This was perhaps my trickiest year of deciding which word I wanted to use for this new year. You should see the notebook page I have filled with possible words and why I’d want to use them and how I planned to. It was a whole ordeal. I have this notebook that I have on the table next to my bed where I spill my words onto all throughout the night (sometimes while awake, sometimes while asleep) and during this deciding period, that notebook was getting a lot of action. I thought through a lot, but I finally came up with my word!
Without further ado, my word for the year 2023 is…
Here’s how it sounds in my mind.
Love for myself. Love for my family. Love for my neighbors. Love for those I come in contact with. Love in my home. Radiating love. That sort of thing, you know?
I decided not to actively do New Years Resolutions this year. I don’t know, it just didn’t feel right this year. I’m still learning how to be a mom of four, I’m finding a new groove that I’m thinking I’ll really enjoy.. I don’t want to set goals that aren’t realistic or thought through. No sense in writing down a list of goals just because everyone else does if I know I’m not going to do much about them, you know?
Simply, I’m working on this: try a little harder to be a little better. I just want to work on myself on my own time in my own way. I have paired that phrase with the word for my year: LOVE. Between those two things I’m feeling really optimistic about this year. I’m not entirely sure how it’ll all go..I really don’t have a plan! But I’m eager.
The older I’m getting the more I’m learning that it’s ok to be yourself and move at your own speed. I don’t need to compare myself to anyone! The only person I should compare myself with is myself! Just trying to be a little better than the person I was yesterday. And if I don’t succeed at that, which I certainly won’t all the time, I can try again and again! I’m giving myself a lot of grace and acceptance. Giving myself lots of love and kindness along the way as well.
Hey, we made it! Another year! Welcome to 2023. How are we feeling?
2022 was a good year for me. I got my sweet baby boy in August and he has truly changed our families world for the better. Isn’t it funny how when you welcome a precious new baby into your life you realize just how badly you needed them? Winston was just that for me. Especially with him being another of my rainbow babies, he just holds a special spot in my heart and he healed things that only he could. If nothing else good happened to me in 2022, everything would have been worth it because of this wonderful baby of mine. Happily though, I can tell you that thankfully a lot of good things happened to me in this year. So hip-hip-hooray for that!
The year was also a rather simple one for me, too. Nothing monumental (aside from birthing a perfect human) happened, I wasn’t as healthy as I wanted to be, I lost check of my mental health, I didn’t reach all of my goals.. yet I was still ok. I learned a lot about myself. I learned I don’t have to hold myself to such a high and perfect standard. It’s ok for me to be…whatever I am. I can be imperfect. I can feel frazzled. I can have bad days and good days. I can kick butt at the gym and I can be lazy at home and eat Oreos for lunch. It’s all ok. Maybe that was the biggest lesson I learned in 2022. I’m still learning. I’m still figuring things out and becoming more and more ok with having flaws. Its liberating. It feels really nice. I am happy.
I want more of that in 2023. I’m eager to give myself more grace, kindness and mercy.
For this reason I’ve opted out of new years resolutions and goals to reach. I’m just going to continue being ok with who I am and with my journey. Its fun! It really is.
I have just decided that I’m going to try a little harder to be a little better. Thats my goal. Thats my resolution.
But I did keep up with my tradition of picking a word for myself for the new year. This years word?
I want to love more. Myself. Others. I want to be better at serving others and looking for needs I can help with. I want to be less judgmental and more loving. I want to make my home a place where people feel loved, comfortable, special, valued, included and safe. I want to be a person who leaves you feeling better than you felt before you saw me. I want to highlight the good things about you. I want to radiate positivity. I want to ooze love. I’m looking forward to this journey in becoming more of this.
To be quite honest with you, I have no idea what this brand new shiny year holds for me. I’m hopeful. I’m excited. And of course, a little anxious. I hope it’s a good year. I hope my family and I have the opportunities to add thousands more memories to the beautiful ones we have already. I’m feeling pretty great!
Happy New Year, my friends! Be safe! Be kind! Know you’re loved and important!
Well it finally happened. I knew it would eventually, but I really hoped it’d take a lot longer. I haven’t adequately prepared myself. I didn’t figure out what answers I’d have for the difficult questions that would be asked. But alas, here we are and the questions have been asked.
