Time Flies and Kids Grow Up

The other day I woke up in the middle of the night to feed Flora. She’s woken up and needed to nurse to feel soothed. As I sat in the gold chair in her room, I rocked her and held her little tiny hand. I thought about how mind blowing it is to me that somehow she’s already one. That was a very fast year. Her tiny little fingers wrapped around my finger and I rubbed her hands between my fingers. She’s so small and precious. I soaked her in, because I know how this works.. you blink and the next thing you know, your kids are a whole other year older.

I laid her back into her crib then popped into my boys shared bedroom to check on them before I went back to bed. Harrison’s arm was hanging off of his bed in a weird angle, so I grabbed his hand to lay it back on the bed. As I grabbed his hand, I literally froze. I sat there and held his hand for a moment, rubbing it between my fingers. I was just thinking about how fast Flora was growing and how her small little hands were growing every day. Now I was holding my five and a half year olds hands which suddenly felt enormous. There were little scratches and blisters on his hands from all the playing he does. He has big boy hands. Once, they were just like Flora’s.

Time flies. I keep seeing the phrase that, “time is a thief,” or hearing moms telling their little ones to, “never grow up,” and I get it. Man, do I get it. These moments are precious. This phase of life is pure magic. They’re only little so long. They’re only you’re small child for so many years…

But a few months ago I was reading a post on Instagram from the point of view of a father who had a young son pass away at two years old after a courageous battle with cancer. In his post, he told people to stop wishing for your children not to grow up. Stop mourning stages passing. Because someone out there is wishing that they could have watched their child grow up.

I’ve thought about this post so frequently. I see both sides. I truly do. And while I’ll never totally be a-ok with my kids growing up so wildly fast, and fearing that I’m not living in the moment enough, I’m choosing to be so grateful for all of this. I’m grateful I get to watch my kids grow. I’m grateful that time is passing and that we get to pass the time together.

And I’m so very grateful that I’ll be able to hold their hands, in all of their sizes, as it happens.

Another Step in Speech

It is so beyond crazy to me, and a little bittersweet to be honest, that Harrison is about to close a big chapter in his Speech Therapy journey. He has been in Speech since he was newly two years old. At first, a wonderful Speech Therapist would come to our home frequently to meet with him and help teach him (and me) how to even begin speaking. When we started, Harrison ‘spoke’ through a mostly closed mouth and communicated with grunts. When he did speak, it was a jumble of vowels and very, very, very few people could ever even get close to figure out what he was trying to say. Our in-home therapist taught us so much and got him started on the right foot. He made great progress fairly quickly. There were set backs, there were frustrating days, but there were also glorious triumphs and really exciting milestones met. Its been a fascinating, exhilarating journey. More than anything, its shown me how resilient, dedicated and smart my Harrison is. He’s been setting goals and crushing them for years now, and its so inspiring to me. I’m so proud of him.

Harrison right about when this whole journey began! So tiny!
Buddy with some of his sensory activities that his in-home SLP had us get to help promote speech and sound!

His early intervention place (that provided us our in-home speech therapist) only takes little ones until they turn three. So a quick year later, we got Harrison transferred over to our local school districts speech therapy program. It started with an evaluation that was maybe one of the lowest, most frustrating times of this whole journey for me. The evaluation was long. Harrison didn’t want to cooperate at all, he didn’t connect with the woman giving the screening at all.. it was a train wreck. I sobbed the whole way home and throughout much of the day. It was frustrating. I wasn’t frustrated with Harrison, just with the process. We had to reschedule him to do the entire screening over again. I was terrified and dreaded it, but knew it needed to be done. I wanted my boy to keep progressing with his speech and sounds! So we went back to the second screening and thanks heavens, it went a billion times better. He was cooperative, he connected with the new screener. It was awesome. And honestly, its been awesome ever since.

Harrison’s first day of Speech School!

We got little three year-old Harrison into his little Speech Preschool class, and we have been doing that once a week ever since. I owe the SLP’s who’ve worked with him over these years so much thanks and gratitude. I will be eternally grateful for the work they put into Harrison’s speech and success. They are heaven sent humans. These classes have been fun, educational and have got Harrison to the point where he is now. And if you knew Harrison at the beginning of his speech process, then you know just how far he has come. Its amazing.

