Thursday, June 23, 2016

Gwen's Arrival

Our sweet Gwen has been with us a whole week now, so I figured today was a great day to write out her birth story.  It's long and has most of the nitty gritty details, so feel free to skip it if this isn't your thing.


I woke up last Wednesday, June 15th, feeling "different."  Not sure what "different" was exactly, I just felt like we were definitely getting closer to meeting our baby.  I think it was because I was experiencing some cramping and was just feeling all around more uncomfortable than I had been.  Jeremy went to work and I scheduled two clients in the morning since I was still pregnant.  After my clients, I went hiking with some friends for a little over an hour.  The cramps stopped while I was hiking or I maybe I just didn't notice them as much.

I spent the afternoon organizing my private practice stuff and then I had YW's Wednesday night at 6:00.  I had pretty regular "cramping" while at Young Women's maybe every 10 minutes or so.  When I got home, Jeremy and I were Facetiming with his mom and his sister.  He was telling them about the "cramping" and they helped us see that they were actually contractions and that I was likely in early labor.  My automatic response, "What? I'm in labor?! Is this really happening?"  We started timing them an they were about 5-6 minutes apart.  I was tolerating them fine, so we decided to Facetime my parents to let them know things might be getting serious soon.
Heading to the Hospital Wednesday night

Jeremy kept timing the contractions while I laid on the couch and practiced my deep breathing.  They were getting more consistent at 5 minutes apart and we were so excited that we called the Doctor to see what we should do.  She wanted us to come on in and get checked.  So we gathered our packed bags and made our way to the hospital.  We left the bags in the car since we weren't quite sure we were staying and headed up to Women's and Children's on the 3rd floor.  They checked me and I was at a 2.5ish and 50% effaced.  I walked around and labored for two hours and then they checked me again - I was at a solid 3 and more thinned out.  We were given a choice: you can stay and labor here, or go home and come back when it gets more intense.  I decided to go home and be in my own bed for the night.

Jeremy got a great night's sleep.  I labored all night long and I am not sure I slept in between contractions.  They would hit like a wave and I would concentrate on breathing through them while trying to relax my body and let it do the work it needed to do.  As soon as the contraction would end, I would revel in the sensation of not feeling any pain.  I would try to stay in the moment of being completely pain free rather than panic about the next contraction to come.  By the morning time, they were getting pretty intense and I was losing a lot of blood, so we called the Doctor again about 9:45.  I already had an appointment set up at the office at 11:00 so they had me come in early to get checked.  My contractions were quite intense at this point and it was a struggle getting in the car and then getting into the Doctor's office.

They took me back and when my Doctor measured me, he laughed and said, "You are at an 8.  We need to get you to the hospital."  My exact response, "Thank you so much.  That is the best news ever! We're really going to have a baby today?!" They couldn't believe how calm I was and my Doctor said that is why I am the nurses' favorite.  My Doctor went to get a wheel chair so he could wheel me over to the hospital and I told Jeremy, "If he told me I was at a 4, I was going to cry."

I was so excited to be so far along that in that moment, I decided that I was going to have this baby all natural, no epidural.  Jeremy knew at that moment, too.  I was pretty convinced that I could do it, and it was something I dreamed of doing.  My sweet Doctor wheeled me over to the hospital as everyone in the office wished me luck.  The hospital was just next door and he took my right up to my room on Women's and Children's.  I was admitted probably just before 11:00.  The nurses couldn't believe I was so calm for being at an 8.  I changed into a gown and got hooked up to the monitors, they gave me an IV for fluids since I had thrown up every time I tried to drink water.  As each contraction came I rolled over to my side and had Jeremy rub my lower back.  I was feeling the contractions mostly in my lower back and my upper legs.  My quads were so tight and I kept trying to relax them through and after each contraction.

I tried a birthing ball for a hot second and decided it was the worst thing on the planet.  So I hopped back on the bed and just breathed through each contraction as Jeremy or a nurse would rub my lower back.  The Doctor on call came in and said, "So you want an epidural?" and recommitting to my dream I said, "I would like to try without."  I couldn't imagine trying to hold still enough through these contractions for a giant needle to get put into my back.  I also figured it would probably slow down the delivery and make the recovery longer, so no, I really didn't want an epidural.  The nurses were amazing and continued to support me while going through the contractions.  The nurse checked again and said I was pretty much at a 10 and that we were going to start pushing soon.

