Thursday, April 28, 2011

Oliver's Birth Story

(WARNING....very long! If I don't record all the little details, I will probably forget them. And that just wouldn't do. So to help break up the text, I put random pictures of newborn Oliver throughout the post that don't necessarily coincide with the story. Sorry. It's ok though, because he's really cute to look at.)

Almost the whole pregnancy we had been worried about pre-term labor because Paul was born at 32 1/2 weeks, and needed 10 days in the NICU. Most of those days are a blur for me now because we were so scared and worried about his health. Let me just say, having to leave the hospital without your sweet new baby is one of the worst feelings, and we didn't want to have it happen again! This time around, my doctor recommended I get weekly progesterone shots from 18 - 35 weeks to help this little guy get to full term. I won't lie, they REALLY weren't fun. By the end my hip muscles were sore, bruised, and had red lumps where the thick medicine was injected each week. After leaving the doctors office the day of my last shot I totally had a little celebration in my head. BUT, I am so glad I did them because I really believe they worked!

36 weeks came and went. 37 weeks came and went. My whole family had been predicting that I would go into labor soon after I had my last shot, and even made bets on which day baby Barber would be born (with a candy bar prize for the winner). I outlasted them all. Go go baking baby! After we reached full term when the baby could safely come anytime, the most anxious one to meet this little dude was Ryan. He encouraged me every day to do jumping jacks, run around, climb stairs, and even jump on the trampoline to get things going! He suggested that last one just about every day. Ha! No thanks. I could just envision the spectacle I would make of myself, a hugely pregnant woman jumping outside on my parents' trampoline in the middle of a freezing winter day, trying to keep control of her bladder......nope. I declined. I was excited too, but more willing to let him cook, and attempt to be patient. Attempt being the key word, I didn't always succeed.

On Sunday night Feb 6th, I started having mild contractions around 5-6 minutes apart. They weren't really painful, just uncomfortable....but they were consistent. I drank lots of water, took a bath, and changed positions often to try and determine if they were the real deal or if they were going to end up being nothing. They continued all through the night but didn't get more intense or closer together, and then went away completely by the morning. I was frustrated and tired! This whole "fake-out" business was driving me crazy!

Tuesday afternoon Feb 8th about 3 pm they started up again. I was wary of getting my hopes up since they still weren't painful, but they lasted the whole day and night, and were still there in the morning! I remember thinking to myself, "If this is all for NOTHING I am going to sit down and have myself a good cry." In the morning I was so exhausted. My wonderful mom came to take the kids to school for me, and Ryan had me promise to call him at work if I decided I was in labor so he could come home and be with me. I spent the morning doing some cleaning and packing, and around noon my water broke! No question now!

Almost immediately the contractions became painful. I called Ryan at work, and then my mom to let them know it was finally the big day. Ryan was super excited to say the least, and came home to help me finish getting ready and off we went the hospital.

When we got to the hospital Ryan asked me if I wanted to be dropped off at the entrance but I said I was fine to walk. The only trouble was, since my water had broken it was kind of awkward. For we made our way to the elevators I had to stop every couple of minutes for contractions, and....I was leaking. We passed by a dad with his two young kids who stared at me with horrified looks on their faces as I was standing in the middle of the parking lot, leaning on Ryan for support, breathing heavily, and a puddle was forming on the floor underneath me. Embarrassing? Yes. But I didn't really register it at that point. :)

Once we got to labor and delivery the nurses could plainly see I was in labor so they checked me in right away. That was nice. I got settled on the bed and nurse in charge of me during her shift came in to check my progress, and I was 5 centimeters. Yay! She looked at me and said: "Wow you are looking pretty relaxed for being a 5!" That made me feel pretty good, I must admit. I just have to say....the labor and delivery nurses have a huge effect on the whole birth experience, and I had a fabulous one. She was a sweet older woman who was extremely complimentary and accommodating, and even a little protective. When my mom texted Ryan to see how I was doing, my nurse saw Ryan with his phone and shook her finger at him and chastised him for texting, and then ordered him to put it down and come hold my hand. Haha! Yes Maam!