This Fall Harrison will start Kindergarten (what???) and with that, he will be closing the chapter we have both loved so much, of Speech Preschool. It’ll close the chapter of me being with him while he does speech. Its so bittersweet. Now he will be meeting with a SLP that works in the school he’ll attend who will pull him out of class once a week. He will still be setting goals and tackling them. He’ll still be practicing and learning. But I won’t be there. Thats weird to me. It feels so grown up on his part. How is my boy going into Elementary School!? Sheesh, time flies, but thats a post for another day.

Harrison surely still will be in the speech program for several more years. He’s doing incredible, but still has a ways to go. I love knowing he’s surrounded by a wonderful support system and teachers who are dedicated to helping him do his very best when it comes to something thats been so tricky for him his whole life.

Now, I’m obviously not a SLP or a professional on any of this, but I am Harrison’s mom, and have been very invested in this for most of his life. So I know a thing or two. I’m asked pretty frequently some of the same questions. I answer them occasionally on comments or instagram DM’s, but I’ve chosen to answer my most frequently asked speech-related questions here to make it easier on all of us! If your question isn’t here, message me or comment and I promise I’ll get back to you! This is something I’m passionate about and highly support, so I will most definitely respond.

FAQ About Harrison’s Speech Journey

Do you think Speech is worth it? One trillion percent, yes. Speech has taught us tricks, tips and techniques I never would have come up with in a million years. It has given us the tools to use at home to help Harrison progress. Its held him/me accountable in working with him. Its given Harrison confidence. Its given him classroom experience. Its provided comfort and calm. Its been incredible. I can’t imagine how much more behind Harrison would be if we didn’t choose to put him into speech.

How was he diagnosed with a speech delay? I’d been panicking about him for a while. I took my concerns to our wonderful pediatrician and he gave us the information for an early intervention company nearby us. If you’re concerned about your little ones speech, I’d suggest either asking your pediatrician for a referral, or calling your local school district and asking them what your school system suggests.

Could this just be done at home without intervention? I mean, yes. But in my honest opinion, not as well. There are resources online and so many YouTube videos, etc., but I just know Harrison has learned so much better from SLP’s in person, who really know what they’re doing. Even though parents are awesome and can learn so much, I still 1,000% recommend going to a SLP.

Is Speech Therapy expensive? Not at all. We have been in this about three and a half years. Guess how much we have paid? $0. I love that they’ve truly made this accessible for everyone.

How did you know he was behind in speech? He wasn’t talking as well as kids his age, which at first didn’t concern me. But then I notice he wasn’t talking nearly as well as kids 6+ months younger than him. So then I started to be mindful of it and worry. Trust your gut though!! Testing is free, too! So if you’re worried, I say test. You’d rather know for sure instead of sitting in the scary unknown.

Memory Keeping

Since having my first child five and a half years ago, I’ve been wondering just how I would store my kids important papers/documents/keepsakes. Everyone has their own method that they’re passionate about, and I listened to so many ideas, but ultimately I (finally) landed on this, my own, method. I’ve seen this same idea all over the internet, so I’m not at all claiming it as my own. I’m just super excited about it so I’m sharing it with you in case you’re on the hunt for a good storage idea too! And believe me, if I can do it, so can you. It was super simple and very satisfying.

I ordered file folder boxes and files. The boxes I ordered came in a pack of 4, so I even have one ready for my next baby! Then I ordered a pack of files for each box – the packs I ordered came with 25 (I think) and there are several extra folders in each box, should we decide we need them for something in the kids future. I put the folders in the box and labeled them (in this order):

Baby

Toddler

Preschool

Kindergarten

1st Grade

2nd Grade

3rd Grade

4th Grade

5th Grade

6th Grade

7th Grade

8th Grade

9th Grade

10th Grade

11th Grade

12th Grade

Stats

Medical

Keepsakes

Documents

Then, with my cricut machine, I cut out their first initials in vinyl and applied them to the front and voila! Told you it was easy!

I don’t plan on keeping every single paper from school or piece of art they create (like adorable scribbles on scraps of paper, you know?) But I’m going to mindfully keep the papers that my kids worked extra hard on or are extra proud of. The papers that have a funny story behind them or are particularly adorable. The ones I think they’d be happy to see someday when they’re adults showing their own children their memories.

