Category Archives: Babies

Better Late than Never Birth Story #3

Sorry guys… it took me over a year to write my birth story #3. Better late than never! If you haven’t written down your birth stories… I really encourage you to do so. You won’t regret remembering your baby’s birthday even if it’s years later.

Here’s birth story #1 and birth story #2.

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The Pregnancy… skip if you just want the good stuff

The pregnancy with Emily was much harder than the boys because I was sick and nauseous and tired. It was awful at the beginning. Second trimester was great because I had no morning sickness but by third trimester I was nauseous again.

Every afternoon leading up to the delivery, I was nauseous for about three weeks.

I lost my mucus plug at 36 weeks! I really didn’t want to go into labor so I took it “easy” until I was 37 weeks.

Pre-Labor… it gets a little funny but skip if you want!

Thursday – Best Friend’s Bridal Shower

I went in for a check-up. At 38 weeks and 1 day I was at 2 cm 75% effaced and -2 station. The baby wasn’t engaged yet. That night my best friend from high school was having a bridal shower! I felt strongly that I needed to go to her shower down in Provo. I made it there and back without going into labor! I listened to positive affirmations the whole time. Well, it was a good thing I went because the baby was born the morning of her wedding!!!

Friday – Nothing exciting…

Saturday – Neighborhood Pot Sticker Party

I was having regular contractions and nausea. I was making gluten-free pot stickers. I was working so hard that I was sweaty and tired. My brother came over too. Dallin, my husband was in charge of our neighborhood pot sticker party. I stayed home for a while but eventually went to the party. We had a lot of people come and it was fun.

Sunday – The baby disengaged and all labor signs stopped!

Monday to Wednesday – Test Days

Dallin had tests for medical school on Monday and Wednesday. It was really funny because I’m pretty sure the baby engaged on Saturday and I was having regular contractions… Then the baby disengaged on Sunday so Dallin can get through his tests!

And so Labor Begins!!!!

Dallin came home on Wednesday and said “Ok this is the best time to have a baby because my tests are over.” I guess Baby and I took it super seriously because by 7 pm. I was cramping and having contractions lasting about 45 seconds for every 6 minutes.

I stopped timing my contractions and decided to go to bed. Dallin spent until 10:30 pm playing on the computer.

When I woke up at 10:30 pm, my contractions seem to have stopped… but I told Dallin he needed to go to bed. Good thing he listened because I woke up at 1 am with really strong contractions lasting every 4.5 minutes for over a minute (~1 minute 10 seconds)… I thought “Wow… may be this is the real thing.” I got serious. I read scriptures for a while and the contractions wouldn’t stop.

By 2 am the contractions got stronger. I woke up Dallin and called the Midwife at 2:27 am. I was debating whether or not to go in. I told her that I’m already having my husband do counter pressure! I didn’t want to go in and have them tell me I’m not in labor. I asked her if I can take a shower. She pretty much gave me the ultimatum that if I took a shower and the contractions don’t stop that I had to come in because she didn’t want me delivering in the car or elevator.

Dallin and I did a few more contractions together. By now, I was not to be able to talk through contractions. Then Dallin took the initiative that we needed to go in ASAP… so no hot shower for me.

I told Dallin to go over to the Home Teacher’s apartment across the way. Dallin went over there but knocked on the wrong door. Dallin was sleepy apparently! A random guy opened the door and Dallin said… “woops wrong apartment!” and left! The guy closed the door and chained it. You have to remember that this was about 3 am. LOL! It was a funny story… even when I was in labor!

To the hospital!!!

So then Dallin went over to another neighbors apartment. During that time, I probably did a few contractions on my own. I felt in control the whole time. Dallin came back and told me our neighbor was coming. I got ready and went in the car while Dallin waited for our neighbor to come. By now I was listening to my Hypnobabies soundtrack and breathing very hard during my contractions. On the drive there I knew the contractions were actually doing something and I felt like I was dilating.

