Monday, February 29, 2016

Our Little Puppy

When I was in my last trimester, I purchased this adorable Puppy Hat and Diaper Cover set from Crochet by Carla on Etsy.  It was exactly what I was looking for.  A friend had offered to take some newborn pictures of our daughter and this was set was going to be perfect for what I had in mind.  I loved the hat and the sweet little tail on her behind.  Great customer service from this Etsy shop and speedy shipping, by the way! 
The photos were finally taken when she was almost two months old.  Baby Brooke was starting to get really fun and interactive at this point.  She cooperated and was awake and alert for the entire photo shoot.  We didn't get too many smiles out of this happy baby, but the photos still turned out absolutely adorable.  I just want to pinch her.  And grab that little puppy dog tail.

Fabletics by Kate Hudson Salar Crop Review

I reviewed the Fabletics Salar Capri and Leggings last fall.  Wow, Kate Hudson absolutely knows what she's doing!!  I absolutely have fallen in love with these running tights.  They are the only thing I have found that stay up around my mid-section.  Especially right now, as I am slowly getting rid of that extra stuff around my tummy from having baby #3.  I love the wide band, the rise (not too low; not too high) and how they stay in place. 
The Salar capri, crop, and leggings come in so many different colors and patterns and several different lengths.  They are perfect for running year round - in all temperatures.  I don't even get hot while running indoors on the treadmill.
Last week I purchased a few more colors and patterns of the Salar Crop.  The cost is a steal and was a great investment in my year-round running wardrobe.  They wash up great, too.  I wear the longer leggings style while working out and just being "mom".  They don't even look like workout gear when paired with something else.
You can thank me later.

Saturday's Step Count

Saturday's step count made me extremely giddy - it was all about fitting "life" in! 50 degrees in February in Wisconsin made it feel like spring - and I tried to spend every possible opportunity outside. I took the dog for a little walk around the neighborhood in the morning - this soon turned into a 7 mile run around our side of town. The dog was thrilled to say the least. I came home and spent time with the kids, pumped and chauffered Little Dude to karate. While he w...as in his thirty minute class, I was able to log an additional 3.5 miles on a nearby trail. I spent some alone time with Little Dude at the library and Costco. Came home and made the kids lunch, showered, put away some laundry. Then I headed on a walk with the three kids and playtime at the neighborhood park. This included a photo shoot with Little Diva. The older two headed home to play outside and then I headed back out on an hour walk with the baby and the dog until the sun started setting. My step count was through the roof after dinner. I finally relaxed, as we enjoyed the evening watching Fuller House on the couch. What a happy day of fitting everything in, making time for everyone and making time for myself, too!

Dog logged a half marathon this weekend

Dog logged 13 miles this weekend.
Dog mom logged 21.5 miles this weekend.

Last weekend, our dog broke off of his leash in the yard before dawn.  The chain in the yard snapped, and the excitement was just too much for him.  He ran all over our neighborhood and further into town.  Luckily he is chipped and tagged.  However, he runs full speed ahead - back and forth across the highway.  We were worried about him getting hit or causing an accident.  After his photo being shared dozens of times on local Facebook groups, phone calls from complete strangers and numerous unsuccessful attempts to find and catch him (he thought it was a game), he finally ended his fun run at someone's home across town.  We were so grateful to receive the phone call that he was caught safe.

If he wanted to just go for a run, I certainly would have taken him!!

Afterall, this past weekend we had beautiful weather.  Temperatures rose to the mid 50's in Wisconsin.  So, the dog logged most of my miles with me.  He was one happy - and tired - pooch.

Dog logged 13 miles this weekend.
Dog mom logged 21.5 miles this weekend.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Running off the Girl Scout Cookies

