Saturday, June 25, 2016

Merit's Birth Story.

It's been awhile since I even considered writing a blog post. I would have loved to keep up with it but life got in the way and I kind of just forgot about it. Fast forward to a few nights ago rocking our new baby back to sleep while reading my old blog posts and feeling nostalgic that I realized if I didn't write about our life as of now I would seriously regret it. A new baby brings all sorts of feels that can't be described and reading old posts takes me back to that where to begin?

We found out we were pregnant mid October, I couldn't have been more ecstatic! Tavin made our home feel so much more complete since he was born and I knew that another little spirit would only make that feeling grow. I had a rougher time in the first trimester than I had with Tavin, I never was sick in the morning but hello afternoon sickness! Almost everyday after lunch I would find myself in the bathroom and my energy was totally shot. We told our families after 12 weeks when we had our first ultrasound (I have crazy bad pregnancy anxiety and had the hardest time telling anyone until we knew that baby was definitely doing well.) Our families were so excited and the best part was we got to tell them that Tav was getting a brother! We were shocked when the ultrasound tech told us the gender but he acted 99% sure it was a boy!
Midway through January I started back into school. We had always said that when Brady was finished and had a good steady job that I would go back. It was SO HARD. I would have not survived had it not been for Brady's complete confidence in me and my amazing family (especially my sister Molly!) who helped me with Tavin. And Tavin was absolutly amazing with it all! He slept through the night, played while I worked on homework and gave me endless snuggles when I needed them most. He is the best kid ever and I feel so lucky to be his mama. I did end up finishing, surprisingly, with an A in Chemistry. But please for anyone considering going back to school DO NOT take Chemistry while pregnant (picture super crazy, hormonal lady at its finest!)
So not only was I in the craziest 5 months of my life very pregnant and trying to keep up with the cutest 1 year old there ever was but we bought a house in February!! It is the best feeling in the whole wide world to have this cute little house that we get to call our own and raise our babies in. We have loved it and loved making it our very own. Lots of painting and decorating projects, baby prep and holy cow we have been super busy. At 35 weeks I finished my last class and for the next couple of weeks devoted every minute that Tavin was awake to him and every minute he was asleep to last minute home projects, baby shopping and setting up the nursery.
Last morning just the 2 of us!
I went in for my appointment at 38 weeks and made sure Brady was there with me. My doctor had told me earlier in my pregnancy that I could be induced at 39 weeks so I wanted to make sure that both of us were on board for a date to be set and for Brady to hear this little guys heartbeat one more time! We were set up to be induced on June 9th at 7:30am. The next week I seriously had the hardest time grasping that the time was here. This pregnancy had flown by so fast and even in those last few weeks I never really felt the time dragging on (OK, maybe my huge whale self and pregnancy pains did!) June 8th was our 4 year wedding anniversary and we wanted to spend the day together. The previous weekend we had spent lots of time spoiling Tavin so we needed sometime just the two of us.
That morning I ran last minute errands and took Tavin swimming before dropping him off at Brady's parents house and waiting for Brady to come home so we could go golfing. I got home around 2:30 and Brady was supposed to get off at 3:30. I started to feel some pretty good contractions and felt super nauseous but since I NEVER got contractions I questioned if that was really what I was feeling. They were coming far apart anyway so I wasn't about to let them slow our anniversary down, plus I knew for sure that we would have this baby in the morning. Brady came home and we hopped in the car to go to the golf course, he rented a cart for me but to save $6 walked alongside it. Ha! Yes we are that frugal and if I wasn't 9 months pregnant I would have been walking with him. We had THE best time joking, reminiscing on the last 4 years, Brady sneaking in the cart real fast when no one could see us, holding hands and trying to wrap our heads around the fact that we were about to be parents again! We had planned to do 9 holes and on the 7th hole after laughing about the fact that I was still having contractions I decided what the heck I'll start timing them. I was surprised to find that they were coming about 8-10 minutes apart but still would not convince myself that this might be the real thing.
We ran a few more errands and on the way to dinner contractions were now consistently coming at 6 minutes apart and starting to hurt a little more. During dinner I realized that they had slowed down and so I quit timing them. We made one more stop to the grocery store to pick up snacks for Brady and gum for me during labor the next day and ice cream to eat with our 4 year old wedding cake! (Yep, we eat a slice every year but sadly it was a little freezer burnt this year so I think that ended the tradition. Its been on 4 different moves!) While shopping my contractions started getting super painful. I would have to stop to breathe through them and so I timed a couple and they were a rough 5-6 minutes apart. We headed out to Brady's parents to pick up Tavin and I called the birthing center to ask them about my contractions (it was about 7:30pm) After explaining to the lady what was going on and that I had tested positive for Group B Strep and would need antibiotics for 4 hours she kind of shrugged me off and told me I would need to have them be at least 5 minutes apart consistently for 2 hours! Whatever I thought, I'm getting induced in the morning. They did slow down even more when we reached my in-laws and gave Tavin a bath and got him ready for bed but when they did come they still hurt a lot!
I took this as we were leaving Brady's parent's house, just hours before he was here.
Our 4 year old wedding cake!

