February 2, 2018

Millie's Birth Story

 Millie Kate Wilson
Born January 6th 2018
7lbs 10oz 19 inches
 5:00 am: Contractions began at home
7:00 am: Arrived at the hospital
8:50 am: Millie was born
3 hours and 50 minutes total
Notable moments:
Mom birthed naturally, without a tub (didn’t think this was possible for me!)
Millie was stuck and things became scary quickly at the end
Nurses thought they may have broke her clavicle upon delivery
Everything turned out just fine and baby Millie, Mom and Dad went home the next day

The details:
If you missed the preface to this day and all the crazy leading up to it you can get caught up HERE.
It must have been between 4 am and 5 am on Saturday morning, January 6th, when I had a vivid dream that I was having strong contractions. I remember putting my hand to my belly half asleep. At 4:55 am I was awakened by what felt like a really strong Braxton hicks contraction. It wasn't painful and it didn't last long, but I found myself unable to drift back to sleep. As I went to get out of bed to use the bathroom I heard Dollie wake up and go into her bathroom. I stayed in bed because I didn't want her to hear me and then a few minutes later, once she was settled, I got up. I was wide awake. I felt another contraction a few minutes later. A little bit of pain was attached to this one, the same familiar pain that I've felt with my last two babies. It's the kind of pain that resembles mild menstrual cramps. I wasn't convinced that this was labor so I got back in bed. I could tell Bodie was awake but I wasn't quite ready to tell him anything yet...at least not until I myself was convinced. I laid there for probably 10 more minutes and felt another one. I asked Bodie why he was awake and he replied, "Because you're awake." Weirdly, I said, "Why am I awake?" Of course he responded with, "I don't know." I waited another couple of minutes to say anything. I don't know why. I think its just because I know once I say it then its real and I just like to take it all in by myself before our world gets crazy over the coming hours. Eventually, I think around 5:15am, I said, "Wanna have a baby today?" And without any hesitation and just as I expected, Bodie excitedly replied, "Yeah! Why?" I laughed and said, "I don't know...It's still too soon to say. Just wait for a bit.." I explained what I had been feeling and then I had another contraction that was quite a bit more painful and at that point I told Bodie that they were definitely real contractions and that baby was coming. I laid in bed for maybe 10 more minutes and then messaged a few family members and our photographer. I started to pack my bag and get somewhat ready and around 5:45am Dollie came into our room. This is very unlike her. She had been staying in her own room until her 'wake up clock' turned green at 7am for weeks. I sat her down on my bed and told her it was time to have the baby. That baby Millie was going to come today, that aunt Courtney was coming over and that we were going to the hospital. The look on her face was priceless. I swear her eyes were twinkling and the smile on her face could not have been bigger. She sat with me in the bathroom while I finished getting ready. At that point I sat back down on my bed, and with Dollie right in front of me, holding my hands, Bodie gave me a special blessing for strength, patience, and to be in tune with my body to know the best way to bring this baby to our world. It was easily one of the best experiences of my life, especially having Dollie there with us during that incredibly spiritual moment.
About that time my sister arrived and made sure I was okay and helped get us ready to get out the door. Within probably 10 minutes of her arrival we were ready to go. It was about 6:30am. At this point I was unable to walk through the contractions and found myself stopping and breathing through them. With a very giddy Dollie, and equally giddy Courtney, and a very excited Bodie and myself, we gave hugs, I love you's, and thank you's and left. The hospital drive was about 30 minutes. On the way I called the on-call midwife, who was actually scheduled to be the same midwife who delivered Dash, but once on the phone with them I found out she had her own baby the night before so I would be having a different midwife that day. I also sent messages to the rest of my family letting them know we were on our way to have the baby.
We arrived at 7am and walked in, Bodie's arms loaded with our hospital bag, Millie's hospital bag, and a pillow. I commented to Bodie about how funny we probably look packing it all in like we KNOW we are for sure staying while the staff will probably laugh because for all we know we would be sent home if I am not progressed enough. But with this being the 3rd time we know my body well and we knew being sent back home would not happen. We met up with Kiersten, our photographer/videographer, and headed up the elevator to the Labor/Delivery unit. Upon arrival we checked in at the front desk, which only took a few minutes, and then headed into the triage room. On our way I saw the same nurse that helped deliver Dash. Once in triage I changed into their gown, and laid down on the bed to begin the monitoring for baby. Contractions were strong and I was unable to speak through them but they weren't lasting too long and I felt so good in between. We chatted for that little while and eventually the nurse checked my cervix. She told me I was a 6 almost 7. Yay! Music to my ears. After being in triage for another little while we eventually made it to my labor room. Probably around 7:30am. It was the same room that I delivered Dash. And I also requested our same nurse and she came right in. It made me so happy! They began to fill up the jetted bath tub per my request but asked that I lay down for a bit more monitoring and for them to get the iv in place in case it was needed in the future. This was the very first time I had come into my room and laid on the bed first thing. Both of my previous labors I immediately got into the tub. But I was feeling really good. I wasn't sweaty and hot (yet) and I just remember feeling super happy and just breathing through the contractions. They were completely manageable and I was in great spirits. About this time my midwife, Erica, showed up and introduced herself. She confirmed some of my birth plan wishes with me and then asked if I needed anything. I think I replied, "just to get in the tub!"

