Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Clover's Blessing

At the start of October we decided to take a family trip to Boise, Idaho. We wanted to visit with family and friends, and while we were there, we decided to host a little get-together and Jim's Aunt Nona's, and bless Clover.

We had most of our Boise Callister family come, as well Jared and Audie Jacobs with their children, and our friends, the Hallings. 

Jim smoked pork shoulder and made yummy pulled pork sandwhiches. Other people brought sides and desserts, and it ended up being a lovely little event. 

I posted a few pictures below:

Hunter and Allie (below) have an arranged married. I'm pretty sure they're on board since they "got married" to each other while we were visiting in Boise. They're so cute. I really do hope it works out for them! :)

Jim blessed Clover on Sunday, October 4th at Aunt Nona's house in Boise. The blessing is below:

Clover Valentine Jacobs’ 
Baby Blessing

October 4, 2015

Our Father in Heaven, by the power of the Holy Melchizedek Priesthood which we hold, we hold this infant in our arms, and give her a name and a blessing. The name that she will be known on the records of the church is Clover Valentine Jacobs. Clover, at this time we give you a blessing that you will be healthy and strong. Our Father in Heaven wants you to know how much you are loved, and as you are here with your family members and friends, please know that you have good influences and examples all around you. Follow those examples throughout your life. 

Your name is synonymous with luck and with love. We’re lucky to have you in our home, and you’re in a home full of love. Your brother and sister love you very much, and they’re going to be good examples to you throughout your life. We know that if you follow their example and guidance, you’ll be blessed. 

We bless you with a strong conscience, that you’ll be able to choose the right paths. Know that when you choose the right paths, it will lead you to freedom. And as our leaders have said, and talked about in conference this day, the right paths lead to better choices, and better freedoms, which will lead you into eternal life. 

Your Father in Heaven loves you very much, as does your family, and we will always be there for you. We bless you with strength, health, and the ability to grow in the gospel. We bless you with all these things, and say them in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Dear Clover

Dear Clover,

It's six in the morning, and you're sleeping like a little angel beside me in bed. Sometimes I put my face right up next to yours, and breathe in as you exhale. Sometimes I'm creepy, and pretend I'm sucking in your youth. Sometimes I just like to smell your sweet milky breath. Sometimes I want to be close to you, and stare at your pouty lips, upturned nose, and long silky eyelashes that frame your eyes as you sleep. 

This morning, after I sucked in your youth, I began thinking of this journey we've taken together over the last (almost) three months. I remembered where we began, with me feeling inadequate and scared as a mother of an infant again. I wasn't able to produce milk right away, and you wanted it immediately. After four days of intense waiting and nursing, our efforts finally paid off. We were in this bed we lay in together now, and after you had nursed for several minutes, you pulled off my breast, and I watched a trail of milk dribble down your chin. I was so happy and relieved in that moment. I could finally provide you with exactly what you needed and wanted so badly.

I think that might be what the rest of our relationship will be like. You needing things from me, and me trying my very best to provide you with whatever it is. Right now, it's pretty easy. You need diaper changes, feeding, on occasion, gripe water, and love. I try my best to comfort and love you.

We went to Boise, Idaho to bless you. It was a fun trip, and your baby blessing had a great turn out. Our first night in a hotel, I was giving you a bath when your startle reflex kicked in. You went from smiling and enjoying being in the water, to instantly flailing your arms and feeling like you were falling. You were afraid and started crying. I swooped you up, and held you close so you could feel safe again. I always want you to feel safe, and I'll always want to swoop you up and protect you, even if I can't. Just know that I want to.

You've woken up now. I had to stop typing for a few minutes so we could do that thing where we lay in bed and smile at each other for several minutes. Your smiles are numerous. You've really started talking as well. Your adorable baby sounds light up this whole house. I've told people you're a high maintenance bi-polar baby, because you were, but I think I need to stop. You've brought nothing but happiness this last little while. Even when you're fussy, there's good reason behind it (usually gas, you're a gassy, farty little thing!), and you're back to smiling after the pain subsides. You even smile at the Winnie-the-Pooh characters on your hand-me-down bouncy chair.

