Saturday, August 15, 2015

Meet Our Girl -- Hazel's Birth Story

Hello there! Well I have 10 weeks of weekly updates to catch up on, but this was the moment we were all waiting for, so for now, here's the story of the birth of our little girl, Hazel Hibbs!

Disclaimer: This is definitely, in detail, the full story. AKA Pretty long since it's a big life event I want to remember! So feel free to scroll down just for pictures, or if you are looking for a random read, enjoy the whole thing! :)

Let's start with a few weeks before my due date. I think I was 36 weeks and they told me I was dilated to a 1! I was so excited thinking I was well on my way to progressing and that I'd go into labor soon, or at least by my due date!

For the next few weeks I stayed dilated at a 1 and had no other signs of progression with labor.

 My mom and little brother came to town on Sunday, July 12th. I was due the following Wednesday, July 15th (my birthday!). My mom's job is extremely busy in the summer, and my little sister Lydia was getting married on July 31st and there was still lots to do for the wedding, so my mom and brother planned to be in town for just a week, until Sunday, July 19th. We spent the first few days they were in town going out to eat (spicy foods!), swimming, taking a few laps around our complex, and any other (normal--NOT castor oil!) thing we could to help with labor. My doctor told me that statistically I'd probably give birth a few days before or after my due date as that's when majority of women typically deliver especially since our baby always looked to be on track.

My birthday/due date came and we were all hoping for a special birthday present for me! I had an appointment that day scheduled in case I hadn't gone into labor yet. At the appointment we had an ultrasound and then a visit with one of the nurse practitioners. We were so happy to have the ultrasound done by our favorite ultrasound technician who had done all but one or two of our ultrasounds. She was always so thorough and explained everything we were seeing so that we could follow along. You could tell she loves what she does, and she was always so sweet and told us how beautiful our baby was :). Throughout the ultrasound, though Hazel was squished in there, we saw a few indicators that our girl was a little on the chubby side, but we figured she'd come out an average 7-pounder because that's what they had predicted a few weeks prior. You could see her chubby cheeks and some little fat rolls because of the way she was sitting! It was so cute.

Later we met with the nurse practitioner. She got straight to the point when she walked in and said "you guys have a big baby!" She said our girl was estimated at that time to be about 9lb 2oz! We were totally surprised since they had never thought her to be big throughout my pregnancy. The nurse practitioner checked me and I was still at a 1. She wanted me to be mentally prepared and know that delivering via c-section was a possibility because my body wasn't progressing and because our baby looked pretty big. I went home feeling a little discouraged that my body wasn't progressing and a bit afraid of a c-section but I honestly didn't think I'd end up having one because I was hopeful I'd go into labor.

I met with my actual doctor, Dr. Brigger, two days later to be able to discuss the possible c-section to help prepare myself and also to check for any more progression. My mom and I went to the appointment that day (Taylor had work) hopeful for progression since she had to leave in just two days! Dr. Brigger checked me, and I could just tell by her face that my body hadn't progressed any more. She told me I was still at a 1 and not effaced at all. In general my doctor's practice doesn't induce women until 7 days past their due date unless there is a medical need because induction can increase your risk for c-section and other complications, so they like to give you as much time possible to go into labor yourself. I'd had an induction scheduled for Tuesday, July 21st just in case I didn't deliver before then but honestly even when they called the week before to confirm it I didn't think I'd end up making it to that point because I was SURE (OK, not really sure, just hopeful) that Hazel was going to come before then. However, Dr. Brigger talked to me about the induction in case that happened. She talked to me about the c-section possibility and told me it was about 50/50 that I may need one given that I was past my due date and was still at a 1 and no other signs of progression and because our baby was looking pretty big so she may not end up being able to safely be pushed out of me without getting stuck. I really appreciated the respect Dr. Brigger gave me in making sure that everything that happened was my choice but also that I knew her medical opinion and why she felt that way to help me have a good understanding of everything. She told me that if I really wanted to, I could just schedule a c-section at that point since I had a good chance of needing one, but that it was her gut feeling that we should at least let me try to go into labor, which I really appreciated because it made me feel encouraged that I could maybe do it and that she didn't just want to get my delivery over with. She never made me feel like she was just making the choice herself, and she made me feel like I had a chance still of delivering how I'd always planned and hoped for. I felt good about how she felt so we planned to go with the induction and see what happened.

