Monday, March 31, 2014

Horrifying Hair Stories

The joke has always been "only dumb girls go to hair school because they can't do anything else". Now, when it comes to math, I've used that excuse, but frankly I'm tired of it. We're not stupid because we don't have a college degree. I always though going to hair school would be so easy, fun and a great way to be hands on. I have ADD, so college life in huge classrooms, learning about topics I had no interest in, just wasn't cutting it. However, I graduated high school with a 4.0gpa and I did well in the little college I did do. Hair school isn't about learning how to tease people's hair, look cute in all black, and not accidentally shave someone's hair off. Although, let's be honest, those are important things to master.
Freshman part of hair school is 6 weeks in a classroom. You learn chemistry, the color wheels, electricity, skin and nail diseases, every bone in the body, muscles in the body, how to start your own business and be successful and much more.
With being a hair stylist comes frustration, angry clients, accidental chunks taken from someone's hair, unwanted therapy sessions, and some of the weirdest, craziest, nastiest people you'll ever encounter. I've had clients make me happy & confident, and I've had clients make me cry and want to quit my job. Here are those stories:

The Nasty Kind:
I'll start out by saying that not only do I have ADD but I have OCD that sends me into constant panic attacks in fear I will get a disease and slowly die.
A client came and sat in my chair on a busy Saturday. He was on the stinky side and it wasn't just because his crack was showing. Luckily he just wanted a buzz cut with a 1, which is the shortest you can cut without using a razor. Easy, peasy right? FALSE. As I started buzzing, something flew over my shoulder. Scabs. Scabs were all over his head. Trying to hide how disgusted I was, I wondered if he felt that, and if it hurt him. He didn't say a word. So I gulped down the throw up in my mouth and decided to just hurry up and get it over with. His head started bleeding and it soaked between my blades. I was shaking. Was I going to now get scabs all over my head? Aids from his blood touching my stuff? Will he leave and I'll smell bad? Every irrational thought was racing in my mind. He left happy, I cried in the break room while compulsively cleaning my clippers over and over. Good times.

The Saddest Therapy Session:
Polynesians are know for their thick, black, curly, long hair. It's a tough choice when they decide to cut it off or change the style. It's even harder when it's not what you want, but what you need to happen. A 6 year old girl sat in my chair, almost in tears. Her whole family around her to show support. This girl had previously had long, pretty hair, just like her sisters, but I was looking at a girl with a crooked shoulder length cut. The mother informed me that they had recently found out she was being sexually abused by the male babysitter, whom they thought they could trust. Since he had always played with her hair, the girl wanted it all cut off so she could try and move on. I have been sexually abused, so hearing that an innocent little girl was feeling the hell I went through, shattered my heart into pieces. I tried so hard not to cry while fixing her haircut. I wanted her to feel pretty again, and like she was worth a million bucks. She even decided to get bangs. That girl left, with the biggest smile, and her mom hugged me with tears in her eyes. The second they left the parking lot, I walked out the door and lost it. I cried and cried for her sweet little soul. I look up to her, she is a strong, beautiful daughter of god, who was brave enough to change things up and move on. I wish the best of luck to her, where ever she is.

The Angry Jerk:
Only once in my carrier have I wanted to choke a client with my cape. This was that client. A red curly headed, Scottish guy walked in with his girlfriend one day, needing a cut before his work party. He was the type who didn't know how he wanted his hair, he just wanted it shorter, no duh. He didn't know clipper sizes so I had him show me with his fingers how much to cut off. Well if you have curly hair, you know its hard to cut, especially going short. So I did a scissor cut all over his head. When I asked him how it looked he didn't seem happy, but didn't tell me how to fix whatever was wrong. As he paid I asked him what was his full name to put in our system, he replied "does it matter? I'll never come here again" So I said I guess not. They left and I felt relieved. Then I noticed them standing outside, touching his hair. I knew they would be back inside wanting something fixed. He walks in and said to me "I've never had such a f*ing horrible haircut, fix it now" I apologized but told him his tone and language was not acceptable. He sat down, and his face was the color of his hair, red. I asked what I could fix and he pointed to the curls in his hair. He thought it looked uneven. The girl friend then took the comb out of my hand and started showing me spots they didn't like. So i took it back, pulled out the hair, showed them an even cut, and told him it's his curly hair. Some pieces have more curl than others so they will flip out unless you go shorter. He told me it was a load of crap and to just go shorter and cut the curl off since I had already ruined his haircut. Idiot. He told me I was an f*ing B, and I shouldn't ever cut hair again. He stood up, ripped my cape off, threw it on the floor and walked out. I wanted to punch him in the face. How rude?! You don't speak to people like that and expect me to help you fix something. I hope I never see his face again, and If I do, I hope I have my clippers so I can shave a bald spot in his ugly head. But I'm not still upset about this or anything...

