Friday, March 28, 2014

a birthday boy

my boys are both march babies
my boys are brunetts
my boys have curls hugging their neck
my boys are the sweetest
my boys can EAT, and eat, and eat, and eat...
my boys have the longest toes and the cutest feet!

Happy birthday MONTH to the two most wonderful boys in my life

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Family Photos

I must say of all the days for Azure to be up and mildly fussy on a hot afternoon he chose THE day. Picture day of course. He has been sleeping like a bear in hibernation, especially with the recent heat wave. But not for this 45 minutes behind the lens!
 Babies have incredible timing don't they? 
Luckily Amberli the photographer is totally chill around crying babies. She was extremely  patient, and waited for just the right shot between cries and grimaces. Thank you for sharing your talent with us Amberli, these are so precious to me and will be cherished by many, forever :)
Oh Azure how I adore your serious little face. Here are some shots from the day



Sunday, March 23, 2014

Azure Silas

The little things, 
and the little moments I don't want to forget....

Azure love sleeping tummy to tummy with me, nuzzled right in under my chest.
He reaches for my face in the dark and holds onto my cheeks
When its diaper time Azure can't stand it
Sunbathing is almost his #1 thing to do, second to nursing
Baby boy loves bentleys wraps WAY more than moms
He also loves driving, thank heavens.
If there is movement he is happy. Our morning dance routine has become a favorite for us both
He could spend all day in the bjorn carrier with dad if it weren't for hunger
His biggest diaper marathon consisted of 4 diaper changes within 20 minutes... blowout after blowout after... it was hilarious after the third one
Azure lost his umbilical chord on his 12th day of life
He grunts like he is always taking a poop
Water soothes him right to sleep, he could be hanging upside down and still fall asleep if being sponged with warm water.
His legs are so incredibly strong!
When he sleeps in the bassinet or the bed he HAS TO have his arms up above his head like he is lounging on the beach- he is my boy :) 
Better not disrupt him while nursing or he will give you the stink eye! 

Azure you are my sweet little angel, and I love you more than words can describe. 
You gave me the one thing I have wanted most in my life- to be a mom. You are gentle and observant and hardly ever cry.  I have been told you are an 'easy' new born. For that I am eternally grateful. Because there is so much to learn being a new mom and any time I even think you are in any discomfort I kinda freak out. But I am getting better at this everyday, your pa is teaching me so much. We are both so blessed to have Bentley in our life. 
Azure my darling, you are our best adventure yet!
i love you i love you i love

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

My excruciatingly long birth story - from home to hospital to being reported to CPS

I am going to be super detailed and honest.... You have been warned!

Well the pains of labor are still too close for comfort, but I know later on I will appreciate reading Azure's story. 

It started on March 7th when I was finally starting to have more consistent "contractions" and started to lose my plug. Being a week late I was actually taking these signs seriously and getting excited. However the contractions were just a trial run and continued to tease me until sunday morning. Sunday I was so tired I skipped church and stayed home to sleep. My contractions woke me up around 10 but I had had so many false alarms, I really wasn't holding my breath. Plus, I was so dang tired I was just annoyed they were interrupting my sleep. Then I lost the rest of the mucous plug, there was no doubt about it. When I had those signs the few days before, I kept wondering if that was all of it. Sunday morning was most definitely the whole thing, and I had the bloody show to go along with it. No more wondering, THIS was it! By noon I had called Bentley from church to come home right away so we could prep the bathroom with last minute details. I was planning on this being a quick home labor ;) 
in a perfect  world...

The excitement was almost tangible. I had an original due date of February 23rd, and realized after a few recalculations of my abnormally long menstrual cycle (38 day avg), that my midwife said, realistically, I should be thinking March 1st. And even then, first timers often go 41 weeks. So I needed to be mentally flexible for a date that was possibly 2 - 3 weeks later than I had ever imagined. I was done being pregnant long before my original due date, so at this stage in labor, 
I was filled with excitement!

