"May the God of hope fill you with great joy and peace as you trust in him." Romans 15:13

Monday, March 31, 2014

Snow Day Snuggles

I spotted these four snuggled up in our bed watching a movie today!

This photo pretty much sums up the day. . .



cookie baking,


I LOVE being a stay at home mom again.

And I really, really love snow days.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Her First Week

 Words can not express how much I am enjoying this baby.  In many ways I feel like a first time mom.  I am just so in awe of her.  I spend hours snuggling her, watching her sleep, and simply soaking her in.  On the flip side, I am NOT a first time mom.  I have 18 years (yikes!) experience at mothering.  And that, too, is an advantage.  I am calmer, less overwhelmed, more confident, and more patient than I ever could be without those decades of experience!  So when Mataye wants to nurse for 45 minutes every hour and a half, I just enjoy the down time. I know it is a short-lived phase, and it is precious time that I get to spend with her. And when she sleeps best snuggled close to my heart, I am not surprised.  We shared a body for 40 weeks.  It is not surprising that during her first few weeks on her own she will feel safest swaddled next to my heart.  The other huge advantage I have this time around is that I have a lot more help!  On Sunday, we got the entire house cleaned and groceries purchased in just a couple of hours by each doing just a couple of chores each.  Day to day, Chad and Krissy, along with my parents have taken care of all the carpooling needs.  I have not left the house since bringing Mataya home from the hospital, and I have rarely been more content.
 The possible down-side of being a well experienced mom is that I am all too aware of how fleeting these newborn moments are.  I am savoring each moment.  And in all honesty, I am a bit of an overprotective momma bear.  I do not enjoy sharing her. . . at all.  Sometimes I even struggle with letting her siblings hold her.  I just do not want to give up a moment, and I am well aware that in 11 weeks I will be heading back to work.

So. . . don't be insulted if I do not offer to let you hold my baby.  Soon she will be big enough to seek you out, and I will not deny her.  For these moments, though, I am choosing to hold her close almost all the time.

 Brenna and Mataya have a special after school routine.

While I get supper together, Brenna gets Mataya time.  Since Brenna is the only sibling home from 4 to 5, she has uninterrupted and unrestricted access to her baby sis.  They snuggle up together on the couch for some TV time.

 Joshua adores the baby.  Though he is shocked by how much time she spends eating, he has learned to come into my bedroom and chat with me there.  He is convinced that he is her favorite.  He has shown no jealousy or frustration at all.  He has even headed out the door to school each day without complaint, even though he knows I am home.  I am so impressed with how he has handled this transition.  He has certainly come a looooong way!

The only thing he does not like is that his "pillow" (aka the baby bump) is getting smaller each day.  He checks my tummy every day and complains that I am not as comfy to cuddle with any more.  He makes me laugh.  
 Sierra adores the baby - but she gets pretty nervous if Mataya fusses at all.  Mataya is a very serene baby.  I have yet to hear her "red line" cry.  She has fussed very, very little.  It is a good thing, too, for a fussy sister would break sweet Sierra's heart!
 Krissy simply adores the baby.  I am so very thankful!  It is risky for Krissy to fall for this tiny sister as she is preparing her own heart to move away.  It will make leaving a bit harder - but love is always worth the risk.
I joke that Chad and Krissy are on my "short list."  They are the only ones that I am not tempted to snatch my baby away from after she has been with them for more than a couple of minutes.  They are both amazing with her, too.  Krissy is so patient, calm, and gentle.

And Chad. . .

I have never seen him quite this smitten with a newborn.

And she adores him.  When he holds her, she snuggles in and goes right to sleep.  That does not surprise me.  Throughout my pregnancy, if she was kicking like crazy, Daddy's big, gentle hand on my belly soothed her.  Her reaction to him now is equally sweet.

Other things we have learned about this tiny one:

  • She loves a foot massage.  For real!  After a sponge bath when she is fussing, lotion rubbed on her feet instantly calms her.  
  • You can hear her fill her diaper from across the room.  We tease Jamison that she gets this from him.
  • She loves to be snuggled close.  And yep.  We are spoiling her big time.  She is rarely put down.
  • Not much upsets her for long.  Even the nurses at the hospital commented on how quick she is to calm down.  
  • She can not be rushed.  Nursing takes at least 45 minutes.  And is repeated every 1.5 to 2 hours.  She did sleep for 5 hours straight last night, however, only to wake and nurse for about an hour every hour this morning.  It is all good.  I have gotten lots of naps and one whole novel read this week.  I'm loving the snuggles!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Naming Mataya

As I confessed throughout my pregnancy, choosing this baby's name did not come quickly.  In fact, we did not choose her name until a few minutes after she was born.