Bodie got my cover up out of our bag in preparation for the tub and it was about this time that I had this thought come to my mind...it went something like this, "I am feeling pretty good. Yes these contractions are getting painful, but in between them I feel really good. I can talk, I am in a good mood, and I don't know if I really even want to get up and change into my cover up and get all sweaty and hot in the tub...maybe I'll just stay here for a little while longer." It couldn't have been more than 5 minutes later that Erica walked in, asked me how I was doing, and then said, "I think I am going to veto the tub." I feel like everyone stopped what they were doing and just looked at me with wide eyes. Especially Bodie, haha! Which makes sense because they all knew I had been asking for the tub since I arrived. Bodie especially knew that I had said time and time again that I did not think I could birth naturally without a tub. So there we were. Erica just said those words, but I responded by telling her that it was actually okay, and explained the thought I had literally just had, and that it was kind of okay with me. She asked me if I wanted her to check me and if I was still at a 6-7 then I could get in, but she felt that if I was 8 or above that she didn't feel that it would be safe. I know that our nurse had told her about Dash's birth (if you haven't read it, you need to and this will all make sense), and so I know she was vetoing the tub because she was not down with me delivering another baby on the bathroom floor on her watch. I didn't want to be checked again right then. I waited for maybe 10 minutes and she offered again, and I told her that I wanted her to check me but only if she would tell me I was a 9 and not still a 7. We all laughed. It must have been about 8am and this is when things started to get a little intense.

It was weird. I was feeling super great, breathing through the contractions and enjoying chatting with everyone in between, but suddenly I found myself unable to speak any more. I went "inside". My eyes closed, words quit coming out, and I just breathed through the contractions that were now getting very, very intense. I remember thinking maybe this is what transition feels like. With my last 2 births I think I must have transitioned in the tub because I've never felt like I've known when I am going through it. Perhaps not until now. I remember the room growing quiet, but hearing whispering between the nurses and midwife about how well I was doing, and continued chatter about how Dash's birth progressed so fast and that I "didn't even let them know until he was crowning.." I remained in my zone, just focused on not holding back but breathing the baby down. Erica kept reminding me to do this. It was helpful. She put a cool rag on my forehead and then the back of my neck. Also helpful. Bodie stood next to me, quiet, not talking, but holding my hand. Helpful. He is always perfect. He is what I need. He knows me well. I remember hearing the babies heart beat on the monitor next to me, and I remember it changing dramatically every time I was having a contraction. This became irritating to me. Bodie turned on my Pandora relaxation station and while it was slightly helpful the monitor was drowning it out and I just remember thinking I need to tell them to turn that off. Turn off the monitor! But I just kept it to myself. I just stayed inside. Inside my own mind.
 Eventually Erica asked me, once again, if I wanted to be checked. I stayed silent. At this point my water also had not broken. Eventually I mumbled a "yes" and once my contraction was over she checked me. My eyes remained closed, but I heard her tell Bodie. "Okay she's still a 7." Then she left. I opened my eyes to confirm with him what I had just heard. 7. SEVEN. What? How? How was this possible? No way!!! No way I am in this much pain, that it's gotten this much worse, that it's been well over an hour and I was still the same! Dreadful. So I went back inside, and just kept breathing this baby down, thinking, "Just let her come down, Katie. Focus. Don't hold back. Stay relaxed. Breathe. Every single contraction brings her closer and closer." Erica came back in. She began talking to me about breaking my water. Initially I was closed off to the idea, in my own mind of course. I am rarely vocal during labor. But I had never had anyone intentionally break my water. I always just let my body do its thing and trust it without any intervention. She continued to explain to me that she felt that I would be the perfect candidate for it and it would really speed things a long. She said, "If you are feeling like you are ready for your baby to be here and like you are just ready to be done then I think it would be a great option." And just like that I was sold. I opened my eyes and told her that I was in fact ready to be done and to go ahead. So she did. With my eyes closed, of course, and with some tension because the pain was so intense and having anyone touch me, let alone in that area, had me even more on edge, she broke my water. It took her a minute. Seems like it was kind of hard. And it wasn't as much water as when my water broke on its own in the past. Either way, it broke and before she was through and her hand was out she said I was an 8. Kiersten, bless her, asked me if I wanted Bodie to do some pressure point stuff. Of course in my mind I thought, "No. I don't want to be touched." But then I heard myself say, "Yes. Something's got to change. I can't keep doing this same thing." The pain was just getting too unbearable. So she had me bring my knees up and showed Bodie how to press on them during my contractions. The first time he did it I felt a tiny bit of relief and it definitely took the edge off. Erica kept bouncing back and forth between me and another laboring mama who was also getting very close to delivering. Soon Erica checked me again and said I was 9, and then eventually I heard her say I was complete a few minutes later. I think it was about 20 minutes from her breaking my water to being complete. Thank goodness I said yes! At this point Erica was and had been all suited up and ready for delivery. She told me there was a cervical lip that she would help move when I felt like I was ready to push. I just kept very focused, allowing the baby to move down without holding back, and just doing my very best at keeping my breathing smooth and consistent and my body loose and not tense. I began feeling very subtle urges to push and just allowed my body to do that. Eventually the urges became stronger and from what I remember it was just a few minutes later that I told Erica I was feeling a lot of pressure to push and that my body was ready. She helped with the lip and I think it was just one or two really big pushes and Millie’s head came out. My eyes remained closed and I heard excited voices. Bodie cheered me on. Then Erica told me to just do small pushes from then on to prevent any tearing. I began to do that and maybe 10-15 seconds later Erica ordered me to push as hard as I possibly could because Millie was stuck. Everyone started freaking out and urging me to push harder and harder and even harder. I just remember keeping my eyes closed and giving it every single ounce of everything in me to push her out. I remember my back arching because I was pushing so hard. I remember a nurse jumping onto my bed to the side of me and literally pushing and almost shoving down on my lower belly as hard as she could. Bodie kept encouraging and people were just kind of freaking out. It must have only been maybe 1 minute later and she came out. It was as that point that I think I became vocal for the first time. I was in A LOT of pain. A lot. With my other babies the pain instantly disappeared when the baby came out. Also once my other babies heads were out the bodies were a cinch, but not this time. This time the contractions were still wildly uncomfortable and I just remember kind of moaning and breathing really heavy a few times. I still didn’t even open my eyes but I remember them placing her on my belly and I just placed both of my hands on her little body and felt her soft skin and hair on her head. They immediately whisked her away to the little bed and at that point I finally opened my eyes and began to breath huge sighs of relief. I kept asking Bodie if she was okay and they said yes but her oxygen levels were low. They said they would have her and I do skin to skin, which usually helps, and that if it didn’t they would have to take her to the NICU for monitoring. I just tried to remain patient and calm while I waited the few minutes for them to place her in my arms, but I was also silently cringing inside because the pain was still awful. They hadn’t yet removed the placenta but kept checking it and saying it wasn’t ready. I just couldn’t believe how much contraction pain I was still feeling and it was very frustrating to me. Of course the second they placed her in my arms I was immediately side tracked.

