Saturday, February 16, 2013

Thoughts On Baptism

At the moment I am thinking about when Braxton was baptized on November 3rd, 2012. It was such a special day for all of us. Braxton turned 8 years old only the day before, his siblings were excited to see him be baptized, and Paul was able to be the one to baptize him. Only 3 years before, that wouldn't have been possible, but instead we made the changes in our lives to make that happen. I am so proud of my family for striving to live each day a little better than the day before.

But what I am really thinking about with his baptism happens to be more along the promises we make. As a child, I don't think too many understand what it is they are promising to their Heavenly Father. I used to think that was a problem. Why would you baptize a child who is old enough to consent to being baptized, without them having the full knowledge of what that means? The way I see it now is that Heavenly Father trusts us to make choices in our life without the full comprehension of what it means. In other aspects of our lives we continue to think as children, without a real understanding of what it is we are supposed to be doing, but we are given the opportunity to do it and then learn.

Children are baptized and then given the gift of the Holy Ghost. They are allowed to make the promise to take on the name of Christ and receive guidance and comfort through the Holy Ghost, then as they grow and learn, they find out what exactly that means. They are able to learn, through their mistakes and through good choices, what it means to feel the Holy Ghost and have that confirmation that they are doing the right thing.

As adults, I know we experience that as we get married, become parents, and as we raise our children. We don't know exactly what it means to become a husband or wife. We don't realize the effort it takes to put another person before ourselves, that it doesn't happen the day you say "I do" or give birth. It is a process of making mistakes and learning, of admitting when wrong and growing, and choosing every day to be better than the day before.

I am so thankful for the gospel in my life. I'm thankful to know that it is ok to be wrong sometimes. I'm thankful for the guidance to make a better decision. I'm thankful for the constant love of my Heavenly Father and of my Savior.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

My Grampa

Over the last 2-ish years my grampa had to deal with a lot of medical stuff. I don't think there is another word for it other than "stuff". He had to have a back surgery due to a work injury that led to a staph infection in his spine that led to 6 months of IV antibiotics administered by my gramma that led to other infections that led to more medication that led, ultimately, to cirrhosis.

The irony of this is that my grampa was also an alcoholic. But he didn't develop the cirrhosis until the medication. He wasn't in the best of health to begin with either. He had emphysema from smoking since he was 9 years old. He had experienced one or two heart attacks 10 years earlier. He has stents placed around his heart. But it seems was the medication that wrote his death sentence. He was only 64 years old when he died.

We knew my grampa would pass sometime this year. He was given the official diagonis and prognosis back in February. At first the doctors said 9ish months, but then quickly said less time as my grampa would take gigantic dips and downturns. He seemed to turn them around quickly though. My gramma would take him for perisentesis ( I don't know if that's spelled right) to get his belly drained since the cirrhosis caused fluid to accumulate in all the space around his organs. Not draining it would have made my grampa pass sooner as the pressure built against liver. But while this seemed to help in one way, it hurt in another. Everytime they drained his belly it harmed his kidneys more and more. By the end, he was in kidney failure.

 But the reason for this isn't to remember his death and sickness. I'll always remember how I was in Vancouver, Washington to be with my friend during her birth (caught the first nonstop flight out there with Ali) when I received the phone call from my mom that my grampa had passed. I'll always remember the weeks of stress and tears that led up to that day as I waited for that phone call. And I'll always remember the pain of seeing my grampa, seemingly asleep, the following Saturday after his passing, and how young he looked laying there. I'll always remember the pain of seeing my incredibly strong gramma cry and tenderly touch his face and stroke his hair before being told they were getting ready to close the casket and how she said she didn't want to see that. The reason for this post is to remember my grampa as I remember him. Not as an alcoholic, not frail, not sick. My memories of my grampa begin 10 years earlier and go backwards in time.

My grampa, Gordon Scott Hansen, was a rough and tumble kind of guy. But he had such tenderness about him too. He loved his grandkids. He loved being a cowboy and rancher. He loved playing pool. He loved Twizzlers. When I was 16 years old I was sent to live with grandparents for a time. He didn't make me feel ashamed as to why I was there, he just loved me. My grampa shared words of wisdom in the way only he could. He would sit up late at night with me and that's when he would just listen. He would warn me of those "mongloid geeks" in the world.