If you're like me, you've been approached by several adorable little girls or the mothers of those adorable little girls, selling girl scout cookies.  I love what these sales do for these young ladies.  I love that it helps them step outside of their comfort zone and approach family  members and neighbors for sales.  I love the confidence that the sale gives them.  I appreciate the rewards that the next generation is reaping from the annual sales of these cookies. 
I also love these cookies - tremendously.  They are tasty.  I rarely can bring cookies, chips or ice cream into the house, because the serving size is not recognized in my home.  I simply cannot limit myself to two or three cookies.  It's easy for me to devour a whole sleeve - or an entire box on my own.  They somehow disappear into my belly.  They're gone just like that.  Blink.  Leaving my belly full and achy and my heart empty, sad and full of regret.  Why do we do this to ourselves?!
I've been doing tremendously well on working out lately and have really cleaned up my diet.  An eight pound weight loss in nine days left me feeling less bloated and a whole lot better about myself, as I work on getting this baby weight off and fitting into my pants.
In the past few days, I was approached by several friends to purchase girl scout cookies.  And of course I wanted to help support all of these young ladies.  I ordered a couple of boxes here and there .... and then they started arriving.  One by one.  Two by two.
I opened up my favorite package of peanut butter cookies.  And I at one ... two ... a handful.  Then a whole row.  Then and entire friggin box was gone.  An entire box in my tummy.  At the end of an entire day of incredibly clean eating and an active afternoon.  One day after I ran in place for ten miles on the treadmill ... I consumed the number of calories that I burned in one regretful sitting with this empty orange box of cookies sitting next to me.
OK, it's done.  I'm human.  It happens.  But, more are on their way.
Sure, I could have my family eat them.  But, my kids don't need them.  And my hubby consumed an entire box on his own, too.  And I don't trust myself with them.
So, I opted to follow up with my remaining orders and tell them to please donate my cookies to the local food pantry.  And, I will also be giving the leftovers to my grandmother to enjoy.
Today I started my morning with my favorite Naked Juice and a run.  Those three miles are what I needed to set the tone for my day.  I ate lunch at my son's school and packed another Naked Juice, some Harvest Snaps, almonds and an apple.  After some errands and a visit to the library, I also opted not to sit on the couch and try to resist those leftover cookies in my freezer.  I ended up lacing up my running shoes again and headed downstairs for another round of three miles.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Mom Guilt

Do you ever have mom guilt?  Sometimes, I just want to snuggle this little munchkin to pieces.  I want to hold her forever.  When she's awake, I want to bounce her on my lap or play peek-a-boo until she's sick of it.  But her being #3, I've also learned a few things over the past twelve years.  She can't be held all of the time.  She needs to learn to be a little independent human-being.  The earlier that I show her that she can entertain herself and that I am still close-by and that she's safe, the easier things will hopefully be as she grows and develops into a toddler and later an independent and confident young woman.
Sometimes I get sad when I see these big, blue eyes staring at me from the treadmill.  I should go pick her up.  I should run later.  But, as I mentioned in some previous posts, she's watching me.  She's observing my every move.  Literally.

It's so easy to make excuses.  I still try to time things "right".  But sometimes, she doesn't nap when I think she will.  Or she wakes up during my run.  Sometimes her pacifier falls out of her mouth, and I stop the treadmill without hesitation to give it to her and make her content.  Then, I hop back on and push start while she coos next to me.  Occasionally, I will break my run into two - or three - short runs just to get a few miles in and still keep her happy as she observes my every step on the treadmill.  And that's ok.  She's watching me "fit it all in".  She's observing early.

Mom guilt may never go away.  I still try to do most of my workouts or commitments when my older two are at their other household.  But, this little one will be with me 100% of the time now.  I'm looking forward to pushing her in the jogging stroller as she gets older and taking her on little running adventures outdoors.  I want her to explore our city on foot, in a whole new way.  Visit new trails and playgrounds.  Embrace nature together.  I want her to travel with us to destination races and see new sites and cities, just because running has brought us there.
And she seems happy to be along on this little running journey with me.

All smiles during my miles

We have truly been blessed with the happiest baby.  I don't know if being the third child, if she just knows she needs to go with the flow?  Or if she is just that good-natured?  She's truly a blessing.  And that new smile is infectious.  I mean, come on .....
I've tried to include her in my running routine since I got back into the swing of things last month.  I am keeping her bouncy seat next to the treadmill, so that she can join me for my daily runs.  I think it's almost a blessing that our baby monitor doesn't get reception in the basement.  It's nice having her next to me while I workout.  When she's awake, it seems like she's just taking everything in and observing me.  I'm not sure how much she can actually see while she's sitting in her little infant seat.  But, soon enough she will realize that running is what mommy does.  That this is mommy's lifestyle.  She will see that I schedule my workouts just like anything else in life.  That mommy makes time for mommy - just like she takes time for her and her two older siblings.  She will see that mommy struggles with lacing up her shoes some days.  But that mommy feels better after she does it.
Quite often, she is all smiles during my miles ...
Even if she doesn't want to run herself someday, I hope that she will realize how important it is to take care of yourself.  I hope that she embraces a healthy and active lifestyle in some capacity.  And I hope that she finds an immense passion for something, like I have discovered through running.

