Sunday, November 8, 2015

Miles' Birth Story

 Here is your typical example of second child syndrome—it has taken me over 3 months to write up Miles’ birth story.  I feel terrible about this (hello mom guilt!), but I guess better late than never!

As with Riley’s birth, I was anxious for Miles to be born on time or early because every day he was late would mean one less day before I would have to return to work.  My return to work date was set, regardless of when the baby was born.  Little did I know this baby would be born right on his due date—July 30, 2015! 

I first started having regular contractions on Saturday, July 25.  Yup, that’s right…5 days earlier.  They were coming about every 8-10 minutes starting in the early afternoon and continuing until evening.  I was SO EXCITED!   This was it!  And he was coming a few days EARLY!  My excitement quickly died out, however, when evening came and the contractions completely stopped.  Out of nowhere.  I anxiously waited all night for them to come back, but nothing happened.  A whole lot of nothing continued until Wednesday, July 29. 

That evening, I started getting contractions again.  They were the same, about 8-10 minutes apart.  I tried not to get my hopes up in case this was another false alarm.  But this time, things kept going…all night long.  With Riley I had a 34-hour labor, so I knew this could just be the beginning of two very long days, but I was REALLY hoping that this labor would be much shorter than the first.  In the middle of the night I was in quite a bit of pain with the contractions, so I called the midwife to let her know that we might have a baby in the next day.  She told me to take a warm bath to see if the contractions would slow down or keep going, so at about 3 in the morning I got in the bath.  The contractions seemed to slow down a bit, but they didn’t stop entirely.  I knew this probably meant I still had a long way to go, but at least this labor seemed to be the real thing.

I continued to labor all night long.  I tried to sleep between contractions, but that was a bit difficult.  I lost my mucous plug sometime in the early morning so again I knew this was it!  My in-laws came in the morning just in case we needed to leave for the birth center so they could watch Riley. All morning my contractions were really strong.  I didn’t want to jump the gun (my worst nightmare is to get turned away at the birth center for not being dilated enough) so I just worked through each contraction in my rocking chair, just like I did with Riley.  The contractions were bad enough that I couldn’t talk during them.  This was a little awkward with so many people around (my in-laws, my sisters, my mom, Riley, etc.) but everyone was awesome and really supportive.  I also had the interesting experience of having a toddler around while laboring.  He didn’t understand how much pain I was in and still wanted me to hold him (see photo).  This made things a bit tricky, but again not a huge deal.

Around noon I decided I could no longer just sit at home.  The contractions were getting stronger and stronger, and I just felt like I couldn’t work through them on my own anymore.  So, we called the midwife and she told us to come on in. 

After enduring the horrible 25-minute drive (OUCH), I was so excited to be at the birth center.  It felt weird to be there during the day since with Riley I got there at midnight!  They checked me and I was hoping it would be like the first time—a 7 and a baby 3 hours later!  It wasn’t.  I was only at a 5!  I was so bummed.  The midwife said the choice was mine.  I could stay there, I could go somewhere and come back in a little bit, or I could go home and try to labor there for a few more hours.  I’ll admit I didn’t want a choice.  I just wanted someone to tell me what to do!  Well, Daniel and I realized we had forgotten a few things (like food) so we decided to go to Wal-Mart and then come back to the birth center. 

I kid you not, I thought I was going to be the classiest woman alive and have a baby in Wal-Mart.  I had to stop between every aisle to have a major contraction and then keep going.  I was trying to act all nonchalant as I heaved over in pain in the granny panty aisle.  I didn’t want to scare the customers.  We picked out some food (everything from kale super food salad to a 12-pack of doughnuts—hey, I was still pregnant!) and checked out.  I remember barely making it to the car I was in so much pain. 

We made it back to the birth center around 2 and the official laboring began.  This time I worked with a doula.  Both she and Daniel were with me during every contraction.  The back labor had begun…again.  I thought that was a Riley-specific issue because of how he was positioned, but it turns out I am just one of those lucky women who get horrific back labor.  I really mean horrific.  I am sure the doula was SICK of me crying, “My back, my back hurts so bad” over and over again, but she never complained. 

We did everything.  We slowly walked up and down stairs.  We tried using a breast bump to stimulate more contractions (oh goody).  We did a cotton root tincture (NEVER AGAIN) a few times, and tried a variety of herbs to move from active labor into transition, but it just wouldn’t happen.   We walked inside, we walked outside, we ate lots of my kale salad.  Contractions were at least every 5 minutes and massively painful...for 4 hours straight.  At this point it was about 6pm.  I had been laboring for about 20 hours.  I was almost at my breaking point.  It felt like my back was exploding and still no baby.  I was crying because I didn’t know what to do. 

The midwives had brought up the possibility of breaking my water several hours before, but I was scared.  If my body wasn’t ready I didn’t want the horror of even stronger contractions and still no baby.  Finally, I told them that I felt I needed them to break my water and they happily obliged.  It wasn’t as dramatic as I thought.  With Riley my water never really broke either.  The next time I have a baby, I just need to have my water broken and maybe my labors will be much shorter.  Log that away.

Anyway, they broke my water and I headed straight for the tub.  I was scared of what the stronger-cuz-my-water-broke contractions were going to feel like and I knew the tub felt really nice.  I was right…I felt great!  My back still felt like it was being stabbed and I was convinced I was bleeding out my spine, but the jets in the tub at least distracted me enough to be soothed a bit.  As I was in the tub, I remember saying to the doula, “I wish I could just have the baby in here!”  The doula responded, “Well you can!”  Oh yea!  I had not even considered a water birth because with Riley once I hit transition I HATED the tub.  It felt too hot.  This time, everything was different.  I responded, “I think I will!”

