Monday, October 24, 2016

Mommin' Ain't Easy

As of today, I have been a mom for exactly five weeks. And let me tell y'all... as my friend Emily says, mommin' ain't easy.

No one and nothing prepares you for the overwhelming challenges and joy that come with being a mom. No matter how many blogs you read and mom friends you have, you simply cannot understand the weight of motherhood until that adorable baby is laid on your chest after hours (or days) of labor.

Motherhood takes so much. It takes all your time, all your patience, and all of your heart. It takes your freedom to sleep through the night, to shower without peeking your head out a million times, to do anything with two hands, to give your full attention to anything or anyone, to quickly run into a store for just one thing, and to ever live selfishly again.

Motherhood also gives you so much. So much more love and excitement and joy. So much hope and promise in the future. So much grace and strength and weakness all at the same time. That baby gives your whole life a new meaning and purpose that you could have never fathomed before.

However, the hardest thing motherhood has given me is mommy guilt. I feel it every single day. All of a sudden, you feel so unworthy of the blessings in front of you. You feel so inadequate to love and care for that baby the way it deserves to be loved and cared for. You constantly wonder and worry if you're doing it right. If you're doing enough. You feel so much weakness in the daily tasks of the constant feedings, changing countless diapers, and shushing hours of crying. I know how you feel mama. I have been there. With tears running down my cheeks as my baby cries in the bread aisle. I have been there, hoping and praying he doesn't wake up so we don't have to leave before the sermon is over. I have been there, pulling the car over for the second time in 20 minutes to hold him, soothe him, and beg him to calm down so we can make it home. I've been there at three in the morning screaming at my husband that I just don't know what is wrong and why the baby won't stop crying. I've been there, googling fifty things a day to make sure the color of his poop is actually normal. I've been there just counting down the minutes until my husband gets home so I can have five minutes without carrying the baby or watching the dogs. Hear me mama. You are not alone. Let me say that again. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. I know motherhood can seem so hard and overwhelming. I know our social media filled society says it should be easy and effortless. I know your whole life flipped upside down the second you laid eyes on those sweet little lips and chubby cheeks. But you, mama, you're doing an amazing job.

God trusted YOU to take care of HIS child. He made you specifically for each other. It is no mistake that that specific baby is sleeping in your arms (or screaming his head off) at this specific moment. The good thing is, God has promised to carry you in grace and bless you with strength in him to raise that precious baby. Find confidence and peace in that today, mama. Hold steadfast to the truth that you can handle and do all things in Christ. That in him alone, there is goodness and joy in this seemingly tough season. This too shall pass, mama. And it'll do so way too quickly so lavish yourself and that precious babe with grace upon grace.

Mommin' ain't easy. But you and that baby share a father who is the perfect parent and he loves and cherishes you both more than you will ever realize. Lean in and feel his strength and goodness.

You can do this mama. And once this stage has passed, and our babies no longer fit in our laps, let's make sure we remember the grace and the God that led us here. Let's also promise to encourage and build up that new mom, regardless of how she feeds her baby or where her baby sleeps or how much her baby cries. Because we've been there and we know that mamas have the hardest job in the world. Because simply put, mommin' ain't easy. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Denver's Newborn Pictures

How is my sweet baby boy already two weeks old?! Time is absolutely flying by and this mama needs it to SLOW down! 

We had the best time taking Denver's newborn pictures. Our photographer, Natalie Gessert, did an amazing job of capturing these precious moments. We couldn't be more in love with Denver and we are loving life as a family of three! 

Be sure to check back in two weeks for Denver's 1 month update! :)

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Denver's Birth Story

Hi Friends!!  I am SO excited to be writing this long awaited post. For those who may not know, our precious baby boy, Denver Benjamin Wolf, entered the world last Monday on September 19th. 

Though Denver was born on Monday, his birth story really begins on Thursday the week before. Thursday afternoon, I went in for my normal 39 week check up at my OBGYN, however, I was told she was stuck at a delivery and there was another doctor for me to see. This was the first time I had ever been seen by anyone other than my normal doctor and it was not a pleasant experience. This doctor promptly informed me that my doctor should have already made me schedule a c-section because my baby's head wasn't engaged and as a first time mom, if it hadn't happened by then, it simply wasn't going to...

Needless to say, I was absolutely devastated to hear this as I had been hoping and planning for an all-natural birth. I made the decision to make another appointment with my usual doctor for the following morning to get her opinion. Prior to this, we had never even discussed a c-section as I was having a very normal and healthy pregnancy and my doctor had no reason to think a c-section would be necessary unless in an emergency situation. 

