Confessions of a Fauf

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Before West was born I got sucked into Downton Abbey Season 1. Then earlier this year I returned for Season 2. My inlaws recorded it for me and I would come over and watch it and get swept away into the British drama of the early 1900s. Michael got me both seasons on DVD for my birthday and now we're engrossed in it together. We keep asking ourselves, "Why is this show so good?"

 We came up with a couple answers: The time period adds glamor and interest The show is all about relationships--between the upper family members, between the service members, and between the two social classes.

 Ultimately, it's darn good writing. And as a writer, I am in love with the writer. He is able to give the full scope of a character in a 90 second scene with four lines of dialogue. Some of the characters' dialogue (mainly Maggie Smith's) is some of the wittiest and most poignant around. There are plenty of problems for the characters to work through, and there is tragedy, but there is also justice.

 To put it in British terms, it's Brilliant!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

April's Project: Bedroom Make-Overs!

During Spring Break we finally got a new bed. We got a Cal-King memory foam mattress which has been awesome for my back. We got new bedding and re-did our bedroom. We moved our old queen bed downstairs to the guestroom, rearranged some furniture, and made a little office/desk nook in the closet. It's been great fun!

The 'desk' is a piece of wood we covered with fabric and balanced on two filing cabinets.

This is the fabric of our new bedset.

The bed-set came with two square pillow cases which were no use to us, so I took them apart and made end-table mats and a cover for our dresser.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Thirty, Flirty, and Thriving

It happened...I reached 30, and I couldn't do anything about it. I've left my 20s full of adventure and new experiences (college, mission trips, moving, marriage, writing/publishing, traveling, pregnancy, motherhood) and am entering a new decade that will most likely be defined by childrearing! haha But I'm excited to see what new adventures are in store for me next!

I had a great birthday. We celebrated over the weekend with my family down south at Mimi's house. Then Monday I was kept busy by opening Michael's 30 gifts. We went to dinner at Rooneys, then later that night after West was asleep, I met my two close girlfriends for some delicious dessert sampling and fun girl time.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

30 Gifts

Michael did something special to celebrate my 30th birthday and make it special: he gave me 30 gifts and had me open one every 20 minutes of the day! This kept the day special and fun, especially since he had to go back to work after a week off of spring break. I had a little schedule I had to follow and all the gifts were numbered. A few of them were little love coupons, like a free afternoon, or back scratches at night. Gift 1 was a kiss, and gift 2 was a donut breakfast. I had so much fun!

Here's the list of 30 gifts (if I can remember them all): scarf, bracelets, picnic blanket, four packs of vintage notecards, magnets, notepad, stapler, mini frame, travel jewelry case, Season 1 & 2 of Downton Abbey, Season 2 of Arrested Development, Ghirardelli chocolate, Starbucks gift card, Starbucks VIA, El Pollo Loco gift card, flowers, gossip magazine, Sees candy gift card, love coupons, dinner at Rooneys!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

April's Craft Project

This month I made little coin purses. I found instructions online that were way easy to follow. I got the idea to first make a pouch for our grocery cash instead of toting around a ragged envelope. When I saw how easy these pouches were to make, I made a small one for my hair accessories and a larger one for odds n' ends in my purse.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Westly's Bee-Day Party

Westly's first brithday party was all it should be. We did a bumble bee theme because ever since he was teeny he liked bees and the black and yellow striped patterns. The Shaw family came over for pizza, cupcakes, and fun. West opened a few gifts and tried some frosting. We also showed a little picture slide show of his first year.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Westly's Birthday

On Friday Westly turned one. And since Michael was on spring break, we got to spend the day together as a family. We went to Panda Express for lunch since that was the first meal I had eaten after giving birth to him a year ago. Then we took him to Sprinkles and Scoops, our fave ice cream parlor where they all know us because we go way too often. West got his first taste of ice cream--black cherry. And of course he loved it, which put me at ease, for maybe he will be a regular kid after all! Later that evening the Shaw family came over to celebrate (pictures coming soon)

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Natural Birth

A few things I learned about natural child birth:

1.It required just as much mental stamina as physical. It’s literally a game of mind over matter. There were moments when I felt I was mentally hanging on by a thread. I was so close to losing control and freaking out. But I mentally overcame each contraction, and so was able to physically also. Barb would remind me, “Don’t let the contraction control you—you take control of the contraction.”

