Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Newborn & New Mom Essentials

These last six weeks with Henrik have been (overall) so great! There have definitely been some hard moments (like the time he stayed up until 6 am), but there have been far more fun times. He's just the best and I love him to pieces.

Many of my mom and mom-to-be friends have asked me about different baby products I'd recommend, so I thought I'd do a whole post on what I've found to be the most useful! These are the items that have made the transition to motherhood much easier for Henrik & me. They have all been very useful and I'd totally suggest getting any/all of them. In the interest of full disclosure, I have indicated which ones we received for free but rest assured, all opinions are my own!

For Baby 

MAM Newborn Pacifiers (c/o): My friend recommended these pacifiers to me because they're a little bit smaller than the green Avent ones so it's easier for newborns to keep them in their mouths. Henrik loooooves his and he has had no issues with nursing or taking bottles since using a pacifier.

Puppy pads: With only two changing pad covers, these have been lifesavers for us. The first week we had HMS home, I was washing the changing pads almost everyday! But now we just fold one onto the changing pad and it keeps everything muuuuch cleaner for longer stretches of time. Anything that helps reduce the amount of laundry I have to do is aces in my book.

Hunky smiling and hanging out on his puppy pad. Just today he made a giant mess on the pad as I was in the midst of changing his diaper. Had it not been for the puppy pad, the changing cover totally would have been ruined.

Snoo: Honestly, this bassinet has been the best baby buy so far. We decided to use the bulk of our baby budget on this and figured if it didn't work, we could return it (you get a 30-day trial). You should explore their website and watch their videos on how/why it works to help keep your baby asleep because they can explain it better than I can, but we have found that it works really well for Henrik. It doesn't always put him right to sleep if he's colicky (I mean it's not a total miracle worker), but it rocks him to sleep so I don't have to as much and helps him to stay asleep throughout the night. Often, he will sleep from midnight until 6 or 7 am, which is fantastic, and I attribute a large part of that to the Snoo. I'll hear him start to fuss or stir and the Snoo will kick in and get him back to sleep. It's amazing. It gives me a lot of peace of mind too because I know if the Snoo isn't making his crying stop after three minutes and it shuts off, then he needs me for food, diaper change, or snuggles. If you're considering making the investment and have more specific questions about our experience with it, let me know! I'd be more than happy to talk more about it. It's been worth every penny for us.

UPPAbaby Car Seat and Stroller (c/o): We loooooove our travel system. I'll do a full post on it in a few months, but basically it's perfect. I wanted the car seat and stroller from like the moment I found out I was pregnant so I was ecstatic when UPPAbaby offered to send me the whole system. It has not disappointed. The car seat is SO easy to get in and out of the car and the base is easy to install as well. It even indicates when it's locked into place correctly so it's basically idiot-proof (which I need). I love that it easily locks into the stroller and that the stroller itself is easy to set up and collapse. I was really nervous about figuring out car seats and strollers by myself, but this system is ridiculously simple and user-friendly. I have had no issues using it or setting it up. The stroller rides super smoothly as well. My mom was pushing it the other day when we were at the mall and she commented on how easily it moved and how lightweight it was. The quality is great and the whole system has all the features I could possibly want. Bonus? It can fit multiple kids so the system will grow with us as a family!

Us going on our inaugural walk with the stroller!

Gathre Mat: Wipes clean easily and is great to set out on the floor for tummy time. I think we'll be using this mat a lot outside too once it's warmer!

Burp Cloths: I have found that you can't have too many burp cloths, especially if you're nursing. Those first few weeks, I was leaking and there was milk all over Henrik and the burp cloths helped keep us all (relatively) dry. I tuck one into my nursing bra and sometimes under Henrik too. We like this one from Aden & Anais as well as these best. But really, as long as you have a small piece of fabric, you'll be ok.

Onesies: You also cannot have enough onesies. You go through so many of them and then if a blowout happens and one gets all stained and ruined, you don't feel bad about just throwing it away. I'm planning on buying more of these on our next trip to Target.

Tubby Todd Products (c/o): We use the Everyday Lotion on Henrik and it has really helped moisturize his dry skin.  I love that it is 100% natural so I don't have to worry about it being unsafe for him. It smells great too! We are planning on using their whole line of bath and body products because we have been so impressed. I have tons of friends who love their products too, which is reassuring.

Blooming Bath: We use this in our sink when we bathe Henrik and it works really well. It's soft so it provides a nice cushion for him and protects his head. We hang it in the shower to dry afterwards and fold it up and keep it under our sink. Plus it looks adorable for bath photos.


