Monday, May 11, 2015

Mother's Day

Motherhood is unique in that it reveals the worst (and best) aspects of one's personality while also inducing a heightened sense of self-awareness. Like most mothers I know, I suddenly find myself analyzing the long-term effects of my every action, or non-action, on my child's personality. It's a guaranteed formula for self-abasing guilt. Even a standard 'angel mother' sermon can be excruciating.

These 'angel mother' depictions often seem so still to me, a single snapshot in an ocean of memory. I'm the eldest child, born when my mother was in her early twenties. Because I was born while my mother was so young, I remember her in her twenties and her thirties and forties, and, in a few years I can say her fifties.  My memories of my mother are expansive and fluid. I have memories of a woman who tried her best but failed often, and other memories of a spiritual giant who lived up to her divine potential. So many of her weakest and greatest moments live inside my mind's eye.

By my own memory and my mother's personal account, who my mom now only vaguely resembles who she was when I was born. In some ways I feel as though we have grown up together. My mom started life in poverty with a family who believed her future was limited because she wasn't very smart. Today, she is a nurse and a businesswoman with a bachelor's degree and several successful business ventures. Those two sentences can only show the smallest part of her personal growth but the whole story is that she has become a great woman and a true angel. If I had the time and words to paint her whole story I think you would see it too.

At my younger sister's patriarchal blessing, the patriarch turned to my mom and told her that he felt God wanted her to know that He was pleased with her. My mother told me that she knew it because of how far she had come in spirit, marriage, and motherhood. She said that all she had ever done was try and God had helped with the rest.

And so when I think of motherhood and mother's day, I don't feel any lasting mom-guilt because the greatest lesson my mother ever taught me is written in the journey of her own life. She tried, and sometimes failed, but for God that was enough. It's a lesson that I live by and a legacy I hope to inherit.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

A Very Merry Christmas Letter

Merry Christmas Eve dear family and friends! We are feeling so blessed this Christmas season with the amazing year we’ve had.

We started off 2014 with a welcome surprise: I was expecting! For several weeks I had felt like I might be pregnant but we were both in disbelief. After two drugstore pregnancy tests, we believed. That semester Carter finished up his Junior of his two-major (Math and Economics) degree and I worked part-time at a group home for boys teaching math and science while starting a degree in Web Design and Development and suffering through morning (all-day) sickness. After finishing my Neuroscience degree at BYU back in 2013, I decided to return to school and pursue a degree in web design. After months of researching different programs, I discovered BYU-I had an online program and I instantly knew it was the right fit. If I take three classes every semester, I should be able to finish my second Bachelors in Fall 2016. Surprisingly, I’ve loved the development side of my degree much more than the design side. I’ve learned so much already and am excited to continue my education.

Carter was accepted for an internship at the New York Federal Reserve Bank so we traveled to New York, New York for the summer months. We lived just off of Central Park West and 103rd street and loved it. According to Carter, working just off of Wall Street with researchers who directly affect fiscal policy was one of the most amazing experiences of his life. I spent the NY months taking walks in Central Park and shopping in Baby Gap. With the impending birth of our child, I figured I should just enjoy one last childless vacation :). From Shakespeare in the Park to the Bronx Zoo to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and more, we tried—and succeeded, I think—to maximize our time as New Yorkers. Carter and I still have high hopes that we’ll return to live in NY in the future. 

In October, we welcomed Noah Carter Davis into our family on his due date, the 18th. The labor and delivery went well and Noah was born just 5 hours after I was admitted to the hospital. Noah did spend three days in the NICU due to low blood-sugar issues, but is healthy and well now. At his two month check-up he came in at 11 pounds and 23 inches. So he is definitely on the smaller side, but growing. After our NICU scare, we are even more grateful for temples so that we can be sealed to Noah for this life and the next. Caring for an infant has been a wild ride that we are happy to be on (at least most of the time)!

Carter is now applying to graduate schools in finance—I’m rooting for Stanford—and economics so we are excited to see where next year takes us! We have a testimony that God loves us and cares about all the little things we care about, even if it is just a New York vacation for a pregnant mama. His infinite grace and mercy astounds us every day, especially at this time of year as we focus on the miracle of Christ’s birth. This season, we are sharing the gift by doing more family history work (#HeIsTheGift). Some weeks that just means recording and sharing more of our own family’s stories of faith and hope.

We are thankful for our wonderful friends and family and wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Him and Her: 5 Surprising Things About Being New Parents

To continue what we started in 2013 with Him and Her: 5 Surprising Things About Marriage, for our second anniversary we're sharing 5 most surprising things about our latest great adventure: Parenting.

