Bridget Rei is here

It was a Wednesday afternoon, and I was scheduled to have my 39 week appointment, even though the very next day I would be 40 weeks pregnant. I always hope, like I did with Preston, that my babe will come early, but that's never been the case after him.

John was still on break from the Holidays, so we took the kids to Araha beach to play, it was such a gorgeous day for it being December. I left the kids and John to play while I quickly headed off to my doctors appointment. It was the usual, no I have no complications. No, nothing unusual as happened. No, everything is fine. No, I don't have any questions, except will you stripe my membranes. So she did, or at least tried to, but informed me how tight everything still was in there. Nothing that hasn't been told to me with every single pregnancy.

I was feeling slightly discouraged, because I did NOT want to go over due, and I know my body well enough to know that it doesn't go into labor on its own, it needs help, and I was certain she failed at stripping my membranes. I began asking her how I could be induced on January 1st, since my mom was getting in the night before and I wanted to have every second of her being here count. But of course, as military rules go, the doctor was certain I wouldn't be able to be induced that day, since I wouldn't be 41 weeks yet. I left that appointment frustrated. Frustrated because I felt like this babe wasn't going to be coming anytime soon. Furstrated because I felt like the doctor was rather rude to me. And frustrated because I just wanted to have my baby and be done being pregnant, and I felt like it was never going to end.

I headed back to Araha beach with a few tears in my eyes, and after telling John what had happened, and how frustrated the doctor made me feel, we left the beach and he took us out to my favorite ramen restaurant to try to cheer me up.

That night I remember sitting outside on our porch swing, just hanging out with our kids thinking, I wonder if this will be our last night together as a family of five.

I woke up around 1am to use the bathroom, nothing surprising there, but I noticed I was having a few contractions. I tried to not think anything of it, and went back to sleep. Of course, with each hour of the passing night, I'd wake up to another few contractions.

When morning came, I jokingly came downstairs and said to John, "Do you think today would be a good day to have a baby?" I don't know if he believed me that I was actually feeling like I was in labor, especially since I had scheduled an appointment to get my eyebrows done that morning and was about to leave for it. I went to my appointment and then figured I probably better stop by the commissary on the way home and grab some groceries. At this point, I knew I was having that baby soon. I had to stop every few minutes in the commissary and pretend I was looking for something, when really I was just trying to get through each contraction.

I came home, and told John it was go time. Thankfully, our neighbors had offered to take Preston and Gwen with them up to the aquarium that day, before even knowing I was in labor, which turned out to be a major blessing. Another friend offered to take Josie for us, and I packed my bag to head out.

I was only dilated to a four when we got to the hospital, and even though my contractions were really kicking in, and coming every few minutes, the nurse told us they'd probably send me walking for two hours before I'd be admitted. Apparently you have to be dilated to a six before they'll admit you. Thankfully, the nurse came back and told us they'd admit me. I'm not sure why that was, maybe because they could see how strong and frequent my contractions were? I'm not sure, but either way, I was relieved to hear I wasn't going to have to go walk the halls for awhile.

As soon as we got checked-in to the room, I immediately requested an epidural. I was in SO much pain. Of course it felt like forever before the anesthesiologist got up to the room and could finally stick me with the needle to make me feel better. I should have known it wasn't going to work. I was already too far along for it to do much of anything, and at this point, I was in tears and sweating from so much pain. Even the sweet nurse said that I was catching no break between the contractions. It was rough.

My water broke quickly after that, and before I knew it, they were telling me to start pushing. The first few pushes NOTHING happened. I normally pride myself off of a super fast delivery once it's go time, but three pushes in and nothing was happening. I think at this point I said, "It's not working!" I'm sure they all thought I was crazy, but a few minutes and pushes later and she finally came out. But we didn't know she was a she just yet.

We never found out the gender, so as soon as she came out, I tried to quickly glance below to see what she was, and in the split second I saw her before she was placed on me, all I saw was the umbilical cord, which I may have mistaken for something else and shouted, "It's a boy!" Only to have the doctor pick her up about five minutes later saying, "Hold on...she's actually a girl!" We all got a good laugh out of that.

And I'll be honest, I was excited about thinking I had a son for those few minutes, but as soon as they said she was actually a girl, it was like I knew all along that was what I was having, and it just felt right.