Swaddle Sacks: We often just wrap Henrik up in a swaddle blanket, but sometimes he needs to be seriously swaddled and that's where the swaddle sacks come in handy. We mainly use this one from Aden & Anais and it's nice because we can wrap him up in a blanket first then put him in the swaddle sack and he stays nice and warm. We also use this Miracle Swaddle one for when he doesn't need double swaddling (it fits a little snugger). Henrik is great at wriggling his arms free when we use a blanket to swaddle him but the swaddle sacks keep his arms in place much better. They're really effective when we're trying to get him to sleep and stay asleep. They are also very easy to wrap and use.

Aden & Anais Products (c/o): I love everything from them. They have adorable swaddle blanket prints, great blankets, swaddle sacks (as I mentioned earlier), burp cloths, etc. Their muslin fabric items are soft and pretty stretchy. I also really like their silky fabrics too. And guess what? All they're stuff comes pre-washed! I love their stuff so much that I've bought a bunch more since receiving our freebies.

Lou Lou & Company Blankets & Newborn Bundles (c/o): This is another company where I was sent some pieces for free and have since bought a bunch of other stuff from them. Their blankets are sooo soft and stretchy and adorable. I love their prints and they're always coming out with more! Plus you can get matching hats and mittens, which are my favorite. We have the blue plaid newborn set and this other set. I'm contemplating getting this one too!

I love the matching blanket and hat sets, especially for photos :)

Owlet Care (c/o): I heard about this monitor system long before I was pregnant and knew I would want one when I had a baby. It monitors their oxygen levels and heart rate and alerts you if either drop too low. It gives me so much peace of mind to know that he's breathing ok and is healthy. Full post on our experience with it is forthcoming!

Boppy: Great for nursing, obviously, but we also use the pillow to support our arms when we're holding him (or to hold my laptop when I'm blogging...). We let him lounge in it and use it to support him during tummy time as well. I really like how versatile it is. Plus you can get cute covers for it, like this one.

Solly Wrap (c/o): Another item that I knew about well before I was pregnant and immediately knew I wanted it. This wrap has not disappointed! Henrik loves to be worn so it helps soothe him while I'm cooking, doing laundry, etc. I wear him in it when we go to church so he'll nap easier and it prevents people from touching him too much during cold & flu season. So far I've only wrapped it for the newborn hold, but they have videos to help you learn how to do the different holds. This was another thing I was nervous about, but they make it super simple and with just a few practice wraps, I had it down! And true story, I fell in a parking lot the other day while wearing him in the Solly and not only did he not fall out, but he didn't even make a peep! It kept him totally safe and I know if I had been carrying him in my arms, I would have dropped him.

Happily snoozing away in his Solly Wrap. 

Fawn Diaper Bag (c/o): This is the best diaper bag. Hands down. It's gorgeous and not too feminine so Chris feels cool carrying it (I mean, Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis have the same one). It has tons of storage and wipes clean very easily since it's leather. I want one in every color, no joke.

MamarooThis is where I keep Henrik during the day if I'm trying to shower, work on my laptop (he's currently happily napping away in it!), clean, etc. and can't hold him. It rocks him and has different sound and motion options to keep him asleep. He's also content hanging out there when he's awake, which is nice. It's elevated slightly so he can see me as I do stuff around the house (it also helps with babies who have acid reflux). It looks really cool too so I don't mind keeping it in our family room haha.

For Mom

Robes: Ok all you moms-to-be out there. Let me tell you. Invest in some awesome loungewear. It will make you feel comfy and better about yourself while you're recovering. I decided to get a variety of robes since they're easy to nurse in and keep you cozy while looking pretty. These are some of my favorite ones: Barefoot DreamsPink BlushPlum Pretty Sugar.

PJ Pants: I am living in this pair from Target. Not like the best quality in the world, but I bought a big size in black and brought them to the hospital with me (definitely get a dark color). I've been wearing them pretty much every night since getting home. They're comfy and still keep me cool when I'm sleeping.

Lansinoh Nursing Pads: I'm still leaking a lot and these have been a lifesaver for me and my bras.

Coconut oil: I've been using coconut oil instead of nipple cream because it smells nice and works! And it's totally safe for baby.

Sleep Mask: Used this one in the hospital and still use it at home. It's great for when you're trying to sleep during the daylight hours. And it's super cute/soft.

Dwell + Slumber Dresses: I have two of these dresses and want at least ten more, that's how amazing they are. Loose, nursing friendly, comfy, pockets, and cute. They can't be beat.