Bentley was amazing. He got everything in the master bathroom all prepped, essential oils, music, towels, water, food, pillows, etc. I didn't want to call in too early, but all of a sudden, I had a pain so deep and fierce in my lower back, I wanted to crawl out of my body and hide under the covers. "SO THIS IS BACK LABOR!" I thought to myself. I waited until about 4 to call Danielle (assistant midwife). She came over, checked to see how far I had dilated, and monitored the baby's heart-rate during a few contractions. Everything looked great! Baby was good, I was at 4cm and moving right along. I was having a 'text  book ' labor. She left and I continued to labor at home. My back pain was getting so intense I could no longer sit or lie down. I couldn't have any pressure at all on my low back. I remember thinking, "How do women do this in a hospital where they have to lie down?" They are the tough ones! I was literally hanging on Bentley's shoulders through every contractions trying to alleviate the pressure off my tailbone with some traction. Sitting on the toilet with my arms tightly clasped around him, squeezing against his resistance through every rush, was all I could do for the next two hours. As each contraction got more and more intense, I was starting to get a little desperate. I had lost my modesty, was howling something primal, and pacing like a caged lion. It was now about 6 o'clock, 6 hours into labor and I thought for sure it had to be over soon, and that I had dilated to at least an 8 by now. Bentley called April (our midwife) and we were ready to try just about anything to speed things along. From the shower to the tub, to the floor, to the toilet, then back to the shower, the warm water from the shower head seemed to be the only thing that would take a bit of an edge off the back labor pain. This went on for another 6 hours, while puking and passing out between contractions because of the pain, exhaustion, and having not been able to eat or drink anything that would stay down, for 12 hrs.

By 11:00, I had been dilated to a 9 1/2 for a few hours, but the contractions were getting farther and farther apart (15-20 minutes). This was beginning to worry me. I was just dying for them to start coupling so I could get this baby out be done with the pain! While resting/sleeping/fainting/puking between contractions, we decided to do an iv-drip, to get some fluid into my body. Unfortunately I felt no different, but April said the color had come back in my face quite a bit. I gave it another hour of slowing contractions before really getting worried. By midnight I was inconsolable, 

I felt something was wrong. 
Why were my contractions now 20 minutes apart and extremely short? 
What was my body doing? 
Why couldn't I feel the baby moving as much? 

Nothing about it felt right, and I said that I wanted to go to the hospital, even though we had made every single preparation to avoid having to go to the hospital. I told everyone I wanted to go, that something felt wrong, and that we needed to just go. 12 hours of back labor, 4 hours dilated at 9.5, slowing contractions, and a less active baby. Everything was telling me something needed to change in order to birth this baby... April reassured me that she would not be calmly sitting, if something were really truly wrong, and she reminded me what a hospital birth would entail, as well as the possibility of a c-section. She told me that realistically, they will probably insist I get an epidural and try to rest, so I have the energy to deliver and am calm enough to dilate the last half cm. All of that sounded really good to me at that point!! Now, April was a labor and delivery nurse for high risk pregnancies in a hospital for 7 years, before midwifery. I trust her entirely, she has seen A LOT of emergencies, and I was comforted to know that I was not one of them. However she also said that when a mother says something like that, she takes it very seriously. Only the mother can feel what's going on in her own body, and with her own baby. So my sister in law packed a bag, I got a robe and we headed for the car. Bentley supported me on one side and my father in law Papa G held me up on the other. I love those men with all my heart!

Papa G gave me a Priesthood blessing on the quick 7min. ride over. I had one little contraction in the car, and was up on the third floor of labor and delivery in no time. I refused to sit in a wheelchair, because my back could just not take it, so we had to walk. I remember feeling relieved in the elevator as we went up. The gravity took so much pressure off my back, I wanted to literally ride the elevator all night long and deliver in there. Once we got to a room they asked me to lie down on the bed.... Um, yeah right! Not with my back!", I said. But I really had no choice, and was so tired I laid down on my side and clenched my fists around the bed rail during contractions. The team of nurses we had were very polite, a little stressed because I was so dang loud and out of control during contractions. They and April helped me breathe through them and tied to comfort me as much as possible.