 There is absolutely nothing in this world that compares to the first time a mother gets to hold her fresh new baby for the first time. The smell is breathtaking, the soft skin, the tiny features, and all the other many things added up are just truly a gift from God and no matter how painful, or how long or short, or scary it is I would do it all over again and again and again. Millie’s oxygen improved almost immediately and her and I just basked in each other’s love and connected on that ultra special level. They eventually removed the placenta with ease and a lot of my pain left. Unfortunately, due to her shoulders being stuck, they thoughtt they may have broken her clavical trying to get her out. She was pretty upset and not calming down very easily. Her face was also bruised from removal. The nurse apologized over and over for having to literally jump on my bed and shove on my stomach. They told me her head was turning more and more blue and they had to do that to get her out. Of course I told her it was completely fine, that I understood and was glad she was okay. They said they would monitor her and do an x ray if needed to check her collar bone. Also due to the shoulders being stuck I tore (again!) and had to get those awful stitches that I swear are almost worst than birth itself. I swear by the time I have my next baby the tearing had better be done!

Once all that was over my pain had dramatically subsided and Bodie and I were able to just enjoy Millie. Family began showing up and Dollie and Dash came in first. Our birth video captures their feelings and the whole experience perfectly. It was magical. They loved her and I’ll never forget the look on their faces. Everyone else also got to meet Millie and we eventually made our way to our recovery room. Millie still was not settling and it had been a few hours. We eventually got her bathed and she nursed just a little, all the while still very fussy. The nurses agreed that she was more fussy than a typical newborn and kept mentioning a possible X-ray. She eventually settled down after another hour or two of crying and then a lady from the nursery came by and checked out her arms mobility, and felt for any soft spots along her collar bone he felt confident that she was okay.

Our photographer was able to capture everything from arrival to the hospital, to birth, to family and the kids, and Millie’s bath and so on. All within a matter of about 7 hours! Between the birth video and the still photos I am incredibly pleased and thankful for Kiersten and the work she did, including her encouragement and help while I was in labor. Our nurses were wonderful and also I had never met Erica previously but she was great and let me do my own thing but offered helpful encouragement when I needed it most. We spent the night and left the next morning with a healthy, sweet baby and headed home to be a family of 5.

All in all it was another nearly perfect labor and birth. I would have preferred Millie to not be yanked so hard into this world, rather a more peaceful softer entrance, but it's okay. We didn't have a choice I guess in those last moments of craziness. It was a perfect day to have a baby. Little and big coincidences like our new insurance cards showed up the day before, my sister was able to leave my niece at home with her Dad instead of waking her so early and bringing her, same with our photographer (she has 3 small kids), I was able to birth Millie during the day so Dollie and Dash were able to come right after and be in the video/pics before Kiersten left, Dash's same midwife was scheduled to be there even though she ended up not being able to, we still got the same nurse, Bodie's sister and her husband happened to be in town from Cedar City so they were able to come, it wasn't snowing, and it just so happens that Millie shares a birthday with one of our very favorite nicu nurses that took care of Dash that first dreadful night that we were told he might not make it, and also one of our favorite nurses on the pediatrics floor who we also grew to be friends with during Dash's stay! very cool if you ask me.

I’m still a little surprised at how quickly it all happened, and just overall how quickly my births keep getting with each baby. I am indeed grateful for my body and mind and it’s ability to do what God made it to do. It’s hard. Really, really hard. I look at these photos of me while I was in labor and it surprises me because I know what I was feeling on the inside..so much pain, not sure how much longer I could it...just needing it to be over...but on the outside it would seem that I wasn't hurting too bad. It makes me wonder if Bodie thinks birth is easy for me? hahaha..But  it's oh so worth it and I am so thankful.  I am thankful for my healthy baby who we all love and adore and obsess over every minute of every day. She is 1 month old and it’s been a very exciting, exhausting, and special time. Seeing the kids with Millie is an entirely new blessing all on its own. We’ve spent this past month a little on edge, just hoping and praying to not be blind sided with something like we were with Dash, but I think now that these last few weeks are behind us and she’s healthy and happy we are all just settling in and enjoying life. She is nursing well, keeping me up a decent amount at night, and usually gets pretty fussy every evening, but that seems to be getting better. She will not take a binky and that's driving us a little crazy but we are managing, haha. She’s currently in my arms as I’m typing just snoozing away. Our family is finding our new normal and I think it’s going really well. I couldn’t ask for more for my family. God has blessed me greatly and I am so proud and honored to me a Mom.

Thanks for sticking around to read Millie’s birth story.
I appreciate all your love and support greatly! And I love sharing my birth stories, mainly so I always have them to look back on and to remember all the details. 
You can read Dollie's birth story here, and Dash's birth story here, if you'd like.