I couldn't believe we were already getting ready to push.  I was pleasantly surprised that I had made it through all the contractions so far and I was able to confidently breath through each one.  My nurse explained the breathing and position that would optimize my pushing and we started pushing with the contractions at 12:50.  I had a nurse holding each leg, while Jeremy gave me water and dabbed a cold washcloth on my face and neck.  The nurse had me roll over and kneel on the bed with my arms draped over the back to use gravity to get the baby to come down a little more.  This was the most painful part of the whole experience and about the only time I actually made noise.  I was trying to relax during the contractions, but felt like I needed to push.  I gave a quick agonizing scream and thought for the first time, "I don't think I can do this."  I maybe whispered two of those words out loud and then stopped myself.  I knew it was too late to get an epidural anyway and that I would somehow get through this even if it seemed impossible in that moment.

I was in the kneeling position for maybe two intense contractions.  They must have done their job of getting the baby to come down because they were really painful and as soon as I rolled back over, they went to get the Doctor.  It was in that moment for Jeremy that he decided that I could name the baby whatever I wanted.  He just hoped it was a girl, so that we wouldn't have a son named Moses.  There were all sorts of things going through my mind in between my contractions, mostly positive self talk - which is totally appropriate for a therapist, right?  I remember thinking, "I'm actually doing this.  My baby will be here soon.  I'm really doing this without an epidural.  I'm totally rocking this."  The nurses were fabulous and kept telling me that I was doing amazing and that I would meet my baby soon.  Jeremy kept telling me that I was doing an awesome job and that he couldn't believe how strong I was.  It was quite the ego boost I will tell you.

The Doctor came in and he just added to it all.  As I was would push, he would get really excited and yell, "Push, push, push......... That's it.....Just like that..... Yes! YES!!!" and then instruct me to take another quick breath and do it again, while the contraction was still there.  I was getting so into the pushing that they would have to tell me to rest when I wasn't having a contraction.  I would end up pushing 3-4 times with every contraction and then taking deep breaths in between trying to rest my body.  Another nurse came in as we were getting closer and she continued to cheer me on as well.  I seriously felt like a rockstar as this awesome team coached me as I was bringing this baby into the world. They were so kind to me!

Jeremy said that the head would get close and then fall back a little bit.  Turns out, the baby had their hand right by their face which was making it much harder to get the baby out, and caused quite a bit of tearing.  I continued to push, my team cheered me on, and Jeremy dabbed my face with a washcloth.  The Doctor decided to do an episiotomy and few contractions later he said, "I think we will have this baby out in two contractions."  In my mind, I said, "Let's make it one!"  I pushed like my life depended on it.... and the little baby popped out right at 2:15!

Jeremy said that right after the head came out a little right hand shot out into the air.  I felt immediate relief as the rest of baby slithered out and they placed them face down on my stomach.  I heard myself say, "I just had a baby! I did it! I can't believe I did it!"  The nurses wiped the baby down while on my now empty belly.  The baby didn't scream very much, just squawked a little here and there.  Jeremy cut the umbilical cord and I held our little one while the Doctor pulled out the placenta and stitched me up - which took about an hour.  During this the Doctor eventually asked, "Is it a girl or a boy?" and I told them, "I don't know yet."  I rolled the tiny baby over and announced, "It's a girl! We have a girl!"  Jeremy was right at my left shoulder, crying and kissing my forehead, telling me how proud he was of me.  It was the most amazing experience. 

The Forbidden Photo
They gave me 800 mg of Misoprostol to stop the bleeding, since I lost double the amount of blood typically lost during a delivery - thank you Lovenox and Heparin.  After the Misoprostol my blood pressure shot through the roof at somewhere in the 200s/200s.  The Doctor was sure the reading was wrong and had them take it again and again.  They started a different medication on my IV to bring down my blood pressure and then my temperature went crazy, reading at 106.5.  I was feeling really out of it at this point.  I was shaking uncontrollably and it felt like I was watching people interact with me and watching myself respond.  It was kind of scary.  Jeremy decided that this was a great moment to have our first family picture taken which he sent to our families and tried to post on Instagram.  I had him take it down almost immediately.

They kept taking my blood pressure and my temperature over and over again since no one could believe the readings that they were getting.  At that point they gave me some Tylenol (my first medication for pain) and it came down to 105.5 about an hour later and continued to come down super slowly.  I was still at 101 at 10:00 pm.  The Doctors have since decided that I can never have Misoprostol again. 

