Saturday, February 27, 2016

Amelia Mae's Birth Story

It's been a long time and I'm going to catch up with everything that has gone on in the last year, but this post is going to be about the very fast birth of baby Snyder # 2.

We were due on December 18th, 2015 and I was fully expecting to go late again because I did the first time.  I was also expecting to be in labor for 8 + hours because one of my midwives told me that second labors tend to go for about that long.  I figured anything less than the 40 hours of labor I had with Zachary would be nice.

The night before, December 13th, I had been really uncomfortable because Mia was moving in all the wrong places and I just felt like crap but there were no contractions at all.  Zachary didn't go to bed until 10 pm because he had gotten a nap that day.  He always goes to sleep later whenever he gets a nap.  I headed off to bed at 10 pm and only slept for about an hour.  I woke up around 11 to the baby moving a lot and I couldn't sleep because of it.  I went out into the living room and got something to eat hoping that would help.  Sometimes I would just wait it out until the baby settled down and I was able to sleep again.  By 12:30, she had stopped moving but I started having really mild contractions.  I went to bed thinking that they were just Braxton Hicks contractions and that resting would make them stop but I was wrong.

The contractions got more painful after I laid in bed but they were still manageable.  I got up because I couldn't sleep and started getting last minute things ready while still not sure if this was the real thing or not.  Around 1:15 AM I woke Louis up and let him know that I thought it was the real thing.  He stayed up with me and helped talk me through the contractions, which wasn't that hard because they still weren't too intense.  Since we are living with my parents right now, I let my mother know what was going on and that we may be leaving in the next couple of hours but would keep her updated.  Louis and I got the food and drinks packed in our bag and I was still having contractions that were every few minutes but still nothing too horrible.  We weren't timing them but they were getting closer.  I told Louis that I thought it was time to page the on call midwife.

Louis made the page around 2: 20 AM and then we played the waiting game.  It seemed like FOREVER for the call back but in reality it was less than ten minutes.  Louis talked with her for a minute before I asked for the phone.  I figured it was faster if I just talked and answered questions directly because I was still able to talk, even through the contractions (barely).  I don't think she thought I was as far along as I was because I was still able to talk okay.

It happened with my labor with Zachary too and the midwives at that time didn't think I was very far but I ended up being 5 cm.  So I guess I just take contractions really well or they just aren't as painful as some women.

Anyway, she asked if we were timing the contractions and I said no but that they were close together and getting stronger.  She said to time the contractions for 45 minutes and then call back after that time... UNLESS, the contractions got stronger or my water broke.  Little did she know that we would be calling back sooner than she expected.

I had 3 contractions within 6 minutes with the last one so strong that my water broke while I was sitting on the bed.  Louis called the midwife back and she told us they she would meet us at the birth center.  Louis started putting the bags in the car while I changed my pants and let my mom know we were leaving and what was going on.  We left the house around 2:50 AM and it felt like the longest drive EVER!  Thankfully there were basically no cars on the road because it was the middle of the night.  We saw maybe 4 cars and 2 of those were police cars.

I remember that the car radio was on and playing Christmas music.  I didn't tell Louis until the car ride home but I sooo wanted to rip the stereo out because the music was too happy.  I was just hoping and praying that we made it to the birth center.  We got off the freeway and were just about 10 minutes from the center when I felt like I had to push on the next contraction.  I tried not to push because we weren't there yet but my body and instincts just took over.  I couldn't help it, I had to push.  The closer we got, the better I felt because I didn't really want to have the baby in the car.

We parked right in front and Louis walked me inside.  The midwife, student midwife, and birth assistant walked me to the front birth room in between contractions.  While Louis went to get the bags, I was in the room and had another contraction and again, felt like I had to push.  I told them that I was pushing and they had me lay down after it was over so I could get checked.  We had only been there for about 10 minutes and so I was shocked when she told me that I was 10 cm and the baby was right there.  It was around 3:30 AM and I don't really remember everything that happened in the next 40 minutes but I did push with all the strength I had.  I listened to my midwives and Louis every step of the way and before I knew it she was born at 4:09 in the morning.  We were thrilled to find out at the birth that it was a little girl, Amelia, and she was beautiful.  This was right after she was born and put onto my chest.

