Monday, October 10, 2016

Brigham Steven Jensen : Birth Story

Brigham Steven Jensen
September 30, 2016
9:24 PM
6 lbs 11 oz
19 inches 
American Fork Hospital

It was the Wednesday afternoon of September 28. We were at my 38 week check up and things were looking great! I was dilated to a 2, almost 3, and 90% effaced. Dad had been here for about a week and was leaving a week from that Sunday to go back to Africa until next July. Grandma Benson was on the brink of death, and Bethy's wedding was a week away. I explained the chaos that was our lives to Dr. Jones and he latched onto the fact that dad was leaving. I didn't want to be induced, and he wouldn't anyway, but he did say that he would strip my membranes. He asked if I would come in the next Wednesday. I agreed with a little hesitation and he noticed. I explained again that that would be fine and I would love if it got the ball rolling enough for my dad to see him, but that I would miss my sisters wedding and my grandma's funeral. He shook his head and asked "Wait, what's happening next week?" I explained it all again, and without hesitation he said "Can you come in tomorrow morning at 9:00?" I could have hugged him! He of course didn't want to give me any hope and said that there was a chance that nothing at all would happen, but it was our best shot at getting things going. I went home, got work off for the next day, and prayed to the highest heavens that the membrane sweep would work!

Steve went to work the next morning and was sure to have his ringer on loud! We were so hopeful that something would happen, but also keeping ourselves from holding our breaths. Mom took me to my appointment and Dr. Jones walked in with a grin on his face. He agreed to "strip the heck out of those membranes" and then proceeded to do so. I was immediately crampy and bled pretty significantly. He sweetly asked about my Grandma who had held on throughout the night, and when I told him she hadn't passed yet he said, "Well, that's why your little one isn't here yet! He wants to meet his great grandma!" I loved the thought of them meeting before she hopefully would lovingly and quickly kick him out of heaven!

Not 2 minutes after we left the office, mom got the phone call that Grandma had passed. We went up to Beehive where she had been living for the past 2 years and she was able to be with her siblings. We spent the rest of the day between Beehive and running errands. Dad met us for lunch at Cafe Rio and we joked that it could (and would hopefully be!) the "last supper" before the baby came. Mom asked me every 5 minutes how I was feeling and I was always so disappointed when I hadn't contracted for a long time. We got home and took the afternoon easy and by the time I got in bed, any contractions that I was having were now very light and almost an hour apart. 

On Friday, mom and I started late morning and ran a ton of wedding and funeral errands. I wanted to be up and going, hoping that my body would get into go mode! I knew that the baby had dropped significantly because the major pain I'd been having in my ribs since July had completely gone away the Sunday before. Throughout the day, I felt like he was dropping lower and lower but my contractions were still pretty wimpy. Starting at 1:54 though, they were a consistent 5 mintutes apart. Mom and I were about 30 minutes away from being done with our errands and by the time we got home, they were very consistent and getting stronger. I got a hold of Steve and told him he should come home from work as soon as he could. I got in the shower and worked through a few contractions with the high pressure warm water on my back which felt really good. I dried my hair and got ready and was glad to feel clean and somewhat put together. Getting ready took far longer that it should have because I was breathing through contractions every 3-5 minutes. I ordered Steve around and had him finish getting our hospital bags ready. I was glad to have packed most everything a couple weeks before and then made a list of the things I wanted to grab last minute. 

I had always pictured us running around the house in the middle of the night after my water had broken in a frenzy trying to get to the hospital. 4:00 in the afternoon, totally calm and ready was not what I had imagined, but I'm so glad that's how it went. My parents were both home, which was a miracle in and of itself, and we were able to have a few quiet minutes before we left. Steven gave me the sweetest blessing, blessing me with strength and courage and letting me know how much he loved me, It meant so much that we were able to begin the crazy with a quiet and peaceful moment!