It was like once I made this decision everything kicked into gear.  I felt my body going into transition.  My body started convulsing and pushing without me doing anything.  I was finally going to have a baby!  This is when things got a bit scary because everything started going SO fast.  Suddenly the doula was calling for the midwives because my body was seriously just pushing the baby out.  I’ll admit I started freaking out a bit because I felt so out of control.  I could feel the baby coming down and coming down QUICKLY.  I was afraid that I would majorly tear if the baby didn’t slow down. 

With Riley, the midwife helped coach me so Riley slowly came out and I barely tore.  There was no time for that with Miles.  I literally was calling for my mom (she was there) and I just kept crying, “I’m so scared” over and over.  I know this seems dramatic, but I just couldn’t believe how fast this was all happening.  After two major pushes, his head was out, then the rest of him with one more push.  I felt that immediate rush of relief and the pain vanished once he was out.  This was all less than two hours after they broke my water.  I guess that is what I needed—my water does NOT want to break on its own!  Again, log away for next time.

The midwife immediately handed him to me.  He was HERE!  After a few moments of silence, I worried that he wasn’t crying.  Riley was also really silent at first, so I wasn’t scared until the midwife took Miles and started giving him mouth to mouth. 

It was all happening really fast, so I don’t think I had time to truly be scared.  I also just knew somehow that everything would be all right.  After a few breaths from the midwife, Miles let out a huge cry as he started breathing.  Everyone in the room also breathed a sigh of relief!  They handed him back to me and I got to snuggle my new little boy.   

One thing I noticed is that he had his tongue out the first 5-10 minutes of life!  He seriously loved sticking that thing out. 

I also immediately noticed his foot.  Something was wrong with it, I could tell.  As soon as I saw it, I asked the midwives, “What’s wrong with him?  What’s wrong with his foot?  I think he has a clubbed foot!”  They looked at it and told me to wait a while before worrying myself because sometimes newborns are just all squished up from being in the womb and so his foot might just need to relax and then it will straighten out.  I knew, though.  I knew it was something a little more serious than that and I was really worried.  

Still, other than the foot he seemed to be a completely healthy, perfect baby.  Miles T. Faulk was born at 7:50pm and weighed 7lb. 6oz.  He was 22.25 inches long—longer and skinnier than Riley, which I didn’t think was possible.  By 10pm we were all cleaned and snuggled into the bed at the birth center.  I nursed him for the first time, which was great!  It’s just like getting back in the saddle!  I noticed that I had so much more energy this time than last time, probably because at 22hours, my labor was 12 hours shorter than last time.  That seriously made a huge difference.  I could shower myself this time, whereas with Riley I had to have my mom and sister bathe me because I couldn’t even lift the soap up myself.  

At midnight we decided to go home so we could all get in bed.  Miles slept for about 5 hours, which was great.  Gotta love that first big just-born sleep!  Apparently it’s exhausting getting born! 

Recovery was a lot tougher the second time around.  Although I didn’t tear at all with Miles (THANK YOU WATER BIRTH!), it still seemed to take longer for things to feel “back to normal.”  Still, I am grateful for how quick my recovery was with a natural birth.  We were walking the neighborhood as a family the next day and it felt great!

We went to the pediatrician the next morning after he was born and she confirmed he had a clubbed foot.  We have been working with Primary Children’s hospital every since to get it fixed—more on that in another blog post!

Although my labor was long and difficult, which apparently seems to be my thing, I am grateful everything went OK and that I have a healthy, beautiful baby boy.  I am so grateful for expertly trained midwives who are so kind and so caring throughout the entire pregnancy and birth process.  You cannot find that kind of maternal care anywhere else.  I also loved having an amazingly patient doula this time around!  It was great to have that trained, knowledgeable support through every contraction.  I also have to give a shout out to my amazing husband for staying awake and supporting me through all 22 hours of labor.  He is a rockstar.  Riley loves his new baby brother and we are adjusting as the Faulk Family of Four!    


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Baby #2--Needs, Wants, and Wishes

Yea, yea.  It's been a while.  Story of my life.  As usual I want to get back into blogging.  Although I stink at consistency...I really like it. 

Quick Update: Riley is almost 2 years old ( and baby #2 is due in 16 days!  We bought a house a year and a half ago in Sandy, Utah.  I am still the drama teacher at Kearns High and Daniel works as a data analyst for Williams Gas. I will do a more full "life update" post later.

Moving on!  

This is a post I have been crafting in my head for a while and I am excited to finally get it out there!  As the arrival of baby #2 has gotten closer and closer I have been thinking a lot about what items I am going to need that I didn't have the first time around.  I am really lucky that the boys will be almost exactly 2 years apart, so they are being born during the same season.  This of course means that I can reuse all of the baby clothes from Riley with baby #2.  This eliminated any major need for clothes buying (although I couldn't resist getting a COUPLE new things.  I mean, come on...), so I turned my focus to baby gear.

What products did I wish I had last time? What new awesome things has the baby world unveiled in the last two years?  In thinking about these types of questions, I came up with 8 products that are a mix of things I decided I absolutely needed the second time around as well as some fun things I would really LIKE the second time around.  Some of them I have already purchased and some of them I have not (ya see, no one gives you a baby shower the second time around!).  Details are below the picture!