I was still in shock that it was over so fast!  We hardly had time to think at all, and none of our family knew that we were even in labor.  Here I am getting my blood pressure taken.

My mom was definitely not expecting the next update to be a birth announcement and we surprised Louis' parents as well because they didn't even know what was going on.  Louis let his boss know that he wouldn't be coming in to work that day or for the rest of the week.  It was such an amazing time even though it was kind of crazy.  Our vitals were checked several times to make sure everything was great and soon, 3 hours, we were on our way home.

We got home around 8 AM and Zachary was still asleep.  We woke him up so my mom could take him with her to the preschool where she works and then my sister came to pick him up.  She watched him the whole day and it was nice to have some quiet time to rest.  This was right after we got home.

That night Louis' parents came by to visit.  Zachary was happy to see them as he still wasn't sure what exactly was going on.

I have to say that it was an amazing experience.  I didn't know what to expect but it was so much easier than I imagined!  I am so proud of myself for going natural without anything for the pain and, let's face it, even if I did choose a hospital birth with an epidural, it went so fast that I would have had no choice but to go all natural.  I have recovered so much faster than the first time and I was even driving again after 5 days!

Well, that's the amazingly fast birth of our baby girl!  Just for fun, let's recap:

12:30 am- contractions start

1:15 am- I wake Louis up

2:20 am- Midwife calls after getting paged

2:35 ish- water breaks and we leave for the birth center

3:20 am- we get to the birth center

3:30 am- I start pushing

4:09 am- Amelia is born

Total labor time: 3 hours 39 minutes!

PHEW!  That was a lot!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

I Cried Today

Have you ever had something happen that brings up a bad memory?  I did today and I cried.

I guess you need to know the back story first, so here it is.  When I was younger I always wanted to fit in with the other kids.  I know it sounds silly but it seemed like everyone else had friends that they hung out with all the time, joked with, or went out to a movie.  I wanted that, oh how I wanted it.  I had a few friends, if you could call them that, that I would hang around with at school, but nothing ever happened when school was over.  I never got invited anywhere or even a phone call to talk.  I always had to be the one to make the call and eventually I stopped caring about it.  I figured if they really wanted to hang out with me they would actually put in some effort.  I always felt left out and I always hoped that the phone would ring for me.  When it came to birthday parties, I rarely got an invitation.  I would usually find out from someone the following week and I was always hurt.

Why didn't they want me there?

Did I do something to make them not want me around?

So many questions would race through my head but I could never figure anything out.  I always thought that I was a reject that nobody wanted around, that there was something wrong with me and I just couldn't see it.  That's why I always wanted to fit in.  I just wanted to have that circle of friends that I could have fun with.  I wished for it every day.

I put a lot of that in the past but every now and then I get a reminder of my childhood and memories come flooding back.  You probably want to know what happened, right?  Well, I found out today about a party for someone I know well and several people I know went too.  Now, imagine how hurt I felt when there was no logical explanation as to why I hadn't been invited.  I just can't figure it out.  So, now I'm remembering how much I wanted it, to feel accepted, as a kid and the tears just came.  I cried for a good ten minutes before I realized that getting all my feelings out in a rant would make me feel so much better (it always does).

Now, I am going to lock those memories back where they were until the next time.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


What I'm going to write about today is a true story and one the only a few people have heard until today.  I wrote this my senior year when I was 18 years old.  My teenage years were hard for me and not a time that many people get to hear about.  After almost 10 years, this is still on of my favorite pieces I have written about.  I got an A+ on the assignment so the teacher really loved it too.  So, here goes nothing!


          What do you do when you have to give up your dog to save your family?  This is my story about a Silkie Terrier named Tucker and how he changed my life forever.

          In September of 2004 my life was a wreck.  I was emotionally depressed and had no friends.  Anxiety had taken over my life to the point where I couldn't even leave the house.  My anxiety finally got so bad, I even dropped out of school.  Emotionally I just couldn't do anything.  I had gone to many doctors and every diagnosis was wrong.  They had diagnosed me with Bipolar first, then Asperger Syndrome.  All I wanted was to know what was wrong with me.  Then everything changed the day we got Tucker.

