I measured the couch and measured the upstairs space and figured out that if I could remove one cushion worth of couch it would fit just where we needed it to. I casually mentioned it to Matt and he was shocked at first but then said he was ok with it. At best it would work perfectly and at worst we would end up with half a couch and that was a result we were willing to live with. Most everyone else I talked to said it was a bad idea and urged me not to do it. But come on now, we have rebuilt an entire house how hard could it be to cut a piece off a couch? Monday morning came, I took the kids to school and go to to work!
The removing staples step took many hours. I chose to be very thorough removing every staple, and piece of fabric one at a time so I can see just how the couch was put together so I can put it back together just right. I only removed everything just barely past where I was planning to cut.
The point of no return
With all the fabric pulled back and the framing exposed I could see that removing that section of the couch would not ruin it at all. The springs were all in sections and there was already a natural divide where I wanted to cut. That was my OK, and I started to cut. I used my jig saw and a sawzall.
With the demolition officially complete it was time to start rebuilding the new end of the couch. I had initially planned on removing the old end cap and attaching it to the new end of the couch. As I started to try and separate the wood cleanly without compromising the strength it broke so I had to come up with a new plan. Luckily we had some OSB particle board left over from another project that was just the right size. I used the old piece as a template and marked my OSB. I cut the new piece out with the jig saw and lightly sanded it to remove splinters.
I attached the end cap with some 1.5 inch screws. Then had to add a new base piece for stability and for the feet of the couch to screw into. I started by just using short scraps on both sides but Matt insisted I use a full piece to ensure rigidity. You will notice that later on.
Now that the framing was fully repaired it was time to put the fabric back on and make it look decent.
I did my best to imitate the way they had made the folds. I think it turned out alright!
I put the new short couch piece in its place and it fit perfectly!! I was so excited that it worked so well.
Not all couches are made the same and I know this only worked out so well because of how our couch was constructed in the first place. What do you think, would you cut your couch?
We all have experiences in our lives that change us. Change the way we live and think. Change how we parent or how we spend our time. Lucas getting RSV as newborn was by far the biggest life changer for me. Especially with the surgery he just had and the post op complications, it solidified it for me. Seeing him in a hospital bed and being helpless brought it all back. Some of you remember this story and some of you have never heard it before. But those close to me, who experienced it with us have been forever changed. The following post is directly copy pasted from one year after it happened. The italicized text is my today self interjecting. Please pardon the poor grammar of a rushed documentation.
The last year this subject has weighed heavily on my mind. When I think about it I still get very emotional. Watching the videos is very hard. Now I know that not everyones story ends up like ours, we were very blessed to have our son recover, but that doesn’t make what happened any less scary. As this day approached (Lucas’ First birthday) I found myself pondering the events of the last year and I felt more and more like I needed to share our experience to help educate people about RSV. I pray that you will take our experience to heart this cold and flu season and be proactive about keeping those newborn and young babies we know and love healthy.
Lucas is our third child. Our first two were healthy natural birth, I recovered from delivery well, I breastfed. I am also slightly “granola” so I just kinda do what I want when I want and have never been worried about always washing hands (excessively like after going in public or everytime before I touch the baby, or asking everyone else to before they touch my baby) bringing baby with me shopping, having people over, going to social events. I was NEVER concerned. I seemed to have thought in my head that because nothing happened to the first two that all those paranoid people must be just that. Paranoid. And it was just fine for me to be passing my newborn child around. After all I knew everyone who held him. He was somewhat invincible.
When he was about 4 weeks old (around the third week of november) he developed a cold. No Big Deal right? my other kids got colds and were fine. I watched it, consulted with my Doctor, got the humidifier out. did all the things to help him get through it. Thanksgiving weekend, He started to get better.
My sister had raised some concerns about how when he cried, he would just suddenly stop and “go to sleep.” we brushed it off because he had done it a few times before, our other kids had done it once or twice. it was nothing to be worried about. by Sunday we started getting concerned again because it seemed he was getting worse again.
That night we consulted a Dr. friend of ours. he told me things that i need to look out for with young babies, told me how to identify Respiratory distress, and said to take him to the Pediatrician if he gets worse. Monday i called and they scheduled us for Tuesday morning. we went in and she said his cold had turned into Bronchiolitis- she gave him an albuterol breathing treatment with the nebulizer and sent us home with it. do it every 4 hours. she told us that if i get worried in the middle of the night when it is at its worst (because all sicknesses are worse at night) to go to the hospital. so i set my alarm on my phone and it was like clockwork. every 4 hours i never missed a treatment. by 2am I was very worried. he seemed to me to be in “respiratory distress” i took him in to the Arroyo Grande hospital. they used a bulb syringe to obtain some mucus for a test. then they gave him another treatment. they told me that the RSV test came back negative, and to up his albuterol treatments to every 2hrs, and sent us home.
so if you are anything like me you’ve heard the term “RSV” before but you don’t actually know what it is, how you catch it, can you be vaccinated from it, can you take medication to make it go away? etc. i still at this point did not know what RSV was. no one explained it to me. or even told me what it stands for. assuming all was “well” and there was nothing to “worry” about i did as i was told. set my alarm for every 2hrs. now let me just give you a little play by play. my 2hrs would go like this.