Much love,

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January 14, 2018

Leading up to the birth of Millie

I am really looking forward to sharing Millie's birth story with you guys. To be honest, it's gonna be a pretty short story, haha. But before I do that, I need to share the weeks/days leading up to her birth. For some reason I feel like it's all part of the story and definitely something I don't want to ever forget. So get through this part with me, if you want, and the birth story will be posted very soon!
As many of you know I have used the Hypnobirthing method for each birth. I love it and would recommend it to anyone having a baby whether it be by C-section, medicated, or un-medicated. The breathing techniques and affirmations you learn are so helpful to any laboring mama, in my opinion. During the last 2 months leading up to my due date, January 8th (also my Mom's 50th birthday), I had finished reading the book and took a lot of time preparing with the affirmations and breathing cd's. I was nervous. More nervous than with the last 2 babies. I was mainly nervous about birthing a healthy baby without any complications, but also nervous about the pain. Which is funny because the hypnobirthing concept is all about relaxation and power of your mind to help you to not be tense, which in turn should prevent a lot of the pain women feel. (They explain the body/muscles and science behind this incredibly well in the book.) So perhaps I am not doing it exactly right because I 100% feel pain, and a lot of it, but I am able to get through it without any medication. Anyway, I was nervous.

Then, as some of you may know, mid December the company Bodie works for offered him more money to come back to Northern Utah to begin overseeing some work in Jan, with the option left up to us whether we wanted to move before baby, or right after. I, of course, chose before because moving with a 2 week old sounded like an awful idea. So we decided to spend Christmas in St. George, and then move a few days later. On the 13th I told our landlord we would be moving right after Christmas, not exactly a 30 day notice, but she was great and worked with us on finding new tenants quickly so we wouldn't need to pay Jan rent on top of the new place up north. It wasn't looking good with new tenants, but then last minute a sweet family was basically in the exact same situation as us but transferring jobs from up north to St. George and needed a place stat. It ended up working out super well. We began packing, arranged very quickly for a place to live that we could at least bring a baby home to and live for a couple of months until we found something more permanent, and just got all our ducks in a row. Well, mostly. You wouldn't believe the to-do checklist I had. Craziness.

A week before we left I asked for an ultrasound for peace of mind and while baby was perfect, my amniotic fluid was on the low side. So for the next week I had to drink 1/2-1 gallon of water a day and "take it easy". Ha! Imagine that. But I must have done something right because the following week, the day before moving, I had another ultrasound and the fluid level had gone from a 6.6 to a 9 and that was a huge relief. At each of those last appointments in St. George they asked if I wanted to be checked (dilation/effacement) and both times I answered with a very quick and confident "No thanks!" Normally I don't mind being checked  but I didn't need any numbers messing with my mind. I just needed to get moved and somewhat settled before baby came. So Thursday, December 28th came, 12 days before my due date, and we parted ways with St. George. We were sad to leave. We wanted to live there for years and years to come. But I am a lover of change and this move felt right. I had struggled my entire pregnancy with feeling "right" about the midwife that I had been seeing, and then switched from her to a Doctor (first time having a doctor, and first time having a male) and had just began seeing him when we found out about the move. I wondered if maybe this move was why I never really established a good relationship or "feeling" about them in St. George. But I also had feelings like,"Is something going to go wrong with the baby or me? Are we moving because we need to be near those doctors and hospitals?" Lots of thoughts, lots of wondering, lots of unknown.

It was a 4 hour drive to our new place and during that drive I didn't feel too great. The braxton hicks contractions were really strong and annoying and I remember thinking, "Maybe I'll just swing by the hospital and have a baby on the way." Pretty sure it was just stress and being anxious, but later on during the drive I felt much better. With the help of amazing family and friends we were basically unpacked and settled by Sunday. It was a long weekend, and knowing we would be moving again soon and not needing to unpack all the boxes was nice. But we unpacked enough to live very comfortably for a couple of months. Almost all my to-do list was crossed off, except for probably the most important things: finding a hospital, securing a midwife, and transferring all my records. Not only was I needing to transfer and change providers and be seen by them with one week until my due date, but Bodie's company decided VERY last minute, like the week of Christmas, to completely chance insurance providers/carriers/plans. New year, new insurance, new care. Wow. At one point, back in St. George, I was asked by a billing staff member if I wanted to have the baby early without going into 2018 to keep all financials easier on everyone. I politely declined. I am a firm believer of baby coming when she's nice and ready, and no forcing on my end.

Monday was New Years day, so first thing Tuesday I got on the phone with the new insurance company, get our member ID info, and made sure the hospital I wanted to go to, as well as the midwives I wanted to see were in network. Luckily, they all were. Later Tuesday I had an appt with the midwife who also delivered Dash, we got a plan set and I felt so much relief. She checked me and I was a 3+, 70%. I left that appointment with nothing left on my checklist except to pack a bag for the hospital. We were officially ready for baby to arrive. The rest of the week was spent enjoying time with Dollie and Dash and just relaxing after an insane couple of weeks. I found myself listening to birth affirmations more and more as the due date drew nearer. When meeting with Josi, my midwife, we discussed how quickly labor was with Dash and decided it would probably be best for me to not hang out at home for too long once labor began. Usually I labor at home for 3 hours. Josie recommended heading to the hospital much sooner than that, especially where were 30 minute away from the hospital. My sister, Courtney, lives about 30min away and the plan was to have her come to my house when labor began. In the event that it was the middle of the night she would have to bring Sophia, my 4 yr old niece, and I was really hoping she wouldn't have to do that in the middle of the night. Also, I've only had summer babies, so snow storms have never been an issue. Bodie's mom would come as soon as labor began to relieve Court, but she was two hours away and would be unable to come if snow was bad. I had also set up a birth photographer/videographer and was really hoping I would go into labor at a decent time (not the middle of the night) so that she wouldn't have to worry about her 3 young kids, and also so that my kids could come be in the birth story because obviously we wouldn't be waking them up in the middle of the night to come see baby. With Dollie, contractions began around 2am, and she was born at 10:41am, with Dash contractions began around 5am, and he was born at 10:27am. I was really hoping for something along those lines.

