Friday, July 29, 2016

Our family

This is the sweetest picture. My sister Rachel said the other day that I got what I wanted in life. To be married (to a tall handsome good man) in the temple, to have children (four boys and now a girl!), to be on the radio, to have the last name Richards like The Mary Tyler Moore is good (albeit sleep-deprived right now).

Major props to JB for finding clothes and washing them, and bathing boys and getting their hair all ready for the photo shoot.  I was in charge of the girls in between nursing sessions.

I spy a bassinet.

I laugh at myself -- in some ways I am a bossy, "I've done this before, I have had 5 babies" kind of woman to my friends and sister, but in other ways I forget things. Like the fact that at 8 or 9 at night I think I can lay Millie down in that bassinet and say good night. Bahahahahaha, she is held all day long by brothers or parents, then I expect her to sleep by herself , away from a warm body and beating heart.  So she lately comes into bed with us for at least one feeding.

The boys are handling this ok so far I think. Summer is a good and bad time to have a newborn. No where to go, but, no where to go if that makes sense. They spend an awful long time playing on phones or watching TV/movies. It's too hot (101 all week) to be outside in the afternoon.  They are begging for playdates, but I say that's what we have all these brothers for.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Our boys

I sometimes (ok, lots of times) stare at this picture on my phone in the middle of the night while nursing.

James is smiling and cooperating!  Secret:  I bribed him with gum.  And Katherine was fast during the pictures with him. She's good. (She did our Lagoon pictures last August with the same stuffed Eyeore on her head).

She got single shots of our growing-too-quickly boys.

Max (11 years old this week)

Benjamin, 8 1/2 (his model serious look slays me. Blue Steel.)

Andrew, age 5 1/2

And James, age 3 (who suddenly seems very big and grown up)

Blue-eyed and blonde just like Russian nesting doll versions of their dad.  People who are new to our ward will come up to me and say, "This must be the Bishop's family. They all look like him!"  And I love it.  We'll see what our girl grows up to look like.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Our girl

We have never had a professional photographer take newborn pictures, but this was my birthday present/family pictures/I mean, come on, look at this:

The kind, funny and talented Katherine Wallin came to our home Saturday morning.  Millie-girl was great through the family pictures and pictures with her brothers (next posts), but when it was her turn to fly solo, she got a little restless.

Pop out the binkie, then snap!

My friend Brooke gave me that swaddle blanket, my friend Sarah used that bow on her own girl babies.

 First time getting dressed and putting on eyebrows in days.

The pictures of JB holding her are my favorite. Besides the ones of the boys holding her.

She is the sweetest thing. We are hoping she doesn't get the colicky crying cranks like James did for 11-12 weeks. And we hope she keeps taking a binkie, like her brother Ben did. So far I think she looks the most like Andrew and Max, who had the same amount of blonde hair.

These are happy, sleepless nights and days getting to know this pink little bundle.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

First days

Happy Pioneer Day and happy due date -- no longer pregnant, and never ever chewing gum again! 

Fun notes about the birthday:  Millie-girl was born on her great-grandmother's birthday (my mom's mom, who lives in Bountiful) and her Uncle Stephen's birthday.  And it is easy to remember birthdays: June 6, December 6, July 18 and December 18. And then Max on July 27.

New babies just deserve to be worshipped. And so far, these older brothers are smitten. They came to the hospital four times to see her. They have the best grandparents to care for them for two days so that JB could help me.

This is one of my favorite pictures. A girl surrounded by the bestest boys.

Uncle Jeff flew into town Tuesday morning and came to see her. He has held lots of Richards babies as newborns, and will do just fine as a new daddy soon.

Scott and Kristi also came by on their way to ultimate Frisbee.

During all of this, our girlie had high levels of jaundice. Par for the course. But this time, the pediatrician (not ours incidentally but one from the practice who came by on rounds) thought it would be wise to start the lights at the hospital.

Let me tell you, it is tons easier to deal with a light kit at the hospital than it is at home. SO much easier to handle and less emotional for me. By a few days at home, I am in my weepy stage, but in the hospital I am still on that adrenaline high and can handle the pokes and prods and blue light all night.

