Thursday, February 12, 2015

Happy 27 to Matson!

Today is my guy's birthday. This is the 6th birthday I have celebrated with him. And I am so incredibly lucky to be the one that gets to celebrate with him.

This morning after feeding little Nixon, I got back into bed to snuggle Matson and I told Matson just that. That I was so lucky to have him. And you know what he responded with? he told me that he was so lucky to have me. I reminded him that it wasn't my birthday. But he didn't care. THAT is why I am so lucky right there. He is so good to me.

As I look back at these 6 years of birthday celebrating...I really am the lucky one. Although we may argue sometimes, get incredibly frustrated with each other, say things we don't mean, and fight about what stupid television show to put on (Don't be surprised if I pull my hair out if I have to watch another episode of Top Gear, Mythbusters, or Family Guy again.), I still love him so much. And at the end of each day he is the one I want, the one I choose, and the one I will never be tired of.  AND I am the one he wants, he chooses, and the one he never tires of.

Well this is my short love letter to Matson on his 27th birthday. I won't bore you with 27 reasons why I love him because he can read those on the 27 sticky notes hidden around our house. Ha. But I will tell you, Matson, in front of all these readers and bloggers that I love you. I love you more than bright yellow flowers, more than Western Family Shark fruit snacks, more than direct heat from a fireplace, more than a Sunday nap, more than anything.

Happy Birthday, Mats! I truly am grateful that you were born and that I am the one that gets to celebrate that with you.

Photo by Teagan Alex

Photo by Teagan Alex

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Our First Night Home as Parents

I decided I wanted to write about the first night we brought Nixon home so that I don't forget it (which I don't think I ever could) and so that other new parents don't feel like they are the only ones struggling. You can laugh at our crazy first night with us.

Our hospital stay after Nixon was born was glamorous...well as glamorous as a hospital stay can be. Nixon slept ALL day and night long. Literally we had to tickle his feet and neck to keep him awake long enough to feed.

We left the hospital on Thursday the 18th of December in the afternoon. We drove straight to the pharmacy to fill some prescriptions for me. The wait there was something like an hour so we stalled by visiting Matson's parents. After visiting them, we picked up my prescriptions and went home. This whole time our little newborn was in deep sleep.

My dad and little sister came over to our house to hold Nixon and hang out with us. My mom came later too but was held up doing something (I think she was at a wedding reception or something). We all ate ice cream (Thanks sis!) and talked about the big event that just happened two days before. Towards the end of the night my sister left. Then, my dad and mom stayed to help us give Nixon his first bath at home. We pretty much sponge bathed him in our kitchen sink since his umbilical cord/belly button couldn't get wet yet. Nixon screamed the whole time. He especially hated getting his head wet (this has now changed...Nixon at almost two months loves bath time and relaxes so much in the nice warm water that he pees about 2-3 times a bath!).

After bath time my dad headed home. My mom stayed to help us with Nixon. I hurried and took a bath, fed him, and then got into bed. Nixon was crying a lot I guess after I fed him. My mom and Matson watched TV while trying to soothe him. After about an hour and a half or so he calmed down and my mom got him to sleep after lots of rocking. So at midnight he finally slept and my mom headed home.

As soon as my mom left Nixon woke up and was crying like crazy again. I heard him and woke up too. I walked out of our room and into our family room to see a very distraught and frustrated Matson. He was so bugged that Nixon had woken up again and was wailing RIGHT after my mom had worked so hard to get him to sleep. He was not happy. I took Nixon and started going through the Mommy checklist.

Dirty diaper? Nope.

Burp stuck in his belly? Burped him for a while. Nope.

Hungry? I fed him for a little bit but after he was just crying again.

Rock him? Nope, he wasn't having it.

Bounce him? Nope, didn't like it.

Walk around the room/house? Nope.

Nothing was working. We kept saying how we literally felt like we had no idea what the heck we were doing. Matson and I started out kind of laughing about it and how we couldn't believe the hospital let ANYONE just go without hours and hours of instruction of how to take care of a newborn.

We went into our bedroom to try skin to skin and to calm him. Didn't work. With our upset newborn and the combination of us not having a clue of what to do, we were getting pretty frustrated. Matson kept saying how he thought he was colic. I kept reassuring him that he wasn't and that he just was tired or something else was wrong. We just tried our best to keep rocking him and trying to soothe him. It is amazing that when I was frustrated Matson would try to calm me. Then when Matson was frustrated I would try to calm him. There was never a time when we both were frustrated. It has continued to be that way. When one is frustrated, the other can take him and calm the other spouse.

