Maizee Grace : A Birth Story

Even after countless friends reporting that you can "never be ready," it is a shock to be lying in a hospital bed and have a grinning nurse come in and announce that it's GO time.  Three and a half weeks early.  And instead of wondering, "Am I ready to be a Mom?" I wondered, "Can we still get our hospital bag from the car? I wonder if my Mom can pick up some onesies that will actually fit a preemie.  What are we going to name her?  What is this going to feel like?" 

On Wednesday evening, July 30, I lost my mucous plug.  I had been slowly losing it since we were on vacation in the Tetons, but it was obvious to me that this was different - this was more.  I had been the girl calling the nurse hotline every time there was an increase in discharge, and now I called again.  I was reassured that mucous is "normal" and to just keep an eye on it.  My midwife told me the same.  So, the next day I kept an eye on it.  And it increased.  It turned bright red.  I thought, "This is nothing - I am NOT going to be the girl who goes to the hospital and is sent home."  So I bought some jumbo pads and continued on with my day.

Mid-afternoon, I was in the car driving to Seattle, in traffic, to pick up a killer deal on a Craigslist find - our baby girl's stroller.  While driving, I felt a small gush of fluid find its' way out of me, and was relieved I had bought the jumbo pads.  I picked up the stroller and was home several hours later.  I started having loose stools and feeling slightly nauseous.  I wondered about that gush in the car.  I called the nurse hotline once again, worried that if I was leaking amniotic fluid, the baby could get an infection.  The nurse was short with me, but told me I should go to labor and delivery just to get it checked out.  I figured we'd be home that night - a typical "girl who cried wolf" situation.

We reluctantly packed some things in the hospital bag that had been put off, grabbed a couple of pizzas, and slowly made our way to the hospital, chuckling that we'd be doing this again in a few weeks when I was actually in labor.  I would certainly eat the GF pizza on the way home in an hour or so.

The nurse's words brought on so many emotions.  I could have cried, but I think I may have just smiled and laughed.  It didn't seem real!  It was almost time to meet my girl?  I wasn't prepared for this.

I texted our families.  The nurses asked if I was having regular contractions, and I said no.  They hooked me up and informed that yes, I was actually having contractions.  News to me!  I hadn't felt a single Braxton Hicks the entire pregnancy, and now regular contractions and still nothing?  It still didn't seem real.

Due to being 3 weeks early and having premature rupture of membranes, I was given medication to speed up the birthing process so that our girl would be born within 24 hours.  24 hours!  I was going to look at her face so soon.  They also suggested an early epidural since I was going to need pitocin.  I labored (without feeling a thing) in to the evening.  Finally, my fore sack ruptured and I started feeling contractions for the first time.  Real feeling!  I could tell my body was trying to work out this baby.  I went through roughly an hour of active labor before they moved me to the delivery room and administered an epidural.  After that, I rested through the early morning hours, dreaming about anywhere between 6am and 12pm when I would meet our sweet girl.

I was dilated to a 4.  

Around 11:55am, the midwife came in to check my progress.  Despite the epidural, I could tell she was moving down the birth canal.  I kept telling them "I'm feeling a lot of pressure with every contraction..." and sure enough, when the nurse checked, her head was already making its' entrance in to the world.  They pulled my feet up and I pushed for 15 minutes.  I didn't understand how my body worked since it was numb, so all I could do was concentrate on engaging and flexing my abs as hard as I possibly could.  She was posterior, which supposedly makes it difficult to push the baby out.  But this little girl has a head that is in the < 3rd % in size, so she came right out and in to my arms.  Our sweet Maizee Grace, in my arms.  My heart exploded.  This was the girl who had been on countless walks with me.  The girl who I had eaten excess amounts of spinach and salmon for.  The girl who had surprised us with her impending arrival, and is now a permanent and essential part of our family.  This was her!  I was so in love.