1:36 mins running in place

I dropped the two older kids off at school this morning.  I got home and had an entire day with nothing to do.  Well, as a busy mom you never have NOTHING to do.  But we had nothing scheduled for the entire day.  I played with and read to my baby.  I ate a light breakfast.  I changed her.  I fed her.  And she drifted off to sleep mid-morning. 
What was I going to do with the next couple of  hours??  I had cleaned the house yesterday.  And, I also finished my grocery shopping.  I didn't even need to pick up my older children from school today, since they will be gone for the next five days.  With only a couple of loads of laundry and a dishwasher to empty, I was feeling a little lost.  I am absolutely loving every minute of being home.  But sometimes you get lost in the dirty diapers, feeding, pumping, and laundry.   The lack of structure gets to me at times, too.  It's like I need some discipline with my time management right now.  I love to snuggle with my baby on the couch while taking in a talk show or a game show.  But, I find that it's easy for me to fall asleep with her in my arms.  There is nothing wrong with that.  And I've enjoyed many of these precious moments.  But, I've found that a quick cat nap can easily turn into two to three hours of deep sleep when I have no where to be.  I was determined not to chill on the couch while she took in her morning nap..
I had a few miles on my agenda.  So, I headed to the basement.
And, ...
1 sleepy baby
1 bottle of PowerAde Zero
1 bottle of water
4 sticks of gum
2 chaffed inner-thighs (oops, forgot the Body Glide!)
1 stop to switch loads of laundry
8 weeks post-partum
and, 1:36 minutes later ...
I finished 10 MILES on the treadmill.
I LOVE when that calorie counter rolls over - YESSSSSS!!!
10 miles staring at this yellow wall.
Running in place.
10 miles staring at this precious, sleeping baby. 
When I got off of the treadmill, I felt better.  And, honestly it wasn't very mind-numbing running in place that long - without a tv in front of me.  My tunes carried me most of the way. But, my thoughts made time pass even faster.  When I hit stop I had a whole mental list of things in my head.  Things to do with the kids.  Things to write about on this blog.  Things to purchase at the store.  Things to say to my husband.  Projects at home.  Things to do for myself before returning to work.
I was recharged.  I felt reenergized - mentally and physically.  "Run" was only one item on my list for the day.  I was more motivated to cross those other tasks off of my list this afternoon.

And when I got on the scale before my post-run shower, it reflected that I have lost eight more pounds of baby weight since last Monday.  That is eight pounds in nine days.  There are still eight more pounds that I am determined to lose before I return to work next month.  Here's to a few more energizing runs over the next couple of weeks to get me there.

Monday, February 15, 2016

LADIES 10K Running Group - Sun Prairie / Madison-East - Starts April 23

LADIES 10K Running Group - Sun Prairie / Madison-East
Saturdays at 7:00 AM – Starts April 23

Register Now: 

This running group is designed to take runners from the 5K to the 10K in eleven weeks.  We will meet together once each week on Saturday mornings from 7:00-8:00 am.  Parks/locations will rotate in Sun Prairie, Deforest and on Madison's Eastside.  Class starts on Saturday, April 23.  Must be able to run/walk 30 mins at first class.

This non-competitive running group is geared towards women of all paces and abilities.  Everyone will run/walk at their own pace and an out-and-back route will be planned, so that the entire group can stick together.  This is a very encouraging and fun atmosphere and is perfect for runners that have run a handful of 5K races.  The training program includes one group run each week plus two additional runs on your own.

Interested in joining with a friend??  Choose the Running Buddies registration option for a discounted rate! 

We will be training for the DMB Freedom Run 10K on Monday, July 4 in Deforest.  This race is optional and is not included with your session registration.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Her Half Madison Discount Code - Womens Half Marathon

You may have seen my recent post about serving as a 2016 ambassador for a womens half marathon in Madison this summer.  Her Madison Half race weekend will take place June 24-26.
Events include both the 5K and the half marathon.  The weekend experience includes a welcome reception on Friday evening.  There will be a shakeout run, morning yoga and race expo on Saturday.  The run and walking events will take place on Sunday morning.  It's a jam-packed weekend full of fun for women of every fitness level.
If you are a fan of Fellow Flowers, there will also be flowers blooming EVERYWHERE at this event.  You will be surrounded by encouragement, motivation and women pursuing their dreams and accomplishing their goals.  Be prepared to be motivated from the start line to the finish line.
I recently stopped by Endurance House to pick up my ambassador jacket, technical top and discount cards.  I've been enjoying running in my new ambassador gear.  And, I can't wait for you to get ahold of this discount!  Who doesn't love saving money on a race?!

