Family, Pregnancy

Truett Joseph: A Birth Story

September 11, 2019

Hello, friends! It’s been a WHILE hasn’t it? I don’t think I’ve ever gone this long without posting to the blog since the very beginning of blogging, but then again I’ve never had a month like the month of August. From the beginning, I’ve always had a goal in this space of sharing transparently, but also not blogging before I’ve had time to process what I’m blogging about. So in that spirit, I’ve had to take some time away before I was ready to share both Truett’s birth story AND the month following and subsequent heart surgery.

It wasn’t until I looked back at photos to use for this blog post that I realized what a haunting feeling it is to look back at photos of yourself before something monumental and traumatic took place. I scrolled through the photos of our time in the hospital after Truett’s birth and I shudder a little – knowing what those smiling, happy faces would have to endure, thinking about the lurking and serious heart defect that was waiting to surface in our seemingly perfectly healthy baby.

Whew. It’s a lot, friends. A lot to process over the last month and a lot that I’ll continue to process in the months to come. But what I do know is this: We are so incredibly thankful for Truett’s life and I want to make sure that the beauty of his birth isn’t overshadowed by the events soon after. So, with that said, here is our sweet Truett’s birth story….

Truett’s birth story began two days before he was born. On Wednesday, July 31st I went in for a regularly scheduled 38-week OB appointment. I had been feeling great but definitely having some signs that baby wasn’t too far off from coming. At my appointment our OB checked me and discovered that I was already 5 cm dilated and about 80% effaced. Honestly, I didn’t even know you could walk around that far along and not be in active labor! Because of how far progressed I was and how quickly Collins came once active labor started, paired with the fact that I already had two kiddos and a husband who works about 30 minutes away, our doctor said it was entirely reasonable to put an induction on the calendar for Friday. Initially, I declined, but as I went home and talked with Joe, we both preferred the idea of a more controlled timeline for Truett’s birth.

We made a plan for me to come in on Friday to be induced and started planning everything else around that – including childcare for the girls, getting bags packed, etc. I had SUCH a wonderful induction experience with Collins, which actually gave me quite a bit of fear surrounding this birth because I thought there was no way another induction could go quite so well. but I felt peace in our decision to put a date on the calendar for this baby to be born.

When I checked in on Friday I was having some occasional Braxton Hicks contractions but nothing regular or painful. It turns out I was already 6 cm and 90% and was STILL not in active labor which was even crazier to me – it also made me feel very affirmed in our choice to induce because there is no way I would have made it much longer without going into labor.

After being monitored for about 30 minutes, our doctor came in around 8:30 am and broke my water. Our hope was that breaking my water would be the only intervention needed to move things along. Our doula arrived shortly after and she started us on some exercises and movements to get baby into an ideal position for labor. We also started doing some abdominal lift and tuck exercises timed out with each contraction to help get my contractions more regular so I could make progress.

We spent the next couple hours walking inside and outside the hospital – since I was negative for Group B this time around I didn’t need an IV or any antibiotics but they did have me checking back about every 45 minuets to monitor baby. From about 8:30 until 10:40 I could tell I was having regular contractions that were starting to become more noticeable but I was not in any intense pain up until that point.

I specifically remember looking at the clock at 10:50 – while standing in the refreshment area of the labor and delivery wing – and saying, “Oh shit, that one hurt!” Joe has a photo of me at that point still smiling, but it was a serious effort to put a smile on my face as things were getting more and more painful. I returned to the room to be monitored around 11 and after that I felt certain I was ready to stay in the room and quit walking the halls.

At 11:20 I moved from being monitored on the bed to the ball and tried bouncing on the ball as a way to distract from the intense pain of each contraction. Our doula pressed on my back and Joe held my hand. As I had mentally prepared for labor before it began, I wanted to be “in my head” through the pain if at all possible, which for me meant focusing intensely on my breath and making it through each individual contraction. I had listened to my labor and delivery podcast a LOT on runs, walks, and through workouts in the months leading up to labor and delivery. When my run was hard and I wanted to quit, I used those times to think forward to delivery when I was going to be experiencing intense pain and tried to mentally prepare for those moments. Maybe it sounds cheesy, but I truly think using that time in advance of labor to mentally prepare helped tremendously when the time came to have Truett. Even though the pain was intense, I felt calm and focused.

