1 year

Thursday, December 17, 2015

you've been here one whole year and you make this world so much better riv boy. 
your smile and light shines so bright! i just can't really put into words how grateful i am for you. i get to be your mom forever. you are my favorite part of life. 

-i love the way you jabber and talk all day long. 

-you point at everything and wave goodbye to daddy every morning.

-you flirt with all the girls. 

-i love the way you study and observe and take your time with your milestones. 

-you are so content and happy doing most anything. 

-you still struggle with sleeping and when you are screaming at 3am i feel like i can't have any more kids and then you smile at me and i want 5 more!

-you love going to church. you love the hymns + the people the most. 

-the older you get the more you look like papa. 

-you love animals

-you can say dog, mom, dad, and ball. your four favorite things!

-you seriously eat as much as i do i swear. you are a pro at solids you eat ANYTHING i can give you and always covet whatever i'm eating. bananas are your favorite. 

-you love mickey mouse clubhouse. and i do too because it SAVES us on road trips.

-you love little babies and we found that out visiting your cousin Norah and you wouldn't leave her alone! it was the sweetest thing. 

-you aren't interested in walking yet. you stand up every now by yourself every now and then and realize what you are doing and quickly sit down. 

-your favorite indoor activity right now is crawling up and down the stairs. 

-your 2nd favorite is crawling all over me, your dad, and bernie. 

-bernie continues to be the most patient dog in history. i will love that dog forever because of how sweet he is with you!

-you love books. but prefer playing with a ball over anything. 

-you hate your carseat. 

-you make us smile and laugh everyday. you've done that since day 1. even on our darkest tony days. 

-i hope you always feel close to your uncle tony. i'm so glad you were able to meet him. but i still cry and get angry that he's not here to watch you grow. 

-you are our light and we love you so much bud. i love being your mom.

-you have 2 little teeth!

-everyone loves you !!

9 months

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

-you have grown so much these past 3 months! you are crawling, and standing, and walking along the couch.

-we finally decided to sleep train you (well we were kind of forced into one night when you wouldn't stop crying and didn't want to be held) you are sleeping SO MUCH better now. i feel kind of like a human again. 

-you are so much fun. you talk and jabber and play with your tongue. for your 9 month appointment right when the doc walked in you kept trying to talk over us and get his attention. you were moving around and crawling all over him. he said, "i haven't had a kid this happy and loud in a while." 

-you're tall and skinny. i was looking at ryan yesterday and how much he towers over me. i can't even believe you'll be bigger than me one day. 

-you give smiles to everyone. you love going to church and singing the hymns with everyone. you like looking behind to see who you can smile at during church too. 

-when i drop you off at your nanny ashley's house you don't even look back when i leave. you love it there. it makes working easier. 

-you still let anyone hold you and don't really prefer me over your dad or visa versa. you're a pretty chill dude. 

-you'll finally sit still while i read books to you, (as long as i read fast) 

-you're favorite book is the owl one. 

-this is my favorite stage so far. i called ryan on my way home from work the other day and i asked what you guys had been up to. he said, "i've literally been wrestling with the river the whole time. he keeps coming and climbing on me." i could tell how happy he was in his voice. 

-i can't believe that your 9 months old and that it's been 9 months since Tony. it hurts. i miss him so much and cry everyday. 

-people still say you look like kase the most. 

-you still won't really snuggle with me. you'll give me a quick hug after your nap and i always squeeze you so tight! 

-we love you riv! you are so great! 

happy st patty's day! i mean happy half birthday!

Monday, June 15, 2015

you: are our sunshine. smile all the time. laugh all the time. smile and laugh most at bernie. love the outdoors. love rolling from you back to your belly. love solids. you grab at everything! especially my tony necklace. smile at grandmas painting of jesus. you still hate napping. had your first camping experience. you love being around people. you love going to your nanny's house twice a week. you're still working on being able to sit up. all you wanna do is stand it seems! you love swimming! yay!

me: your laugh is my favorite sound. gets me every time! find it's best for us to keep busy all day everyday so we go on a lot of adventures together. dread nap time. i'm still figuring out how to grieve about uncle tony while trying to live + work + be a mom to you.  it's really difficult to be happy when you're sad. but man you're smile makes it easier! surrounding myself with compassionate and loving people who "get it" and still cry with me about tony. best thing i've done for myself this year.  (shout out to marie!) still loving my job & that it lets me be home with you 90% of the time! feeling i've aged 10 years since tony's died. trying to soak up the quiet, simple, and "boring" moments that comes with being a mother of 1. loving you more everyday and i mean that!

my favorite picture!