          On October nineteenth of 2004 my parents brought Tucker home, having rescued him from a family that didn't know how to care for a dog.  His hair was only about two inches long with beautiful colors of light brown and silver.  Underneath the small tuft of hair in his face were the most gorgeous black eyes I had ever seen.  When he came out of the kennel for the first time you could just see the helplessness that surrounded him.  He was eight months old and being fed adult food, which caused him to be skinny due to improper nutrition.  The previous family put him outside all day so he wasn't house broken.  Because he wasn't neutered, he always escaped out of the yard to find neighborhood girls.  The kennel he came home in was about two sizes too small, so small that he couldn't even stand up straight.  Even though he was so scared that night, he still seemed perfect for our family.

          The first time we really took him outside of the house was on Halloween.  We took him along with our two other dogs when we went out trick or treating.  He did so well with all the children we met, so it was expected that he loved everyone.  A few days earlier we took him to the pet store for a pet costume contest; he went as a clown.  With all the other dogs and people around, he interacted with them most of the time we were there.  In early November he was taken to obedience classes for several weeks.  My mother did most of the training since he was supposed to be her dog.  The classes ended just a week or two before Christmas, so my family was excited to get all the dogs presents and stocking stuffers.  About a week before Christmas my mother and I took all three dogs to get a picture with Santa; it was crazy!  Every year our dogs get a picture with Santa, but this year was special.  This year our family was complete for the first time in almost a year.  It wasn't until after the New Year that everything about Tucker started to change.

          Late January was when Tucker started to get more attatched to me and more aggressive towards small children.  My mother watches a toddler named Elias on Tuesdays and it wasn't until Elias and my nephew Owen began to crawl and walk that Tucker started to show behavior changes.  Most of the days, when Owen and Elias were at our house, were spent in my room under my bed.  By this time he was practically my dog, so my mom was willing to give him to me.  Everywhere I went Tucker was always right behind me; sometimes he would be so close that I would accidentally kick him.  He was called "My Little Shadow".  I was willing to do anything to keep him in my life.  There were some days where I thought he might be getting better about being around children.  What I didn't know was that he would get worse before he ever got better.

          April was when Tucker first bit a child, and it just happened to be my nephew, Owen.  The bite on Owen's wrist wasn't as bad as it could have been, but it was pretty swollen.  After that first incident Tucker would snap at most children that got too close to him.  When I took Tucker on long walks, I always took a muzzle with me so if there were any children around, I could use it on him.  The only problem was that he absolutely hated to wear it.  What else could I do?  we had tried just about everything and by now it seemed that the only thing to do would be to find him another home.  It made me so heartsick to see Tucker so upset whenever there was a child around, and I understood the danger he posed to all children around our neighborhood.  At the same time there was a part of my soul that just didn't want to let him go.

          It wasn't until June that we finally contacted a Silkie Rescue.  We got to the point where the only option left was to find Tucker a new home where there were no small kids around.  I needed a dog that was good with everyone.  Originally Tucker was going to be used as a service dog for my anxiety, but now it was too risky.  My mom was the one doing all the contacting because I just couldn't do it emotionally.  I was the one having the hardest time mostly because he was my baby.  There were some nights where I would be fine because I knew I was doing the right thing.  Other nights I couldn't even sleep because I didn't want to face the fact that something would have to be done to ensure that no one else got hurt.  I felt like I had saved him from a family who didn't care about his needs, and in truth I was right.  I was wrong about the fact that I believed he was meant to be my dog.  The decision to give him up was all up to me, but I took my anger out on everyone else.  I would yell and scream at my mother because I blamed her for having to make him get out of the house, when in reality she had nothing to do with it.  No matter how upset I got, I tried to keep a positive attitude around Tucker; I just knew he could sense something was wrong.  There was no way I could keep going from yes, he needs to be found a new home, to no, he's mine and I just can't give him up.  I knew I would have to make the toughest decision of my life.  

          One option I had was to keep him as my dog and just try to work around his hate against children.  I knew that in a year or two I would move out of the house and could take him with me.  This would be a hardship on my family, knowing that Tucker could strike a child at any moment.  However, I knew in my heart that Tucker wouldn't be happy or social if he were away from my family, and his emotional state would probably worsen.  Having thought about this for a while, I also knew that I could never let any of my nieces or nephews over to my house or apartment, which was upsetting to me.