This is also a good time to note that one distinct difference in this labor from others is how comforted I felt by Joe’s presence and support. I don’t mean to say I didn’t feel that way in previous deliveries, but Joe’s presence was especially comforting to me during Truett’s birth – through hand holding and back rubbing and just being near. I remember telling everyone around this point that, “Everyone should marry a man like Joe Hofmeyer.” I mean it 100%.

Around 11:35 I got into the tub. It was really hot and felt so good as I labored through some really intense contractions. Both with Collins and Truett’s birth, the tub toward the end of labor helped make transition bearable!

I got out of the tub around noon and slowly made my way to the bed through the next few contractions. At 12:08 I was checked again and my doctor informed me I was complete and could push whenever I felt ready. In the weeks leading up to labor, our doula had talked to us about the benefit of waiting for your body to be truly ready before pushing – using your own body’s cues rather than when you were told to push. Even though I was complete, I didn’t yet feel ready to push. I waited about 10 minutes until my body felt ready and in the matter of about two contractions Truett made his arrival at 12:22 pm weighing 9 lbs. 1 oz!

Truly, I couldn’t have asked for a better birth. I think the experience this time around taught me that there is no “ideal” birth. Each one of my births has been different and yet perfect for that particular point in time and life, and in many ways having such a wonderful beginning with Truett – including great bonding and breastfeeding – helped fortify this momma’s heart for what was to come in the weeks ahead.

One of the big mercies in Truett’s delivery was the fact that despite Truett being my biggest baby by over a pound, I had just a tiny little tear and very little blood loss. My recovery compared to the girls was SO much easier and better, and there were countless times that I thanked God for my recovery being so great because it was one less thing to think and worry about as we prepared for Truett’s heart surgery.

Thank you, Jesus, for the life and gift of Truett Joseph, whose life is a gift I am now exceptionally thankful for.

Chunky Peanut Butter Granola

July 24, 2019

Over the last year I learned that one of Joe’s favorite breakfasts is yogurt with granola and fresh berries. I don’t know when I came to this realization – I believe it was on vacation when he mentioned one time while eating yogurt, berries and granola – that he could eat that breakfast every day. And suddenly I realized that I hardly ever had that very combination on hand at our house.

Since then, I’ve been working on sampling and subsequently creating a stellar granola recipe that is worthy of sharing over here and today is the day that I think I finally have something that’s more than worthy. It contains peanut butter – because we have a strong love affair for peanut butter in our home – and makes the most perfect, crunchy yet soft granola clusters. Granola clusters are a must in order for granola to really be granola, IMHO.

Here’s to many more breasts of chunky granola, fresh fruit and Greek yogurt, friends!

Chunky Peanut Butter Granola
Ingredients
6 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 cups old-fashioned oats

Directions
Heat oven to 250°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat (Silpat). Set aside.

Place butter, honey and peanut butter in a large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave 30 to 45 seconds, until ingredients are hot and butter begins to melt. Remove from microwave and stir until butter is melted completely and ingredients are well combined. Stir in salt.

Stir in the oats until oats are evenly coated. Spread into a thin layer on a baking sheet. Bake 75 to 85 minutes or until oats are just beginning to look slightly toasty. Cool completely on the baking sheet. Break into pieces once cooled and store in an airtight container until ready to eat.



Uncategorized

My Maternity Favorite Favorites

July 17, 2019

Now that I’m nearing the end of this pregnancy, I thought it was time to do a recap of the items of clothing that I’ve worn and truly loved throughout the entire pregnancy. Sometimes it takes a full pregnancy to really look back and figure out which items of clothing were the best purchases and investments along the way.

So, with that said, here are the favorite favorites that have stood the test of the last 36 weeks!

1. Kindred Bravely Sublime Support Nursing & Maternity Sports Bra
This has been my hands-down favorite nursing bra I’ve ever purchased. It’s made out of the world’s most comfortable material and is a great blend of supportive yet comfortable. I find myself making sure I’m on top of our family’s laundry just to have this clean!

2. Madewell Over the Belly Maternity Jeans
It’s not secret I’m not a huge fan of maternity jeans but these have been the pair I found myself reaching for time after time over the many other pairs I have. Note: Size down!

3. Isabel Maternity Inset Panel Midi Jean Shorts
I’ve really loved these jean shorts for much of my pregnancy! Now that I’m nearing the end of my pregnancy and my belly is getting a lot bigger I find I’m reaching for my full panel maternity shorts (below) more often, but for most of my pregnancy these have been a favorite.