Millie did not sleep well on the light kit, but it seems like it was enough to bring her levels down. They never did send a kit to our house, and the subsequent blood checks at the doctor have not shown enough of an alarm to put her back in the tanning bed.

Going home. Seriously, I cannot get enough of the PINK!

We got home Wednesday afternoon, and have been adjusting to life here with 5 children. Everyone wants to hold her so I set a timer sometimes. They were quite curious about how the milk worked to come out.  I can nurse for years, but the first two weeks can be a sore trial and I sometimes let out a few "Good Gravy!" and "Gaaaahhh!" sounds when she latches wrong. (James: "Why are you feeding her from your owie?"  Andrew: "Can I help squeeze?")

She's had other uncles, aunts and cousins come by, plus neighbors. People are so nice to bring by presents for the girl, and even the boys. Like books, blankets and Star Wars figurines.

Look how teeny she is in Max's arms. At 8'3, she was our smallest baby by an ounce. She was down to 7 something but will bounce back.

Max and Ben are good helpers to entertain the little boys when needed. JB needs rest, too, the light on at night and the baby's squeaks can be hard to sleep through. And he takes her if she's done nursing but won't settle.

Now to make sure I sleep when she sleeps, and not try to do too much. Like blog.  Ok, goodnight.

Friday, July 22, 2016

What's in a name?

Some have shared their stories of a strong or sudden spiritual confirmation over a name for their babies. When that happened again about 2 1/2 months ago, I started to doubt myself again and sink back into that sadness and bitterness that if that happened for them and not for me, then it meant I was unloved and unvalued.

I sat in the temple. I pored over obituaries. I looked at new baby posts on strangers' Instagram accounts. Took baby name quizzes online. JB suggested several names. Darling names. But when anyone would ask, I would just have to say, "Well, I have always loved Millie...." almost apologetically.

I thought about this a lot. As I was pondering this one Sunday morning, a scripture entered my mind: "Did I not tell you in your mind and in your heart?"  I went over the teachings of Elder Bednar about spiritual revelation:  some may get one big ah-ha moment. That doesn't mean I need to expect that for me every time. Instead, more often I have a thought that nags me, that keeps coming back. While other things become that "stupor of thought" and leave.

11 years ago when I was early pregnant, I thought: "Millie! I love that name for a girl."  And it never left my mind and heart. It only became closer and more dear to me as I thought about a daughter.

I did have two other moments connected to this that felt very spiritual. Three years ago this summer, I was at the park in Bountiful with my sister-in-law and our new baby boys. I was trying to come to terms with being an all-boy family. As I played some frisbee with my older boys, a little blonde girl came up to join us -- she was so sweet, chatting away with me. I was startled to hear her mother call, "Millie! It's time to go!"  I couldn't believe that was her name out of thousands of names, because maybe it was a sign from God to me.

The second moment came in a dream late last summer, when I was in such a deep depression. Now normally I don't really put much stock in my dreams, because with my sleep schedule I have such random weird dreams -- pandas show up for example.  But one night after crying myself to sleep again, I dreamed I was back at beautiful Bear Lake with my friend Sarah. We were chatting in the kitchen about various things, when she looked directly at me and said, "It's going to be ok."  I felt such peace come over me that I knew it had to be a message from above.

I do regret that I struggled since then to cling to that peace. I was not strong enough to keep trusting God that everything WOULD be ok, and I acted accordingly, especially to family members. I chose fear over faith, instead of faith over fear.  I am writing this all down to help me remember to do better -- to be better -- and to recognize revelation and promptings.

Tuesday morning, JB came back early to the hospital from sleeping overnight at our house (one of us needs to get rest).  And it felt right to be Millie Grace. When I said it out loud I felt a wave of peace. For a time I thought Elizabeth for the middle name, like me, but JB and I talked about God's grace and goodness that He freely gives.  He gave us the grace of this daughter when we thought we'd never have one.