I have put the bracelets we wore in the hospitals for their births in the Baby folder, along with ultrasound pictures, etc. In the boys Toddler folders, I put the bag of clippings from their first haircuts. Things like that. I also knew I had to have a folder dedicated to their stats from doctors appointments. I’m obsessed with my kids stats so I wanted them readily available.

What else would you add?!

The Year We Never Saw Coming

Around this time last year, the world as we knew it, changed. There is no way that at the end of 2019 we could’ve ever imagined that 2020 would look the way it did. Its all so crazy and surreal to look back at a whole year later. Remember when the world ‘shut down’ and it was supposed to only last a couple of weeks to flatten the curve? Even then, when everything was first shut down, I don’t think we truly had any idea what was in store for us. Did anyone look at this and think we’d still be in a very similar spot a year later?

I’m grateful for the progress. There is more knowledge and security. There is more peace and hope. I’m very, very thankful for that. But its still hard to grasp. I’m still in a sort of denial that this is the new normal we thought would only have to last a few weeks.

Us, right at the beginning of quarantine

In the space of this crazy year, a lot of big changes have happened in our family.

We added our sweet little Flora to the family, thus having a pandemic baby which is the wildest of rides, and the thing that definitely rocked me the most in all of this. When I found out I was pregnant in October 2019, I truly had no idea that during much of my pregnancy I’d be stressed out about my health and a scary new virus taking over the world. I had no idea how much fear would be instilled in me about the health of my baby. I had no idea how overwhelming it would be to have a baby in the smack middle of a global pandemic. However, there were silver linings, too. Craig was working from home around this time still, so it felt like extended paternity leave. He got to help so much with the boys and the new baby. We didn’t see extended family quite as much as we would have liked to, but it forced us to really rely on one another in a way we’d never done before. It also helped me find my voice and be confident in my gut feelings, when it came to having difficult or awkward conversations with other people when it came to visitors, outings, etc.

We also moved, which is another thing we just didn’t see coming. Our new home has been such a blessing. It all happened so fast and was a lot like a whirlwind while it happened, so now that we are settled and comfortable here in our new place, I’m really seeing how great of a decision this was for our family. Our new home has space to grow and continue to build our family. This is where our kids will grow up and I’m so thankful we are in this place.

I’ve also learned a lot about myself in this year. We opted not to put Harrison in preschool this year and chose to do homeschool. Since Emmett is just two years behind him, I decided to do preschool at home with them both. I wasn’t sure how it would all go. I know I’m capable of teaching preschool level curriculum, but I wasn’t sure if I’d be an exciting ‘teacher,’ or if I’d be able to teach things in a way that my kids would be able to internalize. But thanks to online resources and approximately 8 billion prayers on my part, I found that not only can I do this, but I can be really good at it. The kids and I have had so much fun doing preschool together. I’ll admit, I’m a little bit sad that next year Harrison will go off to Kindergarten and Emmett will officially start in a real preschool.

We learned a lot about respecting others. I think we can all agree that wearing masks is a pain. They’re sweaty, they cause acne, they make breathing seem trickier, but I do think they’re something just fine to enforce right now. I’m definitely not against them. But even more than my feelings on masks, I’ve learned to see that wearing a mask in public is very much a way to show that I and my family love and care for others. Me wearing a mask is an outward way to show that I respect you and your health and well-being. Its also been a nice way to teach my kids about respecting others.

I learned that I’m resourceful. There was the period of time when basic food items were hard to find. I learned to be resourceful with the food I had in my pantry. I learned how to make fun, educational things out of the seemingly mundane things around our house for the kids. I was able to dive back into my love of scrapbooking in all the time spent at home, and made our families own Quarantine Scrapbook, that I really think I’ll cherish and hopefully my posterity will, as well.