I think we both knew immediately that we'd name her Bridget, it was a name we had talked about, but we wanted to wait for the kids to come see her and decide on her name. The day Bridget was born, also happened to be our nurses birthday, and she mentioned to us that the name Rae is a good middle name. Ray happens to be John's dad's dad's name, and Byrons middle name. So, we liked that it was a family name. After looking up spellings of the name Ray, we discovered that if we spelled it Rei, it was a Japanese name, and with the right kanji, it means Lovely. I couldn't not use the name after all of those meanings, a family name, our nurses name who shares a birthday with Bridget, and the fact that it's a japanese name and it means lovely.

Bridget Rei Lovell
born at 1:44pm
December 28, 2017
8lbs 12 oz
21.5 inches long

She's practically perfect in every way!


Josie's Here

When your first child comes early, you assume they all will, but Gwen proved that wrong. A week overdue wrong. Forced out of me wrong, and even that took some work. So, with this pregnancy, it was all a mystery if our little babe would come early or late, on her own or forced out. I like a good story too much, and I always complain that Gwen's birth story was less than exciting. In fact, her story aggravates me, but only because it took so long, and I have little patience. 

I tried doing everything I could to get this girl to come on her own, but I was left thinking that even though my body did what it was suppose to with Preston, that maybe it just forgot how to go into labor on it's own. From 38 weeks on I kept thinking, any day now, but just like with Gwen, any day turned into three more weeks, so I tried to stop that thinking. Then my due date came and went, and I was certain her birth story would contain an induction, too. And I was sad. However, my due date was a few days early, because I lied about it. Mostly because I knew if I DID have to be induced, and the military refuses to induce before 41 weeks, unless there's a real reason to do it sooner, my child would come out huge. So, I fibbed, but only by a few days which really was a lame fib anyway. 

Saturday morning, my actual due date, I woke up at 1:25am to take my usual middle of the night bathroom break. The moment I sat up in bed, I knew something was happening. I had had some bleeding going on from them stripping my membranes a few days prior, so when I sat up in bed and felt a really large amount of something coming out of me, I just thought I was bleeding more than normal right then. And then I got into the bathroom, and noticed how incredibly wet I felt, and it was all clear liquid. Yes, something was most definitely up. With my last two, the moment my water breaks, the baby is ready to come out. Yet I wasn't having any contractions at this point, so I was kind of confused. I had been having contractions on and off for days now, but they always went away as soon as it was time for bed. 

I debated if I should tell John or not, still slightly confused about whether or not it really was my water that just broke. That had never happened to me anywhere but at the hospital. I've always heard stories of peoples water breaking, but I never thought I'd be one to have a story that involved that experience, too. I climbed back in bed, and tried to go back to sleep. But a few minutes later I had to get up again, and of course, the same thing happened the moment I sat up. A huge gush of water came pouring out of me. I leaned over to John and said, "Hey, I think my water just broke!" And of course he got a little panicked thinking we needed to rush to the hospital right then. I assured him that I didn't think it was go time yet, heck, I wasn't even having contractions, so what was the rush, right? Bless his heart, he called the hospital and of course, they said I should probably come in...but it would be ok if I showered, packed my back, and ate some food first. I interpreted that as, we'll go in when it's not the middle of the night and we don't have to call and inconvenience someone at 2am. 

Thankfully my instincts were right. Contractions didn't start until a little later, and although I desperately wanted to fall back to sleep, sleep was NOT going to happen that night. 

Preston and Gwen thought they needed to wake up extra early that morning, 5:30am early. Ugh! John brought Gwen into bed with me, and he went and laid by Preston and we both crossed our fingers they'd fall back to sleep. But of course, that didn't happen. Children! 

I kept looking at the clock thinking, I'm sure I can make it a few more hours until we actually need to go to the hospital. Normally I take forever to dilate, so I wasn't too concerned I'd get there and be a 10. My contractions were still pretty mild, too, so really, I found no rush in getting us out the door. 

We all got up around 6:30, I made us breakfast, took a shower, finished packing my bag, and decided it was probably time to call someone from the branch to come over and hang out with our children for the day. Of course the one person I called and assumed would be up by then wasn't and I totally woke her up. It was 7:30. Whoops!

