Monday, May 1, 2017

Potty Training!

Eek! We took the leap and decided to potty train Evie. Originally we were going to wait longer (read: once Elaina was on a more consistent schedule and going to sleep on her own), but Evie had a friend who was wearing Frozen panties and she wanted in on that action! I thought I would share some of my thoughts from the past couple of weeks. I kept an ongoing journal throughout the process, so I wouldn't have to worry about remembering details. We did the "potty train in a weekend" method that you can research if you're interested. It's worked well! Our only main problem now (start of Evie's third week in panties) is that Evie wants to be independent and take care of everything herself...which means that today as I was nursing Elaina and Graham was getting something to eat, I heard the toilet flush...Graham's investigation revealed a very poopy mess of an Evie girl. The poor thing was trying to take care of it all by herself and never once said anything to us! (And she had already pooped three times this morning, so we weren't expecting another.)

I can't believe my little girl is so big!

Here's what we used:
-small toilet seat (ordered from Amazon)
-step stool (ordered from Amazon)
-underwear (Disney Princesses and Frozen)
-stickers and sticker chart (used the printable charts from this site)
-juice (Day 1...after that she was over the novelty of it and I wasn't going to force her to drink)
-videos (incentive for pooping on the toilet; she gets to watch a short video, often a Disney song or LDS Bible Video)

The main key was being persistent and always having eyes on Evie! The majority of her accidents happen when I am otherwise engaged with Elaina (nursing, changing diaper, putting down for a nap, etc.). We are still learning and improving each day. I do have to remember, however, to not take it personally whenever Evie has an accident. I have to remind myself that I'm not a failure as a mother because of it and that sometimes we all have hard days. And she's only two. I often have to say that to myself... "she's only two, she's only two..."

Day 1-Monday 4/17 
Evie was so excited to wear her new panties. She picked out a pair after sitting on the toilet when she woke up. I set the timer initially for 15min. The first few times she was excited to go sit on the toilet, but quickly she would say "no!" when then timer went off. She would still come with me after a little prompting though. It's 9:30am right now and we have had 2 accidents. Both times she yelled "I going pee-pee Mommy!" The first time she had already finished but I still carried her to the toilet. The second time she recognized it faster and when I said "okay Evie! Stop going pee pee!" She was able to and I carried her to the bathroom. I sat her on the toilet and said "okay, Evie, you can finish going now!" And she did! After peeing in the toilet I set the timer for 30min. We bought apple juice for her to be drinking and we had goldfish for her morning snack. We'll be doing salty snacks to encourage her to drink more. That way she will have more opportunities to be successful! 

Our first success! We've had another couple of accidents (including poop on the carpet while I was putting Elaina down for a nap) but Evie peed on the toilet! She had just sat to try and didn't go, but I noticed she was shifting her weight around so I asked "do you need to go pee pee Evie?" As she started to say no, she put her hand down between her legs so I scooped her up and brought her to the toilet and she peed! Woohoo! 

Originally I planned to keep Evie in underwear for her nap, but I chickened out and put her in a diaper today. Normally if she pees right before her nap she will wake up with a dry diaper; however, I've been pumping her full of liquids today. She was okay with putting a diaper on, but she did ask if she could wear panties. I told her right when she woke up from nap she could and that seemed fine by her.

Evie woke up from her nap with a dry diaper! As soon as she woke up I took her straight to the bathroom, and she peed on the toilet! She was still a little dazed from just waking up, but she got excited to put a sticker on her chart. 

Only one accident all afternoon! We kept Evie naked (well, she had a shirt on) per the recommendation of a friend and it seems to have worked. I'm pretty exhausted but am looking forward to tomorrow to see how things go. Graham will be home so hopefully we can keep eyes on Evie at all times. (75% of her accidents occurred while I was nursing Elaina or putting her down for a nap and couldn't help Evie as quickly.) 