Monday, May 18, 2015

ohh i have so many faves of you but this is my current favorite picture. you are just so joyous! ahhhh i love you!

to river

(images by Brooke Schultz Photography)

-you're five months old now! the past couple weeks you have grown SO much! your cheeks are getting bigger and i squeeze and kiss them about 100 times a day. 

-i think it's going to be a while before you learn to sit up on your own. when i read to you, you have to be standing. when we play with toys, you arch your back until i let you stand. when i feed you in the bumbo you arch your back or lean way forward. haha! you hate sitting! your favorite thing is to stand up and bounce and move your legs and make your little happy noises. i love it. 

-you love bernie. you laughed when he licked your face today and you are starting to reach for him when he sits by you. will bernie be your first word?

-you aggressively put everything in your mouth.

-i'm so grateful for the good, patient, and compassionate people in our lives.  

-you loved being in sv for mothers day. you laughed and smiled the whole weekend, met papas pigs and tried red baron ice cream for the first time. 

-you loved seeing your grandma and grandpa shurtleff, uncle jason and aunt jessie on saturday too. you light up when jessie's around. i think you guys have a special connection. she was there for your birth and all!

-you are my sunshine. you are such a light in this world. there's so much pain and trial in this world and you give me faith and hope for me and the people around us. 

-we are printing some new pictures and getting some new decorations for the house! i'm trying to figure out where to put tony's drawing aunt marie had made for us. 

-i'm a very open person bud, and that makes me an easy target (as papa would say) i'm trying to be more careful who i open up to about tony. some people just don't get it. and never will. 

-your dad's the best. he loves us so much. we've gotten so much closer than ever since you've been born. and boy do you love him!

-it's been so rainy this month which i love. it reminds me of when me and your dad started dating 6 years ago. it was the rainiest may. he came up to logan every weekend and we drove around, watched movies, and just talked.

-you're so special riv & so loved! 

to river

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

 -you are three months old! and it actually hasn't gone by fast. kind of slow actually. haha!

-you are soooo fun right now. you smile so much and you giggle when i kiss your neck. you are so fun that i'm actually starting to think i can maybe handle having more than one child! haha 

-you watch mickey mouse clubhouse on my lap while i edit. i know....you are kind of young for screen time, but when you are a working mom you do what you gotta do. haha!

-you like to be held facing out so you can check everything out. 

-you stopped sleeping in your carseat. now you would rather the cover up so you can look at the world!  

-you love looking at the mirror and talking and smiling at your reflection. 

-you hate napping, but you sleep through the night so i can't complain. 

-my favorite thing ever is coming to get you from your crib in the morning and you are so happy! you talk to me and smile so big and kick your legs. it's so cute! you are so excited and happy in the morning. 

-most people comment on how skinny & long you are. so you most definitely got your body from your dada. ;)  lucky for you even though i think you would have made an adorable short and curvy boy. hahaha

-we have had some really hard days these past couple weeks. same old story i know... we are still just trying to figure out how to find our "new normal" as nana would say with tony gone. and i'm just still so traumatized with how he was taken and i've been having lots of nightmares at night. it's pretty crappy!

-i am so grateful for the people that make it possible for me to get out of bed everyday. (you are one of them!) i feel the push from some people like, "gosh, aren't you over this yet?" I've even had a couple people say "you just don't seem like yourself!" which makes me laugh actually.  i'm so grateful for the people in my life who have been so patient with me. because i know i have not been easy to be around. i don't know when i'll get it figured out, but we will get there. there are so many people who have been through far worse. i can do this!! 