Yesterday you gave me a cute look, and with your large eyes and pouty lips, I thought you looked like Tweety Bird. My sweet little bird, I love to dote on you. I feel so lucky, because most days, that's what I do. Daddy is away working, your big brother and sister are at school, so the two of us stay home and I get to spend my day nursing, napping, and caring for and with you. Somedays I put you in your swing and get some housework done. Sometimes I just hold you in the rocking chair and read, watch tv, or look at my phone between nursing sessions. Sometimes we go for walks, so I can attempt to loose some baby weight. Somedays I even think about the future and how much easier it will be when you're a little older, and I can fit more into the day, when I'm back to a size where my wedding rings fit again, I can work on my Etsy shop and crafts more, and I'll be able to plan and prepare better meals for the family. But right now, I sit and enjoy.

I read an article about a woman who said she's annoyed at people telling her to sit and enjoy her baby, when she also has a house to run and other kids to care for. I get it, I do. I have to get things done too, and the fact is, I can't just sit and enjoy you 24/7, although I would like to. But for me, when people tell me not to worry about the house, I find comfort in it. I'm able to let my anxiety go a bit about the crumbs and dust settling in. I know I'll get to it when you're sleeping in your swing, but it's okay if I don't get to it right this second! I have a pretty good excuse why my house isn't spotless. Cleaning CAN wait, but you won't.

I rested my hand across your stomach the other night and wondered how long my whole hand will fit across your belly. Not long. Soon you'll be bigger and not so needy. I like being needed by you. I feel important and fulfilled being your mom. Even when you spit up down my clean shirt and it gets in my just-washed hair (this happens a lot), when you poop after I just changed you, and when you're crying unconsolably, even when all this happens, I find joy in motherhood.

I really enjoy the fact that you're a pretty decent sleeper. Pretty much right after my milk came in, you slept great. You take little naps throughout the day, sometimes longer ones, but at night! At night I can count on you clocking in some serious shut-eye, and it's lovely! We usually get your older siblings to bed, kiss them goodnight, they each get to snuggle you in their bed for a minute, and then you and I come into my room and have our own little routine. I change you, sing to you, and then we talk for a few minutes, or FaceTime Daddy when he's away. Sometimes I read to you, and sometimes, if you're getting fussy and tired, we lay down together and you nurse one last time before drifting off to sleep. Then you're out! You wake up once or twice at night to nurse again, but promptly go back to dream-land after you've had your fill. I really appreciate you being a good sleeper, and I really enjoy co-sleeping with you. I did it with your big brother and sister, and loved it as well. I read an article about how beneficial co-sleeping is, if done correctly, with breast-feeding moms, and never looked back!  

I started this blog post to document some memories I didn't want to forget, like the time Daddy was holding you in his lap at a week old, and you pooped a bunch as he was filming you. We laughed and laughed. Or the numerous times you've stared into my eyes, and I felt our spirits connect on a deeper level. Or all the times I've taken you to appointments and outings and hopped you were a good baby, and you mostly just slept through the whole experience (thank you!)! Or the great debates we've had around here about what color your eyes will be. They're still blue, but daddy thinks they'll turn brown like your siblings'. I think he might be right, but part of me hopes they'll stay blue like your daddy's. It's ok if they won't, my eyes are brown, and I love sharing my eye color with Tralee and Hunter. I mostly wanted to share these memories so that I don't forget them, and also to share with you how dearly I love you.

I hope you will always know how much I wanted you here in this family, and how much I love you. There have been a few rough moments in the beginning, but we're settling into a pretty great routine. Our personalities know a bit more about each other, and I'm pretty sure we're in love. I honestly don't think I could love you more than I do in this moment, but as proven with your older siblings, I think I'll only love you more.

The alarm on my phone just started bellowing. Your big brother and sister are now awake, and getting ready for school, so it's time for this letter to come to an end. The morning frenzy has begun, and we need to get up and join it. You've been happily nursing the last little part of this letter, but that will have to be put on hold until we drop the kids off at school. I have lunches to pack, shoes to find, and prayers to say with the family. You'll sit in the bouncy chair and smile at Winnie-the-Pooh and your siblings when each of them come up to talk to you at some point. After the big kids are off, we'll resume your breakfast meal. I'll stare and marvel at you, and probably check my e-mail, Instagram, and Facebook accounts on my phone in-between kissing your cheeks and hands as you nurse. At some point I'll have to get some things done, so I'll either strap you in the baby carrier, and you'll ride along as I clean, or I'll put you in your swing to nap. It depends on what mood you're in, either way, you and I will both be happy.

I love you Tweety Bird!



Monday, August 31, 2015

Clover's Birth

Where do I start? From the very beginning of this pregnancy, I knew it would be my last. It took Jim and I several years to both be on the same page with wanting one more child. I had an experience in the temple several years back that made me know, there was still a little girl waiting to be welcomed into our family. It took Jim a few more years to get the same confirmation. Once we were both on board, it didn’t take long for our little one to join us. 

