Wednesday, July 15, 2015


i don't know if there are words to describe what the last 9 months have been like for me. i don't think i have the capacity to describe it all or to bring it all together with a blog post but i would like to try and pen the feelings that have been surrounding us with the entrance of this sweet baby.

i think i have brought sufficient attention to my misery to anyone surrounding me at any point during the past 9 months. it was hard to be around anyone because i didn't want to ever be accused of being ungrateful. but a few minutes with me and my mid section and you would indeed be hip to the misery. there was no quote, or self help book, or richard simmons move that would help the suffering lift. purely survival.

so the dr suggests a start date of may 13. he said this to me at about 34 weeks acknowledging that it will be very likely i won't make it until then as he watches me get tense about every 3-7 minutes. fine i say. very unlikely.

i go into survival. i don't tell anyone about the start date. i have major performance anxiety. majorly. i don't want to be a bother to anyone and it might have been i didn't even tell scott about the start date for a few weeks. no way was i going to have to be started, the contractions were so bad and so constant.

at 36 weeks rocky (the dr.) tells me, you made it! hooray! we did it! come up at any time, let's do this. any time the contractions get to be too much- come on up, i won't try to stop it. be careful he says, that baby's head is not where it should be and you have so much fluid. that baby could likely slide out. and then the cord was where the head was supposed to be and i was in a stew. but i felt this overall feeling of peace. and i tell myself over and over, i can do a few hours of misery to get this baby out. i can, i can. even a dire circumstance only takes a few hours to forge thru.

so may comes and i am so miserable i can't talk. if i do, i bawl or bark. and then my blood turns weak and i am a bleeder. there's a chance i might not be eligible for an epidural. and that is almost more than i can handle. i am maxed for miserable. go up, scott begs every 4 or 5 hour stretch of 3 minutes apart. no, that baby wasn't big enough last exam. he said that baby was only 6 pounds. i can do a few more days and hope for a few more ounces on this baby.

may 12th comes and i have told no one. well, i told grayce i had some blood work early in the morning and could she stay home from school to watch rowan. the night of may 12th comes and we get kids to bed and then get some things together. my sister in law has offered to photograph the birth and scott tells me it would be horrid of me if i didn't tell her. so i confide late the night before. she says she will be ready for the call. maybe by dinner i tell her and grayce can watch your girls.

we check in the next morning and they tell us we have to wait. didn't we get their message at 5:15 am? no, we were hustling. they tell us go eat breakfast, go wander for a few hours.

so we wait. i am so sick. literally. my throat has been on fire for a few days and my stomach is not happy. not happy at all.

finally, it's 9 o'clock.

by ten i am hooked up, anti-biotics dripping as i tested positive for strep B. four hours and then they will break my water. the nurse comments that i am already contracting quite regularly and being that it's my fifth she will only give me the lowest dose of pitocin for fear of delivering before the 4 hour mark. they don't want anything happening before that 4 hour mark.

i have so much fluid that when they try to put the heart rate monitor on for the baby, it won't stay, anywhere. i am so round that it flips off in any position. they have to monitor the heart rate. so for the day, i held this monitor. there is so much fluid, that i have to press deep into my skin to get a heart rate. plus, all that fluid made for a circus act for this baby. this baby is twirling and whirling around. it worked rather brilliantly as a distraction for me. between being in and out of the restroom from the fluids and the heart rate tracking, time seemed to go by quickly. by eleven o clock i decide we should call my mom. school will be out early this day and i need someone to grab the kids and bring them up to the hospital. 

i call my mom who has promised to stay close until i have the baby. she doesn't answer. i call her house, i call her cell phone. after a bit of this i call my dad. i am a bit panicked and my plan has back fired. he tells me she is at the payson temple open house with her friend who is investigating the church and she has obviously left her phone at home. payson is not close to ogden if you are having a baby. my dad agrees to grab kids from school when it's time. 