2.It’s not THAT bad. Don’t get me wrong. It was the most painful and hardest thing I’ve ever done. But it was able to be done, and I did it. It was amazing to experience my body do what it was suppose to without my even knowing it half the time!

3.I totally got a high from it. Afterwards I was able to get out of bed and shower and I had energy.

4.Birthing Westly was the best experience of my life, and it is one of my top memories. I got a stronger sense of self, proved to myself I could do it, and witnessed God’s grace

5.Because of natural birth and my experience, I love birth and I know I MUST have that experience again, for it was so beautiful and empowering.

Friday, April 06, 2012

The Big ONE

Today my little boy is one. We made it through the first year—which I think has been harder and more rewarding than my first year of marriage! In some ways the year has been a blur, but there are specific memories that I will forever treasure in my heart:

Cuddling Westly the first hours of his life, feeling him fit snugly in the crook of my arm and listening to his little critter noises

Laying skin to the skin in the early mornings

Hearing his first giggle as Daddy plays with him, and thinking it must be true that when a baby laughs for a first time, the laugh breaks into a million pieces and they all go skipping about, and that is the beginning of fairies

Changing Westly’s diapers in the middle of the night and noticing by the faint night light glow that he is smiling at me

Waking up with him next to me in his pack n’ play and hearing his excited coos and giggles in greeting

Carrying him everywhere in his baby katan on me, his favorite place to be was always against my chest

Spending afternoons at the park, first sitting on a blanket, and eventually climbing the playground

Rocking him to sleep and thinking how lovely he always looks when he’s finally asleep

Hearing him say “Mama” and it melting my heart

And the list goes on. How fast this year has gone and how quickly he has changed…and changed me! I always tell him, “You’re my favorite thing in the whole wide world.”

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Birth Story

Tuesday, April 5

2:00am: I wake up and feel a tightening in my belly. After about a half hour, I realize the tightening is coming and going. I wonder if these are contractions? I time them—they’re exactly 10 minutes apart and last 1 minute. I think these are contractions! I’m too excited to go back to sleep. This could be it!

6:30am: Michael wakes up for work. I tell him, “I think Westly’s birthday could be today.” He says, “Really?!” He goes to work and wants me to keep him updated.

8:00am: I get up and tell my doula what’s been going on. She encourages me to go about my day and relax.

10:00am: I go for a walk. It’s a warm humid day—a fluke for Santa Maria, but would you expect normal weather on a day like this? My contractions take pauses as I walk. My sister in law Lisa eagerly checks in with me.

11:00am: I go to Starbucks to and realize this could be my last solo Starbucks time for awhile. The barista asks me when I’m due, and I say, “Any time now—literally! I’m having contractions.” Everyone cheers, and gives me their tips for progressing labor: get a mani/pedi, walk, eat spicy food. It’s nice of them to give suggestions, but I’m content to let things progress on their own. God is control.

1:00pm: I go over to my friend Becky’s house to hang out. She gives me encouragement and tips, etc., for she’s had 3 babies all natural.

3:00pm: Michael is home from work and we head off for a meeting we had made to see about refinancing our home. Contractions are coming a regular 8 min apart and are getting stronger. A few times during our meeting I have to close my eyes and breathe through them. There’s good and bad news: good news is my labor is progressing, and bad news is at this point it’s not worth us refinancing.

4:00pm: We get home and I realize I’ve been up since 2am, so I should probably at least lie down and rest a bit. I lay on my side on the couch—whoa! Big contractions start. I have a really hard one that lasts almost 4 min straight! Michael starts timing and logging the contractions.

5:00pm: Our friends Jon and Morgan bring us dinner: Morgan’s homemade potato soup and Jamba Juice. I manage to chit-chat and eat a few bowls of soup in between some hard contractions. By the time they leave, I know for sure I’m in active labor.

6:00pm: Michael suggests we take a shower. I have a moment in the kitchen with an intense contraction. I grip Michael’s arms and start to tear up. I feel overwhelmed. I don’t think I’ll be able to do this. Michael prays over me. We head upstairs. We take a shower, which feels good.

7:00-9:00pm: It’s a blur. I get out of the shower and get dressed, stopping every 4-6 min to deal with contractions. They’re coming closer. Barb our doula arrives and suggests I lie down on the bed to rest. I do—whoa! Biggest one yet. Apparently laying down on my side progresses my labor. I’m quite loud with this one, and Barb coaches me to inhale through my nose, exhale through my mouth, and moan low to stay relaxed and keep from panicking. That’s it, that’s what I needed to cope. Everyone has their own method of coping (thoughts, massage, rocking, etc) For me, focusing on my breathing and moaning gives me something to control while everything else is out of my control, and I’m able to work through each contraction.