We got to the LDS Hospital at about 3:30 am and it was the best experience I’ve ever had. It was amazing!!! The staff was amazing!!! We did one contraction in the parking garage leaning on the car. Then we ran and did a contraction in the elevator. Then we got to the maternal newborn floor and rang the bell. They said “Yes?” Dallin said “I have a mom in labor!” We went into the check-in desk and I did another contraction learning on the desk. Dallin pushed on my back. The contraction was over and I could talk to the staff like nothing was going on. They checked me in quick and sent me straight into my room! No triage… No checking if I was in labor… No asking too many questions… They believe me to be in labor?!?!? Awesome… thank goodness!!! (This was very unusual for me!!)

We got into the room and they let me change into my hospital gown. Dallin and I worked through a couple of contractions during that time. The nurses did everything I told them to! They never checked me in between contractions. They were super nice!! I had my super simple birth plan pinned on the board… I made this in between contractions while I was waiting for my neighbor to come over. 🙂

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I got the big birth room I wanted!! It was one with a jacuzzi especially for natural births… not that I had time for that! I asked for a birth ball and birth stool. The nurse even got me and Dallin apple juice!!! Yum!!! This was a way different experience than my birth at the University of Utah or Ireland. It was truly perfect and I felt in control the whole time! They finally checked me and I think I was at dilated to a 6. They got me the birth ball and I did the harder contractions on there.

Finally, my midwife arrive and she knew exactly what I needed! She rubbed my back and squeezed my hips. Then she told the nurse to squeeze my hips while she was looking at my chart. I told my midwife… “I’m ready for you to break my water.” I got on the bed. She attempted to break my water but couldn’t get a good grip. I said “Now we need to wait until the next contraction is over!” So I got off the bed.

I think we did 2 more contractions and I got on the bed again. She successfully broke my water and I felt everything leak out. I got back on the ball and I immediately went through transition! I had 2 really intense transition contractions. The nurse and Dallin were doing great counter pressure the whole time! I breathed through every contraction without falling apart or getting distracted. I just kept saying “Can you guys push a little harder on my back and hips?!?!”… lol. I remember thinking “Ok this is it! It’s transition and it’s the hardest part!!!” My midwife rubbed my back told me it’s almost over.

Pushing!!

Yep… very soon I was like “I want to push!!! Where’s the birth stool?” By now I took off my headphones because I knew the hardest part was over and I didn’t need my relaxation tracks anymore. I was so stubbornly wanting to give birth on a birth stool because that’s how I had it for my second baby… but after about 2 contractions and lots of pushing the baby wasn’t moving. The midwife said that I needed to stand up. The baby was stuck on my pubic bone. So with the last strength I had… Dallin helped me stand up. Then during the next contraction… I squatted down (Dallin behind me holding me up) and the baby came out on the floor on the side of the bed. Don’t worry the midwife got there just in time to help the baby not fall!! I didn’t even pushed… all I did was squat down. LOL! I was lying on the floor by now and I was kinda worried because I didn’t hear the baby cry but she was just fine.

She’s here!!!

Our sweet little baby girl arrived at 4:57 am weighing 7 lbs 0.5 oz. We were only at the hospital for <1.5 hours and the labor was about 4 hours total.

I got on the bed. I don’t remember this part. It’s all a fuzz ball. I don’t even remember them giving me the baby but they probably did. I probably fed her. Good thing I have pictures!! Oh and I didn’t tear… what a miracle! 🙂

Well it was worth it. I was so proud of myself. I never lost control or wanted to give up! Angels were definitely helping me! It was by far my favorite midwife, hospital and birth experience out of my three experiences. It’s all a miracle!!

This was my midwife, Jennifer Jensen, CNM. She now practices at Riverton, Utah. She was honestly the best!!! ❤

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3 Easy Steps to Teach a Young Child How to Read

How to Read

My oldest son, Micah, is now 3 years and 5 months old. He is starting to sound out words and reading short words! I’m seriously so proud of him. My goal is to teach him how to read before he goes into Kindergarten. I’ve been teaching my son how to read ever since he was interested in letters which was well before he was 18 months old. I definitely think this is from Dallin’s genes cause I have never been interested in reading very much at all.

