Calvin Zach Henderson | Birth Story

I went to my last scheduled doctor’s appointment on Dec 18th.  I was 38 weeks and 1 day.  I had zero progression so my doctor scheduled my induction to be Dec 28th.  She was going to be out of town until the 26th for the holiday, so that was a sensible time for both of us.  Since I didn’t dilate on my own last time – we figured I would have to be induced anyway.  And with the holidays I got to choose if it we before Christmas or after.  I chose the latter.  I remember my doctor saying a few weeks prior – “If I had it my way, you’d go into labor on your own at 38 weeks.”  She was just two days off, we’d find out.

That night I got up to use the restroom around 4 am and noticed some development of the labor process.  I’ll just leave it at that.  I decided to go back to bed and see what would happen.  Around 4:30 my water broke as I was in bed.  I felt it coming and jumped out of bed just in time.  [For some reason my biggest fear was my water breaking in our bed and then having to deal with a disgusting mattress when we got home from the hospital.]  I woke Zach up and told him my water broke.  I’ve never seen him spring out of bed so fast – I swear he got two feet of air off the mattress before his feet hit the ground.

Luckily our hospital bags were already packed.  I decided to get in the shower and get ready before heading to the hospital.  I called my mom around 5 am to head up to our house to be with Sloan.  I shoved a few things in a bag just as my parents showed up.  Zach gave me a priesthood blessing – assisted by my dad – and we were out the door.

Zach said something in his blessing that caught me a little off guard.  I asked him about it when we were alone in the card together and he told me he didn’t know what it meant, just that he was meant to say it.

As we made our way to the hospital I had a few big contractions – so I told Zach we didn’t have time to stop at McDonald’s for a sausage egg and cheese McMuffin like our last go around with Sloan.  We pulled up to the University around 6 am and they made us wait to be admitted until someone could confirm that I was actually in labor.  The on-call midwife confirmed my water had broken and then did a little monitoring of the baby’s heartbeat.  It was then that she told us that his heart had an arrhythmia.  Considering we had been at the hospital for all of 12 minutes, I was a nervous wreck.  She told us it wasn’t a big concern – but that she would have to alert pediatrics and cardiology.  Since I had high blood pressure towards the end of my pregnancy with Sloan – they kept monitoring my blood pressure while we were waiting.  Once we got the news about the baby’s possible heart problem my blood pressure was sky high on every single test.  There weren’t any delivery rooms available at the time – so we continued to wait to be officially admitted and moved over.  Zach and I used the time to talk and say a prayer together.  He felt great about it all – and I was still worried sick.  I had a fantastic pregnancy with zero complications.  I wasn’t sick even one hour of my entire nine months.  I knew that there had to be a catch, and this was it.  Our baby had a heart problem.

Zach was starving and made his way downstairs to get a sausage and egg biscuit from Starbucks.  If there is a will, there is a way with Zach.  He managed to stink up our room in a way which only that exact breakfast sandwich can.  At least this time he brought me a hot blueberry muffin.

An hour or so later we were officially moved over to L&D.  They hooked me up with an IV and I met my nurse who I adored instantly – Sandy.  We went over my birth plan and Sandy explained that pediatrics was going to have to stop by and have a chat.  I never dilated on my own with Sloan, so I didn’t think my body was even capable.  I was at a 3 when Sandy checked me, which was a surprise considering I thought I would be Fort Knox.  But since my contractions weren’t progressing, they decided to start me on Pitocin.  Right after that the pediatric and cardiology teams stopped by to talk to me.  They apologized – but told me I probably wouldn’t get to hold the baby right after he was born because they would need to asses the situation with the arrhythmia.  I just tried the entire time not to burst into tears, and kept my mind busy with asking questions.  They left and told me they would see me when it was go time.  Then anesthesia came around and asked if I would like to get my epidural going.  Last time with Sloan my epidural was a complete disaster (the worst part of the labor process if you asked me) and I was hesitant. I told him I wasn’t feeling any contractions, but to “Check back in, say…30 minutes.  Nothing can happen in 30 minutes.”  As I said those words he started wheeling his cart out of our room and a massive contraction hit me.  It was so intense that I stopped him as he was going and told him to turn that little cart around and come back.  He laughed and said he knew from the moment I told him nothing could happen that it WOULD in fact happen.  He administered the epidural – and this time Zach was sitting in front of me in a chair, holding my hands.  With Sloan’s delivery he got really sick at the sight of the needle and nearly passed out.  Our guy, Adam, was a pro and administered the epidural without a hitch.

