Fatigue and Tender Mercies

30 November 2016

Yesterday was a really difficult day for me.  I was so fatigued.  During my morning feeding with Charlotte, I did my scripture study and said a prayer.  Lately I have been praying that I can have God's little influences with me, and I can recognize them.  I needed to remember that I do receive answers and guidance from Above, and I needed to sharpen my senses to know how those answers are coming to me.  That will be very important in my motherhood journey.

Plus in my most recent reading of the Book of Mormon, I've noted many instances of God revealing pretty crucial information only after a person asks.  Like a leader in an army will ask for guidance, and then he'll receive a strategy that causes him to win a vital war. So yesterday morning I knelt day and asked for elp.

And then throughout the day, amidst the difficulty of meeting all demands through a shroud of dehabilitating fatigue, I sensed God's little touch.  They came distinctly to my mind as alternate responses in different situations.  Instead of responding to impulses in my natural mind way, I would get a sensation, "Instead say this."  Which was always full of more grace and maturity than if left to just myself.

Once I noted it happening multiple times; I caught on to God assisting me.  I love that His power is there so acutely if I just ask for it.  And I love that He doesn't leave me to just stumble around like a tired, irritable, newbie mom, but He shows me so clearly how to be a better me right in the moment.

Upward and onward,

image source


29 November 2016

I'm walking Charlotte home from a neighbor's house.  She watched Charlotte while I ran to the dentist really fast.  She snuggled into her pink polka -dot blanket, and I carry her so carefully across the snow and ice.  She is like my little treasure that I'm scurrying home.

I approach our house and it looks so snuggly.  Tucked into the snowy trees.  The mountains blazing white behind it.  I feel so blessed in that moment.  I have a husband, a little babe, and a little yellow home.

Upward and onward,

Dear Charlotte:

23 November 2016


I wish I had words big enough to tell you how much I love you. Pictures don't even do you justice for how precious you are. I have moments where I feel so strongly about you that I'm overcome to almost tears. You mean a lot to me. I feel so blessed that you came to earth as our Child. These last couple of weeks have been so magical as Ryan and I have been tucked away in our house, holding you and loving you, with snow starting to fall around and snuggle us inside even more. I can't wait to know you more. I love you so so much.

Every night, Ryan and I snuggle on our big bed with you. You lay on our chests so serenely.  I want to fill my house with children like you.  I want to sit on the floor with all of you and talk with you and teach you.

I want to show you how to live as a beautiful person. I want to teach you how to see everything with respect and wonder. I want to brighten your minds. I want to laugh with you.

Daddy and I love you!


Bring a Baby Into the World

22 November 2016

As more time goes on, I can feel the swelling pride.  The glowing "uh-huh, yeah, I did that."

I gave birth to Charlotte.  I labored mightily, and I pushed her out.  I brought her into this world.

And I do love emitting a good effort for a generous outcome.

I remember as time was approaching for Charlotte's birth, I had a blend of sheer excitement and undertones of trepidation.  A month and a half before her arrival time, I wrote in my journal:

The expectation of labor is not to be pain-free.  Or even make it through super fast.  The expectation is just to deliver my baby.  That I can do.

The expectation is to bring Charlotte into the world.  I can remember that in labor and think: I am doing that.  I am doing that!.  (I mean, of course I will do that, by the laws of nature.  She won't be pushed from my womb as a teenager).
 As hard as it was, Charlotte's labor is actually pretty dang cool to think about.

I also never want to forget how much my life converted to love when Charlotte was born.  I felt SO much love from people.  I have the most incredible friends.


Upward and onward,


A Day in the Life with Little Buddy

Good morning, Charlotte!  Looks like your cute little hands broke free last night, haha!  So cute!  
(But seriously, any time Charlotte moves or doesn't move or changes clothes or poops her diaper, I need a picture of it).

Last night was a great night of quick feedings and back to sleep.  You woke up twice and let mama sleep until 10.  She feels so rested and has until 10:30 to go to the bathroom and do every possible normal morning item before you wake up.  

Once you're awake, you cluster feed and snuggle for a few hours, while mama works with one hand and sings little songs for you.  (I need to take a self-study on baby lullabies because I'm quickly running dry on material). Around 2, you finally doze off for another nap, and mama blazes through some more work before it's time for your pediatrician appointment.