12-12:30am nebulize 12:30- 1am Nurse 1-2am try and Sleep while your newborn is struggling to breathe through the congestion 2-2:30 am nebulize
you get the idea. it was EXHAUSTING! and worst of all it didn’t seem to be making things any better. I did that all day Wednesday till Thursday morning. i called the Dr. again because it was getting REALLY bad. there had to be something else they could give us. we went in at 11:30.
i showed them the videos i had taken of Lucas having coughing fits and they decided to do a swab for pertussis (whooping cough) during this nasal swab Lucas started screaming turning red to burgundy to purple and then suddenly “went to sleep” the nurse that was standing there looked at me nervously and said is he ok? has he done that before? i responded “yeah, its ok usually it just takes him a couple seconds to recover.” so we waited. as the seconds drew on i started to rub his chest to try and stimulate something. nothing was working his face had gone from purple to pale white. she ran and got the Dr and a pulse oximeter. his o2 (oxygen) was in the 80s and dropping. they quickly called 911 and grabbed the O2 tank. the ambulance was on its way. his o2 was going up but he was still not “waking up” he was limp. (side note: thank goodness my friend Kelsey was with me and the kids at the appointment. right after this happened i walked to the waiting room tears streaming down my face handed her my van keys and said I’m going to need you to watch my kids for a while we are going to the hospital. )
Matt showed up right as we were getting in, they only had room for one so he followed us in his car. and we were rushed to sierra vista. thanks to the o2 tank in the ambulance his oxygen stayed at 100% the entire drive there. its weird how the rest is just a blur. i remember bits and pieces but not really sure what order it went in. they immediately started running all sorts of tests to figure out what it was that was making Lucas so sick. we had at least 10 people between doctors, nurses, technicians around working on him, trying to get the IV trying to check his heart rate, taking an X-ray, testing for everything, keeping his oxygen up, giving him breathing treatments etc.
everyone kept saying Ya this is RSV. looking back on it, i felt like i was slow motion and everyone that was working on him was sped up. We put our faith and trust in these people, whom we’d never met, that they could do whatever was necessary to keep him alive. at this point he was still unresponsive. he got mad when they did the IV but not much more than that. then all of a sudden we were left alone to wait for the results of all the tests. we asked my brother Joseph to come assist in giving Lucas a blessing. after the blessing i knew that it was in the lords hands. what seemed like hours later the test results were back. it was RSV. and because Lucas seemed to not be responding very well to the treatments the Pediatrician on call decided it would be best to transfer us to Santa Barbara Cottage hospital. to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, or PICU. she said that this would be best just in case he need more than what a regular pediatric ward could give him. and man was she right. so we took the ambulance down to cottage. by that time Lucas hadn’t eaten in over 12hrs, he was getting mad.
i wasn’t allowed to hold him while we were going, and they weren’t going to stop to let me nurse so i hand expressed some milk and fed it to him with an IV syringe(into his mouth). once we got there and i followed the bed that had my limp sickly child on it to the PICU. someone FINALLY gave me some information on what this beast of RSV was. I tried to pay attention to the Doctor as a male nurse name Gino had my 5 week old baby in another room and all sorts of alarms were going off. this is basically what the doctor told me.
there is NO magic treatment for RSV, no antibiotics to try, you cant get vaccinated from it. (I have since learned that there is a series of vaccines that are extremely expensive and are only for high risk patients) all you can do is support them while their bodies fight it off on their own. what is different about it than the common cold? the mucus is much thicker. which makes it so difficult for little bodies with little airways and little lungs to clear it out. for older children and adults its just a cold. you would never know it was RSV.
this is what the internet has to say about it.
RSV Respiratory Syncytial Virus
RSV can cause upper respiratory infections (such as colds) and lower respiratory tract infections (such as bronchiolitis and pneumonia). In children younger than 1 year of age, RSV is the most common cause of bronchiolitis, an inflammation of the small airways in the lung, and pneumonia, an infection of the lungs. Almost all children will have had an RSV infection by their second birthday. When infants and children are exposed to RSV for the first time, • 25 to 40 out of 100 of them have signs or symptoms of bronchiolitis or pneumonia, and • 5 to 20 out of 1,000 will require hospitalization. Most children hospitalized for RSV infection are younger than 6 months of age. Infants and children infected with RSV usually show symptoms within 4 to 6 days of infection. Most will recover in 1 to 2 weeks. However, even after recovery, very young infants and children with weakened immune systems can continue to spread the virus for 1 to 3 weeks. People of any age can get another RSV infection, but infections later in life are generally less severe. Premature infants, children younger than 2 years of age are at increased risk of severe disease. In the United States and other areas with similar climates, RSV infections generally occur during fall, winter, and spring.
