Saturday, January 28, 2012

Why Payson?

In June we bought a house in Payson, UT. Initially, I approached Trevor with the suggestion that we purchase something in Provo. We could live in it for a couple of years and then it could be a rental property once Trevor is done with school. Seemed like a good plan to me. Once we started browsing the real estate market Trevor suggested looking at homes -especially since you could get a lot more "bang for your buck" outside of Provo. I decided to go along with his suggestion. With the help of our amazing realtor, Steve Bond, we found a home (that wasn't even on the market yet) which we both loved.

"Why Payson?" So many people would ask.

We had no answer other than, "it just feels like the right thing to do." We were prayerful in our decision and felt like the Lord allowed us and even guided us to be here.

We had no idea what a blessing it would be for us to be here.

Previously we had been living in a small studio apartment (which I loved), but there is no way that it could have accommodated any of our family members. Because we lived in our house, with lots of extra space, our family was able to come and be with us during the biggest trial we've faced in our lives. Instead of being in a hotel or cramming into our little apartment, since we had rooms to spare, family could stay with us. We had space to gather, to eat, to cry, to laugh, and even play games together. Having our family by our sides was an incredible comfort and need that we could not have managed without.
Trevor's dad, Jim, declaring my mom, Lois, the winner of the game
We all had food in our mouths so I added mustaches to conceal the unflattery
 The love of our neighbors has been amazing. We, of course, had wonderful friends in our church in Provo, and I am sure they would have looked after us too. But the friends and neighbors here in Payson have been such a blessing. They have reached out to us and served us in so many ways. Whether it was meals, looking after our yard, helping with Luke's funeral, or simply being by our side. Our friends couldn't have been more perfect for us at this time in our life.
Our neighbor and friend, Clay, bringing us Trevor pizza
The back deck has been a place that we could sit together and talk as we enjoyed the endless beautiful sunsets.

Trevor, his mom, Barb, and my step-dad, Chris

I am grateful to have neighbors that pound on my door almost every morning to get me out of bed and to the gym. I am grateful to have friends that help with mine and their crazy projects and adventures of backyard plays, turning church cultural halls into Candy Land, painting 2 dozen pumpkins for Thanksgiving decorations, and painting the entire interior of our homes.

Wish I had a picture of us doing Zumba! But this Candy Land pic will do.
What a blessing it is to be here. What a blessing it is to have these wonderful people in my life. I love my friends, I love our home, I love that our loving Heavenly Father guided us to be here at this time in our lives.

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Affection of Children

I've been so busy the past little while working on some goals (I'll hopefully blog about that soon) that I haven't taken the time to write much or respond to comments or even emails or facebook messages for that matter. Here's a little diddy I wrote the end of December and finally got around to adding to the picture so that I could post it. Enjoy.

At a time when I am left void of the smiles, giggles, and hugs from my own child I have been treated with an abundance of affection from other children in my life.

Only days after Luke's birth a few of my family members and neighbors were outside chatting and enjoying the lovely August afternoon. I sat down on our lawn and joined them. I was delighted to be joined by my 4-year-old, energetic and imaginative friend, Morgan. She usually has something exciting to to tell you, but this day she quietly joined us, crawled on my lap, and sweetly smiled up at me with her pretty, blue eyes. To see that little, angelic face so innocently smiling at me made me feel like everything would be okay.

A few Sunday's ago I was delighted to be joined by three small friends on the pew at church. There was really only room for two of them to sit by me at a time so they had to rotate to be with me.  We quietly colored, looked at books, and did quiet activities together. I love that these children remember my name and were anxiously waiting their turn to get to come sit by me. I sure felt loved by them!

We were invited to dinner at Trevor's cousin's house a few weeks ago. During dinner his cousin's cute three-year-old (whom we haven't spent time with before) leaned over to her mom to inform her, "I don't like them." We laughed about her disapproval and finished dinner. After we ate, I played with the kids. By the time we were leaving I gave each child a hug and thanked them for playing with me. I was beckoned back to receive and extra kiss from the same little girl that had earlier disapproved of us. I guess she changed her mind and it was so sweet to be the recipient of this extra affection.