You and mama sit in the pediatrician's office, waiting for him to come do the heel prick - PKU testing.  Mom hates seeing you cry from pain.  Mama can distinguish your needs from your type of cry, but that is a cry that breaks her heart.

The pediatrician says repeatedly what a perfectly healthy baby you are.  Go Charlotte.  You weigh 8 lbs and 15 oz. at this 2 week appointment.  You are already so strong!  Your chiropractor says you're a gymnast in the making!

Afterwards, mama takes you grocery shopping.  This is perhaps the most enjoyable grocery trip she's ever had because you are so precious to look at.  Mama shops slow and just enjoys her time with you.  You sleep the whole time because you have been awake most of the day.

 Mama takes you home and you are ready for dinner.  Mama has to jump in a call with a tax client in California and nurses you while she talks.  You let out tiny little farts the whole time, and mom giggles into her hand.  You curl up into mom after you are full just like a little kitten.  These are some of her favorite moments of the day.  She calls you her kitty cat and basically pets you, while telling you what a special little girl you are.

Then right at the end of the call, you tuck your face underneath mama's arm and throw up.  It's wonderfully-timed.

 Right then, daddy walks through the front door!  He immediately comes to find you and sweeps you into his arms.  Mama catches his face on camera as he picks you up for the first time today.  He loves you so so much!  Mama nearly cries from the sight of you two.

Daddy swaddles you in his jacket.  He carries you around tucked deep inside, bringing you around the bed so mom can peer into his jacket and see your little eyes looking all around.  Mom and dad laugh and laugh.  They laugh because you are just so cute!

We all enjoy some dinner and snuggles.  You doze off again, and dad goes outside to work on the yard, while mama does a little post-natal workout and catches up on your scrapbook. 

Then, Little Buddy, you beat us to bed.  

We love you so much, and no matter what you do, it's the cutest thing in the world.  We can't stop staring at you and taking pictures of you.  Being parents to you is so fun!  We feel so blessed, and this is such a happy time.

Upward and onward,

Book Review | A Return to Love

 A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson

Some parts I loved! And others really did not resonate with me.  Definitely a hit and miss book but still worth it!   Below are my favorite excepts from it.


We're like the spokes of a wheel, all radiating out from the same center.  If you define us according to our position on the rim, we seem separate and distinct from one another.  But if you define us according to our starting point, our source--the center of the wheel--were a shared identity.

The word "sin" means loveless perception.  It is an archery term.  I means "you missed the mark."  So God isn't angry at our sins because they're not really happening.  He doesn't see sins, but only errors in perception.

There are people who have lived on the earth, and perhaps there are people living her now, whose minds have been completely healed by the Holy Spirit.  They have been purified of fearful thoughts and only love remains within their minds.  Enlightened beings don't have anything we don't have.  They have perfect love inside, and so do we.  The difference is that they don't have anything else.  

There's a myth that some people are more faithful than others.  A truer statement is that in some areas, some of us are more surrendered than others.

To place something in the hands of God is to give it over, mentally, to the protection and care of the beneficence of the universe.  To keep it ourselves means to constantly grab and clutch and manipulate. 

When we love, we are automatically placing ourselves within an attitudinal and behavioral context that leads to an unfoldment of events at the hightest level of good for everyone involved.

 Our greatest tool for changing the world is our capacity to change our mind about the world.

Past, present, and future are not continuous unless you force continuity upon them.

That is why so much anger is often aroused in our closest relationships.  We're projecting onto someone else the rage we feel against ourselves for cutting off our own love.

Five minutes spent with Him in the morning (doing serious practice of prayer or mediation) guarantees that He will be in charge of our thought forms throughout the day.

We achieve so little because we have undisciplined minds:  we instinctively go into paranoid or judgmental, fearful reactions instead of loving ones.  Meditation disciplines the mind.  When we meditate, our brains literally emit different brain waves.  We receive information at a deeper level than we do during normal waking consciousness.

Spiritual growth is not about becoming more metaphysically complicated, but rather it is about growing simpler, as these very basic principles begin to permeate more and more deeply into our thought system.

Spiritually powerful people are not necessarily people who do so much, as they are people around whom things get done. 

