13 July 2018

Welcome to the World

Here he is! Our little miracle finally made it into the world and, sleep deprived and sore as I am, I can't stop smiling. Jon and I are besotted-- and I honestly think I never knew the real meaning of that word until we became parents. Here are the stats on our little man:

Ezra Frederick Young
8.5 lbs, 19 inches long 

Our little guy has massive feet. They are seriously huge and the midwives kept giggling about it and how funny it is that he likes to stretch his toes out like fingers. I suppose I should have expected this given the strength of his in-utero kicking... perhaps we may have a little footballer on our hands (also, can we just acknowledge the tragedy of England's loss in the World Cup? I usually couldn't care less, but the fervour in the air around here had me rooting for a win). 

I love this photo... it captures the peaceful lull we felt after the madness of labour perfectly. Ezra's birth was induced, thanks to his low heart rate (pretty sure this is just genetic as both Jon and I do as well, but I was eager to get the ball rolling). 

Looking back on the experience now, the birthing process has left me with one baffling question: how and why are there so many children in this world? I'm serious. How did my mom have seven kids, and Jon's mom have eight? How is this something people keep doing over and over and over again?

People always say as soon as you get that baby in your arms, you forget all about the pain. Well let me tell you something, I was on (what my midwives described as) the most effective epidural ever given, and I remember the pain. VIVIDLY. I had expected period pain meets constipation multiplied by a factor of 3 or 4. Holy cannoli, labour is a whole other dimension. I have gained so much respect for you ladies out there that do it 100% al natural. That had been my intention-- I had this beautiful, serene hippy water birth in mind, supplemented by my hypnobirthing tracks and a sweet husband rubbing my feet and talking me through my breathing.  What I ended up with was very very different.

It was a beautiful fantasy and one that I would have thought would haunt me given how my labour actually happened, but (blessedly) I feel completely at peace with my birthing experience. As difficult as it was, I learned so much about myself (that I apparently have the pain threshold of a cream filled doughnut) and life that have already made me a more empathic mother. It is a glorious thing that our bodies are all different and that we experience our own journeys in our own way. 

I hope this baby grows up to be just like him. 

When we were finally discharged from the hospital, I got to dress Ezra up in a little blue and white set of pajamas that my sister-in-law sent me. Apparently, Jon and all his brothers came home from the hospital in this same outfit. Now it has been passed down to this next generation so all the male cousins (that have the last name 'Young') have come home in the same sweet outfit, just like their daddies. It felt like a real full circle moment getting to take him out of the hospital like this.  

These are just a few images of the first few days of our little babies life. I'm beyond excited to see what the days ahead have for us. 

08 July 2018

Still Growing

Well, we are officially overdue. Baby was marked to come on the 4th of July, but it turns out, we both still have some growing to do!

I think sometimes, when Mother Nature sees swollen bellies crouched down near the dirt, she sort of explodes with excitement and all that zeal for growing lands on pregnant mamas so that all we want to do is just grow stuff. That’s how I’ve felt for the past nine months— growing babies and seeds and trees and ideas— just growing, growing, growing. 

As such, I’ve spent a lot of time at my allotment. My garden has been my happy place and my motivation to get moving, especially when my inner couch potato says I have a decent excuse to lounge around the flat. Even if my garden were a complete failure, I’m grateful I’ve had that  incentive to be active. I know it had made for a healthier pregnancy and— to take a complete nosedive into hippy land— I think the spiritual connection you feel with the Earth while you are growing a new life inside is one of the most beautiful things a woman can experience. 

Above is Patty, my favourite neighbour. He is so lovely and kind and (unlike some OTHER allotment neighbours) very non-judgemental. My plot is pretty shabby compared to those around me…. This year has literally been an exercise in how little effort someone can put in (well there has been a LOT of effort, just precious little physical dexterity) and still have a garden. Positivity goes such a long way and having him around has made me feel much better about my meagre little plot. 

Jon has been particularly lovely when it comes to my allotment. He HATES gardening— who even knew that was a thing? His animosity comes from the many Saturday hours he and his brothers spent doing landscaping and manual labour for his parents. Sometimes I find his hostility for gardening really funny, because it is so extreme. Like, it’s dirt and seeds, how bad can it really be?

However, he has been a complete angel this season and has spent so many hours hauling buckets of water for me (so I can feed my plants) I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to thank him enough. That boy has never complained about it, even though I can feel whole being seize up every time I ask, “Lovey, can you help me go water my garden today?” He is a champ. 

Anyway, as this heat wave continues to melt my face off, I'm praying for water for little plants. There is none in sight at the moment, but hopefully our little baby will come soon and bring the rain with him.


01 July 2018

Final Stretch

I'm in the home stretch now... not long to go before this little nugget arrives! 

Unfortunately, England is experiencing a massive heat wave right now so this last leg of the journey has me spending most of the day laid out in a sweaty heap hoping my little electric fan will give me the will to get up and get things done. Still, I'd take this over our days frying in the New York summer sizzle-- THAT was truly horrible.

Other than the temperature, things are pretty fantastic. My friends from church threw me a surprise baby shower (the "from little seeds grow mighty trees" was a gift I received from our friends Sophie and Byron-- I LOVE thoughtful homemade gifts <3). Because it was a complete surprise, so I didn't manage to get many photos, but here are a few:

Guess which one of us won the blind-folded put-the-nappy-on-the-teddy game? Hint: It's not the one praying for help.