My oldest boys asked if we could have an elf on the shelf.
Craig and I have been on the same page about this since elf on the shelf happened. NO! No elf. That just seems like…a lot. Our family and close friends who have an elf have even warned us against ever committing to such a task.
But do you know how hard it is to say no to your cute little sons sometimes when they ask for something so excitedly and purely?? It’s kinda brutal.
For those of who who’ve also decided, with Santa of course, that the elf life isn’t for you.. how did you break it to your kids?
My kids really love their advent calendars. Craig and I have sort of told them we decided with Santa that instead of an elf, we’d take a few calendars. They seemed ok with it for the time being, but I know it’s going to come up again.
But why is there this silly part of me that feels like I’m depriving my children of some kind of Christmas magic?
I’m not, right?
I need validation, people.
Gah. So what would you guys do? How do you kindly tell your kids it happens for some kids, but not for you?
Goodness, I adore this time of year. This is such a happy and magical time. Christmas time is always so special, but I think having kids and getting to watch the Christmas season through their eyes makes everything one hundred percent more whimsical and just…magic!!
There aren’t any enormous plans for us this December. Just little Christmas traditions and family parties, but we all can’t wait.
H and E remember so many of our little traditions and are so greatly looking forward to them. There is so much to be excited about!
Something that makes me extra excited is that I am like 98% done with my shopping!!
I’m going to blame this whole thing on hormones. But I’m not complaining about it. It’s brought about so many deep thoughts, goals and changes I’m eager to make. So look at that! Postpartum hormones can be good! Haha.
This is going to sound real deep. You ready? Lately I’ve been pondering the meaning of life. (Why do I feel cringey saying that?) It’s been a lot of wondering what my purpose is here. What am I here to do? How can I help people around me? How can I leave a good mark in my tiny corner of this big world?
The thought that keeps reoccurring to me is that generally, I believe the meaning of life – and the purpose of us all – is to love one another.
To me that means to reach out to people. To serve people. To pray for people. To ask how I can help. To give of my time. To listen when people speak. To be judgement free and try to see people how God sees them. To be understanding, forgiving and compassionate. I don’t think the purpose of life is to solely focus on ourselves (but of course that’s not to say we don’t need to love and serve ourselves as well) – I think a tremendous amount of life should be focused on looking outward.
I want to be better at this. I want to be the neighbor that everyone knows is reliable – who will lend help in a seconds notice. Who will leave notes or treats on the front step. Who will pray for your sick kids or struggling family member. Who will text you back or sit on your porch and chat. I want to be helpful. I want to be there for those around me. I want people to feel comfortable, safe and lifted when they are with me.
I’ve spent so many nights thinking of ways I can mindfully start this process. I’m excited to begin. With that all said, thank you for being here. For listening. For reading. For sending comments or messages. You’re all wonderful and I hope someone has told you that lately, and if they haven’t then… YOU’RE WONDERFUL! Now you’ve heard it. Believe it!
I shared about my ECV with my third baby a couple of years ago but now we’re back with my ECV experience with my fourth baby! First of all, isn’t it crazy that I’ve (almost) had four babies, and three of them have been breech? My doctors predict that I have an odd shaped uterus that causes it to lead my babies to be more comfortable in a head-up position as opposed to the desirable head-down position. Lucky me, huh?
So anyway. Lets chat about this ECV, shall we?
First of all, ECV is short for External Cephalic Version. What does that mean? Basically, it means…ouch. Haha. But for real. Owie. Ok, but really an ECV is when a doctor externally moves your baby from a head-up to a head-down position. Essentially, they just push on your stomach really, really hard, moving your baby to the position they need to be in.
Now onto the story.
We got to the hospital about an hour-ish before the procedure was to begin. They get you all set in your hospital gown, check one last time with an ultrasound to ensure that the baby is indeed breech, hook you up to the monitors, put an IV in you and talk you through what’s going to happen. Finally, its time for the actual ECV.
My doctor came in, checked the ultrasound again to sort of make a game plan and began. My baby has been sitting at a bit of a diagonal angle, so this whole time I’ve believed the route from head-up to head-down would be slightly shortened since his head wasn’t completely straight up. Buuuuut turns out the safest way to move him was around the other way, so it was actually a longer turn. However it was what was safest for our baby, so obviously it was all ok.