I had a couple of rules when it came to her name.  It needed to end in an "a."  I needed to find significance in the meaning.  The kids had to approve.

By the time we were walking the halls in labor, we had the choices narrowed down to three names.
1. Elena/Alaina - problem being we could not agree on the spelling.  Krissy wanted it spelled Elena.  Chad and I wanted it to begin with a "A" so she could be Ali or Lainey.  It seemed the safest choice as the kids were most favorable to neutral about it, but Chad and I were not totally sold.  The meaning "Shining Light" worked.  I joked that if she was blonde it would be her name for sure, but if she were dark. . . maybe not.

2. Jada - We both liked Jada.  It means "He knew."  However I was worried that Jada Hope would sound like Jaded Hope - which is not what I wanted to convey in her name.  Additionally Joshua insisted on pretending to whip his hair back and forth (like Jada Smith's song says) every time he heard the name.  It was annoying.  I did expect this to be her name, however.  It was Chad's favorite, and he has typically had the final vote.

3. Mataya - I fell in love with the name Mataya the week of our first ultrasound.  That was a scary week.  I was up early praying for our baby, giving her back to her Father, trusting that no matter what He had a plan and He was in control.  As I prayed, I realized that no matter what, she was a gift from God.  I knew in every pore of my being that fact was true - no matter what any test said.  So I googled "names that mean Gift of God" and found Mataya.  From that moment on, she was Mataya in my heart.  I tried not to totally attach to the name, but I confess to calling her baby "TayTay" often when I talked to her.  However, as it was not Chad's favorite, I did not expect it to be her name.  We also had some disagreement as to the spelling.  It was Jamison's favorite - but he wanted to spell it Matea.  The girls thought it should be Mataya.

When she was born and laying snuggled up on my chest, Kami my nurse said, "So what is it gong to be?  What is this baby's name?"

I started to say, "I don't think we have picked yet."

While Chad softly interrupted me and said, "I think this little girl is Mataya."

I asked if he was sure.  Feeling a bit guilty for "getting my way" but also loving it.

He just nodded.

Kami grabbed the marker and started writing the name on the board in the room - perhaps before we could change our mind - and wanted to know how to spell it.  I picked Mataya, saying that our son disagreed, but it just felt right to me.

When I finally spoke to Jamison the first thing he said was "Great name, but I do not approve of the spelling!"

However, the next day I spoke with my Grandma.  She told me that Mataya is a family name.  And in that regard it was perfectly spelled.

To me it is the story and lesson of my pregnancy.
It is a foreshadowing of this little one's legacy.

Mataya Hope - God's Gift of Hope

Already my world is so much better because you are a part of it.

Thank you Jesus for this little package of precious perfection.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Welcome to the Family, Mataya Hope.

 Mataya Hope was born at 4:56 pm on March 18, and from the very moment she was placed on my chest, the entire focus of the hospital staff was having us ready for the kids to come see ASAP.

I had an absolutely wonderful labor and delivery nurse, Kami, who had been laughing all day as Sierra texted,  "is she here yet?"  Kami was determined that nothing would get in the way of our 5 at home meeting their baby Tuesday!

So - once she was laying on my chest, healthy and beautiful, a new race  - Operation Family Unification - began.  Kami, Chad, and I decided that the kids could arrive at 7.  And let me assure you, we were rushing things to be ready.

The hospital staff was truly amazing.  They were also a bit shocked and awed that we really had 5 kids at home, and perhaps a bit curious to see them all.  They allowed us to keep Mataya in the room from the moment she was born until after the kids arrived.  So when the kids first met their baby sister, she had not even been to the nursery at all yet.  She was diapered, but her cord had not been clipped short, she had not had a bath, and she was naked under the layers of blankets in which she was swaddled.