She and her husband came by just after 8, we gave them some guidance on things our kids do/don't like, nap schedule, etc. and headed out the door. 

It was close to 9 when we finally got to the hospital, they took me into triage to see what was going on, to make sure my water really did break, and to monitor the baby. They checked my cervix to see how dilated I was, and I was only a three! At 39 weeks I was a two, so, that goes to show how slow things usually progress down yonder. 

They did a test, and for some reason they still weren't sure it was my water that broke, but they decided to admit me anyway around 9:30. About an hour later John left to get some food because he was starving, and we assumed we had a LONG day ahead of us. They told me they check your cervix every four hours, and once they checked it in four hours, and if I was wanting an epidural, it could be taken care of then. But the moment John left, my contractions started getting really strong, and the pain was starting to get really bad. In my mind I was still at a three, maybe a four if I was lucky, and I couldn't understand why these contractions were SO bad. With Gwen I got to a seven and still didn't feel too miserable. I was being a wuss. That's what I decided. I even told the nurse that I was in a LOT of pain, but I couldn't figure out why, and I felt like a big ol' wuss. Finally John got back, and I told him I thought I was going to die, it hurt SO bad. He asked if we could get the anesthesiologist up right then, but I could tell the nurse was thinking, but we don't do that until we check you, and we check you every four hours, and it hasn't been four hours yet. It had only been two. But thankfully the anesthesiologist came up, and I was about to get some relief. The contractions were so intense, and coming every 30 seconds to a minute apart, I felt like I was getting no break in between. I was light headed, nauseous, in pain, and I really felt like I wasn't going to make it. The doctor started the epidural, and I couldn't hold it together, I barfed all over. Thankfully into a bowl, but I couldn't believe that was actually happening. I seriously felt like I wasn't being me. The girl who usually has high pain tolerance, who jokes through labor, and usually finds this day to be really "fun" in a weird way, was throwing up during labor and on the verge of tears. I don't throw up!

The epidural didn't work. I was barely feeling numb in my legs, and it was doing zero in terms of subsiding the contraction pains. NOTHING. It literally did nothing. So, he tried again, claiming the first time he did it it went in way too easy. So, epidural number two happened, and the only thing that came from it was numb legs. I still felt every contraction and couldn't understand why my legs would be numb but nothing else. Oh, well, the nurse finally had the bright idea to check my cervix, only to discover I was at a 10 and her head was right there ready to come out. Oddly enough, even before my legs got numb, I didn't feel ANY pressure down there, or I would have informed the nurse she needed to check me way sooner. I was annoyed. In pain and annoyed. Why did they wait so long to check me?! Why couldn't they treat me like an individual patient instead of having to follow the, check cervix every four hour rule?! I suppose I should have asked her to check me, regardless if that was following the "rules" or not, but because I typically dilate so slow, I assumed I was only at a five, and that was being optimistic, so what was the rush? 

Once they discovered I was at a 10, the doctor rushed right in, got my legs all set up in the lovely stirrups, while I tried my best to get through every contraction that was coming my way. The doctor told me to do a practice push, whatever a practice push means, and was shocked that when I did that her head was practically out, two more pushes and out came our baby girl. I'm pretty sure the pushing time was under 5 minutes! We were now a family of five. 

With both kids the first question I've always asked is, "What color is his/her hair?" But when this sweet babe came out, all I could think was how glad I was that that pain was over, and the thought of hair color didn't even cross my mind, yet I was shocked when I looked at her and saw this cute little face, and a head full of dark brown hair. She was perfect. She was our little Josie Marion Lovell. A solid 8lbs 12 oz, and 22.5 inches long, born at 12:36pm, roughly three hours after being admitted to the hospital! I guess I can labor/dilate faster than I thought. Third times the charm. 

We decided to name her after both of our mom's mom's real names. I remember visiting John's grandma Benson just before we moved to Japan, and discovered her real name is Josie, not Fern. I'd always liked the name Josie, and at that moment, I knew I'd one day have a little girl named Josie, too. 

She's the sweetest, calmest baby, and I couldn't imagine life without her. She's definitely given me a run for my money since discovering she'd join our family. I was told at my 20 week appointment I had placenta previa and that she had a cyst on her brain. I freaked out, bawled my eyes out, and prepared for the worst. Thankfully there was no worst. By 28 weeks, my placenta had moved, and the cyst disappeared. Which was normal, and excepted by the doctors, but they're still really scary things to find out about. 