1. A Double Stroller--Need List, Purchased
This has been a source of contention between my husband and I (and..ahem...still is).  To him, this was not a necessity.  He thinks we can just keep using our single stroller and either strap the new baby to me or strap the toddler to the stroller with a leash so he won't run away.  Either way, there seems to be a lot of strapping going on that is not practical in all situations.  I insisted that with two kids a double stroller was not a high maintenance wish but rather a necessity.  

I essentially won this argument by purchasing the stroller.  There...problem solved. 

The picture above is the Baby Trend Sit N Stand Double Stroller (link).  I purchased it from Target.  Let it be clear that if I could pick any double stroller, this would not be it.  I would go for the Bugaboo Donkey (link) or the Baby Jogger City Select (link).  Right now neither of those options are, as my husband says, "financially feasible."  SO, after doing a bunch of research this stroller seemed a fantastic option at only $160.  It has the best combination of price, practicality, and non-ugliness I could find.  The back seat is removable and allows for either an infant car seat OR the sit n stand option.  We will see if after we use this for a while my husband is won over!  

2. Covered Goods Nursing Cover/Car Seat Wrap/Grocery Cart Wrap/Scarf--Want List, Wish List
This is a newer product that looks AWESOME.  As I have learned through "Mom Experience," products that have multiple uses ROCK.  I hate having tons of baby crap everywhere, so finding products that do double, triple, or in this case QUADRUPLE duty are high up in my books.  As can be seen in the image below, the Covered Goods Nursing Cover (link) has 4 uses:

Neat, right?  I already have a nursing cover, so this is not a necessity, but I like that this cover has full coverage all the way around--not just in the front.  This becomes highly practical when you're not wearing something that easily lifts up only in the front.  I had many instances where I had to figure out a way to not expose my back to everyone...not cool.  It also helps that these covers are fantastically stylish and not at all ugly and baby-ish looking--another essential for me.

3. Mama & Little Teething Jewelry--Want List, Wish List
This is of course not a NEED but rather a fun want (my birthday is in October guys...).  When your baby is teething and begging to chew on anything this is a great thing to have.  While there are a lot of teething jewelry companies out there, my friend Arleene Taylor's company Mama & Little (link)makes the MOST stylish teething jewelry out there.  This is functional baby gear at its finest because the jewelry is something you will want to wear AFTER the baby is done teething.  It's seriously adorable.  Proof?  Nordstrom just picked her up...bam.

4. A Portable Rocker--Need List, Wish List
I think this is going on the needs list.  As of now I have no portable baby-putter-inner of any kind.  Being able to shower and set the baby in something where I can see him is a luxury I need to figure out how to afford this time around.  Before I would put Riley in his car seat, but I didn't want him to fall asleep in it, which would inevitably happen.  A product like the Tiny Love Rocker (link) would allow me to strap the baby into something cozy while I get things done.  This particular rocker also allows the baby to lay completely flat, converting into a bassinet that is safe to sleep in.  While any rocker/bouncer would do, something similar to this would be amazing to have the second time around.  

5. A Second Pump--Need List, Purchased
After dealing with packing up my pump and all of its parts and schlepping it all to and from work every single day I decided this was a necessity for baby #2.  I got my first pump (the Hygeia Enjoye Pump (link)) free through my insurance with Riley, and I have since switched insurance companies since then so I figured I could do the same thing again this time.  I was correct!  Unfortunately my insurance this time is not as awesome so I only got my pick of 2 free pumps.  I settled on the Rumble Tuff (link) double electric pump.  It is small and lightweight so I figured it would be great to keep at work.  No more forgetting pump parts at home and having to run to the babysitter's house during my 30-minute lunch break to nurse!  Wahoo!  
As a side note, this time around I have purchased the Kiinde Breastfeeding System (link) to hopefully make my pumping experience a little more streamlined.  After I use it I will do a review on here for sure!

6. A Pack 'N Play--Need List, Purchased
That's right.  I did not own a pack 'n play until very recently when we NEEDED some sort of travel bed for Riley.  I had wanted one for baby #2, but this forced me to just get it over with and pick one.  Let's get real here.  Pack 'n plays on the whole are some of the ugliest baby gear out there.  For those of you that don't care, good for you.  For those of us that have worked very hard for baby crap to not ruin the interior design we have worked so hard on for years, aesthetics are very important.  Primary-colored, plastic-looking baby crap is the stuff of my nightmares.  Unfortunately, beautifully designed pack 'n plays like the 4moms Breeze Playard (link) or the BABYBJORN Travel Crib (link) will set you back over $200, at the least.  So when I saw the new Fisher-Price Ultra-Lite Play Yard and how it looked amazingly similar to the BABYBJORN for only $120 I knew I had stumbled upon something awesome!  I love that it is incredibly travel-friendly and has the newborn insert on top as an added bonus!  Riley HATED our Arm's Reach Bassinet (link) so if baby #2 does as well, I am hoping that this might be a more comfy, slightly inclined option.  We'll see...

7. 4moms Mamaroo (link)--Want List, Wish List
This is definitely a want.  I already have a baby swing, although Riley hated it (the unsoothable baby, for reals).  I have heard great things about the Mamaroo and it is, of course, much more aesthetically pleasing than any other swing out there.  It also connects to your iphone so you can play music, change its settings, etc. from across the room.  Pretty neat.  If it was super lightweight, I wouldn't need the portable rocker/bouncer (#4), but unfortunately it's not meant to be moved from room to room.  