After getting home and laying Tavin down for the night we went out on our porch to eat our cake and ice cream. I remember standing up to walk in the house and I couldn't even make it to the door it hurt so bad but they still weren't really consistent and I was determined to not go in and be sent home. We sat down on the couch to watch some TV and had been there for a little while...Brady was begging me to let him go to sleep since it was such a crazy day tomorrow but I knew I would never be able to sleep so he sat with me a little longer and after a really bad contraction I finally started timing them again. 3 minutes apart. And they were coming hard and strong and I could barely breathe. I told Brady if they lasted for 30 minutes maybe we should just go in (It was 10:30pm) so at 11pm after getting zero relief we called my parents to come over to be with Tavin and started gathering up our things. Of course this took longer than I thought between showering, picking up the kitchen, kissing Tav one more time and gathering up the rest of our stuff we finally got in the car at 11:55 and as I sat down Brady asked when the last contraction was. I started to panic a little as I realized it had been longer than 3 minutes and I really did not want to be sent home! When we pulled into the hospital  it was 12:03am and I had the worst contraction by far that I decided we could go in.
After walking into the ER the receptionist asked me a few information questions and then they wheeled me back, my heart pounding that they were going to say go home and come back tomorrow, Ugh. After being dropped off in the labor and delivery room the nurse asked if I was the same Sara that had called earlier, yep that's me! She said to change, she would check me and let us know if the doctor would have us stay. After changing and breathing through some really nasty contractions I crawled into bed, was hooked up to the monitors and the nurse left. It was 12:20am. She came back in a few minutes later and said my contractions were 2-3 minutes apart and checked me. I was roughly dilated to a 5 and 80% effaced. She told me I could stay...relief! She left to order the epidural, get me started on antibiotics for the next 4 hours and call the doctor.
Seriously a minute later I almost screamed the contractions hurt so bad I gripped Brady's hand and started crying and then every thing happened. I felt my water break and my sides felt like they were being ripped through a meat grinder. I grabbed the bed and gritted my teeth so hard begging Brady to call the nurse. She came back in and tried talking to me but I was groaning in pain, she told me she was going to start my IV and reached for my left hand. She was trying so hard to get it in and I was trying so hard not to scream. A second nurse came into help and rolled my vein so they switched hands. I couldn't hold it in any longer I started screaming and groaning. It was unbearable! A third nurse came in and asked how far along I was and they told her a 5. She was the head nurse and quickly checked me, all I remember at this point was her saying (a little panicky) she's a ten, she's complete. My mind was spinning and I kept thinking, "please make it stop, I don't want to have him like this, I want the epidural!" Things got a little crazy at this point. The nurses were rushing all around, they threw aside my IV, started grabbing towels, paging each other, closing the window (gee, thanks.) and pulling in the baby bed. Brady said they were all running around so much that no one was at the end of the bed and the head was almost out! I was a screaming, thrashing mess (not my proudest moment) and the nurses were telling me not to push. "Sure, I'll try that." Then all the sudden I felt this little body leave and heard the loudest and most perfect cry.