While living on their ranch, I had to take care of the chickens and pigs. Among other things, he let me help with the birthing of one of the sows, wrangle the sheep together, and drive the truck while baling hay.

I don't really want to share too much. I want to keep these memories for myself, really. But I want the world to know that for 20 years he was sober, beginning in 1985. He was my hero for quitting the stuff he did and changing his life around. He loved plumbing and was the contractor for the Vernal Temple. He did the plumbing at Beehive Elementary (where I went to school).

He was a good man and I miss him. I look forward to the day when I see him again. I'm thankful for the gospel of Jesus Christ that gives me that reassurance. I know I will and I know he is finding rest in the arms of the Savior.

I love you grampa. Always.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Ali's Unassisted Waterbirth

On January 29th Paul and I decided not to go to church because he was exhausted from working overtime the night before and I was beyond angry with the world. I was 40 wees 6 days and since this was the longest I'd ever gestated before I was cranky, mean, and frustrated. It was for the benefit of everyone else that we didn't go. However, a wonderful woman in our ward, A, called to check in on me (though that was the last thing I wanted) and asked if she could stop by around 12:00pm. Thinking it was to bring me something edible and leave, I agreed. When she showed up with her bin and bag of pedicure supplies I was overwhelmed to say the least. How incredibly thoughtful of her to want to want to help me feel better with a bit of pampering! How much I did not want her to be in my house and just to go away! I woke up Paul and hid in my room, as I was embarrassed by feeling that way, and had him go out to talk to A. While they talked I began my second heaving meltdown of the day complete with outrageous sobbing and doubting my ability to birth and raise children. In hindsight, this was a fantastic sign! A woman at the end of pregnancy tends to break down like this. We'll call it "pregnancy transition". Anyhow, after a bit Paul came back to the bedroom and insisted I allow A to help me, so I asked if she would watch our boys while Paul and I took a walk. It was during our walk that I began to really feel deeply connected to Paul. This was just the beginning.

After walking for about an hour across the neighborhood, we came back and got ready to head to his mom's house. Nothing excited happened then, so we'll fast forward to the night. Around 8pm I took one tablespoon of castor oil. No, it wasn't to induce anything, as this is less than the usual "induction dose", but I hadn't done the "cleanout" one usually experiences within the last few nights, and I was afraid of repeating history after Trent’s birth. Then on with the night of putting my boys to bed and watching The Terminal (with Tom Hanks). By 11:30pm we were getting ready for bed and I noticed the return of Braxton-Hicks contractions. At midnight I was too uncomfortable in bed and decided to take a shower. This was nothing new for me as many nights I’d been uncomfortable and needed a shower and so didn’t think much of it. While in the water, Paul commented that my belly looked way lower than it did even earlier that day. By 1am I was beyond tired and decided to fall asleep on the couch convinced I would be waking up at 8am still gestating. I was wrong.

At 3am I woke up with my entire belly feeling rock hard and the sensation of water leaking out of me. With all 3 of my boys labor didn’t start with spontaneous rupture of membranes and with Kade and Trent my water didn’t break until pushing or crowning; this was new. I got up and went to the bathroom and when I stood up from the toilet it was like someone had turned the faucet on and then off. Luckily I was standing on an orange towel and noticed white speckles in the fluid. It was definitely not pee. I called down the hall to Paul to bring me some clean unders and a pad (took a few times since he had to wake up) and from that point on the contractions were never less than 2 minutes apart or lasting less than 1 – 1 ½ minutes apart. I told Paul I needed the birth tub filled so he brought that to the kitchen and began filling that with the hottest water. While I sat on the toilet or squatted by the railing, I kept telling Paul this better be the real thing or else I’m going to be really angry. He just smiled as he prepared the boiling water for the umbilical string, knife to cut the cord, and tea for the Shephard’s Purse. About 10 minutes later I got into the tub and felt relief. I’m not going to lie, jets make it soooo much better, but laboring in the water is far superior to being out of the water. The contractions continued in strength and intensity, each time I would move forward on to my hands and knees, moaning low and relaxing my hips, sometimes rocking a bit. This was by far the most intense labor I’ve ever had. Each contraction was harder than the last, most were double peaking, and I became overwhelmed. I thought I was insane for being at home, that there was no way I could do this for hours, and that I just wanted to be done. The pressure in my tailbone and hips felt hot and crushing. I asked (begged) Paul to push on my hips and back, but each time I needed harder and longer and it was straining on him. He kept at it though. By 4:30am I started to cry and tell Paul I didn’t want to do this anymore. Around then Kade came out and found us in the kitchen, all the lights were off except for the light over the stove, and sat down on the kitchen chair. He wanted to talk at first, but I told him that his sister was getting ready to be born and that he needed to be very quiet. Then he farted and amazingly, I found that funny and it took the intensity away for a few moments. That’s when the next contraction came and I started to grunt through it. It felt better than just relaxing and I could push against Paul’s fists that were firmly against my sacrum. So long as Paul didn’t move, I could manage.