So you can see, being a stylist is HARD. Some people will love you, some people will hate you. You just do the best you can and tell everyone else to kiss it.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Madness Begins

A LOT has happened since my last post. Madison is now a year and a half old, wow. Frank graduates with his Masters in Business Finance from BYU in 31 days, (on April 24th). We bought our first house in Warren, Michigan, that we are dying to move into. I'm 15 weeks pregnant with baby number 2, yay for morning sickness. Frank starts his new job as a Senior Financial Analyst at General Motors on May 1st. Last but not least, I got to quit my salon job and work at home, spending every second with Madison!
Quitting my job sounded a lot more exciting then it really is. I got home and realized not only did I not know how to entertain my own kid all day every day, but I didn't know how to entertain myself all day every day.  I asked Maddie what she wanted to do and I got the normal answer, "DORA!" Well Dora can only be on for so long before Dora dies and isn't on TV anymore. So I did the next "practical" thing on my mind, I packed up and went to California for a week.
I take a handful of clients every week, go on walks, take Maddie to play groups, blah, blah, blah. I've noticed that I'm stuck in a rut. Doing either kid stuff all day or cleaning and cooking. I feel so boring. I need to feel like my normal gangsta self, not an average mom in mom jeans and a turtle neck. Although I'd rather die then get caught wearing mom jeans and a turtle neck, but you get the picture. I'm so eager to get out of this rut, the madness most likely won't stop until I follow in my mom's foot steps and spend a night in Jail. Now that's a mother you don't wanna cross! So from here on out i'll be documenting my way from boring mom to hard core mom. I'll start out by admitting I threw my gum on someone's lawn while on a walk today, all while staring their dog straight in the eyes. Let the madness begin...
(It's not a gangsta blog without an occasional rap)

Baby #2 Rap

Listen up yo, we've got an announcement 
We've been keepin a secret, ain't nobody know
Comin September they'll be a baby Chou
A new addition to add to the clan
Provided by this, woman & man
From wonton to twoton it's an asian invasion 
Makin it rain, not just condensation
A king or a queen we're ready to raise
Just like Mufasa for all the praise 
Franks ready to graduate and make the dough
Gettin a Louis Vouiton car seat oh fo sho
My little angel is worth it all
Even the hormones that make me bawl
The stretch marks & fat are just a plus
Who doesn't wanna look like a big ole bus? 
So all you ladies can skip the advice
I've done it not once but now freakin twice
Peace Out 

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Living In The Spotlight

            Have you ever wanted to be famous? Well I am. In some ways I consider myself none other than Hannah Montana, living the best of both worlds.
            It was only three months ago that I, Ashley Dykstra was nothing more than a struggling teenager, living off my $11.75 an hour pay from In-N-Out, moving house to house, and pretending to hang out with all those friends I didn’t really have.  I got bored with my life, so in August 2010 I packed up my belongings and moved to Jishou China, to be an English teacher. Before I knew it, I went from being invisible to being swarmed by thousands of my number one fans. It was now October and a huge week for Yasi Middle School, where I was teaching my 1,100 rambunctious students. It was the week of our Art Festival. Colorful banners, cheerful music, and excited children surrounded me. The kids were hard at work, practicing for the big performances they were forced to be part of as part of their grade.
My co-worker and I were nervous. If you are ever a foreigner in China you will quickly learn that they love foreigners, and any chance they get they will make you do something for them.  Within the first two months of living there I had sung on national TV in their version of American Idol, and I had been all over the internet for a Tae Kwon Do advertisement. So of course we saw it coming when they asked my room mate/co-worker Tessa and I to perform in the Art Festival. We got to pick what we were

