Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Good Helpers

Sweet Baby Taylor fell asleep on her big sisters lap this morning.  I have a couple of great helpers around here.  As I laid Eliott down for a nap, Taylor woke up and Madison ran in there to rock her back to sleep.  Good days... loving my little growing family.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Welcome to the world Taylor Sue... we're definitely not perfect but we're perfect for you!

Well, where do I start.  Since my wonderful Mom is over at my house handling the troops, I guess I will start at the beginning...

After Eliott was born we all wanted some time to enjoy just the four of us.  I really wanted to get  a little bit of sleep at some point and I was looking forward to being a little more flexible with two 'bigger' kids.  We loved this summer full of pool, playground, picnics, and play play play.  Then things seemed to fall a bit in place for a number three... Matt accepted a new job which allowed us to keep me at home (yay) as well as a few other small things that didn't hurt (Eliott learning to use the potty, two kids sharing a room, ...).  As soon as we had the thought of having a third, we were pregnant.

I really wanted to enjoy each part of being pregnant (as much as possible) as well as my final days of being a mom of two.  On the other hand, in the back of my head, I was more than excited to meet our new little babe.  I also knew that my other two children were not small babes when they were born and didn't want this little one to grow, well, not so little.  My midwives and I decided that we would start 'stripping my membranes' at 37 weeks as long as all seemed normal.  I have heard of many women doing this who very soon after heading to the hospital.  Let's just say that I found myself feeling like 'this is the day' for about four weeks.  I often had contractions with nothing that turned into much.  I did many things on my own to try and get this baby into this world... if I listed them many would think I was weird so I'll spare you the details.  I will say that I took lots of walks (I won't lie... I tried to 'run' a few times... oh my... good thing it was dark out), snowmen building, a game of one on one with my competitive husband to name a few).

My due date was quickly approaching and we knew that induction was again on our radar.  We were planning on an induction on the friday after my due date but the hospital was full, so I quickly got bumped to the following Monday.  I would officially be 41 weeks.  A few tears later, and a good talk with my midwife, and I was pretty okay with the decision.  My wonderful midwife reminded me that I have not had any difficulty delivering my other two babes like some women have difficulties with 7 lbs.  She said my body was made to do that and she was confident that things were going to go well.  On the other hand, whenever someone asked me 'when are you due?' and I responded with, 'Last Monday', I got quite the responses.   Mostly terrible looks followed by an, "I'm so sorry".  I just know that not many women are allowed to go over their due dates and this was out of the norm.  Plus I'm sure many women know what it's like to have the big day come and go... both physically and mentally.

The delivery...

Anyway... We found ourselves in the labor and deliver unit at Allen on Monday the 14th of January with a scheduled induction.  I was dilated to 3 cm, was very 'thin', and had little to no contractions going on.  Sandy, my midwife, decided to simply break my water to get the process moving.  My water was broken at 8:15 AM and I had to sit with the baby monitor on and answer some more questions for about the next hour.  Once we were done 'checking in', Sandy suggested I try and take a shower to get my body going.  Once I got out I could feel my contractions starting.  They were small but they were there.  It was more of just a constant ache and a random small contraction here and there.  The baby was so low that she was constantly pushing on my cervix which made it feel like a small constant contraction.  Matt and I walked the halls for the next hour or so.  Every half hour I had to return to the room for Betsy, my nurse, to put the baby monitor on my belly to check baby's heart beat.  Her heart beat never seemed affected throughout the whole process.

At around 11:30 or so, my contractions were heavy enough that I was having to stop in the hall, lean over the railing and 'get through them'.  Nothing I couldn't handle but definitely didn't want to walk through them.  Matt would push hard on the lower part of my back giving me a bit of relief.   I was starting to remember how tough this process can get.  I started to question a bit whether or not I was going to know when I needed to call on my midwife and my nurse.  I knew I needed a break from the constant cramp and harder contractions so I headed back into the room to lay down.  With Eliott, this was when I got stuck in bed.  I just felt like every time I tried to get up I would have another contraction.  I just didn't want that to happen which kept me in bed.