I broke it down to three easy steps. I’m writing this down so I can teach my next kid how to read but may be it’ll help someone else too.

  1. Teach your child to recognize all the UPPERcase letters
  2. Then teach your child to recognize all the lowercase letters
  3. MAKE IT FUN!!! Teach your kids letter sounds as you would teach them animal sounds. (ex. What does a M say? mmmmmm) With this step I needed a little bit of help and guidance, I’ll list the resources I have used below.

After talking to my mom friends, I really think phonics is the way to begin teaching kids how to read.

First book, my neighbor suggested Teach Your Child How to Read in 100 Easy Lessons.  This book has a really boring introduction of instructions for the parents, but once we started the lessons my son seriously took the book and blossomed. Everyday you only do one lesson and it last about 20 minutes. Everything is outlined for you so I didn’t even have to plan anything. It gives you the order to teach the letter sounds, starting with the more obvious sounds like M and S and A then moving towards more complicated sounds like silent E’s… ect. Three reasons why I love the book is 1) it’s super easy for me 2) it teaches kids how to read and not just memorize the words 3) It makes reading into a game.

Another friend suggested the Three Owl’s Reading Method which unfortunately is out of press and I can’t find a copy anywhere. Micah loves these little books!!! This is more of a Montessori approach to teaching kids how to read. The first sounds that it teaches kids are the vowels sounds: a, e, ee, i, o, oo, u. Since it’s out of print, may be I’ll recreate the books and put them online. Dr. Hulda Clark who created the reading system died back in 2009. I’ll email the publisher to find out what I can do. Micah loves Owl’s Eyes more than Teach Your Child How to Read in 100 Easy Lessons because they come in little colorful books his size.

The third resource I’ve used to help my child learn how to read is Hooked on Phonics Ipad App. While I’m not a huge fan of their curriculum (mostly their story books are weird), I love love the letter sounds songs and the games they made for their app. Micah loves this app!

Of course, I don’t believe in forcing children to learn how to read but it’s been so fun for Micah that he’s forcing me to teach him how to read!

Now I’m not an expert at this but my younger son, Quentin is 18 months… I started asking him “What sound does M make?” and he replies with “mmmmmmm”. So I truly believe that when a child starts imitating animal sounds they can totally start learning letter sounds too! 🙂

I’ll end with my favorite scripture in Doctrine and Covenants:

D&C 88:118 …seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith.

What tips and tricks do you have to teach kids how to read?

We Converted a Single Stroller to Double Stroller

UPDATE 1/11/2015: By the time my younger son grew out of the carrier car seat (~12 months)… My neighbor gave us their old double stroller. It was bulky!!! I only used it for like a month until my older son preferred to walk everywhere (~3 years old). I put the basket back on the Baby Trend Expedition Jogging stroller and is currently using it as a single stroller again for my youngest and my older son prefers to walk or ride his scooter! This stroller is lasting us a long time!

UPDATE 2/4/2014: A friend suggested that you could strap on ankle weights on the front of the stroller to help with the tipping issue and to give the stroller a better center of balance. You can strap the ankle weights onto the bars next to the front wheels or onto the bars next to the base of the seat or under the base of the seat. My baby is now 7 months and I’ve used the stroller for almost 5 months now. He’s a big baby and has almost grown out of the car seat but this stroller has been a life saver for the last few months!! We also tried to put another baby carrier in the front seat. It worked great. Just remember to always put the baby in the front seat before attaching the baby on the bottom to avoid tipping issues. Also, remember to put the heavier kid in the front seat. 

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When we were in Ireland I really wanted to buy a double stroller because I knew we were going to have another baby but double strollers are so expensive! When our first child was born we spent the money to buy a new Baby Trend Expedition ELX Travel System Stroller set. It came with a stroller, matching car seat and car seat base. We like the stroller because of the big basket on the bottom and because of the big wheels. One thing that I didn’t like about the stroller is that it’s too heavy to be a jogging stroller. I’ve tried multiple times to go jogging with this stroller and the front wheel is wobbly and not aligned properly. However, this stroller is good for casual walks and is great for shopping! After baby#2 was born, I felt constrained inside because we didn’t have a double stroller yet. One day, this idea came to me out of the blue like inspiration from heaven. I felt like God knew I wanted a double stroller and he provided a way for me to make my single stroller into a double stroller.