8. A Baby Wrap--Want List, Purchased
As I already have an ERGO Baby Carrier (link) this is technically not a need.  Still, babies tend to be picky and it's nice to have multiple options.  Also, the ERGO, while fantastic overall, can be a bit hot, and with a summer baby I knew the super cute, lightweight Solly Baby Wrap (link) was the way to go.  I purchased the mint color, as pictured above, and I can't wait to use it with my newborn!  The Solly tends to be much more lightweight than the Moby or other wraps.  There are tutorials on YouTube to show you multiple ways to wrap it as well.  I am determined to do a LOT more baby-wearing this time around and I decided to treat myself with the Solly Baby Wrap.  

Well, there you have it.  Eight items that I want/need/wish for with Baby #2!  As his due date is still 2 weeks away, I obviously have not used these products yet, so I will do a post-use review in a few months to let you know which products have actually been life savers and which I could have done without.  

What products did you purchase for Baby #2...or 3 or 4 or 5?  Leave a comment below!! 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

An Easter to Remember

Easter. A time of pastels, bunnies, and new Sunday clothes. I was determined to make Riley's first Easter great. Looking back, I just shouldn't have cared so dang much. Maybe if I hadn't everything would have gone swell...

So the morning started off fine. I was excited to put Riley in his cute Easter outfit and for the whole family to look great at church (because clearly this matters...not). First thing in the morning we get a call from Daniel's dad saying that Daniel's mom is really sick so we won't be able to go over there for dinner. I felt terrible for her (and she was SO sad to miss Riley's first Easter), but this definitely threw a wrench in our plans. We had no food. Seriously. I ran to the grocery store the day before just to get the dessert we thought we were bringing to Daniel's parents house. Still, I decided I would deal with that later.

While Daniel was showering, I nursed Riley in his rocking chair. He was just looking up at me with those ginormous blue eyes and I decided to take that quiet, still moment to talk to him about what Easter is really about. I was about ten seconds in, talking about Jesus, when Riley let out a string of farts so major I couldn't believe they came from a baby. He just kept looking up at me like, "what?"  So, with that spiritual moment sufficiently ruined I moved on, about to get him dressed.

As I put him against my shoulder, he decided--after not spitting up for weeks--to suddenly spit up ALL DOWN me and the rocking chair. Awesome. I just thanked my lucky stars that neither of us were in our Easter clothes yet! 

I got Riley dressed and of course...we were running late. So on the way out the door I grabbed a granola bar. As I was getting out of the car at church, I looked down and realized that one of the chocolate chips from the granola bar had smushed into my light pink Easter dress. AWESOME! I just kept saying to Daniel, "This is SO TYPICAL! I try to make a nice day for us and everything goes wrong! This is the STORY OF MY LIFE!!"
I am, of course, a bit dramatic.

So church is going typically. Riley is screaming and squirming. Seriously, holding this kid in church is like wrestling a cat. About halfway in, Riley suddenly spits up-again-this time all down his Easter outfit. I freak out and reach for a burp cloth in the diaper bag. Nothing. We were so rushed I didn't really pack the diaper bag. Luckily a sweet mom behind us saw our predicament and handed me one of theirs. Bless her.

The rest of church was uneventful. Riley even took a nap during Sunday School:

Since I now knew we weren't going over to the in-laws I had someone take our picture outside of church. I look ridiculous, but here you have it: 

I swear he had cute shoes on right before this picture.

When we got home, I took a few more pictures:

Immediately after taking this picture Daniel realized that Riley had had a blowout (also rare) all in his Easter outfit. All I can say is of course he did. Of course.

At this point our grumbling stomachs reminded us of our dinner problem. This probably sounds bad, but I was hoping all during church that someone would ask me what my Easter plans were so I could tell them they got cancelled and in my head the person would say, "Well come on over for dinner at our place!" Unfortunately my imaginary conversation never came to be in real life. So what do the Faulks do in a dinner worst case scenario? 


I have to say, I make a mean nacho. I literally speed beans on each individual nacho. Can't beat that. It was yummy!

We made the best of our crazy day by going on a long walk together and dropping the dessert off at Daniel's parents' house.  I very unceremoniously plopped Easter baskets in front of Daniel and Riley, but they seemed to like them.

Luckily none of the petty things that happened really matter. Nachos on Easter? Fine. No Easter egg hunt for Riley? He doesn't know what's happening anyway. Chocolate chip on my dress? It will come out. I hope.

Christ is the reason we celebrate Easter and I am grateful every day that he is my Redeemer. His Atonement makes up for my sins, my hard days, and my sorrows. He is the only one who truly always knows what we are going through and how we feel. How amazing is that? I encourage everyone to watching the LDS video on YouTube entitled "Because of Him." It is beautiful! Happy Easter!!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

That Time AFTER You Have a Baby...

Remember how I used to blog? too.  I'd like to get things back up and running because it makes me sad to think of all the fun things that are happening as Riley grows up that I might forget!  We're also well under way with our kitchen renovation, so there will definitely be a post about that coming soon--don't get TOO excited!