 going to perform, and how long it would be, as long as it was approved by the head master first. The only thing I felt even remotely comfortable doing was what I was best at, rapping. I wrote a rap about Tessa and I being foreign English teachers at Yasi, and we practiced until the second we got on stage.
I walked into that auditorium full of confidence and swagger. Suddenly I saw the 3,000 plus students, teachers, and parents filling the stands all the way up to the nose bleeds. Every ounce of me about jumped out of my skin and ran out that front door. As the acts went by and it got closer and closer to performing my knees got weak and all I could do was sit. My students somehow found me in my hidden corner, made their presence known, and wished me good luck. Each kid who said hi to me just made me that much more nervous, they would think I was a fool if I messed up. My heart was racing as I walked to the side of the stage, waiting to go on next. I wondered if everyone could see my heart beating through my shirt. My stomach was in knots as I glared at my paper, reading and re-reading my lines. At this point anyone who talked to me just got the death stare. The only way I could pull this off was if I stayed in the zone, shutting out the entire world. I wondered if I could wrap myself in the long, dark purple, velvet curtains and hide until our act was over.
It was go time, I took the microphone in my shaking left hand then right foot forward I ran out on stage. “Yo, yo, yo, this one goes out to you Yasi!” I yelled as I ran out, throwing my arms in the air. Blinded by the florescent lights, all I could hear was screaming and kids chanting my name. As my eyes adjusted, I wished they hadn’t. I saw the row of principles, head masters, and counselors sitting front and center waiting to judge our act. The thousands of kids were on their feet, roaring for us to start, my stomach was turning and I feared I would vomit if I opened my mouth.
            As I started rapping I was shocked at how well it was going. I found myself starting to sway my body from left to right, using my hands, and releasing the robotic tone in my voice. The kids continued to go wild, running up to the stage, throwing their arms up, and screaming. Astounded I did a double take, looking around to make sure it was really me these kids loved, or if somehow Jackie Chan or Justin Bieber were standing behind me.  The crowd started singing along, the judges had smiles, and soon people couldn’t help but dance along. The nerves were far in my past, for now, I was thriving off the fame. My rap was coming to an end, I tried to stall, I wanted to remain living in the spotlight. My two minutes of fame were now over, yet the applause and chants remained. If they knew the English word for encore, they would have been shouting it. I threw my arms up one last time and gave my fans the peace sign, then giddily ran off stage.
            I didn’t even have a second to collect my thoughts, or control the excitement that was growing with every heart beat, before my students swarmed me. Hugs, high fives, and congratulations were all around. They wanted autographs on their arms, heads, and clothes. A grin from ear to ear was pinned on my face. I was ready to free style Eminem. The camera flashes were so bright and frequent that I could have gotten a tan. People I had never seen before took the time to not only talk to me, but worship me. The confidence turned into cockiness, I held my arms out, my hands motioning for them to stop, “Please people, no more pictures.” I felt like I was on top of the world. As I walked back to my seat I noticed chairs were empty; and it dawned on me that I was the reason. All those kids were following my every move, which was a little awkward as I walked towards the bathroom and explained that I needed a minute.
This insane four hour festival was now over and I was nothing short of exhausted. I never knew how draining it was to be popular and famous. On my bus ride home I thought of all the smiling faces I saw on my kids tonight. It made me so happy to know that they really cared for me and loved me no matter what. With my head leaning up against the cold window, I silently laughed to myself. I bet not even one third of those students understood me. How cool am I? These kids don’t have a single clue what I’m saying, or that I was even rapping about them, yet they still chased after me like a kid chases bubbles. The following days, I was talked about by my students and peers. I was curious how long my fame would really last, but as my girl Hannah says, “Life’s what you make it, so let’s make it rock.”  

