soccer mom

On Saturday my girls finished their last soccer game of their first season.  Mr. Miller, being the volunteer he is, coached Stella’s team this year.  Harlo had such a great coach for her team.  We loved watching our girls grow, stepping outside their comfort zone, and learning something new.

Even though it has been crazy busy at times, I have really loved entering into this new season.  These are the days you dream about before you become a parent.  It seems almost surreal for me that I have kids going to school during the week, playing soccer on the weekends, doing homework in the evenings, carpooling to practices, etc.  It’s a season I looked forward to as a new mom, and one that I hope I can always enjoy despite the crazy schedule to maintain.  THAT BEING SAID, having a new baby smack in the middle of our first soccer season… I wasn’t too sad to see it come to an end. 😉

I missed their last two games with a newborn in tow, and a sick toddler this Saturday, but my little warrior girls did great and brought their medals home proudly!  I’m so so grateful to the family and friends who went to the girls games, especially when I couldn’t be there.  I have surely learned by now that it does take a village, and we’re lucky to have a great one.

Until next season!

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still us

This weekend started out feeling like we were drowning a bit.  We spent Friday night to Saturday morning tending to Grae with a case of the pukes, and Major waking to feed every few hours.  We got little to no sleep, and the girls last soccer games were Saturday morning.  I had hoped to make it, but there was no way Grae was leaving the house and with Brady being the coach, it only made sense for me to stay home with the two younger ones.  It was breaking my heart to miss the last game, but they had plenty of family show up to make up for me and the babies not being there.

Our Saturday project plans got rained out, and our scheduled meals after the baby ended.  With Grae feeling a bit better, we left our house with all four kids and went to grab our quick and easy favorite – Durangos.  And we survived!  On Sunday, we were only 30 minutes late for pictures (so sorry ash!) and even though Grae was completely uncooperative, we managed a decent session to welcome Major into some family photos.  I even had a good hair & makeup day to boot! Having four kids has been a dream come true, but I have also wondered more than once how I was going to function in the outside world.

On Sunday afternoon, Grae woke up a little early from her nap, the baby had just eaten and gotten changed, the big girls were getting along, and I was ready for the first time in two weeks.  “Let’s go on an adventure!” I proposed to the family, and in 5 minutes we were loaded in the car.  We found ourselves in Springdale, ate dinner, grabbed a treat and soaked in the beautiful scenery.

On the way home, my heart was filled to the brim,  our four children were fed and happy, and I held my husband’s hand as we drove.  I looked over to him and realized that with 1 baby or 4, no matter how crazy life sometimes gets, we are still very much us. 

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the honeymoon phase

Right now, I am head-deep in the honeymoon phase with my newest little love.  With my whole entire family, actually.  I can’t stop staring at my beautiful children, hugging them close (now that I finally can without a giant watermelon belly in the way), smelling the tops of their sweet little heads.  I can’t stop ooing and awwing over my Mr. Miller when he does things like brings me drinks to my bedroom, picks me up lunch everyday, holds that darling boy of ours, and sings our littlest girl to sleep while I can’t.  I mean.. I’ve got it bad.

We have been so blessed with love in this time, my sisters have rushed to my side to help me with my life while I stay cozy in bed with my fresh-from-heaven baby, meals from the sweetest friends have been delivered on regular rotation, my mother-in-law has stopped by daily to freshen up my house like magic, my dad has helped with every odd and end I need, and I have had an out-pouring of loving comments and calls and emails and texts.  I truly can’t think of a time I have felt more loved in my whole entire life – or a time that I have felt more love for the people surrounding me.

In the evenings, after dinner, I have my sweet family of six under my roof and I sit and stare and thank God over and over and over.  All I have ever wanted was to be a mama.  To have my own little (big) family.  It just feels like all my dreams have come true.