First, we went to Lowes. The people there were super excited to help us with our project. We eventually found a 6 inch carabiner for $2.98. They hardware guy at Lowes also told me they sell them at Babies R Us as “Mommy Hooks” but they cost $6.99 each for the same thing.

DISCLAIMER: This post has nothing to do with the Baby Trend company. This is just an idea that is not covered by manufacture warranties. This stroller is NOT designed to be a double stroller and has its flaws. This may damage your stroller and or car seat. I am not responsible to any injuries, deaths or damages if you choose to try this idea. Another hazard is that this may cause damage to your car seat locking mechanism which would result in safety issues while using it with your car seat base as most manufactures don’t recommend you locking your car seat into shopping carts and ect. Using your stroller like this may also void your manufacture warranty. Use this idea at your own risk.

For this project all you need is:

Here a video on how we made the stroller:

Here are the written instructions with pictures.

  1. Take off the basket that comes with the stroller. It should snap right off the front then there are two pins holding the basket in the back on the sides. Press the pins in and the basket comes off without ruining the stroller or the basket.
  2. Put on the brakes so the stroller doesn’t move while you’re attaching the car seat.
  3. Change the car seat handle to the up 90 degree position and attach the carabiners to each side of the handles. 
  4. Hook the car seat indents to the axle of the back wheel of the stroller. 
  5. Hook the carabiners to the stroller as shown in the pictures  
  6. Put the toddler in FIRST because with the car seat attached makes the stroller back heavy so it could tip. However, it is pretty stable unless someone pushes it over. After you have your toddler in you can put your baby in the car seat. ALWAYS use the seat belts just in case the stroller tips. 
  7. To take off the car seat all you have to do is un-clip the carabiners. Pull the release in the front of the car seat and take the car seat off the axle.  Remember to take the car seat/baby off first before you take the toddler off to prevent tipping.

I’ve used this stroller for 2 months and I love it. I’ve gotten really good at attaching the car seat and detaching it. It only cost us 6 bucks to transform our stroller into a double stroller and I expect the stroller to last until my baby grows out of the car seat. The stroller is also very compacted compared to a normal double stroller. This double stroller can also get through doors.

So there you have it, a single stroller that converts to a double stroller. There are some obvious flaws to this double stroller idea because this stroller is NOT designed to be a double stroller. Here are some things to consider:

  • The tipping issue as discussed above. However, the stroller is pretty stable as long as you have the toddler in front before you put the baby in the car seat. Whenever I have just the baby in the car seat, I’m just extremely cautious that the toddler doesn’t tip the stroller over with the baby inside.
  • The brakes are harder to access with the car seat attached but all you have to do is bend down and use your hands.
  • You can keep the carabiners clipped on the car seat or stroller to safe keeping.
  • Using this idea cause casual damage/scratches to the stroller but it’s just like how any other well used stroller would be.
  • Tuck the car seat strap on the bottom of the car seat under the car seat cover so you don’t step on it.
  • The car seat does stick out a bit so it takes some adjusting before you stop hitting it with your feet but I’ve gotten use to is and I don’t kick it anymore.
  • You don’t have a big basket anymore and because you don’t have a basket don’t be tempted to set heavy things in the cup holders. Really heavy things place on top of the cup holders could tip your stroller over.
  • So far this design only works for the Baby Trend Expedition ELX version of the stroller. We tried it on a Baby Trend Expedition Jogging stroller and it didn’t work.
  • Try attaching and detaching the car seat a few times before trying to do it with a baby as it takes some practice to get the gripping right.
  • Again this could cause damage to the car seat locking mechanism which would be a big hazard while using the car seat in your car. You can also try strapping your car seat instead of using the car seat base or use a different car seat in the car to prevent issues with using a damaged car seat.
  • I also wouldn’t recommend jogging with this stroller especially with the car seat attached to the bottom.