My nurse came in and showed me a few options of things I could do to help me relax.  I finally got myself back up and sat on one of those big exercise balls.  It was going well until the rest of my water (that I didn't realize I even had) exploded all over the floor (whoops).  Before this point I had hesitated to labor in the tub.  I knew it would relieve me of some of the pain but I also didn't want to stop what had started.  It wasn't that I wouldn't enjoy a break...I just didn't want to still be pregnant at 7:00 that night.  On the other hand, I was a mess so I decided to get in for awhile.  I was right... it was nice.  I continued with regular contractions but I had quite the relief between them.  My nurse brought in these amazing ice chips with apple juice (small things in life)... it was wonderful.

Betsy told Matt at this point (it was getting close to 1:00) that he didn't need to starve himself just because the rest of us weren't eating.  Matt has never left my side during any of our three labors (and Madison's was rather lengthy) but after some convincing from me, we decided it was a good time for him to go find something to eat.  I remember looking at the clock and being a bit disappointed that I hadn't met my little babe yet.  I had in my head that I would deliver sometime around noon.  Sandy, my midwife, popped back in to check on me.  Since Matt was gone she sat down in the bathroom with me.  We talked about how I was not going to miss my bodies 'cues' and she would not either.  We would both know when this baby was on her way.  We were talking and every so often we would both be silent as I worked through another contraction.  It would go away and we would pick up where we left off.  All of a sudden, what seemed out of nowhere, I had a crazy hard contraction that seemed to hang on forever which piggy backed right on to another contraction, a little smaller, that continued the process.  When it finally faded I told sandy that I had felt a lot of pressure with it.  She said that she had wondered, and she calmly got up and cancelled the rest of her schedule for the next hour or so.  I could hear her calling for Betsy to 'set up the room' and I thought to myself, wow, I'm going to meet my baby within the next hour.

When she came back in, I asked her if she thought we should try and get Matt back up here and she responded with, "That might be a good idea".  She called Matt and said, "Hi Matt, this is Sandy, things are moving right along up here and you might want to come back up".  Matt said he hadn't even paid for his food yet but quickly found his way back to the room.   Sandy asked if she could check me before I got out of the tub and when she did said I was a 6-7.  I was incredibly disappointed at the number.  Thinking about dilating 3+ more centimeters was definitely what I wanted to hear.  Sandy then told me that the last part can go much quicker.  She told me that we should probably get out of the tub.  I was dreading this moment as I knew the second I rose from the water, gravity would return and I was going to have a mighty contraction.  I asked her if we could wait for Matt so he could help me get through it.

Hearing his voice come through the door was a wonderful thing.  I had had a couple more 'mild' contractions in the tub since that hard one.  He threw his food in the fridge and came in the bathroom to help me.  Once we got up I had the hardest contraction of the whole labor.  I remember being face down on the laundry basket inside the bathroom door simply trying to stay on my feet.  Once it was gone I got over to the bed.  I remember asking, "When I have another one, what am I supposed to do?", wondering if I should push.  When you don't have any meds and you contract during the end of labor, your body tells you that you need to push... it's a pretty uncontrollable thing and I wasn't sure if I should follow through since it didn't seem like people were quite ready.  Sandy told me to do whatever my body was telling me to do.  As she said that, Betsy was throwing towels on my bed and Sandy was telling Matt to get gloves on.  I pushed a little on my next contraction (fearing a bit that if I pushed to much that nobody was going to be there to catch).  The next two (and a half) contractions I pushed through and that was all it took.  These last three contractions on the bed were crazy... the only thing that gets you through it is knowing that once you do it the sooner it's done (and there's really no choice at this point).  I would say that overall I had about 10 minutes of this labor that was an intense, uncontrolleable amount of pain that I think is absolutely crazy and I question my sanity... but when she was delivered, it was instant relief... nothing but a sweet baby and a newborn cry.  Matt was once again able to 'deliver' our baby into the world, and then he was able to give her to me.  I held her for a moment and told the room that I didn't know if I had a little girl or boy and I didn't want anyone to tell me until I had a chance to look for myself.  I soon found out that we had a sweet Taylor Sue in my arms and I was so thankful... so thankful for a sweet healthy baby and I was so thankful to be holding her in my arms instead of my belly.  I was able to hold and feed her for the next hour and a half or so before I handed her over to be weighed and measured.  I needed three small stiches on the 'inside' from a small tear (much nicer than my other two).  She came in at a healthy 9 lbs 15 oz (much lighter than I had in my head) and was 22.5 inches long.  She had dark hair just like her brother did and seemed pretty perfect.