We found out I was pregnant in November, right around Thanksgiving. From the very beginning I told myself, “This is your last pregnancy, enjoy every minute of it.” It was difficult to enjoy the morning sickness in the beginning, and the heart burn, swollen feet, hands, and general uncomfortableness in the end. However, it was easy to smile excitedly every time I felt a kick, nudge, or poke from my little girl inside my belly. When the pregnancy came to the end, I was both excited and nervous to go from pregnant to mother-of-three. 

On my last doctor’s visit, Doctor Benham strongly urged me to be induced, since the baby had been, and still was, measuring quite large. I really wanted to go into labor naturally, but also didn’t want to have an overly large baby that would require a c-section. I consented to an induction on Sunday, July 26th, 2015. That would be almost exactly one week from my due date. After the induction was scheduled, I went to work to go into labor on my own. Several days and nights were spent eating spicy food, pineapple, eggplant parmesan, and any other food rumored start labor. I also walked one to two miles every night, followed by a bath with Clary Sage oil while listening to my hypnobirthing affirmations. Jim and I also had some “alone time” since that was also a way to start labor. On the day before my induction I decided to try Castor Oil. The Castor Oil did start some contractions, but nothing too strong. I finally decided that maybe I wouldn’t be able to go into labor on my own, maybe I would have to be induced. Then, at 6:30 AM Sunday morning, on the 26th of July I woke up to something leaking in my nether regions. I jumped out of bed, went to the bathroom and another gush of fluid came out. I stood up and even more leaked out of me. I put on a pad, and excitedly opened the bathroom door and told Jim, “My water just broke!”

I called the hospital shortly after my water breaking, ate some food, and timed my contractions. The on-call doctor advised me to come in, so Jim called his sister Adrienne and had her come over watch the kids while we drove to Dixie Regional Medical Center to have our baby. Jim and I were both calm, excited, and joyful. I was so happy to have experienced my water breaking all on its own.

When we arrived at the hospital we had some nurses waiting for us. They put us in a tiny room to be checked, and for me to change, and we knew labor was progressing. I was dilated a three, and baby was still a little high. I changed into a pretty pusher gown I ordered online and we waited. I told the nurses I requested a low intervention birthing room, as I wanted to have my baby as naturally as possible. A little while later, they moved me into our birthing room, which was much more comfortable than the tiny room we were in at first. 

The low intervention room had a hospital bed, nice couch for Jim to lay on, a big bathroom, and a large birthing tub. We settled into our room, and waited for things to progress. Our nurse at first was named Nicole. Nicole was nice and knew what she was doing, however, labor and delivery was pretty busy, so Nicole called in another nurse named Pearl who took over. Pearl was older, but very nice. 

Earlier on Nicole asked if we would be open to starting some pitocin since my contractions (surges) were two minutes long and seven minutes apart. She would like them to be two minutes apart and one minute long. At this point, I decided that I wouldn’t mind getting the ball rolling a bit, if they would be open to stopping the pit to see if my body would take over. She said yes, so we decided to start pitocin. Within a few minutes my contraction got a little more intense and were spaced a little more evenly apart. When Pearl took over, she encouraged me to increase the pitocin every time my contractions slowed down a bit. I didn’t really mind, so we keep increasing them. At some point I realized Jim hadn’t eaten anything, so I told him to order some food. He ordered some lasagna and even snuck  me a few bites, and ordered me some string cheese! I also had been snacking on trail mix, and drinking my water. I remember at one point I stood up to go to the bathroom, and a whole bunch of amniotic fluid came out. Nicole the nurse just laughed, and helped clean it up! She kept telling me she could tell there was a lot of fluid inside me from listening to the heartbeat monitor. I told her, I bet there won’t be as much fluid in there after it all just came out of me! We had a chuckle over that. 

I started to feel the contractions pretty intensely after a while, and asked to try out the tub. Once I was in the tub, things really took off. The surges were really intense. So much so, that when Jim tried to crack a joke in the middle of them, I shook my head for him to quit. I couldn’t deal with him and the contraction at the same time! After a while, whenever I had a contraction, Jim would just go quiet and massage my shoulders or neck, and then afterwards we could talk and smile and encourage each other again.