I asked for an epidural right away, and luckily the anesthesiologist came quickly. That part does scare me a bit, the size of that needle is no joke! But everything went smoothly, and Ryan held me steady and close while the needle went in. One or two contractions later and I was feeling numb and blissful and from then on out it was smooth sailing. I have had great experiences with all three of my epidurals. I love them so much, I can't even tell you. I experience zero pain, but still can feel enough pressure and sensation to be aware of my legs and the progress of my contractions. It makes the whole process so much more enjoyable.

In between naps while we waited for me to dilate, the nurse entertained Ryan and I with stories of some of her more "interesting" patients. We heard about mothers who wanted all 30 of their extended family members in the room during the birth, babies born in the hospital elevator, drunken husbands who tried to punch out the doctor, crazy mothers-in-law.... basically her job rarely gets boring! It was great fun, she had us laughing pretty hard at times. (How many women can say that about their labor?) Other distractions I brought for myself included an electronic yahtzee game (love that thing), my iPod, episodes of Everybody Loves Raymond, a few novels.....ok this is starting to sound like a mini-vacation.

I also have to make mention of my doctor, Dr. West. I highly recommend him to anyone looking for an Obgyn in the Boise area. He is fantastic. Highly supportive, always ready to answer any and all questions, and really spends time trying to make sure you feel comfortable. From the moment I checked into the hospital he stopped in to check on me about every hour in between seeing his other patients in his office. I was surprised, since during my other two deliveries in Rexburg I only saw the doctor at the very end when he caught the baby and then BAM he was gone. Dr. West didn't seem rushed in any way, he didn't try to push my labor along so he could get home sooner, and seemed content to make sure I was feeling ok and would pop in to have casual conversations with Ryan and I throughout the afternoon.

After a few hours I got stuck at 9 centimeters and Dr. West discovered that the baby was sunny side up. He was pressing against my pelvic bone and couldn't descend any further down the birthing canal. Dr. West tried to manually turn him, but that didn't work so he turned me on my left side for awhile in hopes that he would naturally turn. He warned me that the baby might come out with bruises on his face because of this, and I started to get a little worried that he would never turn and I would have to consider forceps, or perhaps even a c-section. Luckily everything turned out ok, and turning me on my left side worked marvelously.

At this point it was well past dinner time, and I knew Ryan hadn't had anything to eat all day. He had been so supportive and diligent by my side the entire time, so I knew he would never ask to go feed himself unless I ordered him to the cafeteria myself. He was concerned that I would progress really fast while he was gone, but I assured him there was still plenty of time and he would be fine to go eat.

Of course RIGHT after he left I began feeling pressure, and realized that I was ready to push! Ahh! My husband wasn't there and it was TIME. The nurse checked me, and sure enough I was at a 10, so she said: "Well....did he take his cell phone?" When I tried to call it didn't go through since the cafeteria is in the hospital basement with no reception. So the nurse said: "Ok....well here's the part where I tell you just to breathe through it, and don't push till both the doctor AND your husband get back!"

Turns out I am good at holding babies in *pat myself on the back for that one* and when Ryan came rushing back the doc was there and everything was ready to go. Four painless pushes later Oliver Mason Barber made his entrance into the world with his tongue sticking out. I immediately burst into tears of joy when I saw our beautiful boy. Our BIG boy. He was two weeks early, but still 8 lbs 6 oz. And he had gigantic kissable cheeks. Dr. West then announced that it was a good thing he came early, otherwise I might have had a 10 pounder on my hands. THANK YOU OLIVER. For sparing me that....largeness.