Register Now:
Save $5.00
Discount Code:  5AMBASSADOR
Currently (2/12/16), the races are at the following capacity:
5K (15%)
Half Marathon (35%)
Weekend Experience (65%)
Hop on over to the Her Madison Half Facebook page and commit to running.


You may see me running around town ... frequently ... in this amazing Her Madison jacket.  It doesn't get much girlier than this!  A few weeks post-partum, I enjoyed eight blissful miles in this jacket.  It helped me to have a goal on my race schedule finally.  Something to focus on.
I can't wait to participate in this event with other women - just like you and myself.   Women who struggle with "fitting it all in".  Busy moms.  Busy wives/spouses. Busy professionals.  We run before dawn.  Over our lunch hour.  In between appointments and commitments.  In the evening after the family is in bed.  We get it done.  For ourselves.  And it makes us better women because of it.  I've already reigned in a few friends and clients to participate with me.  I hope that you will consider joining us.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Today's Non-Scale Victory

Today's non-scale victory ....
I fit into a pair of pants.
Skinny jeans.
That zip shut.
That button close.
Not the size I want to be in.
But they fit.
And they close.
A victory.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Baby Brooke's Birth Story

On December 23, 2015 we were scheduled for an early-morning induction with my third child; my husband's first.  I was 39 weeks and 1 day into my pregnancy.  Since this was my third pregnancy with gestational diabetes, I was well familiar with the induction process and how long it could take.  I had gained 27 pounds with this pregnancy - approximately half of what I gained with my first two pregnancies.  I ran until I was 34 weeks along.  At my appointment the previous week I was one centimeter dilated and slightly effaced.  I hadn't made any additional progress for the past couple of weeks.

The two nights prior to the induction, I didn't sleep well.  It was really that I was uncomfortable.  I was just anxious - and very excited to meet our baby girl.  I would toss and turn all night in bed and try to sleep on either couch downstairs.  I would read books and eliminate screen time.  But nothing worked.  The night before her arrival, I slept a total of fourty-five minutes on our couch.  The induction was scheduled for 7:30 am.  I finally got off of the couch at 5:00 am and took a hot shower.  My husband was also up and barely slept.  My kids were up shortly after and eager to meet their baby sister.  My daughter (just turned 12 yrs) was excited to take the last day off of school before winter break to be present for her sister's birth.  My son (almost 8 yrs) decided that he wanted to attend his school's holiday celebration, so we would be dropping him off at his dad's at 6:45 am and his dad would be bringing him up to the hospital at lunch time.  He was scheduled to leave school at 11:00 am.

We arrived at the hospital a little early.  We checked in at labor and delivery and they immediately showed us to our room and had me get on a hospital gown.  The room was dimly lit and it was still dark outside.  The room was quiet.  I couldn't believe that this moment that we had so impatiently been anticipating was finally here.  The three of us just looked around in amazement and smiled.
My daughter got comfortable on the couch with some books and my ipad.  After meeting my first nurse, Angel and the resident, they started discussing the induction process.  They were going to be inserting a dissolvable pill to begin the induction.  Depending on progress, they would check me again in four hours and decide if another pill was needed.  This was also done with my son's delivery, so I was well familiar with the waiting process.  At 8:15, the nurse put the IV needle in me, which never ended up getting used this time.  With my previous pregnancies I also needed Pitocin.  The pill was also put in place at this time.   This should begin the dilation process. I was to be checked for progress around 12:15. 
At 9:00, my parents arrived.  At 9:15, my friend Tina arrived.  She had one child of her own, but always wanted to witness someone else's labor and delivery.  So we had her join us for our baby girl's birth.  She would also be taking photos for us and writing down updates to document her arrival.  At 10:00 my younger sister arrived.  And at 10:30 my mother-in-law arrived.
I was asked by the nurse regarding my pain level at 11:10 and said that it was at a level one.  I was starting to feel like something was happening and was having light contractions.  The doctor came in shortly to meet us and was laughing about our room full of people (and support).  After some introductions and updates, he left the room.  All of the women in the room joked about how good looking he was.
Around 11:30, everyone else was getting hungry.  I was enjoying my ice water and ice chips.  At one point, I also was given some sugar-free Jello.  Before my support crew headed down to the cafeteria for lunch, they went downstairs to meet up with my son in the lobby.  He was so excited to be present and I was happy that he got to enjoy his party at school and spend time at the hospital - something that he was emotionally torn about.  Poor kid. 

Contractions were getting a little stronger and I was starting to get annoyed and a little less comfortable.  I loved my support system, but all of the noise and chatter was starting to bother me.  Luckily, I had made a birthing playlist, just like I do for running.  I put in my headphones and listened to several Mumford and Sons songs over the next hour.  Everyone headed downstairs to lunch and my husband stayed with me.
The nurses came in frequently to check on me and made updates on the computer.  But, otherwise the room became quiet as I listened to my tunes and closed my eyes.  I got in my "zone" and my "place", just like I do with marathons.  I was focused.  The nurse expressed how focused I was at several points.  From the beginning of the process, I expressed that I wanted to have another medication-free birth and avoid an epidural as well.  When my wishes were expressed to each nurse or doctor that came in the room, the original nurse continued to mention how possible this was when there were looks of doubt on their face and how I did this with my previous two pregnancies. 
Family started returning from the cafeteria, just as my pain got more intense.  I finally had my mother-in-law take my son to the waiting room to await his sister's arrival.  My sister's boyfriend was to be arriving at the airport for Christmas later that afternoon.  So, my dad and sister left after lunch to get ready and drive to Milwaukee to pick him up.  Eventually, my daughter took her bag of goodies and came over to kiss me, an said "I think it's time for me to go".  She's a smart kiddo.  She went to join her brother in the waiting room.  My husband, mom and friend were staying with me for the arrival.
I was still listening to my ipod.  As Mumford and Sons' "Ghosts That We Knew" and "Below My Feet" played, something was starting to come over me as the tears began flooding.  These are two songs that also make me very emotional during my long runs.  I often play them during the last hour of marathons and they bring tears to my eyes.  The music is so powerful.  It moves me.  The music was just as emotional during the laboring process.  I remember wiping my tears and saying "I don't know why I am crying?".  It wasn't the pain.  It was just all of the excitement, anticipation and love I felt.  It was emotional and overwhelming.  I started breathing heavier. I was checked at 12:25 PM by the nurse and was 2 cm dilated and 70% effaced.  I wasn't really in any pain.  Just getting uncomfortable from each contraction.

