Sunday, October 12, 2014


Novalee is now almost 3 months old but I have not posted any pics. I know bad mommy! It has super crazy around here because 3 weeks after having Nova I found out I had gallstones, a lot of them, and they were causing me so much pain I had to have surgery 4 weeks postpartum. Surgery went well except that they also found a hernia when they went in so they fixed that too while they were in there. I am now doing great. Unfortunately about 6 weeks post surgery we also found out Brent had a hernia also so about a week ago he had surgery and is still recovering. Everything went well with his surgery also though and hopefully now we can resume "normal" life again.

Novalee has been a champ through the whole process though and I was even able to continue breastfeeding throughout my surgical recovery. It was hard to do because I still had pain and couldn't hold Nova across my tummy to nurse so I had to do the football hold for a couple weeks. I am still breast feeding and am super happy because this is the longest I have lasted with breastfeeding! Yay! Nova started sleeping 5 hr. stretches at night when she was 5 weeks old and has even done some 7 hr. stretches in there too. I am so shocked because non of the kids have ever slept longer that 3 hr, stretches until they were 1!!! She is a happy baby  and loves to talk. Now she is a pretty easy baby whereas the first 5 weeks she was very high maintenance and would only sleep in a wrap while being walked around the room. It was exhausting so we are glad she grew out of that stage. Anyways enough blabbling here are some pics. Oh! She weighed 11 lbs at her 2 mo. visit and Dr. said she is very healthy and looking great. She is also in the 81% for her height!!!

1 mo. old

Her favorite place.

Sorry it's blurry.

"I hate this coat!!!"


Tummy Time

Novalee Sage's Birth Story

Well, this birth story is very different from all of our others. To start off with we planned a homebirth. I had a natural, unmedicated birth with Rhea and loved how quick recovery was so I decided why not have Novalee in the comfort of our own home. This way we would not have to worry about finding a babysitter in the middle of the night, and our other kiddos could be and feel like they were part of the whole process. We prepared the kids beforehand by showing them homebirth videos that were appropriate on youtube and talking to them about the whole process. We told them it would be completely natural and fine for Mommy to be making noises and maybe even scream and that they didn't need to be scared. We also told them they were free to be in the room or if they felt uncomfortable they could be in another room and that it was entirely up to them.

I was fully expecting this baby to be born at 38wks, just like all her siblings so when 38 weeks rolled around and went away and I still had not had any signs of labor I was a little shocked and disappointed. I had been very uncomfortable the whole pregnancy because I carried her very low. My midwife, Lisa, was always shocked by how low she was at each visit. I tried walking a lot and bouncing on my yoga ball, red raspberry leaf tea (to strengthen contractions), but alas to no avail. Finally at my 39 wk. visit I decided to have my midwife do a membrane strip, at this time I was 3cm and 50% effaced. She did the strip at 3 or 4 in the afternoon and all evening I had some lower back pain and was still having lots of braxton hicks but nothing timeable or constant.

Finally around 1:30a.m I was awoken by contractions and started timing them. They were every 15 minutes apart for an hour or so then went to every 5-7 minutes for the next couple of hours. At 3 a.m I decided to wake Brent up so we could start getting everything ready. We prepared the bed in case I decided to give birth there; although the plan was to have a waterbirth. Then Brent started to get the tub all set up in the dining room which he had prepared the night before by taking apart the table and putting it down stairs. While Brent did that I continued to labor on my birthing ball. Around 4 a.m. I called Lisa and let her know my contractions were now 4 min. apart lasting 1 minute so she said she was on her way. While waiting for Lisa, Brent realized he forgot to put the liner in the tub before filling it, so we had to stop and try to put the liner on by sliding it under as much water as we could then kept filling it.

My midwife's assistant showed up first and then Lisa and a doula whom is trying to become an asst. midwife showed up shortly after. They all came in very quietly and introduced themselves and just let me do my thing. They checked the baby's heart rate every hour or so and checked my blood pressure and heart rate intermittently also. Both baby and I were doing great every check. I have no idea of the timeline after this because I was trying to stay pretty focused and was using my Hypnobabies techniques during contractions (thinking open, open, open, and letting my body "melt during contractions.) Eventually it was 7 a.m and the kids all started waking up and coming downstairs. I was really hoping I would have had baby by the time they got up, but no such luck. The kids were all very excited once they saw that it was finally time to meet their sister. Of course as the time went on they kept asking,"When's baby going to be here, this is taking so long!" Which I was also thinking.