-tony is so loved. there are so many people who are still crying with us. 

-our aunt leann on dads side wrote us the sweetest card about tony saying how sorry she was and how wonderful of a person he seemed to be. she never met him but she is crying with us! she is one of the many. it means so much to me.

-your grandma debbie's surprise birthday party was sunday and it was so fun to see her so happy surrounded by all the people she loves. she deserves everything good. you are lucky to have her.

-your cousin aspen sure loves you. she kept asking to hold you all weekend and got a little teary when we wouldn't let her hold you for the shurtleff family picture. haha! she's so sweet.

-your aunt mary and aunt ashley nackos finally got to meet you on saturday! it felt SO GOOD to be around them. they gave me a bracelet with tony's name on it and it felt so good to hug them and cry together. 

-we are taking you on your first big trip next month! i'm excited to see your cute toes in the hawaii sand. 

-aunt meggie moo is coming to logan tomorrow! and she's moving here in june! we are lucky duckies! 

-well here's hoping our wednesday is a good one bud. you're pretty awesome. i say about 100 times a day to ryan how much i love you. 

to river

Friday, March 6, 2015

-you are just the cutest little guy. whenever anyone comments about how cute you are i never say, "thank you!" i just say, "he really is huh??" 

-your fake cry is awesome.

-your pissed off dinosaur screaming cry is awesome too.

-i hate your sad cry. :(

-i officially think you look the most like your uncle clay! which i LOVE! i'm obsessed with my brothers so i'm so glad you look like one of them!

-your blessing day was a few days ago and it was beautiful. your dad gave you the sweetest blessing. one thing he said was how much love you have around you and how important family is! ryan and i weren't planning on baring our testimonies but we both did. we both cried. when i was crying during your blessing kase snuck over to sit on my lap and comfort me. it was so sweet! we then went to the clubhouse by our condo to have food with family and play basketball and chat. it was so great! after everyone left to head home i had the most intense pain of missing tony. i was crying on the couch with my head in my hands telling your dad how great the day was but i hate that tony will never be at another family get together. i was saying how much i missed him and his laugh and then i looked up at you and you were smiling the biggest smile and you left out a little chuckle. haha. i think you were laughing at my ugly cry face but i also think the lord knew i needed a little smile and laugh from you. 

-i had my first wedding last week and i left you for 8 hours. it was really hard, but i'm so grateful that i don't have to leave you every day and that i'm lucky enough to have a job that doesn't require me to leave you more than a few hours a week. full time working moms are so amazing. 

-you fight sleep like a toddler.  you scream and cry and kick and it takes about 20 minutes of that before you finally fall asleep. sometimes it drives me crazy but most of the time it makes me laugh. you are a stubborn little dude and i love that. 

-i've had a very angry tony week.  it is 100% ok for me to be angry (even though so many people have told me to stay positive ummm yaaaaa right.)  i'm trying so hard to sort through everything and all my feelings and it's so so hard.  i'm trying to be a nice and giving person through my grieving and mourning and it's been tricky. i'll get there. 

-auntie sagan is coming up in a couple weeks and i'm so excited!! 

-i'm excited to give you a brother or a sister in the future. ryan and i are kind of worried about a name if it's a brother because river is kind of the coolest name ever and we don't want to name your brother something super boring. haha! 

-i think you are so special.

-your dad is so cute with you. he is such a good guy. you are SO lucky to have him as a dad. 

-i love you riv! 

to river

Friday, February 20, 2015

-Well bud you had your first ER visit last week! You caught RSV (from me or your Dad) at just 8 weeks old and were having trouble breathing so we rushed you in. It was a hard week. You were so sick! But you got through it! You're such a tough little guy. You got better just in time for Prez Day weekend with the family. One of my favorite weekends of the year. After we all left each other after Tony's funeral in December we would call each other crying on our hard days saying, "At least President Day weekend is coming up!"

-It was a good weekend home in Wyoming. It was different. There was a big fat void with Tony not there. I cried a lot. I laughed a lot. It was so good to be with family.

