the birth of jack dieter

recording birth stories is so important to me. i have gone back to read and re-read my record of ollies birth over and over again, each time feeling the strong emotions and incredible memories weaved into words. i believe that birth is precious, perfect, powerful...that all of that incredibly difficult work of labour and the nine months building up to it is fully defined in the moment a mother first sees her baby, first holds him in her arms and smells his sweet body. here is your story, baby jack.

* * * * *

on my due date, april 22nd.

early in the morning on friday april 25th, around 3:00 am, i awoke to a dull pain. i felt these tightenings were consistent, just like the night before, but i refused to time them. i didn't want to feel the same disappointment at being sent home completely undilated, like i had just 24 hours earlier. around 4:00 am, feeling restless and unable to lay in bed, i remembered my midwife had told us she always tells the mother to take a bath in early labour; if it slows, it is a false alarm, but if it persists and gets stronger, it is safe to say that true labour has set in. i spent close to an hour in the tub, relaxing and reading and mostly trying to ignore the contractions, which were now growing stronger and more consistent. so i got out of the tub and got back in bed, attempting to sleep again, but i was past that point now. around 5:00 am, i got out of bed and started pacing in the kitchen. i made myself some toast and started timing my contraction, finding that they were 6 to 7 minutes apart and just over 30 seconds long. nothing major, but i knew that this was for real. i started to really feel the contractions; they were growing in strength and intensity. i was so happy! this baby was really going to come out! my nerves kicked in as well.

joanne woke up while i was in the kitchen and watched me as i paced around, bounced on my exercise ball and started to squat through some contractions. i still hadn't called my midwife; i just wanted to be sure before i dragged anyone out of bed. just after 6:00, i decided it was time to get brian out of bed and moving. from the hour previous, contractions had picked up significantly. they were 5 minutes apart and usually close to a minute long. i woke brian up and asked him to watch me through a couple of contractions; i felt like he might be able to gauge better than i could if we should get moving or not. we decided it was go time, so brian got ready while i continued labouring. i called my midwife maureen at 6:30. no answer, so i just left a message indicating that i was quite sure things were real this time and we needed to come in. when she didn't call back right away, i called her again. and again. and again and again and again. i started to panic. where was she? why wasn't she answering the phone or calling me back? my contractions were strong, wave upon wave of intense pressure. brian reminded me that we had joannas number, the lovely midwife who had met us at the birth centre the night before, so he called her. she used her "find your friends" app (yay for technology!) and called us back to tell us that maureen was already at the centre, clearly attending another birth. by this time it was closer to 7:30 and i was starting to feel a little panicky. we had stayed at home too long and now i was entering transition, the most intense and wild part of labour. brian was gathering our bags, standing by the door and i was working through a contraction when i started to feel a bit of pressure. i quietly said, "i don't think we're going anywhere." brians eyes almost popped out of his head. it was at this moment that ollie came running down the hall, "hiiiii!" he said. i was shocked; he usually sleeps until at least 8:30. he felt the tension in the room and almost immediately started crying. he wanted me to hold him which felt like the most impossible task. i hugged him, kissed his sweet face, knowing the next time i was him he would be a big brother, and handed him off to grandma. brian & i walked out the door and started the drive to the birth centre, a 20+ minute drive during a busy traffic time.

the drive was definitely the worst part of my labour. sitting in the van, unable to stand and move through contractions (which is what helps me most), i started to feel like it was getting impossible. it was so hard to get on top of one contraction and where wasn't much resting time before another one began. i was in transition; my strong, intense contractions were 4 minutes from start to start and over a minute long. as we pulled into the birth centre parking lot (after cursing the taxi driver who was blocking the entrance) maureen walked out the door and to her car. she pulled her phone out of her car, looked at it and then looked at us with a shocked look on her face. i saw her mouth "i'm so sorry" and then i was doubled over with another contraction.