I decided to have Lisa check my progress and found out I was still only 3cm, but was 100% effaced. I asked if I could get in the pool, so Lisa and her asst.'s started to warm the pool back up and when it was ready I got in. Let me tell you that warm water felt so good and helped minimize my contractions and I loved it! Unfortunately, after being in the pool for a little while my contractions were not intensifying and were in fact coming less frequently. Boo! Lisa said I should probably get out and walk around and try to let gravity help me out. I did want labor to progress, but I was not too happy that I had to get out of the pool.

I walked around for awhile during the next few hours and then had Lisa check for progress again. I was 7 cm. and baby was a little lower. At that time Lisa asked me if it was ok to break my water and I said, "Yes, anything to get this moving!" She broke my water which was nice and clear. After that my contractions were a lot stronger and I was happy to finally be progressing and see the light at the end of the tunnel. I decided to try getting back in the pool and again I loved it! I stayed in for an hour or so, but it was still stalling my labor so I had to get out again! Ugh!

This time Lisa said to do some lunges on the stairs, squat, and sit on my birthing ball to try to bring baby down. Let me tell you, lunges during contractions = no fun! The doula,, Jeanine,  helped guide me through the exercises and she was great she apply hip pressure and massaged my lower back where I was feeling all the contractions. I should probably mention Brent was by my side the whole time trying to remind me to relax and breathe. He was really great at reminding me to use my Hypnobabies.

Finally after about an hour or so of this I felt immense pressure and felt like I needed to start pushing, so they once again got the water in the pool back up to temp. which seemed like an eternity! I sat on the toilet as recommended by Lisa and waited and that was awful. The toilet was not comfortable to be on during contractions and that's where I lost it. I was telling Brent, "I can't do this!" He gently would remind me I had done it before and I was doing it and that it was almost over. I was crying and just being a big baby at this point. I believe I even used some expletives and Brent and Lisa were trying not to laugh.

Finally, I got into the pool and it was time to push. I started to push and it took me a couple times to remember exactly how to push effectively, but I got it. After about 3 pushes I felt her head pop out and I continued to push, but it was harder than I remembered it being to get her body the rest of the way out. That's when Lisa got very serious and said, "we need to get her out of the tub, now!" I kinda panicked because I had no idea how I was going to get out of the tub with a baby sticking half way out of me! I looked at Brent like how do I do that when all of a sudden he just scooped me up and laid me on the floor next to the tub. I pushed a few times while Lisa did something ( at the time I didn't know what was going on) and out came Novalee, almost exactly 12 hrs. after I had felt the first contraction . Later I found out Nova had managed to not only wrap the cord around her neck but criss- cross it around her chest and back also, which is why I had a hard time getting her body out. At this point we told the older kids to go to the living room and wait.

I asked if Nova was ok and that's when Lisa handed Novalee to me by placing her on my chest. Nova was so alert and didn't scream or cry she just looked around the room. I said, "Hi Nova," and she looked up at me and we made eye contact for the first time and it's a moment I will never forget. She looked so calm and happy. At this point I looked up at Brent and was surprised to see him sobbing. He has teared up at each one of our children's birth but never had I seen him look so relieved, and happy, and scared all at the same time. That last part was a little stressful for everyone, but it was handled so well by Lisa and the midwives. I felt safe the whole time and was calm that they knew how to handle the situation. We called Tyra back in and she helped cut the cord. Then went back into the living room to wait while Lisa had to manually extract the placenta.  I bled a little more than she would have liked, but she and the midwives did awesome and after about 20 min. I was told I had not torn at all! ( I also didn't feel the "ring of fire" this time because of the water!) They got me cleaned up and helped me up to the couch where Novalee and I spent the rest of the evening cuddling, The older kids gathered around us too and were so excited to finally see their baby sister. They were all amazed at how cute and tiny she was.

