Friday, December 7, 2012's raffle giveaway!!

If you have seen me out and about since our boy was born, you probably have seen me babywearing. Yep, don't go back and read it again. Babywearing. Let's talk about how this is the BEST thing that has happened to being a mom since babies were invented. Hold baby and shop? SURE! Feed baby handsfree? You bet! Keep baby close and kissable anytime and anywhere? DEFINITELY. 
And is the place to go to find the baby carrier of your DREAMS. Mine is on its way cross country right now and will be under the tree for me this year!! 

Here are the reasons that is your one stop shop for all your momming needs.

1) They are SO helpful, and will help you figure out what kind of carrier is the one for you with their Custom Babywearing Prescription! (

2) They get your package shipped FAST!

3) It's run by sweet Work At Home Moms (WAHMs)!

4) They have SO many great vendors, and a lot of them are WAHMs!! Let's suport those mommas!!

5) Their facebook page will help you hook up with other babywearing mommas (or dads!) in your area so you can have fun babywearing in a group!

6) They sell more than just baby carriers! Go check out their Baltic Amber for pain relief, sweet handmade plush toys, beautiful wrap scrap pillow shams and way more!

They just hit 10,000 fans on their fabulous (and SO helpful) facebook page, and they are having a raffle for some FANTASTIC prizes! (I want the Girasol Diamond Weave Cream weft wrap!!) So check them out!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A blurb!

A lot of things have happened since last I blogged, and we will get to those in due time. But first, a blurb to supplement my birth story post:

After I posted Eli's birth story, I realized that I left out a very important part of our experience on October 11, 2012. This is, quite possibly, the most surprising and impressive part of our birth story outside of our son's entrance into the world. I do not think that either Ryan or myself expected just how much of Eli's birth would be about us.

There is something very interesting that happens to people who are thrust into difficult situations together. Some something, some desperation to get through the day in one piece and be able to see the other side forces people to band together in a way that almost makes them one unit. I believe that when those individuals are already very much of a unit, (read: marriage), this bonding generates unfathomable strength. I had no idea about this phenomenon before my labor began because, frankly, I had never been placed into a difficult situation. 

I knew that Ryan and I were going to have to be a team to get through labor and delivery naturally. I had even feared that Ryan didn't realize just how active a participant he would have to be in labor in order for me to not need an epidural. I knew that physically, I would lean on him to get through the pain. I did not realize how much I would lean on him mentally and spiritually. 

As the day went on and the pain of labor began to intensify, Ryan stepped up his game. At first, he somehow knew that his role was Comedian. Before labor turned the corner into pain, Ryan distracted me from my contractions by making me laugh. We walked the halls, and he made jokes, and I laughed despite my discomfort. But as the hours went by, there was a shift in Ryan's role. When I could no longer walk and laugh through my contractions, Ryan stood behind me, helping me keep my body as relaxed as possible when each wave came. When tightening turned to pain, Ryan stood in front of me, squeezing my hands so that I didn't have to squeeze his and letting me push all of the tension onto him. And when a contraction threatened to pull me under and force me to lose control of my labor, Ryan looked me in the eye and reminded me that I was in control. For hours and hours, Ryan took a beating with every contraction, letting me push down on his hands with all of my strength over and over again. In the days following Eli's birthday, both of our arms were sore from laboring this way. 

There were moments when I thought that I couldn't do it. I would shake my head at him in the middle of the worst contractions, forgetting to breathe, absolutely sure that this was as much as I could take and that I was done. But before even that single contraction was over, Ryan had pulled me back up out of that doubt and focused me again on maintaining control. When it was finally time to push, Ryan was in my ear, telling me how close we were to meeting our precious boy. There were a lot of voices in the operating room, loudly directing me to keep pushing or relax, but the one that I heard was the whisper that was meant only for me. 

Going through labor and delivery together galvanized our marriage in a way that I could never have anticipated. I knew that I was going to fall in love with our tiny little boy that day, but I had no idea that I was also going to fall in love all over again with my husband.

Friday, November 16, 2012

One month!

Well, Eli is a month old! (Actually, he's 5 weeks old as of yesterday, but this is his official one-month blog post.) It has been a whirlwind of diapers and dinos in our house over the past month, but it has been SO fun! He seriously changes every single day, and Ryan and I are discovering so many fun things about his little personality all the time! 

He can smile, but not really on purpose yet. Sometimes when Ryan is making silly faces and boy-noises at him, he makes a happy face, but it still doesn't seem purposeful yet. But sometimes we do catch faces like this, and it is always a thrill!


Eli is very curious. My mom and I laugh about how he inherited a condition called FOMO from me. FOMO stands for Fear Of Missing Out, and it looks like the boy is going to be like his momma! He loves to look around and see what's going on, and he has really starting to look AT things, rather than just looking in their general direction. When he was about 3 weeks old he started to actually look in our eyes when we hold and talk to him. It's pretty neat to have your son look you in the eye. Just sayin'.

Eli and I work on some tummy time every morning. He is really getting good control over his head! I am excited for him to start noticing toys and items that I put in front of him and reaching for them. For now, I lay next to him, and we talk to each other while he gets his workout. It's a really special time for me to just look in his eyes and watch him concentrate so hard on his movements.