On the way to the hospital I noticed I hadn't felt her move in a long time, so of course I'm thinking worst case scenario, and even in triage, the nurse couldn't find her heartbeat at first. Freak out moment for sure! And now, here we are, on the verge of being admitted to the hospital because the poor girl has really high bilirubin levels and even with light treatment, which she's been under going more or less since Tuesday (she was off it yesterday) has been rising everyday. If it's gone up again tomorrow when I take her back to be checked, I'm afraid the only thing left to do is admit us to the hospital and let them try to work with her. It shouldn't be scary, but anything involving a sweet and precious newborn is scary. I'm trying to be optimistic and hopeful but as a mom, it's just plain scary. I've hated that her whole first week there has been little holding on my part. Yesterday she wasn't on the light treatment, and I think I held her all day long. I couldn't get enough of her in my arms. And now, unless I'm feeding her or changing her diaper, I just have to sit by her side and stare, and try to calm her down without her being in my arms. It's heartbreaking. In every way possible. 

Oh how I love this sweet girl of mine. Preston and Gwen are obsessed with her, and Gwen asks for nothing but to hold her all the time. I hope my kids always love each other the way they do as children...or babies in my case. Nothing makes me happier than seeing the love they have for each other. And I hope that love continues to grow and grow everyday. 


The kiddos

It's been almost a year since I last posted about life in Japan. One day I'll be kicking myself for not documenting this life of ours better. Thank goodness for instagram, but even that doesn't capture every moment of this life of ours, just bits and pieces here and there that I'd like public praising for. Isn't that the true purpose of social media these days? It seems that way. Which is rather pathetic. So, this here blog will now be updated, not for praising, but so I can look back and remember the small things, the cute things, the fun things, the exciting things, and all things kids that are worth remembering. Last night I asked John if he remembered something from when Preston was Gwen's age. He had no recollection of it. It made me sad.

So, here's a kiddo update, because really, they're all I mostly care about anyway.


Oh Preston, my sassy, spunky little man. He'll be four in three months, and that seems pure crazy to me. He's in preschool and LOVES going so much that he begs to go back the moment he gets home. Some days I wish I could send him right back, but really, he's my little sidekick, my best helper (when he wants to be), and actually makes my life easier when he's around...well, as far as entertaining his sister goes. They adore each other. The other day, he wasn't listening to a thing I said, so, naturally I got frustrated at him. I asked him why he obeys his teacher at school (who has told me countless times that he's awesome in class and one of the few students she doesn't have to worry about misbehaving) and not me. To which he said, "Because she's my teacher and you're my mom!" I almost burst out laughing, because what three year old says that? My sassy, spunky three year old, that's who! He likes to play all sorts of games. The other day he wanted to play like he was going to rescue us when we got hurt, so he said, "I'll be God!" John and I burst out laughing, but then he clarified and said, "Because he helps people." Right, ok, at least he's on the right track there. Whenever I ask him to clean up his toys, he somehow convinces Gwen to come over and do it for him. And then get's mad when I get mad that he's not doing it himself. If I give him a really nice long piece of rope, he'll be entertained for hours building booby traps. If he wants another show, or cookie, or whatever it is that he's wanting, he will always say, "Just one more, this is the last one, I promise!" I don't think he knows what the word promise really means. He gets one more of whatever it is he was wanting and then I hear the same thing on repeat. The other day John was giving a guy in our branch a blessing while I was upstairs putting Gwen to bed. Half way through the blessing John feels little hands on top of his, Preston had grabbed a stool and was standing next to John with his hands on the guys head. After the blessing the guy thanked Preston for helping, and Preston just nonchalantly said, "I was just using my powers!" He gets to give the prayer in primary on Sunday, and I'm crossing my fingers he's in a good mood that day, otherwise we may be in trouble. I'm always worried about how he's acting in school and at church, because I know how he can be for me at home, but I've been told numerous times that he's always "an angel!" so, at least I know he's good other places, which I prefer anyway I suppose. He really is the best. He's tenderhearted, and when he knows I'm upset he starts to cry because he hates me being mad...yet he makes me upset a lot, so, really it makes no sense. He's three. I guess that's why it makes sense. Oh how I love this boy. He likes to cuddle with me and hold my hand. He loves to give me kisses and can be my best bud. He makes me laugh, and makes me scream. But really, he's a good kid, and I'm proud to be his mom.