So each night/day passed. We were all getting very anxious. I really didn't want to make it to my next appointment on Monday the 8th, and I really wanted Josi to be there. She was the on call midwife Thursday, Saturday and Sunday that week, and if you read Dash's birth story then you'll know why I wanted her there. (Sudden bathroom floor, leaning over the tub birth sort of thing) Every morning we kept waking up and the kids would ask when she was coming. I still hadn't packed my bag, but I did pack Millie's bag and at least wrote down a quick list for my bag. On Friday our new insurance cards showed up in the mail which I knew would be very helpful over the next few days, and also Dollie asked if it was a special night (meaning a night where we get to go do something fun as a family) and I told her sure why not. So that night we all went out and I thought to myself that this could be the last night out as a family of 4, and even just for the next few months. We went to dinner, then to Costco, then to Scheels to ride the ferris wheel. I made it a point to take a family selfie. We all went to bed that night, as usual, feeling completely normal with no extra expectations, only to wake up hours later with those bold, beautiful, and oh so familiar contractions....

...to be continued!
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August 15, 2017

Preschool Girl!

Last spring, shortly after we relocated to St. George, we randomly decided to send Dollie to a Montessori preschool nearby. She only went March-May, but learned so much those few short months! She really loved it. She turned 4 in June and this fall will be the official start of school for her since we will be holding her. So now begins 2 years of preschool for little miss and we are so excited. The small taste we all got last spring has us wanting more and she's going back to the same Montessori. We did a little bit of school shopping and also completed our summer reading goal of 100 books with her before school started. She begins tomorrow and it's very exciting! Naturally I had to venture out and snap a few photos of our sweet girl who is growing up so fast! 
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July 26, 2017

3 Day Potty Training: Dash

Wow! Took me long enough to get this post up! For those asking and patiently waiting for this post, sorry and thanks for sticking around for it. 

When Dollie turned 22 months old back in April of 2015, I used the 3 Day Potty Training guide and it worked perfectly. You can read about that experience here. So it was a no brainer that I would again use it for Dash. I had heard from many that boys are much more difficult than girls so I wasn't sure how it would go, but I was very confident. 

Due to the structure and requirements of the guide I wasn't able to start Dash right at 22 months, but did start him at 23 months, just a few weeks prior to him turning two. I needed to wait for Dollie to be done with school for the summer and also get through a trip we had. Once all that was complete it was game on! 

Before I dive into the 3 day method and how it worked for us, I need to give you a little pre-potty training prep work we did on our own. A few months leading up to the big day we pulled out the potty chair that Dollie had used and just let Dash sit on it whenever he wanted. This was usually before a bath or after. I don't recall him ever going potty in it; it was just for fun and to get him familiar with it. We also each took turns showing him how we would go potty in the toilet and made it seem fun and exciting. Never ever any force upon him. Just watching and mentioning it was all. A couple months out we noticed that whenever he pooped he would immediately begin taking his pants and diaper off. He wanted to be changed quick. We knew this was a great sign and this gave us a lot of confidence. 

The day approached and here is the prep work I did:
1. Planned ahead by cleaning, having laundry done, and having simple meals ready to prepare during the 3 days.
2. Purchased 20-25 pairs of underwear. 
3. Made sure I had wipes on hand
4. Made sure I had plenty of liquids for him: water, ice cubes, popsicles, capri suns, etc
5. Made sure to have a few fibrous foods and small rewards for him. 
6. Cleared my schedule of any and all activities that would require any attention other than potty training. 

The method is intense. It demands your full attention for a minimum of 72 hours. You are asked to not cook, clean, leave the house, or do anything that will distract you from basically standing next to your child all day and watching him/her. It's so important to make sure you catch them in the act. Even if most of the potty ends up on the floor and only a few drops in the toilet, they still get a reward. But you HAVE to catch them while they are going. Also the plan allows for ZERO negativity. Only positive reinforcement. You can't say, "No, no!" or "Naughty boy.." etc. With Dollie I followed the plan exactly as outlined and did with Dash as well. I'm glad I did. 

You will be potty training naps, nigh time, and daytime all at the same time. There are no pull-ups, no padded underwear, no naked, and no tarps laid down. The potty chair stays in the bathroom and a tee shirt and normal underwear are all the child will wear for 3 days. 

I chose to do a Mon, Tues, and Wed. I had to take work off. It is recommended that the same adult does the full 3 days, day and night. I prepped Dollie before hand to be my big helper. I explained to her in pretty great detail what we were doing and she was ready. She knew we would not be going outside or leaving the house unless she went with her Dad when he got home from work.

Day 1:
Wake up, have breakfast, change the last diaper you will ever change on your child. Hand them the last of the few remaining diapers and have them throw them in the garbage. Kneel at their level and explain that they are a big boy/girl now and explain to them how important it is to keep their big boy underwear dry and show them the potty chair in the bathroom. Tell them to tell you when they need to go potty. 
Now the waiting and watching begins. 
With Dash I waited an hour and 15 minutes and then he began to go potty in his underwear and I quickly whisked him to the potty chair where he finished and was rewarded with a little treat. Dollie and I made a MAJOR deal and clapped showed him how proud and happy we were. Changed his underwear, and again reminded him to keep them dry and tell Mommy when he needs to go potty. You will do this all day long. You will tell them "Tell mommy when you need to go potty!" at least 100 times. You do not ask them, "Do you need to go potty?" They need to learn to tell you when they need to go. Often you will feel their underwear and tell them what a great job they are doing at keeping them dry. 
We began at 8 am and by noon he was going potty all the way in the toilet and none in his underwear. By 1 pm it was nap time and he went a little in his underwear so we changed them. This was the last pair of underwear that we had to change that first day. He woke up dry from his nap and continued the rest of the day with no accidents. In fact, in the evening we were watching a basketball game on tv and I guess I had become a little lax with how well he was doing and the next thing we knew he came in and told us he went potty and sure enough he went into the bathroom and went potty 100% by himself. 
He went potty 15 times the first day, had 4 accidents and went through 3 pairs of underwear. (Dollie went through a loooooot more than that!) One thing that I noticed immediately with Dash was that he doesn't drink nearly as much a Dollie. Dollie still would prefer to drink her meal rather than eat, so it made sense to me that Dash just didn't need to go as often as her. 