Returned to Love

21 November 2016

Today I was able to talk with Kelli over 1200 miles away, while she edited photos and I nursed Charlotte.  I felt incredibly lighter after talking with her.  I really value my friendships where every part of you can be laid bare.

Charlotte has caused a transformation of my life in a lot of ways.  But one of the biggest indirect ways is how she has completely opened my doors for feeling love.

I totally believe that "Baby Blues" is a real thing, but for me, I wonder if it started at the tail end of third trimester for me.  I was so blocked.  I could not feel love coming to me to any degree.  And thus, I did not feel even remotely safe to love.  (outside of my relationship with Ryan.  That is always my anchor of love.  But for awhile, that was the only love I could feel, and the only love I could give.

I tried to meditate out of it; pray out of it; read books, including "Return to Love" by Marianne Williamson.  But for whatever reason, I was just shut down.  And it was a sad place.  I was very sad.

And then Charlotte was born.  And the love from people has been rushing in.  People long in my past, dear friends that have moved away.  Love from every angle and every person.  And it was so completely overwhelming for me.  I had forgotten how much love exists out there.

And most blessed of all, I became more open to sharing my love.  I began seeking connection again.  I began feeling safe and wanting to be near people again.  And of course this opened my heart up to Charlotte.  I became capable of loving her

Upward and onward,

image source

A Husband and a Father

19 November 2016

I am so grateful for Ryan.  Last night was a really difficult evening for me.  The slow drain of sleep caught up to me, paired with a rampant full-body itchiness that has been plaguing me really bad at bedtime.  So last night, during the precious hours we should have been resting, Ryan was running a large ziploc bag full of ice over my bare skin to calm the itchiness, and I was just feeling down

love being a mom to Charlotte.  But I still feel like I am a little child inside.  I mean, I still have demons to fight.  I still have virtues to work on.  I still have a little me inside that needs work! 

So I retired to our closet, shut the door behind me, and knelt down.  This means it's serious.  I'd already been in this location once earlier in the week, where I shed many tears, and I prayed out loud telling Heavenly Father exactly what I'm afraid of and what I'm feeling.  And then I expressed to Him what I envision for my family and what I really, really want for our little clan. 

So I did that again last night.  And this time, Ryan came in behind me and sat in our closet with me.  We talked for a long time, and he helped me feel so much better.  I value him so much for his steadiness, and I always praise him for this quality.  He's not shaken by things easily; he's very even-kill in his moods.  He's so patient and gentle, all the time.  So of course parenting is second nature to him because he cannot be riled by anything.  And life flows so well and evenly for him.  Whereas for me, I feel jolted, overwhelmed, sad, and on.  So he said that in these times, I can put more of my burdens on him.  He wants me to put more of my burdens on him.  So like last night, I clearly needed rest, so he took on Charlotte by himself for the whole night.

I love him so much!

Upward and onward,


Carrie Underwood Concert

Ryan took me to a Carrie Underwood concert last night.  Floor tickets!  This was our first date since Charlotte was born a few weeks ago!


I've been to a few concerts in my life; I'm really not a big concert-goer.  I mean, one time a date took me to a piano concert, and I fell asleep.  I really liked the music!  But I liked it so much that it relaxed me into dreamland.

However, this was much different.  Carrie came on stage, and I stared at her for so long that I drooled.  She is like a goddess!  And she was soooooo close!  I was totally engrossed in all the lights and effects and moving stage.  I mean, this was a serious production!  I kinda just thought she'd stand on the stage and sing, but nooooooo.  How understimulating for us overstimulated Americans. 

It was incredible!  I had waaaay too good of a time, and I would gladly go to another concert again.  But with that being said, we did ditch out early so that we could go home to our baby.  (Also, because we were very very tired.  Parents of a newborn.  Go figure). 

Upward and onward,

Mmmm.  What a handsome fellow!  I love this picture of Ryan!

Chantel & Charlotte Slumber Party

18 November 2016

Charlotte and I had a sleepover last night.

Ryan was so tired yesterday, so we wanted to give him some rest.  So when Charlotte wasn't settling into her rocker in the middle of the night, she and I went to the nursery, and we slept like two little girls on the same twin bed, holding hands for most of the night. In the morning, Charlotte and I just laid side by side and observed each other. Then she had some breakfast. When she was finished and was a little fussy, I patted her back, rocked her, and sang lullabies. When I laid her back on the bed, her eyes followed me as I sang softly next to her. Then I put her on my stomach, and she let out a huge belch. She then nuzzled right into me and went to sleep.