9:30pm: Contractions are getting closer, averaging 4 min apart, but some are even closer. We all decide it’s time to go to the hospital. But the thought of going downstairs and all the way to the car in the garage is too much for me right now. Michael and Barb help me up from the bed and they help me take one step at a time. When we get to the kitchen, I remind Michael, “Don’t forget the bag, and your water bottle. And do you have a snack? What about your shoes?” Barb can’t help cracking up—she can’t believe I’m still able to stay organized during labor.

9:45pm: I’m about to get in the car and I can feel Westly moving lower. It feels like he’s gonna come out. I panic. Barb grabs my shoulders, looks in my eyes, and assures me West will not fall out and we will make it to the hospital in time. She’s right. We take off and Michael calls the family. Thank goodness Marian hospital is only 7 min away with lights (we timed it ahead of time) cause the drive is not fun. We pull into the emergency entrance of the hospital and I get onto a wheel chair. At this point I’m closing my eyes and working hard. The nurses at check in don’t seem to believe how progressed I am—after all, I’m a first-timer. Finally we get up to the labor and delivery.

10:00pm: It still amazes me how much these nurses want you to do while coping with active labor. I have to stand on a scale to be weighed, I have to change into a gown, I have to answer an absurd number of questions—all in little 2-4 min increments cause contractions are close and steady. Nurse Eva comes in. She says she’s seen my natural birthing plan, and since she’s a huge natural birth fan, she has reorganized all the nurses so she can be my nurse. I am so grateful and again reminded God is in control.

10:30pm: Eva checks me. At this point, labor is hard and I really need some good news. Excellent news: I’m already 8 cm! I get into a tub—ahhh! Just what I needed. Eva bends hospital protocol and decides to use the external monitor on me while in the tub so I don’t have to get out every 20 min. Michael takes a break and eats a snack in the other room. Barb stays with me. She gives me sips of water, honey, and cools me with a wet washcloth. We have small talk in between contractions—I still manage to laugh at a few things. Contractions are 1min—30 seconds apart and lasting a few min. I am living for those 30 second breaks. I can feel Westly moving down and down. Michael comes in and times contractions with me. He tells me, “This one should
be coming down any second now.” I yell, “It’s not coming down!” He says, “I’ve been lying a little.” I tell him, “I need you to lie to me right now!” That becomes one of our favorite memories.

12:00am: I am definitely in transition—the hardest part of labor. Contractions are right on top of each other with no break. And I say, “I can’t do this!” (always a sure sign of transition).

12:30am: During a few contractions, my body starts involuntarily pushing. It’s time to get out of the tub. I stand up and realize how much the water was helping with the pressure. I feel heavy and the pressure down there is incredible. I get into the bed and Eva check me: 9 ½ cm!

12:45am: I realize Westly will be born on his due date April 6. Suddenly I’m scared about pushing. Barb asks why. Well, I’ve gotten the hang of these contractions and what to do, but pushing is totally new! I’ve never done it before, how will I know what to do?!

1:00am: Barb suggests I lay on my side, since that seems to be my labor trigger. I barely roll over when I yell, “I gotta push!” It’s true what they say: when it’s time to push, your body just does it. I have my first push and I scream—it catches me off guard. A few outside nurses run in to see what’s wrong. Barb and Eva firmly get my attention and coach me: take a deep breath, tuck my chin into my chest, push for as long as I can. My water breaks.

1:10am: I feel a contraction, so I push again, this time following instructions and find it easier to manage. Eva counts and I try to hold the push for as long as her count. I feel like someone is pulling my skin apart and yes, I feel the legendary ring of fire! Michael grabs a knee, Barb grabs a knee, and they’re trying to keep my legs apart and open. My instinct is to close my legs.

1:15am: I’m pushing hard and fast. Barb tells me, “You can slow down, Farah. It’s normal to push for an hour or so.” I look at her and I think, “No way! I’m ending this now!”

1:18am: Eva is stretching me. Dr. Dillon arrives (nice of him to show up). In between pushes, someone puts a mirror down there so I can see, but Westly’s head always retracts when I’m not pushing so I can’t see much. I push again and Michael exclaims, “Every color is coming out of you!” I believe him cause I feel gushes.