-You rode a snowmobile for the first time and you did great. It was Uncle Tony's sled so I hope he was watching!

-We had our first annual Hansen Family Talent Show! You danced with me to "Cry me a River" by JT. It was awesome.

-All of your cousins love you but boy do JJ and Kai love you. They followed us around all weekend asking to hold you. JJ said she wanted to fly to Logan and babysit you for a few days. She's only 9 but I'd probably let her. ;) 

-We had a few family pictures taking the day before everyone left and it was really hard. It just sucks having Tony gone ya know? It just freaking sucks. I'm crying in all of these pictures so this is the best one I could find hahah. When I'm sad I cry. You will learn as you grow older I wear my heart on my sleeve. 

-It was hard leaving everyone and coming back to real life but Nana had all of our home videos from when we were little made into dvds. She gave them to us all and I've been watching them all week long. It's kind of my new favorite thing to do. 

 -You had your first shots a few days ago and you were kind of a little stud muffin for them. You cried for like 2 seconds and then slept all day. 

-This week had some good days and a couple bad days. I've made a couple mistakes this week. I was mean and ugly to someone. I was trying to stand up for myself but it ended badly. Why do I do and say stupid things?? I was talking to Papa about it and he said, "well I guess you're human."  

-Your Nana turned 54 this week. You love her so much already and you are so dang lucky to have her as a grandma. She's kind of a super hero Riv. 

-No matter what mood you're in we can ALWAYS get a smile from you. I tell Ryan all the time that your smile reminds me of sunshine. It brightens everything. You just shine River boy. 

-My second favorite thing you do is stretch your arms above your head and yawn when you wake up. It's something you would see on a cartoon ya know? I need to take a picture next time.. 

-Ryan and I are planning a few hikes for this summer and we are ordering a little back pack thing for you to ride in. With a name like River we are hoping you like the outdoors as much as us! If you're a chess playing indoorsmen we might need to change your name. ;)

-We love you River. I hope you feel it. 

to river

Sunday, February 1, 2015

-Two of the cutest moments happened this week with Bernie and your Dad. You love them so much!

-You have been so much fun these past few days. The non-stop crying has simmered down a bit. (for now anyway) You poor colicky babe! (and poor us...) I've been off dairy for 3 weeks and I sure miss my pizza but it's worth it. Your poor belly couldn't handle it all! And holy cow I'm so glad that Oreos exist. They are vegan thank goodness and they help with my dairy cravings.

- You're still a tall skinny guy, but we are slowing getting some fat on you!

-I  started you on a sleeping schedule this week (I honestly didn't know I was supposed to do that until a few days ago hahah) It's helped a lot with your grumpiness. 

-I've always loved newborns but I've always been a little intimidated by them. People always said that will change when it's your own. Ummm no. Way scarier when it's your own. But you're getting bigger and less fragile so Dad and I are starting to be a little less freaked out by you.

-I over heard your Dad singing Simon & Garfunkel to you last night when he was putting you to sleep. I think you prefer that over Taylor Swift because he puts you to sleep a lot faster than I can. 

-After your Dad put you to sleep the other night and we were laying in bed I said to him, "River and I starting to be such good friends."  

-You have so many cousins that love you already. You still have a few more of the Falateas to meet. You'll love them! You kept watching Owen and smiling at him when he was at our house a few days ago. I was freaking out and saying, "Guys look at him smile at Owen!! Oh my gosshhhhhhhh!" I think I even clapped my hands for you because I was so happy about it. Your Auntie Jodie, Uncle Clay, and Dad looked at me like I was crazy. It's just fun to see you connecting with people. It makes me proud! 

-You loooovvvee your carseat. You fall asleep like 5 seconds after I put you in it.

-You hate being swaddled but I do it anyway because you don't stay asleep if you are out of it. 

-Bernie slept by your crib for the first time a couple nights ago. It just melted my heart when I walked into your room that morning! 

-You love going on runs with me and Bernie. You look up at the sky with your cute eyes squinting! 