The only sad part of this birth story was that Matt came down with the stomach flu, and was literally running out of the delivery room to throw up before she was born.  He was sent home from the hospital, and couldn't even make it back to hold his daughter until Saturday evening.  I spent the first evening in the hospital with my daughter alone.  Exhaustion and emotions ruled the night.  I cried out of joy when I looked at her, and cried out of tiredness when I looked at the clock.  I must have gone 60 hours without sleep.  By the time my Mom came back to help, I was a wreck.  I don't know how to sleep with her.  I love her so much.  Matt hasn't even held her.  There were so many things to feel.

Miss Maizee Grace Larson, we are so honored to be your parents.  You have opened a part of our hearts that is full of new feelings.  Welcome to the world, little one!

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favorite baby shower invites, and related topics.

The majority of us girls who spend time on Pinterest have no doubt seen images floating around from Tiny Prints Christmas cards and things of the like.  Their designs are hands-down some of my favorites, and I felt so spoiled to get to choose some Tiny Prints invites for my baby showers.  Pictured below are my favorite five:

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5
And you can click HERE to find any and all of the amazing invites available from Tiny Prints.

My first ever baby shower was this past Sunday afternoon.  My best friend used invite #1, and I felt entirely spoiled all day.  It's a special thing when your friends buy you gifts just because there is a blooming new life inside of you.  I hope she knows how much she's loved, and how I so badly want her to be taken care of.  

Thanks to Tiny Prints and my friends and family for making this new phase such a special one!

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Fresh perspectives

Looking at my blog today, it seems ironic that it is titled "Urban Anthropology," since I am no longer a city-dweller and hardly ever post about what I'm wearing.  This contradiction between "Title" and "Content" has prompted me to make some changes.

Molly has inspired me with the changes she made to her blog before her daughter was born.  It seems that the idea of a "lifestyle blog"has less pressure for specifics, and more space for things that are inspiring her in the immediate present.  This is the type of blog I hope to re-create from this place I already have.

The personality of a blogger is another concept that is hard for me to understand.  Are we people who like to be on a stage?  Do we desperately need to be related to?  Or are we just sharing our journey honestly with those who care to read?  I hope that for me and for all of you bloggers out there.. it is the third reason that we continue writing and posting about our personal lives.

In the spirit of this change, my blog name will be changing.  I can't decide what it will be quite yet.  I like Blossoming Moments, but the initials for that are BM which make me think of Bowel Movements.  So back to the drawing board.

I hope to hear from you all again, and to connect on an even deeper level with so many of you who are living honest and open blogging lives in other parts of the world and country.  Thanks for sharing in this space with me!
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Something beautiful blossoming

We are welcoming this Spring with the news of our sweet, beautiful, baby GIRL!

The thought of raising a girl is both terrifying and exciting.  I wouldn't want to raise myself, and praise Jesus my Mom was able to make it through that gauntlet ;) It also means I am about to have my very own daughter - a girl who looks like me, might even act like me, and calls me her Mommy.  Those things don't sound very profound, but I'm sure anyone who's become a Mom knows just how deep the feelings extend.  

I have tried writing out sentence after sentence - both handwritten and typed - trying to somehow grasp the feelings that are constantly flooding me, but I can't capture it in words.  It is too overwhelming and too unfamiliar, and so I am just enjoying experiencing it.  

We can't wait to meet you, baby girl.
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2013: the transitions, and baby #1

Finally sitting down to my annual review since it’s February.  There’s been a constant monologue in my head about the changes and transitions that the year brought, but I haven’t found the time or energy to put it all down yet. 

I’ll start with blogging.  It’s obvious I stopped blogging regularly quite a while ago.  Maybe almost a year ago.  I, like many bloggers, fell under some harsh criticism from people close to me and felt so judged and unjustified in having this blog at all.  I suddenly felt like my life was this laughing spectacle that just opened me up to being wounded.  

I really want to come back to this place, though.  I think my Mom said it best: “You have to be you, because nobody else can do it.”  And I think that a part of me is this space.  So come criticism and mockery, I might slowly begin making my return.