As each mother knows, those first moments when you meet your new son or daughter are so emotionally overwhelming. I just wanted to stare at him, study his every feature, bask in his newborn sweetness. I was truly in love with every bit of him, and I know Ryan felt the same. My immediate first impression of Oliver was that he kind of looked Asian. He didn't really resemble Kaylie OR Paul, he had his own look. Ryan jokingly asked if I had an Asian milkman in my life. Haha! He just really didn't look anything like we expected, but then again...he WAS purple, crying, and you go. After he was cleaned up, examined, and weighed, Ryan and I got to spend a little more time snuggling him and examining him. We decided that he looked a lot like I did as a baby. So cute and round, with dark hair and the funniest little concerned expression. He liked to furrow his wee little eyebrows and "glare" at everyone in the room.

One of the funniest parts was the day he chose to come into the world - the day before Kaylie's 7th Birthday. From the very beginning when I found out my due date I told everyone I really hoped he didn't come on Kaylie's Birthday, because I knew that would be tricky. Kaylie kept telling me she would LOVE to share a Birthday with her new baby brother, but I assured her that when she got older the novelty would wear off and she would probably wish she had her own special day. Well Oliver has a sense of humor AND a competitive streak already, he just had to have his Birthday the day before his sister. :) And that's ok. We are so in love with this new member of our family. He brings such a happy special spirit into our home, and we are so excited to watch him grow and develop and to have the privilege of being his parents.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Scripture study tonight

Dad: "Guess what we're going to read about tonight in the scriptures?"
Paul: "Is it blood?"
Dad: "'re going to learn about serving others."
Paul: "And blood??"
Dad: "No."


Dad: "If you had a lot of food to eat, and I was really really hungry - what would you do?"
Kaylie: "Share my food."
Paul: "Pray for you."

Even Later....

Dad: (reading Mosiah 4:16) "And also, ye yourselves will succor those that stand in need of your succor...."
Paul: (interrupting excitedly) "Suckers? I LOVE suckers! Can I have a sucker Dad?"

My future missionary.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


Hurrah for Halloween!
Kaylie the clown, Me the conehead, Paul is Thomas the Train, Dad the.....oh wait. Where is your costume Ryan? That's right, you didn't dress up. (Give him grief people!) :)
A little late (it's nearly Thanksgiving) but here is our Halloween post. My parents have never understood why I have always loved this Holiday so much. They always tease me that I went out trick or treating until my junior year in high school, was married and had Kaylie three years later and had an excuse to go back out again. I will neither confirm nor deny this statement. (But it's true.)

Nobody can convince me that Halloween isn't a sweet deal. What other time of year can you dress up in ridiculous outfits, act a little crazy, and go around knocking on strangers' doors collecting candy? It's even better now than I remember it being when I grew up because Kaylie and Paul have so much fun. Watching their excitement is great.

Here's Paul trying on Grandpa's gorilla outfit.
My dad used to really get into Halloween too, and scare the trick-or-treaters that came up to our door. One year when he was the bishop of our ward, he dressed up like a scarecrow, stuffed himself with newspaper, put on a convincing mask, and sat limply on a chair right next to our doorstep. Kids would hesitantly creep up to our door and poke him to make sure he was just a decoration. Once they felt the newspaper crinkle they would relax and go for the doorbell. Then dad would jump out at them. Ohhh the screaming. :)

One darling little kid from our ward was pretty frightened by him and ran screaming back to her parents saying "I HATE Halloween!" Dad felt bad and tried to assure her it was just the bishop, but to no avail. The parents called out to him sarcastically "Thaanks Bishoop....."

The gorilla suit is one of my dad's famous costumes. One of the missionaries that hung out with us that night is wearing it here, for some reason. Bigfoot reading scriptures? Genius!
Keeping with tradition, we all went over to my parent's house that evening and had a great dinner. The missionaries in their ward didn't have anywhere to go (people might not appreciate proselyting on Halloween) so they came over to my mom's to spend the night with us. Even my brother Nate who is in the army reserves stopped by. To sew a carrot costume for himself? It's true, and we all laughed and laughed, but were actually impressed he knew how to sew when even my mom can't get her machine to cooperate. I should have snapped a picture! My stud brother the carrot.