She is perfect, she is so sweet, and I still cannot believe she is ours eternally.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Millie Grace

Born Monday 7:27 pm
8 lbs 3 oz, 21.5 inches long

"She is a miracle. All our babies were sweet, Gilbert, but she is the sweetest."
-Anne of Ingleside, LM Montgomery

The Birth Story

Compared to my little sister, who had a baby on her living room floor two weeks ago, this could be boiled down to "We went to the hospital when they said to come in, and the baby was born that evening." But details are fun, so here they are.

My doctor thought inducing at 39 weeks would be good, based on my age and the fact that James was so large at 40 weeks and had shoulder dystocia. So, my due date was Sunday July 24, and that put induction at the Monday before.

I started having contractions off and on at 38 weeks, and severe back pain Thursday-Saturday that had me barely able to walk. I think she dropped and was sitting on my sciatic nerve. Then it got much better for Sunday and I was able to teach Relief Society.  I half-hoped to go into labor on my own that night and go on in in active labor, but in retrospect things worked out well.

We were able to spend a nice Monday morning with our boys in a relaxed way, without mom in pain rushing out the door and frantically getting the boys to where they needed to be. JB made waffles with strawberries while I kept checking with the hospital just about hourly since 6 AM.  Finally they said to come in at 10, so we took a last picture and went to drop the boys off at Nona and Papa's house, about 5 minutes from the hospital.

I had to be on an antibiotic for four hours at least before the birth, so that got started at 11:20 along with some Pitocin in my IVs. I was already at 2 cm.

I opted to get the epidural while contractions weren't bad, because the anesthesiologist was going to a C-section for 1 1/2 hours. But I wonder if he timed it to be when he thought I would be done? Because things stalled a bit with the pitocin at a lower dose, and I was still at a 7 cm dilated by around 6:30 (they broke my water at 3:30-ish). So they upped the pitocin to get things moving better, but the epidural was wearing off.  I found out later that JB took a picture of this.

Waves of pain - stabbing, searing, strong unbearable pain and pressure that I tried doing the special breathing through. But I felt like I wasn't part of my body anymore. I basically went through transition from a 7 cm to a 9 cm in a haze -- I was shaking and crying. Thank goodness for JB, who helped me calm down and focus, and the anesthesiologist came back and slammed more drugs into my IV just in time to push, but it gave me a numb left leg for the rest of the night.

Dr Laine came, and tons of nurses filled the room just in case, but it only took a few pushes and she was out very easily and safely.

Strong suck and neck control had her rooting around right away.  They left us for a bit to be alone with her. I was still shaking so badly but managed to take a crooked picture of JB.

My brother Joe was apparently waiting outside the door and heard my yells, I found out later. So he came in to meet her after a timely manner. He lives far away and was hanging around longer in town to meet her.

Then we called for our boys and Papa and Nona, because by now it was 8:30 and they had been waiting anxiously all day. This is grandchild #13 on the Richards side, #14 for the Deardeuff side.

She looks like her brothers! Exactly like our other babies.

The nurses were so cute. They came back in after a while of just family time, and let the boys "help" weigh her and check her vitals. Andrew listened to her heart, while James helped take her temperature.

Checking out her fingers.

A family of seven!

Next post is more about her name. We waited until the next day to see her, be with her, pray about it, and make sure we were at peace.

Monday, July 11, 2016


Our Maxwell now has braces! He also has what's called a Herpst Appliance to bring his lower jaw forward and correct the overjet and overbite. It's like a rod and spring system cemented in his back teeth. Similar to the binator and headgear of yesteryear, but inside the mouth. And non-removable like rubber bands, so we think it should be more effective.

The 5th graders were all getting braces this year. It seems it is being done earlier these days than the tween/teen times that JB and I had our mouth work done.  And our dentist had been telling me for the past couple visits that we should get Max in for a consultation. Three different orthodondists we visited all had different approaches. But in the end, we felt good about the price and approach of the place we are at now.

Max counted down for weeks until it was time to get the stuff all put in. Then the soreness kicked in that night. But he is being very brave, and in the end, he will have a new jawline and straight teeth.