12:30. the dr checks in. i am still a 4. still at what i came in at. i can't progress until my water breaks. the head is crazy high but it is a head. he tells me he will be back at 2 to break my water. 

at one the anesthesiologist comes in. it happens to be one of our friends and one of the partners in scott's group. at first this made me feel relieved but then a little strange. i don't cart scott around naked to my friends. like how should i feel about this at the next company christmas party? it's for sure a strange life when you are married to a medical professional. i can't think about things too much. the epidural was amazing. the mix tim did for me was so good i felt everything and so good i didn't feel anything. i was walking soon after and had no after birth or back issues, it was such a blessing.

at 1:50, rocky walked in and got to work. by 2:00 he had hooked my water.

there were 15 weeks of anticipation leading up to this moment. i dreamt of the relief that would come. i cried myself to sleep many nights praying for this relief. 


nothing. a little trickle. i had prepared the nurse for a flash flood, i was atop loads of towels with plenty on hand. she could see my devastation and checked me and found the baby's head was down enough that there was no way the water would all come out at once.

a few minutes into this and this crazy horrific pain right where my placenta had attached starts. it happened a few times during long stretches of contractions or whenever i was sitting in a chair that wasn't my recliner. all i can describe it as is a charlie horse in your gut. it was the closest pain to kidney stones i have ever had. it felt like something was being ripped apart inside of me. this was the second time during the labor that this happened and the nurse was growing nervous this time. there was some bleeding with it and also the baby's heart rate was dropping with the pain. and then there was a large gush. the flash flood i had prepared her for was happening. the gushing, the relief. everything. but this pain.

and then suddenly, it stopped after 20 minutes and the nurse checked me. i was a 10 and ready to go. she is paging the doctor and i am having scott call my sister in law and mom. hurry, we tell them!

i am in so much shock and disbelief.

there is rushing around, and running, and paging, and supplies, and in walks the doctor.

he is calm and ready and had a little smirk. he knew i would go fast but not this fast he says. we decide to face time the kids so they can be a part of the delivery. scott has the camcorder in one hand, his phone by the top of my head, and the DSLR around his neck. 

one push.

ginger hair! red hair rocky says!


one more push mom and this little ginger baby will be here.

once more and out flies this bright headed baby that is making all of the right kinds of ruckus. he holds her up and thru my tears i ask, what is it?

he gently lays this baby on my body and says, you tell us mom.

i look and take her into my arms.

it's a girl, i cried, and my cheeks are wet with all of the things this world hasn't given words for.

and the kids, they screamed, and cheered, and whooped, and hollered.
and there are tears streaming down my face.

and she is perfect and it is over. and her hair is red.

and at the moment, i knew what i knew for a long time. she was meant to be and waited so patient. 

she is golde. (the original 1800's spelling of goldie)

golden hair, golden eyebrows, golden lashes.
fair skin.

i can see ella in her coloring and grayce in her dimples. i can see the christensen side in her and the mcfarlane genes. attribute certain things to scott's family.
and i know she is ours.

the joy and relief are palpable.

the nurse wipes a few of her own tears away and the doctor tells us those cheers are something he will never forget. he quietly goes to work stitching and repairing.

and after a few minutes of skin to skin my sister in law rushes in and starts clicking away. i am all sewn together and then my mom and kids rush in.  

and suddenly the clock stops, the reuniting is all around us. there are questions and there is caution. and it is heaven. 

in all my living in 36 years, i don't know if there is more appreciation for a hard thing. i know that everything that matters on earth is in the room with me, both seen and unseen. everything it represents. for scott and i, it was setting aside our selfishness to be done doing hard things and opening our hearts to this little spirit, fresh in her body, and basking in this amazing love that surely drenches heaven.

she weighs in at 8 pounds 1 ounce. 

no way says the doctor. are you sure? that baby fooled us all, she was not measuring that big.

i am sure she was that big i say. yes, pretty sure.

and the relief that leaves my body, scott's body, my mom's body is so palpable in the room. and at that moment, it was caught on camera.

ella is washed and ready and has been for 9 months. hand her over.

and then she has had her turn and she comes to my side.  mom, she whispers, it's twins! 
i look around to see if there has been another baby carted into the room. there is not. so it begs the question, why do you think that sis?
look at your belly mom! there's still another one in there!!
a discussion about the amazing ability of the muscle called a uterus ensues. it still takes weeks for her to believe this explanation.

easton has this cautious, gentle love for her.

my mom welcomes her 8th grand baby!
rowan is a giggler with golde. it took him some time to be convinced she was clean enough to hold. seeing her fresh was a little alarming for him!
my first and fifth girl. scott and i are still amazed coming from families with 7 brothers and only 1 sister between us that we have 3 girls!

grandpa alan was in town to meet golde girl!

the first few days were so magical. i could feel so profoundly that this girl is strong. she is fire, and life, and energy. she has a serious case of the mommies which i find incredibly appropriate for the trouble that proceeded her! she loves her time to eat, its not only her meal but her most favorite hobby if that's possible.

i pinch myself everyday.

the feeling that i keep having is that this is the crazy i have hoped for my whole life. i never could have dreamed our life would be so full. there is something so profound in my everyday since this baby has been with us. it's a reverence and deeper love and gratitude for a creator's plan that i haven't felt before. maybe it's age and maybe it's growth, but its peaceful. and its happy. and it's ours.