They borrowed the baby to weigh her and do some tests and then Jeremy held her.  He was trying to respond to texts and missed calls, since I had been ignoring my phone since the contractions intensified the night before.  I just sat there trying to be coherent while my body was on fire and shivering at the same time.  My muscles were so exhausted, especially my upper quads and my arms.  I was so excited to have a sweet baby girl.  Jeremy and I both thought it was going to be a girl, so it just felt right when she joined us Earth-side.  As I sat there pondering what to name her, I considered our top choices - Hazel Jane or Gwen Eliza.  We were most recently leaning towards Hazel, but when I saw our little girl, Gwen just seemed to be perfect!  I asked Jeremy what he thought we should name her, and he said he was leaning towards Gwen. "Me too! So Gwen it is!" I said.

And here is our first family selfie!

Which I had him post on Instagram instead... see?  Way better!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016


our little GIRL!!!

She's the coolest!

Here are some pictures from our time in the hospital:

 In between contractions right after I got admitted Thursday morning.

And a few hours later we had our sweet girl in our arms.  It was the most amazing experience!

Newborn World is HEAVEN!  I'm loving it.
Birth story to come!!

Monday, June 13, 2016

40 Weeks

I have decided that people are pregnant for sooooo long. 
I have been pregnant through pretty much every season.

4.5 weeks in the fall ------ 20 weeks in the winter

28 weeks in the mud* ------ 37 weeks in the spring 

*"Mud season" is the 5 season here in Vermont where everything is muddy in between winter and spring.

And now here I am at 40 weeks...
 ...still technically in the spring.

But summer is a week away and this baby may hang out in there until then anyways and we have had some days in the high 80s, which was kind of miserable as a human incubator, so I am definitely counting it as summer.

Physically, I really do feel great.  I continue to exercise 3-4 times a week, which has really decreased in intensity and usually consists of hiking 1-2 hours or walking 2-4 miles while listening to podcasts about motherhood.  I did manage to do some running in the mountains the other day while hiking because I was just feeling so great.  I continue to sleep pretty well, usually getting up only once to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night.  I now do shots of Heparin twice a day, which started at 36 weeks and after I have the baby I have to do 6 weeks of shots of Lovenox once a day.  So I am seeing a light at the end of the tunnel for the daily shots which is just the best!!!  Also - random fact, my belly button is still an innie!

Emotionally, I am somewhere between excited and scared.  Some days more excited, some days more scared.  Today more scared I think, mostly because I had a meltdown last night - you know, about the usual:  How will I adjust?  What if I am crazy?  Hormones & sleep deprivation?  How am I supposed to be a mom?  I don't know what I am doing!  Everyone will leave, how am I supposed to do this by myself?

A few days ago, I jotted down some Motherhood Mantras that I think will be helpful for me on the days when I'm feeling more scared, like today:

This season is so brief and so joyful.
All children learn to sleep.
Newborns really only have a handful of needs.
I can learn my limits and ask for help.
I must consider my own needs so I can be the best mom possible.
Others have survived, I can learn to thrive.
I am not alone, I have amazing supports right and left.
I am a student of Motherhood, learning as I go.

I may write these up this using some brush calligraphy and put them where I can read them on the daily.  Anyways, we are just waiting for this little one to join us Earth side. Who knows when that will be?! I'm only doing my private practice now (dreams come true my friends!!) which I'm taking a break from starting this week.  So I am just enjoying life, going on lots of hikes, and eating lots of ice cream on the couch.  Life is good.  Life is a grand adventure and we are up for the next wild ride!

Friday, June 3, 2016

One Year

Today marks our one year anniversary of moving to this beautiful state.  

So our night consisted of exploring new windy mountain roads and taking a million selfies. This cow is pretty much my favorite and posed beautifully for the picture.

In the past year we have had some exciting things happen in the career and family departments.  I started my private practice (and quit my other 2 jobs!! - just this week) and Jeremy is a real live working Dentist.  We also got pregnant and are expecting our little one soooooo soon.  See?  It's a magical place!

Move to Vermont and all of your dreams will come true.  We love it here!