Meeting Your Sister and Brother...

Matt and I were able to enjoy a quiet afternoon with her before her big sister and brother would come trompsing down the hallway to meet their new sister.  This was one of a few moments that I was incredibly excited for.  My midwife had happened to come back in and check on us when they came up, and she was sitting on the bed with me.  I had put on my own clothes so I could look as normal as possible.  They came running down the hallway but both got a bit shy when they came in.  Eliott quickly found me and ran over wanting 'up'.  I handed Taylor off to Sandy and grabbed him.  Madison slowly walked over to me and wanted to be on my lap as well.  They didn't say much but kept one eye on Taylor.  It took a bit of warming up, but soon they were both in Taylor's face, checking her out, touching her nose and her hair.  Eliott kept looking at her saying 'awe' and Madison kept touching and kissing her head.  They have been such a great help to me.  I already know that Taylor will not get held as much as my other two but in replace of that, she will get many many kisses and has already been ready book after book.  Actually this morning she sat in her bouncy seat awake for about an hour while she was entertained by Madison and Eliott.  Whenever she re-enters the room after a nap or something, they both 'melt' just a little and say, "Awe, Baby Taylor"... or as T says it, "Awe, Baby Tay-o".  Madi and Eliott stayed at my Mom and Dad's house during the three nights that we were with Taylor.  It was a wonderful way for us to start life with her, and Madison and Eliott would have wanted to be nowhere else.  At the end of their first hospital visit, I was helping T get his coat on.  He turned and said, "No go to Mommy's home, go to Gramma and Papa's!".  Such a win-win for all.  Thanks so much to my wonderful Mom and Dad!

Looking back at the whole process I am so thankful and feel so blessed with how everything turned out.  I'm not sure if I would have changed a thing.  I was truly questioning whether it was safe for me and baby to go a week overdue, but after the labor the nurse told me later she couldn't wait to check out my placenta (weird I know).  She said that often times an overdue placenta is calcified and mine had no sign of being overdue.  Babies chord was 'thick and healthy' as Sandy put it.  So I guess my gestational period is closer to that of an elephant.  I'm not sure when my body would have finally gave in on it's own, but I think I was close.  I had been having many contractions, usually at night, and I was pretty thin when I went in.  I had a big desire to head into labor on my own, but was thankful when we finally scheduled the induction.

My case for a natural labor...

I questioned for a small bit of time during pregnancy of whether or not to have an epidural.  The thought definitely crossed my mind several times and I wondered if I would enjoy labor more if I would be pain free (or close to it).  I am once again reminded (which I questioned after Eliott) why I do this 'on my own'.  First of all, I truly believe that the best thing for each woman to do is whatever they feel is right for them.  I am NOT against epidurals and think they can be a great thing.  I do have some sane reasons of why I do it on my own.  I am a believer that your body is a great communicator.  I have never experienced this in a greater way than during labor.  I was never hooked up to a monitor nor did I even have to have an IV (I did have an IV with both Madison and Eliott so that's not always the case).  I never had to have anyone tell me what to do when.  I felt in charge and in control of what my body was saying.  I was able to tell people when I was about to have a contraction and ultimately when to set up the room.  I was free to walk around the hospital, get in and out of bed as I needed, to sit in the tub, etc.  As I said earlier, I just had to get through about 10 minutes of ultimate craziness, and it wasn't even the full 10 minutes.  The longest contractions lasted probably about 30 seconds and when there is no contraction, there is no pain... nothing.  A complete break where you can catch your breath and get ready for the next.  My midwife has helped me realize that contractions are a 'positive pain' (if there is such a thing).  The pain is creating something positive... it's moving the baby into the world.  If you can keep your mind in the right spot and keep yourself from 'losing it' (which I have been close to a few times), than it is an incredible experience.  The second that sweet baby enters the world it is complete relief... the pain is completely gone, instantly.  Then you are free to move about with your new sweet babe in your arms.  I was able to sit in the tub with her, clean up, and felt pretty good right away.  My body could feel what it needed to do, now that Taylor was here, and it instantly begins to restore itself.  Once again, I would suggest to other women to do what is right for them, but for me I am so thankful to have fully experienced laboring my three kids and I wouldn't change a thing.