Two hours past. It was 2 am. I wasn't frustrated but more worried and tired. Who wants to be up at 2 am? NO ONE. Plus, Matson had to be at work the next morning for some meeting. So I felt bad that he was awake still. I was crying at this point and praying over and over again in my mind.

Against Matson's will, I called my mom. Matson didn't want me to call her because that would suck for her to be woken up and he knew that she would come over. I just needed to call her because I knew she would be able to help or at least help me to not feel so bugged and mad. I called her. She answered.

I apologized over and over again for calling and that I just needed her advice. She went through the same checklist with me. She could hear Nixon wailing in the background. Through my tears I told her how I had tried everything, was worried about Nixon since he really hadn't slept in over 5 hours, and that I was incredibly frustrated. She reassured me and told me she would head over. I asked her not to but she still came.

Matson and I were just happy that someone who ACTUALLY knew what they were doing was coming over. She came over to the rescue. I fed Nixon again and then my mom told me to go to bed and that she would hold him.

For the next two hours he was off and on crying, but she said the whole time he was awake. She said the lights from the Christmas tree were interesting to him and was the only thing that would distract him. My mother is a saint. I slept those two hours then came out to feed him again. While I fed him my mom slept on my couch as best as she could. She was exhausted now too. I felt so bad but was so grateful. At this point, I was saying the biggest prayer of gratitude.

After feeding him, I went back to bed and my mom stayed another couple hours with him while he was in and out of sleep. I woke up at about 7 in the morning to feed him again. I fed him and then told my mom that I could handle it since I had gotten some sleep. I just needed some. As soon as my mom left and Matson went to his work meeting, Nixon fell asleep. He HAD to be exhausted. For a newborn to be awake from 10pm to 2am is a really long time. Plus to not really have a long stretch of sleep at night had to be hard for him. After that night, Nixon slept so good. He would go every four hours at night and as he gets older he adds more and more time to sleeping.

I will forever be grateful for Matson and my mom that night. Matson helped to keep me sane. And my mom literally saved me from hours and hours of tears. Moral of the story: newborns are going to cry, you are going to get frustrated, and my mom is heaven sent.

Our good little sleeper!
Photo by: Teagan Alex

Monday, February 2, 2015

The Day We Met Our Sweet Nixon

Nixon is now a month and a half. It is hilarious how long it has taken me to write this. I now understand what it means when new moms say that the first three months are a blur. I completely agree. When he sleeps it is either nap time for me too or I am rushing to get showered or switching the laundry from the washer to the dryer. But all in all I wouldn't trade this for anything in the world. Almost every day I tell Matson how it makes me sad that he is growing up and he is only 6 weeks old! I want to write this so that I will always remember all the details of Nixon's delivery. I am usually quite an open person so I am warning you now that parts of this may be TMI for some of you. So stop reading now if you are one of those people. Ha. It is also very long. All details included.

The Day We Met Our Sweet 
Nixon John Tanner

December 16, 2014    |    2:19 pm    |    8 lbs. 7 oz.    |    20.5 inches

Our story starts weeks before I gave birth to Nixon. The last month of pregnancy I went in weekly to the doctor to be checked and see how I was progressing. At our prenatal class that I made Matson attend with me, the nurse told us that at the end of pregnancy it is all about how you change from week to week. That is what matters when going into labor. My first appointment when they checked me I was 37 weeks, dilated to a 1, and 60% effaced. My doctor told me that was pretty good for being a first time mom. I was not sure if that was true or if he was just being nice. My second appointment I was 38 weeks, dilated to a 2, and 75% effaced. My third appointment I was 39 weeks, dilated to a 3, and 80% effaced. So during these visits we learned that I was progressing nicely and maybe even a little ahead of most first time mothers. Therefore, at that third appointment my doctor told me that we could set a day for me to be induced. He asked if we wanted to. Matson and I looked at each other and immediately responded with a yes. My due date was December 18th, but we set an induction date for the 16th. I hadn't had any strong contractions so we pretty much decided that that would be the day we would have Nixon. On December 16th. The doctor did say that since I had been progressing that he could come earlier.

Although I knew he wouldn't come early, my mom was determined to get things going and get the baby here. All week long, Matson kept saying he was ready for him to come now too. They both wanted the baby here. On the other hand, I was not in a rush. I felt like I had so much to do. On Friday, December 12th my mom had an idea of hiking the Y to see if that would help move little baby along. So we hiked the Y. It wasn't too tough, but I did go at a snail's pace compared to normal. Afterward, I did have some stronger contractions than before but nothing happened. Matson now really wanted him here. He also kind of thought it would be cool if our baby boy was born on 12/13/14 so he really was hoping for him to come on Saturday. Saturday passed. No baby boy. Sunday passed. No baby boy.