After about 30 minutes in the tub I felt ready to move over to the bed again. The surges were really getting strong, and I knew it wouldn’t be long. I had to stop several times from the tub to the bed to lean on Jim during a contraction. I kept trying to remember all the breathing and relaxation techniques I learned from my hypnobrithing book and class I took. They helped, but at the same time the surges were pretty strong. I tried a few different positions during them, the polar bear (I didn’t care for it), laying on my side (that was only okay), then Pearl suggested a position where I stand and lean against Jim while he kneels backwards on a chair. I like that position the best. I really leaned into Jim during a surge. At this point I was dilated at eight centimeters and started to get the urge to push. I also started making moaning sounds to help me through each contraction. Pearl came in after a few more contractions, and checked me again. I was dilated nine-and-a-half centimeters and Pearl said I could try pushing to help my cervix get to a 10. I moved back onto the bed and got in the standard birthing position on my back. I pushed a few times during contractions, but found it really difficult. The pain was pretty intense. In between contractions I did my “breathing the baby down” breathing I learned in hypnobirthing and tried to go inside my body to where the baby was. I also kept telling myself, the same thing I told myself through each contraction, “You can do anything for one minute.”

I knew I was getting close when the doctor arrived, as did several other nurses. Pearl, Nicole, a tech, the doctor, Jim, and maybe a few others were in the room during delivery. Each contraction was powerful. I tried my best to push through each one, but sometimes only made it to five instead of ten counts to get the baby out. It was a pain I've never experienced before, and it brought out some Xena Warrior Princess Wails from me! On the other hand, I knew I had to keep pushing and breathing the baby down if I ever wanted to get the baby out and end the contractions. I forced myself to push — in between Xena Warrior Princess wails — to help my baby out. Pearl — or someone—  started putting cool wet cloths on my neck and forehead as I was really starting to sweat. My feet were in stir-ups and I knew this was it. Jim reminded me to do my birth breathing, and I listened. It helped to visualize the baby coming. I gave it my all with the next push. I felt the “ring of fire” I heard about down there and tried not to shout in pain, but I’m pretty sure I did. At one point I though my baby’s head was finally out, but then I heard Doctor Benham say, “Yep, she’s stuck.” They instantly took part of the bed off, I saw a nurse stand on a chair or stool above the doctor to help him, and Jim said Dr. Benham started twisting the baby’s head around to help her out. Jim was nervous at this point, as he was worried the baby might be hurt. I felt a contraction coming and knew I needed to do whatever they said to help our baby girl come into the world. I heard the doctor tell me to push, and I did. I pushed through the fear, the worry, the fire, and the pain to help my baby into the world. The ring of fire increased, I felt a lot of pressure, and then I felt a squirming little body come out of me. 

They placed her on my chest, and covered her with a warm towel. I saw my baby and was instantly in love. She was warms, squishy, and covered in white vernix! The feelings I felt in that moment were so powerful. I felt relief that the pain was gone, I felt powerful that my body had just accomplished such an amazing task, I felt awe and love for this new being laying on my chest, and I felt so happy. I heard them tell Jim to cut the cord, and I took a moment to just lay back and hold my baby. At one point they were going to take the baby away from me because she hadn’t really let out a loud birth cry yet, and they wanted her to have oxygen, but just when they were ready, little Baby Girl let out a cry, and continued to whimper and cry a few more times after, so they let her lay on me. I birthed the placenta shortly after, and asked to see it, as I have never seen my other two. It was an awesome looking life-giving organ. The doctor examined the placenta and me and said everything looked good. I didn’t even tear! Awesome!

As I lay on the bed, overcome with emotion, I placed my hand near our baby’s hand and she grabbed onto my finger. I turned to Jim and smiled. He caught that moment with a picture, and after looking at Jim, I could tell he was equally overcome with joy in that moment. Jim said he cried also, although he doesn’t like to admit it, and says it was actually just really dry in the room. Ha! 

I asked when I could try nursing the baby, and was told I could right away. So, I untied my Pretty Pusher and began nursing our baby girl. She latched right on, and I could tell she was already a pro. After I had given her both sides, the doctor and nurses took her over to the warming table to weigh and measure her.

Little Baby Girl Jacobs (she had no name at this point) was born at 5:36 p.m, weighed 9.8 lbs. CRAZY! She was my biggest baby. She measured in at 20.5 inches, although Jim said it was actually 21 inches. After a few more check-ins they wheeled us up to recovery.

It was in the recovery room that Jim and I decided on our baby’s name. The names we liked best were Clover, Scarlett, Ember, and Elle. I liked Clover from the very beginning and Scarlett was my next favorite. At first, Jim didn’t really love the name Clover, but it grew on him. In the end, we decided that our baby girl’s name would be Clover Valentine Jacobs.