Merit Brady Anderson was born at 12:38am and my heart grew a million times larger. They immediately laid him on my chest and it was a strangely familiar and at the same time new moment as I stared down at this fresh new baby. Brady leaned over the bed and said, "Babe, you just did that without an epidural or anything!" It's crazy how when first holding Tavin and Merit I fell in love with Brady all over again. Gosh I love him SO much it hurts! The next hour I just laid with baby Merit on my chest, kissing him and feeding him. Then they weighed him and cleaned him up, 7 pounds 7 ounces and 20 inches of pure perfection.
The next couple of days were pretty much magic as we let the moment sink in, watched our family members hold Merit for the first time and most important watched Tavin and Merit meet. He loves his baby brother and has been doing absolutely amazing, it could not have gone smoother and I could not love them anymore.
Just hours old.

Ready to go home!
We have been living this new fairy tale the last couple of weeks and are slowly coming back into reality but the spirit that Merit has brought into our home is so perfect and so right. Tavin could not be doing better with him! He amazes me everyday with how patient he has been with me and the new baby. He loves "his baby" and we love him so much! We are feeling blessed beyond words.
Loving his baby.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Tavin's Blessing Day

On September 7th we blessed Tavin in my parent's ward in Burley. It was such a special day for us as a family. Tavin is definitely one loved little guy. We had grandparents, friends, and family come for his day and I can't even begin to describe how humbling and sweet it was to see my baby blessed by such good, wonderful men and hear the blessing his dad gave to him. Tavin is going to grow up with lots of aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins who will be great examples and we feel so grateful.

I love this gospel and knowing that our family can be together forever.

The night before Tavin was blessed we had dinner at my parent's house with my grandparents who traveled from Salt Lake City. I love this picture. How cute is his cousin/my sister's baby? They are three months apart and he is the most ADORABLE little guy!

This is one of my favorite people on earth. I met Bob when I was 12 and he taught me how to first ride a horse. He has become almost like another grandpa to me and my family and we love him more then he knows. It was amazing to introduce Tavin to him. I love this picture so so much!

Seriously he looked so perfect!

Do you think he knew he looked cute?

Tavin and one of my best friend's little girl. {little lady's man}

My mama and Tav's sweet grandma

Then after we ate...and ate. Seriously, we know how to party.

Cuddles with Grandpa and Grandma Stoker. His sweet little cousin is only 11 days younger. I can't wait to see them grow up together.

Grandma Stoker and Brady's mom...Tavin's grandma.

4 generations with my Grandma Smack. One of my most favorite pictures.

Thank you to everyone who came. We love you!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

weekend re-cap.

This last weekend was one of my all time favorites. It was General Conference weekend and our first time watching it as a family of three. Can I just say that having Tavin just seems to make everything more fun?! This weekend was complete with good food, picnics, walks, and lots of cuddles.
This was also one of the few Conferences I can remember where I watched all four sessions consistently. Usually I miss a session or both on Saturday and have to catch up later, but Tavin was a complete angel baby during all of it and napped through almost every session. I can't even begin to say what an amazing feeling it was to be listening, next to Brady with Tavin in my arms. Those two guys have my whole entire heart.

 We started the good old tradition of cinnamon rolls on Sunday morning. In fact I have to say how lucky I am that we had them...Brady woke up at 5:30 in the morning just so they would be hot and ready when Conference started. (One way he has won my heart is through my stomach.) He also made chicken cordon blue casserole (Both recipes are from Mel's Kitchen Cafe). Holy yum.
Honestly, I am sad conference is over it brought such a sweet spirit in our home to have it on, but I look forward to now studying the messages and refocusing and re-prioritizing what I do. I have a lot to work on and am grateful for a forgiving Savior who allows me to learn and become a better person. I love this gospel and am humbled to have grown up with it and learned for myself of its truth.