Monday came and nothing that day so that night we received a call from the hospital telling us to be at the hospital at 6:30 am the next morning for me to be induced. We were at Matson's office Christmas party late but we hurried home so I could get the last minute things ready. We got home and instantly I started feeling really nervous. I was crying and emotional because I was so excited to meet our little boy but I was also so nervous that I couldn't do it. I literally thought that there would be NO WAY I could give birth to this little one. There was no turning back now though. I called my dad and mom. My parents came over bringing a DQ treat with them and together Matson and my dad gave me a blessing. Combined with the blessing, the sugar, and my parents and Matson's kind words I felt calm and I knew that I could do it.

Matson and I got up around 4:30 am. I thought why not get ready since I knew there would be loads of pictures taken on this glorious day. I ate breakfast. I then started doing my hair while Matson still laid in bed. I was feeling kind of nauseous for some reason. I couldn't figure it out...I hadn't been sick a single day during the past nine months and then today I start feeling sick? I took a break from doing my hair (who does that?!) and sat on the side of our tub. I was eating some Lucky Charms (my healthy pregnancy secret. Ha.). All of the sudden at about 5:30, I felt like I was peeing a little bit. I looked down and saw a pool of water! My water broke (or so I thought).

Matson jumped out of bed and started pushing me along and saying to hurry to get ready! He threw our bag in the car, some towels on my passenger seat, made sure we had everything we needed, and called his sister to tell her we were picking her up earlier than we thought. Matson's sister, Teagan, came along with us for this whole adventure since she is a photographer and we wanted it all captured! At 5:55 am we picked up Teagan and on the way to the hospital I started having contractions about every 3 minutes. Matson was driving crazy fast because I think that is the only thing that he felt like he had control over. To get me to the hospital quickly. Haha.

At this point we had no idea what we were doing. I had contractions every 3 minutes and we thought my water had broken. So we literally thought we could be having this baby soon. We arrived at the hospital at 6:05 am calmly. We checked in, I changed into my hospital robe with the help of Teagan tying it up in the back. I sat down on the hospital bed in the delivery room and noticed that I really was having contractions consistently.

Our nurse walked in and we recognized her! Matson and I both just laughed. Most random connection, but long story short, she went on a really awkward blind date with my brother and the rest of our family to Stadium of Fire a couple of years ago. The date was horribly awkward for her and for my brother since my whole family was along with them. We never thought we would see her again let alone have her as the person guiding us through our whole delivery process. Let me just say that McCall was THE BEST nurse ever. I am so grateful that she was my nurse! After apologizing to her for that awkward date a couple years ago, we got right to work. She checked me to see how I was progressing and told us that my water had not fully broken, but she did confirm that I was going into full blown labor on my own and that this actually wouldn't be considered an induction. I was dilated to a 4.

I thought that was nuts. My body must have known or something that today was the day. The day I was suppose to get induced, little baby decided to come on his very own. Kind of cool but also insane. Now side note: Being checked is the most uncomfortable thing I think. Honestly it hurts more than some contractions. That is something that people just don't talk about that I think feels the weirdest.

McCall hooked me up to everything and brought me my first cup of ice chips flavored with raspberry syrup - she kept those cups of love coming all day. They were the only thing I could eat/drink and it killed me. I am a huge water drinker and that's all I wanted but couldn't have. After hooking me up to the monitors and putting in my IV, McCall explained all the machines and numbers to Matson (he wanted to know everything and I was glad he did so that I didn't have to worry about it). Dr. Jacob came in to check on me and he felt my stomach to feel the baby. He guessed that the baby would be 6 pounds and 5 ounces.

Everyone then started texting in their guesses on how much Nixon would weigh. Most were staying under or around the 7 pounds region.

The contractions were not too bad. I honestly thought it would be so much worse. I am not saying it wasn't painful, I just expected much worse. Teagan, Matson, McCall, and I were just talking about all sorts of things. When a contraction would come Matson allowed me to squeeze his hand and just told me over and over again to breathe in my nose and out my mouth. Over and over again I kept saying, "This hurts" and Teagan would laugh and say, "They are suppose to."