          The other option was to give him up to the Silkie Rescue and let them find a new home for him.  Knowing how strict rescues are about adopting families, I knew he would find a great and loving home, one where there were no small children.  The only problem was that I still couldn't stand the thought of not having Tucker there in my life.  He needed me like I needed him; I just knew it.  The truth is I thought I couldn't go on living without him in my life.  I must have cried myself to sleep for two weeks straight just thinking about the decision I had to make.  By the end of June I knew what I had to do.

          After weeks of thinking about my two choices, I came to realize I loved him enough that I had to find another home for him, and his well being.  What kind of mother would I be if I didn't try my best to do what was right for my baby.  All I wanted was the best for Tucker and up until then I don't think I gave it to him; now was my chance to give just that.  My mom and I kept in contact with the rescue and it wasn't long before we had a bite.

          It was after the fourth of July that the Silkie Rescue contacted us, my mom and I, to let us know that there was a couple interested in adopting Tucker.  I was a little skeptical at first because I wasn't sure I was ready to lt him go.  I reluctantly decided to make contact with the couple, Melanie and Gary.  My mother and I scheduled a day for them to meet Tucker, and when that day came I could tell that it was love at first sight.  Sometime in the days that followed they decided to take him for a test period of about two weeks.  My mother and I had the honor of taking him to his new home.  The house is right off of a lake and there is a park next door; I could tell he was going to have a great time.  It wasn't until the car ride home that the reality began to sink in.

          When I came home that day I felt as if I had just lost my best friend.  Sometimes to ease my pain I would think of it as putting him to sleep; meaning he would never come back to me.  I don't think it was real effective, but it did help a little.  The first week or so were the hardest on me.  I started to go back to my old habits where I was very secluded in my room, in my own world.  Going out of the house was something I felt like I had no strength to do.  I deprived myself of going out with the family to the park or the movies because I was just too depressed.  On and off during the day I would have spurts where I would cry for three to four hours at least.  Nights were the worst for me; many nights I didn't go to bed until the early hours of the morning.  I took everything out on my mom, and I always regret that.  Every night it was like someone else was controlling me; I never spoke rationally and half the time I didn't mean what I said.  Often I was so depressed that I would threaten to end my life because I felt like there was no reason to live.  Then one day I received an email that changed my whole perspective around.

          I received this email from Melanie:

Hi Kathy,
Well, we survived the first full day with Tucker!  What a jewel.

Tell your mom that he absolutely goes bonkers over the new green ball.  Of course, when he gets it in his grip, he hates to let it you well know.

We are borrowing a crate from my friend Rebecca.  We'll try having him sleep in it at night.  I have a few questions.  It you can answer them- great!  Otherwise I'll call to get some "canine" advise.

Does it take two people to brush Tucker's to hold and the other to brush?  What the secret in getting his mouth open?  It was a comedy of errors as Gary and I made our first effort as tooth brushing this afternoon!!  Tears were rolling down our cheeks from all the laughter.

Did Tucker usually stay in his crate all night?  If he had to "go"...did he have acces to the litterbox at night or just have to wait until morning?

It's obvious, Kathy, that Tucker has benefited from all your love and attention.'re welcome to call anytime or come by and visit.


In another email she wrote:

Wow...Tucker has had quite a workout.  One of these photos shows him walking with Gary at Kirkland Park Marina.  The others were taken this afternoon as Waverly Beach Park.  He acually went into Lake Washington and got completely wet.  He met lots of other terriers and fortunately there were no unpleasant exchanges.

Kathy, we hope you're not feeling too sad.  I know it's tough because you love him so.  He loves you too!  We'll keep updating you on his progress and as I've said before, please call or come and visit.  You are always welcome.

Take care,

          As I read I began to become overwhelmed with happiness for the first time in days.  There were even pictures of Tucker playing in the park and just hanging around.  You could tell they really cared for my feelings.  From that day forward I knew that I had chosen the perfect home for Tucker, one where he is loved unconditionally.  I can honestly say that Melanie and Gary are the best family I could ever give Tucker.  I couldn't ask for a better one.  They still keep in contact with me and even allow me to visit.  Everyday I check my email to see if there are any new photos of Tucker and hearing new stories of what he has been doing.  In return I send them photos of our family and dogs.  I have even started a scrapbook of Tucker for them to know what he was like while he was still living with our family.  Around the middle of August I received a package in the mail from Melanie.  When I opened it I was overjoyed to see a dog scrapbook kit inside.  Just knowing how perfect Tucker is for them gives me a tingly feeling inside.  They are perfect for each other.