Now it was go-time. I got a shot in my arm (I can’t completely remember what its for – maybe its a muscle relaxer? you want that uterus nice and relaxed so its not quite as difficult to move the baby) and just like last time I got this, it stung so dang badly. Then a small group of medical staff gather around, and in my case I also had a few students in there to watch, and then my doctor got to work.
My baby was very stubborn this time around. My last ECV lasted maybe five minutes. This one was a little over twenty, I believe? His little bum was nestled comfortably in a spot that he did not want to move from so my doctor had to first lift his bum out of that spot and then start moving him with his hands.
He had to push really hard. Craig said during the whole procedure my doctor was white knuckled he was pushing so hard and after the procedure he showed us that he’d actually broken a sweat! Like I said, baby boy really put up a fight!
Every once in a while we had to pause and wait because babies heart rate would drop lower than they wanted – something we hadn’t experienced before. One of the medicines they’d given me made my heart rate go really high, so they said monitoring our hearts was kind of interesting because mine was so fast and his would drop down so slow. Luckily though, every time we’d pause, his heart would go back to normal and there never was a real issue there. It did make me nervous as we’d sit and wait for it to get back to a regular pace, but I found a lot of peace in knowing I was in good hands (I quite literally trust my doctor with my life…and my babies) and I knew if it got real bad, I’d be taken right into a c-section and it’d be ok.
Finally, he was head down. The doctor had got his head in a nice, snug place where he’d be able to settle until it was time to deliver him! As he told me, with how hard it was to get him into that position, he was sure it’d be nearly impossible for him to move out of his new position (spoiler alert: he stayed head down!)
After everything was done, they kept us for an additional two and a half-ish hours to monitor us, but mostly baby. With my last ECV they only kept us an hour, but this time with babies heart going up and down every once in a while during the version, they kept us just a little longer to watch. Thankfully everything looked just as it should and we were freed to go home.
Recovery from this is a bit uncomfortable for sure. I describe it as feeling as if my entire stomach is a very sensitive bruise. It hurt to touch, especially in a couple of spots he had to push particularly hard on. It also took me a good 24 hours to stop feeling the effects of the drugs they’d given me, but other than that it was really just fine!
Then finally I allowed baby watch to officially begin with the hopes that I’d have another successful v-bac!
Sometimes good, amazing things happen and are just too good not to share. In fact, this past week at church we were kind of challenged to share our testimonies or spiritual experiences with people. As I pondered how I could do this, I kept thinking of my social media platforms and wanted to think of a way to share on those. Then Tuesday happened and I knew exactly what I could share.
I have two quick stories that will really stick with me for a while and I am excited to share!
Lets start at the beginning.
On Monday evening and all through the night, a lot of Utah, our area included, was hit with a crazy thunder and lightning storm accompanied with TONS of wind and rain. The boys and I had stayed up late that night watching the storm and listening to it from their bedroom window. The next morning it was evident that the wind had done some pretty significant damage around our town. For some reason our area was spared from much damage, but as we drove to the grocery store that morning we drove through a neighborhood that had been hit hard by the wind. Some streets you couldn’t even drive down because trees, huge ones and small ones alike, were strewn across the road. Fences were ruined by these trees, some light poles were down, play houses and trampolines weren’t in their original spots.. It was a mess.
But it brought about some amazing sights. There were so many trucks pulling trailers coming into this neighborhood and trucks and trailers already there. People, strangers, friends and neighbors scattered these neighborhoods and were helping chop these trees into smaller pieces and haul them out of the neighborhood. I watched a man standing in a yard with his arm around a little frail old woman who seemed pretty upset about the damage to her big front yard trees. I saw people working together to lift big heavy tree trunks into trailers. It was really incredible and humbling to see.
It was a beautiful reminder that there are so many good people in the world. It was amazing to see these people coming together to help their community. I felt really honored to witness it.