Induction Day
My induction day--Tuesday, July 21st came. This was also the 8th anniversary of my dad's passing. I've been in Utah on this day for every year since his passing so normally we'd visit his grave at the cemetery in Provo. Other than that we all kind of deal with the day on our own in our own way. I felt happy knowing that this day that was normally a sad day when a special spirit left the earth was possibly going to change to a happy day when a new special spirit joined the earth.

The hospital told me they'd call between 5 and 6pm to tell me what time to come in that night. 6pm came and they hadn't called! I should add that they gave me instructions to start a fast of no food and only water and gatorade to drink starting at noon that day. They told me that if I got really hungry I could have some {wait for it} CHICKEN BROTH. Haha, really?! Honestly I think Heavenly Father really blessed me because at that point in pregnancy I was ALWAYS hungry, but that day it wasn't as bad fasting as I thought it would be, but I was still struggling not eating. So anyway, I was super hungry and grumpy that they hadn't called. They told me to call at 6 if I hadn't heard from them. I waited until 6:01pm to call them so I didn't seem super crazy for calling RIGHT at 6:00pm haha.

When I called they told me that all the rooms were full and that I'd need to call back at 7:30pm to check for an update. I was SO frustrated. I felt like my baby was NEVER going to come and that I was going to be pregnant forever! That sounds ridiculous but that's honestly how I felt. There were 4 babies in our ward due within 2 weeks, and two of them had already been born (one of those was due after my baby) and the 4th was due that day, and I was sure she'd come before my baby at that point. I was also just so hungry and not knowing when I'd go into labor meant not knowing when I'd ever get to eat! My mom and Taylor were nice and did everything they could to help me feel better while I waited since all I could do was just cry and wait at that point. We started watching The Proposal and I made some Ramen Noodles for the chicken broth and "accidentally" swallowed a good amount of noodles, too. Oops (don't worry--my doctor told me (but "didn't tell me---if you know what I mean) it was OK). At 7:00PM I got a call from the hospital (I didn't even have to call them!) and they told me I could come at 7:30 to be admitted! My nerves started to set in and we started gathering all our things! I asked Taylor for a priesthood blessing, and he gave me a beautiful blessing that helped me feel calm and at peace before going in to the hospital. I know this sounds completely ridiculous, but I had this crazy fear of dying during child birth or having some crazy complications since you always hear random stories like that. But I told myself that the only way to get our baby here was to be brave and endure any and all pain and to do whatever they needed to do to get her here. I honestly struggle with the pain of going to the dentist (remember that one time I had to get 12 cavities filled while pregnant and couldn't have all the pain meds??), so the potential pain of giving birth really scared me. I know there is a whole movement nowadays where women go around saying how giving birth should be empowering and how it shouldn't involve fear, making those of us who are afraid feel kind of weak. But I'm just being honest, I was scared! But luckily I know Heavenly Father helped me through it with the great help of my amazing doctor and labor & delivery nurse and my sweet husband.

Pulling up to the hospital-- Our last picture as a family of 2! 

When we got to the hospital we got all checked in and settled. The nurse was nice but didn't seem super on top of things which made me feel uneasy. When she gave me my IV, blood spurt all over (Taylor told me later that it was like on the floor and all over my hand--I wasn't looking) and even after she cleaned it up I had dried blood in several places on my hand which just kind of made it look like a sloppy job :(. I was a bit uneasy about having her be my nurse that night but luckily nurses changed shifts by the time I gave birth :). She gave me the cervidil to soften my cervix which we knew could maybe help me go into labor that night but I wasn't too optimistic given my lack of progression the previous few weeks. I opted out of taking the sleeping pill they offered me in case I did go into labor because I didn't want to be all drugged and drowsy during labor if it happened. Looking back I should've just taken it because it was a restless sleep!