Photo credit: Kent Davis, December 30th 2014

  1. Breastfeeding, like the rest of parenting, is 10X harder than you think it's going to be. I am honestly surprised the human race has perpetuated itself this long.

  2. Possibly because I'm the least sentimental person I know, I didn't bond with Noah right away. At first everything is so surreal and it felt like I was caring for someone else's baby. For the first two months, I didn't even get the 'it's so hard but worth it' feeling. Even though I was happy to have him healthy and whole I was just stuck with the 'it's so hard' part. I mean, cognitively, I knew it was worth it (for celestial and old age purposes) but I didn't feel it emotionally. It's been a slow process that's still building.

  3. I didn't know that almost every conversation I would have with Carter from the moment Noah was born would revolve around how Noah is sooooooo CUTE. And that I would like it. He's deliciously adorable. Also, I have a lot more conversations with strangers since Noah was born.

  4. I'm totally one of those moms who watches video of my baby after he's gone to bed, even after I've spent all day with him. He's an addiction and I'm in denial.

  5. Carter is a hilariously (and adorably) protective father. If the people sitting next to us in church cough, Carter is already whisking Noah away. He told me the night we brought Noah home from the hospital he remembers wishing he had driven a less bumpy road home. Watching Carter become a father has been a particularly sweet part of this adventure.

  1. Baby doesn't even freakin' know how to sleep!

  2. Before we had Noah, I thought we would let the baby play on the floor by himself when he was awake and then put him in his crib to sleep when he was tired. I had no idea that we would have to rock him to sleep then hold him the entire time or that he would get bored when there aren't people around to entertain him.

  3. Seriously, babies don't know how to sleep.

  4. You can always hear when Noah poops.

  5. I always say parenting is more work that I thought it would be and it's sweeter than I thought it would be.

Here's to one more year of marriage! And may the next one be a good one too. Happy Anniversary, Carter Kent Davis!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

6 Weeks

I took these photos at 6 weeks, just before we blessed Noah at church. It was beautiful and I cried. We named Noah with the biblical prophet in mind and Carter blessed our little boy that, though he would encounter opposition, especially in his religion, he would be blessed with the strength and determination to follow God's will. It was the best blessing I've ever heard.

I'm obsessed with his tiny fingers and toes! They're a bit of a trick to photograph though, because they are constantly moving. At 6 weeks Noah started to smile and coo. I can't even tell you what a godsend a baby smile is to a tired momma. Oh the validation!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Noah Carter Davis

Noah was, miraculously, born on his due date, October 18th. Only 1% of babies are actually born on their due dates, hence the miracle. I first felt cramping the night before at 8 pm, after my mucous plug fell out. They were mild, consistent cramps so faint I wasn't sure if I was imagining them. The cramps grew a little stronger over the next hour and a lightbulb went off in my head. This was it! In our true last-minute fashion, Carter went to install the carseat and we realized the car seat we had was all wrong for a newborn. So we purchased an infant carseat from Target the hour before it closed and then after installing it, debated for way too long whether we should climb Y mountain to see it lit up for homecoming (my last chance). In the end, I decided if I had to eject a baby in the next few hours then I should avoid strenuous hikes.

Awaiting the inevitable. At this point I'm thinking, "There is only one way this baby can come out..."
So off to bed we went, though I laid wide awake from both the contractions - which, by this point, were too strong for me to sleep through - and the excitement. I spent an hour googling "when to go to the hospital in labor" before I dragged Carter out of bed. We headed to the hospital where I sheepishly told the nurses, "I think I'm in labor?" They monitored me from 2 am to 3 am and then kindly told me to go home and not come back until I was really in labor. Disappointing. I, however, knew this was the real deal so we made a plan to eat bacon and omelets at Magleby's when they opened at 7 am and then come back.

I spent the next few hours perusing Facebook and Pinterest to distract from the increasing contractions and then, when that wasn't enough, I tried to imagine my cervix opening up and my baby moving down the birth canal. It helped, at least until the pain became too much for even that. A contraction would hit and all I could do was double over and wait for it to pass. At 7 am Carter woke up to intervalled moaning and he insisted we go to the hospital immediately. I agreed that we would go to the hospital and not leave at least until I received some kind of narcotic - preferably, a really strong narcotic. I self-diagnosed at 7 on the pain chart.