Spending the holiday season with my niece, Rachel has been especially wonderful. She may be asserting her opinion in her nearly-two, toddler way but I feel lucky enough that on occasion she'll let me hold her. Receiving her little hugs and kisses in the morning, before her nap time, and before bed time are some of the best times of the day. Since we've spent over two weeks with her, she has become quite accustomed to us. When we are all getting ready to leave the house or getting in the car she checks to see that everyone is coming as she asks "mommy? ....daddy? ....Tre-or? ....She-ee?" I love that we have become her friend!

On the last morning that we were in Portland, Rachel was toddling down the hallway as I got ready for the day. I stepped outside the bathroom to great her and give her a good-morning hug. Normally, her hugs are brief and she quickly continues to her course of action (blocks, pushing dolly in the stroller, or whatever else she wants to be doing). For whatever reason she stayed and sat on my lap. I quickly decided I would sit with her  as long as she would let me, despite the fact that I needed to get ready to leave for church. I miss my cute niece, and feel so fortunate to have her in my life.

I am so blessed to be able to spend time with others' sweet children. Thank you for letting them be a part of my life. They are the earthly angels I need right now. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Why I Chose a Midwife: Part 3

Really this post is why I was so grateful that I chose a midwife, particularly Sherri Price, for my prenatal care and labor and delivery.

Here are just some reasons:
  • Sherri met with me, unscheduled, at 9pm at night, after I was done with work, to check something I was concerned about that day 
  • Sherri answers phone calls (or text messages) day or night 
  • Sherri holds monthly forums to help her moms be educated as well as have support from other moms/moms-to-be
  • Sherri has an intuition and connectivity with her moms that couldn't be bought! (She'll have sleepless nights and know when her moms are laboring even before the mom notifies her.)
  • Sherri honors and trusts the father as the patriarch of the family. If dad isn't feeling good about something, she'll take her ques from him. 
If you read my birth story, you know that I did not deliver Luke at home as hoped for, but wanted to be induced immediately after discovering he was no longer living. Sherri's level of midwifery licensure does not enable her to perform inductions. We needed to go to the hospital and be under the care of a doctor for this to take place. 

Sherri also does not have "delivering rights" in the hospital and could not be my "midwife" there. Once we arrived at the hospital her role shifted to more of a doula*. This means that she wasn't allowed to check my dilatation or vitals, but she was still able to offer assistance and support to me.

I was also blessed with incredible and attentive nurses during my labor. If I ever needed anything either Sherri or one of the nurses or nurses' aids would tend to it immediately.

I was grateful that I had selected Sherri because she was a good fit for me and grateful that she was the one that was with me throughout my entire labor. She was there to consult with about decisions (like breaking my water or not). She was there to suggest using the tub for relief. She was there to apply pressure on pressure points to relieve the contractions. She was there to help me stay relaxed and help me breath through transition. This was everything I wanted in my care. This was the help and training that I knew I needed by my side to get me through labor. 

In contrast, the care of the doctor was just as I had imagined it would be -distant and uncomfortable. So distant that during the early stages of my labor (mind you my labor was only 6 hrs from start to finish) he left the hospital to tend to another patient elsewhere. Which was really okay with me, because I didn't like having this old man (though a nice enough man) around while I was laboring. I was a lot more comfortable laboring with just Trevor, the nurses, and Sherri present.

Not only did having Sherri as my midwife for Luke's birth provide me with the support that I needed during labor but also the support I needed after. The day after Luke's birth, she came to our home to check in on me to see how I was doing - both physically and emotionally. We sat and talked and she shared some miraculous spiritual experiences surrounding her own eternal family.  We sat on my couch, together, like real people that had shared an emotional and miraculous experience together. She was a real part of Luke's birth. She was a real part of my life. This was the friendship and care that I wanted to accompany my baby's birth.

Four days after the birth was Luke's funeral. Sherri was in attendance. At this point I was feeling more pain (physically) instead of less. Sherri, without hesitation, drove the 45 minutes from her house to ours to check on me regardless of the facts that she'd already been down here once that day and that it was really late in the evening. That's the type of care and attention I couldn't have gotten from a doctors office.