Almost as soon as the epidural kicked in – my contractions took it up a notch.  I started to feel some big time pressure and they checked me.  I was at a 5 – which I could have sworn was wrong.  I felt a little bummed that there wasn’t more progression.  They told me they would check back with me in an hour.  As they walked out the door everything switched gears.  I had the biggest contraction yet and started to feel the urge to push.  I pushed my call button for the nurse and told them to come back in. I told Zach, “He’s coming.  I can tell.  It’s time.”  They checked me again and saw that I was complete.  I went from a 5 to a 10 in 2 minutes.  They all were completely shocked.  Then, as Zach explains it, “an entire basketball team rushed into our room”.  Including the pediatric team.  As they were prepping for the delivery I explained that I have never been able to hold my babies as they came out.  I’ve always had to wait to get them checked.  My doctor was doing clinicals in the hospital that day, but I didn’t see her in the room with us.  I asked if she had been paged, and they told me she would be here as soon as she could.  I remember thinking – she’s not going to make it, again.  I really wanted her there considering how worrisome it all was with the baby’s heart issue.  The on-call resident started to give me instructions and got all geared up.  Sandy, our nurse, asked Zach, “Alright Dad, want to grab a leg?”  Zach switched over to my left side and grabbed a hold of my leg.  I started pushing and right in the middle of my second set of pushes my doctor ran in, huffing a puffing.  She explained she ran all the way up here and I couldn’t have been more grateful to see her.  I remember I said, “Welcome to my vagina!” As she settled into position.  The whole crew of 10+ people burst into laughter.  I told Zach not to look down – to focus on my face, but I could see him staring down into the gaping abyss that is a woman wide open – with a baby’s head crowning.  Then another round of pushes.  On my second big push I heard Zach say, “Guys, I’m going to need some help here.”  He loosened his grip on my leg and passed out cold on the floor.  He dropped down to his knees and then I completely lost sight of him.  A few people rushed over to help him and another nurse rushed to my left side to grab a hold of my leg.  I lost focus on pushing and was calling out his name, asking if he was ok.  He didn’t respond for quite a while.  The nurses urged me to switch my attention and focus on the task at hand.  Someone got Zach some smelling salts and he finally awoke.  I kept asking someone to get his orange juice [which he had acquired at Starbucks as well] and Zach kept telling me he was alright.  “I’m ok, K.  Just keep pushing.” After another set of pushes I checked in on Zach.  He was soon by my side and staring only at my face.  I vividly remember him patting me on the head like a dog – telling me that I was doing a good job.  He was still as white as a sheet.  We’ll work on his labor coach skills some other time, I guess.

On my fourth round of pushes I heard the nurse saying, “That’s it!  He’s almost here!” And then someone said to me, “Open your eyes – it’s your baby!”  I looked and there he was – screaming his guts out!  I’ve never been more grateful to hear a piercing cry like that in my entire life.  My doctor, who likely hadn’t been briefed on his heart situation, placed him right on top of me.  He was still hollering and wailing, which apparently was a good sign.  The pediatric team seemed a bit flustered that they didn’t get to inspect him – so they all came to me.  Using stethoscopes they all determined there was no arrhythmia after all – that his heart and lungs were more that perfect.  I burst out in tears.

What Zach said in his blessing all made sense at that moment.  But it sure didn’t to me at the time.  I got to hold my baby, Zach got to cut the cord.  Then the basketball team left, my doctor congratulated me, and it was just the three of us.  If I could bottle up a feeling – it would be the moments right when your baby comes into the world and into your arms.  I never feel the spirit as strong as those moments.