My testimony grew tremendously in this year. I’m a worrier. My dad is a high-risk person. I was pregnant for a long time during this and wasn’t sure what Covid could do to a pregnant or breastfeeding woman. I imagined terrible things happening to the health of those I love, especially the people who didn’t take it as seriously as I was. I just worried constantly. I feared the worst happening. I knew the virus didn’t typically have bad things happen to young children, but I still wondered if my children would be the acceptation if they got it. I was a ball of anxiety. Well, I always am. But I was an even bigger ball. I would pray so many times a day and just beg Heavenly Father for clarity and calm. I’d pour my heart out for the well-being of my family. I’d ask for peace of mind, because at times, my mental health struggled so much under all the fear and uncertainty. Sometimes I had to learn some lessons first, or search hard for answers, but I definitely was comforted and felt peaceful. I was strongly reminded that God is in all the details and he is stronger than any earthly person, even stronger than a global pandemic. I was reminded that His plan is truly the plan of happiness, and He knows what He’s doing. I trust Him. I know He has me and my family, and everyone, securely in His hands.

We are a year into this now. I’m not sure when things will be ‘norma,’ again, or if they ever will. But I’m happy to report, that though this has all been crazy and unexpected, I’ve found joy, happiness and learning in the year of quarantine.

Us a few weeks ago

Love you all. I hope you’re all doing ok. Life is weird right now. Life is crazy. Things can be uncertain. But we can do this!

Powerful in a Sweatsuit

Did you watch WandaVision? The series just finished on Disney+, but you can – and absolutely should – still watch it if you haven’t already. I give it all the stars and all the thumbs up. Wanda Maximoff, AKA, The Scarlet Witch, has always been one of my very favorite MCU (marvel cinematic universe) characters, but I think this show put her at #1 on my list.

Anyway, this post will have very small “spoilers,” if you’re worried about that. But mostly, I just want to talk about how…

MOMS ARE FREAKING POWERFUL

Here is why my brain is in this place, and here is how Wanda is also a part of this thought: In the last two episodes of WandaVision, Wanda is in a pretty intense ‘battle.’ She is kicking butt, defending herself and her sons and husband, protecting her loved ones and what she cares about, being super amazing and super powerful….ALL WHILE WEARING SWEATS!

I mean, let’s hear it for the queen!

It made me think of real life. I can’t speak for all of you, but I know I do a lot of my mommin’ while wearing a cozy sweat suit. I also know that sometimes it’s real easy for me to get down on myself because of not always getting ready or accomplishing everything on my to-do list. Or maybe I’m feeling a little guilty because I’m not the “perfect mom” I follow on Instagram. You know?

But then I watched Wanda, who was being awesome and so powerful. In sweats. I mean, will I ever shoot magic red orbs from my palms, be able to alter reality and control things with my mind? Unfortunately, no. But I CAN do amazing, awesome and powerful things in my sweats too!!

Toward the end of the final episode, Wanda turns into The Scarlet Witch, for real. It’s soooo cool – definitely still fan-girling about this. Then she dons her new superhero suit, which, might I add, is the best MCU costume I’ve yet to see. It’s an incredible scene, I won’t lie. But you know what? The new outfit isn’t what made her so cool. It was her and her actions. Sweatsuit Wanda is just as powerful as New Outfit Scarlet Witch.

The outfit, the situation, the location… that’s not what makes us powerful. We as moms, are doing powerful things every single day. And let’s be honest, we are probably in sweats. Our powers and things we balance, accomplish and work at are tremendous. We all have a little New-Outfit-Scarlet-Witch inside of us, we’re just doing it in our Wanda Sweats – and we are awesome! I hope you know that. I hope you believe that.

Sleep Training Baby Sis

K guys. If you pay any attention to me, you probably know that I don’t sleep at night very well. Why? Well, besides crippling anxiety, it’s because little Flora struggles so hard at night time. It was more common than not to get like maaaaybe two hours of sleep – and not consecutively. I rode the struggle bus – heck, I think I drove the struggle bus – daily, and I knew I needed to figure this out. When I don’t sleep, the first thing really affected is my mental health and…obviously I don’t want that. It also made Flora struggle to be the happy girl she naturally is and it was negatively affecting her naps during the day! It’s safe to say, things needed to change.

So I started simple and hey, somehow it’s working finally! I’ve tried this many times, but now it’s clicking for us both and I’m not lying when I say I have cried about this.

I love sleep.

How We’ve Done It

•At dinner time, I make sure she has a nice, full belly

•She takes a nice, warm bath and thoroughly enjoys every second of it (it’s adorable how much she loves baths)

•We lotion her up and put her in cozy jammies and her sleep sack

•We go in her brothers room to read a book, do scriptures and prayer, then we kiss her brother goodnight

•I nurse her for a few minutes then put her in her crib. Sometimes she is asleep, sometimes she is drowsy. I’m not a stickler on that.