Nursing Cover (c/o): I mainly nurse at home, but this nursing cover is great for the inevitable situation where Henrik decides he needs to be fed NOW and we're in public. We keep it in the diaper bag for emergencies such as these haha. It also works as a car seat cover, scarf, and grocery seat cover too!

Nursing Bras (Cake Maternity c/o & Target): The nursing bra I have from Cake Maternity is sooooo soft. I've been really impressed with the quality of it. If you want a more budget friendly option, I also have several nursing bras from Target that get the job done too.

Belly Bandit (c/o): I wore their shapewear during pregnancy and loved them and now that I'm postpartum, I use their Belly Band to help flatten everything out again. It also helps with posture during nursing, which is a great bonus.

Medela Hand Pump: So I got a free motorized Medela breast pump through my insurance, but thus far I do not like it. I think I just need to keep practicing with it, right now I much prefer the Medela hand pump (lactation specialist gave it to me fo' free when I was in the ER haha). It's more comfortable and gets much more milk out. Less of a hassle to clean too.

Eating his first bottle while I was in the ER! He took it like a champ. 

So there you have it! All of these products will undoubtedly help you get through the first few weeks with a new baby. Like I said earlier, if you have questions about ANY of the items I talked about, let me know! I'd love to help you out :)

About: To watch The Bachelor with my boys!
Glad: That my mom was able to watch Henrik tonight so Chris and I could eat dinner in peace :)
Wish: Hunky would stop growing up. He'll be seven weeks old tomorrow!
Days Until Christmas: 314!

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Kidney Stone Fun

My apologies that my blog has turned into an issue of The American Journal of Medicine, but health issues have made up a large part of my life these last 6 ish months. Hopefully this will be my last hospital adventure for a long while and I will feel up to taking more outfit photos soon so my posts will be a bit more varied :)

After having Henrik, I had a fair amount of abdominal and occasional back pain. Most of it was related to normal postpartum recovery, but about two weeks after he was born the pain got pretty severe. I kept in touch with the nurse at my OB's office and she said it was probably normal, but to come in if things got worse or if I had any other odd symptoms. Every time I was in pain and got close to going in to see my doctor, the pain would subside so I would just stay home. These painful episodes happened several times the last month and would last for a few hours. I figured eventually the episodes would stop completely and I'd be fully recovered from the birth.

About a week ago, my symptoms got worse. I found myself having to go the bathroom pretty frequently and feeling like I had to go even if I didn't really need to. Again, I had severe pain in my stomach and back but it never lasted more than a day. This made me think I maybe had a UTI, but it seemed odd that the symptoms would come and go. I didn't know what else to do so I called my doctor's office on Tuesday and the nurse suggested I go get tested for a UTI. She also scheduled an ultrasound for Thursday to look for ovarian cysts, clotting, etc. She asked if there was any chance I was pregnant. Ha. Good one, Nurse Liz.

That afternoon, I went to have my lab work done. I wasn't feeling great, but the pain was manageable. I was mainly frustrated that they wouldn't get results for two days so I couldn't start any sort of treatment for at least 48 hours. I was sick and tired of these symptoms and wanted to do SOMETHING to make them subside. Because I was breastfeeding, they couldn't give me much by way of medicine to help in the meantime either.

I spent a lot of Tuesday evening with a heat pack on my stomach, which sort of made a difference. I was able to help Chris get dinner together, take care of Henrik, etc. We ate and then I went to a friends' house for a girls night. I felt pretty good while I was there and thought maybe my symptoms had decided to go away for the day and I was feeling grateful.

I got home and into bed and suddenly the pain was back with a vengeance. This time, I had pain in my lower abdomen as well as my right side. I alternated heating both areas with my heat pack while Chris and I watched TV. After moving and shifting around a bunch, I was finally able to find a semi-comfortable position and fell asleep.