we hurried into the birth centre between surges and as we walked into the room, maureen asked if she could check me. i said "no" and told her to fill up the tub. ha. i was kinda bossy and mean. i climbed into the birth tub as soon as there was a little bit of water and it was amazing. i will use a birth tub, if possible, for every baby from now on. i was finally able to relax, calm myself down and mentally get on top of the contractions; i felt like i was back in charge. it was so nice to feel a little more in control. as i laboured, joanna came in; she was going to be the back up midwife! we were happy to hear that; she was so sweet and had a calming presence. i laboured for about an hour in the tub, practicing my hypnobirthing "pushing" (just breathing "down" through contractions) near the end of that hour, as i felt like things were progressing but i didn't quite feel ready to push. i remembered what ina may wrote in one of her books and chuffed my way through many surges. and yes, chuffing is what a horse does. ha! i'm sure i sounded ridiculous but it worked for me! it was at about 9:00, just over an hour after we had arrived at the centre, that i began to give'r. (no, seriously, that's the word i used...i asked maureen if i was allowed to "give'r", ha ha!) i pushed. i pushed and i pushed. and i was loud. i yelled and tried not to scream, kept my sounds low and bore down. i'm pretty sure i apologized between every contraction and then was louder as soon as the next one came. as time went on, i kept on telling my midwives i wasn't going to push with the next one...i was getting so tired and it felt like i had been pushing for so long. another midwife came in. she was wearing a shirt that said, "keep calm and birth on." i kept looking at her shirt through blurry eyes, willing myself to keep going. i felt the babys little head, felt that it had hair and cried. i wanted to meet that baby. i finally said to brian, "how long have i been pushing for?" it had been about half an hour, but felt like so much longer. the baby was making progress, moving down well and i just wanted it out; i needed to meet this baby! i kept asking if something was going wrong, but my midwives assured me that all was well. they listened to baby and that little heartbeat just kept thumping along, strong and healthy. i kept saying, out loud, "c'mon baby! it's time to come out! i wanna see you!" brian was so supportive; he knelt by the tub and held onto my hands, letting me squeeze his fingers as hard as i could as each surge came over me. he locked his eyes with mine and willed me, both verbally and mentally, to keep going. he reminded me, over and over again, that i was strong enough to do it.

once i had been pushing for closer to 40 minutes, maureen told me she wanted me out of the tub and on the bed. you guys, i cried. i cried and i whined and i begged them not to make me get out, but maureen insisted and before i knew it brian & joanna were literally dragging me out of the tub and onto the bed. i'm so grateful for midwives who were calm and supportive and knew when i needed a change. i got on my knees and elbows and leaned over the top of the bed. brian was on the bed beside me, to my left, and joanna was on my right. she got my attention, put her face right next to mine and spoke quietly and calmly to me. i cannot remember what she said, only that it put me at peace. i cried again, but this time because i was so happy. i was going to meet this baby so soon! i took some deep breaths and calmed down. and then i pushed. they don't call it labour for nothing; it is hard work! i bore down and pushed with everything i had. it was just a couple of contractions later that i felt the release of pressure, the baby was out!

maureen passed this tiny, screaming baby through my legs and into my hands. i remember dark hair, vernix and blood covering the body, tiny hands with long fingernails, big lips, wide open in the first cries of life and that face...oh, that face! brian looked down and exclaimed, "it's a boy! a boy!" i was so shocked! i had completely convinced myself this baby was a girl, but he was a boy! it really was a surprise and it was so amazing. we stared at him and i kept saying, "he doesn't look anything like ollie!" brian cut the (very very short) cord and i was able to bring him to my chest. oh, that moment! i touched him and smelled him and kissed his sweet little body. he had fuzzy hair on his shoulders and fat on his body. he was, absolutely and positively, perfect. there is nothing in the world that is quite so powerful as the first time a mama gets to see and touch her sweet baby. it is all worth it for that single moment.

we sat on the bed and stared at our beautiful baby boy. he latched on and nursed like a pro just minutes after he was born. we were amazed at his strength! as we looked at him it was clear he looked much more like me and my side of the family and i have to say, i was so pleased. i don't get told very often that ollie looks like me. we decided that this was baby jack; the name fit him so well.

maureen assessed the damage and told us she felt i would need to transfer for the mis for some post baby stitches. i wished so badly that my birth story could've ended at the birth centre, but in the end, transferring to the hospital was what we needed. jack was able to be with brian while i was in surgery and immediately after i was done i was able to nurse him again. he stayed by my side and we got to snuggle all night and were sent home early saturday morning. those first few days passed quickly, full of sweet memories of sleeping and snuggling my new baby boy. i'm so grateful to both brians mom and my own mama for being here to take care of everything else while i rested and recovered and got to know baby jack. family and friends came to meet our handsome boy and welcome him to the world.

i've now had two very different birth experiences. jacks birth will forever stay with me, just as ollies has. jacks birth was fast, wild and beautiful. it was another testimony to me of the strength my Heavenly Father gives me in times of need, both physical and emotional. i'm grateful for the experiences i have been blessed with in all aspects of motherhood and feel Him molding me into who He wants me to be through them. the joy of motherhood has been the greatest happiness in my life.



