Dream Shard Blog: The Scintillating Adventures of Our Household

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Jan '13

Random pictures

In November, right before Elizabeth was born, Wes got to spend an hour with the BYU baseball team. He loved it, of course.

After Elizabeth was born, Carissa was eager to include her new baby sister in all her activities, like reading.

My mom and dad came to visit, and the kids had lots of quality time with Grandpa.

I tried to get a group shot of all three of my kids together. Tricky!

Wes and Carissa upside down.

One day I finally let the kids play in the snow. They loved tromping around the back yard.

In December we attended a Christmas party for families with kids with special needs. Both Wes and Carissa got to visit with Santa. I really thought Carissa would be too shy, but she was willing and hopped right up on his lap. And they both got suckers at the end.

One of Carissa’s outfits.

Wes and Carissa discovered another use for this old playpen.

Impromptu family photos.

And the latest news is that Elizabeth (who turned two months today) occasionally smiles. It doesn’t seem to be on purpose. They’re kind of spontaneous and not aimed at anyone. She only rarely looks at people’s faces, so she’s not very social yet, but I’ll take what I can get.

Nov '12

Pregnant No More!

My due date was November 15. I used to think November would never come. And then, as it crept closer, I couldn’t believe it was actually so near.

Around 36 weeks things started to get more uncomfortable, and I began looking forward to not being pregnant anymore. I’d be able to sleep (and still breathe) in any position, not just on my left side (which made my shoulder ache). I’d be able to lay to rest my awful compression stockings that I had to wear to keep pain in check from my many, horrible varicose veins. I could pack away my maternity clothes!

But, still, having the baby seemed far off. On Monday, November 5th John and I went to Wesley’s school to visit the transitional kindergarten classroom. This is his last year of preschool, and we need to decide what type of classroom will be the best fit for him next year–regular kindergarten (which has 1 teacher to 20 kids, and high expectations) or transitional (which has 1 teacher and 3 aides, and is a special ed environment, so slower paced). As we drove together in the car we talked about the baby and I said, “I have no inkling of having a baby today.”

Which was true. I never saw it coming. That night around 11 pm I got ready for bed as usual and wrote in my journal, but my back was hurting. After a little while I called John upstairs to sit with me because it was so uncomfortable. Eventually he pulled up an app on his tablet that timed contractions. It turns out they were about 12 minutes apart. And soon they were 7 minutes apart. Then 5, then 4. Around 1:30 am John called our neighbor and asked her to come sleep on the couch so we could go to the hospital.

I had been dreading this labor and delivery experience because having Carissa was difficult. It left me feeling traumatized and scared to go through it again. This time John and I decided I would try an epidural and see how it went without the accompanying pain.

So as we drove to the hospital (with a towel on the seat beneath me, which John kindly gave me in case my water broke in his car), I felt surprisingly calm. The labor pains hurt, but I knew how to breathe through them, and I knew that in a bit I would have the epidural to help.

We arrived sometime after 2 am and got the paperwork started for my stay. I ordered the epidural right away. First they hooked me up to an IV to get a bag of saline solution into my system. I also had negative memories associated with getting an IV, because during Carissa’s labor the nurse took about a half hour trying to set up my heplock (which I never needed), poking both arms in the midst of heavy, horrible back labor pains before finally getting it in. This time was better.

Getting the epidural made me nervous, I think mostly because I’d never done it before. All in all, it wasn’t a big deal. It took several minutes, but there was only one “Ouch!” moment when I got poked in the back, and then my legs started feeling warm and tingly. I was like, “Hey, what’s going on?” and the epidural guy said that meant it was working, and that the needle was in just the right spot in my back.

And that was the last I felt of my contractions. I’ve had three babies, two without pain medication and one with. After my experience with an epidural, here is what I’ve decided: WHY did I never do this before??

Somehow my labor with Wesley wasn’t so bad. But Carissa’s was terrible. This one probably would have been similar. It was so lovely to not feel the pain anymore.

In fact, it was kind of surreal to be at the hospital, in a bed with a gown on, unable to move my legs (but I would move my feet a little), and to just LIE there. I watched “I Love Lucy” on our portable DVD player for a while. The nurse started by lying me on my left side at 3:30 am, and after an hour she came back and rolled me to the right side. It wasn’t until then, when my view of the room changed and I could see the baby bed set up in the corner, that it registered in my head WHY I was there. To have a baby! Right. So, so different from an active labor experience where you feel everything. Truthfully, so much more pleasant.

Around midnight, long before we left for the hospital, my body started shaking. It’s an effect of the hormones during labor, and I remember having the shakes to some degree during or following my other deliveries. This time I was shaking so strongly that they couldn’t ever get a blood pressure reading from the cuff on my arm because I couldn’t hold my arm still enough. Once the epidural kicked in they transferred the cuff to my calf, and finally it worked.