I had packed a couple pictures of my dad in my hospital bag since this was a day I wish he could've been here for. Little did I know I'd end up going in to be induced on a day that is close to my heart because of him as well.

The next morning nurses changed (thank goodness. I mean bless the girl's heart but she just seemed like maybe she needed more sleep) and we met Lexi, the sweetest and best nurse I've ever met! She was so kind and thorough with everything she did. I was so grateful she was our nurse through the day. She was on top of everything and was personable and since she had to be in my room pretty much the whole day she kind watched the movies we were watching with us while we waited and it wasn't like having this random stranger just sitting with us all day--it was more like a friend. After Lexi came in she had to draw a bunch of blood for lab work because the nurse the night before had done that but never sent the blood in or requested the lab work so they had to do it all over. Serious struggles :/. I apparently also wasn't given all the paperwork to sign I was supposed to be given the night before (another yikes) so we luckily got that taken care of too. Dr. Brigger later came in to break my water and gave me pitocin to get contractions going. I was really nervous about everything still, but Taylor was so good and just held my hand through it all and kept telling me I was doing a good job at everything.

I started having contractions which was exciting because honestly I didn't really have any contractions at home besides some mild Braxton Hicks. Lexi told me I could get the epidural whenever I wanted. As mentioned, I was really nervous about the pain of giving birth. However, I was just as scared of getting the epidural which would help with the pain! Luckily pregnancy made me a little less scared of needles since I had blood work done often. Lexi was awesome and explained what exactly getting one is like and when I asked her when most people get it she explained (in a professional way) what most of her patients do and the pros and cons of that timing. I told her I could wait it out for a bit at that point. She had to run and do a couple things so I figured I'd maybe get one when she got back if the pain increased. Of course right after she left I started having some very painful contractions so I called her and asked for the epidural right away. She was quick in getting everything ready and the anesthesiologist there right away. Dr. Santiago was the anesthesiologist and he was amazing too. He came in and he and Lexi helped get the epidural going and they did a great job making it a quick and fairly comfortable experience. Epidurals are amazing, people!

A couple hours went by and I chilled watching movies and apparently having really strong contractions but I couldn't feel them too badly. Lexi checked me and I was at a 4. I was having a hard time at this point since it had been about 24 hours since I'd eaten food (besides the few noodles I "accidentally" ingested). I had eaten a few popsicles (the awesome 5 calorie ones...not the super yummy grocery store eat-on-a-hot-summer-day kind). I was feeling nauseous and ended up (sorry TMI) throwing up a couple times so then I was told I couldn't have the popsicles either anymore, so at that point I was only allowed the ice chips. I was sure hoping that I'd go into labor in the not too distant future because I was not feeling well!

A couple hours later she checked me again and said I was at a 9! We were all really surprised at the rate of progress, but I was excited that I would probably be having my baby the good old fashioned way! Taylor and I started letting our family and close friends know of my progression since our girl was heavily anticipated by everyone since she was a week late. Lexi called my doctor who was in a surgery but would come soon. When Dr. Brigger came she was thrilled with my supposed progress and ready to bring our baby into the world! This was at about 1pm. She checked my dilation and this is when everything changed.