So if he’s already had it for a week and a half then he thought we should be there for only a few days. the first 24hrs there Lucas didn’t really improve, he wasn’t nursing very much and he was having coughing fits that lasted literally 5 minutes. every DR and nurse told me to be prepared, babies that are working that hard to breathe, and having coughing fits like his, eventually they just stop, their body gives up. It has been working too hard for too long with no sustenance. the Doctor reassured me that he was always just in the other room and within 30 seconds could have him intubated if he needed to. the nurses told me that they had NEVER seen a child in respiratory distress with such extreme “head bobbing”. I’m sure what they were trying to do was comfort me but it really just made me quite nervous.
matt took the time off work and took care of the big kids and my mom came down to Santa Barbara to help me. on Saturday we got a new Doctor and he decided it was time for Lucas to get a feeding tube, and to be treated for pneumonia. from the moment we stepped through those doors he was getting round the clock care. at night he would sleep on mine or my mom’s chest because when he was put down on his back in the bed he would cough or his stats would go crazy. so we traded we took 4 hour shifts at night so that one of us could actually sleep. every other day i would ask the doctors and nurses how much longer they thought we’d be in there and they just kept saying oh just a few more days. this is what we did every day.
rounds, diaper change, call in for breakfast, pump, nasal suction and catheter suction(small tube up his nose down into his throat) to remove mucus, breathing treatment, breastmilk in the feeding tube, swaddle, put him to sleep, eat breakfast, coughing fit, stats check, diaper change, hold him, pump, get dressed, antibiotics, suction, breathing treatment, diaper change, feeding tube, hold him, etc. it started at 7am and slowed down around 9pm. day after day we did this for him/ with him. eventually his respiratory rate started to slow down back to a more normal pace and then another day he didn’t need his feeding tube, then another day his IV came out ( his iv had actually came displaced from the vein and was infiltrating into his arm so they removed it)
he didn’t need it any more. he even started to be more alert and playful, until the last thing was his oxygen. we got transferred to the regular pediatric ward and when i asked that doctor the same question i asked every other person, how much longer will we be here, he gave me the best answer. it has to get boring before you can go home. there wasn’t a million people in our room all day long. just every few hours they would come in and check on him and give him a treatment. then later that day they took off his oxygen to see how he would do. while he was sleeping his oxygen would drop. so they put the oxygen back on. the next day they tried again and decided he was ready to go home. he didn’t need to be in the hospital anymore. they left it up to me. i could go home that night or wait till the next day. and i was so scared. what if something happened?
ultimately we chose to go home. what had started as just a few days turned into a 9 day stay at the PICU. now i wish i could say that he recovered and there are no signs that he ever had RSV but thats not true. since the RSV he’s had pneumonia 3 times. every time someone got a cold he got pneumonia. he has permanent scaring in his lungs.
after the 3rd time we went to a specialist in Santa Barbara who put Lucas on steroids twice a day and singular granuals every night, just to keep him out of the hospital from someones common cold. (We even got him tested for cystic fibrosis) to this day i am so grateful for every single person who took care of us while we were going through this scary ordeal. from the doctors to the nurses to the RT to the X Ray techs to my husband and my mother and my mother in law and my friends and the ambulance drivers. every single person.
So if you have a new baby, or know a new baby. please be paranoid. if you have a cold or your kids have a cold. keep them away from the little babies, or the siblings of the little babies. because this could be that little baby. Trust me when i say that i know its hard to stay home. especially this season of parties and fun and holiday everything. it really isn’t worth it. there is not a day that goes by that i don’t wish i was more careful. i should have stayed home. every morning and every night when i have to hold my baby down while he screams just to give him his inhaler i sincerely wish it were different. Please do your part to keep the little ones healthy this cold and flu season.
Things I’ve learned since this experience.
What to do if your baby gets sick:
Albuterol doesn’t actually help the wheezing and “inflammation” caused by RSV. Mostly because the wheezing is caused by a build up of mucus in the tiny little airways, albuterol does not get rid of mucus, it helps reduce inflammation of the soft tissue.
The best thing I could have done for him would have been suctioning his mucus out every 2-4 hours instead of giving him a breathing treatment. Now that we’ve had 2 more babies since then I have been able to do this for them. So what does that look like? restrain your baby with a swaddle or have someone help you. Put a few drops of Saline solution in each nostril. Use a nose frida and SUCK THE BOOGERS OUT! Repeat for both sides using more saline if needed until the mucus stops coming out. Your baby will be mad. But trust me when I say either you do it or you end up in the hospital and they will do it. You may not need to repeat it every 2-4 hours, just before every feeding at least or additionally if you can hear/see that the mucus is making it hard to breathe. The Doctors also recommend putting a few drops of saline in their nostrils every hour to keep the mucus thin and moving. Babies are nose breathers and it makes life very complicated for them when they get congested. Using a cool mist humidifier helps also. I am quite confident that if I had had this information when Lucas first got sick it would not have gotten so bad.
How to help prevent the spread of sickness.
Wash/ sanitize your hands ALL THE TIME. So after you go into any public place (the grocery store, school, church, the doctors office, the park etc.) If you have older kids have them wash their hands when they come home from school and even change their clothes BEFORE TOUCHING THE BABY. Can you just think about all the people your kids have come in contact with throughout the day (friends, classmates, teachers, the lunch room, passing in the hall). SO MANY PEOPLE!! Ideally you hope people who are contagious wouldn’t be in these public places but often times you are contagious before you even know you are sick. So carry sanitizer and use it. Being the crazy sanitizer person is infinitely better than being the parent of a baby in the hospital with RSV. If you need a reason blame it on me. If someone gives you a hard time show them this.
Get yourself some Lysol spray and Clorox wipes. USE them. Every few days wipe down all knobs, light switches, handles, appliances ect. any high traffic areas. Especially after you have people over. It takes all of 10 min to go around with a pack of wipes and get some piece of mind.
It really is important to limit the number of people who come in contact with your new baby until they are at least a few months old and have a bit of an immune system.
Hopefully you can take some helpful information from this to help us keep those itty bitty babies healthy. If not then at least now you understand why I’m the crazy sanitizer lady.