I don’t know what time it was at this point, but it wasn’t long after starting to grunt during contractions that I was afraid these little pushes I was doing were causing my cervix to swell and that if I was only 6cm (I had no idea really, just a number I decided on) that these little pushes would make things so much harder and longer. My logical brain took over for a brief moment and I decided to reach down and feel if I had any swelling at my perineum. I felt some and gently felt inside my birth canal for anything, not sure what to expect. My baby’s head was less than an inch away from my perineum! I wasn’t 6cm! I was about to have a baby!! I quietly told Paul that I felt her head and my body just took over. I screamed like a tea kettle as I pushed, gentle at first, then fierce and desperate. Kade went running down the hall and woke up Braxton and Trent to tell them Ali was coming. Her head slowly emerged through the infamous Ring of Fire and I applied counterpressure around her head, waiting to feel if her head was posterior. She was facing down and I felt so relieved, then I felt for her neck and found her cord wrapped around it and gently slipped two fingers between her neck and the cord to create some slack. Another moment later and her shoulders were out and I gently brought her out of the water. I remember telling Paul, “She’s so small!” The whole actual pushing lasted all of maybe 5 minutes, but it felt like it was in slow motion. My sweet babe let out a cry and her body immediately pinked up, but her face was turning white. Paul came in front of us and I told him her cord was too short to hand her to him, then he noticed that no, it wasn’t too short; it was still wrapped around her neck. We lowered her a bit (of course keeping her head out of the water) and he took the cord off and her face immediately pinked up and she began crying full, hearty cries. Paul grabbed the warmed towels and while she was against my chest we placed two of them over her. I looked up and saw all 3 of my boys were watching in awe at their baby sister and I in the tub. Again, a few minutes later I held our sweet girl and Paul helped us both down the hall to our bed (he’d already prepared it) so I could birth the placenta. I had called my mom before getting out of the tub and asked her to come over to help with my boys. She arrived shortly after my placenta came out. My mom says she was amazed at the peace in our home and helped in tying the umbilical cord, preparing the smoothie, and helping with our boys. Having her there was a deeply healing and loving experience.

Ali Elisabeth was born at 41 weeks on January 30th, 2012 at 4:57am weighing 7 lbs 9 oz and measuring 19 ¾ inches long. She is perfect in every way and loved so deeply by her brothers, Paul, and I. Paul continued staying vigiliant in my immediate postpartum care by monitoring my bleeding and preparing my placenta smoothie, cleaning up the birth tub, bringing me several cups of Shephard’s Purse tea, checking me for tears, and more. There is far more to the story, but there is no way to express every detail. Experiencing birth this way, in such a raw form, with just Paul and I, has been incredible. After getting into the tub I asked Paul for a blessing. I know that by turning to the Lord, we were guided through. From the time I found out I was pregnant through the birth I continued to develop an ever greater testimony in our Savior. I knew that so long as I followed in faith, we’d be guided in faith. I also have found I am more in love with Paul than ever before. He is an incredible husband, partner, and father.