Thursday, June 2, 2016


Last Friday was the last day of Early Morning Seminary

We were all more than excited to be able to sleep in again.  I couldn't wait to delete my 5:40 alarm clock on my phone.  We celebrated the last day by making incredible crepes (that were gluten free even) and we covered them in nutella, strawberries, bananas, powdered sugar, and whipped cream.  It was a lovely ending to a such a great year with my students.  They also gave me the sweetest card and flowers - they really are the best. 

This week I am finding the shift to no early morning seminary more of a mix of emotions than I initially thought.  I was sure the sleeping in would trump it all, and maybe it has, because the sleeping in has been really lovely.  What I miss the most is: seeing them every day.  It was so fun to be involved with their lives, listen to their testimonies, and see them flirt with each other.  I loved hearing about their upcoming games or concerts and then surprise them when Jeremy and I showed up to support them. I have loved studying the scriptures with them, even when it has been the Old Testament which can be tough.  I loved really getting to know them - which definitely happens when you only have four students.  It has been great. 

They are incredibly unique and talented and spiritually strong human beings.  They have great things ahead and I am so grateful I could be a very small part of their journey.  I will always cherish this year, even with it being some mixture of challenging, rewarding, exhausting, testimony-building, and of course... lots of fun. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

June Letters

Dear June,
You are one of my favorite months, mostly because the weather is really getting delightful and I know there are many more delightful days to come.  You also house the 1st day of summer which is one of my favorite days.  It's also a pretty big month for us since we are officially in the month that Baby Clover is due to arrive!!

Dear Vermont,
You are killing it lately!  Everything is full on green now and it's just incredible.  I am back in the woods hiking with friends or by myself almost two to three times a week.  I love it.  I just love being outside.  I am getting excited for the outdoor adventures that we are going to have all summer long!

Dear Charcoal Grill,
We love you.  We really do.  I don't know what it is about you.  It's not that you make dinner prep any shorter or anything, but for some reason it feels that way.  Probably because Jeremy takes on the grilling duties in our home while I throw together the sides.  And then we sit on our back deck and chat and eat and enjoy our woods.  It's calming and wonderful.  Again, we love you!

Dear Body,
I know I have said it before and I will say it over and over, you are incredible.  Thank you for doing so many cool things.  You are building and supporting life and all the while you allow me to have so much fun in nature.  I am nervous about the post partum version of you.  Jeremy pointed out that I was nervous about the pregnant version of you as well, which turned out to be so beautiful to me.  So I am working on embracing, appreciating, and being kind to you on our journey together no matter what comes.  Thank you for being so amazing!

Dear Baby Clover,
We get to meet you soooooo soon.  I am getting more and more excited to have you on the outside, especially with this abnormally hot weather we have been having.  It's been a really HOT few days, so I have been hydrating like it's my job.  I can tell that it is getting really crowded in there.  Sometimes it feels like your movements will cause my belly to burst and you will just be sitting on my lap - please don't do that though. Just know, good things are coming little one, good things.

Dear Furry Brown Cows,
I see you whenever we head north and I think you are about the coolest thing.  There are five of you, I think, and you're either barely visible hanging out by the trees or your somewhere in the field basking in the sun.  Also, you might want to lose the furry coat with the summer ahead of us - because that just might be unbearable.

Xoxo, Katie

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

What a weekend!

Friday, we had dinner and a movie night with friends (Finnegans, Vaughns, & Martins). 
Saturday, we headed to Equinox in the morning and I hiked while Jeremy biked. Then we met the Vaughn's for an afternoon at Lake Shaftsbury. 
Sunday, we went to church, took naps, and grilled steak!
Monday, we slept in and then we did some hiking and biking again, this time with the Vaughns. Then we barbequed at the Finnegan's with all of our friends.  We had amazing food, played games, and ran around in the dark with sparklers. 

I think it was such a wonderful weekend because of all of the time we spent outside.  Vermont is in full green mode and will be until the brilliance of Fall hits.  This place is amazing and I am so glad I live here.  I get to play in the mountains all the time.  It's totally my favorite!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

37 weeks

This, my friends, is what 37 weeks looks like:

I am getting more excited and less scared... so I figure that's a really good direction to be headed in.  I can't wait to meet this little one and learn all about them - and also find out if we have a little boy or girl coming into our family.  The suspense is kind of killing me these days!  But really I can wait a little bit longer.  It's way easier to take care of them when they are inside of me - no diapers or sleepless nights.  I'm soaking it in!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Moonshine Hike

Last night we gathered with some of our good friends for a night time hike in the beautiful moonshine (you know, like sunshine - not alcohol).  We started while it was still light outside, got to Robin's Lookout, and waited for the darkness to set in.  The moon was incredibly bright.  It always amazes me when you can find our shadow from the light of the moon. We were able to spot Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars, too!  It was pretty amazing.  I loved everything about it, being in nature, chatting with great friends, and kissing my favorite boy!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Our Summer

I have spent the last few days thinking about our summer bucket list. Today I bought a poster for 33 cents at the dollar store and went to town and now we have this beauty to my left hanging on our fridge.