Before I was even pregnant I was reading a book about Roald Dahl, my favorite children’s author, and saw that one of his grandchildren’s names was Clover. I remember sitting in the library reading that and thinking to myself, “If I were to have another baby girl, I would name her Clover.” Clover goes with our Irish theme, and it’s just a really adorable name. Valentine is after my great grandfather Labiszak. His name was Valentine, he was a pianist, and he also shares Tralee’s birthday. So, Clover Valentine Jacobs is our little caboose's name. Also, a few days before I gave birth to her, I had a little dream of this cute little blond girl running up to me while were were in Canada, she was very clearly a Clover. I knew deep down this was our little girl’s name.

After settling in the recovery room, Jim and I ordered some food, and called Adrienne to tell her to bring our kids over. I couldn’t wait for them to meet her. The only downer at this point was Clover’s blood sure was low. They told me to nurse her, and right when I was supposed to nurse her the kids, Adrienne, and Nick arrived, so they couldn’t love on her right away. Luckily nursing didn’t take too long, and the kids were so eager to hold Clover Valentine. We got some adorable videos and pictures of them loving on their new baby sister. Adrienne and Nick also held her. While Nick was holding her, a nurse came in and rubbed some glucose gel in Clover’s mouth to help get her blood sugar up. It must have helped, because the next few checks her blood sugar was just fine.

Adrienne took Tralee and Hunter to spend the night at Cassi and John’s house after that, and Jim, Clover, and I made ourselves comfy in the room. We ordered some more food, and settled in for the night. Clover kept waking up to nurse, and by 2:30 AM I was exhausted and needed some sleep if I was ever going to keep up with the baby. I thought I would for sure keep her in the room with me all night, but requested the nurses take her to the nursery for just a bit so I could sleep a few hours. I really couldn’t sleep though. I kept worrying about the baby, and by 4:00 AM I called the nurses and asked them to bring her back. A nurse came in the room and said they would if I wanted them to, but Clover was still sleeping. I relaxed at this point and asked them to bring her to me as soon as she woke up. Around 6:00 AM they rolled in a cute little newly awake Clover Valentine. I was so excited to see her. She nursed again, and we began making preparations of bring our new Lucky Clover home.

We were discharged from the hospital around 1:00 PM on Monday. Jim and I stopped at Taco Bell on the way home, and let Cassi know she could bring the kids home anytime. She was so sweet and gave the kids haircuts while at her house. They both looked adorable when they got home, and couldn’t wait to hold their baby sister again. All the cousins took a turn holding little Clover. 

I would like to say the first nights home were nothing but pure bliss, but that’s just not how it went. This new baby wanted to eat constantly, but my milk hadn’t come in yet, so it left her and me both frustrated and tired. I was exhausted. Clover slept for a bit during the day, but woke up angry and hungry every few hours. It was very tiring. I was near tears a lot. I had to take Clover in to get her bilirubin checked and found myself biting my tongue to stop from crying while there. There was no reason to cry, except that I felt exhausted and helpless. But then, slowly and steadily, my milk supply came in. By day four I was producing enough milk to help keep my baby satisfied, and that turned everything all around. Clover is so much more content on and off the breast. Poor thing lost some weight, but now I’m hoping for it to come right back on now that she’s eating well. She’s sleeping better too with her tummy full of milk.

We’ve had Clover Valentine home with us for one full week, and although I’ve been tired, I’ve also experienced pure joy and love for this new being. Even through the exhaustion I look at Clover's sweet face and fall in love all over again. I found myself giggling and smiling while watching her. There was one day that we just sat on my bed and I sang to her while she looked up into my face. I felt like the luckiest mom in the world at that point. She was mine, and I was hers, and we were in this together. The bonding definitely has come easy with Clover. I can already tell that she has an inquisitive sweet soul. She will be full of questions, excitement, and wonderment at the world around her. She will also be spoiled by all the rest of us. We just can’t get enough of her sweet self.

Overall the birth of Clover wasn’t exactly what I planned on, but it was perfect for us. I don’t think I would change anything. I’m proud of Clover and myself. I’m happy that Jim was my partner in creating her, and I’m so happy that Tralee and Hunter have a new sibling to love. Mostly, I thank my Heavenly Father everyday for allowing me to be my children's mother. My greatest wish and prayer is that I will be able to raise capable, smart, caring, kind, open-minded children into a satisfying adulthood. I love my family so much, and I’m so thankful for them. We’re all grateful for Clover Valentine Jacobs.