“Mom, I miss California” Stephanie whispered to me as I came in to kiss her goodnight. It caught me a bit off guard. “I miss it too Steph” we spent the next little while talking about everyone and everything she and I missed. Sharing tears and laughter. Reminiscing and aching for what we had. She confided in me her innermost thoughts and feelings. “It’s just really hard for me to let go..” I stopped her mid sentence. “You don’t have to, I don’t expect you to, nor do I really want you to. I love what we had. I miss it all the time. I think of what could have been. It is ok to be sad and miss all of that, and still be happy and love what we have now.”
I had no idea I would be having these big conversations so regularly with my 8 year old. I had no idea that she’d miss it so much it sometimes becomes all consuming for her. It breaks my heart.
It’s been 17 months since we moved. 17 months since we said goodbye to everything and everyone we knew. 17 months since we ripped our kids from the only home, friends and family they ever knew. And as if that wasn’t bad enough we spent the first 12 of those months moving 7 times. We’ve now lived in our house for 5 months but even in those 5 months we’ve been finishing a lot of construction projects, lots of doctors appointments for my pregnancy, starting a new school, having the baby, having lots of help and visitors because of said baby, baby getting really sick, Matt had back to back surgeries. In this time we’ve also had so much fun and made amazing friends. We are now really trying to settle into our home, trying to recover from prolonged chaos, and trying to establish a “normal” of what we want our life to be like.
In the honest stress of life right now it’s hard not to wish it was next year already and all this chaos could just be over. We recently made a resolve that despite everything that was going on we would find and make joy in our life. I really don’t want to miss these tender moments with our kids because we were so focused on the stuff and the stress. These conversations are the weaving of a beautiful tapestry. They are the foundation of our relationships with our kids. They can talk to us about anything and we can laugh and cry together and we can be their rock so they know its ok to be sad and that it will all be ok.
By the end of our conversation we made a plan to print pictures of our friends, family and moments that are important to her and she can write about each one and put it in a binder. She wants to be able to look at it often. I offered to make a nice photobook with her and have it printed through one of the many online programs, but she wants it handmade. I hesitated a little because I wanted it to last and be stored in the “cloud” to be reprinted if anything were to happen to it. But my heart told me she needed this to be HER thing. SHE wants to make it and write about it. And I needed to let her.
So here’s to continuing to heal (physically, mentally, and emotionally) by making the joy and learning it’s ok to be sad sometimes.
I guess it was just the calm before the storm. That’s how things go right? You think you’ve got a plan and you know what to expect then BAM!! NSTs were good, ultrasounds were good, bloodwork was good, symptoms were under control. We had a plan, an appointment, everything was set. Those that know me know that I need organization and plans. That is where I thrive. Then Friday happened. Pregnancy after pregnancy with this condition I’ve been told by nurses, midwifes, OBs and specialists at every appointment “If your symptoms ever drastically change call us immediately” I would always agree but never thought that would happen to me.
The sun was setting on the first week of school, the kids were excited that Grandma was coming to town the next day. This was the start of our last 7 days before our new baby was going to be here and we had a lot of things to get finished around the house. I noticed as the evening went on I was subconsciously scratching more than I usually do. So I got my ice pack (my usual solution) and went to bed. The warmer I am the more I itch. So I hold the ice pack. Practicing my best self control to not scratch anymore. But it was too much. I tried turning on the AC, opening the windows, cool rags and more ice packs. Rotating them as soon as they weren’t cold enough. The itch was in my legs, my back, my arms, my belly. Everything was itching and I couldn’t make it stop. When the sun came up on Saturday morning and I hadn’t slept I knew I needed to call.
A phone call, a quick conversation, then a drive to the hospital. I sat in triage room 2. The nurse hooked me up to a non stress test. We sat and watched her behave like an angel on the monitor like she always did. As we listened to her perfectly normal heart rate they drew some blood. These labs were going to determine everything. They would confirm that I wasn’t crazy and something was different and not good. So much was running through my head, I was so worried about her and the unpredictability of it all, that for the first time in years I passed out while they were still filling those little viles. As I came to I just cried and prayed that everything would be ok and work out like it was supposed to. I closed my eyes and zeroed in on the sound of her heartbeat. A soothing consistent reminder that right then she was ok.
I’m not sure how much time had passed when in walked the friendly familiar face of my midwife Jenny. I had been in her office just 18 hours before laughing, talking birth stories and making plans for the following Friday when I was scheduled to be induced. Now there I sat an emotional wreck, having not slept from all the itching and worried sick. She told me that my lab results showed that my liver enzymes were high. A new plan was made, 2 days of steroid shots to help with lung development, a prescription strength sleep aid to get me through the weekend and induction on Monday.
They gave me the first shot before I left that day and told me to come back the same time on Sunday for the next one. I went straight from the hospital to the airport to pick up my mom and fill her in on it all. Now the pressure was really on. We had less than 48 hours to get ready for baby. My sweet friend Katia had planned a baby shower for me for Saturday night and I was so happy to be able to go and hangout with friends. The last several months of the pregnancy had been so busy with appointments and house stuff that having time with friends was very rare.
Sunday evening we did family pictures. It was a beautiful way to end my last day being pregnant. My heart was full. We were ready to bring this little girl into the world. I packed my bag took some medicine and went to sleep.
Monday- Induction day.