Calvin Zach Henderson  |  6 lbs 2 oz  |  19.75″ long  |  3:19 pm

We are officially a family of four.



Our November + Thanksgiving

We did some festive things to kick off the month of November.  Thank you Trader Joe’s for making me feel like I can’t live without a gingerbread turkey kit.  Because apparently, I can’t.  Sloan loved every second – especially eating all the candy off the turkey after she dipped it in the frosting. 

We also couldn’t leave the craft store one day without one of those pre-fab foam kits – particularly the Thankful Cafe – and Sloan believed it looked better as a hat rather than a display.  

We hosted Joy School at our house before the holiday and the kiddos loved decorating their pilgrim hats and eating some festive treats.  

We went to Provisions on the night of our actual anniversary – which was the 21st.  It was our first time and I can’t wait to go back already.  Something super strange about me:  if there is Utah trout or any sort of trout on a menu, I will get it.  I love Trout – it’s my favorite fish.  I like it even more than salmon or halibut.  I grew up fishing with my grandpa and occasionally my dad [he hated it with a passion, but would go when we went camping] and grew to love the taste very early on.  So I ordered the trout and it was OFF THE HOOK!  I don’t know what that white pureed stuff was…but I wanted to take home a jar of it and eat it with a spoon.  

Thanksgiving Day I went on an early morning run with my sister-in-laws.  A Turkey Trot, if you will.  I was hoping I could still run over three miles by the time Thanksgiving hit – and I made it!  I still have a goal of running 300 miles this pregnancy.  I am over 277 miles currently – but with less than three weeks left officially I hope I can make it happen.  Zach played hockey afterwards and Sloan and I made a batch of chocolate chip cookies to take to dinner (for those who don’t like pie, apparently).  I also made my assignment – two different types of stuffing – and then we were off to my aunt’s house for dinner.

This is the best family photo we got at Thanksgiving Dinner.  The three and a half of us…and a watering can.  Because a toddler’s life is a mega distracted life.  

It was great to be with family and we ate our fair share.  Afterwards we went through some Black Friday ads and then hit the rode home.

The next morning we relaxed.  We lounged around, ate snacks.

There was no actual Black Friday shopping for me this year.  I bought a few things online because the prices were too good to pass up, but I have all my Christmas shopping done for my family.  And as soon as Friday morning came it was all wrapped, my minimal Thanksgiving decor was down, and my house was officially decorated for Christmas.  It feels so good – knowing it’s all done – before this little man joins our household.  I even have some emergency gifts for him if he decides to come early, before the holiday.

Then later that afternoon we drove up north to the Hendo Cabin for Thanksgiving Round 2.

The food is always delicious and the company is just as great.  Sloan wasn’t a fan of the turkey [marshmallow] shoot this year.  She was terrified of the turkey – until she found out it was her cousin Alex in a costume.  You’d think this kid would be accustom to strange characters roaming around our family get-togethers…

After the turkey came and went – everyone opened their Christmas pajamas.  We are missing 11 grandkids in this photo – but it’s pretty good considering how big the group is still. 

We also had our traditional indoor snowball fight (boys vs girls, adults vs kids) and it totally wore Sloan out.  All the action really took it out of her…

Speaking of grandkids – I got super emotional when I saw baby boy’s stocking hanging up at the cabin.

I devote so much time and energy to Sloan that sometimes [even this far along] I forget there is another little person inside of me.  To see his stocking hung up there made it feel more real: December will be the month we welcome another little person into our family!

I never wanted to have a baby in December.  Not because I wasn’t grateful for any opportunity to carry a child – but no kid wants a December birthday!  But when they told me it would be December, I just started praying it wouldn’t be on Christmas Day.  Now I’ve come to the realization that it’s out of my control completely.  And secretly I feel like the more I wish him not to come on the holiday, the more likely it is to happen.  So…come what may and love it.  Having a newborn in our home during the holiday season will be pure magic.