I know it wasn't easy for Sherri to have me as her patient, because no other babies have died under her care. I feel bad that had to happen. I know it was not an easy experience for her. But I am so grateful that she was my midwife for Luke's birth. I needed her. I needed her training, her skill and expertise, and mostly her love.

Sherri and me the evening of Luke's funeral, Aug.10.2011
Thank you, Sherri, for being a part of Luke's birth. Thank you for your care, love, and support during this time in our life. I feel so blessed to have had you through it all. 

*Doula is someone who provides non-medical support to women and their families during labour and childbirth, Wikipedia

The cause of Luke's death was in no way related to my choice of prenatal care. You can read about it in my post No One To Blame or my birth story.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Why I Chose a Midwife: Part 2

Why a home birth?

Like I mentioned before, we did not deliver at home like I had planned, because I wanted to be induced immediately once we found out Luke was no longer living. I didn't think I had too much to say about this part, but realized it took a little more explaining than I thought. So for those of you that might be wondering, here's the scoop on how I came to the decision of a home birth.

There are different ways to become a midwife. (Someone please correct me if I'm wrong here. It's been over a year since I did all the research about this so the details aren't quite so clear.)  1) Go through a midwifery school, 2) Go to nursing school then have midwifery training, 3) Apprentice under a certified midwife. If I remember correctly, with all of 3 routes you have to attend a certain number of births and pass certain exams to get your license.

Usually the midwives that are also nurses are part of a practice with an OB/GYN. At first I thought this might be what I wanted, but with a little more research I realized that I wasn't interested in this route. Why? Usually you would see a group of midwives and whoever was on-call would be there for your birth. Nope. Not for me. I wanted to know for sure who was going to be at the birth and have a relationship with her.

Other midwives either have practices at "birth centers" or deliver at home births. Birth centers vary, but the ones that I toured consisted of a room with a really nice bed, a tub, a kitchen area, and a living-room area for friends and family to hang out in. That's it. Sometimes they had a fetal monitor but it is rarely used because the midwives monitor fetal heart tones with the Doppler regularly.

I considered birthing at a  lovely birth center in Orem called Bella Natal, but decided against it because their midwives also rotate for your appointments and whoever is on-call comes to the birth. No dice. Sherri (the midwife I selected for my birth) has delivering rights at Feels Like Home Birthing Suites so that's where I planned on having our birth take place.  

Feels Like Home Birth Suite
We ended up moving from our tinny studio apartment in Provo to a lovely home in Payson, when I was about 8 months pregnant. Towards the end of my pregnancy I realized there was no difference between the little Victorian home in Pleasant Grove (aka the birth center) that I would birth in and my own, except for the fact that I'm more comfortable in my own home. Also if I birthed at home, I wouldn't have to pack a bag. I wouldn't have to stress about making sure I had everything that I might want during labor with me. That seemed like so much less stress and so much more comfortable. And I was sold. Besides, if the need to "transport" to the hospital arose,  it was a shorter drive from our house to the Payson hospital than it was from the birth center to the Mt. Timpanogos hospital (both hospitals that we'd go to because they're in our insurance network).

It seemed like a good option to me, so I was set and ready to go with all the extra birth supplies that I would need for our home birth. Oh and as for the clean-up (that some people have expressed concern about) the midwife and her assistants take care of that.

I felt good about my decision and, with everything surrounding my prenatal care and birth decisions, was prayerful about it and didn't feel like I needed to plan anything differently.

More about why it was such a blessing to have a midwife on the next post ...

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Why I Chose a Midwife: Part I

Before I gave birth I started writing some thoughts about why I had selected a midwife and why I had opted to do a home birth. I did not deliver at home, but at Mt.Timpanogos Hospital in Orem, UT. But I will share my thoughts about what I wanted to do and the blessing it was to have a midwife by my side during this process. 

Here's a little background as to how I came to the conclusion that I wanted a home birth. Two years ago, if you told me I was going to choose to give birth to my first baby at home, I would have either 1) thought you were crazy or 2) figured it happened by mistake. I know this is true, because I remember talking to a friend about a neighbor who had had her baby at home. I asked if they just hadn't made it in time to the hospital. My friend informed me that it was intentional and I remember thinking that this woman was both a little crazy and weird and possibly irresponsible. The friend told me that this woman had educated herself and prepared for it. Well that's good, I thought, maybe she's not totally irresponsible. 