I am most thankful for their flexibility.  If they had been sticklers about hospital protocol the kids would have had to wait another day to meet Mataya, and they would have been devastated!  And in all honesty, the "race" was also a bit exhausting.

We had promised the kids that they would be first to meet the baby.  We vowed to not reveal her name or send anyone photos until they had met her.  With the age span of our kids, we really wanted the kids to know that they have a special place in this baby's life.  They are special and important to her in ways that no one else is.  We really felt that sibling bonding needed to come first.  

 Sierra was first to hold her.
Her comment was and is, "Oh!!! She is just so perfect!"

 Krissy keeps saying how gorgeous she is.

Though I can see traces of all the kids in her, Mataya looks most like Krissy did as an infant.  They have similar coloring in skin and hair.  

Krissy and Sierra also want to know when they can start painting her toe nails and braiding her hair.
I am so thankful for the amazing big sisters Miss Mataya has.  They will be amazing sources of inspiration and guidance for this tiny one as she grows.
 Joshua marched right into my hospital room, dashed to the sink to wash his hands, and said "let me hold my baby!"  He was so, so excited.  He had been waiting and waiting to meet her.  He was "tired of being the baby!" so her birth was more than welcome with him.

He continues to be absolutely precious with her.  He is sitting next to me as I type, snuggling her in a soft blanket, giving me play by play of her preciousness - "Mom, her nails are so tiny!  She is just so cute!  She smells so good.  How can she be so sweet? etc..."  
 Grandpa Scott had the next turn.
 Then Brenna and Grandma Donna arrived.

Brenna got one quick hold and then the nurses insisted on taking Mataya to the nursery.

I grabbed her quick and pealed back her blankets so the kids could see her newness - the cord, her wrinkles and unwashed skin.  Then the nurses took her away.
 We could see her under the warmer through the glass.

We chatted for a bit, and then Grandma and Grandpa took the kids home for bed.

At this point I was so exhausted.  I had been at the hospital since 7 am being poked and prodded.  It was about 8:15 PM at that point and my body had been through quite a bit, plus I was in desperate need of supper!  Thankfully my mom had brought that!

Chad and I headed back to the room to eat while they checked out our girl.  

Jamison had to work until 10 PM the night Mataya was born.  His boss refused his request to leave early, so we were unable to talk to Jay until 10:45 that evening.  He was really bummed to not be with us.  (Us too!) In this world of instant everything, I was feeling intense pressure to update people.  At the same time, I wanted to make sure Jamison was in the know first!  I  also desperately needed to just have a minute to breathe and enjoy.  Life has changed so much since Krissy was born!  At that time no one expected to be instantly informed of anything.  It was so much simpler!

I was finally able to talk to Jay at 10:45.  He gave us permission to send people her picture, name, etc...  though he was not able to see her until the following day.

Sleep is never peaceful at the hospital.  Between adrenaline running high, waking for feedings and vitals, uncomfortable beds, new noises, and an aching body - I did not sleep much.  I did spend quite a bit of time gazing at my baby and trying to soak her in.

 I continue to be in complete awe that she is here.

I really had a baby.
It is nearly too amazing to comprehend.

The nurses took Mataya at 6 for some tests, so I jumped in the shower - expecting a busy day.

 Grammy and Grandma Great Hoff were there to see her right away in the morning!
(They are checking out her hair!  She has some crazy beautiful locks!)
Finally Jamison arrived!

I felt so much better after he had a chance to meet his sister.
He did not balk when I placed her in his arms, though previously he has always refused to hold infants.
I think he is a bit in awe of her tiny-ness.

We were also visited by several friends and "interupted" by many doctors, nurses, lab techs, etc...

By 3:30 PM, I was watching the clock.  I was feeling totally overstimulated.  I needed to get HOME!  There is a blood test they need to wait 24 hours to do, and I was determined that we would leave at 5!

Before we headed out the door, my brother and nieces were able to take a quick peak.
 Adrianna is nearly 12 and so good with babies!  I am glad she was able to see Mataya that day.
 Lexi got some snuggles, too.