By 4:00, we packed up the car and were on our way to the hospital! When we got there, I had completely convinced myself that they were going to send us home. My contractions were 5 minutes apart but I still felt like they weren't justifiably strong enough.  I just grabbed my purse and we left the rest of the bags in the car, and walked up to labor and delivery. At the top of the elevator, there are double doors and a phone you have to call on to be let in. When they answered, Steven calmly said "Hi, we think my wife is in labor." They buzzed open the doors, and we walked to the desk and the lady looked me up and down and said "Hi, how are you guys?" and I said "Good! I think I am in labor." She looked as if she was trying to hold a laugh in, and who could blame her? I was walking just fine, could talk to her no problem, my hair was curled, for heavens sake! But she was sweet and got us all checked in. I explained that my contractions were 5 minutes apart, and so she checked me into triage and said they'd monitor me for a while.

We got in our room, I changed into the gown, and a cute nurse, Christie, came and talked with us. I explained my symptoms and she said that she'd check me and we'd go from there. When she checked, she said I was dilated to a good 4, but since I hadn't changed much from my appointment the day before, they wanted me to hang out for an hour and they'd check me again at 6:00. She didn't want to seem too encouraging, but she did say "I've done this for long enough to think that you're going to be having a baby tonight. Your cervix feels like a 'laboring cervix' which is definitely encouraging." Our one hour wait started at 5:00 and from that very moment my contractions started getting stronger and closer together. Steven flipped on the TV and we watch Seinfeld while we waited. The two episodes that were playing were absolutely horrible but I'll never forget that we watched Seinfeld while we waited for our baby to come! By the end of the hour, my contractions were strong and close together, and I felt like I was going to squeeze Steve's hand to death with every one that came. Christie came and checked me again and within one second said "Oh yeah, you're at a 5. You're going to have a baby tonight!" I looked at Steve in utter shock and he said "Welp. Here we go!" I couldn't believe it was happening!

By 6:30, they had us admitted and put into Labor and Delivery room #2. We got the best and cutest nurse, Steph, who came in and helped me breath through contractions while coaching Steve on how to apply counter pressure to help the pain. They had a newbie tech come in to place my IV, and as luck would have it, she stuck my left hand and it didn't take. Drawing blood has always been a struggle for me and my first IV was no different! Steph also tried, but they eventually had the charge nurse, Kimmy, come in and place it. She was a champ and found a vein in my right hand to place it in and did it in no time. They got some fluids in me and got me on the list for an epidural. The anesthesiologist had 3 moms ahead of me, one delivering twins, so we knew it would be a while. Steve was so great and stood at the end of my bed for an hour and a half and pushed hard on my knees during each contraction. 

Just before 8:00, the anesthesiologist, Kevin, came in. At first, he seemed very disinterested and stand off-ish bur warmed up in the following 10 minutes before he gave me the epidural. I filled out some paper work and he talked me through what he would be doing. They raised the bed up and I swung my legs over the side. Steve sat in a chair directly in front of me. I put my feet on his calves and held his hands through it. Luckily, or perhaps unluckily, I had a strong contracting throughout the entire duration of placing the epidural, so I was totally distracted and wasn't phased by the epidural at all. My blissful labor started moments later as each contraction got less and less strong until I couldn't feel anything at all. It was heavenly. I actually got to the point that I couldn't even feel any pressure and the only way we knew I was contracting was by looking at the monitor!

My doctor was not on call that night which was a bummer, but one of his partners, Dr. Cloward was. She was darling and I was totally comfortable with her from the moment we met. She came in at about 8:15 to check me and asked if it would be ok if he broke my water. I said yes, and Steph began getting the instruments ready. Dr. Cloward checked me and said "Yep, that's definitely a bulgy bag. You're a 7!" and then, while she was still checking, I contracted and said "Just kidding, you're an 8...and...your water just broke!" She had barely touched the bag and accidentaly popped it with her fingernail! Easy as that. I felt the gush of water and everyone commented how "that never happens!" Dr. Cloward told me to watch out for a ton of pressure and to let my nurses know if I felt like I needed to push. She said she'd come back in 2 hours unless we called her before then. She left the room about 8:30.