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The Birth Series | Julie & Jude

I can’t tell you how excited I am to feature this birth today (it’s not my own – mine will be coming soon!).  Julie is the sweet sister in law of one of my best friends, Ashley.  I was lucky to be present for Ashley’s birth, and she really helped me prepare for Major’s birth this time around by telling me some of the things Julie has taught her about natural birth.  I feel that I have birthed very similar and had some of the same ideas as Julie and so I was so excited when Julie agreed to write a bit about her birth experiences for my blog.  We are in for a serious treat today!  Julie is such an inspiring mother in so many ways, and I’m so glad I get to share her incredible perspective of natural birth with you today.

{Julie’s Birth Experience}

My moms birthing experiences

My Mom had 8 children naturally and pain-free over the span of 18 years between 1967 and 1985. Her mother had very hard pregnancies and deliveries. Most of the things my mom had heard about having a baby were mostly just bad experiences. She said she just didn’t listen to them, and tried to stay positive. She had really good pregnancies and didn’t really get sick at all with any of them.

Her first baby was a natural, pain-free, vaginal birth. He was born breech, coming out bottom first. This was before they would insist on C-Section delivery. With her second child she decided to go to a natural childbirth doctor. She shared with him her first experience of having no pain and he told her that she just couldn’t remember the delivery with her first. She switched doctors and went to one on the Air Force base where my Dad was stationed. From then on, with the next five doctors she delivered her other kids with, she kind of kept quiet about the way she delivered her babies. She would just wait to see the doctors’ and nurses’ reactions when she was so calm and easy going during delivery. When they saw it, they couldn’t deny the experience they witnessed. She has always been so humble about this. She feels so grateful and really lucky. Everyone she would share her experiences with, would either say they hate her, or that she should write a book and teach others how she does it. But she never felt like she could explain how to experience what she experienced, because it just kind of happened naturally. It was nothing she studied or learned, just positive attitude and positive concentration, and luck I guess?
Now I know what you’re thinking… Is that even possible? I know you probably think I’m stretching the truth a bit… by the term pain-free. The only way I can describe it is that you’re basically just feeling pressure. The tightening and releasing of each contractions with only pressure, no pain sensation or cramping at all. It is a really tranquil experience with focused concentration and inner peace. Staying positive with no fear. Being in tune with your body. Trusting that your god-given body knows what to do, and is capable of bringing this baby into the world.

Without having any study or information about Hypnobirthing, I had heard people talk about it, and was curious to see if it was similar. I recently read a little bit about Hypnobirthing in trying to find any similarities. In Hypnobirthing they mentioned the medically proven theory behind Fear-Tension-Pain Syndrome and how by eliminating the fear, you can eliminate the pain. For some reason staying positive and eliminating the fear and pain came naturally without even realizing what was happening.

My birthing experiences

I am the mom to 6 amazing children, 3 boys and 3 girls. I had my first 3 children naturally in a hospital in St. George. My sister referred me to her doctor, he was easy going and she had a great experience with him. My sister also experienced the same pain-free deliveries as my mom, and I did.

With my 1st baby Gabriel Ryan, around my 38-39 week doctors appt. The Dr. mentioned that I was dilating and thinning further along than usual, and that he may come early. Of course after getting my hopes up, Gabe decided to come 2 days late. Even though I was dilated to a 5-6 and fully effaced for almost 2 weeks. When he finally decided to come, I started having contractions pretty close together and walked in pretty much fully dilated, they broke my water, and he was born shortly after. With only about 4-5 pushes total. I remember not being nervous or scared to deliver him, the only thing that I was a little afraid of was the IV needle, since I’m not a huge fan of needles, but the nurse was really great and gentle with me.

With my 2nd baby Ethan Joseph, my husband Bucky decided to go on a trip out of town with his family to Austin, TX, right around my due date. For some reason that baby sure wanted his daddy to be there when he was born cause he patiently waited until his dad got home around midnight, and then woke me up around 4:00 a.m. with some contractions, I got to the hospital fully dilated, they broke by water, and he was born around 6:30 a.m. with an almost identical delivery 4-5 pushes.