I let her pick out which charts she wanted.
Day 2-Tuesday 4/18 
Evie just went to the bathroom all by herself! I've been setting the timer for 30min today. She went once on the toilet earlier this morning, but she hasn't been wanting to drink much (even with my suggestions of fun things like juice). I just had her sit and she didn't go. I went into the bedroom to put away some laundry and I hear an excited Evie shouting "I go pee pee Mommy! I go pee pee!!" And I immediately thought "oh great, of course right when I walk out of the room." But then she comes running out of her bathroom! She got some on her step stool, but she knew she needed to go and all on her own ran in there and went to the bathroom! Woohoo!!!!! 

No accidents so far today! Three successful trips to the bathroom to pee (one of which was when she went on her own this morning). She is napping right now (I put her in a diaper since she didn't go right before her nap) and we are hoping for a good afternoon as well! We pulled out some different stickers for her chart today and she has asked a couple of times to try to pee because she wants to use those stickers. 

Another dry diaper upon waking up from nap! Went to sit right when she woke up and she peed. 

Doing great still! Around 3pm Evie went to her closet and grabbed a pair of her underwear and put them on. I told her that she needed to keep Elsa and Anna dry and she said "okay Mommy!" Just before 4pm I was helping Elaina (rocking her back to sleep, poor thing) while keeping an eye on Evie in her room as much as possible. I saw her grab between her legs so I said "Evie, go to the toilet! Hold your pee pee in!" As she ran to the bathroom I put Elaina back in her bassinet and went to assist Evie. 

Day 2 is complete! Absolutely no accidents today!! Woohoo!!! Three times she self-initiated going to the bathroom. She has been so excited to put stickers on her chart and has been great at keeping her panties dry! Looking forward to a good day tomorrow, including a trip out...fingers crossed that it is a success. She did such a great job today, but I've found that I am super jumpy. Like anytime she stares off into space for a second or shifts her weight on her legs, I ask "Evie, do you need to go pee pee??" Here's to hoping I get better adjusted to her using the bathroom too! 

We ended up using all four on the site.

Day 3-Wednesday 4/19 
I've been setting the timer for 1 hour today. The first two times it went off Evie peed on the toilet! Around 10am she didn't need to go, but I could tell she was concentrating and trying to pee. Just now she ran out of the room suddenly and Graham and I both thought she was running to see him (he was in the bathroom brushing his teeth). I heard her stool clatter a little bit though so I set Elaina down and ran in to help her. She was standing on her stool trying to sit on her toilet seat. There was some poop on the bathroom floor and some on the toilet seat. I'm so proud of her for recognizing that she needed to poop and making it all the way to the bathroom. If we had known what was happening I bet we could have gotten it all in the toilet because we could have helped her on a little faster than she could go on her own. (Plus poop is way easier to clean off that floor than carpet! Haha) 

She woke up wet from nap today. I figured that would be the case since she hadn't peed since 9:30am. We've made our first outing in the car! We came to Graham's parents house so we had Evie try to pee before we left and she did! And just a little bit ago she told us she needed to go and she pooped on the toilet. 

Another good day! Tonight after bath she had a partial accident. I say partial because she realized she needed to go, told me, and we got to the toilet for her to finish going. She got her panties wet but nothing got on the floor! I am so proud of her and love how great she is doing! Tomorrow we will be driving in the car all day so I'm going to put her in a diaper. Each time we stop (about every 3 hours so I can nurse Elaina) we will have her sit and try to pee. 

Evie volunteered to drive the next leg.

Day 4-Thursday 4/20 (Travel) 
Our day traveling day is going well so far. We are on the road again after stopping for lunch. Evie had a dry diaper this morning when we stopped and she peed at the gas station! Before we had stopped she said "I need a diaper change, Mommy." Since she was dry I think she was realizing she needed to go. When we stopped for lunch she said "I'm going pee pee Mommy." Cinda took her to the bathroom and she finished going there. She hadn't gone much in her diaper! Shortly afterward she said she needed to go again, so Cinda took her, but nothing came of that. Then again, right when she got back she said "I need poo poo!" And took off running toward the bathroom. This time I set Elaina down from feeding her and went with Evie. We weren't quick enough to get it in the toilet, but I'm glad she is still recognizing what is happening and telling me. 