Anyway, my last post was about Riley's birth.  I'm not sure how to describe the month after that...'rough' might be a good word to start out with.  This is my blog so I'm going to be real here and say that I struggled.  I think I thought that everything would go smoothly--sure, I'd lose some sleep here and there, but overall I would just be swimming in feelings of love for my newborn and none of the hard stuff would matter.  While I definitely loved my newborn (I mean look at him...who couldn't love that?), I encountered many things I wasn't prepared for...

1. Endless Crying.  I'm not just referring to Riley, but to me as well.  I cried ALL THE TIME.  The combination of stress and no sleep overcame me and I found myself bawling my eyes out.  I have memories of just sitting in the rocking chair, holding my sweet baby and crying.  It was an emotion overload.  I consider myself a strong individual, so this all came as a shock to me.  Postpartum Depression was also a factor here I believe.  I never thought I would get the "baby blues," but I got smacked upside the head with them.  Despite having this amazing, beautiful baby that truly made me SO happy, I didn't smile often.  I remember Daniel (and a few other people) noticing that I was not happy.  Amidst all of this I had to go back to work less than 4 weeks after giving birth.  I'd say it wasn't until month 4 or 5 that I improved and found ways to keep the baby blues at bay.  

2. My Need for a Support System.  Thank GOODNESS I had my mother and sister staying with me that first week or I think I would have had a full-blown mental breakdown.  They rocked Riley when I just couldn't listen to his crying anymore in the middle of the night.  They offered so much support by comforting me (during all the crying, see #1 above), cooking meals, grocery shopping, and cleaning.  My husband was also amazing.  The first few days are so rough because I was trying to heal from birth while taking care of a newborn.  He would help me to the toilet and the shower (embarrassing!) and even help change my "dressings" down there when I couldn't by myself (MORE embarassing!).  He never complained once about any of this.

3.  Breastfeeding Didn't Go Perfectly.  I am incredibly pro-breastfeeding so making sure that this was a possibility for me was very important.  I read all the books beforehand and did as much preparation as possible.  I knew there was going to be some discomfort, but holy COW I had no clue.  It took over 6 weeks before I didn't cry every time he breastfed.  It hurt SO bad!  I went to a lactation consultant who helped with his latch and things got better from there, but WOW.  It felt like he needed to be fed constantly.  Every time I sat down for a break he started crying and it was time to feed again...for 40 minutes every time.  It was practically on an hour, off an hour.  This was a major thing that contributed to #1 above.  I knew I was doing the right thing for my baby and thank goodness I was COMMITTED to breastfeeding or I would have given up on week 2 or 3 for sure, but MAN was it tough.  It's still tough!  I constantly struggle keeping up my milk supply and it causes me a lot of stress.  Pumping enough bottles to give to the babysitter every other days is a NEVERENDING struggle.  I will totally admit that I can't WAIT to ween this kid when he's a year old!  I will miss breastfeeding, but NOT pumping!

4. The Unsoothable Baby.  Before I had Riley I thought that babies would just rock in the swing, or just chill with their pacifier.  I couldn't anticipate that I would have a baby who liked none of this.  He hated the swing.  He hated his car seat (at first).  He hated the pacifier.  NOTHING WORKED.  I have friends whose babies just chill in a rocker for an hour or so just fine, but I never got that experience.  To this day he is still pretty high maintenance like that.  He never took the binky.  He only plays on his own for maybe 5-10 minutes and then gets bored and needs attention.  He hates napping.  He won't just chill in his high chair OR the swing OR the jumper OR his play mat.  I guess it's just his personality.  Essentially all this led to me getting very little time to take a breather, which of course constantly contributed to #1 above.

Now, I know this sounds like a lot of complaining and above all I am SO grateful to have an amazing son who truly fills my life with joy.  Still, I want to put it out there that a lot of women portray this perfect life online through Facebook and Instagram with their newborns that can make you feel bad sometimes.  I felt like a TERRIBLE mother.  I mean, what mom cries that often when they have so much to be thankful for?  I am sure it made it look like I didn't love my new son, but I did.
On day 4 of having a baby I could no longer stay in the house--it's just my personality.  I HAD to get out of there, so we went to a mall and just walked around with the baby in the stroller.  It was delightful, but I had several ladies in the stores telling me I should be at home and not out and about already.  Little did they know that getting out of the house that day kept me from just spending hours crying in my room.
Maybe there are women who have these just lovely months after they give birth where everything is snuggles, and bonding, and pure happiness.  Maybe.  But for me that was only part of the experience and I want other women who struggle with some of the same things I did to know that they are not alone.

That being said, here are some things I have LOVED about having a baby!

1. Everything He Learns is Exciting.  Seriously.  Daniel and I were just reminiscing about this yesterday.  We exploded with excitement that first time he smiled, laughed, held something in his hand, reached for the birds above his playmat, cooed, rolled over, said "dada," crawled, ate food, etc.  Each new thing he learns brings me so much joy!  And it's adorable!

2. He Loves Me...SO MUCH.  I can't describe how it feels to have this tiny human that thinks you are  His eyes light up when I enter the room and he comes crawling to me as fast as he can!  He reaches for me when he's sad.  There is something so fulfilling and beautiful about this unconditional love and need.  I ADORE watching him look up and me while nursing and just smile out of nowhere.  Seriously...I melt.

3.  Watching Daniel Become a Dad.  Dads are hott, guys.  Daniel has become an amazing dad.  I know he has struggled with a lot of things since having Riley, but he is such a trooper.  He helps me however he can and usually does so without complaint.  Riley loves him so much.  I say, "Where's Dada?" and he frantically looks around the room, hoping for him to come through the door.  When Daniel gets home from work and bursts through the door, Riley FREAKS out, waving his arms all around, smiling, and making his crazy pterodactyl noises!  Basically, watching Daniel become an ever better person because of Riley has been amazing.