This time I shuffled into the maternity ward very slowly and huffed at every nurse that would listen that I was in labor. Although my water still hadn't broken, they admitted me at 8 am because I was dilated to 6 cm and progressing. I repeatedly asked for an epidural but FYI ladies, the process takes about an hour before the anesthesiologist can even get to putting the epidural in. So keep that in mind. Finally, the very nice doctor started the epidural and the heavens parted and angels sang hallelujah choruses and all was right in the world again. The greatness of epidurals cannot be overstated.

After the epidural, everything progressed quickly. They broke my water and in an hour I was dilated to 9 cm. Another half hour and I was fully dilated at 10 cm. At this point I was in shock so when they suggested I wait at 10 cm for an hour before pushing to let the baby descend down the birth canal, I readily agreed. I imagine if I hadn't had an epidural, Noah would have been born two hours earlier. When the nurses decided it was time to push, I pushed for ten minutes in 3 segments and then waited another 10 minutes for the doctor to get off her lunch break. She took her sweet time and then blocked my view of my birthing mirror, so I'm now wondering how necessary her presence was. In any case, twenty minutes after I started pushing, Noah was born and then my memory gets hazy. I remember wondering if something was wrong because I couldn't hear any crying and the doctor asking me questions about holding the baby or washing and weighing him first and then holding a little bundle on my chest and thinking the whole situation was too surreal. He didn't feel like my baby. I spent several minutes craning my neck to get another look at him because I kept forgetting what he looked like. Carter held Noah and I could tell that he felt something for Noah that I didn't feel. A belonging or ownership, I guess. I think it took me several weeks to get to that point. There were many moments where I felt like I was caring for someone else's baby and I would have just preferred if they would have taken him back. Cognitively, I knew that having a baby would be worth it (mostly because I need someone to take care of me and spend time with me when I get old) but emotionally I didn't feel it. I know many people feel bonded to their baby immediately, but I also think many other people have experiences like mine.

Now, of course, I feel very bonded to Noah. I enjoy the connection I have always heard other mothers talk about and I very much feel as though every moment is worth it. I feel grateful for Noah's physical health and inquisitive little spirit.

Carter: "Are you OK? You just had a baby!" Me: "What are you standing there for??? TAKE PICTURES."
7 lbs 3 oz and 21 inches, just like his mama!
A first hold.
A second first hold.
Awe, adoration, love and surprise.
A new face.
So so beautiful.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Mormon Questions: Book of Mormon Musical

I've started off every post of this series talking about how hilarious I think it is to be asked these questions about Mormonism. So why stop now, right? (But really and truly, being asked about Mormonism has never been offensive, only varying degrees of amusing. Keep on asking away!) Every time someone asks me if I've seen the Book of Mormon Musical I can't help but think they are joking. Except they never are. They're always asking in order to ask the follow-up question: What did you think of it? The problem is, I've never seen it! Or ever wanted to see it, or ever known another Mormon who has seen it. So. . .

We watch musicals, just not ones that make fun of our religion. You understand, don't you?

The thing is, I already know about Mormons. . . I am one. And I don't really care to watch several hours of Broadway that make fun of not only my beloved religion but all organized religion in general. If you have more specific questions about the musical then maybe I could address those? Like, post a comment or something? e.g. someone once asked me in the subway if we really believe that Joseph Smith pulled gold plates out of the ground and translated them into the Book of Mormon. Yes, we do. You can read more of what I believe about Joseph Smith in a past post.

If all you really wanted to know is how I feel about a Tony-winning musical making fun of my religion, then I can say most of what I feel is eh with *shoulder shrug*. Haters gonna hate. Though I do know some people who take offense. You can read my friend's response to the musical on her blog Valpo Studio (I don't think she's seen it either).

The official statement released in response to the musical by my church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is only one sentence:
The production may attempt to entertain audiences for an evening, but the Book of Mormon as a volume of scripture will change people's lives forever by bringing them closer to Christ.

Other posts from my Mormon Questions series:
Do you practice polygamy? // Do you really believe Joseph Smith was a prophet? // I don't understand all this Mormon jargon. // Do you have special underwear? // Why do Mormons get married so young?

Friday, September 12, 2014

Baby Love

My little sister, Alexa, truly is a godsend to my money-poor, photography-loving self. She has a natural talent  that cannot be denied and that I will wake up at 5 a.m. to sneak into an orchard and take pictures. Bless her talented heart.

These were all taken on a nice DSLR camera and then edited on my phone because I'm swag like that. Or because Photoshop is now a subscription service that I can't/won't pay for. Can anyone recommend a good, intuitive editing app for Mac?