•I turn the video monitor on and leave the room and close the doors

Typically she’ll cry for several minutes, but is then able to soothe herself back to sleep (YAY!) And each night she falls asleep quicker. I’m so proud of her. Seriously.

During the night she will occasionally whimper, but is able to fall back asleep on her own. If she is really sad, I go comfort her for a minute by patting her back and speaking softly to her. She also typically wakes up around 2:30/3 and we nurse – in all honesty, this ones for me. My boobs can’t handle going all night without nursing yet.

It’s amazing. It’s so refreshing and it feels strange and so satisfying to be able to sleep so well at night again. It’s been a long time, after all.

Sometimes it’s Hard, Guys

I’m trying to figure out how to say this without sounding insensitive. It’s been on my mind for the past week and I just want to share my thoughts on the topic.

The last few days I have seen several posts about how parents shouldn’t complain about their children. Mainly, the reasons seem to be because it scares future/hopeful mothers.

Here’s the thing. I totally get that! I remember when we were trying for Harrison, it never sat right with me when people would complain about their kids. I mean – you have a kid! That’s something people dream about and pray so hard for. So complaining about these little miracles just seemed downright awful. I still fully understand why people would say this, too. If you know me, you know I 100% believe people should have their own opinions and have every right to believe what they want to. Everyone has their own thoughts and that is GREAT! and I mean that!

However, now I’m a mother. I’ve had this title for a little over 5 hours now. It’s a beautiful thing. It’s my grandest blessing and greatest honor. I love my three children with my whole heart and life with them is even better than the best adventure I could have ever imagined. But motherhood can also feel really isolating and lonely sometimes. Sometimes you feel that way because of what your kids are doing. And..hey, I know it’s not great, but sometimes complaining a little bit feels good. I know that personally, when I whine a little and other moms can relate and share their advice or even their solidarity, it helps me feel less isolated. It helps me feel like I’m not doing motherhood all wrong. It helps ease the mom guilt. I promise I’m not doing it to scare anyone about motherhood. I’m not doing it to make anyone feel like I’m ungrateful for my children. Nothing could be farther from the truth. It just helps me feel less crazy. It reminds me it’s ok if every second isn’t a piece of cake. It reminds me that motherhood isn’t always a walk in the park, and THATS OK. I’m just grateful that there are other moms out there who validate these feelings. I hope I can validate them in other moms, as well. Motherhood is a journey and we are in this together!

As for you wonderful and valiant hopeful mamas and mamas-to-be, I truly hope that when I periodically complain about my kids sleep habits, picky eating or tricky behavior, you don’t see it as me trying to scare anyone or be inconsiderate to people. I’m doing it because just like you are on your journey, I am on mine and this is how I handle it. Guys. I promise you that I’m not trying to scare you. Motherhood is lovely and I’d never try to convince anyone otherwise.

Ok now I feel like I’m rambling. Do you get what I’m saying? I just basically want to say – I get both sides!! But I don’t feel like people should feel like they should be silent about things that help them mentally (like talking about all aspects of motherhood) out of fear of offending. Does this make sense?

Please just know I’m not trying to ruffle any feathers. I adore all of you. Everyone. I will validate all your feelings. Whatever side of this matter you’re on, I absolutely get it.

Alright I need to stop now because I feel like I’m talking myself in a hole. Haha! All of you keep being incredible. I love you all dearly.

A Woman in Office

Wow, is Chelsea getting political on a post?!

No. I am not.

Just hear me out.

I am writing this on November 7th, and today, Joe Biden became the 46th President of the United States. Which also means that today, Kamala Harris became Vice President. Today, a woman got into the office after a long, long, long line of men before her.

I’m going to be honest. The whole feminism thing has never been something I’m super, super passionate about. I mean, I wholeheartedly believe that women should be treated equal and can do anything a male can do. I don’t believe for a second that women are a lesser power or the weaker species. I’ve just never got all worked up about it before or gone out of my way to be any kind of vocal about women’s rights and things like that. I always supported it, but I didn’t put much into it after that.

Then I had a daughter.