She is so sweet.  Little Miss Charlotte.

Upward and onward,

Part 2: Our Little Buddy is Born!

16 November 2016

(Part 1 and Part 3).


Ryan has headed off to mutual for awhile, so I have decided to write some more about Charlotte's birth and the following days. 

So in my last post, I am delivering Charlotte.  I share the intensity, the adrenaline, the power, the pride of myself as the most powerful animal on earth for a couple moments in time.

This post is the softening, the processing, the shifting.

Today, Charlotte is eleven days old, and it feels like I've lived a full life in that time.  Talk about torrential downpour of emotion and transition, like I'm on a ride at the fair that is misprogrammed to an unsupervised speed.  And yet, time moves so soft and sweetly and sloooowly that the world doesn't seem to be rotating anymore.  I remember the three or so days after birth, the title of one of my favorite songs kept looping in my mind: "The World Spins Madly On." Like a part of me had to be reminded that a world continued to exist outside the walls of our home.

So, let's go back to delivery day.  Several hours after Charlotte's birth, my placenta has been delivered, I'm all stitched up, I am hooked to an IV because of my high loss of blood, and I've been given several shots in the thigh because my uterus wasn't hardening to stimulate blood clotting.  (You thought the fun stopped at the birth of the baby?  ;) Well, it. does. not.)

And now, Charlotte is in a bassinet on one side of me, and Ryan is in bed on the other side of me.  My midwife and apprentice doulas surround us, one still rubbing my arm and holding my hand.  They tuck us in bed and say their good nights for the evening.  They depart and close the door of our room, the same room of Charlotte's arrival hours earlier.

Our new family is alone together for the first time.

The adrenaline rush of the last 24 hours begins a mild settling, and all I can do is weep.  I cannot find a place to start processing the enormous whirlwind of birth.

Ryan and I huddle close together in bed, grab hands, and I request that we take turns noting the highlights of the day.  Everything else is just too much for me.  We share softly, our foreheads close together, appreciating the moments that the other found so special.  Then we decide to have Ryan administer priesthood blessings for Charlotte and myself.  He comes around the bed and places his large hands on Charlotte's tiny head.  He gives her her first blessing on Earth, blessing her with safety and a quick recovery.  Then he reaches over her and places his hands on my head, offering me similar blessings of a quick and healthy recovery, and expressing Heavenly Father's love for me and what I have just done.

Afterwards, Ryan retreats to the bathroom to finish getting ready for bed, and he can overhear me talking softly to Charlotte.  That is the first moment she and I had.  I felt like I should greet her properly and help comfort her after all her hard work and long day as well.  I don't remember anything of what I said, but Ryan says he loved listening to me; it melted his heart to hear my voice whispering to her.  He remembers very distinctly that I talked with her openly about my birthing experience with her and telling her that I've been through other really hard times in life.  Then I told her through my tears:

The world is very hard sometimes.  But we will make the best of it.  I will teach you what I've done.

The next day, Ryan and I are ready to go home.  We sit on the bed and talk with both my midwives, of which my primary midwife stayed up all night at the birth center, taking care of us and finishing up my clinical records.

We arrive home and welcome Charlotte to her house!  My mom shows up several hours later.

The next several days are a tumble of emotions and continual transformation of my body.  Due to all these changes, for the first three days, I felt so disconnected from Charlotte.  All I associated her with was pain.  And when she came close to me, that only meant more discomfort to me.  Ryan later recalled to me that each time she was brought to me for nursing, I would begin shaking and could hardly hold her.  I would watch as Ryan held her, and lifted her, and talked with her, and loved her.  And I couldn't yet do that; I couldn't even kiss her because of cold sores that had arrived from all the stress inside my body.  I felt lower and lower.  I remember reading my Book of Mormon in these first couple of days and feeling a sweet, sweet peace.  Just a small comfort to my soul that all would be well.