Thursday night I got about 3 hours of sleep because I was so upset about the possibility of a c-section and had so much anxiety over the appointment I had that afternoon. 

Friday morning came and I had a wonderful appointment with my OBGYN where she apologized for the previous doctor's comments and reassured me that even though the baby wasn't engaged, scheduling a c-section was not something we were ready to do. We decided to move forward with a membrane sweep to see if that would get things going and encourage the baby to start moving down and preparing for birth. 

Friday night, Dakota and I took a long walk up to a little Italian restaurant and enjoyed what would end up being our last date night before becoming a family of three! On our way home, I started having some irregular contractions that gave us hope that Denver would be making an appearance sometime soon. Little did we know, this was only the start of what would be considered very long and very exhausting prodromal labor. AKA when you have consistent contractions but you are not considered to be in "active labor."

My contractions continued to get stronger and more frequent throughout the night, resulting in another night of only 3 hours of sleep. Come Saturday morning, the contractions were still there but they were slowing down and becoming less intense so we spent all day trying to rest and just waiting for the "real deal" to begin. 

At this point, I was physically exhausted from having barely slept in the past 48 hours and mentally exhausted from realizing this could go on for DAYS with no real progression. By Saturday night, I was trying to get some sort rest but the contractions were becoming too much to get through while laying down so I ended up waking up every 5-7 minutes to walk through my contraction and then trying to sleep in between them. 

Sunday morning, I was so mentally distraught that I was STILL having contractions (that were not going away) but baby time seemed SO far away. We decided to head into labor and delivery to see where I was and to make sure everything still looked good with Denver. The nurse informed us I was only dilated to 3cm and had us walk the hospital for 2 hours to see if that would help things progress. Unfortunately, it didn't and we were told we could stay and start pitocin or go home and wait it out. 

Still hoping for a natural birth, we decided to leave the hospital. I didn't want to go home and spend another day just waiting for labor to kick in so instead, Dakota and I headed to the mall to walk around some more and see a movie. We even got pedicures in hopes of kick starting labor ;). During the movie, my contractions had picked up again and I would have to stand up and breathe through them every 3-5 minutes. About 45 minutes into the movie, I decided I wanted to go home, check on the dogs, and head back to the hospital. At this point, I was ready to consider starting pitocin rather than go through another sleepless night with no baby in sight. 

We arrived at the hospital around 4:30pm on Sunday and immediately got settled into our room. The nurse informed us that I was now dilated to 5cm so we were excited that some progress had been made! Within an hour or so, the contractions really picked up and become much harder than they had previously been. I continued to labor through them with Dakota's help and finally asked to be checked again around 11pm. Unfortunately, I was still at 5cm. This was absolutely devastating because it meant that we still had quite a ways to go before Denver was being born, the contractions were already painful and becoming very hard to get through, and I was about to have another night of little to no sleep.

After a little meltdown ensued, Dakota and I decided it would be best for me to get an epidural so I could get some rest that night and to start pitocin in the morning if I still wasn't progressing. This was such a difficult decision for me because I truly wanted to have our baby without any drugs. I really had to swallow my pride, let go of feeling like a failure, and be okay with our birth taking a different route. Once the epidural kicked in, I immediately knew I made the right decision and I was able to sleep and rest through the entire night.   

At 7am on Monday morning, I was still at 5cm so we decided to begin pitocin. Within 4 hours, I was dilated to 10cm and ready to begin pushing. I had hoped and prayed I would be one of those women that could push for only 10 minutes and the baby would just pop out... However, I am not one of those women. I ended up pushing for two and a half hours and at 2:56pm our beautiful 8lb 10oz, 21 inches long baby boy was born. 

I honestly couldn't have done it without my incredible husband. There were many times that I was screaming that I couldn't do it and I was too tired to keep pushing but he encouraged me and assured me that I could and I was doing it. Delivery was by far the absolute hardest thing I have ever done in my entire life but seeing that sweet baby boy made it so worth it.

Denver has been one of the biggest blessings to our life. He is such a content and happy baby (unless you undress him) and I am head over heels and utterly obsessed with my baby boy. Being a mom has already brought such a sense of purpose and completion to my heart and I cannot thank God enough for this precious gift. Over the past week, we have been adjusting to life with our little guy and I have been focusing on recovering from giving birth. Dakota has been absolutely incredible at changing all the poopy diapers, calming me down when nursing seems SO hard, and letting me know that I'm doing a great job at being Denver's mom. I couldn't imagine doing this life without him and seeing him become a dad has been so indescribably beautiful. 

We want to thank every single person who has reached out to congratulate us! It means to much to us and your kind words touch our hearts. 

Now onto the baby spam!

Denver, we couldn't love you more!