Evie did great all afternoon and we arrived at our final destination with a dry diaper! She peed each time we stopped and before we had dinner. After dinner she went upstairs to play with Graham's cousins and I stayed downstairs to talk. I went to get her to get her ready for bed and she was already coming down the stairs saying "I know where the bathroom is. I already know where the bathroom is, Mommy." I asked if she needed to go and she said "I already poo poo Mommy." I wasn't super thrilled at having to clean out her underwear, but I'm glad she came to find me right away. She did poop a little bit more on the toilet, so that's something! 

Day 5-Friday, 4/21
Evie has done great all day! She has peed and pooped on the toilet, even telling me on her own once that she needed to go. She just had an accident. I went to get her again to use the bathroom and she was wet, but thankfully nothing was on the floor. I think she was having so much fun playing in Sophia's playroom that she didn't even think about it. Normally she is really good at telling me she goes, but this time she didn't. 

One more accident today, while she was playing out in the backyard. However, she stayed dry while we were in the car for about an hour and she even fell asleep. First thing when we got inside I brought her to the bathroom and she went! 

Asleep in the car, but thankfully dry!

Day 6-Saturday, 4/22
Evie went to the bathroom this morning when she woke up and only had a little in her diaper. Just now I was coming back from brushing my teeth and I saw her spreading her legs wide so I scooped her up. Didn't make it to the toilet in time for her to poop there. Oh well, accidents happen! And I know while we are in other homes and out of our normal routine that they will be more frequent than if we were home. Especially this early in her journey! 

Another success. Another accident. This time pee. I had just sat down on the couch to nurse Elaina and I hear Evie from the bathroom going "I pee pee Mommy!" So I called for Cinda to get to her to help. She had finished going, but I'm glad she remembered to go to the bathroom and to tell me she needed help. Baby steps! 

I only packed two extra pairs of underwear with us today, so she is in a diaper now because I had one of those in the bag. It's just been such a busy busy day and I've been trying to get her to sit. She just hasn't been going when I take her! 

Day 7-Sunday 4/23
Evie is doing great today! She peed right when she woke up and only had a little in her nighttime diaper. Before we left for church I had her try, as well as right when we got to church. I took her again 30min later because she still hadn't peed since first thing after waking up. Right after I took her and got back, she said "I need to go potty, Mommy." I picked her up and brought her to the toilet and she peed! So proud! About 5 min later she said the same thing to me, so (trying not to roll my eyes) I took her again. She pooped! Woohoo! She peed again when we got home from church. We went to nursery for a little bit, then came back to Mama and Papa's house to pack and get ready for our afternoon. 

Week 2: 
Monday: We started off this week with another day of travel. Evie went the the bathroom first thing, had a diaper on for the car ride and pooped on the toilet when we made our first stop in the morning! 

Tuesday: Evie is doing great on our first day back home. She is getting so much better at knowing when she needs to go and telling us. It's nap time now and no accidents so far! 

Friday: Only one accident yesterday and two (half) accidents today. Evie has been in panties for nap time since we've been home and she has woken up dry from her nap each day! The past two nights she has cried about having to wear a diaper, screaming "I wear panties!!" repeatedly. I'm not ready to tackle night time potty training just yet though. 


All in all, it has been a good (and tiring) experience. I'm so proud of her for all the success she has had thus far and I look forward to the day (it's got to come relatively soon, right??) when I can make it without jumping every time she crosses her legs or shifts her weight from foot to foot. Baby steps. The only time she has peed during nap time was one of the very first days and she was in a diaper. After Day 3 she has worn panties for her nap and always wakes up dry! Although, I am nervous about letting her take a longer nap than normal (1.5 hours) because I'm afraid she'll pee!

Any words of wisdom for caring for a baby while trying to help a toddler use the bathroom on the toilet?? I'm open to suggestions!

xoxo, Marissa

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Daily Life Update #7

Disclaimer: I wrote this blog post over the course of probably 2 weeks. That means every time I say "today," "the past few days," (or anything else of the sort) it could have been the day before this posting, or nearly 2 weeks ago. For some previous Daily Life Updates you can click on the "Daily Life Update" label at the end of this post, or use one of these links (#6 and #5). 