The midwives cleaned up for the next hour while we all got to know little Novalee then they came in and weighed and checked her. She weighed in at 7 1/2 lbs. 21 1/4 " long and was as healthy as could be. I also forgot to mention right after birth while they were still cleaning me up they made me drink 2 cups of water with honey it to restore my energy. I was still feeling very , so Lisa made me drink another huge cup of water with honey and then gave me Mother's Milk Tea and made sure I drank it and ate a sandwich before she left. She then told me she had never seen a cord wrapped like that and that she was glad everything worked out okay.  We chatted for awhile, they checked my stats a few times, helped me to the bathroom, and made sure Nova nursed for the first time then they gathered all their supplies and left.

It was overall an awesome experience and I am so glad I got a chance to have a homebirth, It was so much more personal and intimate. I loved having all the kids there and being able share that with them. They all said I did a great job and said they actually expected me to yell more so they were pleasantly surprised. :) No one was scared, except maybe Brent :), and our home was just full of joy!

P.S. In all the hecticness in the last moments we forgot to take any pics! I promise to add some soon.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

4th of July

This 4th we did pretty much the same as last year. We went to the Lenexa City parade in the morning. Came home and had a BBQ for lunch and then chilled all day until the fireworks, which started at 9:30ish. The parade really isn't the greatest but the kids still love going and getting lots of candy.:) The fireworks were also awesome as always! All in all it was a great 4th. Oh, I forgot the girls and I painted our nails like the american flag 'cause that's how we roll.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Kai's Birthday

Kai turned 10 this year! 10 people, like double digits now! Ahhh! Kai is such an awesome kid, he is pretty easy going for the most part, but still takes his role as oldest seriously.:)
About Kai:
1. Kai will often help without being asked especially since I have pregnant because he know it's hard for me to do things.
2. He loves, loves, loves video games and even loves watching other people play for hours.
3. He does not like thunderstorms.
4. He loves Legos and is actually very creative in making little inventions or contraptions using Legos.
5. He wants to be an inventor when he grows up.
6. He is still very small for his age, but we still have hopes he will catch up.:)

Father's Day

Today was Father's Day so we made a little gift for Dad and also bought him an Amazon game controller so he can play games since both our XBOX and Playstation broke. We don't have money to replace those right now so the Amazon games will have to do for awhile,:)
We started the day by going to church where all the kids sang a song to the Father's and then he got a bottle of Cream Soda and a bag of chips that said, "You're all that and a bag of chips." Then the kids each colored a sheet with the words from a song and stapled it onto a bag of Hershey's Hugs & Kisses. After church we ate lunch then gave Daddy his second gift which was the game controller, we gave him his pictures last night. Brent is the best Father! He always makes sure he spends time with the kids and always makes us all laugh and he takes good care of us. We all love him bunches and bunches!!!!!

The pics we made for Daddy's desk at work. The one with me and the Y will be replaced with a pic. from baby when she arrives.:)

Opening the game controller shaped present, what could it be?!

Tyra made Daddy this card using straws. So creative!

Rhea's Birthday

Our little Rhea turned 4 yrs. old this year. She is getting so big so fast and I can't believe she will start Kindergarten in 1 short year!
About Rhea:
1. She still loves her stuffed animal giraffe AKA Buddy. I often overhear her saying "I love you Buddy!"
2. She loves to dress up and would change her clothes 4-5 times a day until I made a rule saying you only get dressed once a day.
3. She will randomally come up to Daddy and I and hug our legs and say "I love you,"
4. She loves the moon and stars.
5. Since she was born she would sit in Daddy's lap while he played video games and to this day still does.
We love Rhea so much and the loving, energetic spirit she brings to our family!

Opening card from Grandma and Grandpa Hillgrove

Jayden reading Rhea her card he made her.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Easter Bunny Came Early!

In our apartment complex they have lots of family activities all year long and this weekend was the Easter celebration. They had pizza and cupcakes for everyone to enjoy, then of course an Easter egg hunt. They split the kids up into age groups so Brent took Tyra and Jayden, I took Rhea and we let Kai take himself.:) They got tons of eggs and some of the eggs had numbers written on the outside making them prize eggs. Some of the prizes they got were parachute men, sunglasses, mini windmills, stuffed bunnies, poppers, and bubbles. It was really great since they were all so eager for Easter, I'm wondering if I still need to do Easter baskets this year!

We were able to convince Rhea to get in the picture with the Easter Bunny this year. Yay!