I had texted Kalynn who was going to come and take some footage for a birth video, and told her we were a couple hours out and to be ready! Luckily she was just at her parents so she could come quickly if we needed. The next half hour of labor was filled with chatting and laughing with Steven and the nurses and we were just in awe that I literally could not feel a single thing. At 9:00 Steve decided to go down to the car to get our bags. Not 20 seconds after he left, Steph came in to check me. She asked where he had gone and when I told her I asked if I needed to call him to come back. She said "oh no! I was just curious." She proceeded to check me and said "Actually, you'll want to call him. Your cervix is completely gone, you're at a 10! It's go time, girl!" I was in shock! I texted Steve right away and said "Come back right now!!" And he flew into the room seconds later. He had been stopped by a janitor in the hall who wanted to chat about the BYU game and hadn't even made it to the car! THere were several nurses in there helping get everything ready and amidst all the chaos, he and I locked eyes and had a sweet moment. We were about to be parents!!

I texted Kalynn in the same panic and she told me that she was in her car on her way! The nurses set me up on oxygen and started getting the bed ready. Kalynn got there just before I did a pracitice push. Steve was on my right side and Steph was on my left. They asked if I wanted a mirror, and I hadn't even thought of it! I said yes, then no, then yes, and settled on no. I ended up being able to see most of it reflecting off of the TV! Steph told me to act like I was doing a crunch, to hold my thighs, take a deep breath, and then push for 10 seconds. I did just that and BAM, his whole head crowned! She said "Ok, nevermind, stop pushing!" My eyes filled with tears as I realized that I was seconds away from meeting our little boy. I looked up at Steve who was still holding my right knee, and he and I shared the same expression of love and excitement and tear filled eyes. The next few minutes were a whirlwind as Dr. Cloward came rushing in, nurses stood on each side and got her gowned and gloved up, and she sat at the foot of the bed. She laughed at the fact that he was already crowing and made a fohawk out of his little head of hair!! 

As my next contraction started, Dr. Cloward told me to push! I took a deep breath, and pushed for 10 seconds, took one more deep breath, and by the time I counted to 5, he was out! I was a mom! I panicked when I heard the doctor say "double nuke" and knew the cord was wrapped around his neck, but she was able to get it right off (Steve said later it was the scariest thing to watch her try to get it off!) and they quickly lifted him to my stomach. I'll never forget his first little cry. It sounded more like a little wimper! They quickly wiped him off and then laid him on my chest. I have never felt happiness or love like I did in that moment, with Steven standing right at my side, holding my son for the first time. I looked him and immediately felt like I knew him! We were a family and he was absolutely perfect. He was squirmy right from the get go, but as soon as he tucked his little legs under his tummy, he settled down right on my chest. Without thinking, I blurted out the words "That was the easiest thing I've ever done!" and it was!! Everyone laughed and joked how that is not the usual response of someone who just pushed 6 pounds of baby out! But it was! It was the easiest, best, and happiest moment of my life. 

After they got him all cleaned up, weighed, and measured, they wrapped him up and Steve got to hold him for the first time. I thought I loved him when we first said I love you, when we got engaged,  on our wedding day, on our anniversaries, and especially the day I told him we were going to have a baby, but none of that compared to the moment that he first held our son. The sheer and absolute joy that was on his face and the love in his eyes as he held our little boy is something I will never ever forget. 

I feel like the luckiest girl in the world to be Brigham's mama and to be married to his daddy. I love them both with my whole heart.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Second Baby Bumpdate: 24 Weeks

How Far Along? 24 weeks. 6 months, people!! Ahh!

Maternity Clothes? Yes! Always and forever. If I'm not in leggings and a tunic then I'm in a dress, and if it's neither of those two, then you'll likely find me in Steve's basketball shorts and one of his USU t-shirts. I've gotten big fast so I have like a solid 5 shirts and 3 dresses that I rotate through. 

Sleep? Not the highlight of my life these days. It's hard to get comfy and I'm constantly wanting to roll on my back. I also have been getting major leg cramps in my sleep so I have to stand up a few times a night to work out the charley horse that's eating my calves. 

Best moment this week? Being able to work a 35 hour week and feel great! A few weeks ago, my back would be super achey by the end of my work day but I think I'm building some muscle and endurance! I feel so lucky to still be feeling so good.

Worst moment this week? I was going to take of my gloves this week and put them in the trash, but dropped them on my way so bent over to pick them up. My patient in his chair said "Woah! It's very impressive that you can bend over that well!" Thank you sir, but I'm only 24 weeks, so you actually just ruined my day.