And each passing day, a new pain would arrive.  On the evening of the third day, I began to experience stinging symptoms of a UTI.  Oh joy!  Welcome to the party!  If there is any other intolerable consequence of child birth, please join us!  Luckily, Mr. Hemorrhoid did not come to my party.  But nevertheless, I just cried.  There was just no release.  One thing after the next.  I physically and emotionally could not keep up with all that was happening to me.  And I couldn't even feel comfortable or connected to this baby I just delivered.  My best friend Chelsea, who is now a doula in Idaho, reassured me of this normalcy in so many new mothers.  And Joelle and Steffanie also comforted me and helped me feel better about this transition.  I felt extreme gratitude for the support and understanding of my friends.

Ultimately, however, because of all the pain I was in, we had to call my midwife, and she came over to my house at 10:30 that evening.  She and I sat and talked for quite awhile, and she brought pills from her own cupboard to help me.  She was so understanding and loving.  I wish she could be the midwife for everyone.

Then on the fourth day, a switch.  For one, I had my placenta encapsulated, and I had begun taking the pills, which are not only extremely nutritious but largely help with recovery.  It absolutely leveled out my hormones and helped me emotionally cope so much better.

And the prized moment, indicating this shift- I was in my bedroom, all alone with Charlotte, deciding that I would like to try nursing in complete privacy.  Just to allow myself a little more space.  Processing is best done in solidarity for me.  I remember Charlotte in her pink-striped footies.  Thumper jammies, as Ryan calls them.  She was wrapped in the absolute softest pink polka-dot blanket.  The touch of it to my skin is exquisite.  My own baby blanket was folded at the foot of my bed, just as it has been my whole life.  And I had my "spa" station playing on Pandora.  I settled comfortably against my pillows and brought Charlotte to me to begin nursing.  I braced the pain, breathed deeply, reactively flexed my feet with such vigor.  And after a little time, we were off - she was latched and swallowing rhythmically.

And there I held her, letting her entire hand grip my finger so tightly.  Her cheeks moving with the sucking and swallowing.  Her eyes closed and soft.  Her whole face tender right against me.  And I just sat in the whiteness of my room, the sun coming in the window on my back, our white down comforter cushioning and enfolding me, and the melodic music floating around us.  And I just watched her, letting myself feel proud to be her vessel of nutrients, feeling very satisfied and achieved. And ultimately, I felt connected to her.  I felt like this was my little being.  To love, and nourish, and hold.

And that moment was our beginning. 


And some photos my midwife texted to me last night of the delivery:

That braid in my hair is Ryan's doing.  After 10 hours of laboring, I was tired of sweeping my hair out of my face, so he braided it for me.

Look at Charlotte's little hand clinging to my bra.  I LOVE it!  Her head is green, because my midwife applied chlorophyll to help my body widen and loosen for her head's grand entrance.


Zombie Mom

Today has been a rickety day of motherhood for me.

Even though yesterday was the day I spent cleaning pee out of the carpet and then mustard poop off our gorgeously white down comforter, today was the day I felt completely spent.  To my mother friends, I am getting it.  I am getting your world.  Yesterday I was so gleeful. I sang to Charlotte the entire day long; I nursed her with encouragement and exuberance; I talked with her and taught her about whatever came to my mind.  But then a night of poor rest, and zap.  I am a zombie.  No singing.  Limp nursing.  I just let overflowing milk run down my arms and legs and dry to stickiness.  My anxiety kept saying, "Let's extrapolate this to when you have two kids, three kids, FOUR KIDS, and you've been doing this for ten years, and your life is crazy!  Think about THAT."  I told it to shut up.  I only have one child.  I only have one child.  

I did take a little breezy nap with Charlotte on my chest, and that was good.  Ryan also took Charlotte and I to the chiropractor today, and the chiropractor was amazed at her strength, particularly in her neck.  This girl is so strong.  He says I have a gymnast in the making.

Upward and onward,

Part 1: Our Little Buddy is Born!

14 November 2016

(Part 2 and Part 3).


Our baby girl has arrived.  Charlotte Rae. 

ooooh man.

In the middle of the night, when I hover over her and tell her how precious she is, I am Golem.

Here's all the facts.  She was born at 6:17pm on November 5.  She weighed 8 lb. and 9 oz.  Her body was 21.5 inches long, and her head was 13.5 inches in diameter.  She is a healthy baby.  She truly is strong and sturdy and developed in a lot of ways.  And, has quite the reserve of healthy fat stores.  Which my midwives say is fantastic to see on a newborn, and that means that I did a good job eating my healthy fats during pregnancy.