Next: the year.  2013 was the wildest.  It captured the most joy and the most sorrow all in the span of 12 small months.  Matt and I, having been married in the month of December several years ago, like to pick one thing that we feel God is challenging us to, or calling us to, every year.  In 2012 we prayed to be uncomfortable.  God made us uncomfortable in more ways than we had really hoped, but it helped us to grow.  In 2013, we prayed over the transitions we knew were coming.  We said, “this will be the year of transitions!”  It was exciting.  But we had no idea what we were praying for.

Transition #1: My dad moved in with us in December for 6 months while he was in his own transition period before moving to Thailand.  It seems like a small thing, but it was a period of growth for both Matt and I, and especially between my dad and myself.  We grew so close that the goodbye was that much more painful.

Transition #2: GRADUATION!  The big G.  The moment I had been waiting for since I understood what college graduation was. School was never really for me.  I often skipped high school to go snowboarding or go to a coffee shop.  So this was a big moment.  And this transition ended up being the largest.  But graduation brought on new struggles that I was so foreign to, it threw me completely out of my mind.  I shut down.  My Dad moved away, we moved to Beaverton where I was extremely depressed, and I, in a way, threw my husband’s love back in his face.  June to September was an extremely rocky period for my marriage, and it was a HUGE test of my relationship with God.  Matt and I prayed to God through our angriest and most hurt time.  I went to church despite everything in me wanting to do the opposite.  I stayed with Matt instead of running away from everything.  Graduation day was glamorous, but the aftermath was anything but.  I was lost. That is what you would have seen on my blog had I kept this thing up.  A non-glamorous, lost, recent college graduate.

In the midst of this crazy transition, I started working at Nordstrom.  The internship program demanded that I be at work from 7-5 nearly every day.  Before we moved I was commuting 2 hours either way with traffic, and after we moved I was commuting 40 minutes with traffic.  I was never home.  I put a smile on my face all day and came home angry.  Even when I was promoted to assistant manager… it was an outward show of success that was not happening inside of my heart.

Transition #3: Seattle.
On the very same day that I graduated from the intern program, Matt and I found out that we had been selected as the tenants for our Ballard house.  God’s timing was perfect.  It was the best thing to happen to me, my relationship with God, and my marriage.  A new city with entirely new people.  No familiar faces, no familiar church.  I fell in love with this place.  The quaintness, the convenience, the activities, the people, the atmosphere, the school (UW), the views.  I loved everything about Ballard.  I started recording my first album, got involved in an amazing church, and started working my tail off in the early fall to prepare myself for grad school.  From conducting videos to college visits and meeting professors, I was so ready to undertake the next step of my life that I never thought I would get to do.  I was going to FINALLY be in school for what I wanted: music.  A degree in choral conducting.  A dream come true.

Transition #4: A baby. 

Which we announced to the facebook world recently through THIS video.

On the EXACT SAME DAY that my graduate application was due, we found out that we are having a baby.  My calendar has these two major events written on the same day, on the same page.  Once again, God’s timing was perfect.  The house that Matt bought 9 years ago in Gig Harbor Washington became available in December just days before we found out about the baby, and we realized we needed to make the move.  With a less expensive mortgage than we were paying in rent, a safe neighborhood, a bigger house, and a great church to raise kids in, we moved yet again after living in Seattle for only 4 months.  Yes, this means we lived in FOUR houses in FOUR cities in the last 6 months.  What are we thinking.

This place is so different than Seattle.  I am a city girl, and the quiet, older, calm, and dark little town on the harbor is like culture shock.  I have been praying that God will reveal HIS dreams to me here, since I am giving mine up for this small precious life inside of me.  I am praying to find God’s KINGDOM here, however I can.  I am praying that He will show me the joy in following HIS calling instead of my own.  And slowly, He is doing just that.  Through a first friend, through getting connected at church, through starting my own piano lesson studio, He is doing just that.

So here we are expecting baby #1, starting our family.  What a year. 

-- And for those who are wondering, I am 13 weeks along.  We are currently trying to squeeze in as many vacations as we can and get our house in order.  We have been living in a construction zone, since we both have some immediate need to re-model any place we live in.

From the night we found out: December 15.

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