Thursday, January 28, 2016

From Moonbeam to Zeke: Our First Birth Story

This is the roughest draft and I'd like to edit, edit, edit and add some pictures but I just had to spew it all out before I forgot too much more. Here's what I've got so far.

Where to start? I feel so overwhelmed by all the humbling blessings and tiny events that lead to your birth. All I can say is that your father and I are a pair of lucky fools to have the chance to raise you and I hope one day you feel lucky to have us. We'll never stop loving you Zeke, never. I'm just so excited to get to know you over the course of your life and like you!
I think I'll begin my account some days before you were born. It was a Sunday morning (Dec 20th) and grandma Dina, uncle Omari, Titi chey, and uncle Jose all arrived early. Your Tia Kenia was already in our Philly home sending you vibrations to come out but apparently you needed more family around :). Tia Kenia went home to Miami for Christmas and we spent it in Philly opening our not-so-secret Santa gifts and going around the room telling each other the things we love and admire about each other. Christmas day afternoon we drove to white plains ny and spent the evening with tia fanny, uncle David and their daughters. Even abuelita and papito were there! Everyone was buzzing about you and making bets if you were a boy or girl and what day you'd be born. It was such a special Christmas weekend even though grandpa dell and Titi Imani couldn't be there in person and I'll never forget how peaceful I felt knowing how much love was waiting for you outside of your womb. Fast forward to Dec 28th: Even though we hadn't reached your due date, that mon through weds I got acupuncture for induction purposes. My blood pressure was slowly rising for the first time in my pregnancy and the swelling in my hands and feet became pretty annoying and painful. I also got a chiropractic adjustment that Tuesday that felt so nice and relaxing. I was really happy to have family around and was trying to go out walking each day and stay distracted. I wanted to hold you in my arms so badly but knew that I wasn't in control so I just released those thoughts and concentrated on being calm and happy. That Wednesday your Titi Selina came to visit and we spent the day laughing and catching up. Later that day, after I got an acupuncture treatment, we all decided to go to Ikea. Grandma Dina had never been there, there was food, and I could go on a long walk in air conditioning AND get a $1 ice cream cone at the end. 4 pluses! Before we left I came home to eat dinner. Grandma made a delicious curry butternut squash soup and I ate a huge bowl with bread. We walked around Ikea and talked about you. I even spoke on the phone to your uncle Donovan and Tia Kenia. Once we got to the cafeteria part, I was starving again so i bought chicken nuggets, French fries, mac and cheese and apple cider. We continued to the end, got our ice cream cones and headed home. I wasn't feeling much of anything, just hunger and soreness. I realize now that my body was stocking up on carbs and protein for the long labor I was about to have in a few hours. I thought it'd be at least a few more days before I'd get to meet you but it ended up being so much sooner. When we got home we all just hung out and watched tv until we fell asleep. Around 11 or 12 I realized that I was hungry still so I ate another huge meal of leftovers and then went to bed. Around 5am I woke up with really bad diarrhea (tmi). I'd had it for a week or so but this was a lot and I was feeling some abdominal pain in between sitting on the toilet. I decided to stay sitting with my legs open on the toilet to see if that would make the pains consistent enough to start counting and it did!
About 4 or 5 of them came every 10 to 5 mins. I knew I needed more rest than 5 hours so i tried to go back to sleep but I was too excited so I just laid there and felt my first contractions with a smile on my face. I woke up your dad and we counted them together for a few hours. We just kept kidding around with each other and whispering how excited we were. They were now consistently 5 mins apart so we decided to wake up your grandma and everyone else to start getting things prepared. Your Dad felt like he should go to work and then if things progressed he'd come home. We were just so afraid to jinx it, or that I'd have a super long labor. At first I agreed but as the contractions kept coming I just felt like I couldn't get through them without him holding me and helping me so he stayed. I'm even more grateful because once my siblings were awake, everyone had questions of how they should help and how to do those jobs but I was not in the right mind to be a leader. I really needed all of my concentration on feeling those waves and your dad was able to do