Then Grandpa, Brenna and Joshua stopped on their way to church.
In all honesty, I pretty much kicked everyone out.  I tried, and more than likely failed to be gracious, but I just HAD to get home.  I was so tired and feeling completely overstimulated by the constant commotion of it all.  I could not wait to get home.  Thankfully Chad and my nurse read me well.  They had us packed up and ready to go by a few minutes after 5:00.
 Sweet Mataya Hope is a gentle, patient, serene baby.
She was nearly as overstimulated as her momma, but when we got her buckled into her seat she went right to sleep.

Home was quiet!
Chad grilled brats for Jay, Sierra, and I.  The rest of the kids were at church.
After we ate, I grabbed my baby and hid out in my bedroom nursing her and napping.
By the time the kids came home, I felt much more human.

 There is just no place like home.

Mataya's first night at home was fairly uneventful.
Like almost all babies, she woke up about the time the rest of the family headed off to bed.
She and I slept snuggled up together.

Thursday morning Chad made breakfast and then got everyone off to school.

And then it happened. .  .

I was home all alone with my baby.


It was absolute perfection.

We rocked and napped and snuggled.

And that is ALL we did.

I felt totally restored by the time sweet Brenna Joy skipped off the bus at 4 with one goal in mind. . .
 let me hold Mataya!

That has become the routine.

Busy evenings filled with noise and the delightful chaos of our family

and days sent like this!

My heart is incredibly full.

The blessings of the Lord are completely overwhelming.

Welcome to our family, Mataya Hope.
We are so very thankful for you beautiful one.
So very thankful.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

She is Here!

She is here!

Baby Girl Dietrich arrived at 4:56 on Tuesday, March 18.

And if still-wet baby photos along with labor and delivery stories, offend you - skip this post.  There is one above that contains ONLY post delivery sweetness.

In all honesty, in this age of birth plans and momma's trying to decide just how they want their labor and deliveries to go, this baby's birth would be a complete fail.  If I were one to make a birth plan and expect it to be followed it would have gone much differently.  However, I am not one to write a detailed birth plan.  It may be old school, but my "birth" plan has always been to be flexible, to adapt, to follow the advice of the medical personal - while thinking and questioning on my own a bit,  and in the midst of all the chaos to try and be fully present and enjoy the moment.

I had really wanted to go into labor naturally this time.  I had planned to go at least a week beyond my due date if need be and wait for natural labor to begin.  After being induced with all the other kids, I really wanted a less planned, less clinical labor day.  However, since my blood pressure decided to climb, that was not to be.

I arrived at the hospital on Tuesday morning, March 18, at 7 am, knowing I would be induced.  Chad had an early morning meeting, and I insisted he go to it.  I knew it would be hours before anything exciting happened, so it seemed senseless for him to sit in my hospital room watching boring things like blood draws and IV's being started.

The medical team took over in a flurry of activity.  Blood was drawn.  An IV was started.  Monitors were hooked up.  Antibiotics were hung.  The endless cervical checks began.  (I was 2 cm dilated at this point.)

My previous inductions had gone very quickly.  The doctor had broken my water, started pitocin, and two of our babies were born within two hours.

This time a different procedure was used, and somehow I knew from the start that it would be a much slower process.  I had warned everyone - from the kids to my labor nurse - that I did not expect the same crazy fast delivery this time.  I am glad I was prepared.

At about 8:30 the nurse placed a tiny pill of something called cytotech directly on my cervix.  She explained that the doctor's say it is like dynamite.  It can take a while to ignite, but once it does. . . watch out.  After it was inserted I needed to lay flat for a bit over an hour.  As the cytotech soaked in, she ran a bag full of antibiotics in through my IV since I was strep B positive this delivery.

Chad arrived between 9:30 and 10:00.  At that point I was having some pretty minor cramping.  We were then instructed to start walking laps, with the idea that walking would speed up labor.

By 11:30, I was bored and impatient.  (Probably foolishly so.)  I could tell it was going to be a long afternoon, so I begged for lunch.  They brought me some soup and a sandwich right away.

My doctor came to check on me at 12:00.  At that point I was maybe 3 cm dilated, and feeling really good.  If I had been at home, I would more than likely not have suspected labor - but I would have started to notice intermittent contractions.  She broke my water.  I asked when she wanted to start pitocin.  She laughed at me.  She said that we should walk for a while and see what happened.  She cautioned once again that once cytotech "ignites" it "explodes."

So we walked.