When I look at my sweet baby girl, I daydream about her future. I look into her big hazel eyes and wonder who she’ll be. I wonder what she’ll stand for. I wonder what she’ll pursue. I wonder in what way she will change her part of the world. I wonder how she’ll impact those around her. There is so much I don’t know about her future, but one thing I know for certain is that I don’t want her to have to face any obstacle that her brothers wouldn’t have to face just because she is female. I want her to be able to be whatever the heck she wants to be and I want her to be able to do whatever the heck she wants to do.

Kamala Harris being in office is a step in the right direction. Its proof to these little girls (and big girls) that women can do whatever they put their minds to. Truly, I love what Vice President Harris said in her victory speech when she said, “While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last — because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities.”

I hope Flora is one of those little girls. I’ll make sure she’s one of those little girls. I want her to know that yes, she is a woman, and she can do anything she puts her mind to. I’m happy that, though she won’t remember the time of Biden and Harris, she’ll be able to look at history and see that a woman was in office. Who knows how many more will have been in as my daughter continues to grow older. I hope it doesn’t stop. I really don’t. Because little girls, whether they’re paying attention to politics or not, still pay attention to what other girls are doing.

I’m very close-lipped about politics. This post is in no way indicative of who I did or didn’t vote for and I have no intention of getting into that. I’m just looking at this, this moment, as a win for girls. The symbolism and significance of a woman, no matter what she stands for or claims she’ll do, is pretty amazing, empowering and exciting. I don’t speak out about much stuff like this, but people being treated equally is something I’ll always be in favor of.

And my daughter can do and be anything she puts her mind to.

Taking Care of MOM

You hear it all the time as a mother. “You need to take care of yourself.” But that can be so hard sometimes. Its something you just don’t totally get until you’re actually in it. I know its so incredibly important to take time out for me. I’m a better mom and wife when I make sure I’m taking care of myself and doing things for myself.

Sometimes it can be hard to figure out just what to do, though. What can you, as not only a mom, but a human being, do for yourself to rejuvenate yourself, refresh yourself and keep the relationship with yourself alive and healthy? I’m going to give you a few of my go-to self care things and some of my fantasy ones as well to hopefully inspire you to do something for yourself!!

Ideas to Take Care of Yourself

  • Take a bath. Not one to wash your hair, shave your legs and ponder the meaning of life. A bath to sit in hot water with a sparkly bath bomb, snacks, a Diet Coke and either a podcast on or something on YouTube. Lose yourself in the moment full of things you love and a whole lot of mindlessness.
  • Go get your nails done. Pick a color that makes you happy. Rock it.
  • Set aside time for yourself to read a book, a magazine, a blog or something of that nature. If reading isn’t your thing, I personally love to listen to a podcast while browsing instagram — or pictures of my kids haha.
  • Exercise. My personal faves are yoga or running. Or heck, try a new workout! Maybe you’ll find something you love and it could become your new outlet.
  • Take a nap. I know some people don’t identify as a ‘nap person,’ but I certainly am and I’m fairly certain that naps can solve lots of problems.
  • Go grab a soda. Going on a ride, listening to music or a podcast and getting a delicious Diet Coke? Sign. me. up. Sounds like a dream come true if you ask me.
  • Call your mom or a trusted family member or friend. Talk to the people who don’t live in your home and just chat. They should be some people that make you feel good.
  • Ice Cream and a show. One of my favorite things to do in the evening is to sit on the couch, watch tv, eat ice cream and play around on my computer. Sometimes I work on blog posts or sometimes I lose myself on Pinterest. Either way I feel awesome.

Those are only a few ideas, but they’re some of my tried and true ones. What are your go-to’s?!

Just remember. You’re amazing and you absolutely deserve time to yourself. You are just as important as your children and your husband. Don’t forget that!

Birth Story

On June 11th, our little Flora was born at 8:30am after a quick and kind of crazy delivery. She is absolute perfection and has changed our family for the better. Life with her in it is pure magic. Yesterday, she turned two months old (how??) and I have finally finished up her quick birth story for you guys. I think about her delivery a lot. It was not what I planned, but it was really incredible.

Now how about a birth story?

On the evening of June 10th I’d started feeling contractions that were different than the Braxton hicks contractions I’d felt the past few weeks. These ones weren’t super painful or anything, but I could tell they were slowly and surely getting more powerful. Harrison had a soccer game and then we went to my parents house for a while and the whole time I could just tell some things were changing, but I decided not to get my hopes up yet at this point and just tried to continue to be patient.