-I miss your Uncle Tony so much. I hate how the world and everyone just keeps moving and going and we are all still trying to figure out how to live in a world where Tony is gone from. I know it's how it goes but it still hurts. I'm so angry. It's all just not fair. 

-I'm still so amazed with how wonderful people are. People are so giving and thoughtful. 

-When I was pregnant with you I was able to see Tony at least once a week and we would talk about how excited we were to meet you and I would fill him in on everything going on in our life. I would always poke my big belly out for him so he could see it getting bigger and bigger. He would always laugh and say, "Woah! Gettin big Sam!" I just hate that I can't talk to him about you. I know he would get a kick out of you looking like Marky Mark. 

-It's so fun getting to know you more. You are starting to engage with us more and it's just the best thing ever.

-You are sooo active and strong! I think you are going to be a wild man. 

-I'm counting down the days until President's Day weekend. I need to see all my siblings! And they need to hold you and snuggle you! 

-I've had a few people tell me you look like Kase! He was thrilled when he heard. He told Auntie Storm, "I must be famous!" 

-You get your dimple from your Dad but I posted a video the other day and a couple people said, "He has Tony's dimples!" I love that I see a little of your Dad and your Uncle every time you smile.

-Your Auntie Jessie came to visit yesterday and we went and walked the Bonneville Shoreline Trail. It got me really excited for all the hiking we are going to do this year with you!

-You are such a smily little babe. Holy cow! We are loving it!

-Every day is an adventure with you bud. I love being your mom!

river's birth story.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

I'm sitting here writing this while River sleeps next to me. I have a feeling this will all be very jumbled and all over the place, but that'll mirror perfectly how River's birth was like. 

I'm not sure where to start so I will jump right in. I was just over 38 weeks when I started to feel painful contractions. I had felt Braxton Hicks the last couple weeks but these were different. They started at night and were about 6 minutes apart most of the night. I thought that we were good to go and this was it! Ryan and I got really excited. Then they stopped. Haha! Ryan went to work and I went about my week doing last minute things before the big day. 

Since I found out I was pregnant and due Dec 20th, my mom and I have been hoping the babe would be born the 15th because that's my Grandpa Ron's birthday. But after our false alarm a few days before, I kind of thought River was never going to come. And that for sure he would be late. I tried thinking like that so I wouldn't go crazy wanting him to be here. I didn't want my last days with just Ryan and I to be me wishing the days away. Saturday the 13th I started to feel contractions again. These were stronger. I accidentally woke Ryan up because I was groaning in pain. It was about 1am and we started timing them. They were 3 to 4 minutes apart and were very consistent. My doula suggested that during early labor it's best to distract yourself. So I went to put on Cone Heads for us to watch (so random hahaha) and decided on The Italian Job instead. We watched that and a few episodes of The Office. I labored all night long with my contractions getting stronger. Then around 8am they stopped being as consistent. All day Sunday I was contracting but they were about 30 minutes apart. My mom wanted to drive up from Wyoming but I didn't want it to be another false alarm and have her drive all this way to just have to drive back. It was snowy that day and I didn't want to worry about her driving in it for no reason. She kept insisting but I kept telling her to stay home. Around 7pm Sunday night they started to get way more intense. I was having a harder time breathing through them and they were about 2 to 3 minutes apart again. I didn't want to get my hopes up so we just breathed through them and I tried to sleep in-between them. Then at 1am they were pretty dang intense. I was pacing around and groaning and scaring the crap out of Bernie. hahah. Ryan kept asking if he should call my mom and our doula Treana but I kept saying no. Finally at 1:40am I had Ryan call my mom. I remember saying, "I want my mom... and Katlin." (my little sister) My mom told me later she woke up wide awake at 1:30am thinking that I was in labor. (My mom and I have always had this weird twin thing going on where we know things before they happen especially with each other and other family members hahah) I kept saying to Ryan "don't let my mom drive this late. Don't let her drive in this snow! Have her come in the morning." My mom said she tried getting sleep but ended up leaving around 4am to head to Logan.  Around 2am at our house things were started to get really intense. I was having a hard time relaxing and knew I needed my doula Treana there. Right when she walked into our house and I heard her voice and her coaching I felt calmer. She helped me through every contraction and made it more of a calm and peaceful (but still painful) experience. I have to add this because it's kind of funny. The only comfortable position was on Bernie's bed kneeling on it while my head rested on the couch. I labored at home until 4:30 and they started to be about 2 minutes apart but with River being Posterior my "breaks" didn't feel like breaks because I felt a constant contraction in my back. At 4:30 we decided to head to the hospital because I knew the glorious jet tub was there waiting for me. 