At 3:30 am, Henrik started to fuss a bit so I got out of bed to feed him. I carried him into the nursery and sat down but could NOT get comfortable. The pain in my side had intensified and no matter how I shifted or moved, it wouldn't go away. Henrik kept trying to latch on but I was moving around too much for him to get in the right position to eat so he started to cry and I felt HORRIBLE. I needed to feed him so badly and yet I couldn't see how I would be able to while I was writhing in pain. I managed to stand up, albeit hunched over, and hobble back to our bedroom where I yelled at Chris to wake up (he's a deep sleeper) and hold Henrik so I could go to the bathroom. He jumped out of bed and obliged and off I went. Once I was done, the pain had not only not gone away, but had gotten even worse. I shuffled over to the couch and started flopping around like a fish out of water trying to get comfortable. I thought there was a decent chance I was dying or at least that there was something seriously wrong with me. I started mentally trying to think of what could be causing the problem. Appendix, gallbladder, kidney stones all popped into my head but the pain was right on my side, not in my front or back where any of those organs are so I wondered if maybe it was just a severe side cramp of sorts and that if I stretched enough, it would help my muscles relax. So I tried that. It did not work. Meanwhile, Hungry Henrik wailed and Chris asked me if we need to go to the hospital. I told him no because if it really was just a severe muscle cramp, that would be pathetic and embarrassing to go all the way to the expensive ER just to be told that.

After about five minutes of struggling, I was able to contort my body in a way that was not excruciatingly painful and feed Henrik. Chris sat with us and took him as soon as he was done so I could hobble back into bed while he changed Henrik's diaper.

It's a miracle I was able to yet again find a semi-comfortable position and sleep until 7 am. Once I woke up, I optimistically thought maybe the pain had gone away on its own, but it hadn't. I finally decided I should call my OB's office yet again (Liz the Nurse and I are now good buds) and see if they could see me today instead of Thursday. I described to her my symptoms and she said it sounded like my gallbladder and that I should go to the ER as soon as possible. At that low moment, all I could think about was how if I had my gallbladder removed I wouldn't be able to eat french fries anymore. Tears welled in my eyes and I called my mom to see if she could take me to the ER. She said yes and told me she'd be there in about 20 minutes.

Side note, we decided it would be best for Chris to stay home and be with Henrik instead of my mom because he was swamped with work and would be able to work from home while Henrik slept. Thankfully, he had brought his work computer home with him the previous day and had everything he needed.

Having learned from previous experience that you're almost always at the hospital longer than you think you will be, I packed a bag with snacks, chargers, a book, socks (always bring socks), and a few other essentials. My mom arrived a few minutes later and we were off.

I explained to the nurse at the front desk what was going on and emphasized that I was five weeks postpartum and had a nursing baby at home so the sooner I could be seen for his sake, the better. They immediately wheeled me back and put me in a private room with my mom. They drew my blood and got a urine sample then hooked me up to an IV. The nurse then asked me about what was going on so I tried my best to explain in detail the symptoms I had been having. She offered me pain medication, but I declined because of the breastfeeding issue and the fact that my family doesn't respond well to pain meds.

The doctor and her team came in shortly thereafter and she ordered an ultrasound for me after I described my symptoms to her and told her we suspected gallbladder problems. She was really nice and helpful and I was grateful that she wasn't wasting any time with me.

A few minutes later, I was having an internal ultrasound done. But where the wand was, I could tell that it would not show gallbladder issues. I asked the ultrasound tech and she confirmed that was the case. I was a bit annoyed/confused since at that moment, my pain was mainly in my side and only a little bit in my abdomen and the ultrasound wouldn't show anything in my side. But I figured we might as well rule out any issues with my cervix, ovaries, etc. and hope that the doctor would also order an ultrasound on my gallbladder.

About 40 minutes after the ultrasound, the doctor came back in and said everything on the ultrasound looked fine and all my lab results were normal as well. I told her yet again that the pain was primarily in my side and that I wanted to see if there was something wrong with my gallbladder. She said my lab results would have indicated if there were gallbladder issues but that we could go ahead and check for kidney problems such as kidney stones just to be sure through a CT scan. But she sounded hesitant and unconvinced that it was my kidneys since that pain would be more in my back. I insisted that we do the CT scan and she said we would and that if everything came back normal, I would be sent home. This sounded horrible so I suddenly started praying that something would show in my CT scan just so I would have a diagnosis.

The CT scan took about 15 minutes and as they were helping me get back onto the hospital bed, the CT tech said that they should have some answers for me now. She wasn't allowed to tell me the results of my scan, but the way she said that made me pretty confident that something had shown on it. I started to feel more optimistic.

While we waited for the doctor to come back, I texted my sister to give her the update. Earlier, my mom sent her a message saying she was at the ER with me and that it could be kidney issues or maybe gallbladder. Brooke was very concerned but in class so we couldn't call her to explain in more detail what was going on. I texted her that they did a CT scan and we were waiting for results. She then asked how mom was doing. I texted back that she was fine. I was a bit confused by this since mom was just sitting in a chair next to me and I was the one writhing in pain. It then occurred to me that none of our texts to her had directly specified that it was ME having the issues and not our mom. I then asked if she knew that I was the one admitted to the ER, and in fact, she did not. She assumed it was mom since she has had kidney issues in the past and that, no offense to mom, kidney and gallbladder problems seemed like "older people issues". We all laughed.