The kid's costumes turned out so cute. Paul really wanted to be a cow, but I couldn't find one in any of the stores, so when we found this he was happy. Paul made it about an hour before he pooped out and wanted to go inside to eat his candy, but Kaylie was a maniac! After daddy took Paul back inside, Kaylie ran from door to door around the neighborhood for another hour and brought back a ton of loot. She was so proud of herself!
My costume was SO good that he must not have recognized me. That's the only explanation for this picture.

And now, we get to eat the spoils. (If there was any left.)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Kaylie's "short cut"

They say that every mother goes through this at least once with one of their kids. Buuut how about three years in a row? And on Picture Day? Here's how it went down.

That morning Kaylie's hair looked like this.
I'm sure it's fashionable in some far dark region of the world, but for preschool class pictures I was going more for....NOT rat's nest. I know! Kaylie thought I was being unreasonable too, as you can tell by the look on her face above when I told her she was going to be primped and preened.

So, when I slipped out of the room for a moment Kaylie took the situation into her own hands with a pair of scissors, and obviously no inhibitions with them. Documented below are the results.

How do you like Kaylie's new "short cut?" (That's her term for hair cut. Our front lawn gets regular "short cuts" too.) I wasn't wildly fond of it either. In fact I was so unfond when I walked into the crime scene that I had to give myself a time out, eat some blue M&Ms, and call Ryan for support before ANY humor about the situation was apparent.

Of course, NOW I think the picture below is hilarious, while Ryan's first reaction when seeing this one was: "She looks like a addict." Which of course made me laugh even harder, and now it's a keeper. Preferably for her future wedding video.
Luckily, mom was able to save the day with some tricksy curling and styling to hide the random rooster tails, and she was sent off on the bus like so.
Doesn't she look so remorseful and repentant?
I have to say I was pretty proud of my quick fix-it, however she had cut off some pretty sizable chunks of hair on one side, and it just wasn't salvageable long term. So after school, off to the salon we go, hi-ho, hi-ho.

I was a little sad about having to chop so much off because it had been getting long enough to pull back into a pony-tail, and there is just something about long blond wavy hair, but this turned out SO cute. So I am pacified.

She is WAY too cute to be upset at for long! Lucky , cause WOO, the mischief she finds.

Oh. And now all the scissors in house are hidden.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

My leave of absence

I know I have been out of commission on the blogging world for awhile. It has been the same way in real life for a few months too. Some of you may already know that I have suffered with clinical depression ever since I was young, and it has been a struggle I have learned to accept and deal with more effectively through the years as I learn more about myself and about the illness. Some of you probably had no idea. I kinda just want to be out with it, and explain. Sometimes it just gets too hard to constantly put on the happy face for extended periods of time.

Like anyone with mental health problems, there have been some difficult lows, but in general I have been able to keep a pretty good handle on my emotional and mental stability. My "crashes" (my nickname for depressive episodes) usually only last a few days or at most a week. This time for some reason, I have not been able to pull myself out of that dark and discouraging place.

Part of my reluctance to admit to having depression comes from the stigma that it still carries with it. I have encountered many through the years who misunderstand the nature of this illness, and who view those who suffer from it with skepticism. This saddens me, because many of those who are inflicted with mood disorders do not seek treatment because of the fear of being branded mentally ill, fake, or crazy. There is so much help out there now in the form of therapy, support groups, literature, online communities, diet and exercise programs, and medication depending on your needs and circumstances. Understanding and compassionate friends and family can be the most important source of support and comfort during the difficult trials that inevitably will come.