So here I am, about two and a half years later, summarizing why that's the route I would have selected for myself. Obviously my perspective has changed since then, or, you might think, I'm just a little crazy and weird and possibly irresponsible. And that's okay if that's what you think. I know that I made the best decision for me even though we didn't actually end up delivering Luke at home. 

So why a midwife?

Initially it started with researching insurance options. Our current plan didn't include maternity coverage (like so many private insurance plans in Utah). This entailed a lot of online research, phone calls, and questioning friends about what they're doing/have done. I discovered that several people I knew had chosen prenatal care through a "birth center" with "midwives" (let's just say at this point my image of "midwife" is a black servant on a cotton plantation in the South that comes into a little wooden shack bringing a basket and maybe some blankets, towels, and a stick to bit on for pain relief). I knew that that couldn't really be what these woman had selected for their prenatal care but didn't know much more about it. I learned a lot more about midwives and what they really do, when I happen-chance found The Business of Being Born on Netflix one night (I won't summarize the content of the movie because it taught me SO MUCH about labor and birth which I had no idea about. Although I will highly recommend that you watch it for yourself!). Most importantly I learned that the care of a midwife was different than the care of a physician/OBGYN.

Disclaimer: I am not anti doctors or modern medicine. This is just why I wanted something different for maternity care.

Brief summary of why I don't like going to the doctor. 
  • Make appointment -usually not at a very convenient time
  • Sit in waiting room -waiting 
  • Go back with nurse and sit in room -waiting 
  • Finally see doctor
  • Doctor confirms my self-diagnosis I have made via internet research
  • Doctor writes prescription, and leaves
  • I pay lots of money for what I feel like is minimal personal attention 
No me gusta! (Translation: I don't like that!) But I do it to get the prescriptions I need for my various health needs. 

Birth does not = needing a prescription. 

Having a child is the most significant thing that has happened in my life since I married my husband. Giving birth is a big deal. I wanted those that were involved to really be a part of it. It's an experience. A physical, emotional, and spiritual experience that is also very personal. I wanted personal care and attention and I don't feel like I get that at the doctors office. 

Perhaps some women have different experiences for their prenatal care, but my perception of what a doctor would do is check my vitals, tell me I'm healthy, and send me on my way. And then possibly (depending who is "on-call") be at the birth and catch the baby at the very end when all the laboring is done. So choosing care from a doctor didn't seem like the choice for the personal care and attention that I wanted. I felt like the care of a midwife would entail more personal prenatal appointments, the opportunity to establish a relationship, a surety that I know who would be attending the birth of my child, and the commitment of that person being there the entire time -helping and assisting during the entire labor. 

Other reasons I opted to use the care of a midwife:
  • I began to view birth as a natural process not a medical procedure
  • I believe my body knows what to do best and, being a dancer, have always felt more connected to my body and had confidence in it's ability to birth
  • I'd be able to eat and drink during labor. (Shelley without food = not a happy Shelley)
  • Major focus is given on preventative measures by eating healthy and taking care of my body all along the way
  • The cost is affordable for cash-paying medical customers like ourselves (our insurance covers emergencies and birth isn't an emergency)
So I began researching midwives in the area and having initial visits to find one that I thought was a good fit for me! After interviewing several woman I felt the most comfortable with Sherri Price and selected her to provide my prenatal care.

More on this topic on my next post...

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Looking Up

45 minutes of yoga
one delicious "orange creamsicle" green smoothie

today is going to be a better day

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

He is My Light

Today was a day for tears. I have no motivation today. But I'm okay with that. I've accomplished a lot lately. I've tried to do a lot. I'm just going to let today be a day -a day of tears, a day of prayers, a day of resting. I sit and look out the window, feeling a little bad that the daylight has settled to dusk and now dark. I can't bring the daylight back. And the truth is it's only going to get darker before it becomes morning again.