Thursday, July 2, 2015


there is a childhood experience that is still so vivid in my memory and as school gets out every year, i always think about it with fondness.

when my family moved to north ogden, 28 years ago, my parents felt incredibly guided and directed to be there. the lot that they bought, the builders they chose to build our home, everything about it was all orchestrated.

it was solidified when we met our neighbors. all of them. we were surrounded by the best. it was especially exciting to us when the Su'a family moved in. or maybe they were there before us. i don't remember, childhood blurs the lines. but, i do remember that once our families met, the deal was sealed, it was a bosom buddy situation.

my mom found one of her dearest friends and i recall many, many afternoons spent on their back patio with women gathered. they would talk, laugh, relate, and bond.  the time our families spent together has proved to be a life long bond. they are family.

i have one very distinct memory. one that i mentioned i think of often and recently i was able to recall it and connect it to a current ongoing in our family.

one summer afternoon, both mothers thought we should go up over the mountain and have a picnic in the wilderness. my mother knows how to do it right. we spent endless days over the mountain just a few minutes away from our house as kids. on this particular day we took a picnic up to north fork and introduced the Su'a family to our tromping grounds. if memory serves me right, it was their first time up there.

we went to our favorite site. it boasted a lazy river with a large tree which was a perfect place to entertain 8 kids. 4 of the aforementioned kids counted/doubled/multiplied because their names were mikey, manti, vaughn, and devin. these boys were the epitome of what and how boys should be. the stories that have been revealed thru the years of their misdeeds together have caused my mother to be grateful at night when she prays. grateful they all survived. so, you can imagine the setting of wilderness, water, and wild boys.

we had the perfect afternoon. the sun was brilliant and we were under a canopy of leaves.  we discovered a long, large rope tied to the massive tree overlooking the river. soon, we were jumping into the water via this rope. over and over. again and again. there was yelling, screaming, and misbehavior from everyone, except probably jamie, she was always angelic. but the rest of us tested our mothers limits and surely made them crazy. my brother cameron caught a fish barehanded, threw it on jenilyn repeatedly and understandably, that put her into tears, fits, horror that i am sure caused permanent damage. vaughn, mikey, manti, and devin found sticks. always sticks. keep in mind they were all under 6 at this time and it was always about the sticks for every adventure. the best one, the longest one, the one that was most smooth. i don't remember where i fit in to the scene, most likely at my mother's side. i have always, always enjoyed conversation. is there such thing as a hobby conversationalist? is that real? because it's me and it's my mother. even when conversations were above my head and over my level, i appreciate her never shooing me and always letting me discover/observe the art of conversing.

as the afternoon wore on and the activities shifted, the boys decided to explore a different part of the river. across the road, a different path the river flowed. my mother never had the luxury of trusting her boys alone. never. and if she did, it was always met with stark consequences. this time was no exception. i don't know the amount of time that had passed, but knowing these boys, not long. soon, we heard mothers screaming all of their names and we knew it required everyone's attention. the river they decided to explore started shallow, it started innocent. it was accessible by road on both sides with shallow bush. but soon, it was beyond the road, the trees were impossible to navigate and those boys were lost. the further their river adventure took them, the deeper the water. they knew they were in trouble long before they could hear their names. they were trying to come up, back, get out. with it being so thick and deep it became a feat that required effort. the details after this become fuzzy to me, probably as all of these episodes with my brothers do. i think i always felt their lives were in the balance every single time and i tend to block some things out due to the trauma. they did this to my mom more than they should have. but, i do know that they were found and possibly spanked. deserved to be spanked. their adventurous plan back fired.

the memory of my mom and pam standing at the dense bush yelling for them is vivid for me to this day. i felt their desperation, even as a 9 year old. little boys, floating down an increasingly rapid river with no road or path to reach them.

