Welcome Mara Hope! Dishing about my birth story, my other kids, etc.! Newborn photos, baby girl, newborn photography, newborn girl!

My sweet Mara Hope is two weeks old already {how did that happen?!} and we couldn’t be any more in love with her. Since napping has been my highest priority during the day {for real}, it has taken me a little longer to share an in-depth update with you all, but here it is! There will be more in the upcoming weeks, but for now here’s the scoop on her birth, her name, how my other kids are adjusting and how I’m feeling!

Birth Story

Well, just like the rest of this pregnancy, Mara decided to make her way into the world in a different way than the rest of my kids. With all three of my other babies, as soon as my water broke they were born within the hour. No joke, after a few hours of labor, my water broke at home with my first baby {Bethany} and she was in my arms  fourteen minutes after arriving at the hospital. So, needless to say the #1 thing I try to avoid is my water breaking at home, because I am so not interested in having my baby in the car. Like not at all.

Well, at my 39 week appointment my doctor swept my membranes to try to get things started {which totally worked with Naomi, and I was so ready to be done with this pregnancy that I was looking forward to this appointment very, very much}! Sure enough the next day my body started showing signs of going into labor. All day long my back ached and I felt “contracty” {yep I’m making up words now}. Ritch had a commitment Thursday night that was supposed to go pretty late, so I kindly asked him to stay home, because I just felt like something could happen. 

Well, after a relaxing night with the kids we got ourselves ready for bed. I texted my sweet friend and told her that even though I felt like I could potentially be in labor, I shouldn’t need her until the morning. I curled up next to Ritch and after about 3 minutes I told him that I was definitely contracting, but again, didn’t expect to need to go to the hospital until the morning. Then, literally 30 seconds later I felt a pop and I exclaimed, “My water just broke!” We jumped up and immediately burst into action {because I was sure I was going to have this baby within the hour}! Ritch called my friend and asked her to come over. Then called my neighbor to come over until friend A could get here. We were out the door in 5 minutes and my body went into total shock. I was shaking uncontrollably but could tell I wasn’t going into labor the way I had the other three times. So we just prayed that this baby would wait to make her appearance until we got to the hospital.

And sure enough wait she did. I got there and was only dilated to a 3, which to most women would be discouraging…but it was exactly what I needed to hear for my body to calm down and for me to relax. I spent the night walking around trying to get things going, and I progressed to almost a 6 until my labor completely stopped. No more contractions, no more progress. By this point I was super discouraged, because {as I’ve said before} I’ve given birth to all of my kids naturally and I avoid medical interventions at all costs. But, my water had been broken for close to 12 hours, and it was time to get this baby out.

Welcome Mara Hope! Dishing about my birth story, my other kids, etc.! Newborn photos, baby girl, newborn photography, newborn girl!

Thankfully, by the time all this happened it was normal hours on a weekday, so I was able to consult with my OB {and not the doctor on call} about what to do. She told me that we needed to start pitocin to get things moving. We waited as long as we could but agreed it was time to do something. Once the pitocin started labor moved really quickly. About two hours later we were holding our sweet baby girl in our arms and all the stress of the night melted away. I was grateful that piton was the only intervention I needed, and that Mara made it here safely with the best delivery I’ve ever had {barely any tearing at all} with my own doctor {who I am absolutely in love with}!

Her Name

If you’ve been on this pregnancy journey with me, then you know how stressed I was about naming this baby! In the end it came down to two names that I wasn’t really “in love” with, but liked well enough. Since I didn’t have a strong opinion I defaulted to Ritch, who much preferred the name Mara. I was worried I would just feel “meh” about it for the rest of her life, but that’s SO not the case!  Now, I absolutely love her name. 

Welcome Mara Hope! Dishing about my birth story, my other kids, etc.! Newborn photos, baby girl, newborn photography, newborn girl!

All of our kids have biblical names that are Hebrew in origin. Bethany and Naomi were my absolute favorite girls’ names ever. And if you didn’t know, the bible isn’t full of awesome female names that you haven’t seen time and time again {sorry to all my Sarahs and Abbys out there lol}! So why Mara?

