Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Lincoln's Newborn Photos

Lincoln is 8 days old today. He is SUCH a dream baby. He had his one week check-up today and weighed in at 9lbs! He is eating like a champ. And can I just say how much I LOVE nursing just one baby?! Honestly, everything seems so much easier this time around. 
Kolli was a pretty difficult newborn. I don't know if it was because I was a first-time mom or because she really was that hard, but she was super fussy almost all of the time. I remember countless nights being up literally the entire night walking around the house with her trying anything I could think of to calm her down. I was so sleep deprived that I think not getting enough sleep made me develop a little bit of postpartum. I cried a lot with her, and always felt a little unsure of how to help her.  

Next, I had the twins. When we found out I was pregnant with them I was beyond excited. Having twins had always been a childhood dream of mine and I couldn't believe that it was actually happening! I went nuts with YouTubing and googling anything and everything I could get my hands on before they came into our lives. Before they were born I knew that I wanted to keep them on the same schedule and I also knew exactly how I was going to nurse them; using a twin nursing pillow, holding them each in the football hold, and nursing them at the same time. When they were born, however, nursing was haaaarrd. A lot harder than I had imagined it would be, but I was determined and there was no way I was going to give up. Nog had to help me every single time for the first two weeks and even in some instances after that. But I kept at it and was able to nurse them for the whole first year of their lives. 
That said, I was really nervous for the transition to four kids. I was so incredibly excited about adding another baby to our family but I had momentary breakdowns, wondering how in the world I was going to manage raising four kids under the age of four. Then, I was sent Lincoln. I'm still in awe at what an incredibly content baby he is. The Lord knew I needed him. :) The transition has been better than I ever could have imagined and the older kids have all adjusted so well. Nog is still here helping me at home which is the best thing ever. I pretty much take care of Lincoln all day while he takes care of Kolli, Reesie, and Brykie. So, I will admit, I am just a little nervous for him to go back to work next week. ;)  

At one-day-old, after I had gotten Lincoln dressed he was wide awake and happy, so we couldn't pass up the opportunity to take a few pictures!

We then took these photos at two-days-old.

The photos with all the kids were taken today, at eight-days-old. I wanted to space out taking all of the pictures, so that we wouldn't get burned out. I have found that taking newborn photos on someone else's schedule stresses me out. I stress out for the photographer if my kids aren't in good moods and I feel bad for trying to make them pose forever when they just aren't in the mood. 
I have found that if I take my own photos when everyone is in a good mood and on our time table it takes hardly any time at all! Then, you're done and everyone stayed happy because they didn't have to sit and pose until the end of time. Nog and I (and the tripod on self-timer) took all these pictures in our bedroom. That's where we have the best lighting in the house and that's also where I film my hair tutorials. I keep a giant, thick white paper on my wall for the tutorials which also made for a perfect backdrop for these pictures. 
All the kids did soooo good for these photos. I was so amazed, and it only took us about ten minutes to take them all! Nog is getting so good at positioning the kids and then making them laugh while I take the photos. I could never take photos of all these munchkins without him, that's for sure!

All of these pictures make me SO so happy! I cannot wait to put them all over my house. :)