most of the guiding and leading. It allowed me to listen even deeper to my body and loosen up enough to move past the tightening waves each time they came. At 8:30ish I texted my doula (Noelle) and my midwife (Aba) to come over because they had already started getting more intense from that morning. By this time the sun was up and shining and I could see the blue sky through the windows. In that moment I felt like your Grandpa Sonny was giving us a treat because it had been so dreary and rainy the past two weeks. He must have known that you'd be a boy named after him and wanted to give us a sunny day to seal the deal on our name choice. It truly was a marathon for the next 8 or so hours. I didn't stop moving and twisting my body to help you lower into my pelvis so I could push you out. I walked up and down the hallway and did slow walking laps around the birth pool. I mustered out deep lunges up and down the stairs and a few walks around the block in my robe. I even had your Uncle Omari hold me up in a rebozo wrap while I leaned deep into a sitting position and rocked my hips back and forth. Noelle and your dad tried holding me in the wrap but with all my rocking and moving it was too hard for them to hold me. Uncle Omari was the most sturdy so from then on I only wanted him to hold me up. During one of my lunge sessions down the stairs, I had a long and strong contraction. Once it finished I realized I had to go to the bathroom, but then in that same moment felt warm trickles coming down my leg. You were so close to coming out and I was so tired and too far from the bathroom that it just happened. I would normally be embarrassed but then another contraction came and I forgot I even did it. Your uncle Jose cleaned up the stairs and after that last contraction I cleaned up my legs and lunged back up the stairs. Although I was feeling so tired and achy, all of those movements made me feel productive and eased the pressure from my pelvis. Most of that time I was either allowing my body to really feel you pushing down and trying to come out or I was resting and chatting with everyone who was helping, trying to distract myself from how tired I was feeling. I was also drinking and eating a lot, mostly granola bars, eggs and bacon, oatmeal, and even a few slices of pizza because I wanted it so bad. Someone had the excellent idea to put my pineapple coconut water in the freezer. Every time they handed me a new cold slushy coconut water I almost cried of happiness. It was delicious and gave me the energy and joy I needed to keep strong. Timing gets hazy for me after this but I think around 5, I got into the birth pool for the first time. I had hoped to labor in there for longer but my doula and midwife both felt that although my contractions had been consistent, they didn't want them to slow by me relaxing in the water so I mostly labored standing up. Finally getting into that water felt dreamy and I laid inside while feeling contractions. Dad, Noelle, and Tia Kenia (who flew in that same day from Miami just to be with us and to watch you be born) took turns pouring water on my back. In between contractions it felt really energizing to stretch my legs out behind me and arch my back like The Little Mermaid. I felt somewhat weightless in the pool so while doing that stretch and drinking my slushy coconut water, I felt like a goddess. I swam around for about an hour and a half with contractions still 5 mins apart. Aba had me step out to check my cervix and she didn't feel a dramatic change. I was a bit disheartened and tired and now I was wet, so she suggested I try and take a nap with your dad and have some alone time. I dried off and slept in between contractions. I know your dad really needed a power nap so i was happy to lay with him but after about 45 mins, working through the contractions laying down became unbearable and I yelled at him to wake and help me stand up. I remember finally standing up and opening my eyes to realize that I was still pregnant and had no idea how much longer I'd be pregnant. It was a low point as hot tears quietly streamed down my face. I decided to do more stair lunges but first wanted to go to the bathroom. Everything felt so fast after that. While sitting on the toilet I had 3 or 4 back to back contractions. Your dad had been saying exactly the type of phrases I needed to hear like, “You're working so hard and I love you for it”, “You're strong, strong enough for this”, “I'm right here”, “Your pain is your power”, “The contractions are bringing your baby”, “Let go”, and “You're gonna get huge”. This was one of those millions of moments when he was doing that but this time, with my eyes closed and hands on my thighs I said in a low voice, “ I'm pushing!” It just felt so right, my body wanted to and I let it. He turned to Noelle who