4. Gap Maternity Full Panel Denim Shorts with Raw Hem
My favorite full-panel maternity jean shorts! These are so comfy and as I’ve gotten further along in pregnancy I’ve appreciated the full panel.

5. Old Navy Dolphin-Hem Run Shorts for Women
These aren’t maternity workout shorts, but I’ve found them to work great for pregnancy when sized up! I’ve lived in them all of this summer – like I do when I’m not pregnant, too!

6. Hatch Collection The Slouch Dress
Make no mistake, this was a total maternity splurge and in all honesty I haven’t worn it a ton but it’s been nice for a handful of occasions to have it on hand and know that I have a dressy yet comfy option as the need has present itself.

7. Gap Maternity Ruffle One-Piece Suit
I have LOVED this maternity swimsuit – and trust me that’s not something I would have ever imagined myself saying about a maternity swimsuit. I ditched the option thin strap and actually ended up wearing the straps like normal on my shoulders vs. the off the shoulder look and it worked great + was super functional for mom life at the pool!

8. LOFT Maternity Mixed Media Shirttail Tank
I have this tank in two colors and LOVE it. It’s worked great throughout many stages of pregnancy and I love that it doesn’t look maternity in the least bit, making it something I could see myself wearing in the first few weeks postpartum, too. I’ve also tossed it in the dryer on accident and it still fits great. Total win!

9. LOFT Maternity Fern Mixed Media Shell
Another LOFT favorite this pregnancy – I’ve worn it so many times and love how comfortable it is and, yet again, non “maternity” looking.

10. Carly Jean Los Angeles Stella Half Sleeve Dress
I’ve worn this dress all throughout my pregnancy and LOVE it. I just sized up one size and it still has plenty of room for this growing bump.

Fashion

Summer Clean Beauty Round-Up

June 20, 2019


Dew Skin Tinted Moisturizer //
This is a must-have year-round in my book, but especially so in the summer months! I appreciate the SPF 20 protection it provides along with lightweight coverage to make your skin look flawless but feels like you’re not wearing any makeup at all.

Cote Nail Polish //
My husband treated me to some new Cote nail polish for Mother’s Day! Cote is a clean polish line that is formulated without the major toxins found in most conventional nail polishes. When I first tried Cote a few years ago I wasn’t a huge fan, but I think their formulations have gotten SO much better in recent years, making them a new favorite.

Primally Pure Dry Shampoo //
I quit using dry shampoo a couple years ago when I learned how bad it is for scalp health and all the icky ingredients found in most conventional dry shampoos on the market. But my momma self really missed having an option to make it easier to go longer between hair washes. Thankfully Primally Pure makes a great dry shampoo – one for light locks and one for dark – that works well and smells great!

Overnight Resurfacing Peel //
Skin goes through a LOT in the summer – exposure to the sun, layers of sunscreen, sweat, and long days. I tend to notice that my skin needs more exfoliation in the summer months, which means I find I’m reaching for my favorite Overnight Resurfacing Peel twice per week to keep my skin glowing and combat clogged pores and blackheads.

Pearl Sheer Lipstick //
This is a new-to-me shade and it’s quickly become a favorite. It’s so easy to wear, and ultra moisturizing, which is a huge plus for me since my lips tends to be dry most of the time. It can be worn alone or on top of you favorite brighter lip colors for a more muted look.

Rahua Classic Conditioner //
My hair tends to feel a little more on the dry + dehydrated side in the summer thanks to the trips to the pool, time outside and in the sun, etc. I’ve been using this Rahua Classic Conditioner for a few months now and really love how soft and smooth it makes my hair feel. Note: I haven’t yet found a shampoo of theirs that I like, but the conditioner has worked well for me!

Goop G. Tox Himalayan Salt Scrub Shampoo //
Piggy backing off what I mentioned above, my hair basically needs more TLC in the summer months. I LOVE this salt scrub shampoo from Goop. It’s not designed to be use daily, bur rather an occasional use product that I work into my hair care routine about once per week. It helps remove build-up and leaves your hair and scalp feeling SO lightweight and clean. My husband calls it “the good shampoo” and loves it just as much as I do. 😉

Sugar Body Scrub in Lemongrass //
This is my favorite for sloughing off dead skin cells! It leaves skin feeling SO good, smooth and hydrated. I can’t say enough times how much I love this stuff.

Family, Pregnancy

Emotionally Challenging Pregnancies

June 17, 2019

I’ve had this post brewing in my head for quite some time, but finding the words to write about something so joyful yet so challenging has felt nearly impossible. How do you find the words to write about something that feels so real, yet so self-indulgent at the same time?