Ryan and I just feel so blessed to have a child.  When things feel right in order, I feel indescribable peace.

My labor began on Friday after Mike and Christy left our house after watching a movie.  Which was all a huge joke, because just over 6 months ago, Christy went into labor the night that Ryan and I went over to their house to watch a movie.  Pizza and a movie.  That did her in.  So they came over to our place as a joke to get Charlotte out.  And lo and behold, they leave and my labor begins.  (Though, I wouldn't say that really did the trick.  I did a couple other natural inducers that day, and I believe it was the acupuncture).

Anyways, I knew it was the start of my labor because I started experiencing contractions that were acute enough to be the real deal!  I'll never forget how when I woke Ryan up around 1:30, he leaped out of bed with excitement and finished putting the final items in our hospital bag.  Aka: our laundry basket.  Because you never know how things will go, and Ryan's mom and sisters progressed fast.  Well, not me.  At least for this first labor.  I spent the next 11 hours laboring at home, and Ryan and I did our best to sleep between each contraction - which was not a lot.

The next morning, the contractions weren't following the set criteria for density and duration that signals you to call your midwife.  But, they were getting considerably more intense and painful.  At 11:30 am, we took our peach toast and laundry basket out the door and headed to the birth center.

I then labored for 7 unceasing, nearly unbearable hours at the birthing center.

I'll skip all the intricacies of the hard and heavy labor.  Perhaps, I'll share that later.  But I will just speak on "The Ring of Fire." Which is the burning sensation women get as the baby's head is being puuuuuuushed out.  Oh my gosh that was the most insane sensation I have ever experienced.  When I recall it, I feel a reverberation back into my animal side.  That's what my midwife told me after the labor experience - women have their human side, the logical mind trying to think through the process, and they have their animal side, which makes the experience less lucid and more just bearing down within the natural forces of nature.  Woman must turn into their animal brain in order to meet the work of natural labor.  It is true.  Ryan said through The Ring of Fire, I was a beast.  After several pushing contractions, my midwives and apprentices said lots of wow's and then remarked that I am clearly a woman meant to have babies.  Ha!  Ryan said he has never seen someone in his life exert so much strength and force from the entirety of their body.  I was sitting on him in the birthing pool, and he said at every contraction and time to push, he could feel every last muscle in my body turn to iron, and I became a beast.  How savage and incredible!  During The Ring of Fire, I was the most superior and powerful animal on earth.

The next few days, my muscles were so sore, and I kept asking Ryan, "Why would this muscle be sore?  When did I use my triceps in labor?  My traps too?"  And he would keep telling me about the time I turned into a beast, pulling with all my force on his arms as I pushed, and I would relish in the feeling of being animal queen for those minutes.

I remember other moments too.  Like one of my apprentice doulas squatting in front of me on the floor, while I surged through contraction after contraction.  And after the intensity was releasing, she would say, "Let that one go.  You will never have to worry about that contraction again.  It's completely over and done.  That one is gone and you did it."  And I would let it go.  And I would let the next one go.  And the next one.  I loved that.

The birthing experience is indescribable.  Right after delivery, I felt like an entire tsunami had stormed through my body.  Like every last part of my insides had been dislodged and thrashed.  And once Charlotte became the newest angel to enter Earth, I laid there on the bed, getting stitched up by my midwife, and I looked at Ryan with tears in my eyes and felt horrified.  I felt erupted - body and mind.  And I found such irony that he was wearing the triathlon T-shirt from our race over two years ago, because at the end of that race is the only other time I remember feeling so traumatized inside my body.  Except the way I felt overwhelmed at the end of that race was not near to the degree at which I felt so after Charlotte was born.

Charlotte's labor was incredibly intense and difficult.  But, I did it. :) 
(I mean, you couldn't stop the force of birth if you wanted too....)

I end for now.  Our Little Princess will be awake soon.

She's cooing in her sleep.  :)

Upward and onward,

My Magnificent Path

07 November 2016

Ryan gave me a priesthood blessing just a few hours after Charlotte's birth.  The blessing reiterated many times that my health and strength will be restored quickly.  But I also remember distinctly:

Heavenly Father has a magnificent path laid out for me.

He is most certainly preparing the way for me and that path.

That blows my mind to think about and also gives me unending peace.

Upward and onward,