Eli still sleeps a lot during the day. Just this week, I have started to lay him down when he is drowsy but not quite asleep. So far, this is working like a charm! He puts himself to sleep on his own in his crib! What an over-achiever!

Nights have gotten much better since the first couple of weeks at home. Eli still wakes up to eat throughout the night, but it's starting to be every 2-4 hours instead of every 2 hours on the nose. This past week, when he has woken up at the 2 hour mark, I have been able to put him back to sleep and get another hour or two out of him before he wakes up and wants to eat. This is very exciting news for this tired momma!

In the middle of the night, when he has gone back to sleep after a feeding and I'm laying back down, I always say a little prayer for him before I fall asleep. We waited a long, long time for this little boy. He is the most perfect gift to us.

Ryan and I are very excited to watch this little boy grow! We can't wait to see him smile at us, and Ryan is looking forward most to getting Eli to laugh. Once he starts, he is going to be laughing all the time! Ryan is never short of boy-noises (read: fart noises) and silly faces to make for Eli!

We both have so many big plans for this kid! Ryan and I both love to read, so we each have several books that we want to read to and with him as he grows up. Ryan figures he won't get through all of them before Eli is grown up and moved out on his own!

At his 1-month checkup, Eli weighed 9.35 lbs. This is up 3.35 lbs from his birth weight! His cheeks just get more and more kissable, and those little thighs are getting chubbier every day! Even his feet are starting to look chunky! Bring on the baby fat!

It seems like it can't be possible that our little boy is already 5 weeks old! It's going by so quickly! All at once, I'm excited to watch him grow and missing that tiny-tiny newborn phase! For the most part, though, both Ryan and I are looking forward to seeing who Eli turns out to be, and watching him discover his world.

Now that I have this thing up and running, I'm going to try to post something every week to keep friends and family up-to-date on our boy and what our little family is up to. So check back here for more adorable photos and stories about our adventures from dinos to diapers!

Caitlin, Ryan, and Eli

Thursday, November 15, 2012


So, it's been over a month since Eli was born, and ever since that beautiful, wonderful day I have wanted to get a chance to share my birth story. My hope is that it can be a help to other women who are sitting on the epidural fence, or even just an encouragement to women who are feeling apprehensive in general about giving birth. Hopefully I can get my story out on paper (ish) before the details get fuzzy in my brain.

I had always joked about my birth pain management method. I told people that I was planning on showing up to the hospital, walking backwards into the OB department with my shirt held high in the air yelling,
"Get the big needle! I feel something!!" As Eli's actual due date drew closer, however, I realized that this was little more than a joke, and that I needed to come up with an actual birth plan post-haste. For someone who has been pregnant as many times as I have, I had very little understanding about what choices I had and what the benefits of those choices were. It was time to get to studyin'. I read the usual BabyCenter articles and searched the forums online, but the information I gathered made my answer about as clear as mud. BabyCenter seemed to say, "Get the epidural. The doctors know what they are doing. It will be easier on you and the baby. Easy is better." But so many comments on the forums I kept reading seemed to contradict these ideas. And those comments came from moms. Actual women with actual bodies who had actually done this giving birth thing and lived to tell the tale. So, stuck with nothing concrete and feeling that the big day was rushing toward me without waiting to see if I had it all figured out, I did what any 21st century mom-to-be would do: I took my problem to facebook.
It seemed clear that the most trustworthy people to take advice from were actual moms. And it seemed infinitely more clear to me that the only moms I wanted to hear from were moms that I knew were real and that I could actively compare myself with. There is no way of knowing if SweetMama332 on a BabyCenter forum is actually a world-champion kick boxer with a pain tolerance as big as my house, but it is actually possible to hold myself up against the women on my friends list and see if I think I can do it if they could. So I posed my question. The response was FABULOUS. So many women encouraged me that it was possible to have a natural childbirth. Possibly the most helpful comment of all led me to a documentary on Netflix called "The Business of Being Born." It's less than 90 minutes long, and it is not only informative - it's inspiring. As a disclaimer, I have to say that I disagree with what the documentary says about doctors as a generalization, because my doctor was someone whom we trusted implicitly, and who we knew would never recommend a C-section because it was dinnertime or push for some other intervention because of convenience, but the rest of the film was very informative.

So Ryan and I talked and we decided that we would try for as natural a childbirth as possible.

As the weeks progressed, sonograms showed that Eli had a little problem with his kidneys and the doctor said that it would continue to get worse the longer that he was in my hormone-infested uterus. She got approval for an early induction based on his condition, and we scheduled it. It was really hard for me to reconcile the idea of induction when I wanted so desperately to have a totally natural childbirth, but I also knew that waiting any longer when I knew that his little kidneys were only getting worse would stress me out so much that it would be unhealthy for all of us.

We showed up at the hospital at 5pm on Wednesday night, and before we went to sleep, the nurse placed the Cervidil. I was already dilated to a 2 and 60% effaced, and Ryan and I hoped that the Cervidil itself would put me into active labor and we wouldn't even need the Pitocin.