"She's at at 4...", she said. I was sure she was kidding. Like, I legitimately thought she was trying to be funny. A FOUR?! What happened to a 9?? I know what you're thinking--I thought Lexi was an awesome, thorough nurse? How was she so wrong?? . Good question. But apparently (I honestly don't remember the details of the explanation) sometimes the cervix can be tricky and what happened wasn't common but the doctor wasn't upset or overly-shocked at the incorrect dilation assessment done by Lexi. Dr. Brigger said she'd give me a few more hours then come back and check. Lexi felt really bad and honestly if she hadn't been such an awesome nurse I would've been frustrated but I could tell (since I was there for the whole thing) it was an honest mistake. We texted all our family and friends back and told them of the false alarm. I felt a little frustrated with my body and felt like I wasn't doing what I was supposed to be able to do--recognize that my body should be having a baby and prepare for it. It's interesting because I felt like my body had been able to get pregnant and have a healthy pregnancy but now it was unable to complete the task which made me feel sad but grateful for technology and that there was a back-up plan in this situation.

Dr. Brigger came back at about 3:30 to check my progress. I was still at a 4. She told me that at this point she felt that maybe we should just do a c-section. She said I could try to continue to labor if I wanted to and we'd hope for everything to go well and for me to be able to push little Hazel out, but that a c-section was what she thought we should do at that point. She didn't want to put me through hours and hours of labor and pushing at that point, especially since a c-section was very likely at the end of the day anyway because of the rate of my progression and the fact that I was already at 7 days past my due date. I asked Dr. Brigger if that was what she really felt was best and she said it was. Dr. Brigger was such a great doctor throughout my pregnancy and I always knew she had my best interest in mind. There was a time when we had some possibly worrisome things show up on Hazel's ultrasounds and it was a scary time for us, and especially for me (in case you can't tell, I'm a professional worrier). She helped us through that time helping us understand different options to find out more information through testing, and she was always very sensitive to how I was feeling and respectful of the decisions we made. Everything ended up clearing up on the ultrasound and nothing came of what they had seen, but that experience helped me to have confidence in her opinion. I was nervous about having a c-section, but at that time I just had a feeling and knew that that was the best option for us to have a safe and healthy delivery for both me and our baby. I called my mom to tell her so she and my brother could come soon, and before I knew it they were wheeling me off to the OR and Taylor was given scrubs to change into and a locker to put all our stuff in.

They took me into the OR and I was given more anesthesia while they got me onto the table (I felt so bad for those people who had to lift me on the table. I felt HUGE at that point). They all suited up for the surgery, had me take off my wedding ring (it stayed on the whole pregnancy--wahoo!) and earrings and went and found Taylor for him to keep them safe. Later Taylor was able to come in and stayed by my side the whole time. One thing I had always wanted to have was a photographer to be there when I gave birth to be able to capture things that I may not remember during that crazy time. I'd had had our friend Ashley scheduled to be our birth photographer tentatively if Hazel came on or before July 10th because Ashley was going to be out of town after that, but we all know little Hazel came well after that so that didn't work out. I didn't feel comfortable hiring some random person I didn't know to come be in the delivery room with us and since we are new to Houston I didn't really know any other photographers except my friend Sarah who gave birth on my due date (also a week after her due date) so that wasn't going to happen either. We decided to just take pictures ourselves which worked out since I don't even know if they would have let a photographer in the operating room since many hospitals don't allow more than just your spouse or one person with you. Taylor was so cute and did an awesome job photographing all the things he thought I'd want to be able to have to look back on later. He normally hates taking pictures but he kept our camera close to him that whole day, and has since used his phone and our camera way more than I ever thought I'd ever see! Funny what little girls can do to dads :).

Taylor's cute selfie I found on the camera that he took after getting into all his gear :)

The surgery went well, and there were no complications. Everything happened so fast. Dr. Brigger had come in to check me at 3:30 which is about when we decided on the c-section and little Hazel was born at 4:08pm.

Dr. Brigger was good at talking me through the surgery as things were leading up to Hazel being delivered. Right before she was ready to pull Hazel out, she said something you hear at the dentist a lot (can you tell I've had a lot of dental experience??): "OK you're going to feel a lot of pressure" and then before I knew it I heard our little Hazel crying. She was finally here!  I'd waited 9 months to finally meet this little girl and the time was finally there! I felt so happy for the delivery to be over since I'd been so nervous about it, and now I got to just enjoy our sweet girl. They held little Hazel up over the drape they had between me and the surgery they had done so I could see her. She had her little fists clenched tight and had some good loud cries. She was beautiful. I think I was in shock and in awe realizing that she was ours, for us to take home and to take care of. It's funny because you spend 9 months having this little baby grow inside of you and you spend all that time imagining he or she will be like, and then in an instant all the sudden they're there!