That evening around 9:30pm I felt like there was another shift in my body. More pain. A little more intensity. But nothing serious, yet. I got some stuff done around the house after putting the boys to bed, then decided to go to bed myself around 10:30 to see if I could sleep off the pain. I could until about 1:30am. I woke up somewhere around 1:30 hurting significantly more. I decided to finally download a contraction timing app and laid there in bed, timing my contractions for a while. They were coming anywhere from every 10-30 minutes, their intensity varying all the while. I texted my sisters just to let them know I may be needing them to come over in the middle of the night, then went back to waiting and timing and breathing.

Finally around 4 I had a contraction that made me shoot up. I couldn’t do it laying down anymore. It was a real, painful and powerful contraction. I woke Craig up in the process and I just remember him rubbing my back. He told me a little while later than when he saw me sit up, he knew this was the real deal. As I stood up, my water also broke (but in the moment I wasn’t sure if it was my water or if I’d wet my pants), but when I went to the restroom and noticed blood – a true labor sign for me – I quickly convinced myself that this was it.

Craig and I got ready, I told my sisters to come over and we arrived to the hospital right at 6 in the morning. I was hooked up to the monitors and checked (I was at a 4, with contractions coming every 1-2 minutes apart) and was told I’d be monitored for an hour to see if I progressed, and if I had enough, I’d be admitted.

I don’t think it was coincidence that my nurse (who we loved) randomly decided to check me at 30 minutes. Turns out, I was progressing fast, so with that, she admitted me a half an hour early! She called for my epidural, I got my IV and things started getting real. I was in a lot of pain by this point and I was also as hot as I have ever felt in my entire life.

The next little while was just waiting for things to continue to move. I kept dilating and kept waiting for my epidural. My doctor came in to say hi and check me and asked where my epidural was and the nurses explained they’d called for it couple of times and it still hadn’t shown up. He told them to call for it again. Not too long afterwards he came back in to check again and we knew that it would be time to push soon. Its a good thing I was hurting so bad and just totally in my own head, otherwise I probably would have gone into panic mode. When I had Harrison, my epidural was only sort of working, and I just remember that hurting – so I didn’t want to have to have a painful delivery again. But I was too busy focusing on surviving each contraction and trying not to burst into flames (seriously, I was SO hot) to think too much of my anesthesiologist not coming very fast – although I sure wished he would have hurried.

Around 8:20 the anesthesiologist finally came in and administered my long-awaited epidural. This one hurt pretty bad. I’m not sure if its just because everything hurt so bad at that point or what, but I just remember so much pain. Also, Craig couldn’t fan me anymore while I got my epidural, so I felt so hot I wanted to scream at people. Immediately after laying back down after getting that taken care of, I was checked.

It was time to push. Now. She was right there. But guess what? I was told my epidural would take at least 15 minutes to start working. I asked my nurse and Craig if there was anything we could do to make it work faster (in hind site, I see thats a silly question, but I was desperate) and she very kindly told me that I could wait for the epidural to start working, but that things were moving and baby sister was coming out.

So I started to push. I can honestly say that delivering a baby with no epidural to help me was the most pain I’ve ever felt and a lot more awful than I’d ever imagined, but at the same time, doing it without an epidural made me feel powerful and strong – something I don’t feel about myself too often. It was really neat to literally feel her every move as she came out of my body. Delivering her head and shoulders were…there are no words. Just ouch, ouch, ouch. But thankfully I only had to push a few times – about five minutes – and she was born.

Everyone noticed that she was a “good sized baby,” or a, “big baby,” immediately (I’ve got that with all my kids now). Craig cut the cord and my perfect little girl, my first daughter, was placed on my chest. There is nothing more magical than those moments.

A while later she was weighed, measured, cleaned and cared for. She weighed 8 pounds, 1 ounce and was 21 and 3/4ths inches, and 100% perfection.

We only stayed in the hospital one night due to Covid, and were able to go home the next day a few hours after noon. Only a couple of hours before we left, we finally named her Flora. The boys were beyond thrilled to meet their little sister. They greeted her so enthusiastically and sweetly, it melted me.

We are so, so happy to have our baby here safe, healthy and happy!