The first hour of my epidural (about 3:30 to 4:30 am) I couldn’t relax. I was shaking hard, and I was adjusting to the feeling of numbness in my legs. It is a WEIRD feeling to not be able to move your legs. I hate holding still, even when falling asleep at night, so this was hard for me at first. We turned up the thermostat in the room and I asked for some hated blankets, and gradually my shaking improved. Once the shaking lessened, I could relax, and once I relaxed, I could rest. From 4:30 to 5:30 am John and I were able to sleep off and on (a very little, but still). I listened to a book on my mp3 player, and John lay on the couch. For some reason they couldn’t find a spare pillow for him and he had to use our coats.

Nearing 5:30 am, I started to notice mild pressure in my lower back sometimes. I figured things were progressing. At 5:30 am they positioned me back on the left side, and after that I could tell things were really moving along. Three or four times I felt strong, strong pressure deep down that clearly meant the baby was getting in position to come. It was nearly 6 am, and the nursing shifts were about the change. I asked my nurse to call my doctor.

Just after 6 the new nurse waltzed in and said the doctor’s instructions were to “progress all the way and then call him.” I told her it felt serious and asked her to check me. She did, and promptly called out to the hallway for someone to call my doctor and tell him to come NOW. I was at a 4 when I arrived at the hospital around 2:30, at a 6 when I got my epidural around 3:30, still at a 6 at 4:30, then about an 8 or 9 at 5:30. At 6:05 my water still hadn’t broken but the bag of water was basically hanging out. The nurse told me to relax and keep my legs closed (hello, epidural, they weren’t moving).

Then people started shuffling in to prepare for the baby to come. My doctor showed up around 6:15 am and got the party started. I felt a little nervous because, historically for me, pushing has been the hardest part of giving birth. So, so difficult and tiring when I was already completely exhausted from enduring the labor pains. So I asked my doctor what to expect. He said, very calmly, “Well, you’re going to take a few deep breaths, push a little, and then you’re going to have a baby.”

Turns out, that was it exactly. He instructed me to take a deep breath and push. which I tried doing. Then he said next time to push a little deeper down. So I took another breath and tried again. It felt like I was doing nothing, and I asked, “Am I doing this right?” John and the doctor both said, “You’re doing great! There’s the head.” I took a couple more breaths and a couple more pushes, and the baby was born. It was the easiest thing, nearly effortless. I couldn’t believe how much easier that was this time around.

The baby girl was born November 6th at 6:35 am. She weighed 6 lbs 4 oz and was 18.5 inches long. She appeared healthy.

I was in such good spirits that I told John to get out our video camera. He gave me a funny look and said, “Are you sure?” But I felt so happy to have had the baby, to not be pregnant anymore, and to have had it be a positive experience for once. So this is the first baby we have video of during the first minutes of her life.

As soon as I held her I thought she looked different from Carissa as a baby. The longer I held her I more I decided she more resembles Wes as a baby. Her hair color and face shape is more like Wesley’s as a baby.

We had kind neighbors who cared for our older kids while John and I stayed at the hospital that first day. He slept at home with the kids that night, and the next afternoon I came home with our new baby.

We weren’t sure what to name her. We had a first name tentatively chosen, but were completely blank for a middle name. The day after she was born John called me from home and suggested a middle name that he had thought of while trying to fall asleep the night before. It sounded good to me, and it was Irish like my first name is. So we decided on Elizabeth Erin.

She is 11 days old now, and we are impressed by how remarkably CALM she is. She seems just happy to be here. Sometimes we watch to make sure she’s breathing, even when her eyes are open, because she can be so still. She cries when we change her diaper or wakes up hungry, but that’s about it. She seems very sweet, and we adore her. Wes loves to hold her and often says, “I carry you?” which is how he asks to hold her. Carissa is merely fascinated by the baby’s dirty diapers, and is practicing being “soft” with her sister.

And here is Elizabeth, in her first few minutes of life.

Our first day in the hospital together. I watched a lot of HGTV–a special treat for me, who doesn’t have cable at home.

A couple days old.

And now, we have THREE.

Aug '10

Aaaaand we wait

Made it to 40 weeks; shall we try for 41?

Some things that are getting me through the waiting game:

1. Cleaning house.
2. Reading books. I just read Shannon Hale’s The Actor and the Housewife (mixed feelings about it) and am still reading Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn.
3. Packing and repacking our hospital bag, Wesley’s overnight bag, and John’s hospital snack bag. John’s snack bag consists of beef jerkey, chocolate donuts, Gatorade, and Ding Dongs. When he saw the bag his face lit up, and then he added a few more Ding Dongs for good measure.
4. Listening to my Hypnobirthing affirmations “for a smooth and easy birth.”

Some things that I can look forward to soon:

1. The Hunger Games book #3. Its release date is next weekend, I think. I pre-ordered it in April.
2. My folks coming to visit (i.e., coming to hold the baby).
3. Being able to turn over in bed without struggle.
4. Meals from the Relief Society.
5. Wes getting to wear his “Big Brother” t-shirt.

Some things I’m not really looking forward to:

1. Lack of sleep.
2. Lack of sleep.
3. Lack of sleep.

Still, we’re counting down.