No such luck.
Cervidil did almost nothing, and at 5am, we started Pitocin. About an hour later, I had contractions that were between 1 and 3 minutes apart and lasted about a minute. They were not very painful, and Ryan and I walked all over the OB department all morning long, pausing only to switch to the birthing ball and bounce a little before going back to doing laps around the nurses' station. By lunchtime, my contractions were much stronger. Ryan and I had to stop walking with each one and do this very strange labor-slowdance until it was over. I still wouldn't call it "pain." It was some very serious "tightening," but not yet "pain." But being up and out of the room, moving around, was exactly what I needed. I felt like I had some control over everything, and it was a welcome distraction. I would have gone crazy if I had been stuck in the bed. The doctor came back around 1:30 to check me again and see if I had dilated any further. Before she arrived, Ryan and I talked and decided that if I wasn't dilated to at least a 4, we were going to take the hint from mother nature and go home and maybe try again in a few days. It turns out, I was at 3 and 90% effaced. THREE?! I was so disappointed, and as I took the breath to say to my doctor, "Well, it looks like my body isn't really ready afterall. I think we're going to go home," WOAH -- my water broke. And I cried. A lot. Suddenly, there was no maybe. We were going to have a baby today. Clarity is a precious, precious thing. I didn't have to make any more decisions about when Eli would come into the world. All systems were go. There was no turning back. Baby day was here. I will never forget that feeling. Second best feeling in the world. (But, of course, the first best feeling in the world hadn't happened yet, so in real time, it was the BEST feeling in the world.)

Well, the childbirth classes and books don't lie. Contractions get MUCH more painful once your water has broken. Ryan and I were finally in the heat of it. We walked a couple of laps, but it became clear that it was time to move this party into a more private location in very little time. I could no longer just breathe long, slow, deep breaths and sway to get through those contractions. I was in full-fledged, screwed-up-face, really-loud-exhaling, finger-squeezing labor. The birthing ball was my BEST FRIEND. I sat and bounced on that thing the whole time. Ryan was incredible. I could NEVER have managed HALF of labor without him. My contractions were coming right on top of each other. The pain was bad, but we had a pretty good rhythm going - Ryan coached me through each contraction and helped me relax my body in between, and I felt like I MUST be progressing quickly by this point. There was NO WAY that contracting like this for this long didn't have me dilated to at least an 8 by now!

The doctor came around 6, and I was progressing MUCH more slowly than I had hoped. I had dilated to a 4, maaaayybe 5. She stayed in our room from here on out, though. (I told you my doctor was amazing.) We took it 30 minutes at a time, but around 8 pm I had made a decision. If I wasn't at an 8, I had to have something for the pain. My contractions had been a minute or less apart for HOURS at this point, and a lot of them were coming with just seconds in between. I had come to a point where I could no longer relax my body between contractions, and I was so exhausted. What I wanted more than anything was to pause the labor for a couple of hours so that I could sleep. It turned out I was at a 7, and I knew that even if I progressed a centimeter an hour, I could not endure 3 more hours like the last hour. I opted for a shot of Demerol, and I am so glad that I did. It didn't touch the pain, but it forced my body to relax in between contractions, and that was what I needed. Just a few seconds of breathing time in between to get back into the moment and take back control over my labor and my body.

After another hour or so of laboring, it felt like pushing time. It wasn't. I was at a 9 1/2.
Seriously?! A few more contractions went by, and finally I could push. We got about 3 good pushes in, and things got serious. Eli's heart rate dropped while I pushed, and when I stopped pushing, it didn't come back up right away. Since I didn't have an epidural, my doctor had the nurses call in the scrub tech and anesthesia provider that were on-call, and we moved the whole party to the operating room in case she had to get him out with forceps. I will admit, for a few minutes I was hysterical. I begged her to just do a C-section and get him out of me, but she was very calm and very patient, and told me, "No, honey, you're going to push this baby out."

And I thought: "Seriously, no pressure. My baby is not tolerating pushing well, and frankly I don't even know if I'm doing it right. Please just cut him out of me and let's be done with the whole deal!" 

But she didn't. And Eli stopped screwing around with his heart rate and I got to start pushing again. And the scrub tech and anesthetist basically got called in to be extra moral support, because we didn't need them.

Pushing is awesome. It hurts - a lot - but it's wonderful. Finally something you have control over! I pushed for about an hour, getting some serious encouragement from everyone in the room, especially Ryan. He whispered in my ear the whole time, telling me how close we were to holding our boy.

And at 10:27pm, my beautiful son was born in the operating room. And I cried. A lot. And I'm crying again now, as he snores on my chest and I remember the most magical and wonderful moment of my life. It didn't go exactly according to plan, but it was perfect, and I wouldn't change one single thing about it.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

A very new beginning

There's a new little life in the Hoover household, and so many exciting things are happening. Things worth documenting. Things worth sharing. Thus, a blog must be born. Hopefully, this blog will be a place to post pictures of our little family as our son grows up, and to share stories about what we are all up to. This is such an exciting time for us, and we want to be able to share it with all of the people that we love.