Movement: Little man is definitely a mover and shaker! I feel him all day but then he goes wild at night. I can feel his kicks strong but haven't caught a good time for Steve to feel him yet! Crossing my fingers that it's soon cause it's the funnest thing! 

Food Cravings: Ice water. Always! I just crave freezing cold water. And Cinnamon Life cereal. 

Food Aversions:  Not necessarily. There are definitely things that just don't sound good but I don't feel sick thinking about eating them.

Gender: Still a boy! And it's taking all my self control to not buy ALL of the baby clothes! I have officially scowered every Old Navy baby clearance section in all of Utah County. 

What I'm looking forward to: A super fun month of July! My parents will be in town, we're going on a few fun vacations and I'll have a couple weeks off work!

Friday, May 13, 2016

First Baby Bumpdate: 18 Weeks

How Far Along? 18 weeks

Maternity Clothes? Yes! Maternity leggings are my new favorite thing and I'm finally showing enough to make the gathered sidings of maternity shirts actually useful.

Sleep? Besides having to get up at least 3 times during the night to use the bathroom, sleep is good! I've always been a back or tummy sleeper so switching to sleeping on my side was an adjustment, but once I figured out how to tuck pillows where, I'm comfy!

Best moment this week? I set a goal to read the whole Book of Mormon again before the baby comes, and I just started up this morning! My scripture study has been so sporadic lately..mostly topical and different every day, so it was refreshing to open up and begin the near and dear familiar story in 1st Nephi! Steve and I are so adamant about centering our lives on Christ, and I want this baby to see from the very beginning that his mama loves her Savior and the scriptures.

Movement: Just barely! The only times I've felt it is when I'm laying really still at night, but it hasn't been very often yet. Excited to be feeling more!

Food Cravings: Apples and crunch peanut butter. It's always been a favorite snack of mine, but I have to have it every day lately! And water. Give me all the water, I feel constantly dehydrated.

Food Aversions: I went to make chicken noodle soup this week and could NOT bring myself to deal with raw chicken, even just to throw it in the crockpot. I ended up buying pre-cooked, pre-shredded chicken that you can just heat up & it was a life saver.

Anything making you queasy? Besides my prenatal vitamin that's made me want to hurl every day for the last 4 months, and a few geriatric patients with rank breath, I haven't had any problems!

Gender: BOY! We had our gender ultrasound last week (at McSketchVille USA in the mall..ahh) and it was no question that this one is a little man! We were going to wait a while longer before our doctor would do it, but we had just finished a weekend of babysitting our favorite kids and the 2 year old, Cannon, was Steve's little shadow all weekend, he would not leave his side! We got home Sunday night and as we were laying in bed, Steve said, "Abbs, I need a little boy. Even if it's not this baby, at some point, I need a little boy." It melted me..& we went and found out the next day. When the words "It's A Boy!" popped up on the ultrasound screen, I immediately started crying and the grin that slapped on Steven's face still hasn't left. 

What I'm looking forward to: The sun finally getting out and being outside! I always feel so much better when I can be outside and get a little sunshine and vitamin D. 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

It's a Baby!

Coming this fall! Baby Jensen due October 10, 2016.

Steve and I are beyond excited to become parents and are grateful for a healthy little one. We prayed this baby here and waited a while to see those 2 lines, so we are ecstatic that it's finally our time!

I have a hard time thinking about anything else. Thoughts about this baby and our quickly changing lives consume my thoughts all day every day! Our list of names is growing and shrinking and nearly every dinner, nighttime, morning conversation Steve and I have revolves around the tiny lime-sized baby in there.

I am so excited to be a mama. Can't wait to meet you, little one.

xoxo Abby

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Sister Richards

I have sat down at my computer so many times in the last week and a half to write this post and have either walked away in tears or have written so much that I want to keep special to me in my own journal. It's been just under 2 weeks since Loline got on her flight to the South Africa MTC to begin her 18 month missionary service.