As I write this portion, it's 3am and Elaina is fighting going back to sleep. Most nights she falls right asleep and I'm able to quickly go back to sleep myself. It seems she knew I was going to comment on how thankful I am for her great sleep habits (which I attribute partially to my efforts and the rest to her being a darling angel) and had to exercise a bit of defiance ;) 

The past few days have been amazing for her sleep. For nearly every nap as well as going down for the night, she has fallen asleep incredibly well. After swaddling  and singing her a song, I place her in the bassinet. Previously, she would fall asleep on her own occasionally. Most times I would come back in, pick her up and rock her to sleep (often taking only a minute or two) because she would start crying. For any given nap, that could happen several times before she was finally able to stay asleep for longer than a minute or two. For the past few days I would say that 75% of the time, she has fallen asleep without needing any extra help from me! Crossing fingers and saying prayers that this will last, but I am certainly enjoying every moment in case it doesn't! 

Elaina is very patient with Evie's help and love. She is such a happy, chill baby! I love her smiles so so much. She started smiling consistently right at 6 weeks old. She has had her first laugh! It was bath time and Evie poured water on Elaina's tummy and she chuckled. Graham was there at the time, but I had stepped out of the bathroom to get pjs ready for the girls. I can't wait to hear her laugh! 

Elaina is growing too fast! She is already outgrowing some of her 0-3 mo sleepers and onesies. She is so long! At her 2 month appointment she was 23.75in long and weighed 13lbs 14.5oz! That's 93% for girls her age. (Evie was 22in and 11lbs 13oz at 2 mo)

We did her baby blessing at church on April 9, 2017. My parents, sister, and Graham's parents were able to attend. (For a little more info on what a baby blessing is, look here under "The Blessing of Children.) 

Evie continues to enjoy being a big sister. I have to watch to make sure she doesn't try to pick Elaina up or roll her over to give her "tummy time." (Both of which have occurred.) Evie still loves doing tummy time with Elaina, and will often have her toys do tummy time as well. She cries/whines whenever I put Elaina down for a nap. She wants her to stay awake so they can play! Evie will sit next to Elaina and talk to her. My absolute favorite is when Evie will read to her. Yesterday Evie had a stack of books and sat down next to Elaina. Evie put some of the books by Elaina for "her to read" and then Evie had the remainder. She will also bring me a book and say "read this to Elaina, mommy. And Evie. To both us." 

Thankfully, we have made it through the 2 1/2 month phase of coming out of her room each night multiple times before finally falling asleep (naked at her door I might add). Occasionally she will come out now, but when she does it's only once or twice (not 10...followed by our locking her door) and then she'll go to sleep. One of the things we added to her nighttime routine was to spend a little more time talking with her about her day. After the rest of her bedtime routine is complete (family scripture study and prayer, story, bathroom, personal prayer, song) we set her in bed and then remind her of all the fun we had that day. It is great to hear her talk about her day and to see what stuck out the most to her. Then as we (Graham and I take turns on her bedtime, one of us will read her story and the other does the rest, then we trade off the following night) give her one last kiss goodnight, we ask "is there anything else you want to tell me before I say goodnight?" Let me tell you, this is fantastic! I read a blog post about asking your child that question before bed and I love doing this. Her responses have included: "Evie want to see Jesus." "I have good day today!" "Evie have one more snuggle?" 

Today before I put Evie to bed for her nap, she started talking about storms. It has been storming recently and Evie is not a fan of the thunder and lightning. At least when she is in her room at night. She's fine when she is with us. I told her one night that she could pray to Heavenly Father if she woke up and felt scared and that He could help her. So today she was talking about storms and then she said "Heavenly Father keep Evie safe from the storms." I hadn't talked with her about that since I had said it. She has such a good memory and I love seeing how she is learning and connecting things. 

The other day Evie grabbed a little hymn book, came to sit on the couch and asked "come read scriptures with me, Mommy?" Melted my heart! I try to read my scriptures sometimes when she is awake and I'll ask her if she wants to sit on the couch and read with me. I loved having her ask me to join her. Absolutely precious. 