If I had to do this labor again, I would just relax at this point.  Things were progressing.  Contractions were certainly taking place - but the labor was "gentle."  We walked laps and chatted until 2:00.  The central theme of our conversation was her name. . . which one would it be?  And how would it be spelled? I was feeling really good during all of this.  It was the first time in 20 years that I asked Chad to slow down when we were walking, but I was able to walk and talk through all of the contractions.

At 2:00 I needed to be hooked up to the IV for more antibiotics.  I was about 5 cm dilated and having regular contractions.  They were increasingly strong, and I was starting to feel the baby descending.

I was also aware that there was a long way to go before baby would arrive. . . and that the kids got out of school in an hour. . . and that they REALLY wanted to meet the baby THAT DAY.  Sierra had been texting me all day wishing for updates.  I had a decision to make.  Should I hold off on the pitocin and see what developed, or bite the bullet so to speak, and rush this baby along?  I hesitated and Kami, my nurse, suggested we just get it done!  So she started a "small dose" of pitocin.

I would say that the pitocin and cytotech combined into the explosion my doctor had been talking about because I was soon experiencing a labor like no other I had experienced before.

My biggest concern with starting pitocin was that I would then be stuck in bed, hooked up to a monitor.  My nurse assured me that had changed.  They now had monitors that could leave the bed.  However, we could not get that monitor to work.  Baby girl was hard to monitor during this part of my labor.  Her heartbeat kept coming and going as her position changed.  The nurse reassured me that nothing was wrong, but it was stressing me out.  Because we had her heart checked out so thoroughly earlier in my pregnancy, I was totally paranoid about having her well monitored as labor progressed - so staying chained to the bed was how I remained until she arrived.

By 3:30 I was wondering if I could survive this labor without pain meds.  I have never had an epidural - the needle in my back idea freaks me out.  I had a drug called stadahl during Krissy's delivery, but the other three came sans pain meds. . . and fast.  I have always gone from 7 to 10 cm in about 15 minutes - and although I had been cautioning myself and everyone else all day that there was no guarantee that would happen again - I was hoping.  Trying to make a wise decision about pain management in the midst of the craziest pain of your life is surreal.  Trying to think through a fog of pain about what would be best for the baby is so hard.  I remember telling the nurse, "I don't know what I want."  Assuming baby would come quickly - I was at 6 cm and "7" seems to be my golden ticket - I decided to wait until 4:00 to make a decision.  I did not want baby to be born drugged up and sleepy, yet I was not sure I could endure hours of pain like I was experiencing.

During my pregnancy I had happened upon a video of a woman in Ethiopia giving birth.  She was alone, assisted only by her neighbor lady, in her home.  She had a dirt floor, and her many other children were zipping in and out of view as she labored.  Right before the baby was delivered a piece of old plastic was placed on the dirt floor to provide a "clean" place for baby to drop.  Baby fell from her squatting position onto the "clean" plastic.  Her neighbor ran next door for a piece of old cording to use to tie off the baby's umbilical cord.  Minutes after the baby was born the mother made a statement that may never leave me.  She said, "Having babies is easy. . . it is keeping them fed that is hard."

All day as I labored I thought of that women and so many women like her.  I was having an overly medically assisted birth in a pristine hospital.  I had all sorts of options available to me. . . including the best pain meds in the world.  And to me, birthing a baby was HARD, but feeding her would be easy.  Knowing that fact was sobering and inspiring in an odd sort of way.  It challenged me to find a way to be fully present in the pain, to face it, embrace it, and use it.  Climbing on top of the pain, breathing slowly, relaxing, and not allowing myself to panic became my total focus.

When I was 8 cm, my nurse called the doctor to come.  She was sure things would speed along. The time for pain meds was in the past, and baby would soon arrive.  That is when laboring in a hospital becomes weirder than ever.  The room is filling with people.  Lights are being turned on.  Equipment is being hauled into the room.  Quiet chatter and anticipation fills the space.  In the center of it all, I am laying on a bed trying to stay focused on relaxing, breathing, all while feeling baby move down with a force and pressure that I have never experienced before.

Poor Chad hates all of this.  Seeing me in so much pain breaks his heart.  I get it.  I would feel the same way.  I remember him rubbing my forehead throughout contractions, knowing he would do almost anything to make it all stop.  Wishing I could reassure him that it would be OK, soon it would be over and she would be here.