Monday, August 3, 2015

Lincoln James Pearce

In the months leading up to the day that my little Lincoln would be born, my stepmom, Allie, had been battling an incredibly tough bout of breast cancer. There were weeks when we were incredibly hopeful, thinking that she would really beat it; she was tough, strong, and stubborn and if anyone could fight this, it would be her. But as the weeks passed it became apparent that it would soon be her time to pass from this earth. Towards the end of her life, and as her pain became ever-increasing, she was graceful and kind trusting that the Lord had a specific plan in mind for her, even if that meant she would not be able to continue on in the tiny and frail body that was now hers. Our family had been trying for weeks to emotionally prepare for the heartbreaking news that she had passed from this world, but when we got the news on Sunday, July 26th at 7:30 p.m. that she was no longer with us, our hearts were broken.
There were mixed feelings of joy and sorrow as we reflected back on her life, the wonderful times we had had with her, and what it meant to not have her with us any longer. She had suffered for so long and we were so grateful that her body was no longer consumed with the pain the cancer had caused her for all those months; she was now somewhere happier and somewhere so much better. But that also meant that we wouldn't get to create more memories with her, that her 30 combined grandchildren and counting would no longer get to experience the joy that their Nana was and that it would be up to us to let them know how much she loved them.
I live in Arizona, the funeral would take place in Utah and with my due date being only two days away it didn't take long for me to realize that I would be unable to attend the funeral. To say that I was upset would be an understatement. Through my tears, I expressed to Nog how I wanted so badly to be there to honor the life that she had led, to show my love, and to support my dad through perhaps the hardest moment in his life.
My sister, Rachel, had been planning on attending the birth of my baby and I was so sad that she would not be able come for the birth as she needed to stay and help my dad in planning the funeral. And now my other sisters would be leaving for Utah, too. Of course, I completely understood and if I were them I would have done the same thing without a moments hesitation, but within a moment all the plans that I'd had for the last nine months had changed and I didn't know how to handle it. I was so overwhelmed with sadness from Allie's passing, confused about the timing of everything, and couldn't understand why it was all working out this way. I didn't want to go to bed feeling like this so I stayed up until 1 in the morning praying for the peace that I needed. I listened to prior blessings Nog had given me about this labor and by the time I fell asleep I felt completely at peace with it all, knowing that somehow it would all work out and that I just needed to have more faith.
It was only an hour later that I suddenly woke up. It was 2 a.m. and my water had broken! I woke up Nog and excitedly shared the news. I couldn't believe it! He asked me if I was sure I hadn't just wet the bed, haha. I said "I don't normally pee the bed, do I?" I ran to the bathroom and sure enough, out came more water. It had definitely broken. I was soooooo excited, I couldn't stop laughing. I started jumping up and down (or more like a waddle, if you can imagine it), telling Nog that we were going to have a baby! He told me to try to get some rest since it would probably be a long night. He changed the sheets and we laid back down. Of course I couldn't go back to sleep. We laid there talking for about 30 minutes and then I had my first contraction. From the second I had my first one they were consistently 3 minutes apart, which seemed super close together since that was not the way my other labors had gone. I was really surprised at how strong and how close together they were in the very beginning. Nog told me I should probably call our midwife, Stephanie, and tell her that my water had broken and that I was having contractions. I didn't want to jump the gun too fast since it was 2 a.m. and I didn't want to wake her up now if it was still going to be a while. When I realized that they were so close and getting more and more intense I asked her to come over. I texted my Mom and 3 sisters and told them I was in labor. Laree, my oldest sister, got my text right away. She said she was sleeping with her phone by her head just in case, haha, I loved that. She came right over.

I didn't really have a plan for this birth. I wasn't sure if I wanted to have him in the water like I did with Kolli's home birth, or if I wanted to have him on the bed in the normal birthing position like I did with the twins in the hospital. I wanted to just see how I felt in the moment and go from there.

Laree showed up looking so cute and ready for the day and the second I saw her, I said, "What the heck? It's 2 a.m., why are you dressed and ready?" She told me she wanted to be ready after the birth since she was leaving for Utah later with Lauren, my youngest sister, so I thought, That's a good idea, I want to be ready, too! So that's just what I did.

Once Stephanie got here, Nog asked if I wanted him to set up the tub. I told him yes, so he started getting it all out and ready and I went into the bathroom to wash my face and do my hair and makeup. I would stop in-between contractions and hold on to the counter top and sway back and forth, then when it went away I would continue getting ready. Stephanie and Laree couldn't stop laughing at me but hey, no better way to pass the time, right? Plus, I really wanted some good pictures. ;) When I finished, my contractions were consistently 2 minutes apart. Nog came back in after being gone for what seemed like forever and said he couldn't find the air pump to blow up the tub anywhere so we called around. My sister had a pump but couldn't find it, so he called his Dad who brought over his pump only to find that it was broken. By now we were running out of time and options so the tub idea was out. Which I was actually totally okay with because I remember getting super hot in the tub with Kolli since you have to keep the water at a certain temperature for the baby.

Laree got a hold of my sister Heather and my Mom to have them come over and I was so relieved. Nog was sitting behind me on the bed talking to me, telling me I was doing a great job. Heather was scratching my arm, and Laree and my Mom were massaging my legs. Each time I had a contraction I would tell Nog to keep talking to keep me focused. He was so sweet. In between contractions we would all talk and laugh about various things. For example, there was the loudest cricket EVER in our bathroom somewhere and Nog spent half an hour the night before trying to find it, but to no avail. So, while I'm laboring there is this loud cricket chirping away and I felt like I was in the middle of the woods having a baby or something, haha, but really. Then another contraction would come and everyone would be quite again and start rubbing so I could focus.