Again read the DISCLAIMER message above before trying this idea. This stroller has not been safety test. This is just a “make it do” idea. May be someone can convince Baby Trend to make a stroller like this for me. Let me know what discoveries you find!

Quentin’s First Pictures

Here are some of Quentin’s first baby pictures. My birth story is written here. These were taken at the National Maternity Hospital on Holles Street in Dublin, Ireland. These pictures were taken within 1 hour of the birth.

The midwife’s name was Grace. She was the only person other than my husband in the room with us. She delivered, checked the baby and cleaned up. It was nice having only one additional person at the birth. She was such a good midwife! She even visited me at my home before the birth during my pre-natal check-ups and she visited me after the baby was born! It was wonderful. I wish I would’ve taken her back to the USA!

Here’s daddy and the new baby!

Here’s mommy and the baby!

Here Mommy and Daddy with the new baby! Micah, the other brother is not in the picture. He was at home with one of our friends.

Having a Baby is Not Scary

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I always have friends telling me their fears about giving birth or being pregnant. I had those fears too before I had kids but now I know that having a baby is not scary at all. Having a baby is actually a very spiritual and special experience. It brings so many blessings. I learn so much about the Atonement of Jesus Christ through the process of bearing and delivering a child. I also feel close to God and I feel God’s love for me as I go forth with faith to raise his children. I think every child that is born is a miracle of God but of course it does take work to prepare for such an event. Don’t expect to have a positive birth experience without putting some effort to create it.

I love the scripture in D&C 38:30 that says “If ye are prepared ye shall not fear.”

This is the story of the birth of my second child.

I am currently living in Dublin, Ireland and I delivered my second baby at the National Maternity Hospital on Holles Street with a midwife. I had my first baby in SLC, Utah at the University of Utah hospital with physicians/nurses. Both births were amazing but the stories are uniquely different.

As with any other birth story… read this with your own discretions. I tried to keep it PG but don’t read this if you don’t think you can handle it! 🙂

I was 41 weeks and 2 days along! I was 9 days “over due”. My first baby was 2 weeks early, I never thought I would have a July baby… or a fourth of July Baby!

So after 3 weeks and 4 days of prodromal labor. I woke up on July 4th at around 7 am with contractions that I couldn’t ignore anymore. They were coming every 4 minutes and lasting ~1 min I told Dallin, my husband, to press on my lower back during the contractions. These were stronger than they have been but I wasn’t going to declare labor or anything since I’ve had so many false alarms this time around.

I put these contractions to the test. We did our morning routine. I fed Micah, our first child. I read Scriptures. It just happened that I was reading 3 Nephi chapter 1 about the birth of Jesus Christ and I read verse 19:

 And it came to pass that there was no darkness in all that night, but it was as light as though it was mid-day. And it came to pass that the sun did rise in the morning again, according to its proper order; and they knew that it was the day that the Lord should be born, because of the sign which had been given.

I thought to myself.. that’s funny. Because before this I’ve been reading all these verses about being patient in afflictions (referring to my previous weeks of prodromal labor). Anyways… I ate a light breakfast and I took a shower. We had family scripture study but we had to stop every 4 minutes so Dallin and press on my lower back to ease the pressure of contractions. Finally, at around 10:00 am I decided that the contractions were probably not going away. So I called the midwifes. I told them I still don’t know for sure but I’m 9 days overdue so I wanted them to check. They weren’t busy so we decided to go to the hospital right away. Angelika, is our friend who has been staying with us the last week or so. It was such a blessing to have a babysitter at the home. We said Goodbye to Micah and walked out the door.