This I Believe: Who You Are, Makes A Difference

            The last four months of my life have proved to be very challenging yet extremely rewarding. In August 2010, just a year out of high school, I packed what little I had and moved to Jishou China. I left all my friends, family and coworkers behind, as I went on a four month long journey to teach English at a middle school in Jishou. Arriving to China,  I was immediately punched in the face by reality. I had no idea where I was, who my room mate would be, how I could survive without my mommy, or even how to teach English to my assigned eleven hundred students ages thirteen-sixteen year olds. My first day approached faster than I anticipated and before I knew it, I was standing in front of approximately seventy children, all waiting for me to say, well, anything. My first week as an English teacher, in a school where only one third of your students understand you, went good excluding the fact that every time I entered a class, I feared I’d pee my pants or vomit. As the weeks and even months went by, I was surprised by the progress I was making. I always wondered how a girl like me, who has a bad memory, doesn’t like school, and is dependant on her mommy, could ever teach anything to a bunch of kids who were only three-six years younger than me. I remembered my favorite quote by Nelson Mandela stating, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?” Rereading this quote really put things in a perspective that I’ve never seen before, and I wanted to share it with the world. I spent the next two weeks teaching my students lessons like what makes someone beautiful, friendships, new years resolutions, and challenges they have endured. Through discussing these topics my students learned how they made a difference, in addition, also teaching me that I can make a difference.
At the end of each lesson I had each of them write ‘I am beautiful because...’ then they had to read it to the class. I left the classroom with two quotes on the board, “Who you are makes a difference” and “Remember who you are, you are Ashley’s super star.” It was those last few weeks of school that helped shaped me into who I am today. Even though I spent nine hours a day, six days a week teaching, there isn’t a doubt in my mind I am the one who walked away having learned more than I could ever imagine. Those kids changed my life just by attending my class, smiling when they had tears in their eyes, waving to me in the hall, and spending time with me outside of school. I love each and every one of them for exactly who they are. My students have taught me that although I was so nervous to teach, as long as I stayed true to myself, things would be ok. In return, I gained so much confidence and was able to overcome all obstacles that came my way. I am Ashley Dykstra, who I am makes a difference. 