Well, in the book of Ruth {my favorite book in the Bible}, Ruth refuses to leave her mother-in-law Naomi after the death of their husbands {and Noami’s sons}. They return to Bethlehem as poor widows, and people remark saying, “Is that Naomi?” {which means sweet} Naomi replies,

“Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. I went away full, and the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi, when the Lord has testified against me and the Almighty has brought calamity upon me?”

Welcome Mara Hope! Dishing about my birth story, my other kids, etc.! Newborn photos, baby girl, newborn photography, newborn girl!

You may think it’s strange, that we’d name our daughter Mara when it means bitter. But that’s what I love so much about her middle name — Hope. The book of Ruth is all about the way God redeems Naomi and Ruth in a seemingly hopeless situation, and it points to Jesus as the ultimate Redeemer for all mankind. Ruth goes on to marry Boaz, who rescues both of the women out of their poverty. The women of the town now exclaim,

“Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you this day without a redeemer, and may his name be renowned in Israel! He shall be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age…”

Naomi becomes the grandmother of Obed, who was the father of Jesse, the father of King David! What an absolutely beautiful picture of God’s love for us. The idea of “Bitter Hope” makes me tear up every time I think about it or tell someone why we chose the name Mara. Even in the most desperate, destitute, and hopeless situations in our lives, God is with us and He is good. Also, I feel like I have slowly come out of a “bitter” season since having Naomi almost two years ago. I have felt hope and peace that only comes from God, so to me, her name is perfect.

Welcome Mara Hope! Dishing about my birth story, my other kids, etc.! Newborn photos, baby girl, newborn photography, newborn girl!

One other reason I love the name Mara is it’s connection to the name Naomi! I love that my two sweet girls that are so close in age have names that have such a significant meaning to one another!

My Kids

Lets just say that sweet little Mara is not lacking in the love department, like at all. She has three older siblings who are eager to hold her all day long! I’ve heard people ask, “How can kids born into the same family be so different from one another?!” Well, let me just tell you that every time you have a new baby your family is not the same as it was before. Bethany was born into a family of two adults as an only child, Mara was born into a family of 5 crazy people with chaos all around. While Ritch and I are still the parents, we’re not the same people we were 6 years ago, and our family is definitely not the same either.

Welcome Mara Hope! Dishing about my birth story, my other kids, etc.! Newborn photos, baby girl, newborn photography, newborn girl!

Bethany

Honestly, Bethany is the one who is the most excited, but also seems to be having the hardest time adjusting to a new baby! She would literally hold Mara all day long and never put her down. It’s so sweet to see how much she loves her. However, she has been super moody and emotional, like over the top. I think it’s because, out of all the kids, she feels the changes the most. She’s old enough to notice things like Mommy sleeping in longer, the amount of time it takes to feed Mara during the day, the interruption to our normal schedule, etc. Ritch and I are trying to be intentional about making her feel extra special. We are constantly telling her how grateful we are that she is our oldest daughter and how important her role is as the biggest kid in the house!

Welcome Mara Hope! Dishing about my birth story, my other kids, etc.! Newborn photos, baby girl, newborn photography, newborn girl!

Gabe

Gabe is hilarious. He wants to hold Mara…for like 10 minutes. Then he just wants to box with daddy and build towers. He’s having the typical 4-year-old boy reaction to a new baby in the house. “She’s cool, now lets do something else.” LOL!

Welcome Mara Hope! Dishing about my birth story, my other kids, etc.! Newborn photos, baby girl, newborn photography, newborn girl!

Naomi

Honestly I was the most nervous about Naomi, because we have a super special bond and she’s completely a mommy’s girl. She is also our least obedient, most time consuming child…to put it lightly. LOL! She’s reacting much better than I thought she would. The youngest always bonds more with Daddy when we have a new baby, and that has definitely happened {it’s about time Naomi lol}! Ritch has also been super awesome in helping me still be able to snuggle Naomi to bed and give her the attention I know she needs from me. So we’ll see if things change, but for now I’ll say she’s really adjusting great! She is a little confused by a few things, like every time I nurse Mara, Naomi just stands there and says “bite boob.” LOL but I can’t expect a not-yet-two-year-old to understand certain things just yet! 😉

Welcome Mara Hope! Dishing about my birth story, my other kids, etc.! Newborn photos, baby girl, newborn photography, newborn girl!