We've been listening to the soundtrack of Beauty and the Beast recently. (Disney has put all the songs on YouTube) Evie is learning them and singing along, and I love it! My favorite is that she will sing the "silly girl" lines in the song "Belle." At first she would crack up laughing during that part every time we listened to the song, and now she sings along. ("Be still, my heart, I'm hardly breathing. He's such a tall, dark, strong and handsome brute.") She even sings it in a high pitched voice! 


Graham is finishing up with nursing school! This semester he is taking courses in Critical Care and Pediatrics. He has loved his clinical rotation this semester. Graduation is in May and he could not be more excited. The end is in sight now and it's so exciting! He has applied for a few positions and is currently going through the interview process. We appreciate all the prayers we've received on his behalf and humbly ask that you keep sending them our way. 

Graham has recently gotten back into running and working out more. He is surprised that medium shirts now fit snugly and he is actually fitting into some larges! His typical run that he'll do is 4 miles long, but he does some longer ones and has started doing a bit of interval training on the treadmill after he lifts weights. 

I thought I would give a status update on my goals for the year (see this post for my 2017 goals). 

I just finished reading my 6th book this year, which puts me right on track for my goal of 24 books. Only one of those was nonfiction, but I have two or three in mind that I know I want to read soon. I just finished book 10 in The Wheel of Time (there are 14 in the series) and I am reading a graphic novel, White Sand, by Brandon Sanderson before I start on Book 11. 

I have started running! It helps that our Young Women fundraiser was a 5K. It was scheduled for 3 weeks after I had my postpartum checkup, so it didn't leave any time for me to talk myself into delaying. I've been running 2 or 3 times each week, building up my strength and stamina each run. I've also been doing some workouts at home another 1-2 times each week (videos on YouTube for arm or leg workouts along with some cardio dance songs). I came in first for the women in the 5K (Graham came in second for the men). 

I'm doing really well on my treat days being every other day. As I mentioned in my last post, I basically took the month of February "off" and just ate whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. Starting back in March I went to every other day for treats. For April I am scaling back to three days per week (MWF for the most part, but I'm keeping it flexible with my schedule and will alter it slightly while still keeping it to just three days). Treats every other day meant one week it would be 3 times, the next 4 times. So I'm inching closer to my goal of two treat days a week. 

Having dates twice a month is going pretty well too. In January both dates were out, for February and March we had one date out and one date at home to meet our goal. In March we went and saw the new Beauty and the Beast and we plan to see it again for a date in April. Graham and I both loved it and cannot say enough good things about it! Seeing it made me realize just how much I miss seeing musicals. 
On Pinterest a suggested pin was this picture. Love it!!!
"Staying sane." Hmm... how am I doing on this one?? Hahaha. Things are going really well. Like I said, Elaina is sleeping better than I anticipated. That is definitely helping and has allowed me to get things done around the house (some). Most days I let my expectations lower and just enjoy the small moments with my girls. Everything else can wait another day. Except dishes. I always get the dishes done (or Graham will help out and do them for me if it's been a particularly long day). I think taking the time in the middle of the day when their naps overlap to read (or take a short nap myself) has been monumental in my ability to feel rested and sane. Like I said, housework can wait.

I made it a goal to attend the temple at least once with Graham. This will most likely take place much later in the year, once Elaina isn't nursing quite as often.

Love you all and hope you have a Happy Easter! We are enjoying teaching Evie about Easter more this year.

xoxo, Marissa

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Baby Pictures and Birth Story

You guys. I have another baby! It's still not quite real yet. And it has already been a week. So many wonderful changes and experiences. I'll do a brief recap/update on how life is going currently, followed by lots and lots of sweet pictures, and I'll finish with Elaina's birth story (so if you're not interested in knowing the details you can look through the pictures and be done with the post). Also, here's a link to pictures from when Evie was born, in case you want to pull it up and compare :)

Life Update: 

Elaina is doing great! She is nursing well (thankfully!) and is a great sleeper too. I think the sleep is partially her personality and partially how diligent we have been to establish good sleep habits with her. I read lots of posts (thank you Pinterest) about newborn sleep habits and clearing day/night confusion quickly before she was born and that has helped better equip me to establish those good habits. The only problem is that it means there aren't as many opportunities for other people (friends and family) to hold her, since she is only awake for a few minutes after she finishes nursing before she needs to be laid down for her nap. We did a weight check appointment on February 9 and she had already surpassed her birth weight! She was 8lbs 1oz at birth and dropped to 7lbs 12 oz at her two day appointment (well within normal newborn weight loss ranges). At her one week weight check she was 8lbs 6oz! She still seems so scrawny to me, because at 21.25" she is in the 94th percentile for length. At her two week appointment she was still gaining weight great and weighed 9lbs 0.5oz. 