Among many, many other things, we adamantly opposed and opted out of pre-birth Pitocin for a number of well researched reasons, as well as the Vitamin-K shot (totally unnecessary), the notorious Erythromycin Eye treatment for the baby (which has been documented to have caused blindness), the HIV & Hep-B Tests (Seriously? Those should only be implemented if the baby has had a transfusion)... We also declined numerous others, while the nurses looked at us like we were from another planet. It's very rare that ANYONE opts out of ANYTHING at the hospital. Everyone's choices will be based on their own research, and their own situation, and we were very well prepared, having sought out all the information to make very well-informed decisions about our baby.

It took 2 hours to get the okay for an epidural (admittance papers and blood work had to be done first.) I thought to myself, "Women who do birth all natural in hospitals with back labor lying on their backs are SO hard core. I could have NEVER in a million years gone through the last 12 hours on my back. At 2 am I got the epidural and within minutes, could feel myself releasing tension in my lower back. I told the anesthesiologist "Thank you!" about a million times, and rolled over on my back for the first time. I heard a loud pop and thought my water broke, but it was actually my cervix popping open the rest of the way!!! Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!

The doctor was relieved that had happened so quickly. He checked to see where the baby was and was not super pleased to find the baby was still pretty high up, in an awkward position. He said, "We will give it a little while, monitoring the baby and you, to see what you both can handle. Hopefully the baby will start moving down and you can birth this baby vaginally. But it is the baby's choice too, if he or she decides not to come down the rest of the way, I can tell you with 100% certainty, that this will be a c- section. The baby's heart rate isn't the greatest, it's safe for now, but can't go like this for long. And there is a little meconium (baby poop, from being stressed). getting the baby out safely is most important, so rest and then we will see what you two can do." Obviously, this was not what we wanted to hear. C-Section was the one thing we had worked and researched for the entire nine months, in order to avoid. We felt we had done everything right, and this truly was a test in humility and patience.

I was determined to get this baby moving on down and out. But first a little rest was necessary. Two hours went by and the baby's heart rate was decelerating after contractions and slowing immensely. One of the nurses, named Morgan, gave me oxygen and said it was time to start pushing through contractions to help the baby. I am so SO thankful for Morgan! She sat on one side, and Bentley on the other for an hour (5:15 - 6:15) and taught me how to push a baby out with an epidural. It took so long because the baby's heart could only handle pushing every other contraction. And when you can't totally feel what's going on down there, pushing is harder than you would think! I could still feel my legs, and felt when a contraction was coming, (thank heaven), which made me feel like I could do more to help my baby along. During one push, she told me to stop pushing through my face and belly, and I immediately realized that's exactly what I was doing. It was the strangest thing. Once I got the hang of pushing, baby thankfully complied and dropped! I could reach down there and feel the babys' head at the peak of each contraction. The baby was nearly under my pubic bone and ready to make his big debut. Pushing was so much more calm and quiet, I wasn't in the same back labor pain and I could actually function.

The doctor came in and said it looked like a vaginal birth was in sight. He also said the meconium was much thicker and because of that, this needed to happen fast. A NICU team was called to the room just in case.  

I was pushing with all my might and felt the warmth of the baby between my legs. The expression on Bentley's face was priceless, he kept checking in with me and telling me what  he was seeing. Then the doctor hurriedly told me to sit up and hold on. He put my hands around my baby's ribcage and told me to PULL MY BABY OUT! :)

Most awesome thing ever... I pulled little Azure Silas out of my body and right onto my tummy. I yelled its a boy and Bentley smiled ear to ear. The doctor had Bentley cut the umbilical chord with dull scissors. Yes the scissors were dull and the doctor was so pissed about it, it was kinda funny. We are still laughing about that. Nothing about this delivery was easy!

