Friday, January 31, 2014

"And trusting my all to His tender care"

I came across this entry from this past October in the notes section of my phone.  Apparently I was touched by a hymn in church. What is it about Sunday School that makes me so easily distracted and eager to write?

"And trusting my all to thy tender care, and knowing thou lovest me.
I'll do thy will with a heart sincere, i'll be what you want me to be."

I don't know why it's my turn to be a mother.  I don't feel ready.  But I feel strongly that my Heavenly Father has a plan not only for me, but for my daughter.  Those lyrics hit me, that He is trusting His all to me- a perfect daughter, and He loves her.  Now the task to do His will with a heart sincere is even more important- my willingness doesn't only affect me, but also our daughter.  That pronoun "our" is becoming poignant to me.  I consider this little spirit who is joining our family to be His daughter, but now she is also mine and Taylor's.  I feel humbled that God is willing to undertake a joint venture with us.  I have to step up, and not only be willing, but be so very happy.  I love her already, and need to learn to have not only a willing heart, but a ready one.  Heavenly Father has yet to lead me astray, and I don't think he will now.

This little excerpt was timely.  I needed a reminder that I am not attempting to raise a daughter alone, but He will help me.  Emmeline is not only my daughter, but ours. She was God's first.  He trusted His all to my tender care.  I need to be oh so tender with His perfect daughter, on loan to me.

We love you Emmeline. You are our all.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Emmeline's Story: The Birth (Part 2)

And then I felt a sharp pang.

On the perfect night, on the perfect date, in the perfect place under the Christmas tree alongside your father, I felt a sharp pang.  I didn't want to get my hopes up that the time had come - it was too perfect. I kept wrapping presents, and holding my breath every time I felt one of those sharp pains.  As James Stewart proceeded to learn of his wonderful life, I proceeded to feel sharper and sharper pains.  I didn't say anything, but soon your dad noticed that I was consistently doubling over.  He downloaded a contraction counting app to his phone to keep track of how long each sharp pain would last, and the time in between.  His rosy cheeks got rosier - he was excited.

But I was dubious.  It wasn't time just yet!!! I wasn't done wrapping my presents!  I hadn't done the dishes!  And I had been reading that some people could have contractions for weeks - I didn't want to get too excited before it was time.  So I kept denying it, saying "surely, no.  Surely its just the papusas."  I thought the sketch El Salvadorian restaurant from just a few hours earlier disagreed with me.  Every time I started feeling a sharp pain, I ran to the bathroom.  Taylor dismissed my protests, saying digestion pains don't come four minutes apart!

Taylor was ready to go to the hospital, but I got stubborn.  It turns out that when you have a come home with a baby.  All of a sudden all the romance became VERY scary.  I refused to have a baby that night, until everything was ready.  So I cowered on the couch, doubling over every couple minutes, while Taylor cleaned up the gift wrapping stuff, made me a grilled cheese sandwhich, and got dressed.  He came out in jeans and a t-shirt, but I shouted at him to change.  If the baby was coming, I wanted him to be photographed in something cuter than a t-shirt.  It was a weird feeling, though, because for a few moments I would feel like a bomb was going off in my insides, and then for the next 4 minutes I felt perfectly normal.  It was an interesting sensation.

The snow that had been so beautiful earlier was still poring down, and your dad met my stubborness with firmness.  He said he didn't want to deliver the baby in the car as we were stuck in the snow (though he still grabbed towels and water to throw in the trunk, just in case) and then called my sister for affirmation.  Morgan answered the phone at 1 in the morning (bless her heart) and said, yeah - you should probably go to the hospital.  So I put on my boots and we went out into the snow, doubling over every 2-3 minutes.

We arrived to the hospital, and I was surprised at just how calm every one was.  I was NOT feeling calm.  We went in, got undressed, and I got a cervical check (my favorite).  I was dilated to a 4 and the contractions continued, pretty painful.  My water wouldn't break, however, and after two hours I wasn't dilated any more.  Finally, at 4:30, they sent me home with a shot of morphine.  I was embarrassed - this was my third false alarm! I determined I would have the baby at home.  We got back in the car - my morphine kicked in, and I fell asleep wondering if I had to go to 9 am church.

At 8 the next morning, however, I awoke to a new kind of pain.  HOLY CRAP IT HURT!  For about an hour I had contractions 5 minutes apart, then 4, then 3, then 2.  I was crawling around on the floor, trying to find a position to lessen the pain.  We got back in the car to go to the hospital - and this time I was determined to not leave.

We arrived again, and this time I was dilated to a 5.  5 means its baby time.  I watched your contractions on the monitor. I feared every time the little peaks got higher, and I knew the pain that was coming. Soon, however, I was given an epidural.  And then....things got very relaxed.  I watched the contractions on the monitor, feeling no pain.  I definitely disliked the catheter, and I got pretty thirsty, but other than that I was very comfortable.  I was able to sleep all day, while your dad had to slump in a  chair by the bed.  I admired my newly manicured hands, chatted, and slept. Every time I felt a pain, I upped the epidural juice.  Not a bad Sunday.
Sleeping during labor.  Taylor wasn't so lucky.
But then, about 4:00, things got real.  The nurse came over and said that my water still hadn't broken, but I was nearly dilated fully, and it was time to start pushing.  WHAT?  Hanging out in a hospital bed eating flavored ice all day wasn't bad, but pushing meant that a baby was coming! I kind of wanted to back out, but I had reached the point of no return.  The nurse and Taylor helped me start pushing.  I was grateful that they were so supportive - there is nothing lovely about what I was doing - but they were very encouraging.  They placed a mirror so I could see my progress.  (Obviously a gross sight, but beautiful in its way).  As soon as I saw the top of your dark head I fell in love.  The nurse told me that some new mothers have to push for a couple hours, and after a couple minutes I was pretty tired - I don't know how those women do it!  The doctor came, I had two rather effortless pushes, and then a tiny, perfect, bright-eyed baby was placed on my chest.  In one instant everything changed.