Ninth Anniversary

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We celebrated our anniversary with our trip to Italy – but I convinced Zach super last minute to spend a weekend up in Park City over our actual anniversary.  I got a killer off-season deal at our favorite hotel and my parents were kind of enough to take Sloan for two nights.  We left after Zach got home from work on Friday and ordered food to our room once we arrived at the hotel.  

The next morning we slept in, enjoyed the gym and spa, and then went out to do some baby shopping.  Zach was such a good sport.  We scored some pretty adorable stuff for our little guy.  

We had lunch at El Chubasco and then hit up the outlets.  

We came back to the hotel for an intermission to change our clothes and grab some s’mores before heading to dinner.

We had some time to kill before our dinner reservation – so we shopped a little on Main Street before heading over to Deer Valley for dinner.

The food at our favorite place is always a home run and we polished off the meal with a salted caramel popcorn sundae.  Yes, caramel popcorn on top of ice cream.

The whole thing was honestly so simple and relaxing.  We stayed up late watching movies, talking, and got all of our Christmas shopping done.  Sleeping in passed 7:00 am and hitting up the bomb gym was just the icing on the cake.

I don’t deserve the last nine years of marriage to Zach.  He is the most thoughtful person on the planet.  He makes our life so wonderful and fun.  Watching him become a father has made me love him even more than I thought I could.  I didn’t know how long it would be before we got to spend some alone time together after this baby comes.  I am so glad we made this happen, albeit so spur of the moment.  I can’t wait to love him even more after this little man makes us a family of four.


Sloan’s 3rd Birthday

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We have a three-year-old living in this house now.  It didn’t seem real until the night before her party.  I was wrapping her gifts and setting up decorations and I had to keep myself from choking up.  She’s grown so much over the past few months.  She seems so much older now, for so many reasons.

We surprised her with a few books and silly toys – but when she saw her strider bike she completely lost it.

We went out to lunch later to celebrate and then that evening our families came over to have some dinner and dessert.  She chose a Peter Pan theme – which made my life pretty easy.  I love planning parties and it turned out so fun.  Sloan didn’t notice the decorations and didn’t care much for the food – but she loved having everyone she loved at our house at the same time.

My friend Stephanie made her cake.  It not only was gorgeous but it was delicious.  It was probably my favorite thing about the whole party.  

She was totally spoiled by our families.  She’s such a lucky girl to have such an amazing support system in her life.

“Never Grow Up” – not just the theme, but my secret wish for this little/big girl.  She has such a giant heart and endless amounts of energy.  I love this age – but my 8-month pregnant self can’t quite keep up with her.  I hope she never loses her excitement for the little things.  It’s one of the attributes I love the most about her.

October + Halloween 2017

October was an absolute blast.  Easily one of my favorite months of the year.  It’s so fun to see the leaves change and feel the temps drop.  We went on a few family hikes before it got too cold.  One of our favorite places was the Wild Rose Trail up in North Salt Lake above the golf course.  We collected leaves and some of us collected rocks…

We made endless amounts of pumpkin flavored things.  If you haven’t tried Trader Joe’s jumbo cinnamon rolls…you are not living your best life.  They did have pumpkin flavored ones as well, for a short amount of time.

We also decorated Halloween cookies.  This year we tried tombstones.  Sloan’s not picky.  As long as she gets to pour the glaze all over the cookies, she could care less what shape they are.

We attended several Utah Football games – where the weather was actually quite pleasant.  I hit my 7 month of this pregnancy as well.  Sometimes I have to pinch myself.  This pregnancy has flown by so fast, it feels like we just found out we were expecting.

We visited Cross E Ranch – several times, actually.  Each time Sloan couldn’t have been happier.  I was finding kernels of corn in random places around our house for weeks.  Thank you, revolting corn pit…

We went to “Scary Hill” on one Saturday morning and enjoyed a lovely tractor hay ride through the skeleton field.  I thought that would be Sloan’s favorite part – but in fact her favorite part was the Clifford coin-opperated ride near the refreshment area.  So she probably would have been happier going to the mall instead.