Meanwhile, Henrik was about due for another feeding and I was not going to be home in time. I had left in such a hurry this morning that I didn't think to pump some breast milk or bring the pump with us to the hospital. Another miracle occurred and one of the lactation ladies who helped after Henrik's birth was around and was able to bring me a hand pump and show me how to use it. Once I had the milk, a good friend of ours came to hospital, picked up the bottle and took it to Chris and Henrik. Thankfully, Henrik took his first bottle like a champ and polished it off in minutes. He was happy, fed, and asleep again so Chris could continue to work.

Henrik downing his first ever bottle. 

The doctor  eventually came in and said that I, in fact, had a giant kidney stone in my right side. She said that a 5mm kidney stone is incredibly painful, but can pass, and that mine was 8mm. She said I must have a very high pain tolerance because she would have expected me to be passed out/vomiting/screaming from the pain and yet I was so "stoic". I told her at 3:30 am that morning I was not so stoic. She said that the stone was big enough that it would need to be surgically removed in the next few days since I was at risk for infections and other complications based on where it was stuck. She referred us to a urologist and said to insist that I be seen today or tomorrow at the latest.

My mom found this helpful comparison chart of different size pearls so she could get a better idea of how big my 8mm stone was haha. 

We called and luckily, they had an appointment available that afternoon. We headed over to the office across the street to see the doctor and he described the procedure to me and miracle of all miracles, they were able to fit me in for surgery the next day (Thursday) at 11 am. Most patients had to wait several days for surgery so I was feeling incredibly grateful that they had one spot open in less than 24 hours.

Mercifully, the stone moved into a position that was more tolerable so I was able to go about the rest of my day feeling ok. I was also able to sleep well the night before the surgery thanks to Henrik being very tired that night. I felt very lucky that the pain had not come back and that the stone did not try to pass on its own.

I woke up on Thursday morning, fed Henrik, pumped some extra milk for him, finished gathering my belongings, and headed back to the hospital with my mom. Again, we decided Chris should be the one to stay home with Henrik so he could work, but we had several friends on call to come over and help take care of Henrik should he decide to scream and be upset while Chris was trying to work. Thankfully, he was pretty happy while I was gone.

All my pre-op stuff went well and when the anesthesiologist came in, we discussed my options for sedation. Standard procedure for this operation was to put me under using general anesthesia, but because I was breastfeeding, I told him I'd like to avoid that if possible. I asked if there was any way I could have an epidural instead since we knew my body responded well to those and it would not affect my milk. I also greatly dislike being so groggy following anesthesia and sleeping for the rest of the day after my surgery wasn't really an option with a five week old baby. In addition, I had a bad experience with a breathing tube down my throat during my nose surgery and did not want to repeat that. The anesthesiologist was very open to not using general anesthesia and said he would do a spinal instead of an epidural, but they are very similar. I said that sounded good to me and go ahead and shoot me up with the drugs.

They wheeled me into the OR and gave me the shot and pretty soon, my left leg was completely numb. But again, like with the epidural, my right leg never totally went numb. Luckily, the parts that needed to be numb were sufficiently numbed haha. I could feel some pressure and mild discomfort, but nothing painful. The anesthesiologist played Hamilton during the surgery and made jokes like he "wasn't going to throw away my shot". I liked him.

The surgery only took about an hour and the doctor said it went really well. He was able to break up the stone easily and capture all the particles. This will allow him to run tests and figure out what kind of stone I had so we can see if there's anything I can do to prevent them from forming in the future. I was quite disappointed that he didn't leave the stone in tact. I was hoping I could see it and keep it as a memento of sorts, but no such luck.

After the surgery, I was moved into a recovery room with my mom. One of the medications they gave me made me INCREDIBLY itchy, which was a normal side effect according to the anesthesiologist. It was quite annoying, but I suppose there are worse reactions. It only lasted about two hours and then went away. I ate about 15 graham crackers (not exaggerating) while we waited for my numbness to subside. My friend was able to bring Henrik to the hospital so I could nurse him, which was a huge relief. I was glad I didn't have to worry about rushing my recovery to get home to feed him and it was just nice to have him there :) He didn't cry at all and made all the nurses fall in love with him.