These past few months have been incredibly frustrating, and even though I have been told again and again there is no reason to be ashamed, I still feel so guilty for not being able to snap myself out of it through sheer will. Comparing myself with other amazing women has been one of my biggest mistakes because it brings so much discouragment about my own abilities as a mother, wife, friend, daughter etc.... but's so hard not to. I mean let's face it, not being able to take a shower or even get out of bed some days is just embarrassing, and would make anybody feel weak. I am just grateful that I have many willing friends and family who have been more than happy to babysit and help me out so much with little things without requiring a full explanation, and they do it with a smile. Even the tiniest expressions of encouragement have a monumental affect on the way I feel. I know they will be blessed so much for their service and wonderful attitudes. I can't express my love and gratitude enough.

Now, the reason I am back to blogging today is because I feel like I may be slowly coming back up from the dark fog that has defined my daily existence most days for - ugh it feels like forever. I have started some new medication (for me, this has always been essential for me to function)which takes patience and time before it really starts to kick in. I have also started seeing a counselor, which I cannot recommend enough if you find the right person. I will never underestimate the power of "talk therapy" again. The most essential thing that contributes to my happiness and spiritual well-being is maintaining a relationship with the Lord. Endless prayers to my Father in Heaven have kept me going on the worst of days, and keep a glimmer of hope in sight so that I can be confident that things will improve and get better. I know I am loved, and that the Lord is the only one who knows everything that I feel.

The Spirit's presence is something I do not always feel when I am consumed with darkness, but I have confidence that it is always there. And when I do feel the sweet and tender reassurances of the Spirit, I appreciate it tenfold, and it strengthens my testimony of the gospel even more. The Lord's great love for me and my family is manifested in many ways, and often through the service of other people - which I am eternally grateful for. I only hope that on my own road to recovery I will have more compassion and mercy on those who are struggling with their own challenges - and that I can discern others needs and serve them as I have been served during my own time of need. I am continually amazed and humbled by the strength and courage of others as they battle far greater trials than the ones I am asked to endure.

So, thank-you to everyone for your love, service, support, and examples. I am doing better, and someday soon will get back into the cooking, cleaning, teaching, socializing, hosting, reading, serving, potty-training, chauffeuring, blogging super groove!! ;)

California Summer Vacation!

Here is the pathetically over-due recap of our vacation to California! Ryan grew up in the Sacramento area, and almost the whole Brady Bunch of Barbers and Russells (and other extended family) are within a 30 mile radius of each other. Yay for proximity! It actually ideal to get to see everyone during our visits, and everyone is so kind, fun, and generous. We LOVE visiting family.

We knew about a year ahead of time that it was Great Grandma Betty and Grandpa Norm's diamond wedding anniversary this summer, because the family was planning a huge surprise party for them. So we drove down a week before the actual day of the party and turned it into a wonderful vacation to play with everyone that we miss so much. The whole week was fantastic, and we loved staying with the Russells, and then with Nicole and Grandpa Jan. The kids couldn't have asked for a more exciting and fun-filled vacation - the proof being; when we got home they were going through withdrawals! Man, did they take advantage of being the center of attention all the time.

Plus, the party for Betty and Norm was a BLAST. All the 60+ family and friends that drove and flew in from around the country were eager to make the day really special. I have to give some major props to Diane, David, Tammy, and Grandpa Jan and the others who planned and worked so hard for making it such a fun and successful day. I was happy that I was able to contribute a little in my own way by drawing a pencil portrait of the two of them that turned out really nice. Jan paid to have it matted and framed, and then it was on display when they walked into the church we were all hiding in to surprise them. There was a hilarious photographer, a touching slide-show, a catered lunch, cake, toasts...and all manner of cheerful socializing. Happy anniversary Norm and Betty! We miss everyone already.

Now if only we could get people to invest in Idaho winters......oh COME ON! You know potato land is appealing! Ok, not everyone who lives in Boise is a potato farmer. Whenever I venture outside state lines, it seems like I am asked at least once by strangers who hear of my origins if I have acres of potatoes and rows of corn to tend. In fact I don't personally know any farmers at all - unless you count several resourceful ladies in our Relief Society who have thriving gardens in their back yards. My backyard....well....I heard that dandelions have quite a bit of nutritious value. If you get hungry enough.