ollie is so funny lately. i've been taking note of some of the things he says and does and i want to record them here, a little glimpse of what our ollie douglas is like at the age of 2 years plus a couple months. he is sweet and funny, sometimes sassy and starting to push his boundaries with his little brother. he pretty much only plays with duplo and his trucks & cars. he likes to read books and is starting to memorize stories and "reads" them to himself. his favourite foods are sweet "pobaboes", rass-berries, bananas with "pea-buh" butter, cheerios and cookie balls.

we live on a very busy street in edmonton and i really don't know what ollie will do when we move. he loves watching cars drive by and shouting out what kind of vehicle it is. "car! car! truck! bus! truck! van!" he knows most different kinds of truck by sight and insists on being lifted up to see each and every firetruck or ambulance drive by. the other day, two firetrucks drove by in succession. the first was shorter and the second was really big & long. ollie said, "oh! little firetruck! and big firetruck! he's his mama." so good.

watching the cars out the window
a few weeks ago, a truck drove past that had two outhouses on the back. ollie asked what kind of truck it was, so brian explained what outhouses are. a couple days later, the same type of truck drove past our house and ollie yelled, "poop truck!" he yells that every time we see one now...awesome.

we went on a ward camp out a couple weekends ago and ollied loved it. he absolutely reveled in being outside, eating camp food and sleeping in a tent with dada. he still talks about it.

i was washing his hair before bed one night and as i did so he requested that i wash my hair. i told him i already did and he replied, "ooh. looks pretty good." then this morning i was wearing a shirt i haven't worn in a long time and he said, pointing at it, "what's this?" "it's a shirt." "oh...a new one?" "no, i just haven't worn it lately." "oooh...i 'yike' (like) it."

he is turning into a little con man at bedtime. he'll do anything to get out of going to bed, my favourite of which is when he says he wants to "suggle" (snuggle) with us on the "towch" (couch). boy, he sure knows how to tug at my heart strings.

we were home sick from church one sunday. he and i were in the living room, looking at the picture of the temple on the wall and talking about temples and how important they are. then he jumped up off my lap, looked at the picture a little closer and said, "i wanna go to dat park! it'sa park!"

he loves going to church and attending nursery. he likes to find his friend theo, grab his hand and the two head off to nursery together. he talks about it on the way home and we sing nursery songs all week long, his favourite of which are "popcorn popping", "snowman song" and "i love to see the temple." he says, "make a temple?" and holds his little hands together to a point.

in his "worka man hat"
he still likes to help me in the kitchen and is actually getting pretty helpful. ollie will put the cut up veggies in the salad bowl and very willingly stir anything i let him. he also helps me with laundry and takes dirty diapers away for me. brian sometimes takes ollie down to the condo on saturdays where he helps him with yard work. ollie is a hard little worker! 

ollie watches everything i do with jack very attentively. he knows that jack only eats milkies from mama and is getting less jealous about all the time jack monopolizes. ollie is mostly very patient with both me and jack. it's fun to watch him learn about babies. whenever i'm putting jack into the wrap and whenever ollie sees other babies in wraps & carriers, he says, "oh! in da caowie-o." it's so sweet. the other day we used one of my old scarves to "wrap" his baby against his chest and he walked around, playing and doing other things for awhile with his baby wrapped to him. i die!

his vocabulary is constantly expanding. it is so fun to hear him learn new words and use them when he speaks. he knows how to express himself pretty well, but that doesn't stop him from screaming his lungs out quite regularly. oh, toddlers.
handsome brothers
we love you, sweet ollie! you are our favourite big boy. it is so fun to watch you learn & grow so quickly. you are a great big brother and baby jack loves you too. thanks for being a "big mama helper" around the house and trying to be obedient. love you boy!

two months!

ollie & i took some two month photos of jack yesterday. prepare for photo overload...how could i pick just one? love his chubby cheeks and double chin, his yummy legs and dimply elbows. he is smiling and starting to chat. he is such a sweet & happy baby!


two brothers

the rate at which my heart has expanded over this past month and a half has been welcome and totally unexpected. i've come to the realization that, gratefully, a mamas heart never stops growing.

we tried to prepare ollie as much as we could for the birth of his little brother or sister. we read books about babies, what they need and what it's like in the home after they come. we talked about the baby every day and i encouraged ollie to "talk" to the baby in my belly. he did often, saying "i'ma big brudder!"

giving birth to jack and then watching ollie fill his role as a big brother has filled my heart to the brim. i am so grateful for these two boys, my two boys, two brothers who will grow in love and friendship over the coming years.

when ollie came to meet jack for the first time, he sat with him on his lap, pressed his face close to baby jacks and said, "hi hi hi, how aw yoo? how aw yoo?" he smelled his head and inspected his hands. he repeated his name, "baby dack!"