Because I haven't blogged in a while there are so many things I have missed, but here are a few milestones I want to remember, and a few of my favorite pictures for each week/month.

First smile: About 2 months old
First laugh: About 3 months old
Ate rice cereal: 4.5 months old.  Now he eats everything.
Rolled over back to front: Just shy of 5 months old, On Christmas Day, 2013.  We were all opening presents in Dubai and he just did it out of nowhere!  What a great present!
Rolled over front to back: About 5 months, 1 week old.
Crawled: 6.5 months old.  He was in a HURRY to get moving.  This has been a huge blessing because now he can entertain himself for longer periods of time which has helped immensely with my sanity!












Again, we LOVE this cutie and we feel truly blessed that he is ours!  I will hopefully keep this blog MUCH more updated on the Faulk comings and goings!  I will also have to do some flashback posts to write about some of the great things that have happened to us these past eight months!



Tuesday, August 6, 2013

My Birth Story--Riley James Faulk

 A warning in advance--this is really long and detailed, so if you don't want to read a detailed birth story (with pictures), then stop now!  This was an important record for me to make and I didn't want to spare any details. :)

Technically the story of my labor begins on Riley’s due date: July 24, 2013.  Because I have to go back to school as a teacher very soon (my first meeting is August 14), I was desperate to see if I could use some “natural” methods to get the labor going.  So, on Wednesday, July 24 around ten in the morning I took about 1.5 ounces of castor oil, which is known to get labor kick started occasionally by basically freaking out your bowels so you have the runs—lovely.  I waited for a few hours but nothing happened at all.  Bummer.  My mother and sister came to Salt Lake and we celebrated Pioneer Day by going to temple square and having lunch at the Lion House.  After lunch I started to have some horrible pains in my stomach.  They didn’t feel like contractions—just horrific, stabbing stomach pains.  I had to sit on a bench and breathe like crazy to get through them.  Once I felt a bit better we went shopping at City Creek hoping all the walking would help get labor started.  I wasn’t feeling super great (thank you castor oil…) and I had to use the bathroom one time (6 whole hours after I took the castor oil), but other than that…nothing.

Me on my due date, July 24, at Temple Square

I assumed the castor oil had not worked at all so that night we went out for Mexican food (at the suggestion of my dad…he wants me to mention this) also hoping it would get something started.  The next morning (Thursday) I woke up around 5am with cramping pains—much more contraction-like.  I started timing them and they were consistent from 5-10am, exactly a minute long and 10 minutes apart.  I was so excited!  I totally thought this was it!  Unfortunately at 10am, they stopped almost completely.  I ran errands all afternoon and went out to lunch with a friend.  I occasionally had mild, sporadic contractions, but nothing major.  At 6pm I went out to dinner with my husband and we decided to try Mexican again so we went to CafĂ© Rio.  By the time we got home I started having contractions again.  This was the beginning of my “real” labor I guess and it was the started of one of the longest, most miserable nights of my life. 
The contractions lasted all night long, again about 10 minutes apart and a minute long each.  I didn’t sleep at all and on top of everything I felt really constipated so I took some milk of magnesia.  Well, about two hours later, around 3am I began to have the worst diarrhea I’ve ever had in my life—on top of contractions.  Didn’t think it was possible to have both of those things going on at the same time?  It is.  And it is something that should be reserved for the 7th circle of hell.  So all night long I endured that.  I labored on the couch and on our exercise ball mostly throughout the night.  Laying on my side was particularly painful but I was trying to doze off between contractions.  It didn’t work out too well.  By the morning I was practically delirious I was so exhausted.  Still, I knew that I wasn’t supposed to go to the birth center until contractions were 5 minutes apart, lasting 1 minute long and going on like that for at least an hour.  I was also not supposed to be able to walk or talk through them, and I knew that these contractions, although unpleasant, were not painful enough to warrant that.
So, it’s Friday morning and Daniel goes to work.  I told him I’d call him if I felt like this labor was actually going to go anywhere.  My mom and sister came to hang out with me that day so I didn’t have to be alone.  We stayed at my apartment all day while my sister timed my contractions.  To my horror they were hardly getting any closer together and definitely not quickly.  After laboring all day long (still awake after laboring with no sleep all night) the contractions were finally getting about 5 minutes apart.  That was around 5:30pm when Daniel got home from work.  I was kind of freaking out because I couldn’t imagine another night like the one before with no baby to show for it.  I had been awake for 2 days and could not imagine trying to have a baby when I was already this exhausted.  Little did I know that was what I was about to do. 
My mom and Haley left to go back to Ogden and told us to call them if anything progressed.  My contractions slowed down for a few hours…much to my horror.  Then, they started picking back up around 8pm.  I labored on the bed for a bit but it was making the contractions more painful so I actually ended up getting through a lot of contractions in my new rocking chair.  I didn’t think I’d want to be sitting during contractions, but for some reason just sitting and concentrating got me through them.  Around 9pm we tried to put in a movie—The Amazing Spider Man.  We didn’t even get to the part where he turns into Spider Man.  The contractions started getting pretty severe.  This included some very painful back labor.   This confused me because I knew that he was anterior, not posterior which is usually what causes really painful back labor.  I would find out later why…
Anyway, I started begging Daniel to call the midwife because I thought the contractions were close enough and strong enough.  He wanted to wait—possibly until morning (haha…) to call because neither of us wanted to be sent home.  That was literally a huge fear of mine.  I had been awake for 2 days, already been laboring for more than 24 hours and if I showed up and wasn’t dilated enough and got sent home I think I would lose it.  Still, I started to really feel the baby pushing against my bones “down there” and knew this baby was coming.  Also around 10:45 pm I lost my mucus plug.  I had been wondering when that was every going to happen and when it did I definitely knew what it was.  We called the birth center at 11pm and the midwives conferred and agreed that I should come in at midnight.  I was SO EXCITED (but still nervous they were going to send me home).  At this point the contractions were coming every 2-3 minutes.  They felt like they were coming on top of each other.  It was pretty dang painful but it wasn’t really the contractions that were excruciatingly painful it was my back that felt like someone was trying to claw right through it or something—literally the worst pain I’ve ever felt. 
We used that hour to bustle around the house getting last minute things packed for the birth center.   The car ride over was not super pleasant but we got there in less than 15 minutes.  We came in and the midwives started setting things up to check me.  Jennifer the head midwife on call that would be helping me through the birth told me later that the minute she saw me she thought, “Oh this girl is definitely going home.”  She told me I was way too happy and cracking jokes so there was no way I was dilated enough.  A few minutes later she checked me and to her and the student midwife’s surprise I was 7cm dilated.  They were shocked!  When they told me that I was definitely staying I almost cried with relief.  I was also incredibly scared—this was it.  There was no going back now.  I was also scared because I was already exhausted beyond belief from the last 48 hours and wondered if I had any strength left to birth a baby.  There wasn’t much I could do about that, so I just mentally moved on.
The midwives filled up the jetted tub and I got in—heaven.  Everyone should be able to do this in labor.  It felt SO NICE.  They cooled my head with towels as my labor got back on track and I continued with the horrible labor phase that is transition.  It felt like I really had to poop.  That is the only way I can describe it.  It was me trying to get the baby’s head all the way down and around my pubic bone.  I labored in the tub for about an hour and a half with my birth playlist going and Daniel at my side.  Eventually I just started to feel too hot.  My body also started to sort of convulse and involuntarily made me start pushing a little.  I also decided I had to pee and wanted to labor on the toilet for a bit (I was still convinced it was poo and not a baby haha).  So, I started to get out of the tub.  This was when I couldn’t hold my pee anymore and just let it out.  Well, a LOT more came out and we think this is when my bag of waters ruptured (it never fully broke and pieces of membrane came out later when he was born).  