By now, it was 9 am. Matson was getting hungry so I told him and his sister to go get some breakfast at the hospital restaurant. Very reluctantly Matson left. He didn't want me to be alone but I reassured him that I had this. They left and I was kind of grateful so that I could bare through some harder contractions on my own. The most pain I felt was in my back. The contractions started to hurt more so I started having to hold onto the side of the hospital bed just for something to squeeze since Matson wasn't there. My next baby I should remember to bring a small stress ball or something. In between contractions I kept thinking about how I would only be pregnant for a little bit longer. I was never one that LOVED pregnancy but I also didn't hate it. It weirded me out that I had been pregnant for what seemed like a year and it soon would be ending. I guess I took this alone time to just take in the end of my pregnancy chapter and eat some ice chips.

While Matson and Teagan were still at breakfast the nurse came in to check me again bringing a fresh warm blanket with her (those things are HEAVEN SENT! I probably used like 20 warm blankets that morning and then continued using the warm blankets throughout my hospital stay. I didn't just have one warm blanket at a time I had like five). By now Teagan and Matson were back. Dr. Jacob came in to check on me again. He told me that I could get the epidural whenever I wanted. I told him and my nurse both that I was good with that and I believe my exact words were, "I have nothing to prove to anyone. Let's get the epidural!"

It took about 15 minutes for the anesthesiologist to come in because he was in surgery but by the time he came I was ready! I was looking forward to letting my body relax and focus on getting my baby here rather than on the pain. Dr. Johnson, the anesthesiologist, came in and told me everything he was going to do. He was about to put the numbing needle in and I flinched! Worst thing ever. I freaked out. He got ready again and I flinched AGAIN! So bad. Matson finally told the anesthesiologist that he would hold me and help me to not move. So Matson held me and I didn't move.

Surprisingly the epidural didn't hurt. I mean I felt a little poke. Similar to a poke that you feel when getting a flu shot but not nearly as bad as I had heard about epidurals. Literally as soon as Dr. Johnson was finished cleaning up and I laid back down on my bed I felt so good. I was already kind of feeling numb but a good numb. Like laughing gas numb. It was so nice. Dr. Johnson was a great doctor and talked to me about his family. He also gave me advice about the epidural. He told me that if I wanted some feeling while pushing to not press for more epidural pumps once I am dilated to a 9. I did just that and only pushed the epidural button when I could slightly start feeling contractions.

Once the epidural was in, my parents showed up. It was about 11 am. I still felt very good and relaxed. McCall checked me again and I was dilated to a 6. I couldn't feel her when she checked me. I felt no pain. I had some of the strongest contractions ever but was chit chatting right through them. I couldn't feel my legs or move them. Matson thought it was hilarious. I was in heaven. I kept saying to everyone in the room how amazing it was and that I didn't understand why other women would want to continue putting their bodies through so much stress (please don't take that as a fight or comment telling me why you did or did not get an epidural...everyone is different and I respect everyone's opinions). Dr. Jacob came in again to say hi to my parents and check on me again. This time he told me that the baby had had a bowel movement inside of me, which meant that meconium (baby poop) was mixed in with the amnionic fluid. This can be scary if the baby takes in the meconium. Because of this Dr. Jacob told us that as soon as Nixon was born Matson wouldn't be able to cut the cord and I wouldn't be able to directly do skin to skin so that the NICU nurses could check him out and make sure that he is ok. We weren't sad a bit about that and knew that we would rather have our baby safe!

My in laws also showed up around noon and came in to visit with everyone. Due to the epidural, the nurse was able to boost up the pitocin level which made my contractions really come. They were coming more frequently and much stronger. Everyone in the room continued to chit chat.

An hour later the nurse came back in to check me. I really had progressed and was ready to push! Matson's parents left and my mom was texting my sister to hurry to the hospital. We didn't want her to miss the baby's big debut! Right as I was starting to push, my sister walked through the door. She was able to leave work for her lunch hour whenever she wanted so that she could meet baby Nixon.

I pushed for about an hour and a half. It was hard and tiring. To be straight up honest (TMI WARNING) pushing feels like you have the biggest poop of your life and you have GOT to get it out. All this but you can't fully feel it. McCall was the director and was super helpful. She would count and tell me how I was doing. My mom and Matson were holding my legs. They were also telling me how good I was doing and that I had to push harder. For every set of three pushes Nixon would move a milimeter then go back in half of how far he just came out. My mom was a trooper. I could tell she was even getting worn out just holding my dead leg. Yet, she and Matson kept encouraging me. Sometimes I would run out of breath and not get as good of pushes. So I would take a minute break to just breathe and eat some ice chips. Then we were right back at it.

People think I am nuts for having so many people in my delivery room but I wouldn't have had it any other way. I had my mom who has been through every illness and painful thing in my life with me so she knows how I am. I had my biggest support my husband. Then I had my sister in law, sister, and dad there too! Honestly, I felt as though it was a group effort, not just me, who was getting the baby there. I was not alone and had a wonderful support group.