I am so in love with my family! Welcome to the world, my sweet baby daughter!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Endings and Beginnings

I've been entertaining the idea of blogging again and now that life has simmered a bit, I think I'll indulge. It's been a long while since I last posted, apparently over a year. Sometimes you just want to keep things private. But instead of seeing this as a public space, I think I'll try viewing it as a journal of sorts. Afterall, once you put something out into cyberspace it is pretty much there forever.

So, things that have happened over the last year and a half:

1. Surgery
2. Pregnancy and birth of my daughter
3. Continuing toward my college degree
4. Putting my oldest son in public school and homeschooling my younger sons
5. Joining the PTA board at my son's school
6. The last births I've attended as a doula...meaning a doula-ing hiatus for at least several years to come
7.The passing of my grampa

Whew! What big events those all are in a relatively short amount of time! I'll post more about those things that may or may not come in the order listed above. There are also so many good things to come! A few of those include:

* Braxton's 8th birthday and baptism
*Planning our next family vacation
*Family stuff

Oh! And now that I've found the USB thing we use for cellphone pictures, I can post pictures! Woohoo!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

I Believe In Christ

During these months of frustrations and doubt in myself, I have found that my testimony in Him is ever growing. I know that my pains and aches are only but a small inkling to what our Savior experienced for us, for me. I know that anything I may deal with now is but a drop in the spectrum of eternity. I am so thankful that about this time last year, I opened my heart and began the journey of coming unto my Savior, my Lord, Jesus Christ. I know that I am a daughter of God. I know that whatever this life has in store for me, it is for my good. I can choose to grow from the experiences and opportunities afforded me or I can choose to be bitter and resentful and pitiful. I choose love. I choose life.

Enos 1:8: And he said unto me; Because of they faith in Christ, whom thou hast never before heard or nor seen. And many years pass away before he shall manifest himself in the flesh; wherefore, go to, thy faith hath made thee whole.

College Girl

In this whirlwind of medical craziness, I needed something else to focus on, so I am going to school! I am very excited to begin the summer semester at SLCC. I'm only going to take one class for the summer, but come fall semester I've got a full-time schedule planned. Woooohooooo!!! Nursing degree, here I come!

An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away..Or Does It?

On January 2nd, 2011 I proclaimed this the Year of Medical Interventions. Did I actually mean it? No. It is true? Yes. Due to symptoms of random things beginning last autumn I have seen the following specialists/providers - urogynecologist, physical therapist, gastoenterologist, ob/gyn specializing in pelvic pain, rheumatologist, and internist. I've been poked, prodded, scanned, scoped, radiated, drained, and x-rayed. At first glance it might seem that I just have a bunch of random things going on, until you remember that in the last few years I've also seen a neurologist and cardiologist. And next up will be the geneticist. Oh, the fun we are having! But it doesn't end there...

Now for the newest diagnoses - rectocele, cystocele (I'm certain the uterus is following along), pelvic floor dysfunction, gastritis, eosinophilic esophagitis, hiatal hernia, fibromyalgia, pretty certain a connective tissue disorder/disease, we just have to figure out which one, and Vit D deficiency.

The treatments - Since I can't continue the physical therapy due to pain and urogynecologist can't continue durther testing due to pain, it's time to take care of one cause of pain. The cause of this particular pain is from vulvar vestibulitis. I'm getting ready to have a vestibulectomy and I can say I am not excited about the procedure, but I am excited about the possibility of being able to be pain-free in at least that aspect.  I'm also currently taking meds to help with the gastritis, that I'm not quite sure are helping, a med for the eosinophilic esophagitis, and will be starting 50,000 iu of a Vit D prescription.

Why do I want to share these very personal issues I have? Because I know I am not alone in having them, but not enough information is shared about them. It's hard enough to admit any kind of intimacy with your spouse is painful. It's hard to admit that something doesn't feel quite right when you go to the bathroom. It's frustrating when your body hurts and you don't know why and nobody seems to understand. It's frustrating when you are young and should be in great health, but something just isn't right. I hope that as I open up and talk about some of these things, maybe someone will know they aren't alone. Maybe someone will get the courage to talk with a dr. Maybe someone will feel hope.