 Laboring in the tub, going through transition

Daniel was awesome at helping me through each contraction
I got out of the tub and the midwife told me she thinks I’m ready to start pushing to get the baby’s head around my pubic bone.  So I leaned on the counter in the bathroom and started squatting a little with each contraction and pushing.  I became pretty vocal at this point. I was begging someone to just rip out my spine because my back was in SO much pain.  It really is indescribable.  I just begged someone to help me.  Daniel was doing all the pressure points but they weren’t helping.   At one point I had 3 people all pushing on my back at the same time trying to relieve me of some of the pain.   I did this for maybe 10 minutes but then realized I was too weak to hold myself up anymore.  So, the midwife suggested I transfer to the bed. 
The bed was probably the worst part of everything.  I have pictures of this, but they all involve my naked bum so I'm going to forgo those.  Again, lying on my side was way too painful.  They had me lift my leg high in the air and back as I pushed with each contraction to try and get the baby’s head around my bone.  He was having a hard time getting around it.  This was all in the transition phase (known to be the most painful and when a lot of women want to give up).  On that bed I wanted to give up.  I looked at Jennifer, the midwife, and I told her I couldn’t do it, that I was too weak, that the birth was too far away and that I give up.  She looked me in the eye and told me I could do it—that she had done this four months ago and had thought the same thing I did, but that I was wrong.  She told me I was really close.  I didn’t believe her.  I thought she was just telling me that so I would keep going.  I felt despair that I had failed.  The midwives decided that the bed wasn’t working (and I definitely agreed) and that the birth stool would help me be in the right position to give my pushes more power to finally get the baby’s head around my bone. 
The birth stool is a padded U-shaped stool about a foot off the ground.  I was skeptical.  I got on it and Daniel positioned himself behind me to give support and hold me under the arms.  Turns out the birth stool is the best thing ever.  I pulled my legs apart and gripped Daniel and started pushing again with each contraction.  It worked.  The baby’s head got around the bone and they told me to reach down and feel my baby’s head—I felt it!  I could do it!  I was almost there!  Feeling that head gave me the strength to get through the rest.  I pushed on the stool with each contraction and then went limp on Daniel to rest in between.  With each contraction I felt him getting a little closer, which also got me excited.  I would say this part of pushing was actually one of the least painful parts of labor.  
Laboring in the birth stool

Any minute now!

Eventually though I got to the ring of fire—what women call it when the baby is crowning.  It is aptly named!  I had been warned to go slow at this part because if you just try to push fast to get through the pain you will tear.  So, Jennifer coached me through each push.  At one point I had to “hold it” as his head was crowning to let my skin stretch.  This was the most difficult thing in the world because my body just wanted to push so badly.  I had to lock eyes with Jennifer as she told me I could do it and to hold it and not push.  With coaching from the midwives I suddenly felt his head fully come out.  I was shocked at how it felt and the relief it gave.  Everyone in the room gasped (my mom and sister were watching) and I knew he was almost here.  After just a couple more pushes the rest of his body slipped right out and I collapsed against Daniel.  It felt so unbelievable I can’t even describe it.  All the pain immediately went away and I knew I had done it.  They placed him on my chest and the best day of my life began!