It was such an amazing moment when Hazel came in to our world. My favorite moment was probably looking over at Taylor who had stood up to watch them and get some pictures as they delivered Hazel and seeing his face as he saw Hazel for the first time. It's something I wish I had a picture of, but I will never forget his face.

They took Hazel over to be cleaned off and Taylor followed to be with her and to get some pictures. Hazel was crying as they cleaned her off and took her weight and footprints. As I lay on the table listening to my little girl cry I just had a moment by myself where I just cried tears of joy. I felt so incredibly grateful. My life (just like everyone's) is nowhere near perfect, and it's not supposed to be. But I felt so grateful in that moment for my life because I had my husband and now our little girl. My whole life I'd wanted to be a mom, and that time had finally come.

The brought little Hazel over for me to hold her and have some skin-to-skin time. I held her for a few minutes and just enjoyed my time with her. I couldn't believe she was my baby. I think I was just in shock and it really didn't hit me that she was really mine (well not really mine--but a gift from Heavenly Father) until later that night. I held her and just felt so, so grateful. That's honestly the only word I can use to describe how I felt. I was so grateful for her and for the fact that she had made it to us safely and that I was healthy and safe as well. This moment went by so quickly because of how I was feeling physically, but I'm grateful for it no matter how fast it went.

As I mentioned, I had struggled with some nausea earlier in the day which unfortunately started to surface again as I was holding Hazel. That mixed with the anesthesia and the overwhelming amount of emotions I was feeling made me nervous to keep holding her because I was nervous of dropping her, especially since I was not sitting upright, so I had Taylor take her from me since I started feeling light-headed. I feel bummed that my body felt so overwhelmed that I wasn't able to hold her longer, but I felt really grateful that the nurses made it a priority let me have some skin-to-skin time with her for as long as I was feeling well enough.

Hazel came in weighing 9 pounds, 2 ounces, which is exactly what they had estimated her to be exactly a week prior, so that ultrasound at the time was measuring a little high for that exact day, but it was pretty accurate! She was also 21 inches long, so she definitely wasn't a small baby by any means.

Taylor and Hazel were taken to a recovery room while I got stitched up. Later I was able to join them and we had some time just the three of us while we waited to be taken to a postpartum room. We ended up waiting about 3 hours instead of the 45 minutes they told us we'd be waiting, but it was nice to have that time together before getting settle in the room we'd end up staying in for the next 3 days!

Once we were in a postpartum room my mom and Chris were finally able to come in and meet Hazel. I was so grateful they were able to stay long enough to be able to meet her before needing to head home early the next morning. It meant so much to have some family there. It's hard living so far from home and away from all both of our families, so it was nice having some familiar faces there for such a big part of our lives. It's funny because having a baby and becoming a mom has really just made me want my mom all the time! Moms are just so comforting to have during times like this.

Behind The Name

Hazel's full name is Hazel Erica Kailani Hibbs. A few people have asked about her name so I thought I'd explain! First of all, naming a baby was way harder than I thought it would be! Hazel didn't have her name fully picked until the morning after she was born. Like I said, I was pretty out of it when she was born, so I did not want to be making major life decisions such as giving someone a name when I wasn't feeling quite like myself. We always knew we would probably wait until we met our baby to say 100% what her name was, but we figured we'd have a couple solid names (first and middle) ready and that when we met her we would pick one. This was kind of the case with first names as we had a couple that we liked but felt pretty set on Hazel if it matched her. Hazel was my great-grandma Jones' first name and I've always thought it was pretty. 