Traffic here in Dublin is pretty congested and it’s mostly one lane road to the hospital. I calmly listened to my Hypnobabies relaxation scripts while squeezing Dallin’s hand during contractions! I was focused and breathing during the contractions. We checked into the hospital around 11:30 am. We got to a room around 11:40 am just to find out that I wasn’t in labor yet. I wasn’t pass the 3 cm mark to be declared as “in labor”. I was still in prodromal labor… ridiculous! The midwife checked the baby on the monitor for about 20 minutes. She allowed me to stand up instead of being in bed which was nice. I hate laying down during contractions. The baby’s heart and movements were fine so she sent me to go walking for an hour. She told me to come back in one hour to be checked again to see if I go into labor. I listened to my relaxation scripts while walking around in the hospital. I stayed focus. I leaned forward against the wall and bent my knees while Dallin did counter pressure up and down my back every time I had a contraction. It only took about 30 minutes until I was groaning and breathing very deeply that disrupted everyone in the hallway. Dallin said I was having contractions 2 mins long and 4 min apart by then.

The midwife (Grace is her name) heard my noises and quickly pulled me back into the room. I told her my contraction isn’t over yet but she made me walk as fast as I could. She just said “Walk fast! This is a second baby. They come fast!” It was 12:30 pm. She knew I was in labor before checking me. During my next contraction, I was 4 cm dilated and she broke my water at the same time. We discussed beforehand that if my water didn’t break that she could break it when my labor officially started. This was my personal decision because my water broke before we went to the hospital with my first baby. Well labor sure went fast after my waters went! I finished dilating in ~20 minutes and I pushed for ~18 minutes. I had the baby by 1:10 pm. Good thing I was at the hospital before I started labor.

Pushing, like with Micah, was my favorite part. I love being in control and push only when I want to push. They had this awesome birthing stool. It is like a toilet seat with legs. I could sit on it while leaning on Dallin. With my first birth, I ended up pushing on a bed for 2+ hours because I was getting leg cramps that made me so I couldn’t stand up anymore. This stool was awesome!!

Grace, the midwife, was such a serious coach. She kept me focus and never let me waste my energy crying or moaning. She said sternly many times “Now May Bo, stay focus!” She helped me to know when to push hard and when to stop pushing so I wouldn’t tear, which  by the way I didn’t tear at all! This was completely different than my last pushing experience! Last time they just told me to push as hard as I could for longer than I wanted and I tore a lot with Micah. The midwife really made me feel empowered as she coached me through pushing. I could feel my kegel muscles working this time and I could feel the baby descending. She made sure my pushing was effective but never forced me to push when I didn’t feel to. I felt in control of the baby and it felt good. I think it helped being on the stool sitting upright. As the baby was crowing she told me to give one last big push. Then as the baby’s head was coming out she told me to stop pushing! I couldn’t believe that she wanted me to stop pushing cause all i wanted to do is push. So she told me to “puff” out breaths but resist to push. His head gently slipped out the rest of the way naturally during the next contraction. I looked down and I saw Quentin’s head with lots and lots of hair! He was all purple. This was a new angle, I couldn’t see anything with Micah while laying down on bed. Again she told me not to push because the shoulders slipped out gently. After the shoulders came out, she told me to bend over and catch him! Bending over was enough for the rest of Quentin to come out. I caught my own baby! The midwife helped me so I didn’t drop him and put him right on me with the umbilical cord still on. Crazy huh?

The minute you hold the baby makes all that waiting, pregnancy, and labor worth it! The rush of adrenaline after birth feels amazing. I would say it’s the equivalent of a “runner’s high” or finishing a marathon. Like I said in the beginning, preparing for the baby’s labor was a really important to me especially to overcome any doubts or fears I had. It was very necessary for me to prepare myself spiritually, temporally, mentally, emotionally and physically everyday. I asked my husband for many priesthood blessings leading up to the delivery. The priesthood blessings along with daily scripture study and prayer gave me the peace and comfort I need to keep going everyday. Of course, somedays are better than others but in the end it’s all worth it. Having a baby is not scary at all! It’s actually really awesome.

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Feeling Grateful

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Ah… some peace and quiet! I fell in love all over again. Despite the prodromal labor, this is much easier the second time around! It may have been the amazing midwife I had but labor was relatively low impact compared to my first (and I thought I had a good first birth)! This time labor was only 40 minutes (18 min pushing), no tearing and I was home in 6 hours. I’m recovering really fast and I feel good. I’m super grateful for my Ireland birth experience. Although US maternity care is fine… they just do things a little different in Ireland!