If your kids are waking up dry in their diapers prior to potty training then they should be fine. But if they are waking up wet then you need to make sure they aren't getting liquids 2-3 hours before bed and going potty 2 times before bed. With Dash we did these 2 things and he woke up dry. (With Dollie she was still waking up wet so had to do as the guide suggested and wake her up in the night to go potty, you can read more about that on my post about potty training her.)

Day 2: 
Same plan as day one: follow him around and watch him. 
It was Dollie's birthday this day and luckily her aunt B came over to spend some time with her. Dash was doing so, so well. I was a little shocked. No accidents and just doing a really great job at telling me when he needed to go. He had also started telling me he needed to go poop so I knew it was coming. Around 10 am I ended up doing a very quick haircut for a friend who came over because of a hair emergency. I was so confident with Dash. Brandee was here and was keeping an eye on him. Almost immediately after I began cutting hair Dash had an accident. First one since 1 pm the day before. I was so bummed and knew it was my fault. Cutting hair was a big no no in the rules. But he finished going potty in the toilet and we moved on. He didn't have another accident until a small one that afternoon (once again, I wasn't paying attention).
Around 8 pm that evening he went poop in the toilet for the first time. This was very, very exciting! Dollie waited quite a few days to go and it was a serious struggle with her. He had another very small accident before bed. 
Overall he went to potty 14 times, 1 poop, with 3 small accidents. 
Woke up dry after nap time again. Also, rewards hadn't really interested him all day. He just stopped asking for them and forgot about them. I remember Dollie doing this as well.  
Dash takes long 3 hour naps every day so I was actually able to run a couple errands that day for some things I forgot to get for Dollies birthday. Totally a no-no, but he was still asleep when I got back. Zero issues.
I went to bed the 2nd night kind of kicking myself for being too relaxed that day. He had been doing so well that I began to not pay as close attention. I planned to be 100% laser beam focused the 3 day and to make it a great one. 

Day 3
He woke up at 4:45 am crying, but was dry. He went potty in the toilet. Then woke again at 7:30 am dry. He stayed dry all morning and into nap time. He again woke up dry after nap. He continued the afternoon with no accidents and just doing really well on him own. We even ventured out onto the front porch, but that's as far as we went together for the 3 days. Around 8 pm that night he went poop again in the toilet. 
Overall he went potty 12 times, 1 poop, and 0 accidents. One pair of underwear all day. 

It was a very long 3 days of being stuck inside. All 3 of us were a little irritable and happy to be done. The next day I had a church meeting and was a little nervous but Dash did just fine. When we got to the church I showed him the toilet and he went, and didn't have any problems. For the next few days I always brought his potty chair along but he's never needed it. He just doesn't go potty as often as Dollie did. He started to go potty on our big toilet and so he did completely fine in public restrooms. Pooping has been totally fine for him, too. Never an accident with it. He does prefer to do that business on the potty chair at home, but prefers the big toilet for potty. 
The weeks following potty training he just never had accidents. He always woke up dry after naps and in the morning. Always did well in the car, and out and about. Did perfect at church, too. There was a point where Bodie and I were a tiny bit concerned because we just didn't feel like he went potty enough during the day. But he did drink enough, and he did go potty. I think it was just different for us because we were comparing him to Dollie. 

It's now been about 6 weeks and he is just doing amazing. We can be in another room on another floor in the house and he will just go potty and poop alone without even saying anything until after the fact when he needs to be wiped. He wakes up dry from naps 100% of the time and wakes up dry in the morning 80% of the time. He has had a few more accidents here and there, and it actually makes me feel a little bit better. Like, okay good, he is getting enough to drink. During the past week he's had a few more accidents than normal, and I've been washing sheets more than I enjoy, but I am okay with it. This is what I expected and feel really lucky that it's been as easy as it has. But I am going to crack down a little more on how much he has to drink before bed because I know these recent accidents can be avoided. 

Overall, the 3 day potty training method is genius. It works. If you do what it says! If I were you I would just buy the ebook. Lots more details and info than what I have shared here. Love it so much!!!

I hope some of this info helps any of you mamas out there! If you have any questions for me feel free to shoot me an email or just comment below!

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May 9, 2017

About Dollie's Mama: Likes + Dislikes

If you're new to this series here's the low down: In an effort to be more transparent to my readers, and to encourage myself to blog more as well as get in front of the camera more, I am sharing things about me that you probably do not know. I began the series last week with a post about my most embarrassing moments. You can find that here. Now onto the next one!
There's really no rhyme or reason to the topic of these posts. Today I woke up and felt like sharing things that I love, and things I really do not love. Some quirky, some probably relate-able, and some not at all relate-able, I am sure. Here goes!


When my kids were born and people told me to "nap when they nap" I took it very seriously and have taken a nap nearly every day for the past 4 years. Part of it has to do with co-sleeping with Dollie for a very long time, naps and nighttime. She will be 4 next month and still takes 2 hour naps every day, with me by her side. It't one of my favorite times of the day because while Dash is snoozing in his own room/bed, Dollie and I get to snuggle and tell stories and secrets before we doze off. 