Sunday was also a special day because Tavin turned three months...what?? They honestly have been the best three months of my life. He is changing and growing each and everyday. I am deeply grateful I can spend my days with him and watch each and every moment. Sunday he even rolled over for the first time! I couldn't believe it but he only did it once so maybe it was a fluke? He is getting quite the personality and is either grinning from ear to ear or demanding attention. Other fun three month things on Tavin:

loves bath time 
loves his binki
always wakes up talking and smiling in the morning
loves to play air plane (seriously is going to give me some buff arms)
loves looking at books
is starting to grab onto toys and put them in his mouth
loves walks (only in his carrier, he cries the whole time in his stroller)
starting to "talk" and coos all the time
always has his toes curled
is constantly WET. He drools uncontrollably all. day. long.
eats his hands and tries to put his whole fist in his mouth
loves when you help him sit up and stand
loves to be swaddled and is still the "snugglist" baby in the world

Oh I love being his mama more then anything!

always has his hands folded and his fingers in his mouth
one month, two months, three months

Friday, October 3, 2014

The first eight weeks.

When I first wrote this Tavin was just about to turn two months and now he is about to turn three months. Wow I am so behind! I do have good reason though I can either blog or cuddle...I usually choose to cuddle with Tavin. So I apologize but better late then never!

I cannot believe how fast July and August have flown by! I know everyone says how fast the time goes after you have a baby, but I finally feel like I have had a moment to look around and see how true this statement really is!
The last eight weeks have been unforgettable and life changing. Tavin has brought Brady and I so much happiness and we can’t get enough of him. I wanted to recap on the last eight weeks, making this a pretty wordy post. So, feel free to enjoy the picture overload and skip through all my rambling.

One Week Old!

Weeks one and two were spent with our mothers. My mom came up the night Tavin was born and stayed with us for a few days and helped us out. It was such a relief to have her reassuring me that I was doing alright and I could get through the first few days. They were more exhausting and overwhelming then I think anyone ever lets on to a first time mom. Brady and I had a couple of days alone and then his mom came up and helped us out again. It really is so important to have help from people you trust. I knew I could leave Tavin for an hour while I took a nap and as strange as that might sound it was so hard for me to hand him over. Brady and I spent these weeks back and forth to the hospital for his jaundice and holding him in the “biliblanket” thankfully he got his levels down fairly quickly and was such a good baby for us. Brady was finishing up the school semester (talk about an accomplishment…straight A’s and a brand new baby! Not to mention the surgery he had back in May. I am really proud of him, he amazes me!) and I spent my time with Tavin figuring out feedings every two hours, diaper changes and lots of cuddle time. He was and still is the snugglist little guy!

First "real" bath, he loved it!

Morning cuddles with Momma
little glow worm, with the bili blanket

This was my birthday, Brady gave me a carrier.
Tavin absolutely loves it.

-One thing that always made us laugh from the beginning is how he feels his diapers. He is so LOUD. We were pretty nervous to take him to church for the first time. He also is a champion at burping. He usually lets out a huge one before I even pat his back, it is pretty funny.
-The first couple of weeks he loved being swaddled tight but would always wiggle his arms out and sleep with them above his head.
-Tavin hated sponge baths the first few days, but after his umbilical cord fell off and we gave him his first real bath he became a water baby. He is really calm in the water and we look forward to bath time everyday.
-He always slept with his bottom lip in. It was so cute!
-He is so spoiled by lots of loving aunts and uncles. It was a lot of fun to see everyone meet him and know he will always be loved by them.

-Proudest Daddy moment: Brady struggled the first few times he changed his diaper because Tavin would always feel the need to “go” as soon as the diaper was off. When we were leaving for the doctor’s one morning he started yelling for me in the nursery and when I ran in he was covered in yellow all over his white shirt and our white walls. It was kind of hard not to laugh!
-Proudest Mommy moment: I have to say I was pretty proud the first time I sucked a booger out with the green bulb! But I think one of my favorite memories was taking him on his first stroller ride with his Auntie Abby and Auntie Brook, it was so surreal to realize I really was a mommy to this sweet boy!