We pre-gamed for Halloween with some trick-or-treating at Target the Saturday before the actual holiday.  Sloan enjoyed it – and the free fruit snacks – but Zach and I were unimpressed.  Next year; we’re going to Lee’s!  I heard it was OFF THE HOOK! 

The morning of Halloween was my turn to host Joy School.  Sloan and I prepped by making frosting to decorate cookies.  We also decorated her pumpkin – that she picked out the supplies for [I didn’t fight her one bit – these no carve solutions are GENIUS for Toddlers] and she had the time of her life.

We had Darren and Tillie over for Joy School and we learned about the letter F.  We colored Frankensteins and frosted sugar cookies.  

Sloan ate almost all of her candy off her cookies before I could snap a decent picture of them. 

After Joy School we got all dressed up and went trick-or-treating at my brother’s warehouse so we could see my family for a bit and had Cafe Rio take-out for lunch.

Then we drove up to Ogden with Zach and visited his parents.

Half of her costume was stripped off [she hated the tulle skirt] before we left Mimi and Papa’s house.  Sloan left with a year’s supply of Bubble Tape and her own spooky doorbell decoration.

We went trick-or-treating around our neighborhood before it got dark and then returned back home to carry on our super classy and festive tradition of Little Caesar’s for dinner while we passed out candy to the kiddos that came to our door.

Sloan had a serious sugar crash – most definitely the 8 Dum Dum lollipops she got from our bishop – and could barely keep her eyes open for a piece of crazy bread.

We had a fantastic holiday – and possibly even a better time leading up to it.  Sloan loved all things Halloween and “spooky” and she keeps asking when we can go trick-or-treating again.  She even has a few houses she plans on going to next year…



September + October General Conference

First, I have to catch up. September slipped through our fingers. Technically, first was Zach’s birthday. Sloan and I did our best to make it special for him – since he always makes everything wonderful for the two of us. We are so lucky to have him and wanted to show our love and appreciation for him.  We started his day off with his favorite breakfast, German pancakes.

As soon as he got home from work the three of us rushed off to Benihana for dinner.  Some traditions will never die.  Lucky for Zach, Sloan loved every second of it.  The entertainment, the fried rice, the paper hat she wore the entire meal and the trip home. She also asked me this week if Zach could take her on her “first date to Benihana”.  So I guess the love for Benihana is hereditary. Looks like I’m never going to be able to cut this cord…When we got home from dinner we all had a piece of Zach’s favorite dessert [really the only one he actually likes] his mom’s chocolate cake that Sloan and I had made the night before. It sits in the fridge overnight and Sloan had been begging for a piece since I pulled it hot out of the oven – sans frosting.  

Then later that week Zach and I got to go out to dinner to celebrate, just the two of us at his favorite restaurant.

I hope he enjoyed his birthday as much as we did – attempting to make it fun for him.  Sloan gets so excited about the little things – and keeps asking when it will finally be her birthday.  To which she asked for a “Peter Pan Birthday” this year – so I’ve been planning for some time. Just trying to be as prepared as possible with baby brother coming in three short months.

Sloan also started Joy School with our darling neighbors one street over – Darren and Tillie.  The three of them didn’t make the official cut for pre-school because they didn’t turn three come September.  I felt so guilty – like Sloan would be behind in some way.  So when my friend and neighbor approached me about doing Joy School with her, I was all in! She went to her first week at the twins’ house and loved every second. She even packed a bag with crayons and plastic fruit, just in case.

This last week was my week to host.  Sloan loved having Darren and Tillie over and to learn about the letter B we baked bread.  It was definitely the highlight of their class, but I should have predicted that.

Truth be told – I’ve been burning fall scented candles for weeks.  And if I’m being honest I’ve been baking fall-ish desserts for even longer. I’m on a serious bran muffin kick – my personal favorite being the apple oat bran muffins I’ve made twice now.  I’ve got a small stock pile in the freezer for now.

But Sloan actually prefers the pumpkin bran muffins.