My next two girls Lauren Jane and Grace Lily were like clockwork very similar pregnancies and deliveries, as their brothers had been. Grace was born in Northern Utah because we were living up there at the time.

With our 5th baby Gwen Lyla, we found out we were moving to Austin, Texas. I hadn’t been to a doctor yet, and didn’t see any reason to go to one in Utah. So around 13-14 weeks along I finally decided to call around to find a doctor in Texas. For some reason the 3 hospitals I called considered me “high risk” and would not accept a new patient that had not seen a doctor previously with this pregnancy and being that far along. I was kind of panicking. Before this, I had never even considered any other way to deliver, other than at a hospital. I asked around what my other options were, and a friend suggested a Midwife and Natural Birthing Center. I decided to look into it. We went on a tour of one nearby. Both my husband and I were really impressed with it and decided to go ahead and use the Natural Birth Center. To be honest, I really didn’t have any other option.

This was our first baby gender surprise since we had 2 of each, so it was extra exciting to wait and find out what we were having. Before the Birthing Center experience, I never realized what I was missing out on, and how serene a delivery could be until I experienced one outside of the hospital, not hooked up to machines and IV’s. They let us just experience her and left us alone with her, even before they weighed her and measured her. It was so different than I was used to, and I loved every minute of it. It was so wonderful being able to take it all in without being bothered. It was also nice because we got to go home really soon after, which I usually try to do anyways. Our previous hospital experiences were really great, but there was just a different feel and energy, and calmness I felt while at the Birth Center.

This is a message Bucky wrote to our family back in Utah about our daughter Gwen’s birth story:

“We have the worst traffic coming in during the morning rush hour. So I drove like a maniac the back way. We got here at 7:45 a.m. when they checked her she was completely dilated already. So they broke her water, and had her start pushing and she was born at 8:09 am. Fastest one ever. Despite being quick, it was very quiet and calm. The mid-wife took her sneakers off and sat crosslegged at the end of the bed as Julie pushed quietly 4-5 times. Julie did amazing. I cried when I saw it was a girl because she was healthy and safe and because I feel so blessed. Julie is so strong and beautiful. I love her so much and all these amazing children I get to be the father of. The Lord sure knows how to soften my heart, sending me three girls in a row. After the baby was born everyone kind of just left us alone to be with our little girl. She’s nursing now. Thanks for all the support, we feel close to family and friends even though we’re so far away. We love you all.”

With our caboose 6th baby we were living back in Northern Utah again, and decided to use a midwife again. This time I was ready to try a home birth. I hadn’t been against them, I just hadn’t really seriously considered them for myself. But with the crazy rush hour traffic I dealt with on the way to deliver Gwen I decided to try it out. Since my deliveries were all so easy and so similar I felt like it would be a good option for me.

For some reason I have the worst luck with Bucky going out of town, during the end of my pregnancies. This time he gave me two options; either he can go to New York City the week before I was due, or he can go to London, England the week I was due. Well I’m sure you can guess which one I chose. Bucky went to New York City for a week and got home September 12th at midnight.

The day went really quite perfect. Bucky got home late Saturday night. We had a relaxing Sunday around the house. In the evening the kids and I were outside in the yard talking with the neighbors and having smores on their fire pit. Playing on the tree swing, and jumping on the tramp. We went inside and the kids had a bath and after I put the kids in bed I started to have some steady contractions pretty close together.

This is a message Bucky wrote to our family about Jude’s birth story:

“It’s a boy! 9 lbs. 10 oz. – 22 1/2 inches. Born on September 13th, 2015 11:33 p.m. We had a pretty chill day at home. Julie started having contractions at about 9:45 p.m. We called the midwives at about 10:21 p.m. and they got here at 11:09 p.m. They checked her and she was completely dilated. They broke her water and Julie said she had to go pee one last time so she did. Then I hear… “This baby is coming, I have to push.” And Julie comes running out of the bathroom and jumps on the bed and gives half a push and the baby was out. I yelled out to the other two midwives “We’ve got a baby in here” and they came running in. They all three were kind of bustling around frantically because they weren’t really expecting him to come so quickly because Julie was so relaxed. Julie and I were just laughing cuz it was so crazy fast even for her. He caught us all by surprise. He was ready to come out.