*Note to self: Economy is bad.....make thumb turn green before next summer*

I was originally going to give a smashing breakdown of each day...hour...minute of our vacation (much like my intentions for my Utah trip)but seeing as it has been an eternity since then, um memory pooped out. Sooo if you can be content with tiny little captions over each picture - then please to enjoy this rockin slide-show of photographic excellence! Seacrest out.

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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Paul is 3 years old!

Click to play Paul's 3rd Birthday
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Well this smilebox thingy is the new cool blogger thing. I'm just following the crowd. So Paul's 3rd Birthday was yesterday. WHAT?? I can't believe my itty bitty schmootzy poo is so big! (We have to throw nicknames like that out there to embarrass him later. Or maybe he will never care and his future wife will pick it up and run with it.)

He was so excited for his party. I made the mistake of telling him about his birthday way too soon, so for about 3 weeks before the actual date he told everybody who would listen: "I'm going to be a big boy! I'm gonna have a BIRTHDAY party!" It was awesome. Here is a random list of 40 things that make Paul such a special boy.

1 He is very sensitive. If someone looks at him wrong he will burst into tears.
2 He loves to draw and build things with his hands.
3 He will keep himself entertained for HOURS figuring out how things work.
4 Paul is very intelligent, and loves learning new things.
5 He is especially good at his numbers, letters, shapes, and colors.
6 He has an infectious laugh.
7 He really enjoys attention, but doesn't need it all the time.
8 His favorite color is DARK blue. Not light blue, forget about it!
9 He gets along with other kids very well, and has an uncanny knack for sharing....unless it is with his sister.
10 He loves to eat, and does it sloooooowly. To enjoy every last morsel.
11 He does NOT like to exert himself. If he has to walk under his own power for more than a block he will start to whine, and soon after throw himself prostrate on the ground and refuse to go any further. We are working on this.
12 He was nearly 7 weeks premature, but only had to stay in the NICU for 10 days. With no complications.
13 He had torticollis (one neck muscle shorter than the other)and could only turn his head one direction for awhile.
14 Because of this he developed a MAJOR flat spot. Like - he looked like an alien.
15 Due to his misshapen skull, he had to wear a helmet 23 hours a day, 7 days a week for 6 months. We are happy to report that his head now looks normal.
14 When he is tired he will position himself flat on the step between our kitchen and family room so that someone will see him and put him to bed
15 He is really cautious. He has to "test the waters" with anything new, or potentially scary
16 He has blocked tear ducts
17 He can't climb out of his crib yet. No, that's a GOOD thing.
18 He is not yet potty trained. That's a BAD thing.
19 He is a little physically delayed, but is getting stronger all the time.
20 He loves to read books, and be read to
21 He still likes to give hugs and kisses
22 He is a mommas boy
23 He likes his naps ALMOST as much as his mom
24 He needs validation. All the time. ALSO like his mom.
25 If he doesn't believe you are REALLY paying attention to him, he will repeat his question 10 million times until you are.
26 He doesn't like cake
27 But he will inhale bananas. By the bunch if we let him.
28 Shoes make him uncomfortable.
29 He gets frustrated with his tricycle, but keeps at it anyway
30 Singing is one of his favorite activities. He is humming and singing to himself constantly.
31 He looks like a miniature of Ryan, with my cheeks.
32 He has very pale skin, and burns in T minus 2 seconds in the sun.
33 There is nothing he s more, than getting a haircut. If you ever want to hear screams of anguish, bust out the buzzer. It's not a pleasant experience for anyone within hearing distance.
34 His sister can make him laugh harder than anyone else
35 He is really sweet, and likes to give random things to people
36 He is shy at first, but warms up quickly
37 He loves Elmo
38 He doesn't like cold water
39 Every time dad tries to hold his hand in public he squirms away and runs to mom
40 He is VERY ticklish

Paul we love ya buddy.