Azure was seriously covered in poop, they swooped him up pretty fast to start suctioning all the yucky stuff. Bent stuck by his side every second, talking to him and welcoming him, while I got stitched up. Thank heavens for the epidural then! :S Pretty gnarly tear. April told me in that moment that I had made a good call, and that my instincts were spot on. That much meconium was too much to not be in a hospital and the fact that I decided to come in at midnight and still didn't deliver for another 6 and a half hours.... I would not have been able to do that at home puking and fainting. I felt relief everywhere. I felt my natural oxytocin and pure joy pulsing through my whole body.

At 6:35, Monday morning, March 10th, Azure Silas Murdock arrived, and he was 8 pounds and 10 ounces of pure deliciousness. He latched on and fed for the next 3 hours straight, and I couldn't take my eyes off of him. 

The next 30 hours was spent refusing test after test after test and every vaccine under the sun. They even had a photographer try to come in! Seriously? We signed every refusal of treatment form imaginable and eventually discharged ourselves from the hospital AMA "Against Medical Advice". It was such a joke.  They basically wanted to keep us there until they had convinced us to vaccinate. They used every threat in the book, including "Insurance won't cover anything!" which all of you need to know, is an absolute lie. I'm sure they'll use that one and others on you too, if you try to opt out of anything. Azure scored a 9 on the Apgar, the pediatrician said he looked great, he was doing perfectly fine. It had nothing to do with the baby!!! We had already made it very clear we were not doing anything but the PKU test and the metabolic blood test. The rest could wait till he is 2 months if we decide to do any... Really I was just saying that to appease them, but their judgement ran deep and they threw every empty threat at us they could find. From "Your baby could die, your baby could contract this, you NEED to do this, THIS IS MANDATORY, your insurance company wont pay if you don't do this!" and "There's more red-tape to go through than you think" and "Sorry, it just doesn't work that way".... what a load of BULL. Finally, after having signed literally 15 opt-out & "against medical advice" documents, we said we were leaving, and that we had been there far longer than the MANDATORY 24 hrs. They said if we left Against Medical Advice, they would be forced to call Child Protective Services!! Not for fear of the child's safety, but because it is MANDATORY hospital protocol. I swear if I ever hear the word "mandatory" again, I am going to punch someone. To that we said go ahead and notify whoever you want! Where do we sign, get us out of here! CPS has not contacted us nor do I think they ever will. I think that was the hospital's discharge director's way of trying to scare a young new mother into compliance with whatever threat they could think of. She was a big bully... Karma never forgets. One of the last and final attempts to keep us there, was when the Hospital's Discharge Supervisor said "This is all because the baby can't speak for itself." To which we responded, "All the more reason for the Mother to be the one speaking for the baby!". 

We were home late tuesday with our sweet perfect, healthy little baby. Showers, food, poopy diapers and cuddles ensued for the next week. 
We are so in love with our little, big man. 

I still believe in home birth, still a huge fan. I plan on giving it another try next time. But I was humbled through this experience. I was reminded I can do a lot of things but I can't do everything, its not all up to me and my way is not the only way. One powerful truth I can share with each of you reading this, is that sometimes, certain precautions are completely necessary, and research should be done on your own about your own children and your own situations. However, you are the only ones who can speak for and choose for your baby, so don't ever let anyone tell you that the decision-making ability is out of your hands. Nothing that goes on within hospital walls is mandatory, no matter what they tell you. So do your homework, read all you can, stick to your guns, and be confident about the decisions you feel passionately about. I am so incredibly grateful for my husband, my sister in law Melynne (who saw a lot more of me than she bargained for), my midwife, the nurse Morgan, and the absolutely wonderful doctor who delivered Azure.

Life is beautiful, tender, fragile, and entirely unexpected at times...
And nothing is more precious than a Baby's First Day!!