As a momma who has walked through miscarriage three times, I know as well as most what it means to long for a big, round belly. Each time I’ve been pregnant, I’ve counted down the days to various milestones. Twelve weeks – out of the first trimester when the risk of miscarriage drops dramatically. Twenty three weeks – when baby is considered viable outside the womb. Thirty weeks – a baby born after thirty weeks generally has the same long-term outcomes for health as babies born at full-term. There is a certain holding of the breath that happens in each pregnancy after experiencing the loss of a baby, and my heart knows this well.

And while I’ve been overwhelmingly thankful for this baby, and every baby God has blessed us with, one side effect of experiencing loss is feeling horrible every time you aren’t eternally grateful for every aspect of pregnancy. I mean, what kind of person complains about something they’ve longed so deeply for?

Yet here I am, writing about my emotionally challenging pregnancy. Because when I quit powering through and really sit with my emotions, I’m faced with the reality that it’s been incredibly difficult for me this time around.

As was the case with my other two pregnancies, the first trimester brought with it a certain sense of melancholy and exhaustion. It was a familiar feeling, triggered by extreme nausea and fear about the what-ifs ahead. I knew enough about my previous two full-term pregnancies to know that after the nausea and exhaustion subsided I would likely come out of the emotional fog, too. And then, instead of 12 or 13 weeks of nausea, I found myself sick through the first 21 weeks, much longer than I had experienced with the girls, with the magical second trimester burst of energy nowhere to be found

Extended nausea gave way to both a 20-week anatomy ultrasound scare, followed by increased muscle reactions to the progesterone injections I take throughout pregnancy, which led to physical therapy and chiropractic. All the while, feeling a strange mix of exhaustion, sadness and irritability, made worse by everything listed above.

In the back of my mind, since the day we found out about this baby’s August due date, I’ve felt fearful. The transition to two kiddos was NOT an easy one for me, and while I look back at those early days with two kids fondly now, I still distinctly remember how stretched and maxed out I felt much of the first three months of Collins’s life. Knowing we will be adding another sweet baby to the mix, at the very beginning of football season (my husband is an assistant HS football coach on top of his regular work schedule) while entering a busy season for my own work has left me with so may fears about my own capacities.

My mind has taken every uncertainty, every day where I feel totally exhausted managing just two kiddos, every sleep-disrupted night as we’ve transitioned the girls into a shared room and jumped five steps ahead to, “How in the world will I do this with a newborn in the mix, too?!”

My body has felt tired, my heart has felt fearful, and I’ve never been more keenly aware of my own human limitations. Any of my other momma friends feel me?

So, with all that said, what steps have we tangibly taken to manage the challenges of this pregnancies and the uncertainties of the next few months?

Joe and I have talked about August and beyond a LOT. And we continue to talk about it as I need to process the uncertainties and what-ifs. We’ve had a lot of great conversations about family priorities and how we will communicate needs once baby boy arrives and check-ins on how I’m doing with our crazy schedule.

I’m starting therapy. I really dislike the fact that I even gave a second thought to writing this, but there is still such a stigma about therapy and getting professional help, isn’t there? But Joe and I are both huge advocates of the value therapy can play to getting + keeping people in a healthy place emotionally. The only reason I put off therapy for so long was not having a great option I felt was a good match with what I was looking for. With a personal referral and the ability to see the right people remotely, I feel much more confident in who I’ve found and having a resource going forward.

I‘m accepting help. That means our beloved childcare provider starting back up right after baby is born, and asking my mom to help do evening kiddo duty with me one night a week, and being willing to tell Joe if I feel that it’s all just too much on my plate. (I’m still working on that last part…)

We’re setting the bar low. Low expectations for the first few months, and low standards for things like meals and schedules. If my kiddos and husband have to live on Jimmy Johns, cereal, and PB&J for the first two months of this baby’s life, that’s totally fine. And if I need to get my house cleaned every week to keep up, I’m going to accept that, too. Settling the bar low has always helped me in avoiding disappointment or unrealistic expectations about situations or circumstances.

And in the end, what gives me the most comfort is knowing that my strength and ability to parent these three little people does not come from ME at all, but from HE who has the power to create and sustain life. We are so thankful for the gift of this sweet baby boy and remembering where my true source of strength comes from gives me the peace each day to know that each day is one God ordained and will get us through.

Madison

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