When she told us last summer that she wanted to serve a mission, my first thought was "Really? But you just graduated! And you're ready to leave!?" and then immediately I thought, "Duh!" I couldn't think of anyone more perfect for the call to serve. Loline's love of life, the gospel, and confidence in herself and her testimony had shaped her for 18 years to become an ideal servant of Jesus Christ!

Because my parents left for their own African adventure in July, a lot of responsibility to get Loline's papers in and ready to go was left on me. It was admittedly overwhelming at times (as I'm sure all moms feel when they send kids out on missions), but also so much fun! I loved being a part of it all and experiencing it all along with her. She received her mission call to the Zimbabwe Harare mission and after the shock stopped us in our tracks, the reassurance that that was exactly where she was supposed to be sunk in.

It's been 3 short months since she got her call and it's certainly been a whirlwind! After her semester ended, she moved back home where Steve and I are living and we became a sort of three musketeers! Between immunizations, millions of skirts, visas, police clearance, passport, doctors checkups, and so much more, the days flew by! In these last few months, we became inseparable, knowing every detail of each others lives. While we've always been close, we became the absolute best of friends.

I feel like a part of me left with her on that plane to South Africa and will be there in Zimbabwe until she gets back next fall! I miss her more than I can say but have never been more proud of her in my whole life! She was so ready to go and is going to do such incredible work in Africa - this is Africa's time and I'm so excited that she gets to be a part of it's growth in the gospel.

My sister heart is so proud of the beautiful young woman she has become and the wonderful missionary she already is! 13 days down, a million to go. 

xoxo, Abby

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Driving to School

Since I started Dental Hygiene school, I have tried to fill my mornings with purpose to prepare myself for endlessly busy days. I am not a scripture study in the morning gal (doing it at night has always worked better for me), and my morning prayers often sound the same when my mind is just turning on for the day, so I have tried to find another way to start my day off on a spiritual, positive note and have found my answer in General Conference talks! 

I admittedly and shamefully have a terribly hard time staying awake watching conference at home, snuggled up to Steve with a tummy full of yummy food. Nothing against conference, I can hardly stay awake for a whole movie either - the struggle is very real. To make up for my droopy eyes on those April and October weekends, I like to catch up by listening to a conference talk or two each morning on my drive to school. There are some I get hooked on and a bit fixated with and replay on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, andddd the rest of the week, but I generally find myself becoming familiar with most of the talks before the next conference rolls around. 

One in particular I've been hooked on is from this last October's Sunday morning session by President Russell M. Nelson titled "A Plea To My Sisters." I find President Nelson so endearing and love his cheerful countenance and love for life. I find myself feeling uplifted and filled with a boost of confidence after hearing his words. 

In this particular talk, he quite literally calls out to the sisters of the church and names distinct attributes that we as women need to strive for and become. I have loved listening to this over and over, because each time that I do, I think of a different woman in my life who fits one of these attributes so perfectly, and then I think of another, and another. 

My dear sisters, nothing is more crucial to your eternal life than your own conversion. It is converted, covenant-keeping women whose righteous lives will increasingly stand out in a deteriorating world and who will thus be seen as different and distinct in the happiest of ways.

I am so grateful for the examples of righteousness, determination, obedience, happiness, and love that I find in my mom, mother in law, sisters, and friends. If you are looking for a better way to start maybe a slow morning, check out this talk and so many others! I love using the gospel library app, or if I'm at home, hopping onto and find them all there. 

xoxo, Abby

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Dear Sunday,

Dear Sunday, 
You are and will forever be my favorite day of the week.

Dear Kalynn, 
I'm so glad I got to see your pretty face at church today.

Dear Singing Time,
You exhaust me, but when those senior primary kiddos sang the Books of the Book of Mormon as fast as they could with every word memorized, man, my proud singing lady heart about burst.

Dear Apple,
Thank you so much for facetime. It makes my parents living all the way across the world just a teeny bit more bearable. I love Sunday afternoon facetime time.

Dear Afternoon Nap,
You killed it. You deserve a high five.

Dear Zimbabwe,
My best friend is coming to live there in 9 days and I'm not happy about it.

Dear Calendar,
You excite me so much these days - you've got one fun thing after the next jotted down in you and I can't wait for each one!

xoxo, Abby