Evie is such a good big sister and loves to help. We have burp cloths where she can reach them and bring me one if I need it, and she will say "it's okay baby sister" when Elaina cries. She also loves to turn the vibrate feature on for the bassinet and will help say "shh" with me if Elaina is having a hard time staying asleep during her naps. She has enjoyed being able to hold Elaina (has wanted to nurse her as well) and says hi to her whenever her eyes are open (moments which are few and far between right now). Evie also loves to tell Elaina what she is doing: "Evie playing with blocks baby sister! Evie in the bath baby sister!" She often will say baby sister instead of Elaina because we referred to Elaina as "baby sister" during my pregnancy even after we had the name picked out. (Evie knew the name and we didn't want her spilling the beans!) We've been blessed by friends and family taking Evie for play dates and little outings so that I can rest and relax a little! She has also enjoyed getting to do those fun things with friends (park, library, seeing/feeding the animals at our friends' farm). Evie is also still in a phase where she is not wanting to stay in her bed. She'll gather her blankets and BeeBoo then come open her door saying "Hi, Mommy! Hi, Daddy!" The past few nights she has also taken to stripping out of her pajamas and diaper. Thankfully she's only peed on the floor of her room twice. Any tips or advice?? 

I (Marissa) am doing really well surprisingly enough. I feel like my recovery this time around has been so much better than it was with Evie. I think some of it is because I knew better what to expect, and some of it is because of how Elaina's birth went. I have been up and about around the apartment and the thought of going out doesn't terrify me. The thought of going out with both children by myself does, but that will come later once Elaina is ready to be out and around groups of people. I am embracing the night time feedings instead of dreading them like I did with Evie, and I think I am getting better rest because of it. Right now Evie and Elaina have a nap that coincides so I'm able to rest during that time as well. Normally I can't nap during the day, no matter how tired I am, but I was actually able to take a nap (about an hour long) the other day. It was so refreshing! I've had a little bit of time to read and I've been watching Netflix in the night. Any good Netflix recommendations, folks?? Or Amazon Prime video? Right now I'm watching The Flash on Netflix, and I need to catch up on Call the Midwife, but after that I'll need some input to help me find a new show. I got mastitis a week and a half after she was born: no fun at all! Thankfully I was able to be seen that same day and get started on antibiotics. Graham stayed home from class to help me and a friend took Evie for an all day play date (10am-5:45pm) which was so helpful. It allowed me to be able to rest and didn't place even more on Graham as he was taking care of me and Elaina.

Graham is doing well. He is enjoying is classes this semester (his last semester! Woohoo!!) and recently started his Critical Care (ER and ICU) clinicals. He's been picking up "my slack" by helping out with things I normally take care of (grocery shopping, dishes, dinner prep, etc.). He also is so great with Evie (and Elaina, but she isn't as fun for him since she doesn't do much). He went for a run the other day and Evie kept telling him not to go. She would say "no Daddy run. Daddy stay with Evie." Heartbreaking. And oh so sweet. When he got back he took her outside to play for a few minutes even though it was cold. (She had been asking me to go swing and put on her rain boots saying, "Evie go swing by Evie's own self, Mommy," when I told her I wasn't available to take her outside.) 


Birth story: 

It's hard to believe that February is already half over. I feel like I was just at the hospital! I suppose that's what getting 5-6 hours of broken sleep each night will do to you (and boy, am I so grateful for that sleep!). 