On the way to the hospital I made Ryan run a red light which is worth mentioning because Ryan is such a rule follower. I just loved that he did that for me! When we got to the hospital the nurse checked me and said I was at a 7. I was so happy! I thought I can totally do this natural! Go me! WOooooooo! It was like a party in my brain that I had made it that far. Hahah. My contractions were so painful and that dang constant contraction in my back. Ouchie. But then I got in the tub. I mean it didn't completely take the pain away but man did it help! While I was laboring in the tub Ryan kept trying to rub my shoulders and touch me to comfort me and I kept saying, "I'm sorry babe, but your hands are way too heavy. You're just so heavy." He kept sniffing and my doula Treana got him something for his "allergies." I found out later that he was crying. It was hard on poor Ryan to see me in pain. I kept asking for my mom and when Ryan said that she was in Preston I remember thinking.. That is too far away.. Ahhhh that's so far away! Then just like that she was there! It was such a nice boost to see my mom. Jessie my sweet sister in law (who left at 4am to be our birth photographer. what a sweetheart!!!) arrived around the same time my mom did. It felt so great to have them there. During my labor the feelings I had were so interesting. I just wanted the people I loved most there with me. So I labored in the tub for about 4 hours. It was my favorite part of my unmedicated labor. I felt relaxed and calm and I was kicking butt with the contractions.

So I was starting to feel pressure to push (or I thought I was) So I wanted to be checked to see where I was. Well with 4 hours of labor I was still at a 7. I was still trying to keep my spirits up and stay positive that I could do this unmedicated.  We decided to have my doctor break my water. After that my nurse and doula said we needed to try laboring on my side because we needed to have him turn. This is when labor became unbearable for me. The contractions were so much worse and I felt completely out of control.

I was sweating like a pig and I just kept asking if I could go back in the tub. They said I could go to the shower but I'd still need to labor on my side. That was the worst position possible for me but I did it because I knew River needed to turn. There was a point during those contractions where I was in so much pain and I was moaning and I'm sure I looked pretty miserable. I opened my eyes and looked down at Ryan. Poor guy was crying pretty good. It made me panic a little to see Ryan so stressed and sad. I decided to get checked again to see what progress I had made laboring on my side for 2.5 hours. I was still at a 7. I tried a couple more contractions on my side and then asked for an epidural. After I got my epidural and I got very emotional.  I was shaking uncontrollably and I felt so upset with myself that I was too weak to do this unmedicated. I was feeling pretty down in the dumps about it all. But that quickly went away because my doula and my mom kept telling me, "you tried your hardest. you gave it your all." And then I switched over to being really proud of myself. I tried my hardest and then when I couldn't do it anymore I got help. (by the way I'm so grateful for modern medicine, that epidural was such a blessing) So at 11:00 am (about an hour after my epidural) they checked me again and I was at 10 just like that! My body really needed that epidural. Haha.

So the nurse said that we would wait an hour before I started pushing. I kept telling Ryan and my mom I was scared. My mom kept saying pushing is the good part. I was scared because I knew my doctor was going to have to turn River and I thought for sure my epidural would be worn off by then. I told my doula why I was scared and she said that the epidural is pumping medicine in me every 15 minutes. I was soooo relieved with this news! I had no idea. Because of my natural birth plan I didn't do much research on epidurals. I thought it was one shot (like at the dentist) and your pain free for a bit and then it wears off. I felt pretty great after hearing that news. And by the way.. I loved my epidural. I could still feel pressure and my contractions and I could still move my legs! 