I wanted to set some goals or at least write down the things we wanted to make sure that we do this summer. I am sure the whirlwind of inviting a baby into a home, can lead to time feeling like it slips away.  Hopefully, this list of our favorite summer activities can help us feel like we did some pretty great things during the craziest summer of our lives. 

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Front Page News

This handsome dentist was featured on the front page of the local newspaper today:

He donated his time and talents, along with the other dentists he works for (our good friends the Carmacks), to give free dental care to the veterans in the area.  It was quite the party complete with free burgers and hotdogs from the grill and live music - even on a rainy day.  You can read the whole article here.  

You are a ROCKSTAR Jeremy!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

200th Shot

A shot a day, keeps the blood clots away.  

Sunday, May 1, 2016

May Letters

Dear May,
If this baby comes according to plan (set to arrive June 13th), then this is my last month being childless.  That's a pretty weird thought.  I will soak up all of these diaper-less days because we know there are so many diapers in our future.  May, I look forward to your flowers and blooming trees. They are slowly on their way and I am loving it.

Dear Mother's Day,
I have always celebrated you especially after I got married and convinced Jeremy that we should celebrate our potential motherhood and fatherhood. Mostly because I wanted presents, it's my love language after all.  This year feels a little different since I am actually expecting a baby this time around, rather than reflecting on my awesome womanly qualities.  I love that there is a day set aside to appreciate the woman in our lives and the amazing things they do.  Also, it's a great excuse to have Jeremy grill up a giant steak for me next Sunday!

Dear Baby Clover,
I am getting less scared and more excited for your arrival.  I just can't wait to meet you.  I can't wait to take you on beautiful walks in these mountains.  I can't wait to sing to you.  I can't wait to take a million pictures of you as you sleep.  I can't wait to get to know you.  We have a lot of learning ahead of us.  I have never been a mother before and you have never been a baby before... don't worry, we will figure it out together.  In the meantime, keep rolling around in there, because it is just about the coolest thing!

Dear Early Morning Seminary,
You come to a close at the end of this month.  I have really enjoyed having these great kids over every weekday morning to study the Old Testament together.  We are trudging along and memorizing scripture masteries along on the way.  I know that we are all really excited to sleep in soon.  I know I am really looking forward to not setting my 5:40 alarm.  Twenty more days... we totally got this!

Dear Sam's Club,
We just got a membership and I am so excited to go back to buying things in bulk.  We discovered that we go to Albany quite a bit, since it's only an hour away and they have so much more civilization than we do in Vermont.  So we are coming for you Sam's Club!

Dear Jeremy,
I am feeling more in love with you than ever.  I am just so happy.  Happy that we are living out our dreams.  Happy that we love spending time together.  Happy that we get to do this parenthood thing together.  Happy that you are so dang handsome.  Happy that you talk to the baby and tell it to come out and play.  Happy that we found each other 8.5 years ago.  Happy that you are my best friend.  Happy that you are so wonderful, supportive, loving, and funny.  I am just so happy.  I love you.  Forever.  And ever.

Xoxo, Katie

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Mom in Vermont

My mom came to visit me in Vermont!
It was a quick visit and oh so good to see her.  She helped us make lists of the stuff we need to get for Baby Clover because we really only had a crib and car seat.  Now we have so much more and more is on it's way.  Online shopping is your best friend when you live in the mountains.  I showed her all around our little towns, saw 5 covered bridges, ventured to Equinox Pond, shopped at the outlets, bought some Vermont Maple Syrup (of course), had her meet my friends, and we had a great baby shower.  It was a blast.  My friends got me a piƱata to bust open all on my own.  I loved it!



It wasn't too hard to say good bye this time, because she is coming back in about 8 weeks when this baby is born!  We laughed about how relaxing this visit was compared to how the next visit will be.  She will basically have to teach me what to do with a baby.  It's going to be really entertaining.