Contagious Katilin

     “KAITLIN…I…LOVE…YOU!” Between every gasp for air, Kaitlin lets out a laugh. Tears stream down her skinny, pale face from laughing so hard. From an outside perspective I would look like the biggest jerk in town. There she was, this frail, helpless, obviously handicapped little child, and I was yelling at her. From a distance you would only see the tears, hear the faint breathing, and assume she was in pain by the way her body gathered together as if she was back in the womb. What you wouldn't know is that being yelled at is her favorite thing.
            Outside her immediate family no one in their right mind has the guts to yell at her, including her great-grandma, Aida, who thinks it’s pure evil. For the longest time Great Grandma and Kaitlin were the best of friends. They had one special thing in common; they both used wheel chairs, then eventually walkers. This is because Kaitlin was born with cerebral palsy, which is caused by injuries or abnormalities of the brain.
            Doctors told her family time after time that her disability would hold her back from talking, walking, eating normal food, going to normal schools, and everything in between. Her mother has nothing short of perfect hearing, but she just wouldn't hear it. She knew Kaitlin could do anything she wanted to; beat the odds, be that one in a million chance.
            At first it seemed doctors were right because progression didn't come easily in Kaitlin’s life. It seemed every time she started to move forward, there would be another setback. At one year old, and only thirteen pounds, Kaitlin spent most of her time on her back, still so weak that she couldn't even roll over. One day her older brother, Davis, was running from their tickle monster of a grandpa, not looking where he was going, and accidentally stepped on her foot. A scream similar to a baby’s first cry burst from her little mouth. With legs like twigs it was obvious Davis’s sixty pound body was too much, and that’s all it took to break her leg. Hot pink cast weighed almost as much as she did.   
            As Kaitlin healed, she started to progress. At two years old Kaitlin was finally strong enough to sit up on her own. Her cute little head would wobble around like a bobble-head on the car’s dashboard. Her bright blue eyes struggled every second to stay straight and focused, but the right eye could never keep up. Her milk-chocolate colored hair was cut into a bob with straight bangs. Drool soaked her red, chapped lips and drizzled down her chin and onto whatever toy she had on her lap. Typically it was a soft blue and white teddy bear that played the song “I Am a Child of God” when you pulled on both ends.
            There is one thing Kaitlin needs in life and that’s music. When asked what  Kaitlin loves, her mother made it very clear “Music, movies, music, attention, music, being yelled at, music, rides and bumpy roads, and music.” Kaitlin needs music like a fish needs water. Music helps silence her every cry, calm her every fear, and comfort her every worry. Without the right songs playing, at the right volume, Kaitlin will throw a tantrum, no matter how old she gets. Her family knows better than to play anything in her pink princess CD player other than Disney music or Connie Talbet, a famous ten year old singer. The same CDs are repeated all day, every day. If you live in her house you know every word to every song; you also now hate every word to every one of those songs. 
In Kaitlin’s world there is no such thing as a bad hair day, an “I have nothing to wear” day, or a dramatic “I hate my life, I’m just going to stay in bed today” day. None of that ever matters to her. She lives a carefree lifestyle where she can entertain herself for hours. She will do anything and everything to keep happy. Kaitlin’s mother describes Kaitlin’s life by saying, “She's happy even though she's never experienced the things we consider wonderful: chocolate ice cream, a first kiss, roller coaster ride, a funny movie, getting a good grade, or winning a race.”
It took year’s worth of work and diligence for her to beat the odds and start walking with a walker. At age seven she outgrew the wheel chair, walker, and luckily even her family. They no longer needed to carry her like a baby on their hips. Step by step Kaitlin started to understand more in life.
She uses her brain to communicate to her muscles in order to focus her bright blues eyes. She studies every move, of those around her, and learns to mimic, what she sees. After learning how to walk, she learned to hand someone her bottle and a can of Pediasure when she was hungry or a diaper and wipes when she needed to be changed. She has learned to control her massively long tongue in order to swallow regular food. She is now just like her four brothers who practically inhale a whole casserole in one meal. This eleven year old means business.
Kaitlin goes to school five days a week, from eight a.m. to three p.m., just like everyone else. Hers is not a typical school though. She gets to swing on a swing for hours, finger paint, sit in a wheel chair and stare at the wall, eat toys, and be fed by others. She never has homework or any assignments and they get to go on some awesome field trips.
Kaitlin’s family has loved watching her progress over the years. According to her cousin, Kayci, “It’s been hard watching her struggle, but it is amazing to watch her be triumphant over the little things like eating, walking, or being responsive to the environment around her.” Her family doesn't believe the doctors when they say she will never be like the average human being. “She will grow and learn and progress, but she will never outgrow her disability” claimed her mother. She might not talk or understand what we say but she is nothing short of a best friend. She is always there for you, loves watching movies with you, and makes you laugh. In Kaitlin’s family it is considered a blessing she doesn't talk; she knows all their secrets and would tell.
It has been an intense, painful, scary, and emotional roller coaster helping her grow up. Her siblings lost countless nights of sleep, days under the California sun with their friends, money for things they wanted because Kaitlin had hospital bills, and time because they were her babysitters at least four times a week. Helping her grow up made them lose a lot of their childhood. They needed to grow up fast, be strong, take one for the team. Back then her oldest sister cried herself to sleep at times, angry that taking care of Kaitlin was consuming her life. Now, after being away from home for a couple of years, her sister cries herself to sleep begging for the times when she had her by her side. Kaitlin is her greatest joy in life.
Her smile lights up a room better than any nightlight. Her laugh is so contagious it turns any bad day into a good one. With every hug you feel warmth, a sense of love and gratitude. With every tear she sheds you feel her pain. When Kaitlin is happy you can’t help but be happy too, every ounce of her is contagious. Kaitlin is God’s angel on earth, sent here to watch over the family, keep them together, and teach them more then anyone could ever learn at any school. In my family, Kaitlin is the center puzzle piece, it is through her that we all go together perfectly.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Madison's Rap

This is just a sample of what's to come. I'm back in business ladies and gentleman. Ashtray in the house.