I have been (pretty silently) stressing out about body image this pregnancy. Not necessarily my pregnant body – I’m actually really confident in my pregnant body. I love what its doing and I’m truly proud of it. I’m more obsessed and nervous about my after-baby-body. If you remember, before this pregnancy I’d got my body to a place I was super proud of. I’d lost weight and got into great shape. I know very well that once Baby Boy is here I’ll very likely be starting back at square one with my body. I know I’m gaining weight and I’ll have to put in a lot of work again to get my body back to that spot I loved before I got pregnant. I keep getting so fixated on this. I’m not in a bad mental state or anything, its just frustrating and consumes my thoughts from time to time.
So on Monday evening, pretty casually in my prayers before bed, I asked Heavenly Father to help me accept my future post-baby body. I know it sounds kind of silly, but I knew God knew what I was talking about.
The next day we went to the grocery store (where we saw all the amazing stuff from story one). While there, I ran into a girl I knew from an old neighborhood. We hadn’t seen each other in a while, but one thing I remembered about her is that she isn’t able to have children of her own. However two months ago, she and her husband were able to adopt their first baby – a beautiful little baby girl she had wrapped around her chest. It was exciting to see her be a mother and we had a nice little brief conversation and caught up.
As she turned and walked the other way after we chatted, she ended up running into someone else she knew. I remained on the aisle trying to find salad dressing that was taking forever to be located (something I know now was no coincidence). I could hear my old friend and this lady she knew chatting for a second and then the adoption was brought up.
Clear as day during their conversation, I heard the girl start talking about how she’s still having a hard time accepting that her body will never look like…and then she pointed down at me. Then she told the woman she was talking with she would kill to have her body “look like that,” one day.
The brightest, most amazing lightbulb went off in my head then. My post-baby body, whatever it may look like, is something that some people would do anything to have. And I’ve been taking it for granted. I’ve been dreading it. I’ve been disrespectful to it. But in that moment, my prayers were answered and I was reminded of just how special, sacred and wonderful my body is – even the body that I’ll have in those following weeks and months after giving birth to my fourth child. I love how the Lord works.
So now I’m going to do my best to hold tight to those feelings I had in the grocery store. I’m going to try to remember the epiphany I had and the reminder I was given that even a post-baby body is absolutely beautiful and worthy of lots of love and respect.
I feel like once you hit week thirty of pregnancy, you’re on the final countdown. Right? So that means that for a couple of weeks now I’ve just slowly been checking off days getting me closer and closer to little brothers due date. Its exciting! Time is moving fast and slow, but all kind of at the perfect speed. School will have started by the time he arrives (likely) and I’m not mentally ready for that, so I’m ok with these summer days dragging on, honestly. However the stretching belly pain, hip throbbing, achey back, nausea, sciatic fun and heartburn are also causing me to wish that time flew. Its a mix – but I’m ok with it all for the most part.
I’m doing pretty well. Still sick, but the longer it lasts, the more you’re used to it. Gestational Diabetes has been a ton more manageable this time around and I’ve learned so much more about how to handle it, listen to my body and understand the foods I’m eating. My stomach is really sore and I feel like way more often than I’d like to, I need to lay down just to take the load off. That, or go hop in the pool to feel weightless for a while, and thankfully my kids are always happy to get in with me (hallelujah).
The excitement is definitely growing. I’m imagining him in more detail now. I feel like I’m getting to learn more about his personality lately through his movements. He responds to sound, pokes, music and commotion. I’ve started going through the boys old baby clothes and am picturing him in them. Its been real for a while now, but its all getting really real lately.
I’ve also began the zillions of lists I make before having a baby. The hospital bag list, the things to do around the house before he’s born list, the list of random things I still need to buy, the list of postpartum care things I’ll need, the baby name list – because no, we are still not even close at naming this little man… You know, those types of things. But I actually love lists, so don’t confuse this paragraph for a complaint, because it isn’t at all.
As far as cravings go, I really don’t have any. Well any food cravings. I do, however, crave the smell of most cleaning products – especially laundry detergent and dryer sheets. I also love the smell of (don’t laugh at me) dirt. Oo, especially wet dirt. Yum. Am I psycho? I don’t know, maybe. But I love it all too much to really care.
I’m just really happy. I’m feeling hopeful and excited and can’t wait to finally meet this sweet little baby boy!! Life is good.