than in turn told Aba that I was pushing. She wanted to check my dilation before I continued pushing so I moved to the bedroom and she had me put my hands under my sacrum while she checked me. It was pretty painful but it was the 2nd and last time she would do it...and I had a lot more discomfort and pain coming my way lol, so I sucked it up. She said I was fully dilated and my cervix fully softened, I could keep pushing if my body told me to! I was ecstatic and that energy passed to everyone else! People started warming up the pool and prepping the birthing kit. While that was happening I was working to sit up slowly while feeling contractions 1-2 mins apart. In between one of those my water broke with a huge warm gush. It felt so good and took off a lot pressure but brought on new sensations. I needed to get in the pool now! I wanted you out and wanted to hold you in my arms. I sat up, walked down the hallway and stepped into the pool. I almost started crying as I positioned myself inside because I was so close to you and that water felt next level relaxing. It felt best to be on my hands and knees. I think it helped me to have my face down so I could zone in on the pushing sensations. Ill never forget that first big urge to push. It felt good until I felt your head wiggle and for some reason it made me have a reality moment that is have to push that wiggling head out of my vagina and I freaked out. I started saying “ok I'm not going to do this part! I'm not going to do this part!”. Everyone reassured me I was already doing it so I kept pushing when I felt the urge. I was sweating profusely so Dad got me a cold pack from the freezer and put it on my neck. They've told me I pushed for an hour (its all a blur) and in some ways that was the shortest hour of my life and in many others, the longest. I pushed out your head with a loud, long yelp and with the next few pushes your body slipped out. I remember after your head was out Aba told me to reach down and feel your head. I thought she was crazy, I didn't feel like there was any way I had the strength and cirque de soleil balance to reach in between my legs with one hand but I'm so glad I did! Feeling your soft, hairy scalp helped me get to the end. As your body came out, I was so disoriented from all of the endorphins and oxytocin that i barely realized you came out. Aba told me to reach through my legs and grab you. As I did, I saw your little scrotum but didn't say anything because I wanted your dad to a announce it to the room. You were 7 pounds 9 ounces and 19 inches long. We quickly covered you with a large washcloth as I figured out how to sit down in the pool. I felt amazing! Like a warrior! All of the pressure in my bum had gone and I finally had you in my arms. I just wanted to look at your body and count your digits and kiss you all over. The first thing I noticed was your flared nostrils, your squished ears and your mouth wide open, gaping at all of the crying people in the room. After you gave your first cry, your dad peeked in the washcloth, cried, and exclaimed “This is my son”. Everyone cheered! We finally got a fact about our Moonbeam—he's a boy! We had 40ish mins where everyone left the room and the 3 of us just laid, stared, and kissed each other. We felt so complete. Later on the midwife came in and asked me to move to the bed so I could birth the placenta. I totally forgot about that part! With the help of many people lifting me up and out of the pool, I waddled with you in my arms and the umbilical cord in between my legs down the hallway to lay on the bed. At that moment I saw Titi Talei! She flew in from Washington DC to see you! The love in this family for you is abnormally undeniable! We had a whole party waiting for you when you came out! Once the placenta was birthed all of the 13 family members and birth support gathered around and got a lesson about your placenta! Some people even touched it! Some party uhh?! After that Aba began to sew me up. I only had 1 small tear, so she gave me 2 stitches to be safe. Everyone realized it was about to be midnight so we passed around the sparkling cider and we cheered to the new year while you dozed off in my arms.
The physical, mental, and spiritual feelings of birth are so powerful and overwhelming. They're unlike anything I've ever experienced and I gained an even stronger testimony of how sacred and important birth is. By having so much struggle and pain but simultaneously bringing a pure being into the world, its the closest we can get to euphoric bliss. I've never been excited to feel pain so much in my life, even to the very end of pushing you out and I pray everyday that Heavenly Father will give me the chance to do it again one day.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Family History Book of Rememberance: Life Goals