          Tucker was my life, and I will never forget him.  Even though I have another dog, Oscar, that I love dearly there will always be a part of me that goes to the little dog that saved my life.


It is amazing how much has changed in the last 10 years and a few things that are still the same.  I still get to see my little Tucker every once in a while and he always remembers me.  I know that I truly made an impact on his life.  The couple aren't together anymore but both still get time with him switching every other week.

I also have to say that all those doctor's visits were for nothing.  There was and is nothing wrong with me and I was just going through a difficult time in my life.  I am so glad that I had this little guy to help me get through the worst times during that period.  I know I wouldn't have the wonderful life I have now if I had kept Tucker.  I would never have found Oscar, never have gotten Sadie, and I would have waited to have kids until Tucker died.  I truly believe that everything happens for a reason.  Tucker was meant to be in my life for just the amount of time I needed.  I say this because I brought Oscar home less than a month after Tucker went to his new home.  Had I waited longer, I would not have the dog who is so amazing and funny.  It made giving Tucker up a little easier and my life so much better.  Oscar was able to pick up where Tucker left off and helped me overcome my anxiety.  I went back to school the month after I got Oscar and I graduated at the end of that school year.  I was able to get a job where Oscar was able to go with me everyday.  With Oscar's help I gained my confidence back and went out into the world.  I was able to meet a man who loves me for who I am and now we have a family and I am the happiest I have ever been.

And it all started with a little silver dog...

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Why I Chose To Cloth Diaper

Before Zachary was even born, I knew that I wanted to cloth diaper but we didn't have a washer and dryer in our apartment and that would have made things difficult.  Louis and I decided that we would start cloth diapering when we moved to a place with a W/D.  There are several reasons I wanted to go this direction and not use disposables.

1) I didn't want to contribute to landfills.  Diapers can fill up a garbage bag so fast and I wanted to be a little more green.

2) With Louis in school we are trying to save money any way we can.  Cloth diapering is cheaper in the long run than disposables.  Especially as the child gets older and less diapers come in a pack.  Currently, all we have to pay for is the laundry soap and that last for months.  Our water is paid in our rent and we hang the diapers on a drying rack so we don't use electricity for them.

It's also nice not having to worry about running out of diapers and having to go to the store to buy a new pack.  The only times we use a disposable (plant based and chlorine free) are at night, he is a heavy wetter and tends to leak in cloth, and when we are out of the house for more than 3 hours.

What further persuaded me to choose cloth diapering is how much the disposables have irritated his skin.  Ever since he was born the elastic on the inside of the disposables rubbed and made his skin really sore.  At his 2 month check up the doctor had to prescribe a cream to help the skin around his crotch heal.  After that, I had to put A & D on the inside of his legs on every other diaper change to keep him from getting another infection.  It was becoming a pain to do this and I knew it wasn't comfortable for him.  So, I switched to cloth when we got into the duplex and it has been wonderful.  I have not had to use any of the diaper cream since and the disposables at night don't bother him because he's not wearing them all the time.

In short, it's not for everyone but it was the best choice for us.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Where does the time go?!

It feels like I haven't updated in a long time and it's been a busy few months.  Between the move, Thanksgiving, Zachary's 1st Birthday, Christmas, and the New Year, it's just been really crazy and I keep wanting to do an update but sometimes I just can't bring myself to do it.  I figured I would just bite the bullet and catch you all up on everything that has happened.

We moved into the duplex around the 15th of November.  It's not perfect but we love it so much better than our apartment and we feel a lot safer in this neighborhood.  The upstairs tenant is almost never home and occasionally goes on 4-5 day business trips.  He's real quiet when he IS home so it's almost like not having a neighbor.  The dogs love having a yard and it's really nice not having to wait until Zachary wakes up to let them out.

November 27th was Zachary's 2nd Thanksgiving (technically) and he loved eating all the good food and seeing the family.  We couldn't believe that the next day was his birthday.  This is what he wore on Thanksgiving.