I remember getting a work related text. . . and responding to it. . . knowing the sender had no idea I was in hard labor. . . scrambling at sanity. . . looking for anything to distract me from all the pain ripping through my body.

I remember random conversations whispered throughout the room.  Chit chat about boats.  Questions about whether I had had stadahl or not.  My doctor wondering if it would be OK for her med student "Jean" to deliver my baby.  What would we name her? My doctor checking my cervix. . . yet again. . . telling me 15 more minutes.  Thinking I may not survive 15 more minutes.  Then taking a breath and working through another contraction.  My nurse taking charge, deciding I could push through the remaining rim on my cervix and get the baby here sooner.

I have never pushed for more than a few minutes.  Once it was "go time" they have all come quickly.

Not this time.

As if even my body were mourning the end of this stage of life, pushing was slow going.  I had to work hard.  I could feel her descend each and every inch.  Between contractions they kept telling me to breathe for baby, listening carefully to her heartbeat,  feeding my slight paranoia. I remember my nurse calmly counting... the doctor commenting on how much hair the baby had while quietly coaching the med student on delivery... thanking another med student for holding my leg so I could rest between contractions. At one point the doctor pushed the baby back just a bit between contractions.  I gasped.  She said, "I like her heart tones better there.  She will be here soon.  It's OK."

Crowning happened in the midst of several contractions, and it was nearly unbearable.  That experience was new to me.  Birthing had never gone this slowly.  I had never been so aware.  In retrospect there is a rare beauty about that awareness.  I totally experienced this little one's birth with an acute awareness that I have never before experienced.  Suddenly her head broke completely through, her shoulders quickly followed, and then everything paused as they encouraged me to grab hold of this tiny, wet, slippery gift and pull her up to my chest.

I was shocked at how hard she was to hold onto.  She was so slippery, so tiny, yet so huge.  Above all, she was so incredibly welcome.

Seeing your child for the first time is the most incredible feeling in the world.
Whether by birth or adoption, coming face to face with the child you have been praying for for such a long time is a holy and sacred moment.

Time stops forever.

I will be forever grateful for these first moments with our baby.

They were unrushed.

They were precious.

They were a gift.

I was allowed to look at her, soak her in, hold her next to my skin, and just be with her for as long as I wished.  I am so very thankful.

While I gazed at the amazing little girl laying on my chest, there was activity all around me.  Chad cut her cord.  The doctors delivered the placenta, carts were wheeled around, supplies packed up, blood pressures taken - but I was fairly oblivious.  The only thing that mattered was the first moments I was having with my baby.

Eventually, I told her nurse she could grab her.  I wanted to know how much she weighed.  Plus I was freezing.  I needed the doctor to finish her work on me so that I could be swaddled in warm blankets.

The nurse took her to a table that was almost within reach of my bed.
I was able to experience everything that was happening with our girl.

I was so thankful.

About the time the nurse grabbed our baby, my doctor came near me and said, "You are not going to be happy with me."  

"How many stitches?"  was my first question.

"None."  she responded to my relief.  "But you are clotting quite a bit, so I am going to need to massage your uterus."    That did not concern me.  They always "massage" your uterus after you give birth. . . or so I thought.  This massage was like no other.  She took her hand and pushed long and deep into my uterus, twice.  It was awful.  It did end the clotting, and has totally reduced the post-baby bleeding though.

(I wondered if this was a new labor and delivery practice, but the med student the next day assured me it was not.  She had never seen it done before, so I guess I was just lucky!)
Thankfully, I had baby to keep me (and CHAD!) distracted through all of this.
She is breathtaking, is she not?

She weighed a perfect 7 lbs.

And look at her hair!
(Yes.  I did have lots of heartburn.)
Even after all that slow pushing, she has a perfectly shaped 14 inch head.
(For the record slow for me was quick for some,  I pushed for 30 to 40 minutes.)
And she was 20.5 inches long.

To put that into Dietrich baby perspective. . .
my smallest baby was 6.14
the biggest 7.10

longest 21.5
shortest 19.75

Here she is. . .

less than 2 hours old

waiting for her kids to arrive so we can reveal her name.