Everyone started crying and again I was in awe at what I had just done and that there was a baby on my chest.  I couldn’t believe it.  He was here after all that time and worrying and waiting.  They put him on my chest and we snuggled still sitting on the birth stool for a little while.  They had me remove my sports bra to get really good skin to skin and to make sure that the wet bra wasn’t making him cold.  We also had him covered with a warm fuzzy towel.  He hardly cried at all.  He just whimpered a bit and gave us a few squawks.  He immediately looked up at me and just started quietly looking around.  He also came out almost completely clean.  There was practically no blood, no vermix.  He was juts a little slick looking.  After a quick towel dry he was looking perfect.  

I gave the baby to Daniel so he could have some time with him while I got checked out.  The midwives helped me to the bed and they examined me.  I had a first degree tear, which wasn’t too bad all things considered.  The midwives realized as they watched the baby come out that he had grabbed onto his umbilical cord near his shoulder and stuck his elbow out in front of his face the entire way down the birth canal.  His elbow had literally been dragging down my spine the entire way—hence the horrific back pain.  He stuck to that position the whole way out and they said it was a miracle that I didn’t tear more because of that elbow. 

Then it was time for the placenta to be delivered.  In all honesty I had completely forgotten about this until I realized what was happening.  I remember thinking that I hope it wouldn’t hurt or take too long.  Well, it DEFINITELY didn’t take long.  This was one of the funniest things ever.—and kind of gross so skip this part if you want to.  I had the thought about hoping it wouldn’t hurt and then the midwife told me to cough.  I let out one small cough and the placenta literally shot out of me and slid at least two feet down the bed.  I saw the shock on the midwives’ faces and my sister pretty much gasped.  It was like the little sneeze moment from the movie What to Expect When You’re Expecting where her baby shoots out with one small sneeze.  It didn’t hurt at all, it was just a bit of a shock—and hilarious.  They told me it was a large, very healthy placenta so I guess it was all good.  I will never forget the looks on everyone’s faces though when that thing came out!
      Next, Jennifer stitched me up, and let me say that getting those three numbing shots was TERRIBLE.  It was like getting a nasty bee sting somewhere you should never get a bee sting.  I literally screamed out loud all three times.  I couldn’t help it.  After I was stitched up they brought me to the bathroom to try and pee and I started realizing how weak I was.  I wasn’t aware how much blood you lose on top of how exhausted you are (and how exhausted I already was before I even got to the birth center!).  It suddenly hit me and I could barely keep my head up and my eyes open.  I couldn’t quite go to the bathroom yet so they got me all “bandaged” up and brought me back to the room.  I barely made it to the bed, I thought I was going to pass out.  So, they got me all comfy sitting in the bed while they did the newborn exams. 
Daniel brought Riley over to the bed and the midwives did all of his measurements so we could be near and watch. I started talking to someone when they laid him down and he immediately started looking around for me and stretching toward where I was laying.  Everyone couldn’t believe it, it was so adorable!  He knew my voice!  It was a really nice first “I’m a mom” moment.  He ‘passed’ all of his tests.  He is LONG AND SKINNY!  He weighed 7 pounds, 9 ounces and was 22 inches long.  His head was 13 ¾ inches.  He was born at 3:12 am.  

After all the testing stuff was done they put him to my chest and we breastfed for the first time—definitely an interesting sensation!   He latched right on and was so good right from the start.  I did this for about 10 minutes but then I was so weak I couldn’t sit up or hold him anymore, so I put him down, which made me feel so bad but I really didn’t have a choice.  Me, Daniel, and the baby all napped on the bed together for about an hour or so.  They brought us breakfast in bed, which was awesome.  After that Daniel and my mom helped take me to the tub where they helped me shower and clean off.  This was literally a three person job!  Again I was weak and had to sit down in the tub while Daniel and my mom soaped me up and helped get me feeling like a human being again.  We slowly worked our way back to the bed so I didn’t pass out and I rested for a while longer while Daniel, my mom, and my sister started packing up all our things to leave.  We left the birth center around 9am and were home taking an awesome nap by 10 am.  I was so happy to be in my bed!  

It was a miracle we got these two perfect prints!

First family photo

How many people does it take to put a newborn in a car seat?

One hour old

 Anyway, that is the story of Riley’s birth.  I know there are lots of details I will probably remember later or add, but I think the most important things are here.  Already people are asking me if I would go natural again and can I even think about doing this again right now.  It is definitely a bit soon to be thinking about having another kid and going through all of that again, but I’d say I would definitely do it again.  It blows my mind that I could have gone to the hospital much earlier in my labor and gotten an epidural and had a much less painful experience, but now that I’ve done it naturally I cannot imagine doing it any other way.  I can’t imagine not being able to really feel what it feels like to give birth.  It's crazy to me that most women, at least in the U.S., haven't got to have that experience.  Our bodies are SO AMAZING and it was a special privilege to be able to experience what a woman’s body is capable of doing firsthand.  It was not the easier road to take but I knew it was the right one for me and absolutely the best choice for the health of my baby.  I am in love with this boy!