Top SMART Goals:
Specific Measurable Achievable Realistic and Timely

I value compassion:
-Everyday, for the rest of my life, I will ask people how their day was before I tell them about my own
-At least five days a week, for the rest of my life, I will choose to think about what my husband could be feeling in an argument before I get upset

I value divine nature:
-I will pray to my Heavenly Father daily so that I can feel the spirit stronger
-For the rest of this year, I will study for my classes more efficiently by having a set homework schedule and remembering to truly enjoy the art of learning

I value education:
-Each semester I will create a new vision board so that I can reevaluate my goals and wants and needs and figure out how to better achieve them.
-I will graduate from Brigham Young University Idaho by 2014 with a GPA of 3.5 or higher. 

I value respect:
- I will choose to not be light minded regarding serious issues each day.
-I will leave the places that I am in better than when I found them every day.

I value eternal truths:
-I will regularly attend the temple each month individually and with my husband
-I will educate my future children about the gospel by never skipping out on church meetings and always having family dinner 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Family History Book of Remembrance: Testimony

DISCLAIMER: This blog, in the past, has been wonderful for me to document my little family's life as we have grown and evolved. With the passing of my father ( in November of 2013, the gospel principle of eternal families, the veil between us and the spirit world, and serving those who have past on, have become so much more tender and close to my heart.
I am excited to now revamp it for a semester and turn it into a place for me to document my BYU-Idaho Family History class project.

My first assignment for this class is to write out my testimony or personal view of life:

From Left to Right: My Mother Dina, my Cousin/Sister Cheyenne, My Brother Jose, My Sister Imani, My Brother Omari, My Father Sonny, & ME :)
I love the gospel of Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father because I am given the opportunity each day and each moment of my life to have my eyes opened to the miniscule and obvious glories of the earth and heavens. I love knowing that there truly is an order and a peace within all things and situations and chaos and that I have a Father and Brother who created all things for my benefit and growth. I love that when the darkness of the world is placed within my blinders, I have tools, materials and even guardian angels who can show me how to interpret those things and situations so that I can be an influence for good within them. I have a testimony of always striving and never forgetting to be a disciple of Christ and represent Him and his gospel through my verbal and physical actions and words. I know that Heavenly Father has prophets and apostles on this earth with keys to receive specific revelation for our generations time on this earth and that He is always reaching out for us to learn and grow and become more than we ever knew was possible for us and our families. I know that there is power within utilizing the priesthood of the church and praying diligently to God whenever we want and need to repent, give thanks and gain a lasting and personal relationship with our Savior and Heavenly Father.

I am humbled by the blessings, love and peaceful confirmation through my hardships and trials that Christ is my Savior, that families can be together forever and that I have so many people, both here in the physical world and in the spirit world, who love me and want to see me and my family succeed and expand within the gospel.

I write these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Swing of Things

an entire year almost? really saychelle? what a way to drop the ball on blogging
I'm coming back guys, I've got the itch once more

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Surprisingly Not Sick of Em' Yet

This Alpine UT trip was spontaneous but mostly a ton of fun!
I went with Terry, Katie, Casie, & Imani & we picked peaches to our hearts desire.
The Chappells even let me take home some fresh organic eggs, 
I plucked them from the coop myself (thank you very much)
I'm very grateful to Jared & Amy for always being so warm & kind to us 
& we can't wait to see those guys again real soon!

sistas organizin' our pickins 

 OF COURSE the 1st thing we did upon waking up 
the next day was bake a HUGE peach cobbler:

The Many Faces of Egg Retrieval:

& Then We Went Out & Picked Some More!

Anyone Know Any 2DieFor Peach Recipes?