As far as middle names, I always planned to give my girls a middle name (I know lots of people don't give girls middle names so they can just use their maiden when they get married). Taylor's family all have two middle names: one English and one Hawaiian. This isn't something everyone in Hawaii does or anything, nor was it something his family expected us to do or would be bugged if we didn't. But because it was a family tradition we had kept it open as an option if we had both and English and Hawaiian name we liked. 

We were pretty sure we wanted to use Kailani as her middle name or one of two middle names if we used two. We had talked to a few family members and friends who knew a lot about the Hawaiian language so that we could find a name that we knew the correct meaning of and so we could get some advice on things to consider when picking a Hawaiian name. I wanted a name that was easy to pronounce since it would be embarrassing if I couldn't pronounce my own child's name, and also since my side of the family isn't as familiar with how to pronounce Hawaiian names. I also didn't want a super long name especially if she might have two middle names. And, of course, I wanted the meaning of the name to suit our little girl. Kailani means 'heavenly sea' which we liked for a few reasons. 

My dad's name is Eric, and ever since he passed I knew I'd want to use his name in some way when I had kids. I had always planned to use it for one of my sons. Very early on in pregnancy I had thought about maybe using Erica, but later we decided to save it to use for one of our sons. However, when I ended up going in to be induced on the day my dad passed, we thought we may name her Erica if she was born that day in honor of my dad. When she wasn't born on the 21st we decided we still wanted to use Hazel, but since we had considered using it for her first name we thought it would be nice to use still as one of her middle names. 

So there ya go! This is our sweet girl Hazel! I am so grateful for her and for the blessing she has already been in our family. Being a parent has been a learning experience! We don't sleep much and we don't really know what we are doing, but we are learning to work together as a family of 3 to figure it all out! I've absolutely loved watching Taylor become a dad. It's seriously been amazing to watch him love and help take care of our girl. 
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Sunday, May 17, 2015

Week 31- The Final Countdown

We are in single digits people! 9 weeks left! This week Taylor got a job! I have been working as a nanny since we moved here while Taylor was in school, but of course I knew that I would have to transition out of it before the baby came. We've been trying to figure out this transition for the last little bit as we looked for a job for Taylor since the summer following the first year of optometry is freed up so he has no other obligations. We are also going to be moving to a new apartment next month to prepare for our little girl! It's interesting how Heavenly Father has a plan for us that we can see through the little details in our lives. We found our current apartment only about a month before we moved here, and because we had never seen it we felt good about and decided to lease for only 11 months just in case it wasn't what we wanted. We ended up loving our apartment (we are so sad to leave it), but the timing worked out perfect that we will only have one month (June) overlapping where we will be paying rent at two places, which will actually make the move less rushed and a little more easy going which is nice since Taylor will be working full time, and I'm...well, pregnant and not quite as agile as 8 months ago :). Another thing that (surprisingly worked out) was Taylor's job. Taylor finding a job was stressing me out for a while because I wanted to be able to tell the family I nanny for when I would probably need to be phased out, but I didn't want to do that until I knew we would have another source of income, but I did want to give them notice in enough time. Taylor was contacted about one job about a month ago and we thought it was 100% perfect and the one for him. However, it took a while for us to get details on the hours he was eligible to work, what he'd be doing, etc. The day that he finalized his hours and the pay (neither of which were horrible, but not what we were hoping for since I would have to stop working when the baby comes), he received an email about another possible job opportunity. Had all of the details gotten figure out when he was initially contact about job #1, Taylor would have been working for about a month (we probably would have taken the job despite the pay and hours), developing rapport with the doctors and clients he would have been working with, and then ending up leaving for a better job (which we felt good about), which could have severed some ties with people whom he would like to work with in the future. 

It's crazy how everything has worked out, but now one of the three things (job, housing, and last minute baby preparation) that have been causing me stress is settled. 