Elaina was due on January 30th, and throughout my entire pregnancy I was mentally preparing myself for a February baby. Starting about a week out from when Elaina was born, I started having consistent contractions in the evening (about 20 minutes apart). Then on Sunday they started getting closer (10min apart or so). Tuesday morning, Jan 31, I woke up at 6 am and was having contractions 3-5 minutes apart. So I woke up Graham at 7:30am and we thought "today's the day! She's coming!" I was induced with Evie, so we weren't sure what to expect with the contractions and labor, other than the 3-5 minute window we were told. So we went into the hospital and my contractions basically stopped. After about two hours there we decided along with the staff that I would just go home. (I didn't want to be induced and I was opting for a medication-free labor this time around, so I told them "please don't feel the need to keep me here. I promise I'd rather be home.") I felt silly and disappointed. And I vowed to not time my contractions anymore. 

That same night (31st) while I was making dinner I started feeling contractions again. And actually feeling them this time around. By that, I mean I was starting to have to focus on breathing through them and they were starting to be uncomfortable. Before, I could feel the tightness, but there wasn't any pain/discomfort involved. I had just promised myself that I wouldn't time my contractions, and I didn't. Graham had class the next morning and I had my prenatal check-up that I was fully prepared to attend! At the suggestion of a friend, I made cookies after Evie was in bed. (Double chocolate chip cookies that turned out so tasty and fudge-y, I may or may not have eaten 6 of them right then.) 

By 10 or 11pm it was pretty obvious that I would not be able to sleep through the night. At 11pm I tried laying on the couch to get a nap in, because I knew it was going to be a long night. I nodded off some, but didn't fully sleep, and got up at 1am. I told Graham he should go lay down and try to take a nap, and that I would wake him if I needed him. He went into the bedroom and came out about 15 minutes later saying, "It's no use. There's no way I can sleep right now." 

Just after 2am I asked Graham to call my friend, Jodanna, to come over.

 **I had decided (pretty much on a whim) that I wanted to deliver Elaina without any pain medication. On January 29 (so Sunday and she was born Wednesday, February 1) I asked Graham what he thought about it and he said he fully supported me. On my due date (Jan 30) I texted Jodanna telling her what I was thinking and asked if she would be my last minute birth coach. I am so glad I did! Her mom was in town, so Elaina had perfect timing for Jodanna to be able to help me.** 

So Jodanna came over and gave me some breathing tips and applied pressure on my lower back and bottom during each contraction. Shortly after calling Jodanna, Graham called his parents to come over (they would be watching Evie while we were at the hospital). He had asked me a question during a contraction and I said "don't ask me that right now" (thinking, I'm obviously having a contraction, how do you expect me to answer you?). Right after I made that comment he responded, "I'm calling my parents to come over now." Jodanna had told Graham to watch for when I got moody, and that would be a good signal for when to head into the hospital. 

We left for the hospital a little after 3am. The contractions I had in the car were so uncomfortable because I had been standing, squatting, or on hands and knees during my contractions at home. Since it was the middle of the night, we went in through the ER. I labored through several contractions in the ER before they came to bring me up to the 5th floor (Labor and Delivery). I think we got into the room around 3:45 or so, and I got changed. Graham asked for a labor ball (one of those exercise balls) when we got to my room. Before I could start that though, my nurse needed to check how dilated I was. I was at a 5 and 70% effaced when she checked me just before 4am. I sat on the exercise ball to labor through my contractions, resting my head and upper body on the bed. Jodanna continued to apply pressure and Graham held my hand, got a cool washcloth for my head, and told me how great I was doing. I was breathing well through the contractions. As each one would peak I would think "I don't know if I'm strong enough. Maybe I can't do this." However, after the peak of the contraction I could breathe easier and would remember a few scriptures I had looked up that day about The Lord strengthening me and trusting in Him. My contractions were coming back to back at this point. Jodanna told me that I had just had three in a row and that it was my new pattern. She told me to prepare for that when the next one came. During one contraction, around 4:30am, I felt Elaina kick a couple times (so painful!) and you could hear the thumps on the fetal monitor. Right after the kicks, I felt a gush of liquid and said "I think my water just broke." My nurse was in the room already preparing my IV (I told her they could go ahead and start one in case I ended up needing anything). After getting my IV in I wanted to pee before getting into the bed for her to check me again. I couldn't pee, and then I felt like I needed to have a bowel movement. I told Graham this and he said "don't push. When this contraction finishes we're getting you to the bed." I looked at him like he was crazy, because I wasn't wanting to push I just felt like I needed to use the bathroom!  