We officially kicked off fall on September 21st [you know…like the Earth, Wind, and Fire song] by painting pumpkins and eating taco soup out of pumpkin bread bowls.

Speaking of soup, last week I attempted making my own chicken noodle soup from scratch for the first time.  It turned out pretty good – but Sloan was thrown off with the black bats [black bow tie pasta] and pumpkins [carrots].

Maybe chicken BOOdle soup will have to wait a while – until Sloan’s a bit older and not totally freaked out by it.

Zach and I would be lying if we said we weren’t missing Italy in the best way.  Zach’s favorite dish he ate while over there was a seafood dish with calms, mussels, and shrimp in a tomato sauce.  I found a similar recipe online and decided to surprise him and make it.  I wasn’t going to let the mussels and clams intimidate me – or the fact that I had to go into a liquor store and buy white wine nearly 7 months pregnant.  But that’s neither here nor there.

The dish turned out good and the mussels and clams weren’t terrible to master.  They were quite easy once they were dead and cooked [yeah – you cook them live, no big deal]. But now I have a little more experience cooking with live shellfish, I guess?

I’ve been counting down the days until fall session of conference.  I was thrilled when I found out it landed on October 1st – and we decided to kick off Halloween that weekend.  Because October 1st is literally the earliest I think that it is socially acceptable.  I purchased some Halloween jammies for Sloan, a stack of Halloween books, and geared up for both days and all four sessions.


Friday morning we made Halloween cookies per Sloan’s request.

They are some of my favorite that we have done thus far.  Sloan literally couldn’t stop laughing at them.  We also made some plain old circles and a few leaf cookies – but they weren’t nearly as fun!

We moved date night to Friday evening so Zach could go to Priesthood session on Saturday [our usual date night].  We went out for Ramen and then saw a movie down town.  It was a great way to kick off the weekend.

Saturday morning Zach let me go for a long run.  I’ve officially hit over 200 miles this pregnancy.  The weather was gloomy but I got back in time for breakfast.

I set up a jar of bribes to keep Sloan’s attention.  I originally had 6 words – but realized how overloaded Sloan would get on snacks. So we settled for her four favorite treats and listened intently to reward her as each word was spoken.  Gummy worms were the crowd favorite, for the record.

It actually did work.  Every time the words were heard, there were cheers all around!  NOTE:  I should have chosen SERVICE as a word for one of the rewards.  I swear we heard it 100+ times.

We also built temples out of blocks – which turned out to be Zach’s favorite activity.  He got WAY more into it than Sloan and I did.

I wish I would have snapped a picture of the futuristic “2040 Temple” he built. 

I made homemade bread during the end of the first session so we could enjoy it during lunch between sessions.  When in Positano I purchased some pesto [two jars] from our favorite little shop and deli.  I made Zach bring it home in his suitcase – in which one of the jars broke and we had to throw away.  But I still had a jar I had been waiting to bust open, and it was just as delicious as I had remembered.  Worth the haul, if you ask me.

The second session was during Sloan’s nap so Zach and I listened together alone. It was so relaxing and I got so much out of the second session.  Soon afterwards Sloan woke up and Zach got ready to go to Priesthood session.  I made manicotti for dinner and we ate together before Zach left.

The next morning I made breakfast and we busted out all things Halloween.  The first session we had a craft and painted a wooden bat.  Thank you Target dollar aisle, we love you!

We also colored and built more block temples.

During the last talk of the first session I sensed Sloan’s boredom and we busted out the next session’s craft [which worked out – because she slept through all but 15 minutes of the last Sunday session].  We made a Haunted Cookie House and it was the highlight of Sloan’s entire day.

(I know I’m a fan already – but TJ’s has some AMAZING pumpkin/fall/Halloween stuff happening right now.  I kind of had a hay-day last week in preparation for conference.)

We enjoyed lunch together and then Sloan napped during the last session.  It was such a good weekend.  I secretly loved the gloomy weather and the fact that we were all set up inside, listening and watching. I baked up a storm and we were all completely full – spiritually and physically.

It will hold us over until spring, I suppose…