This week we also took a trip to Ikea (actually on our way back from Taylor's interview for job #2--which he was hired for on the spot by the way!). It was so fun to look around at things we will actually be needing (and using!) for our sweet girl in just 59ish days! We don't have much yet for her but we did get a dresser and a few frames for some prints I have for her room. 

Taylor and I have teased each other about whether our girl is doing soccer drills or dance moves in my belly because she has been fairly active since about 17 weeks. Of course I'm biased because I grew up dancing, and Taylor says soccer since he loves sports and his sisters and nieces did/do soccer. Of course our daughter will be free to choose whatever activities she wants, but it's fun to picture her as a "mini me". But she has really amped up her movements this week. Like, I'm talking it tickles, it hurts, and she catches me off guard with some of her movements now. We can now just sit and watch her really move more than we have been able to in the past. It is so neat to just always have my little buddy in there. Although, I'll be honest, sometimes it's really painful because she really really likes my right side and my right ribs only, it is so neat to be able to feel her growing and developing stronger and stronger each day. I'm going to miss being able to have her with me physically 100% wherever I go no matter where I am. 

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Sunday, May 10, 2015

Week 30-Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day! What an exciting and event-filled week it has been. 

Being pregnant on Mother's Day is kind of weird because you feel like a "mother" because you have this little relationship with this baby inside you, but you kind of don't feel like a mother because you haven't met your baby yet (outside the womb--I feel like I know this little girl's personality, habits, etc. already!). Either way, my sweet husband woke me up with homemade crepes ready (a skill he mastered in my first trimester when crepes were the only thing that sounded good) and a sweet card and gift. 

This week I feel like I've gotten to "know" our little girl a little more. She DEFINITELY favors my right side. She is always just chillin on my right side, rolling around, and playing in my ribs apparently. It has been pretty uncomfortable and sometimes painful because I don't have a very long torso (just long legs which is where my height comes from), but it's fun and kind of funny to notice her tendencies that she doesn't veer away from very often. There are certain times of day where she is more active and I feel like a mom when Taylor will ask if she's moving and I can tell him that she's usually resting at that time and when she'll probably be active again. Let's hope she maybe has a consistent schedule when she's born.. :)

This week we decided to go out for Cinco de Mayo since Taylor is out of school and since we only have two months left to go out just ourselves whenever we want! It was fun to have a mid-week date, and the food was amazing. I have never been much of a Tex-Mex fan until I moved here! We also saw the new Avengers movie (wasn't a huge fan sadly) this week (two dates in one week---it was pretty fun!). That day I was getting worried because I hadn't really been feeling as much movement, and as I mentioned, our girl usually moves a decent amount and on somewhat of a schedule. I was worried all day and kind of didn't even want to go to the movie because I was just so worried. We ended up going since sitting around worrying wouldn't do anything and since I didn't feel like I needed to call the Dr. yet. The movie was really loud since it's an action movie, and that made our girl move like crazy. There was one point in the movie where it was super loud and my hand was on my belly and felt and then saw a big bump (maybe her back hunched over or her bum) come up and move. It was crazy. Needless to say I was pretty grateful we went to the movie since she ended up moving (lots) again. It was pretty humorous to see/feel her reaction to louder noises. 


Being pregnant has probably only given me a glimpse of the love mothers feel for their children. I just wanted to share a little bit about my mom and my love and gratitude for her this Mother's Day! My mom currently works for EFY (Especially For Youth) at BYU so a lot of younger people my age who are counselors or work for EFY love my mom and think "Phyllis is awesome!" (what people tell me when they find out she's my mom). But what a lot of people who know her now and just recently met her don't know is the kind of mom she was to her kids as we grew up. 

My mom has always and will always put her children first. I know all parents are different and have different styles and needs, but my mom has never been one to just take some "me time" (although I wish she would because she never does anything for herself). I think she's just always too busy to stop and think about herself since she's been working full time since I was in 8th grade and adjusting to being a single-parent since my dad passed away 8 years ago. 