5:30am wake up, gather last minute things. 6:15 Because we only have one car we took an Uber to the hospital, so we could leave the van with my mom and the kids. 6:30 admitted, start pre-induction NST and more blood work. 7:30 administer cervadil and membrane sweep. I was 3cm and 70% effaced. Not a bad place to start. Then we waited for the medication to kick in and contractions to begin. The first hour saw no contractions. The second hour had three. By the third hour the contractions were mild and about every 3-5 minutes apart. It was during these contractions we noticed that Georgia’s heart rate would drop after every one they call those “late decels”.
There are many different things they watch for with the babies heart rate during labor. Accelerations and Decelerations in relation to the contractions to determine how the baby is handling labor. I am no expert but from my experience little accelerations during an after contractions are quite normal. Decels during or after contractions are not such a good sign. The nurse explained to me that based on when the decels happened and how they looked (slow decel instead of a rapid dip) it tells them there is a blood flow problem likely with the placenta. A rapid dip would tell them the cord was being pinched. For this reason they had to continually monitor her. Just in case there were any other warning signs that she needed to come out quickly.
Up to this point I had spent my time in the bed resting and conserving my energy for the harder labor to come. My previous labor had been 14+ hours, also induced and I was preparing myself for another LONG day. Changing position in the bed from one side to the other helped for a while to stop the late decels from happening. And I had to stay that way until they stopped for good.
It was approaching noon and contractions were getting harder. My tailbone was not loving being in the bed any more. I asked her to check me and if I could do a wireless monitor so I could move around or use the tub. 4cm 80%. This was certainly turning out to be just like my labor with Drew. Slow progress. Setting up the wireless/water proof monitor took quite a long time and contractions were coming back to back and getting to the point I needed the tub. It was around 1 that I finally got to get in the bath. The bath was small but it was better than nothing. Matt kept a cool rag on my face and neck as I tried to find a comfortable position to relieve the pain in my tailbone and get my belly under the water. I wanted to take the cervadil out now and let my body regulate the contractions and finish the labor on my own.
2:15pm Jenny came in checked me and removed the cervadil. 5cm 80%. These contractions were so painful surely I was farther than that. I started to get a little worried that I wouldn’t have the strength to keep this up for 8 more hours. We decided to tell the videographer to come, even though she might have to be there for a long time. The nurse came in and said I needed to come out of the bath so they could better monitor the baby. I guess the entire time I was in the tub they hadn’t been able to get a consistent reading. I started to get even more stressed out and nervous. My low back hadn’t ever hurt like this in labor and I really didn’t know how much more I could take. As I got out of the tub and dry Matt kept pressure on my tail bone. He reassured me that I am strong enough and I have done this four times already. These feelings I was having was just transition and the baby would be here soon.
In my doubt I pushed back and reminded him of how long Drew’s labor was and there is no way I was going through transition at 5cm. He sent a message to mom and told her it was time to come anyway. I labored on my knees on the floor with a ball and the pain got much worse. Matt was so great, giving me suggestions, encouraging me and keeping the pressure on just the right spot. But I continued to fall apart. Tears streaming down my face I told him and my nurse I can’t do this anymore and I’m going to need an epidural. I was done. Tapped out and too tired to go on. The pain was too much and I couldn’t do what I needed to get relief. Both of them shocked at my proclamation decided to get Jenny back in the room. Also right at that time Kesley the videographer showed up. I told Jenny I was done, she said let’s check you and see. 3pm 8cm 100%.
This time tears of joy and relief. I was finally making great progress! And I was once again confident that I could do this, I was strong enough to bring my baby into this world. Just like clockwork the contractions started to change, there was longer breaks and bearing down. I let my body take over. I returned to my favorite delivery position on my knees on the bed. Rocking, and swaying in-between contractions and bearing down during them. A big push and my water broke. I could feel her make her way down. Another one and I could feel her crowning. My hands were ready to catch her. She rotated and her head was out, one more and her shoulders and body were free. 3:18pm I caught my baby, removed the cord from her neck and held her close. I did it. It was over. I turned around to sit just as my mom and the kids walk in, seconds after she was born. She was very purple, her breathing irregular and gurgly. She needed help, and it was time to cut the cord. Josh had been waiting for this my entire pregnancy. Two little snips from the hands of a loving big brother separated my last baby from my body.
The next two hours were a bit of a whirlwind. They took her down to the nursery to get CPAP and worked on cleaning up the chaos of delivery. Matt took the kids on a walk down the hall and my mom stayed by my side as we waited the delivery of the placenta. Unbeknownst to me I had bled a lot this time and because of that they very aggressively massaged my just barely vacated belly. That was painful. They did what they had to, the placenta came out and they got me all cleaned up. Matt and the kids came back to say hi for a minute I gave them kisses and they went to go see the baby that they had so lovingly waited and prayed for in the nursery.
I sat there alone in my delivery room all the chaos and excitement over waiting my turn to move to the lower floor and be with my baby. I was getting occasional updates on how she was doing. Once I got to her in the nursery, she was no longer on CPAP. I watched her little lips and tongue rooting around for me. I asked if I could feed her. They said I couldn’t until her breathing regulated because she risked aspirating. I told them I could do skin to skin to help her regulate her breathing, so that she could eat. So I picked up my baby wires and all and brought her to my chest breathing in all of her yummy new baby smells. Unsurprisingly within a minute her breathing was regular. And a few minutes later I got to nurse her for the first time. Much to the amazement of the nursery nurses our tiny 36 week Georgia latched perfectly and aggressively from the start. She was cleared to be off all the monitors and come back to the room with me. Throughout the rest of our stay at the hospital she continued to impress the nurses and doctors with her nursing skills.