1:20am: I can’t believe Westly is almost here! So close! I push again as hard as I can. Dr. Dillon tells me he’s going to do a small episiotomy. Not my first choice, but at this point I don’t care. Oo—I feel it.

1:28am: I didn’t think I could push any harder until I do. And there it is, that tiny mighty wail. He’s here! Michael cuts the cord and Dr. Dillon does a little wipe off. And then there he is, lying on my chest. He immediately stops crying cause he knows me. I say, “I know you too!” After being stitched up, everyone leaves the room. Michael lays his head at the foot of the bed—he’s pretty exhausted too. Westly lays quietly on my chest, tiny and soft and still a little gooey. We’re silent and peaceful, our new little family.

And everything is perfect in the world.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Song For Westly

(The tune of I’m a Little Teapot)
You’re a little Doodle long and lean
You are the cutest one I’ve seen
I love your little dimples when you smile
Won’t you cuddle me awhile?
You’re a little Doodle busy as a bee
You’re crawling and walking over to me
Soon you’ll be one and two and three
Won’t you stay little for me?

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

How We Named Our Farm Boy

When I first got pregnant, Michael and I were hoping for a girl. We liked the idea of having a girl first to be an older sister—after all, that was how both our families were. I’m the oldest of my siblings, and Michael has an oldest sister. Sometime near the end of my first trimester, I had a dream about the baby—the first one I’d ever had. And in my dream, we had a baby boy. He had big brown eyes, fine brown hair, and a small cute face. The funny thing is that even though he was small, he was walking already and we all thought he was physically advanced. (Sound like someone we all know and love?) I woke up in love with that little baby boy. And I suddenly thought, “Hmm, I wouldn’t mind if Fig was a boy.”

As I got closer to week 20 when we would find out Fig’s sex, I felt more sure Fig was a boy. Michael also told me he had changed his desire and hoped Fig was a boy instead of a girl. So when Dr. Dillon announced he was definitely a boy, I was not that surprised, but I was delighted. And I decided God had given me that dream of that little baby boy to change my mind and heart.

Now for a name. We had plenty of girl names, but no boy names. Although I had always liked the name Wesley, Michael wasn’t too keen. But when we found out we were having a boy, Michael came around and admitted Wesley was the name.

We spent some time experimenting with the spelling. We decided to spell it Westly after the hero from Princess Bride since we had been reading that with our book club the night we discovered I was pregnant. And that’s how we named our little farm boy.

Monday, April 02, 2012

The Sign of the Nest

We had been trying for about a year to conceive Westly, during which time our faith was tested and we hit some spiritual lows. One day in July 2010 we discovered a mother bird had made a nest in a wreath on our front door and she had hatched three baby birds. When we discovered it, we felt God had sent that mother bird and her nest to remind us that just as He was mindful of every little sparrow, He had not forgotten us and our desire for a baby. A few weeks later, the baby birds grew up and flew away. And the day they left the nest, was the day my pregnancy test said positive!

Now fast forward nine months. We were approaching Westly’s due date and wondering when he would come and how his arrival would work with Michael taking off work. Westly’s due date was the perfect day for him to come in regards to Michael’s job. But of course babies rarely come on their due date. A few days before his due date, Michael prayed God would send us a sign to remind us He was in control and would work out everything perfectly. And He did: we discovered another nest in our wreath (which had been empty for 9 months) with three little blue eggs. And we were reminded again God had not forgotten us. And sure enough, Westly came on his due date. Michael bought me a little necklace of a bird’s nest and egg as a reminder of God’s goodness.

I love when God sends signs!

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Westly's Brithday Week

I'm not sure how it's possible, but we've reached Westly's birthday, his first one. On Friday he will be one, and I will be a sentimental sap. This week my blog will feature a different post everyday to commemorate this big birthday for my little boy.

Of course the story of Westly is yet another testimony of God's goodness and power. I am so thankful for the experiences of pregnancy, birth, and motherhood God has so graciously given me. These experiences and memories have become more precious to me than anything--besides my little Mini Doodle.

God is many things too wonderful for us to comprehend. And one thing I've concluded about God is that He is sentimental. He finds joy in giving us experiences that leave us breathless with exhilaration and come to define us. He gives us memories that we treasure far more than rubies.

Join me in celebrating Westly's life!