*The 80's*
Like, a lot. The movies (Footloose, Breakfast club, Rocky, Dirty Dancing...) the fashion (bold colors, jewelry, hair...), the music (my fave band is Def Leppard, and come on..MJ anyone?) Every time a song or a movie comes on it sucks me right in and I often wish I could have went to high school during that era. I just am a little obsessed with it all. 

Specifically, very loud music. It mostly annoys my husband because he claims that I turn it up to an uncomfortable and very un-enjoyable level. Can't help it. I think it's because of my mom. She instilled a love for music into my soul. Embarrassingly enough, I can get pretty emotional at the most random of songs.  Always rocking out in the car...or getting choked up. It's a wide range of emotions. Bodie also has complimented me numerous times that I'm "pretty good at memorizing words to songs." I am not a good singer, but boy do I love me some music. Anything from Linkin Park to Def Leppard, Dierks Bently to Dashboard Confessionals, Eminem to straight up classical, and EDC stuff to religious music. I love a good instrumental pandora station, specifically the piano. #meltme. And it is for sure the best when it's very very loud. This love is being passed on to my children already. They love music and they like it turned up. Music is my go to if I am feeling sad, mad, frustrated, or really excited. Best concert I've been to was Linkin Park, by far. 

AKA: pacifier, soother, the thing I love probably more than my babies. Why? The smell. We are talking major obsession people. I thought it was a weird thing, to smell your babies binky, but then I found out my cute sister in law feels the same way. So who else? Who else maybe even doesn't wait until it falls out and instead plucks that thing out of their little mouth just to take a whiff? It's honestly like a drug for me. It gives me all the feels. I think it must be pheromones or whatever because my husband and others have looked at me weird like they just don't get it. So interesting and so lovely!

*Natural light*
Gimme all the natural light. First thing I do when my eyes pop open is begin opening the blinds and windows. I make my way from room to room and it gives me instant happiness. Also, it makes for great photos!

Sushi (not until 2 years ago when we lived in San Diego), thai food, donuts, sugar cookies, crime brûlée. . Those are the basic favorites and my go-to's if I get a choice in the matter. Any baked goods, and also Italian food (gimme all the garlic), as well. I very much dislike onions, jalapenos, Tabasco sauce, buffalo sauce, and cilantro. I will do my very best to avoid eating these things.  

I lived in a hotel for a little over a year and got super use to having all white linens. Now its what I (mostly) have in my own home and I love love love it. 

I love it. I really do. I am not just trying to sound like those super super positive people who almost sound annoying and fake. I get very jealous of people who are expecting when I am not and even more envious when I know they are headed to the hospital to deliver their baby. I get emotional (happy emotions) and just have lots of feelings about it all. I have really good pregnancies (so far) and equally great, if not better, labor/birth. I mean, ask me how I feel the first couple weeks after the baby is born and I'm sure I would be singing a different tune, but overall I love love love it. 

Hate it. I've been married nearly 10 years and I still cannot get the hang of it. Every day I dread coming up with a meal. I think my mother in law thinks we never have food and that our kids starve. We do, and they don't, it's just that I do not have a surplus of food on hand at all times. I simply cannot throw together a meal with random things in the kitchen. I mean, yes, I can make chicken and rice. But I just need a recipe. I need a full ingredient list and I need to plan ahead. Even then, life is always so busy and crazy that I only buy for like 3 days (things always go bad so this is why). So we eat whats on the agenda and then it's gone and I get more shopping done. I really wish I loved it. It's not even that I am bad at it. 95% of the time the meals I make turn out just fine. It just takes sooooo much time to prepare and then 5 min to eat, and then another forever long to clean up. I am working on this. It is a big struggle for me. Thankfully I have a husband who has never once got after me for not having a fully cooked meal ready to go. If he comes home and it's been a rough day and I tell him we are having eggs and tortillas he is totally fine with it. He very rarely complains (if ever). For this, I am truly grateful and lucky. *Disclaimer, we do always have something to eat for dinner. And it's never cereal. its just a dreadful time of day for me and one that I am not sure will ever change. 

*Working Out*
Never something I did growing up or into the first years of my marriage. Never "needed to". I ate whatever I wanted and just maintained a weight that turns out was a little low for my height. It was effortless. Now I definitely "need to" and its for sure the hardest thing for me. Even harder than eating healthy. I just do not enjoy it, the sweating and the discomfort. I see more results from changing my eating in 1 week than working out for 1 month. 

Deep breath....I do not love it. I do it! For at least 1 yr, usually a little more, but I don't love it. Yes, there are times when I feel that connection, and I love being the only person who can provide for my baby in that way...but basically I just get overly worn out by giving my body to someone else for 2 years, on demand, whenever they want, day or night, around the clock. I do it because it is the exact purpose of my breasts, and because I know the immense benefits it brings, and simply because I am able. It is a blessing, and one that I will not ever take for granted. But it is exhausting and I simply do not love it. 

*Ocean Waves*
I have an intense love/hate relationship with this. I am madly in love with the beach/ocean. The sounds, the fresh air. its beauty....*sigh* such a dream. Especially in the golden hour. It literally makes me weak in the knees. At the same time, I have a very real fear of giant waves. I have at least one nightmare a month of 100+ ft waves crashing down on me, or my house, or something. It is so terrifying. I can't think of anything else that I am so fascinated with and equally terrified of. 

*Video Games*
I despise them. I do not enjoy playing them, not even apps on the phone. Bodie doesn't really care for video games at all, but he does love a good game on the ole' iphone/ipad and it drives me a little crazy. Even if it is just a silly farm game...it drives me bonkers. Family just brought us a really old Nintendo from years ago and thankfully it doesn't work. Please tell me I am not the only wife who feels this way...about basically any game that is played on a screen. 