Ritch

I’m crying before I even start typing this section. If you didn’t know, I truly believe I have the best husband on the planet. He has been Mr. Wonderful the past two weeks and if I tried to tell you everything I’m grateful for about him this blog post would never end. Ritch has served me in every way possible. He bathes the two youngest kids every night {not an easy task}, makes sure the older kids don’t wake me up in the mornings when I’m sleeping after a long night of feeding, has kept the house clean and everyone fed and happy, etc. etc. He even lets my cold but sweaty self {hello hormones} crowd his side of the bed to get warm in the middle of the night after a feeding session! Literally the first week after Mara’s birth I felt like all I did was sit on the couch and snuggle her, which I absolutely love doing and which wouldn’t have been possible without my husband so thoroughly taking care of things around here. He is the best man I know. Period.

Not only has he served me in every practical way, but emotionally he has cared for me so well. Postpartum can be a tricky time for me, and I feel so loved and appreciated by Ritch I can’t even express it in words. When you feel like a milk bag and your whole body hurts, sweet hugs and kisses from your spouse are life-giving. He reminds me how thankful he is that I carried our babies and that I’m now feeding our baby and it makes me feel so loved. Because while I do it with absolute and complete JOY, it’s such an affirming feeling when your husband acknowledges that caring for a newborn can be a rough job sometimes.

Ritch has cuddled me when I cry for no reason, and has been patient with me when I get frustrated and blame it all on him {when it’s not at all his fault}. He has been quick to remind me that being me is ok, and to not compare myself to how other women adjust to having a new baby. I feel so loved and so blessed. Thank you babe, you’re #1.

Welcome Mara Hope! Dishing about my birth story, my other kids, etc.! Newborn photos, baby girl, newborn photography, newborn girl!

Me

I am feeling better, by FAR, after this delivery than all my others. I seriously feel like I could go run 5 miles {I won’t} or climb a mountain {again, not doing it}! I barely tore so that whole healing process has been so much better. And I don’t know what else could be contributing factors, but I have next to no pain or discomfort. The trickiest thing for me has been forcing myself to rest and accept help from others when I feel so good. But I know that in order to keep on feeling great, I need to let my body continue to heal without overdoing it. And even though I feel like I could run 5 miles, in actuality, a walk around Costco was quite enough for me for one day! LOL!

Welcome Mara Hope! Dishing about my birth story, my other kids, etc.! Newborn photos, baby girl, newborn photography, newborn girl!

Mara 

(Pronounced Mar-Uh….where “mar” rhymes with car and “uh” is the sound the “u” makes in the word “up”) I think part of the reason I am feeling so good is that Mara is an amazing baby. She reminds me a lot of Bethany as a newborn. Super chill, calm and ready to roll with the punches. She lets her siblings hold her without fussing. She even lets me put her in a bouncy seat {something Gabe and Naomi would have absolutely no part in} so I can make lunch or do other things that I can’t do while I’m holding her. She was my biggest baby {just over 8 lbs} which I think really helps with the whole contentment thing. Seriously, she outgrew her newborn clothes when she was one week old. Yikes!

Mara is nursing  like a champ and, as far as newborns go…sleeping really well! I typically feed her twice during the night….and have gotten a couple {much needed} 4-5 hour stints of continuous sleep which have helped me recover and given me the energy I’ve needed to make it to nap time!

We’re all in love with sweet Mara Hope, and grateful to have her in our family!

P.S. this adorable newborn outfit is from Oh So Vera

They have some SUPER cute clothes for newborns and kids! Check them out!

 

Now get ready for cuteness overload….

Welcome Mara Hope! Dishing about my birth story, my other kids, etc.! Newborn photos, baby girl, newborn photography, newborn girl!

Welcome Mara Hope! Dishing about my birth story, my other kids, etc.! Newborn photos, baby girl, newborn photography, newborn girl!

Welcome Mara Hope! Dishing about my birth story, my other kids, etc.! Newborn photos, baby girl, newborn photography, newborn girl!

Welcome Mara Hope! Dishing about my birth story, my other kids, etc.! Newborn photos, baby girl, newborn photography, newborn girl!

Welcome Mara Hope! Dishing about my birth story, my other kids, etc.! Newborn photos, baby girl, newborn photography, newborn girl!

Welcome Mara Hope! Dishing about my birth story, my other kids, etc.! Newborn photos, baby girl, newborn photography, newborn girl!

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