we have found ourselves in a situation as parents lately that triggered this memory to affect me in a different light. as i was checking into the counseling office the thought hit me that there should be as many mental health clinics as there are physical health clinics. while it would seem charmed to declare all parents are equipped to deal with every situation that comes across the paths of their kids, it would be incredibly foolish to accept that truth as reality. i would never let my child suffer endlessly from strep throat. if i did, it would escalate into a dire circumstance. if my child had a physical deficiency, i would quickly seek help to remedy or ease the situation. i wonder why we aren't as quick to accept our defeat when we are in over our heads with mental health situations? all it entails is finding a different kind of help. the kind that helps ease our burdens as parents and gives us tools to help our kids. we work tirelessly as parents to teach our kids manners, how to be independent, how to succeed at school, but where are our efforts going to help our kids to be mentally healthy and to be aware of their mental health?

this past year, i found myself looking into a shallow part of a river. watching the enjoyment of normal activities. and then suddenly, i seem to have lost one of my kids. without my realization, they are going down a river that gets deeper and more swift. it's hard for me to understand because i am not where they are. i can't see the part of the river they are in, but it's deep. i know they need help but i can't see them. i have never been down this part of the river and i don't know how to get them out.  and the thing is, i can try to pray away all the troubles i want to, but at the end of the day, i have to accept that i don't have what it takes to get to them. i don't have a road to access where they are, i don't have hedge trimmers big enough to clear the bushes. and so i have discovered that if i want to help them i have to find the people who have the know how to empower my child with the proper tools.

there is this part when you can't see where your child is heading that makes you feel loads, heaps, vast quantities of guilt. if i would have, if only i could have taken this sign back then, did i not do so and so well enough, did they always feel loved. all of these things taunt my thoughts mercilessly. and if we throw in the fact that i have been entirely out of commission from september to may 13, it doesn't ease my guilt, in fact,it  significantly increases it.

but a break comes. in the form of a health provider taking control of the situation and really easing our burden. giving us direction and how to and making such a concerted effort to get us help. and then we realize the depth of what we are facing and our prayers are constant. they are earnest and a level of love and understanding opens.

i see that river and i am desperately chasing thick trees, deep water, and cries for help from the river's victim and this image hits me. if only i could elevate myself above it all, if only i could somehow get high enough above the river above the trees to give me a point of reference. and suddenly i realize, i can't but the power of a creator in his universe can. and the depth of the power washes over me. its a deeper understanding it seems has been on my heart lately. the power of a mighty god. it seems all of my reading and thoughts for some time have pointed to this and to the nothingness of me without it. the furious ways we try to constantly do for ourselves are purely in vain. when we embark on any endeavor on this earth and try to do it ourselves, we will come up deficient. all things point to christ and to an all powerful god. be still, and we will know that he is. to be still and to have the creations surrounding us testify is power that is beyond any love i have been able to give in this life. it seems to me that this power and love are intricately tied together and that maybe in this life, love is secondary to this power.

 one of my favorite reads is by george ritchie. he was pronounced clinically dead for 9 minutes. the story is fascinating. return from tomorrow is the books name. as he chronicles his journey of being dead and the thoughts he goes thru without a physical body, he details the power of jesus christ. it hit me that his description is that the love he feels is almost without emotion but with power. it isn't anything he has to question, its a fact. he talks about seeing people in the afterlife, riddled with earthly addictions that heaven can't empower. tortured spirits desiring physical bodies to support earthly addiction. and yet. jesus christ surrounds them. they fail to look up. they don't open their heart to the light and love that is above them. when the author pens his feelings about this love, he describes it as a power that is beyond anything earthly.

when i take that account into thought and give it application to my circumstance, i feel this deep need for repentance. this deep need to forsake my instinct to do things on my own. to eliminate any circumstance that i wouldn't call on what is above me. as the book of mormon phrase i love states, "i would give away all my sins to know thee", it reminds me of the importance of forsaking that sinful need to do it on our own. i read that phrase years and years ago and was so touched by the power of it. daily i have taken to asking myself, what sins am i hanging on to today that have kept me from knowing him? the discovery of every facet of the sinfulness of man has really brought me to know and have abiding testimony of the power of what's above us and the sins we hang onto that prevent that power to aid us. as always, i am ever grateful for the opportunities that surround me that give me new understanding and allow me to love and be loved.