In this picture as I looked around seeing everyone rub me, I just felt so loved and started crying. I love my family.

My Mom, and Laree took turns pushing on my back since I was having such bad
 back labor.

After about 4 hours of laboring (since the time my water had broken) I felt like I had to push. I was doing tiny pushes and it felt so good to be pushing. Everyone was telling me I was getting so close and doing so good and I kept saying "Don't say that, you guys don't know, what if I'm only at a 5." They all laughed and said there's no way. Stephanie wanted to check me to see where I was at since I was telling her it felt good to push. Well, she checked me and told me I was only at a 3-4!! I thought, WHAT?!! No, how it that possible? Then I said "I told you guys, I'm not even at a 5!" I was so sad, so I decided to change positions. I had been on my hands and knees for the past couple hours and my knees were starting to hurt, so I moved to laying on my left side on the bed. At this point I had started to shake really bad. I wasn't cold at all I just had the shakes, like I was in transition. I told them that I felt like a little bunny rabbit shaking my leg. But really, I was imagining in my head a little rabbit standing there shaking its leg as fast as it could because that's exactly what I looked like. My Mom and Stephanie kept asking if she could check me again. This was 10 minutes after the last time she had checked me when I had only been at a 3. I just kept saying, "No, what if I'm still only at a 3?" After a couple more times of them asking I finally said, "OK." She checked me and said, "Well, you progressed, you're now at a 7!" When she told me I immediately started crying because I was sooo happy that I was getting so close to meeting my baby. She said my cervix had completely moved and to listen to my body and if I felt like I needed to push soon then to listen to my body and do it. At this point things started getting really hard. There was a moment when I started saying how I couldn't do it, that it was too hard, so I immediately said a prayer asking for strength to have this baby and to stay in control of myself and it was right away that I felt strength and felt in control again. Nog was behind my head, holding my hand, talking in my ear telling me I was doing such a great job and was coaching me on my breathing. Heather was on the other side holding my other hand and I remember holding it so tight. Laree was behind me now, putting constant pressure on my back, never easing up and my Mom was holding up my leg as I started getting ready to push. Seriously, who has that kind of help, love and support through labor? I truly felt so blessed and loved. I kept telling everyone how much I loved them and how I couldn't do it without them. They each gave me so much strength in their own way. We were also able to get a hold of Rachel early on and she was able to Facetime through the labor. It felt like she was there with me too and it was all so perfect. And here I was just a few hours earlier having the hardest time worrying about it all.

I suddenly felt a shift in my body and I could feel his body moving down. I wanted to really focus on my pushing, be in control and push as slowly as possible, just as I remember being coached through labor with the twins so that I wouldn't tear. Anytime I felt the burning feeling I would stop and just do tiny little pushes. At one point I felt myself pushing too fast and Stephanie told me to slow down. Twenty-five minutes after she had checked me at a 7, I was having my baby! It was only five hours from the time my water broke had broken. Everyone was around me telling me they could see his head, all his hair and that I could do it. Once his head was out Stephanie asked Nog if he wanted to come down and catch him. I said, "No, don't leave, don't leave." So, my mom got to catch him. She lifted him up and put him right on my chest and into my arms. He looked like a little angel with all of this beautiful dark, dark hair and his eyes wide open (My husband told me he thought he looked like a little purple angel... Ha). My baby then made two tiny little cries and then calmly just laid on my chest and looked around the room at everyone. I started crying saying, "I did it, my baby's here!! He is so beautiful!" I laid there with him on my chest as we all admired how dang handsome he is.

Lincoln James Pearce
Born on July 27th at 6:54am
Weighing 8lbs 5oz 
21 inches long

The kids woke up about an hour after I had him, it was so perfect. Kolli came in the room and I told her that her little brother Lincoln had finally come into this world. She walked over to him smiling and said, "Hi baby Lincoln" while rubbing his head. 

Reesie was grinning from ear to ear, touching him, talking to us in her cute little baby talk.

Brykie kept his hand on his back and would rub his head. I'm so happy he got a brother.

It's crazy how the second you see that little baby of yours your heart feels like it's going to burst and you immediately realize that you could never live another moment without them and without their strength. I felt as if there were angels in the room that morning, that Allie was one of them, and that she was helping me through the labor when I prayed. As I've looked down at my sweet baby boy about 1 trillion times since the day he was born, I feel as though there is a little piece of her there with him and each time I feel so close to heaven. I can't believe I get to have him forever. It is such a blessing to be a Mother!