Perhaps this is true with my life. Perhaps my heartache will get stronger before it heals. Perhaps the dark of this night won't be bright again until that glorious day of resurrection when I get to live with my son again. Or perhaps it won't get bright again until I can hold a living, breathing, baby of my own.

No matter when the sun will rise for me, I am so grateful for the Son, the Son of God, who has felt my pain, has felt my sorrows, and understands my tears. Because of Him, there can be light in my life no matter how overshadowing my trials and burdens may be. I love Him. Like my own son, I have not met Him, but I know that He lives and that He cares for me.

I'm not sure how a soul can know such truths, but mine does.


The Lord Is My Light by Heather Bosshardt

Sunday, January 8, 2012

I was pregnant too ...

The week after I gave birth to Luke I remember thinking, Was I even pregnant? It all seemed like a dream. It seemed like I had only imagined those nine months, because there I was - with no baby.

It's hard enough to try to deal with your own pysche that's questioning the existence of your pregnancy, but then for other's to not recognize it either...

Ten days after Luke's funeral, I was helping out at a function with several other women. One woman started to comment on another woman's amazing ability too look great nearly immediately after giving birth. She proceede to compliment this woman's ability to be back to her pre-pregnancy size in no time.

First, how insensitive to bring up such a topic with me present! Fortunately, I was at an emotionally stable place and could handle talk of pregnancy and birth, but she didn't know that.

Second, if you're going to bring up pregnancy at least acknowledge me! I may not have a baby here with me, but I was pregnant for nine months. I gave birth to a full grown baby. And quite frankly, I think, I looked good after doing it!

12 days after giving birth
In her defense, perhaps she didn't want to acknowledge me as also being a woman who's given birth, because it's a potentialy awkward situation, especially with everything occurring so recently. But then the question, why did she even start that conversation in my presence? I still wonder...

It may be different for every woman, but I know I'm not the only mother of a stillborn baby that wants to at least be acknowledged. 

And if you're not sure if someone is comfortable talking about her pregnancy, birth, or anything else surrounding the matter or not sure if she's comfortable listening to you talk about pregnancy and birth - all you have to do is ask. It's only as simple as saying, "Is it okay that we talk about this around you?" or "Are you comfortable talking about your pregnancy?" I know, for me, this would have made all the difference. 

Saturday, January 7, 2012

5 Months

I gave birth to Luke five months ago. Again, I ask myself, has it been that long? I realize that five months is just shy of half a year. That seems like a long time. Stuff that happened then is old news . . . is history. Yet, Luke's birth is more than history. It's more than a story of the past. It's a daily story that continues and evolves and changes. It's a story that is written in my heart. 

On Wednesday of this week I was able to hold a baby at book club that was born shortly after Luke was born. It was incredible to see how big he was already! This baby could already stand up as I held him. What a big (and handsome) little boy! 

In contrast, on Thursday, I meet my friend's newborn baby. She was born weighing 8lbs 11ozs just over a week ago. She seemed so tiny, I couldn't believe it. I tried to remember back to holding Luke. He weighed 7lbs, yet he didn't seem that small. 

I told Trevor I thought it was strange how small my friend's baby girl seemed to me. He said that maybe Luke is growing up in my mind. With a little contemplation I agreed. Yeah, I guess he is. I don't know that I always think of Luke as the infant that he was, but I do think of him in connection with the other babies that were born in August. I think of him being that age. 

Strange that they're just thoughts. Perhaps a vision of what's yet to come. I know I'll get my chance to raise my son. I know I'll experience the joy of seeing him grow. Then we can celebrate real milestones in his life. His first   time rolling over, sitting up on his own, or even his first tooth. One day it won't be anniversaries of the day I gave birth to him, but one day it will be days of celebration, recognition, and achievement. 

Luke, for now I celebrate your existence. The fact that you lived, even if for a brief nine months in my womb, and the fact that you are mine forever! I am grateful every day for that.  Luke, I love you with all my aching heart. Love, your mommy. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

New Year

Luke, it was good to be able to come visit your grave after we got back from Seattle for the holidays. Like always, when I visit you, I wanted to bring some flowers. I thought the bright color of these were so cheerful. In my mind they're like a celebration of the new year. A year filled with hope and love.