The next Day we went out to the store and got him his very own cake to smash.  The smash part never really happened but he did love the cake.  Actually, he loved the frosting and didn't really want the cake at all.  My baby isn't a baby anymore, he is a toddler and growing so fast!

On December 5th, he had his 12 month appointment and everything went fantastic!  Here are his stats:

Height: 2 ft 6.5 in (73.10%)
Weight:21 lbs 2 oz (45.45%)

On December 15th we went with my parents and Louis' parents to the "What Child Is This" concert by the Seattle Ensign Symphony and Chorus at Benaroya Hall.  This was Zachary's first concert and he did fantastic!  We never had to take him out to the hall except during the intermission to eat a snack.  The concert was awesome and I heard that it was their best yet.  Louis played the cello in it and he did great!

Christmas came and went really fast.  It seems like one day we were putting the tree up and decorating it and the next, we were putting the tree away for next year.  The whole month was kind of a blur.


Last came New Year's Day.  We decided to stay home this year and play games as a family.  Our neighbors let off fireworks when Midnight came around and Zachary loved listening to them.  We have made some goals for the year and I know one of my personal goals is to get out more on walks with the dogs and Zachary.  Who knows what this year will bring!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Why We Are Moving

Yes, we are going to be out of our apartment by the end of next month and into a duplex with a small yard.  I'll explain a little bit about how we found this place because it took months to find it.

We started looking for a new place to live way back in July because our lease was up at the end of August.  We already knew that we weren't going to renew the lease and we ended up going month to month until now.  We wanted to get something with a little bit of a yard because Oscar really needs a place to potty of leash.  He absolutely hates going to the bathroom on leash and that's what he has to do here.  It's also really hard for me to take him out potty all the time when Louis isn't home because if Zachary's sleep schedule.  I hate it and Oscar hates it.  Sadie doesn't really care because she just uses the litter box.  Also, we currently don't have a washer and dryer in our apartment and it is a pain to try to get it all done during the day.  I have had back problems in the past and still have issues every once in a while.  It hurts a lot when I have to carry Zachary and the heavy laundry baskets + laundry soap.  Sometimes I have to wait until Louis gets homes so that I can leave Zach at the apartment with him.  Louis can't really help with it right now because he is either working or doing schoolwork.  Those were the two big things for us.

Finding a place that had yard and washer/dryer in our price range was easy.  It was harder to find a place that allowed pets.  We found a couple of place but we were close to getting them but didn't because someone else did.  It was very frustrating and seemed endless at times.  I had even started putting ads on craigslist under the "Housing Wanted" section since August but nothing came of it.  Then, a few weeks ago, I re-posted the ad and got an email the next day.  This time it was from a woman who had a duplex that would be ready on the 15th of November.  It's 1020 sf with 2 beds and 1 bath and it has a shed in the back that can be used for storage.  We looked at the place and it looks really nice.  Some things have been updated like the kitchen and some flooring.  Some parts would need to be fixed but the landlord was okay with us fixing things ourselves if we brought it up to her before we do it. Examples:  the carpet will need to be replaced because it is starting to fray in some places and Zach would have fun pulling at it.  She is going to clean the carpet before we move in though.  Also, the bathtub will eventually need to be replaced as the surface has been worn off in places.  These are fixes that we can make is she pays for the materials.

We have signed the lease and will get the keys on the 14th.  I am looking forward to this new chapter in our lives.

Oh, I almost forgot the most important reason for moving!  We wanted to get into a better neighborhood to raise our kids in.  In the last 3 months there has been a robbery at the bank a block from our apartment, a friend in the neighboring apartment got her apartment broken into, and just last week there was a stabbing at the apartment complex next to ours,  We don't like going out for walks during the day because there are creepy people out there and we NEVER walk alone at night in our parking lot because there are even creepier people out at night.  Police are at our apartment complex several times a week and it's very unsettling.  We want to feel safer in our own home and this duplex will do just that.  It's in a great little neighborhood that won't have drug addicts walking around all over the place.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

He's Walking!

My little man Zachary started walking last week at 10.5 months.  It's so amazing to see my boy growing up right before my eyes.  It seems like just yesterday I was holding him in my arms for the first time in the hospital.  First, the standing pictures.

Oscar wasn't too thrilled in this one...

You know there is a video coming next.  Here it is!