Feb '10


A baby sister for Wes come August.

Dec '09

Who Gave That Lady a Gun?

Today was a bizarre day with a bizarre beginning.

It all started at 3 a.m. when I woke up inexplicably awake and hungry. So hungry that no matter how hard I tried to distract myself with soothing, relaxing, sleep-inducing thoughts, my mind continually returned to food. Pancakes, specifically.

This was a little boggling to me since the night before we attended a church Christmas party where I ate a LOT. I had taught Zumba right before and came famished. And pretty much ate my weight in roast beef, real mashed potatoes, gravy, rolls, carrots…it was so good.

So as much as I tried to reason myself back to sleep it didn’t work. I finally got up around 4:30 a.m., went downstairs, turned on Christmas music, and made myself pancakes.

When the pancakes were gone I popped in Emma with Gwyneth Paltrow and did some online Christmas browsing. (What else are you going to do at 5 a.m.? Something practical like laundry? No way.) I finally crashed on the couch after 6 a.m. until Wes woke up at 7.

The next bizarre thing that happened was that I went shooting.

You heard me.

It was part of a church activity for the guys, and wives were invited. They successfully lured us out into sub-freezing temperatures with the promise of glazed donuts and hot chocolate. Pretty much manna from heaven.

This is the first time I ever held a gun. Do I look like I know what I’m doing?

If you said “no,” you’re right. John helped me and I shot it a couple times before my hands iced over and threatened to fall off. Not only was it FREEZING but there was a storm blowing in, and the wind was fierce.

I didn’t know this about John (and we’ve been married seven years), but the man can shoot. He hit the clay pigeon every time. He only started missing when the fellows were playing Annie Oakley (I know–who knew there were guy shooting games?) for a long time and his own fingers started icing over and threatening to fall off.

Here he is, and if you look closely at the sky you can see the orange clay pigeon that he just shot into three pieces.

Once I had my two shots of glory I was kind of done and joined the rest of the womenfolk in normal womenfolk-type things, like in-depth conversations about menstruation, menopause, and hysterectomies. Good times.

And the bizarreness didn’t stop there. After the activity ended we arranged for our babysitter to stay with Wes longer so we could actually go to a movie together. We never do this. We sneaked in $1 (actually, they’re $1.19 now) chicken sandwiches and bacon cheeseburgers from Wendy’s for lunch.

We saw Blind Side. I had serious doubts about the film when I saw Sandra Bullock in the previews with blond hair and a twangy southern accent. I was so wrong. SUCH a good movie, such a good story. And Sandra Bullock gave the performance of her life.

We were glad to be home at the end of all this, but we had fun together. Don’t EVEN ask how much I ate today. All I know is that I totally ate enough that I won’t be waking up again tomorrow at 3 for pancakes.

Nov '09

Good news, bad news


I got a new job teaching aerobics at BYU starting winter semester. I’ve been subbing there for a year, but now I’ll be teaching four classes a week. Aerobics at BYU is open to anyone in the community (not just students) and it’s the cheapest deal around: $44 for a whole semester (3 1/2 months) and you can go to any of the cardio classes. Here’s what I’ll be teaching:

M/W 6 a.m. (step aerobics)
T/Th 5:30 p.m. (Zumba)

Other cardio classes you can attend:

M/W 5:30 p.m.
T/Th 7:30 p.m.
Saturday 8:30 a.m.

So if you’ve been looking for a new workout class, especially once the new year hits, come check it out.


Sort of bad news. I guess it depends on how you look at it. I’ve had four miscarriages this year. Four miscarriages is not usual, especially not four in a row. But hurrah for insurance, which will cover 100% of the recommended tests. Without insurance each test would be $250-$570, and there are eight of them. If any of you have had recurrent miscarriages and actually found out what the problem was let me know.

On the bright side, I like not being pregnant because I can enjoy teaching aerobics and Zumba without the inconvenience of morning sickness, varicose veins, or a big belly.


Speaking of which, I’ll be teaching a new Zumba class in Springville at the Academy of Ballet (200 South Main) tomorrow (Thursday Nov. 12) at 8 p.m. Cost is $3.50.

I’ll also be teaching another 8-week Zumba session starting in January 20th on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. My current session just ended last night. I gave my class a survey at the end to see how to make it better next time. They were a subdued class, so it was hard to tell how into Zumba they were. Turns out they loved it and only wished they could make the class longer than eight weeks.


I’ve lost weight since I started teaching Zumba/aerobics last year. I’ve gone down about a size in both pants and shirts. So I have all these old t-shirts and tank tops that I used to workout in that I never wear anymore because they’re baggy.

This week I pulled out one of my old tank tops and took a scissors to it. First I cut off the straps in the back and tied the straps together behind the neck (halter top fit). Then I cut straight down the back and took out a few inches of material to make the shirt less baggy. I saved the material to use for ties. I punched holes down the back side and used the extra material to tie the shirt back together.

It was a good practice attempt. I’m going to try it again on another shirt I actually like. If it turns out well I’ll post pictures. Have any of you done this before?