Random Reflections...

Wrapping up how amazing the body is perfectly created by a perfect God... let me talk about nursing.  When you nurse your newborn it is a give-give relationship.  First of all, the distance a newborn can see is the same as the distance from her face to mine while she is nursing.  On top of that, as I hold her she is putting pressure on my stomach and as she nurses, my brain tells my uterus to start contracting back to it's normal size.  She eats and my body is restored... perfect.  The end of my soapbox on natural labor.  I don't do it to feel like superwoman (although it does help).  It is an incredible way to use what God gave me to bring His baby into my arms.

Something else that struck me while I was getting ready to head to the hospital on Monday morning... I feel like many people have the view that God made women the 'weaker sex'... that they are to be quiet and timid.  If God made us 'weak', he definitely wouldn't have left birthing children up to us.  Random I know...

Lastly, I was doing a devotional the other day that I wish I would have seen months earlier.  I had several fears about this labor (I will fill you in on Eliott's birth story if you wish but I think I have overflowed as it is), and had worked myself up several times before this day arrived.  Once the day came I was much more at peace with the situation, but the devotion would have been wonderful in the days leading up. It said, "Rehearsing your troubles results in experiencing them many times, whereas you are meant to go through them only when they actually occur.  Do not multiply your suffering in this way!  Instead come to me, and relax in My Peace.   I will strengthen you and prepare you for this day, transforming your fear into confident trust."

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."  ~Jesus from Matthew 11:28-30

Wow... that was much more than I planned to write.  I am so thankful for the last 9 months and especially the last five days.  Being a mom is definitely transforming... making you very thankful for your own mom and all the sacrifices mammas make.  There is nothing more wonderful than being a wife and mom to this humble little family of mine.  Love them all, and especially thankful right now for you sweet Taylor Sue.  Welcome to the world.

A Few Pictures...

There is no one else I would rather have beside me through the crazy and amazing thing of labor than this man... I think he told me I was a rockstar about thirty five times throughout the whole process... no matter what I was doing.
Last picture of our sweet girl on the inside

One of the first pictures of me and my new little girl... I'm not sure I even knew she was a girl yet.  Matt said her little face was the same color of her hand when she arrived but he said nobody else seemed worried so he figured it was okay.  

Sweet feet  
Healthy Girl

Snuggling with Dad after her first bath... she actually just got to jump in the big tub with me where she was so sweet... she just seemed to feel like she was right back 'home' as she floated in the water.  
Gramma Sue holding her granddaughter Taylor "Sue". 
One of my favorite pictures.  We have more video than pictures of these two meeting their new little sis but I just love how Madison is beaming and T is being his sweet silly self.  T came busting in the room and immediately found me and wanted 'up'.  Madison kind of hid in the back until she found my lap as well.  At first they were a bit shy (as my midwife was actually who I handed Taylor off to when Eliott wanted me) but after a while Madison was staring at her and 'brushing' her little head.   Eliott kept running up to her and saying 'awe' and smiling at her... then doing whatever sis did (touching her nose, her head...).  Taylor has a wonderful big sis and bro that already talk about all the things they are going to teach her!
My wonderful Mom who kept my kids while we were beginning life as parents of three.   
Our team minus Matt... my midwife Sandy is in the middle and my nurse Betsy is on the right.   Sandy has been one of my three midwives through all three of my pregnancies but this was the first time she was able to deliver me.  She was wonderful... had many perfect things to say to me throughout pregnancy and delivery.

Had to include this picture because it will be a perfect still picture of life to come... Madison sitting with Taylor and I asking many questions and Eliott is in the background doing cannonballs off the couch.  

Popcorn Maker

We got a new popcorn maker for Christmas this year... they pretty much think it's magic.

Many Moments...

Many mornings in our house, usually after breakfast, these two will often be found in this same spot.  One will start piling the blankets, pillows, and 'friends' out into the living room and the other will soon follow.  They love reading books to themselves, each other, and to their little animal friends.  I love hearing them try and recite what they think each page says.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

T- do - it

Eliott continues his stage of total independence.   Let me illustrate this with what happened a bit ago.  He wanted Matt to get him some gum from the cupboard.  Matt agreed and was getting it out of the package for him.  The gum fell out of the wrapper onto the floor.  Matt picked it up and handed it to him.  Eliott says, "No!  T do it!"... then he throws the gum back on the floor, picks it back up and sticks it in his mouth.

Thursday, January 10, 2013


As the UNI game was entering it's final seconds, Eliott starts walking toward the aisle to head to the car.  He begins yelling at the top of his lungs, "Hey, Santa Clause!!!" over and over again at the guy a few rows over with a long white beard...

Monday, January 7, 2013

January 7th... How many times have I said that date???

Well today, January 7th, has come and is quickly winding down.  The first thing you want to know when you find out your pregnant is 'what's the due date'.  And since then, I have probably said this date a couple hundred times.  I have certainly felt in the last three weeks that Baby Hoffert would have made his/her entrance by now, but this baby obviously has different plans.  Believe me, I have tried each trick that I have heard to help meet this baby but the the same God that created the little parts of this babe in my belly is the only one who decides when this body of mine is going to give in.

With that said, the day was a warm 30+ degree day so we headed outside.  We built a snowman and went sledding down our 'hill' in our backyard.  It was so nice out and I can't remember the last time I (we) made a snowman.  Madison was actually quite the hard worker with this snow-woman (as she declared), using her bucket to collect snow, helping me roll snowballs, packing snow, and even trying to lift the second snowball herself before seeing it crash to the ground.  As I shoved a carrot in for it's nose and cranberries in for eyes and mouths, I had both of them jumping and squealing in front of me.  The first carrot nose was quickly eaten by Chief, but we quickly replaced it and snapped a few photos... I'm sure it won't last long.  I know there are many things that will soon be 'put on hold' when this sweet baby of ours is here so I was thankful for another day to carry this baby in my belly... although I will rejoice the day when I am carrying him/her in my arms (and can pass babe off every now and then :)).  Soon we will meet you little one... you have many of us anxious!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Ice Fishin'

It was Saturday today and we had absolutely nothing on the calendar.  It was a pretty nice day out for January so I threw out the idea of ice fishing (Madison and Matt had been talking about it for awhile).  When Matt found out they just stocked Prairie Lakes, it was a go.  We (Matt) got all of our stuff together and I got the snow gear and snacks ready and we headed for the lake.  It was a first experience for three out of four of us :).  I have made a bit of fun of Matt sometimes for all of the 'gear' he owns, but it usually comes back to me on days like this.  We were warm in snow pants and long sleeved shirts inside Matt's little tent, all packed in there with our crackers and nuts and our little heater keeping us plenty warm.  Much to Matt's disappointment, we didn't catch a single little fish, but the kids loved it and Madison said several times, "This is fun!".  They loved how the ice shone green with the light coming through it... they loved how there hands looked red from the tent (Pic of Eliott)... they loved throwing their nut shells in the hole and watching them sink to the bottom... and they loved sitting in a tent.  Once again, they are great examples to remind us to look around at the very simple things in life and enjoy each blessing.  There is no better way to spend a day with our little family of 'four' before this new babe makes its entrance any day.