Yo yo I just had a baby
6 hours of labor was straight up crazy
At 2am I was layin in bed
When I felt the warm gush like the doctor had said
This is it, yeah the time is now
In a couple of hours I won’t look like a cow

Rushin' to the hospital and feelin' the pain
Not stoppin' for red lights, so get out my lane
If you talk to me, I’ll punch you in the face
Just give me some time to find my happy place

It’s called an epidural and it makes me really happy
Soon I was numb so I took a long nappy
At 11:46 my daughter was here
I cried so hard, even frank shed a tear

6 pounds 1 oz she was the tinniest little thing
You could put her on a necklace and she’d hang like bling
Just a bundle of joy straight down from heaven
I’d keep her in my arms, never leave her like Kevin

Beautiful and healthy except for bilirubin
But she healed like a champ just like Mark Cuban
Now she’s getting bigger each and every day
She’s already callin’ all the kids to play

I dread the day that she will move out
I’ll cry in my closet, scream and shout
Cuz that’s my girl, yeah she’s my all
For her I’d do anything, I’d take the fall. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

"Umm Babe Wake Up, My Water Broke."

As all of you know Frank and I welcomed our baby girl Madison Noelle Chou to the world on August 14th. Since non of you were able to make it, I wanted to share my experience.

August 13th was a Monday, and it was a busy one. It was Gail's last day in America before she flew home that next morning. So before she left, we spent the day out to lunch at Red Lobster, then to my 37 week check up, and running other errands until I had to go to night school. Every five feet Gail got pictures of us, most of them we weren't prepared for. At my 37 week check up the doc said I was dilated 1cm. The previous day I had just talked to April Foutz and she told me that when her doc checked her at 38 weeks her water broke that night. So I was nervous after being checked because I still had 2 weeks of school left before I would graduate. At night school I worked in dispense, handing out color and product to all the students. I was trying to avoid anything that could send me into labor. All the girls said my belly looked really low and they thought I was going to pop at school. I knew my body was different those last two days. I had more frequent contractions, terrible back pains, and my whole body ached. Regardless, I made it through another night of night school and I was in bed by 12am.
Me at Red Lobster August 13th