When she checked me (around 4:45am I think) I was only at a 7 and she said some of the fluid was still intact. Laboring on my back in the bed was so painful during those contractions. I did a few contractions on my hands and knees on the bed. They were getting to be really painful and I had to really listen to Jodanna to have her coach me through them. She wanted to get me back on the exercise ball but the contractions were coming so close that I would start to feel some relief and think "oh I can move now...nope here comes another one I'm not going anywhere." It was after one of these on the bed that I looked at Graham and said "I can't do it. I want the epidural. I'm proud of what I've done so far but I can't take any more of this. Please." Graham told me I was strong and that I didn't need his permission. My nurse tried telling me this was as painful as they would get and that I could do it. She also said that I'd have to get a full bag of fluids through my IV, in addition to waiting for the anesthesiologist. Jodanna was also encouraging me. At this point I was feeling so frantic and overwhelmed. I would tense up during my contractions and it was only through Jodanna's coaching that I was able to relax and breathe at all. 

My nurse had left to go order the meds for me, and Jodanna had Graham go wet the washcloth for me again. As he was on his way to the sink to do so, I was having a really intense contraction. I felt like I peed myself (although looking back it was the rest of my water breaking) and then felt like I needed to have a bowel movement. I remember thinking "oh great. I'm using the bathroom all over myself. Cool." Jodanna could sense something had changed during that contraction and asked me "are you feeling the urge to push?" And as she said that I went "oh yeah, that is what I'm feeling." Jodanna told Graham to go get the nurse and tell her I was feeling ready to push. She came in (she hadn't even had time to order the meds, and Graham hadn't had time to wet the washcloth) and checked me and said "yeah, that's the baby's head. I'll call the doctor." 

Jodanna really helped me to be able to relax during the contractions and to breathe the baby down instead of trying to push. Focusing on her voice was really helpful and honestly that's what I remember most from this time. I remember the doctor coming in, saying "let's have this baby" and telling me that I needed to push her out in one contraction because her heart rate had dropped. I remember thinking "uhh, are you crazy? In one contraction?!"  But it totally happened. (And boy am I glad it did happen quickly. That "ring of fire" they talk about? Very accurate description.) In one push Elaina's head came out, I paused briefly so the doctor could unwrap the cord from her neck, then out came her shoulders and the rest of her! She was born at 5:01am. 

Graham cut her cord and the doctor handed Elaina up to me to hold while the nurses wiped her off a bit. She had taken a breath but wasn't getting angry or crying. She was very blue still. After suctioning a bit and still no crying (and still very blue) the nurses took her over to the warmer to be able to work on her. After what seemed like an eternity she started to cry. I don't think Graham was ever so happy to hear a cry before! While that was taking place my placenta was delivered and the doctor stitched one tear that I had. 

It was incredible to me how all of the pain of labor completely vanished the second Elaina was born. I'm glad I got to hold her right away, even though she hadn't started crying. She was so incredibly beautiful (if a bit alien looking, because again, very bluish grey in color) and she was all mine. The sweet little girl that had been growing inside me for so long. She was finally here! It still doesn't seem quite real. After she was getting her color back and crying well, Graham brought her over to me again to hold and nurse. She took a little bit to figure out how to latch, but after that she did great! 

We were transferred to a postpartum room at 7am. We were both incredibly exhausted. However, Graham really wanted to be at his class that morning (they were covering a topic that was pretty in depth and something he needed to really understand well). He left shortly after David and Cinda brought Evie to visit. At first Evie was timid because of the strange surroundings. After she got her bearings she was wanting to hold Elaina and "see hers tiny toesies." Everyone left allowing me to take a much needed nap. Graham didn't get any sleep until that afternoon. I still don't know how he managed to stay awake for class! 

Elaina and I were both doing well and were able to go home on Thursday just after lunch. It was great to get home, shower, and start our life as a family of four! (Which is still weird to say.)

Thanks for sticking with this until the very end! Sending love your way :) 

xoxo, Marissa