I do love receiving gifts and getting surprised, but not nearly as much as I love giving them and surprising others. I will do whatever it takes to make sure I surprise the person intended. And if they hate surprises I will work even harder at it. I just do not understand people who "don't like surprises". I wonder if it's true? How can you not like being surprised my something that will put a smile on your face? I take holidays and birthdays very seriously around here for my loves ones and sure have a fun time doing it. Its always worth it. Always. 

*My family*
Another deep breath...I do not love sharing my family. Specifically my husband and children. I think it's because we moved to another state when we were first married and stayed there for 6 years. I got very use to having Bodie, and then Dollie, to myself. We did what we wanted, when we wanted, without expectations or demands from anyone. This is something that I know is very selfish and it's something I am working on. I just get a little jealous and would prefer to do our own thing. Now, this isn't to say that I don't LOVE hanging out with my friends and family. I am very grateful to back in Utah near so many, and it's always a good time. Again, please tell me I am not the only wife/mother who feels this way! I feel guilty but I also can't help it. 

I would prefer to live somewhere that palm trees are rampant, where snow never falls, and where sunshine prevails. St. George is doing the trick. Although I have yet to live somewhere that nears the 100's every day during the summer so we shall see how it goes. Regardless, no snow (or at least very little) = worth it already. 


I think that is a pretty good mix of things that I like and dislike. Maybe I will add to it here and there. Can you relate to any of these? Let me know! I do love learning new things about people!
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May 2, 2017

About Dollie's Mama: Most Embarrassing Moment(s)

To kick off my About Dollie's Mama series we are re visiting two of my most embarrassing moments. 

During the summer of 2004 I was between my junior and senior years of high school and ventured off to SLC to live with my Dad and stepmom for the summer (divorced parents). Thankfully my bestie came to visit (from 2 hours away) often and we had plentyyyyyy of fun.

One beautiful Saturday afternoon my Dad and Lynda were headed out for the day and asked me to pick up Max, their sweet pup, from the local petsmart. He was getting cleaned and groomed. I took note and being that I had plans that evening for a night on the town I quickly showered and began getting ready. Mid hair and makeup I realized I had to leave that instant to pick up Max. Off to petsmart I rushed. I pulled into the parking stall and walked right into the store , directly to the first person at the first customer service desk I saw. I was a girl on a mission. I simply stated, "Hi. I'm here to pick up my dog, Max." The nice guy just looked at me. I restated my business there and added "...can you tell me where to go?" Still, the guy just looked at me super confused. That was it. I lost it. I mean I was in a hurry and I just needed to pick up my dang dog! Come on!!! What's this guys deal?! So in probably one of the rudest tones I've ever used with anyone, super annoyed and in a super hurry,  I angrily said, "My dog. Max! He is getting groomed. WHERE DO I PICK HIM UP AT?" And guess what the guy said? NOTHING. Still! I couldn't believe it. I slowly started to look around the store, then back at the guy, then around the store again, back at the guy, this time noticing his name tag which read "Staples". Yup, that's right folks. I was in fact in Staples, the office supply store, asking for my dog. After a brief moment of silence, as everything came full circle in my mind, I innocently asked,"I'm not in petsmart am I?" With a little chuckle he shook his head no and I of course was mortified but couldn't let him know that so I stormed out of there like it was his fault and he shouldn't have wasted my time. I walked next door, picked up Max and left. It was one of those big strip malls. You know the kind. The kind where you park up front but then you can't see the big name on the store front up top unless you walk back out into the parking lot and look up over the awning? My bad. There's a select few in my life who have pinned me with the nickname "Staples". Don't make my mistake, friends. Always know what store you're in before you begin making crazy demands. 

One more just for fun. 
High school again. It was the big basketball game against our rivals. It was at their school. This was a BIG rivalry, my friends. So of course me and my girlfriends get all dressed up, looking as good as we think we can, and we go to the game. I'm in my heels, full hair and face, for sure hoping to see some of the cute boys from the other school. Sometime during the game I had to run out to my car so I headed out of the gym  and toward the front doors. No one was really out there, just a few randoms here and there. But, nonetheless, you never know who you might run in to (very small towns where I grew up). So there I was strutting my stuff down the hallway like it was a fashion runway. I get to what I quickly realized was a glass door as I full body slammed it, face plant, makeup smear, lipgloss smudge...ouch. Naturally I turn around to see who saw and there was just one boy standing there, probably like 10 or 12, laughing hysterically at me. I was sure my face was beat red not just from embarrassment but also because I hit real hard guys. I finished what I went out for but for sure didn't come back in until I knew my face wouldn't be red. Sure enough, crazy makeup smudge mark on the door  on my way back through. Still to this day I am so thankful it was just a kid standing there. Could have been so much worse! Still so embarrassing. 

I'm sure I can rummage up a few more but we'll call it good for now. Any embarrassing moments you wannna  share? Let's hear it! I love a good laugh! 

April 18, 2017

Suckers & Springtime

I was chatting with a new friend about how before I even had kids I really didn't have any hobbies. Sure, I enjoyed doing hair and I enjoyed other work that I did, but zero hobbies. I am so happy to be able to say that I have hobbies now! My kids have brought out some good things in me. Such as blogging and photography. Blogging about my kids, and taking pictures of my kids. Haha! I bought these outfits for the kids for Easter/spring a few weeks back and just never got around to taking any pics of them. We finally ventured out with candy in hand to the St. George LDS Temple grounds. The weather was perfect, the suckers were messy, and I was able to capture some extra sweet moments of my two favorite little people!
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