In other news, I've been trying to get Jon to empathise with the weight and heat... I made him try on  a pregnancy fat suit (the boobies were tacked in like little bean bags which is what our friends Sophie and Byron [who are also pregnant!] are commenting on in the pic). As you can see by his smug expression, it didn't really do the trick.

But, when all else fails, drink milkshakes!

Luckily, we are now the proud owners of a new car! Well, an very used new car. We've named it 'Pippin' because it is red like a shiny pippin apple. We decided it was time to finally break down and buy one now that baby is on the way. Amazingly the hardest part of the process was getting Jon his UK driver's license. That thing is 10x harder to get than its American counterpart. I'm not brave enough to get one yet... I'm pretty positive there is at least one course of driver's ed in my future.

We also got to see the PMQs (Prime Ministers Questions), which is this weekly event the Prime Minister (the equivalent of the American President) holds where she fields questions from members of Parliament (equivalent to US Congress). Jon got tickets last minute, which was a fab excuse to visit London again and see the inside of the palace of Westminster. It was very cool to be so close to the action, but unfortunately there was no AC. I thought I was going to die before the session ended!
In other British-y news, Prince Harry is now married! I had zero intention of watching the broadcast, but then Jon promised to go water the allotment for me if I'd agree to make him waffles and watch the royal wedding with him. How could I possibly refuse an offer like that? So happy I did :D

Speaking of allotments, mine is plodding along. It still looks pretty scroungy, but we do get a handful of snap peas, the occasional berry, and 2 or 3 squashes every day from it. That is pretty good in my book given how little I've been able to give to my garden this year.

And that's the update for now! Hopefully the next post will announce the birth of a new little life. Finger's crossed he comes on his due date-- July 4th for a very patriotic and ironic celebration!

17 April 2018

Third Trimester

We are now in the final stretch! It is funny because when you do IVF it makes the pregnancy processes seem so much longer... I feel like I've been pregnant for years :) My body seems to think so two as I've ballooned up quite a bit, despite having a solid three months more to go. 

Junior has been doing pretty well, other than a scare on Sunday after I noticed that movement had slowed down for a good day and a half. Luckily, a quick trip into the doctors calmed our fears and baby has ramped back up to being super active.

Baby isn't the only thing that is growing though! For the last several weeks I've had plants growing on virtually every open surface of our flat. I started to drive Jon insane, especially since they were taking over his table as well. This week I finally got everything out to my allotment. 

Unfortunately, I'm learning having a big belly isn't particularly helpful when gardening-- at not for the reasons you'd expect. While it certainly makes things trickier in terms of mobility, the real problem is how the belly seems to give others the right to tell you what to do. One of my allotment neighbours in particularly--Anne--is proving the most formidable garden pest. 

Every. Single. Day. she is there, gardening away and serving up unhelpful lectures. She is an older lady, and always wears a blue mechanics jumpsuit. She usually comes over after I've been working for about 10 minutes to give her daily dose of wisdom. Usually it starts with a comment on my large belly, then advice on what I'm doing wrong.
"It rained last night, you really shouldn't be watering those."
"When are you going to get a wheelbarrow? There are so many things you really should be buying."
"I don't think you should be using that bucket when you get water. You shouldn't be carrying anything."
"Where is your husband. Why is he letting you do all this gardening all on your own?" 

IT IS DRIVING ME INSANE. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to work out when she is there and when she isn't. I may have to start early morning or evening gardening just to avoid her. 

In other news, I'm now in the Relief Society presidency. Here are the other lovely ladies in the trio... Ashley and Claire. It has already been really wonderful working with them and they've been helping me grow. 

Jon and I also celebrated our 6th anniversary this past month. It is crazy to think it has already been almost a full year since we moved to Bath. Time is flying by! Excited to see what this next year brings.

27 February 2018

In the first months of the year

Life has been busy busy busy in the first couple months of the year. The two major events are my graduation and our trip back to the states for my bro-in-law's wedding.

My graduation was at the end of January and was a fun excuse to have a weekend back in London. Jon was a champ and took loads of photos of me around campus-- both at Somerset house and the Maughn Library.

A few weeks later we headed back to the states for my brother-in-law's wedding. My mom and brother came to Utah as well, which made it extra fun to see everyone (including my sister and brother-in-law that live in Provo, Utah). We spent an afternoon in the family history center interactive floor on temple square. We discovered the green screen which resulted in this hilarious and bizarre image. 

Then we had Andrew and Sabrina's wedding! 

I'm always impressed by the fact that so many of Jon's cousins show up to weddings and family events. It is a real testament to how close everyone is.

All the sisters/sisters-in-law apart from Rachel, who is about to give birth to a little baby boy, and Sabrina (who was busy being the blushing bride).

The weirdest brothers photo I've ever seen.

One extra special surprise was that my sister-in-law Lisa planned a surprised baby shower for me. I am never surprised by things like this, so it was pretty shocking everyone managed to keep it under wraps. Lisa did the loveliest job and I couldn't have asked for a more perfect shower.