Much of this birth happened differently than I had planned or thought it would go. But I am so grateful I had a midwife that listened to me and helped me get as close to my plan as we could despite the circumstances. I was able to be induced the way I wanted without IV. I was able to get labor going without Pitocin. My husband was there supporting me and encouraging me every step of the way. I was free to deliver in whatever way my body wanted. I got to feel my baby come out with my hands and catch her myself.
It was an overall very empowering experience that I am especially grateful to have video of. Kelsey did an amazing job making what felt like a very crazy time into a beautiful video that we will treasure forever.
It has been a bit of a wild ride the last few weeks, and my ADHD and nesting combo has really gotten the best of me. I’ll try to start from where I left off before.
At around 33 weeks we did some more blood work to check on my Bile Acid levels. Amazingly they came back at a 3. Anything above a 10 is abnormal but 3, 3 is perfectly normal! How great is that?! Our baby girl was no longer in danger from high bile acids. Then when speaking with my Midwife she said that based on my numbers and baby girls NSTs we didn’t need to induce until 38 weeks (September 10th). Initially this caught me off guard, because all along the end of my pregnancy was going to be 36 weeks (August 27th). I didn’t think that I could stand being pregnant an extra 2 weeks. Even though my numbers were normal I was still very uncomfortable, itchy and exhausted. I was having a lot of mixed feelings and I was nervous, worried about the baby and confused not sure what I should do. On Sunday the 11th I asked Matt to give me a blessing. Immediately following I felt calm and reassured that our Baby Girl was going to be ok and that I would be able to endure whatever was required of me.
On August 13th I had my final appointment with the Maternal Fetal Medicine Specialist. I knew that whatever the Specialist said would be what I would do and if I followed her direction we would be ok. A Technician started with an ultrasound to check for fluid level and baby’s growth and went over my blood work. I was reassured over and over that everything was checking out great! Then the Doctor came and we went over it all. She told me that with my history and discomfort level she would still recommend induction at 37 weeks. I was quite relieved. Then as we talked we also realized that the due date I’d been going by was just a few days different than what she had listed and she wanted me to be using the same one she was. So I was bumped up 4 days sooner! Just to clarify with her I asked what day would be 37 weeks and she said August 30th. She also gave me another prescription to try to help with some of the pain and discomfort I was having. She sent a bunch of notes to my OB’s office. We ended that appointment and I felt so good! I couldn’t have gotten better news. I am so grateful for how she listened to me and my concerns and experiences. I left that appointment with no worries just excitement and peace. I went home and grouted the upstairs bathroom.
August 16th was my next OB/Midwife appointment. We went over it all and my midwife Jenny happily took all the recommendations from the specialist. We set up an official induction date for the 30th of August. And even though she is not on call that day she said she would come deliver for me anyway.
Since then Matt and I both have been working on the house like crazy and have gotten so much done! I’ll go take some pictures and share with you in another post.
We are excited and exhausted doing everything we can in the next 10 days to be ready for our girl to be here.
6 days till school starts. We had hoped to be further along in house projects but life happens.
So first a house update.
Cabinets were installed!! We kept them safe in our living room from dogs and children for nearly a month.
But one thing I hadn’t thought of was that when the cabinets got installed we would no longer have a sink in the kitchen until our countertops were installed. So now we do dishes in the bathtub.
And also that we would have no place to prepare food. So after a week of trying to eat normal and lot of bathtub dishes, I had the brilliant thought to just get a bunch of the Costco premade dinners. The ones that come in a disposable pan so I can just toss it when we are done. And we have been using disposable everything else too. I apologize to the universe for the amount of trash we are producing for these 2 weeks. The end is in sight though!! We got the call, our counters will be installed next Thursday. And the butcherblock island piece will likely be delivered on Tuesday. we will survive! Barely… ha ha.
Kitchen To-Do list:
Sink/ dishwasher/ garbage disposal
Drawer/ Cupboard handles
Next up Bathrooms.
Our only functioning bath/shower/dishwashing place
The toilet in this bathroom also works. Yay! But the vanity is not fully installed. It is too big and needs to be returned. It’s 36 inches wide and we can only really fit 33in without blocking the doorway. But it’s been a great storage space for towels. We have partially decided on building our own vanities, not totally sure yet.
To-do for this bathroom:
Often called the “boys bathroom”
The tile has been installed but needs to be grouted. We will have the same problem with the vanity in this bathroom, only have 33 inches of space so we will have to build it buy something else. We have the toilet ready to go in the shed for this bathroom.
To-do for boys bathroom:
The upstairs/ “master” bathroom.
The sink is installed and works! The toilet works! But this was the original problematic vanity. Still have the same problem with the drawer slides. But we have decided to order different drawer slides and replace them instead of undoing the whole vanity. This is the only bathroom where a 36in vanity actually fits.
Matt also finished the tile in this bathroom but it too needed to be grouted before we can shower in there again. So today I decided that I would do that during Drew’s nap.
It wasn’t too hard. Just really messy. It took me almost twice as long to clean it up than it did to spread it out.