Suddenly I felt a warm sensation that instantly made me wake right up. I thought to myself, 'you've got to be kidding me.' I hurried to the bathroom and sure enough my water had broke. I started to panic, how do I tell frank? I didn't want to wake him up, it was 2:30am. I was trying to avoid the fact that I was in labor, I was hoping it was a dream. I went to the bedside and started to shake Frank's arm. "Umm babe, wake up" Frank got all grumpy and asked "What?" I told him my water broke and it was time. He sat straight up and asked, "Are you kidding me? Ugh, this is not a good day." 
It was supposed to be Frank's first day of Grad school at BYU. Not to mention his mom was catching a shuttle to the airport around 9am, and I was supposed to be at school at 8:30. He ran out into the living room and woke his mom up. Now there were 3 of us freaking out. I called my mom and told her today was the day and to get here asap. Frank was in turbo mode and was dressed and pacing back and forth around the house trying to get whatever we needed. I just stared at my closet freaking out. All I could think about was my bag wasn't packed yet, now I didn't know what to wear. I threw some sweats and a black shirt in my bag and a few other necessities. Everything and everyone was ready but I still wasn't dressed. Frank, in blue football print pajama bottoms and an orange shirt, told me to just throw stuff on and let's go. I was freaking out so much I couldn't pick a stupid shirt out, and I had an excuse for why I couldn't wear every shirt he told me to put on. 'I can't wear all black' 'That shirt's stupid' 'That shirt needs layers...' Finally I was dressed and headed out the door. 
At this point my contractions were two minutes apart and the worst pain in the world. I was ready to dome sock Frank and his mom, for no reason other than I was in pain. We arrived to the hospital at 3am and I walked to the check-in counter. The freakin lady sat there asking me questions about who I was, I was getting very angry. She finally let me through the doors and into the room where they would determine if I was in labor or not. The next 25 minutes were all super gross and super annoying. The dumb lady kept asking me questions about my health. As the pain got worse I looked at Frank and told him it was adoption from here on out. The nurses laughed, but I wasn't kidding. Gail kept snapping pictures and telling me to smile, if I could have moved I would of torn that thing right out of her hands. I threw my fist up for a picture and asked her if she wanted to know how I was feeling. I told her I could remind her since it had been 25 years since she was in labor. She laughed and said no thank you. 
Once they officially determined I was in labor, they put me in my room. The funny thing was, after my appointment the day before, we took a tour of the hospital. While on the tour they told us they were packed and only had two rooms left, one of them was a last resort room with no bath tub or extra bed. Well I got stuck in the dang reject room. On top of that the IV lady had a hard time putting in my hand IV. It hurt more than any contraction I had ever had. The pain was making me ruder and ruder by the second. I called her an idiot then apologized immediately. 
By 4am the epidural guy, aka my best friend, had arrived. I was terrified it would hurt like my IV did. Nothing...I felt maybe a little pinch, then a cool sensation as the medicine went down my spine. Within minutes my body was warm and tingly from my belly button and down. It was the best feeling in my entire life. 
The nurse informed us that I was still only a centimeter dilated and it would be hours before I would start pushing. So after a couple hours of rest I sent Frank and Gail home to get ready for the shuttle and to go to school. All alone at 7am I called my friend McCall. She took the day off of school and met me at the hospital. 
Around 9am the pitocin was doing it's job and I was dilated to a 4. My monitor showed I was having back to back contractions but I couldn't feel a thing. By 10am I was a 6, so I called Frank and told him to get here asap because it was happening fast. At that point all the nurses were setting up my room. I called my mom one last time to tell her I was about to push, she cried and apologized for missing the labor, but that she would be there soon. 
Frank arrived at about 10:30 and I started pushing at 11. That last hour was the worst, I was terrified, alone, and in pain. I say alone because I was the only one in pain, and no one could help me at that point. Frank and McCall sat by my side while I cried from the pain. Once I started pushing I didn't feel anything but pressure. 
At 11:46am Madison Noelle Chou was born. The second I saw her I cried uncontrollably. I was a mommy. Frank and McCall were taking pictures and telling me how pretty she was. Frank came to my side and kissed me, he told me how proud he was of me. A few seconds later the doctor pulled out my placenta and blood splashed all over franks shoe and leg. Funniest thing I'd seen all day. He then decided he was going to stand by where Madison was. 
Madison was born 6lbs 1oz and 18 inches long. She was the most beautiful swollen faced, cone headed baby in all the world. 

Maddie is the best baby. She is doing great for a 3 week early premie. She did however test high for Jaundice. She has been on lights 24/7, or as much as mommy can stand being away from her. She is so sweet and loves nothing more than to cuddle all day. She had a hard time learning how to breastfeed, but is a champ now. She's now a week old, 5lbs 11oz and her bilirubin results are going down. 

How can you not love this little face??

We are sad that Gail missed the delivery by 2 hours. There was no way to switch her flights otherwise we would have. My mom had arrived around 6pm and my father arrived around 9pm. It meant a lot to me that my parents dropped everything they had going on to come out to Utah and not only be with me, but to meet Madison. Mom stayed until that next Monday morning. It was the best having her here to guide me through my first few days. Especially since I forgot I had signed up for my Cosmetology State Board Written Exam that following Monday. She let me sleep through the night, which helped me pass my test. Other then changing her and never letting her go, mom pretty much just took three million pictures of her. Thank you everyone for helping us out! We love being parents and are so excited to watch her grow up! 
We move this coming weekend and I couldn't be more excited to finally set up her room and decorate with the cutest little girl stuff. 
We are blessing her Oct. 21st here in Mapleton Utah. Anyone and Everyone is welcome to come! You won't want to miss this cute little face. :)