My mom has always made it a priority to make sure her children have opportunities to learn and grow and develop their interests, talents, and hobbies. Money hasn't always been plentiful in my family, but my mom has always somehow found a way to provide these opportunities for us, and for that I am so grateful! Growing up I was able to play the piano (even though one teacher told me my fingers were just "a little bigger"...who says that??), dance, play the cello, and participate in a lot of other extracurricular things to help me figure out what I wanted to do with my life and which things were really things I wanted to pursue. And not only did she provide these opportunities for us, but she was always there at our performances, she chaperoned one of my orchestra tours, she was there to cheer me on at the spelling bee in 4th grade (so what if I got out on my 1st word. I bet you're wondering what word it was now huh? :)), dance concerts (even when I'm sure I looked super awkward in my leotards. I have proof, so no I'm not exaggerating), etc. 

Something else my mom has always taught me through word and by example, even if I haven't always been good at practicing it, is to not care what others think about you. I have always been one who is self-conscious about what I look like, if I worded something wrong, or if people don't like me for whatever reason. Luckily I had my mom who would always encourage me to be kind and do my best in everything, but to not let what others think or say get to me. I think a phrase I heard a lot growing up was to "tell (enter person's name) to jump in a lake". I have teased my mom about this because it just makes me laugh since I don't think I even knew what that meant when I was younger, but having a mom who was able to brush off anything negative, mean, or not worth-while that people said about her helped me to try to be more confident. 

Even though my mom has always been confident and strong herself, she has always been willing to listen and try to understand when I (or one of my siblings) wasn't feeling quite that way. I remember when I was in third grade and going through an unfortunately long period of an awkward stage (go stalk my Instagram for proof. You'll find a gem from a while back), I felt just ugly and bad about myself at the time. My mom took me to get a haircut (I don't remember if I requested it or if it was her idea) just to give me a change to help me refresh how I felt about myself. I remember I felt so much better about myself going to school the next day even though it was just a haircut and even though my mom could've just given me a pep talk and hoped I felt better the next day.

My mom has always been very strong with her testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I remember when I was younger walking in countless times as she was on her knees praying or reading her scriptures in the morning. My mom always (and as of the last time I was home for Christmas still does) requires that we all watch the animated Mormon stories movie about Christ's birth before we would go downstairs to open presents. I'll be honest, we've all always kind of hated that (if you watch the movie now it's a little silly with the animation and voices, but the sentiment and message is there), but it was a lesson to focus on what was really important that day. My mom has always stayed close to the gospel and had faith especially through the many trials she's faced in life. I haven't really shared this before, but the night my dad passed away I went and asked my mom if she was okay as she laid on her bed. She told me that she was ok but that she just wanted to make sure all of her kids were ok. Her strength in that moment has always been an example to me that I can get through hard things with the Gospel just like she has. 

Throughout this pregnancy my mom has constantly been praying for the things she knows we are concerned about, the things in our lives that are causing us stress, and just for our baby in general. She will always listen when I just need to talk, and as an emotional pregnant woman that's kind of a lot :).

I could go on and on and on and on, but then I wouldn't get to eat dinner and I'd end up with mascara all down my face as I think about all that my mom has done for my siblings and for me. I will leave you with this memory: in third grade my mom took me, my older sister, and her friend to a Backstreet Boys concert. Since then I've known what all the people who meet my mom nowadays tell me: "My mom is awesome". 

I'm so grateful for my mom, and I'm also so grateful for my wonderful mother-in-law! I've been teased before about the fact that I get excited when my mother-in-law comes in town or when we are going to visit because that's not the stereotype that usually goes along with mothers-in-law. She is the most generous and kind woman. She and my mom are very similar in that they spend all of their time and energy on their children! She never fails to make us a warm breakfast each time we visit, and she is constantly sending us care packages in the mail and cards just for fun and for each holiday. She will text me and Taylor every morning with a thought or scripture to help uplift us and get us started on the right foot. I'm so glad our little girl will have two amazing women as her grandmothers. 

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