This bathroom also has a large storage area that will be super useful when it’s built. I would also really like to turn one of the doors around so it opens out and doesn’t interfere with the toilet anymore.
Master bath To-do:
Replace vanity drawer slides
Turn door around?
All of the bedrooms need closet organization and closet doors.
Our bedroom also needs doors. We’ve just been using curtains for a few months now and it is really hard to keep kids out of my desk and stuff without doors that close.
Notice the bookshelf full of stuff that should go in a bathroom cabinet. Also that it has no shelves on the bottom half. Baby proof. Oh and the big TV box that is regularly used for a wall/baby gate for our room.
Other interior things:
We need trim everywhere. Window casings especially because we have a spider problem.
We are in the process of choosing a fireplace insert!
We have a friend in our ward who does metal working.
He is building us the hand rail and banister for the stairs. But before he can install it we have to put some trim boards up along the stairs.
Did I mention he is 82 😁 this guy is amazing!
Now Laundry room needs cabinets, a sink and countertops. Don’t really know how soon that will happen because the laundry room currently functions but it’s on the “list”.
By the end of the week I will be doing a post about all the outside work that has gone on 👍 and an updated pregnancy post.
As we expected I have Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy (ICP) ( Click Here to learn more about it)
From the very first appointment I insisted that we monitor my Bile Acids monthly so we could catch it the moment it started to rise. The first two lab tests came back normal but the third one came back elevated. So I was diagnosed at 20 weeks. At the time my symptoms were very mild itching, and to anyone else that might seem like no big deal but I knew what was coming.
They started me on Ursodial 300mg 3x a day.
I had my 20 week anatomy ultrasound and also did my gestational diabetes test. My placenta grew in the front and kind of low this time and our little peach likes to be breech. All normal things and she has plenty of time to get in the right position.
I finally saw the Maternal Fetal Medicine Dr last week, she went over my lab work and did a very thorough ultrasound checking everything from placenta to fluid level. She is the one who will give the care instructions for my Midwife to follow. She said I need Non Stress Tests(NST) 2x a week starting at 32 weeks. My fluid level had gone down and my bile acids went up. She ordered a repeat ultrasound at 34 weeks to recheck the fluids and more bile acid tests.
My itching has gotten worse and it keeps me up at night. The Utah summer heat doesn’t help. I often sleep with an icepack for my hands. But lots of places itch. And at least making my hands cold helps me not want to scratch.
If everything goes well induction is scheduled for August 27th. I will be 36 weeks.
As for other things pregnancy related.
I have terrible vericose veins mostly on my right side especially in my legs.
They first showed up when I was pregnant with Steph and have progressively gotten worse each pregnancy. This time though they have gotten so much worse it’s driving me nuts. If I stand too long they swell and hurt. If I sit too long on a hard surface they hurt. I can’t squat without painfully cutting off circulation to my lower leg. I have one on the top of my thigh that makes it painful when kids sit on my lap. They are very ugly and gross looking. And I try not to notice the stares when I am in my swimsuit. The one thing that gives me relief are thigh high compression tights. They are super hard to get on, and they have these little rubber nubs on the top to prevent it from sliding down the leg.
(Compression tights even at the beach on vacation)
But at the end of the day when I take them off the rubber leaves a horrible red mark that itches like crazy (because of ICP) and occasionally blisters. I did ask my Dr about it and she said it’s normal. But the most important thing is that they really help so I have to take the good with the bad.
In this picture I actually hadn’t work them that day and you can still see a few rows of the red marks left behind by the compression tights.
But she is a good, happy, healthy baby so far. She moves a ton and has been getting the hiccups daily. We are so excited for her arrival into this world and our family.
It’s been a while since we’ve posted. We went on a trip to California and came home and life is busy and sometimes overwhelming and progress on home projects feels kinda slow. So check back soon to get an update on our CA trip and baby #5.
Our cabinets were delivered this morning and we have the great task of keeping them safe and undamaged for 2 weeks before they can get installed. Not gonna lie I’m kinda nervous about that. Because we have 4 young kids one of which I still catch mindlessly drawing on things And one baby who doesn’t understand boundaries yet. ALSO we dog sit. Sometimes 4 extra dogs a day. And we all know what kind of mess dogs can make. Wish me luck, sanity and stay tuned to see how this drama unfolds. BUT back to the actual cabinets. They are beautiful!!! The base cabinets are a blue-grey and the uppers are white. The island is huge and amazing and will have a maple butcher block counter top. The rest of the counters will be a white silestone. Not quite sure about a backsplash yet. I am so excited to get the kitchen going.
Utah has this great thing called pressurized irrigation. I first learned we had it this last winter when my sweet neighbor informed me there was a geiser in the backyard. We then had to find the shut off valve, and come to find out it’s in a PVC pipe that is buried 5ft down. We found this 7ft metal pole in the shed left with some other random things from the previous owners. We got it turned off and never really thought about it again until recently, it’s been hot, the kids want to play in the sprinklers we need to water the grass and we went to turn it on and discovered lots of broken pipe. Mostly because of the excavation we had to do to replace the water main, and the mild leveling stuff we did in the back. We decided that since our overall yard layout was going to be so much different that we would just abandon the existing stuff and run a new pipe straight from the shut off valve. So my dear uncle benny who lives about 10 minutes away came over with his mini excavator and dug us a hole in fixed our pressurized irrigation. And since we haven’t finished our landscaping we just put a single faucet off the main and ran a long hose to the backyard to water the grass and the children. For the last month we’ve been using the house water for the grass. Never again cause holy smokes the irrigation water shoots so much farther through our little sprinkler. It’s quite fun.