every morning, when jack wakes up and i bring him out of our room, ollie wants to hold him on the couch. he calls him "sweet boy" "nice baby" "little brother"...all of which sound adorable coming out of his little mouth.

right after my mama left, just before jack was two weeks old, we took a trip to the grocery store (miracle of miracles!). it went really well, actually. when we got home i told ollie i was going to leave him and jack in the van while i took the bags of groceries into our apartment. "i'll be right back!" i told ollie. when i opened the back of the van to pull the groceries out, i saw ollie looking over at jack in his car seat and saying, "hey buddy. mama in the back, k? be right back, k?" it was so sweet to hear him talking to and reassuring his little brother.

just last night we asked ollie is he wanted another little brother or sister and he replied, "no. i like dis one." uhh...cue my heart melting into a puddle.

we've had a few moments of uh...intensity from ollie. most of the time i don't think he means to hurt jack, he's just learning how to love a little more gently. he tries to pick him up off he couch like, every day and wants to hold him often. when i'm wearing jack in the wrap or carrier ollie always says, "take him out? take him out?" ollie is doing pretty well with the adjustment, learning how to share his mama must be hard. in no time at all, jack will be growing up and ready to play! i couldn't be happier to have these two little boys in my home and my heart.

ha ha! 


one month of baby jack

jack is already a month old! he is the best. he is a champion nurser, sleeper, burper and pooper...so basically he's awesome at everything. he is a happy, easy baby (knock on wood!) who is pleasant pretty much all the time. he sleeps well at night and has figured out to only have awake time during the day since day one of life. he is growing quickly, going from 7 lbs 12 oz at birth to 10 lbs 3 oz at just four weeks. i'm quick certain most of that weight has gone straight to his cheeks and chins. he's edible. he's starting to work on giving us smiles and he is pretty tolerant of his big brother, who sometimes gets a little rough. his favourite activities are eating, sleeping and snuggling mama. we love you baby jack!

those lips! kissable.

i love his profile. the cutest nose!

little fatty baby!


he's here!

our handsome baby boy has arrived!
jack dieter thomson was born on friday april 25, 2014 at 9:40 am.
he weighed in at 7 lbs 12 oz and was 20 inches long.
he has dark hair, big lips and long fingers and toes.
welcome to the family, baby jack!


before you arrive

dear baby,

your pregnancy has flown by, seemingly in a single instant. whether by my own busyness or the speed of days at this point in my life, it feels as though we just found out about your existence, but now your arrival is imminent! we couldn't be happier to welcome you into our family...you'll make us four! four! the thought makes me full of so much joy and so many nerves i can hardly contain it. it's hard to believe we'll be four, when it feels like not too long ago that i was just one.

carrying you has been a joy and a pleasure. i've said it before and i'll say it again; growing and bringing babies into this world is my very favourite thing i have the priveledge of doing. it's a miracle to watch my body expand and grow all on it's own, without me telling it to do a single thing, as it makes way for your growth and development. i'm now more pregnant than i've ever been, because your big brother was born almost three full weeks early. i'm starting to feel achy and sleeping is getting harder to do, but i guess that is natures way of preparing me for our nights together once you're on the outside. i really have nothing to complain about. my body has accommodated your growth and i feel strong, healthy and happy. i love laying in bed at night and feeling you wriggle and kick inside me. your big brother thinks he can see you, talk to you and feed you through my belly button...it's pretty cute.

i can't say i really have a single inkling about your gender. by the end of ollies pregnancy, daddy had me fairly convinced that his thought was right and the baby was a boy. this time around, neither of us are sure, so i'm excited for what feels like a real surprise, though, once you come along, it will feel like it was always you. i'm looking forward to that...the instant familiarity when i meet you for the "first" time. we've known eachother all along, haven't we baby?

see you soon, sweet baby. we're so excited.


"ha-pee birt-day" ollie!

the day of his birthday party, ollie walked around the apartment, pointing at the banner we hung and telling us what it said, "ha-pee birt-day ollie!" he kept insisting that his friends come over; i don't know how many times i had to tell him that it was after lunch, after nap, after dinner that they would be coming. i baked a doubled layered chocolate cake the night before and iced it in the morning, while ollie stood on a chair beside me and dipped his fingers in the chocolate frosting, saying "have some? have some?", which usually comes out sounding like, "awesome, awesome." he spent a few hours running errands with daddy and then came home and fought nap time. once he finally fell asleep, brian and i had fun finishing party prep, including decorating and destroying his construction cake. it was definitely the funnest cake i've ever made and ollie liked seeing his tractors in action. happy happy birthday, sweet boy!