Last night Julie had a dream that he punched out of the top of her stomach and popped his head out. Glad he was head-down so he punched out the right direction, haha. Glad to have him here safe and healthy. We are so blessed. Now the hardest part.. picking a name.”

We named him Soren “Jude” Flowers, he mostly goes by Jude. He was my largest baby, longest baby, fastest delivery, by far! I thought he was going to come out in the toilet because I had that sudden immediate urge to push, that’s why I ran from the bathroom and jumped on the bed. Literally seconds later his head came out without even one push, then I did like a half of a push to get his body out. Bucky and I both just sat there laughing, because it was so fast and unexpected. That boy jumped into this world, he wasn’t wasting any time. The midwives left us alone for a while for me to nurse him and so we could relax and just enjoy our sweet new baby.

When he was born the kids were all still asleep. We decided not to wake them yet and just enjoy the quiet time together. A couple hours later our almost 5 year old, Grace came up to our room, half asleep in the middle of the night. So we introduced her to her new baby brother, she was in heaven. She ended up falling back asleep in our bed after she loved and cuddled him. We woke up the next morning and decided to wake the kids up one by one, to let them meet their new baby brother. We woke up Gabe first and told him to hurry and get ready for school, that he was going to be late. Unless he wanted to stay home and hang out with his new baby brother instead. Half asleep he realized what we were implying, he heard a little baby whimpering in our room across the hall. He jumped out of bed and ran in our room. He cuddled him and picked him up saying over and over, “Hey Jude, I’m your big brother Gabe!” There was a debate going on about his name between Bucky and the kids and I. Bucky wanted to call him Soren, and the kids and I were more fond of Jude. So right after Gabe was holding him, he said to Bucky. “His name is Jude, Dad, deal with it!” We were cracking up. One by one the kids came upstairs like “Christmas Morning” to meet their new baby brother, it was the most special day! We ended up letting all the kids stay home from school that day to spend time together as a family. It was so special and a day I’ll never forget!

My delivery reality

With each delivery I get to that point of realizing that the time is here for them to come. Even though I have really easy pregnancies and deliveries. I always get this slight panic inside, when I know its time. Not a fear kind of panic, but one that wishes I could have one more day. Not wanting to have to do the hard thing right now.

After I go through that thought process. I switch my brain into a positive mode where my brain and body take over. I give my body full control over what is going to happen next to get ready for this baby to come. Each contraction is just pressure that I quietly concentrate through until its over. It doesn’t hurt at all, but it does take mental energy. It is really empowering to be able to experience this type of childbirth. Any insecurities that I normally have about myself or my capabilities as a woman all take a back seat. I become a confidant capable woman that has power over fear and pain. I don’t have many things about myself that I can honestly say I’m great at, or even have talents or hobbies I’m mediocre at. But for some reason this comes really naturally for me and I don’t even know how to really explain it or take credit for it. It’s like athletes that are naturally good at things, and artists that are naturally creative.

All 6 pregnancies I would dilate early, I kind of just got used to it. It’s like my body would gradually prepare for the delivery, with mild pressure Braxton Hicks-like contractions, a couple weeks before the baby would come. I wonder if that is maybe why I didn’t feel pain, because it was a slow gradual process where the body didn’t have to suddenly react.

With all my pregnancies and deliveries I have been so very lucky and blessed to be able to have them go so smoothly and well. I honestly do not know how to explain why it comes so natural to me. I feel so grateful to have had 6 amazing and healthy children that I get to learn and grow from everyday. They truly make me a better person, and teach me so much. I am amazed at how different and unique they all are. I feel so lucky to be called their mom! Thanks to all the moms all over the world who sacrifice so much for their sweet babies.

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