Oh sweet little sassy, Gwen. Everything she's learned, she's learned from her brother. My friend watched them for me today while I was at a doctor's appointment, and when she dropped them off for me she mentioned how she'd never seen Gwen so crazy before. Crazy is the name of the game over here half the time. I just looked at Preston, who was running around like a maniac, and said, she gets it from him. She seriously adores Preston. She usually wakes up before him in the morning and almost always asks for "Presty". She squeals with delight when she sees him, especially once he gets home from preschool and hasn't been around for a few hours. She wants to do everything he does, yet I think she's more daring than he is. She's been talking a ton lately, not like Preston was at her age, but enough that I can tell more often than not what she's saying. She knows a few phrases in Japanese, and speaks them like she's fluent when we're out in public. She loves to sing, and pretty much sings all day long. Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and I Am a Child of God are two of her favorites. She screams when she has to go to nursery, which is so odd to me since Preston never cared to go. She's obsessed with her baby doll, and babies in general. She loves to kiss my belly all day long and say "hi baby!" She's going to be such a good big sister, and it makes me happy that these two will always have each other. Poor Preston has to endure another girl in the house. She loves to swing on things and has pretty impressive upper body strength. She grabs onto anything she can and just hangs there. It's her thing. I wish I could get her into gymnastics already. She loves to make us laugh, and she really is funny, without trying. But she also frustrates me like no other when we're eating and she throws all of her food on the ground. She has the biggest sweet tooth and will try to sneak into my baking stash and get out the chocolate chips and devour them as fast as possible. I'm pretty certain she would just eat treats if I let her. I'm also pretty certain she would potty train right now if I'd just make the time to do it. She tells me when she has to go and doesn't throw a fit when she's on the toilet, but alas, I've made no time for it. Maybe one of these days, before the babe comes. Cause that would be ideal timing and I'm sure make for no accidents. She's pretty great, and it makes me sad to think she won't be my baby anymore. I guess I always knew she'd be a middle child. The very first time I ever held her I instantly thought to myself, you poor middle child, but hopefully she rocks the middle child job she'll soon be promoted to. She loves to color and make messes. She's obsessed with books but has ruined more than I can count. And she likes to dress herself, with a little help of course. In some ways I feel like she's my big girl already, but I forget she's really just my little baby. And she really is little. It makes me both happy and sad to be adding to our family already. She tells me every morning she wants pigtails in her hair, but usually rips them out and then looks homeless the rest of the day. She has a nice little mullet going on and I have no idea how to really do girls hair. But she's still cute and everyone loves Gwen! She gets more attention than she probably cares to get. If she only knew, I'm sure she'd miss it one day. How I love this little girl of mine. She really is the best.


Tokyo Part 2

And some more pictures, because, well, why not? 

Takeshita Street:

Wearing out our little traveler:


Wearing them out but also trying to keep them happy. Swan paddle boat ride? Sure, why not:

The Imperial Palace...hidden in this picture, but it was there, and we saw it:

Mixing the imperial world with the modern one:

And again, just trying to keep the little ones happy. I'd like to think we succeeded, more or less:

Our gorgeous view of Tokyo from where we stayed. 

The famous Shibuya Crossing, the worlds busiest intersection:

Followed by the best ramen we've had out here. Oishi! 

And we ended the trip by walking to the temple:

I'm sure this was just our first of many trips to Tokyo.


I love that mainland Japan is just a hop, skip, and a jump away...more or less. Over Memorial Weekend we decided to go check out Tokyo and see what that big city hype is all about. It definitely had some crazy moments, but you know, in a city thats deemed to be one of the world's largest, and busiest, it was kind of nice when we'd walk down streets and be the only visible people.

Meiji-jingu Shrine:

Oh hey, look who we ran into, "Big Jeff" as Preston would say. It always makes me happy when I meet up with family so many millions of miles away from home. 

 Senso-ji Temple:

Everyone loves Gwen!

National Gardens: