6/7 weeks.

The first week home I didn’t think we (read: I) could do it. Everyone said the turning point is 6 weeks, and we made it! Tomorrow our little guy will be 7 weeks old. I think, “Seven weeks, already?”, but then sometimes it feels like he’s been here a lot longer.

Our first night home was a beating. Poor little guy hadn’t pooped all day. I even asked about it at the hospital, but because it hadn’t been 24 hours they weren’t concerned. Well, 2AM rolls around and he still hadn’t had a dirty diaper and he let us know. Screaming and crying for at least an hour and a half, but felt a lot longer. At that hour in the morning anything seems logical. I remember asking Jesse if Henry didn’t like the gown he was in – I mean really? God bless neighbors who let you call them at any hour. Our neighbor, Angie, gave us some pear juice that we mixed with water and put in a syringe. Immediately his stomach settled, and he went to sleep. We woke up to a full – very full – diaper the next morning and we celebrated. Then we were off to his first appointment at the pediatrician.

I’m really glad the first night wasn’t indicative of what was to come in the following days and weeks. Don’t get me wrong – the first week home was rough. I think I cried more than Henry. There was so much to figure out and we were trying to communicate with someone whose only form of communication was crying. And we were exhausted. For some reason, after the first week home it just seemed like we turned a corner and things started getting better. Still tough, but better.

I knew it before Henry was here, but it was reaffirmed after he was born that we have a really incredible family and an amazing community of friends surrounding us. My mom and/or dad were over almost every day the first two weeks. There was one night my mom stayed from about 5PM-4AM to do our laundry and hang out with Henry so Jesse and I could sleep. I cried about that, too. (Clearly, I cry to cope.) If she hadn’t been there, I wouldn’t have even had clean underwear. Our home group came to mow our lawn and clean up the house. Two friends came to walk Roger because he was not getting any attention from us. And oh the meals – I don’t think we would have eaten if it weren’t for the dinners brought to us.

Unmet expectations are really disappointing. I tried to walk into motherhood not expecting anything, because I’ve heard a lot of stories where things just don’t work out as planned. Our expectations of delivery didn’t even work out! Disappointment is what I feel specifically with nursing. For something I’ve never done I had high expectations for my success with it. I assumed all through pregnancy that I would be able to breast feed, and planned to do so for the first year. I haven’t been able to exclusively breast feed from day 3. We tried everything to try to get him to nurse exclusively. I play through every scenario in my head, trying to figure out what I could have done differently or what went wrong, but that doesn’t change where we’re at now. Henry gets breast milk and formula. He’s healthy – which is the goal. I still feel disappointed, though. Is my son healthy? Yes. Am I trying my best? Yes. Do I love him? Yes. I think as women our identity is so wrapped up in being a mom, so when we feel like we fail at some aspect of it, it’s devastating. I wish I could say I’m on the other side of this. The truth is I still cry about it. I still wish it had worked out as planned. It’s a daily battle to remember that how Henry is fed isn’t ultimate – providing for him, loving him and shepherding his heart is. At his one month appointment he weighed 9 lbs. 12 oz!

Now we’re trying to work on a feeding/sleeping routine. It’s gone pretty well, so far. Scheduled naps were a game changer for me, because some days it was a win just to eat breakfast. I’ve been trying to read a lot (which can sometimes be dangerous) about sleep training, schedules, etc. I’ve found one blog to be really helpful, but have been learning to tweak it to what works best for Henry. He started sleeping from 10PM-5/5:30AM pretty consistently at about 4 1/2 weeks. He even slept till 7AM once!

There have been lots of tears, lots of laughs and excitement, and lots of moments where we think “Oh crap. We have a kid!” in the past 7 weeks. It really is the toughest thing I’ve ever done, but I love it. We’ve seen him start to respond to us and smile, and that really makes it all worth it!

Image

Image

Image

beards and adoption.

Henry has been keeping us busy! I was planning on writing out my experiences from the first month so I don’t forget how wonderful (and hard) it’s been, and in hopes of encouraging someone else who thinks every other mom has it together. But life happens so that will have to wait. For now, I just want to introduce you to two of our dear friends!

Meet Courtney and DJ.

Image

Right after Jesse and I got married we started a home group with two other couples. Courtney and DJ were one of those couples. Courtney immediately became a dear friend – always checking in, encouraging me, and making me laugh!

Courtney and DJ are in the process of adopting a child from South Korea. They do a much better job at explaining why adoption and why international than I could, so please, please go read about that here.

As you can imagine adoption requires money – a good amount of it. Courtney and DJ have been thinking of ways to raise funds to bring this baby home and that led to A Beard for a Baby. A Beard for a Baby is a beard-a-thon. You read that right! Guys are encouraged to commit to growing their beards – no shaving – through No Shave November and try to get people to pledge money. People who pledge can commit to $10 a month ($60 total) or make a one time donation. You can read the rules and keep up with the contestants on their blog. The response so far has been really great, and I hope it keeps going! Most of the participants have been guys they know, but Bearded Gospel Men caught wind of it, posted the link on their Facebook page, and people they don’t even know are committing to the contest.

Jesse is officially a contestant. He already had a $30 pledge! The goal is to have 10 people pledge the $10 a month. If that happens, Jesse would help the Hofmann’s raise $600 just by growing his beard. Easy Peasy! I’ve already pledged, so we’re looking for 9 more people. Courtney and DJ have made subscription super easy on their blog – you can have $10 automatically drafted each month. So, join in the fun! And keep up with the beards each month.

Beards (especially epic beards) are awesome, but the heart behind this fundraiser is even better. So, consider donating and keeping up with their journey. I’ll try my best to keep updating this blog with Jesse’s beard progress. Here’s a little preview of what’s to come!

2013-03-02 19.43.42 2013-04-05 21.04.08

henry’s first month: in photos

henry’s first photo.

Image

dad and henry.

Image

alert from the very beginning.

Image

car ride home from the hospital. so tiny!

Image

roger and henry meet.

Image

jesse is a swaddling pro.

Image

billy idol pose.

Image

1 week old. on our way to a weight check. he was already back up to his birth weight.

Image

the many faces of henry.

Image

early morning yawn.

Image

just hanging around after breakfast.

Image

growing so fast! make it stop.

Image

the usual sleeping position.

Image

roger is very protective.

Image

it’s a tough life.

Image

nap time for my boys.

Image

those hands.

Image

first family walk.

Image

baby feet are the cutest.

Image

cruze and henry.

Image

time is going by so fast!

Image

faces. series #1.

Image

sweet little boy.

Image

faces. series #2.

Image

how most days went in the beginning while we were figuring each other out.

Image

30 seconds after the previous picture.

Image

little smirk.

Image

happy cinco de mayo!

Image

he loves outside. and this was the only way i could eat lunch on this day.

Image

party animal at 3.30 in the morning.

Image

first bath.

Image

happy boy after bath time.

Image

showing some uk love.

Image

play date with caleb.

Image

a smile!

Image

commemorating his first cinco de mayo.

Image

nap time.

Image

dr. evil.

Image

4 weeks!

Image

one month on mother’s day.

Image

cuddle time.

Image

sitting like a big boy. (kind of)

Image

he’s a fancy little man.

Image

worn out.

Image

 

Henry’s Birth Story

Preface: This is long. But I wanted to write it out so I can look back and remember how The Lord was faithful to us in the birth of our child. So really, this post is more for me and my heart especially on days that trusting in God seems difficult.

Our “birth story” really started a few days before we ever got to meet our baby. The week of baby M’s arrival was filled with appointments and hard work!

On Monday, April 8 I had a weekly appointment at the birth center. That appointment was filled with lots of conversation about my due date: when was it really? Based on the first sonogram it was the last week in March, so at that point I was pushing 42 weeks. Based on my cycle it was April 3, so I was barely 41 weeks which makes a big difference. I was getting nervous about having to be transferred to a doctor and being induced medically. So after a routine exam and some time on the fetal heart monitor, all looked well and we all agreed my due date was probably the later one. That was comforting, but we still were so ready to meet our baby.

The midwife had us come back that Tuesday to try some natural induction. There’s a trick (stripping the membranes or a membrane sweep) that can kind of kick start labor, but doesn’t always work. So, we did that (which we also did the week before) and then we pumped and walked all day trying to stimulate contractions. Jesse’s guess is that we walked about 8 miles that day. I know that can be someone’s workout, but at full term, it’s a lot. By the end of the day I had started feeling some mild contractions, but nothing serious. I was still barely dilated to a 1.

We went home and tried to rest. Jesse went back to work on Wednesday and I did the only thing I know how to do when I want some sense of control – clean my house. On Thursday morning we went back to try again. This time we decided to come home and pump/walk. We went back at lunch and at that point I was almost a 2. Contractions were definitely starting, so we came home to pump and walk some more. The midwife felt optimistic that baby M was on his/her way.

I got home and pumped once. I was going to head out for a walk, but decided to sit for a minute. As I say I noticed the contractions were getting a lot stronger. I tried to sleep knowing that it may be a long night, but I started feeling uncomfortable and never got that nap. I really wish I had. The contractions kept getting stronger, so at 3PM I started timing them. On average they were about 50 seconds long and 3-4 minutes apart. Before labor I remember praying that my water would just break because I wasn’t sure if I would be able to time the contractions or feel when they start and stop. What a joke – you know.

Jesse walked in on me on all fours on the bathroom floor mid contraction and told me to call the midwife. At that point contractions were 2 1/2 minutes apart.

We headed to Denton and got there at 7. The midwife did an exam, and y’all – I was barely at a 3! She did say my water would break soon and that would speed things up. We went for a walk (again) trying to help things progress. I squatted through every contraction. Jesse was timing – they were a minute on and a minute off.