Weeks three and four were full of ups and downs. At the end of the spring semester there is a seven week break in Rexburg until the Fall semester starts so we decided to spend that time in Burley with our families. On the night we came Tavin had a really bad screaming fit and this continued for the next week. How grateful I am for my own loving mother and mother-in –law who helped us through this tough time of dealing with a colicky baby. I cried nearly as much as Tavin did and it was draining on both of us. Brady was the ultimate dad and husband helping me out and reassuring me that I was still a good mother. We dealt with the fits for the next week and a half and then took him in to a pediatrician who told us he was not only colicky but also had acid reflux. I know a lot of parents feel that this is an easy answer for the doctors, but everything I read (and I read a TON) matched acid reflux. Poor guy was a coughing fit at night from an esophagus that was burnt and throwing up so much. It was horrible to see him in so much pain but thankfully within a few days the antibiotics kicked in and gave him some relief.

Meeting his grandma great for the first time

-We spent our days with family, back and forth from Brady’s parents to my parents and hanging out with my sisters. I was able to sneak in some much needed sleep and Brady was able to fit in some rounds of golf and evenings fishing.

-Proudest Mommy moment: Taking him to the doctor at 3 weeks and finding out he had gained three pounds since birth and a week and a half later he had gained another pound. He is an awesome eater and feeding time is a good experience for the both of us.
Proudest Daddy moment: I think Brady was pretty proud of the fact that the first time we went back to church he behaved himself and slept the whole time!

Weeks five and six were  busy for us and we started to see an improvement in Tavin’s acid reflux. The medicine he has to take every morning is awful. He cries and cries every morning when I give it to him and I feel terrible! Week five was fair week in Burley and so we went into town every day. My sister, Emily, came for a couple of days and it was a lot of fun to have the whole family together and enjoy the babies. Tavin was so good as we packed him around back and forth and was as happy as could be until Thursday night when we had a relapse with the acid reflux. We think his medicine lost its potency when it was left out on the counter for awhile and the next couple of days were really rough. We called in a couple days later and the doctor had us go pick up a new prescription and thankfully we started seeing improvement again. This same week was awesome because even through Tavin’s fussy evenings he was awesome through the night. He started going down between 10-11 pm, would wake up at 4am eat and go back down and then wake up about 7:30am. For the past three weeks he has kept this pattern and I am definitely not complaining. Week six Brady’s two older brothers and two older sisters came down and we spent a really fun week swimming, going on walks, going to Twin Falls, spending time at Lake Cleavland and eating lots of good food! It was fun to see Tavin being loved on by all his nieces and nephews!
Cousin Krayden, Tavin, and Max (Max is Brady's cousin's baby)

Krayden's blessing day!
Krayden and Tavin are 11 days apart!

We spent lots of time with Cousin Caleb, my sister's baby, they are 3 months apart.

 Weeks seven and eight have been growth spurts for Tavin and he has become really smiley and happy. Mornings are especially fun when he wakes up and gives us lots of grins and coos. He loves watching people and being bounced. He has really been loving his swaddle and cuddled when I rock him to sleep. It doesn’t take much for him to fall fast asleep. He has started rubbing his eyes when he is tired and so I swaddle him up, cuddle him close and rock him for a few minutes and he is out! I love these moments. I haven’t been worried about how much he sleeps yet or setting a routine for sleep during the day. I know he is still pretty little and growing so I just trust that when he is tired, he needs his sleep. Fortunately, this has worked for us and he keeps his same routine at night.

I cannot get over the fact that he will be 2 months and we have enjoyed some of the craziest and best weeks of our lives. Brady and I can’t get enough of Tavin. We love him so much and are grateful for his sweet spirit. I cherish every cuddle and smile I get. The newborn stage is so sweet and life changing. I have never been more grateful for eternal families and we love him more than I can say.

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