At 1:12 PM, the resident, Dr. Stevens, opted to break my water and said that I was making enough progress on my own and didn't need another pill inserted.  This was happening.  I was actually going to be meeting our daughter soon.  It didn't take long and I was starting to really FEEL those contractions and need to breath through them.  I soon turned off my ipod and focused on each contraction as it passed.  My mom and my friend continued to comment on how intense they were getting and how much closer they were getting together.  How I was making progress.  I was losing track of time and what was going on.  My husband held my hand on and off throughout the process.  I instructed everyone that I didn't want my feet touched or rubbed at all prior to getting to the hospital.  So no one bothered with that! 
Two new nurses arrived and Angel gave them an update on my labor.  At 3:30 PM the contractions were getting very intense and I wanted to make more progress internally.  They had me lay on my side for a few moments, which made them more and more intense.  They asked if I wanted to take a walk.  I thought I could stand up and would try it.  After breathing through a few contractions that ran together, I stood up and got to the foot of the bed.  I eventually walked across the room which seemed like the longest room ever.  I ended up at a oak rocking chair and holding on as I stood up.  I breathed through contractions as I stood up and moaned.  The nurse told me that if I wanted to walk the halls, that I needed to wear socks or slippers.  After having someone fumble through my suitcase for my fancy new slipper socks, the nurse gave me some fuzzy red slipper socks that she had.  I breathed intensely as she tried to get them on my feet.  And I bent over in pain as contraction after contraction arrived.  I remember think that this was terrible pain, but that I could do this.  I ran through difficult pain during marathons and had two other children without medication.  I could do this.  But, the pain was getting even worse.
Yeah, I never made it to that walk down the hallway.  I labored the rest of the time in the delivery room.  I sat in the rocking chair and decided it felt better to stand back up and push through the pain.  I ended up against the wall and window nearby and breathed through even more intense contractions.  I was getting louder with my moaning and my breathing.  The nurses kept documenting my progress in the computer.  I heard and vaguely saw another nurse preparing a table for delivery on the other side of the room.
They asked me if I wanted to try the birthing ball.  And I was open to that, as I remembered it easing my pain with my daughter.  I made my way back near the bed, when my bag of waters really started draining everywhere all over the floor.  My mom was frantically looking for paper towel to clean it up, when I finally told her that it would be fine and the nurses would take care of it when they came back into the room.
I sat on the birthing ball and was starting to sweat tremendously.  I was feeling more pressure in my bottom as I sat on the ball and felt the counter-pressure from the ball.  My mom mentioned that she thought it would be about another hour until the baby arrived.  I sure was hoping I was making progress from that 2 cm.  At this point, our first nurse went home and wished us luck and a Merry Christmas.  While I was on the ball I held the bottom of the bed and remember moaning and thinking that I had never been this vocal during the other two births.  But, I couldn't help myself from making sounds as I breathed through each contraction.  I recall rotating my head in circles and thinking to myself just how demonic I must look as my family though my head was spinning (literally).  I was so hot.  Soooo hot.  My mom kept asking if I wanted a washcloth, but I declined.  Minutes later a nurse came in and I said that I had to get those fuzzy socks off of my feet.  She removed them and eventually put a cold washcloth on my head.  She new better than me.  I started to feel cooler immediately.  I was told that I wasn't going to need Pitocin and that I was laboring well on my own.
After a short time on the ball, I noticed that the windows were still open and that the sun was starting to set.  I hadn't looked at the clock, but I figured it was approaching 4:00 PM.  Well, soon the clock struck 4:00 and the nurse came back in to see if I wanted to be checked.  I remember telling her that I better have made progress.  After struggling to get back on the bed, I said that if I was only at 4 or 5 cm that I wasn't sure if I could last too much longer without anything.  I was doubting myself.  She said that I was 100% effaced and at a -1 stage and .... 9 1/2 cm dilated.  Thank goodness!  I was almost there.  I had done it.
At 4:10, she asked me if I felt like pushing.  I said a little bit.  At 4:11, the doctor and resident came back in.  I said to him, "Boy, I am glad to see you!".   Everyone chuckled.  I was checked again and he told me I couldn't and that I had to continuing breathing through the next couple of contractions.  I had a 1/2 cm to go and that if I pushed that I would most likely tear.  Something that I didn't want to do.  The doctor and the resident brought the table around to the foot of the bed.  Bright lights were shining down on me.  It was show time.  I was surrounded by so much love from my husband, mother and friend.
Within in one minute, at 4:12, I was told that I could push.  I had a few controlled pushes.  With each one, I could hear my mom and my friend oooh and ahh as I made progress and they saw more and more of my daughter's head.  My husband was supporting me up near my head and was cheering me on, having no clue what emotions he would feel in these next few moments as he met his daughter.  The doctor commented how controlled and "toned" my pushing was, and everyone including the doctors attributed that to my running.  Go figure.  I pushed a total of eight minutes.
Eight minutes later, at 4:20 PM, our baby girl arrived.

Brooke Olivia.

She came out crying.  I don't even recall them suctioning her.  She was healthy.  And strong.  She was beautiful.  A head full of hair.  A perfectly round head from a speedy delivery.  And curious eyes lined with long eyelashes.  The nurses laid her on my chest and removed the top of my gown.  We bonded with skin-to-skin contact.  It was amazing.  Within the hour, the nurses were teaching me to nurse, something that I had not attempted with my other two children.  I had grown and nourished her for nine months inside of my body, brought her into this world through the most excruciating and exhilarating process and now I was still the one helping her survive in this big, big world. 

Each time I have a child, I wonder how my love can double for another little human being.  But it does.

After some time bonding, my friend went to the waiting room to get my children and my mother-in-law.  The kids were so excited to meet their baby sister.  They returned to the room all quiet with anticipation and huge smiles on their faces.  It was amazing.  Nothing can describe it.  I will never forget it.

After getting to know our Little Brooke, she was taken behind a curtain to get cleaned up and weighed.  She was 7 lb 13 oz of pure perfection.  And 20.5 inches long.  It was amazing to see the kids bond with her.  To see tears of joy.  I finally was able to see my husband become a father as he held that little girl in his arms.
Our happy little family just grew by one.  I am now a mommy to three little people.