And that was that, the easiest labor and delivery in the world.  We were blessed with no complications and good health.  Our little Emmeline Hardy Orton was born at 5:45 pm on Sunday evening (just as her grandpa had requested), a petite 5"13 and 19 in wide.  YOU WERE PERFECT!  I was surprised by how fully formed you were - just tiny little fingers and eyebrows and ears.  At first you looked exactly like your Uncle Bryce, but as you pinked up I thought you looked like me.  Every 5 minutes I felt like you looked a little different, but your beautiful steely eyes stayed the same.  You have my eye shape, and your dad's nose. You had a dark complexion and dark hair, long fingernails, and extra long eyelashes.  I felt you had an old soul - your eyes exuded wisdom. I felt that you had bravely chosen to come.

Our very first family photo.

Thank you for joining us, little one.  From the second you were placed on my chest my life changed.  I didn't feel any more prepared to be a mother, but I felt all the more grateful that God had given me a chance. Your dad was smitten.  You were perfect.


Emmeline’s Story: The Birth (Part 1)

Slowly but surely I will document your story.  I hope I don’t forget too quickly how magical it was.

As I mentioned here, I loved being pregnant, especially at the end.  You made me feel beautiful, and excited, and hopeful about life.  In part, I wanted to be pregnant forever so your dad would keep doting on me and I could finish my finals.  On the other hand, however, I couldn’t wait for you to come. 

The end of the semester was busy.  I was taking a full course load, teaching American Heritage labs, working as the MPA recruiter, tutoring with Conexiones, and sending your dad off on many interviews.  Taylor was working full time as a researcher at BYU, as well as part time as an ACT tutor.  We worked hard all day, and then came home exhausted, just crawling into bed.  Looking back, it was a beautiful time in our marriage.  We were able to go to school together everyday, and have lunch together, and come home together.  We would return to a warm home full of indicators of a pending baby, light a candle, make hot chocolate, snuggle together and talk about you.
Date night to the Salzburg Marionette
Enjoying the BYU experience running from my home in the Tanner to my vacation home in the library.

Loving marriage
Home made cinnamon rolls on cold evenings.

In order to survive the busy semester, I had to carefully schedule every minute of every day.  And, even though it wasn’t probable, I tried to schedule you.  I needed you to come after I conducted the last MPA info session (Thursday, Dec 5), taught my last American Heritage Lab (Friday, December 6), finished my program evaluation project, and gotten a manicure.  I hoped you would come sooner than later, however, so your Grandma Hardy could come take care of us before she left on a Christmas cruise (December 21).  Your Grandpa Hardy told me that he was very busy with Holiday parties and political functions, and that Sunday, December 8 was really the only day that worked for him.  He instructed me to go into labor on Sunday morning, and then deliver that night – after he had time to arrive.

Even though I hoped you would come in that time frame, I didn’t think you would.  I still felt pretty small, and I had no feelings of labor.  I felt no real contractions, very little discomfort.  The doctor had given me a range of December 12 – December 20 for your due date, and I was sure you would come closer to the 20th

So we went about our merry way.  I love winter at BYU – it feels like Hogwarts, with lights everywhere and Christmas trees in the buildings. I taught my 8th and final American Heritage lab, which was significant.  We tried to put together your bedroom. I worked hard to tie up loose ends.

 Then came the most perfect Saturday (December 7).  We woke up to a winter wonderland.  The snow fell fluffy and landed crunchy.  The air was bright blue and crisp.  I met my best college friends, Jenny and Jamie, in the beauty studio in the Wilkinson Center to get our nails done.  During the appointment I kept joking about how my goal was to have you that very same day. Then I rushed to the Tanner to work with my best MPA friends, Christa and Angelica, on our program evaluation project.  I returned to the Wilk and pampered myself, getting my hair cut and my eyebrows waxed.  I talked on the phone to your Grandpa Hardy for a long time, keeping your name a secret despite his pleas.  I ate a chimichanga on campus.  I felt relaxed and happy.

Pampering ourselves

Later that snowy evening, your Dad took me on the most wonderful date.  We went to a German Christmas Market on Center Street.  It had snowed so much that we nearly had to hike to get there.  The lights were bright, the shops adorable, and every smell smelled of Christmas.  We held hands and stayed warm and laughed about how all the walking would put me into labor (haha). We shared a Navajo taco and drank hot chocolate and munched on candy canes.  We got papusas from an El Salvadorian restaurant, and I smeared hot sauce over everything (still hoping to persuade you to join us). We were so in love.  Over and over we commented to each other – “wouldn’t this be the most perfect day for her to come?”  I never thought you actually would – it was too perfect.

We went home and I was energized.  I never felt so much energy to get things done!  I was running around, cleaning the house and adjusting Christmas decorations.  It was times like these I loved the pregnancy mood swings- I felt so high!  Your dad wanted to continue the fun date, however, so we compromised.  We put on warm pjs, made hot chocolate, and watched “It’s a wonderful life” while I wrapped tens of presents.  It was the quintessential Christmas evening.  

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And then I felt a sharp pang.