Before our California trip I started tiling Stephanie’s bathroom. I did the decorative tiles and trim tiles. And started to install the main large tiles, when we kept running into issues with the tile cutter and the squareness of the wall/ soffet box and even the size of the tiles. It was quite angering. After not even one quarter of one wall done, and much frustration, anger and eventually defeat we decided to change the main tile for her bathroom. Matt pulled them off the wall and scraped the morter off. And we walked away from it. Until this week. I did not want to touch that bathroom again, so Matt has been cleaning up my month old mess and prepping for the actual tile job. New estimated finish date of Saturday 🤞😁
But also speaking of bathrooms remember that vanity we were so very excited about a few weeks ago? Yeah well we are returning it. The drawer slide hardware is already malfunctioning. It’s pretty lame. Not exactly sure what to do in its place yet but as it seems to always be with construction, two steps forward one step back…
And then when you start talking about returning things we have to talk about the doors. Matt went to Home Depot months ago and ordered all our interior doors. He got really nice shaker style solid core doors with milled jams. We waited 3+ weeks for them to come in and realized about a week later once we had started to install them, that 3 of them were not the right size. So he took them back and re-ordered the right doors. He didn’t install anymore and We waited another 3+ weeks to get the replacements. They come in, we bring them home an one has the wrong jam style, but we also noticed that another one of the original doors was wrong too. Very very frustrating. But now all but one door is installed. And we are waiting for that last one to come in.
It’s just a dang good thing that Home Depot is so close to our house, because whether it’s our mistake our theirs we go there sometimes 4x a day when working on a project.
As for other little things, all the can lights and switches are installed. All the plugs and plate covers are installed and All the HVAC vent covers are installed! Each of the bedrooms have their beds dressers and desks set up.
Life is pretty simple but it’s functioning. Piece by piece it will come together. Until then we will continue to find joy in the little things. Like wildflowers from our driveway 💕 Thanks for stopping by, see you again soon.
Before we tore apart a single thing we were going to have official plans. When we bought our house in California, we slowly did the work and came up with ideas over 6 the six years we lived there. Which led to a LOT of redoing work, which means a lot of wasted money and time. In order for us to reduce construction time and start living a normal life sooner, it was very important to us to have a plan for the remodel from the beginning.
We found an architect that we wanted to use before we even found a house we liked. Actually I found Tiek Design Group (< link to check them out) on Instagram before we even moved to Utah. I started following him because I really liked his style and his ability to turn ugly old houses into beautiful Classic American homes. So once we found the zipline house we made an appointment and had him come by the house to look at it. We started having meetings with him and making the remodel plans for the house before we even closed escrow. On his computer he had a full 3D model of our renovation which made it easy to see what we would and wouldn’t like. Not only was he a great architect, he also is a general contractor. He could have run our project as well but he wasn’t available in the time frame we needed.
Now looking back it’s funny to me because based on our last six years of experience with our house in Grover Beach I felt like I knew a lot about construction and remodel. And to some degree I did. But man did I still have a lot to learn. During our first walk through with Steve Tiek he asked us when we would like this project done by and I responded with “by Christmas would be nice” all eyes fell on me and with shock he repeated “By CHRISTMAS?!” It really didn’t seem so crazy to me, after all it was only the beginning of September. Matt then reassured him that we knew it was not going to be done by Christmas but we are trying to get it done as soon as possible. Another time when talking about our up coming remodel with someone, they told me “Make sure you plan for an extra two weeks and an extra $10,000.” I thought this guy was crazy. I was the queen of budgeting and scheduling. there was no way we were going to be off by that much. And now that the project is nearly over I can confidently say “OH MAN! Was he right.” So here I am a wise old woman ready to impart upon you some things I’ve learned in this process so far.
1. Construction always takes longer and costs more than you expected.
2. To save time and money with an architect, come up with a layout and style that you like ahead of time. Not all architects will know what the construction cost of the project you are designing will be, nor will they know what the value of the project will be if you have to get it appraised for financing. So finding an architect that has a background in construction is great, also call an appraiser to check what projects give you the most bang for your buck! (More on that process in another post)
3. Communication!! Ask questions. Now this is a big one, ask about costs and what exactly that cost gets you. Ask about their experience as a contractor. If a problem comes up ask about different ways to solve it. Regularly ask about the schedule, time frames and what the next step is.
4. Get as many bids as you can stand to get. Talk to everyone, call the people your friends are refering you to.
5. Post a sign of rules for people who come work on your house to follow. We had a BIG problem with smoking and trash being left behind. I am STILL finding buds in my grass 🤬
6. Some projects should left to the professionals 😅
7. If a contractor is telling you that you do don’t need a permit be careful, they will likely not be doing things to code.
8. If you are not living at the place where the work is being done, visit daily and ask questions!!
9. Price and quality do not always match up. Get references, and call those references. Ask them pros and cons to hiring that person. Get lots of pictures of previous work.
10. Be flexible, plans will inevitably have to change. Especially for fixing an old house or even a simple remodel. Work together with your trusted contractor to find a solution that works for your family and fits your budget.
So there is my 2 cents that you never asked for. But if you would like more information on any of this please shoot me a message!