12:00pm came and it was time to start pushing. Yay! I pushed... and pushed... and pushed for a couple hours. The nurse told me that doctors typically don't like you pushing past 3 hours but we all thought for sure I wouldn't have to push that long. Well 3 hours came and I was still pushing!

 River's heart rate was doing great so my doctor said I could push for about 20 more minutes and then we would talk about using the vacuum. I was determined to get this baby out without the vacuum so I pushed my hardest during those 20 minutes. The doctor came in and told me the risks of the vacuum and told me that River was too far down to get a c-section. I was sick. She left the room and I lost it. I kept saying, "I just want River to be safe. I just want River to be safe." I felt defeated and didn't really know what to do. I was exhausted emotionally and physically. And then my mom said, "you have a visitor." I was pissed! Who in the hell is visiting right now?! hahah. And then my dad walked in. Seeing my dad was the boost I needed. I asked him if Tony would be released and he said he would be. You'll see in the video how happy I was to see my Dad and Jessie got my reaction on video after he told me I would be able to see my brother soon. I am so grateful for that moment that Jessie happened to record. It will be so wonderful for River to watch that in a few years so he can know even more how much his Uncle is loved. My dad quickly left the room after he came and gave me a hug. He's a pretty private guy and I could tell he was super freaked out to see his daughter in that state. Hahah! I kept asking him to come back but it was probably good for him to be out of the room for his sake. I was soooo motivated after seeing my Dad. The doctor came in and I asked if I could keep pushing. She said, "Yes. You're strong. I know you can do this." (ummm my doctor was amazing by the way. I highly recommend Dr. Erica Smith!) So here I am 3.5 hours in of pushing and I wanted so badly to do this without a vacuum. I pushed my little heart out and at 4 hours and 10 minutes later he was here! The first thing I thought when I saw him was, "holy cone-head!!" hahaha. You hear your whole life how wonderful that feeling is when you hear your baby cry for the first time. It's heaven. I requested skin on skin for an hour before they weighed River and all that stuff.  That skin on skin time with River for the next hour felt was perfect. The most perfect moments I have ever felt.

All photos and video taken by Ryan's sister Jessie. See her work here.
Video edited by my sweet frien Nicole. See her work here.

A few thoughts and random memories from our birth story that I didn't really know where to fit in. :)

-My labor sounds kind of like a nightmare but it wasn't. There were scary parts, times I wanted to give up, and it's the most pain I've ever felt. But gosh am I lucky that everything went smoothly and River and I are both healthy. And I'm dang proud of our birth story. I feel like a rockstar man! I'm so grateful to be a woman and that I was able to experience child birth. I will forever be grateful. 

-This lady nurse kept trying to take River away from me to dry him off and do whatever she had planned. I kept saying, "stop! leave him alone, I requested skin to skin. Stop!!!" hahaha. We kind of played tug-a-war with River for a bit until my doula interviened. Hahah. This was also the nurse that walked in right before my last 2 pushes and said loudly, "She has been pushing for over 4 hours?! What in the world?" I quickly said to Ryan, "She needs to shut up." My sweet doula gave her a little chat and nicely told her to shush. I was so pissed at that nurse but it's so fun to laugh about that now.

-Ryan was so amazing through the whole thing. Poor guy wanted to take my pain away and felt so helpless. Even though he was miserable he stood by my side and was such a strength to me throughout the entire thing. That's Ryan though. He's my rock and always has been.  

-I was super lovey dovey during my labor. I kept telling Ryan how much I loved him over and over again throughout the labor. My doula kept laughing about how affectionate I was with him during the process.

-Jessie was so wonderful to have there. She was there for over 12 hours to capture the whole thing and she did it perfectly.

-I'm so grateful my mom and dad were there for River's birth. I am so close to my parents and having them there was so perfect. I can't thank my Mom enough for all she has done to help with River. 

-And can I just said my doula saved us?? She was such a wonderful coach and made my crazy labor such a beautiful experience. If you are planning on a natural birth or medicated birth or giving birth in a field I highly recommend hiring a doula. What a calming force she was. 

-I love you so much River.