In the middle of pushing I all the sudden started puking. I am not sure why. Maybe it was because my body was in shock or I was just pushing so hard...who knows? That was the grossest part of the whole delivery process. I kept apologizing to everyone because I hate puking and watching other people puke is disgusting so I felt bad for them! I looked over at my sister and dad at that moment. They both looked so concerned. After throwing up, I started shaking a lot. I went back to pushing and everyone started commenting on his head and hair. He had dark brown hair they kept telling me.

Towards the end of my pushing time, Dr. Jacob came in to deliver the baby. After he came in I knew I was close and ten minutes later little Nixon was born. Obviously his head popped out first and then his arms and hands. As soon as his hands were out everyone in the room was saying how huge his hands were. "Whoa look at his hands! He's big!" He surprised us for sure because Dr. Jacob guessed a 6 pound baby. Dr Jacob looked at me and said, "Wow! He is huge! Erica, I don't know where you were hiding him!"

Next came Nixon's shoulders and he slid right out! Instantly we heard lots of baby crying/screaming. I was so happy because that meant he was healthy and breathing well! The doctor quickly cut the cord and Nixon was rushed right over to the warming table to be checked by the NICU nurses. Everyone followed him over there. I literally felt so left out. I was the uncool one that had to stay and deliver the placenta while everyone else got to check out Nixon. Haha. Right after he came out, I felt instant relief in my body - I could fully breathe again, I could feel that the pressure was gone, and my body was just my body not anyone else's. It was a weird feeling.

While I was finishing up the delivery, I just loved hearing everyone comment on Nixon. All about how big he was, his big hands, feet, mouth, and how angry he was to be so cold. According to Matson, Nixon was super grey (which is normal) and then after a few seconds of screaming he started turning more red. Matson also said the NICU nurses checked everything on Nixon - all his reflexes, body parts, and senses. Then Nixon was weighed. He definitely was not 6 pounds but instead was 8 pounds and 7 ounces! A big boy!

While the nurses worked on him and while I was finishing up, I kept looking at Matson. Matson was so happy. He was smiling ear to ear. I could tell he was just so overwhelmed. The nurse said to Matson, "Dad, you can touch him. He is yours." Matson looked around at my dad and then realized to himself that he was the dad. He reached out and held Nixon's little hands. As soon as the nurses got him a little cleaned up they handed Nixon to Matson and brought him over to me. I was still getting sewn up and such so I was just able to look at him. I instantly loved him so much. He was so swollen yet so beautiful to me. My family took turns holding him and as soon as Dr. Jacob was done Matson handed Nixon to me so that we could do skin to skin. Immediately Nixon stopped fussing and laid there with his eyes open looking around the room. That hour or so of skin to skin time was an amazing feeling. I was amazed that I could bring someone else that much comfort. He already knew that I was his mommy.

Others started trickling in. I am not very sure when but I know Matson's little sister came in to meet him real quick then my brother and his wife. They all were so sweet to little Nixon. After they all came and went, the first thing I wanted was a big jug of water! I chugged that thing down and ate some graham crackers. I then also realized that I had to go pee so bad, but I couldn't go due to some crazy swollen-ness in my downstairs area! Cue the catheter. Seriously felt like an old person with that thing in. Probably the worst thing about my hospital stay was the whole going to the bathroom thing.

After my catheter experience, we had a very tender moment. This was the time when Matson and I sat in the delivery room for a little by ourselves just in awe. We were just shocked and amazed at everything that had happened and that this little human who was completely relaxed on my chest was ours. We were so grateful that everything had gone so well.

The rest of the day was just relaxing. Nixon got his first bath. We sadly said goodbye to my delivery nurse, McCall, and were moved to our new room. It was smaller than the delivery room but much bigger than the rooms at Utah Valley. I was able to relax, rest, and eat some dinner before more guests came to meet him. The hospital dinner was not so yummy so my parents brought me Taco Bell. For some reason that sounded super good! Ha. More of Nixon's uncles came to meet him and friends.

After all our visitors left, we were just our little family. We sat there completely fascinated with our little boy. It felt as though we were holding a little bit of heaven. We knew that this sweet little boy had just said goodbye to his Heavenly Father for a little while and possibly some of our dear loved ones like Grandma GG and others to come down to us. Heavenly Father trusts us enough to take care of His son. We felt and still feel so privileged to have our little Nixon.

Welcome little Nixon to our family! We love you so much!

Photos by Teagan Alex.