We got back and I was just laboring. I tried getting in different positions, walking around, squatting. It’s just not the most fun, you know? Definitely doable, though, so if you want to try natural childbirth – you can do it!

My water broke about 9:30. At that point I think I was a 5 or 6, so halfway there! Our midwife told us I was just laboring slow, so she encouraged pumping and walking around. The rest of the night is a bit of a blur. I was so exhausted I would nod off for a second in between contractions. I really wish i had that nap earlier in the afternoon. At about 2AM she hooked me to an IV, because people who labor longer usually bleed more. She gave me a little bit of medicine for pain. I still felt everything, but I was kind of sedated – a little out of it, but I remember breathing through the contractions. She was monitoring baby’s heart rate closely, and about 30 minutes later I heard, “Stephanie, the baby’s heart rate has dropped. We need to transfer you to the hospital. The best way to do this in this case is by ambulance.” I perked up fast. She called the ambulance. Jesse got our stuff and before we could even say anything the ambulance was there and I was being loaded up. I was at an 8 or 9 almost ready to push and had to be taken away.

When she first said “ambulance” I was scared. We were told that in most transfer situations you can take your own car, but not me! I just started praying that our baby would be okay. I feel like The Lord granted me peace. They didn’t put the lights or sirens on, so that was comforting. It was nothing like Chicago Fire. Kind of disappointing 🙂

I was rolled right into a labor and delivery room, hooked up to machines, and asked a million questions – questions my midwife already knew the answer to. I remember thinking, “I hope Jesse didn’t call our parents,” because the birth center wasn’t ever big in their books so I didn’t want a “We told you so” speech. For the record, I never got that. As soon as that thought crossed my mind Jesse’s mom walked in. I’m so glad she did because Jesse had to go down to admissions so I could get checked in. They kept asking me questions, sometimes multiple people asked me the same questions which made me laugh. I repeated each answer I think three times to three separate people (in between contractions). My parents got there as quick as they could – about an hour later.

At one point the main nurse asked me what my birth plan was. I laughed at her. I think any plan I had was clearly thrown out the widow at this point. I honestly didn’t know how to answer her – I just wanted to have my baby. The only thing that really mattered, besides a healthy baby, was that Jesse got to tell me if we had a boy or girl. Eventually the on call OB came in. They had been monitoring my contractions and the heart rate and determined a C-Section was necessary. She really did wait and try to honor our desire for a natural birth. We were so close to pushing, but after about 30 minutes the final decision was made – C-Section. The one thing I didn’t want. But I can honestly say at that point it didn’t even matter. We just wanted a healthy baby and healthy mom.

Jesse gets a little queasy, and a lot had happened so fast he decided not to go back for the delivery. We worked it out with the doctor so Jesse would be the first one to know the gender of baby M. My mom went back with me. I got the epidural around 5:10am and the baby was born at 5:39am on April 12. I think the doctors and nurses stopped the room two or three times to remind everyone not to tell me if it was a boy or girl. They wrapped the baby up and showed my mom and me, but we still didn’t know! All we knew was the baby’s lungs were strong!

I was rolled into a recovery room and shortly after Jesse walked in with the baby and told me – “It’s Henry!” And immediately the months of calling our baby “it” seemed so distant. It seemed so natural and perfect that it was Henry. I was in the recovery room for an hour and a half, and all that time our parents were anxiously waiting for the big reveal.

Jesse and I told them together when we were finally in our own room. A little later Henry was brought in from the nursery and got lots of hugs and cuddles from everyone.

Jesse and I had a plan. A well thought out plan. We knew exactly why we wanted to go with the birthing center, why we thought it was a better route for us, and we thought it would pan out exactly as we had played it out in our minds.

I thought I’d be upset if I went to the hospital. It was actually a huge blessing. We had lots of rest while we were there. Henry was losing too much weight, which we wouldn’t have known about. The nurses were incredible. And we had lots of time with the lactation consultant. Had we gone home right after the birth, I think we would have been way overwhelmed.

I just can’t help but see the Lord’s goodness in all of this. In his infinite wisdom, he made this our story because he knew it would be good for us and point us to him. We went to Denton this weekend to eat dinner at a restaurant off the street we walked so much the first day we were trying to start labor. It was much harder than I thought – maybe because I was tired or hormones were going crazy. That was the first time I felt disappointed in how things turned out. I felt like I couldn’t do it. If only I had walked or squatted more, maybe labor would have gone quicker and I could have delivered at the birth center. Jesse was quick to remind me that was a lie, that I knew the truth. He’s right – I know the truth. God was sovereign over the delivery of our son.

My identity as a mom isn’t determined by how Henry was born. I’m not less of a woman because I had to have a C-Section.

We love this little guy. I can’t imagine life without him now.

20130501-110158.jpg