They loved his hat.

Speaking of nurses, all the ones I had during my time in the ER and hospital were SO kind. I tell you, nurses can make or break a hospital experience. I feel so lucky to have had nurses who were sweet, helpful, and easy to talk to. They made a huge difference and took great care of me.

About four hours after my surgery, the feeling came back in my legs and I was able to walk so they released me to go home. Since getting back, I haven't been in too much pain. At least not consistently. It's normal to feel pain where the stone has been and I've definitely experienced some of that, but it hasn't been unbearable. I have had some monster headaches since coming home, which isn't too fun. I think they're because I hardly ate anything for two days (I wasn't allowed to eat in the ER or the day of my surgery until after the procedure was over). But if I nap, the headaches tend to be gone once I wake up.

Probably the most frustrating part about all of this is that prior to my surgery, I was finally feeling like my postpartum recovery stuff was better and I was almost entirely back to normal. Now with this, I'm kind of back to square one. But I'm optimistic that I'll only need a few days to recover from the procedure rather than six weeks.

So many people have offered to help and many friends have already done so much for us. It has been such a blessing and I really appreciate it. My parents have of course been a huge help. We were really lucky in that none of us had anything scheduled the past few days so they were able to step in and help us. Chris's parents were supposed to come visit this weekend to meet the baby, but we had to reschedule because of the surgery :( Thankfully, they have tickets to come the first weekend in March so they won't have to wait too long to meet Henrik.

There were so many miracles and blessings that have occurred these last few days. I am just really grateful that they were able to figure out what was wrong with me and fix it so quickly. Henrik has handled all of this so well, which has been such a tender mercy. He's been held by new people, fed from a bottle, taken to a hospital, etc. etc. and never once cried or freaked out. I'm also grateful that the surgery itself went so smoothly and that I didn't have to have a stent left in (yay!). I have really felt the Lord's hand in my life this week. While having surgery is never convenient or fun, I truly feel like this happened at the right time and under the right circumstances. Fingers crossed I don't have any more medical emergencies! At least for a while :)

Monday, January 16, 2017

Birth Photos

Brooke and Mom arrived!

We stared at these screens a lot.

Brooke was great at keeping me distracted with funny stories.

Chris trying to sleep.

The camera that would allow me to watch Henrik's birth on TV. I opted out. 

My dad used to work for Hill-Rom so of course we had to take a photo of my hospital bed. 

The best labor coach.

Chris staring at a spot on the back wall haha he never looked anywhere else and I respect that.

Henrik arrived!

Lots of screaming.

Lots of pouting.

Lots of love.

30 seconds into the world and he peed on our nurse. Sorry, Kayla...

Cold stethoscope.

They told me he'd be well under 8 pounds.

Baby toes <3

Soooo squishy.

And sooooo cute.

Picking lunch.

First bath!

 Not a fan.

Chris holding a pile of blankets. Jk it's our kid.


Grandma holding her first grandbaby!

Auntie Brellis

The birth team! It should be noted that the only reason my dad wasn't there was because he was watching Eiger the dog at home. He came by later that day :)

Family of three and never happier. 

One of the main reasons I decided to have a birth photographer was because not only was this my first baby, but the first grandbaby on my side of the family as well. I wanted photos of my parents holding their first grandson and my sister with her nephew as well as other moments in the hospital. I didn't want to have to worry about capturing every single photo nor did I want my family to have that burden either. Enter, my friend Victoria from Luminant Photography! I mentioned this in Henrik's birth story post, but she was absolutely perfect for the job. She remained calm, cool, and collected throughout the entire (long) process and kept me laughing. And I only had to convince her once that a stain on my gown was ketchup and not something else! She is a wonderful friend and I am so grateful I got to know her while I was working at Treefrog. She was a great mentor and taught me a ton. She helped me improve as a writer tremendously and was always incredibly supportive. She is easily one of the best people I know and I am beyond grateful that it worked out to have her as our birth photographer. Whenever I am feeling sad or stressed, I just look through these beautiful photos and I am instantly uplifted. They are exactly what I wanted. If you want to read her side of the birth story, check out her blog here. It made me tear up haha. I could go on for about 50 more pages about how incredible Victoria is, but suffice it to say that she is amazing and that if you ever need a birth photographer, she is your girl. 

Our stay at the hospital was really great. I thought I would go totally stir crazy, but that wasn't the case. It was so peaceful, quiet (minus a few screaming episodes courtesy of HMS), and special to have those few days to get to know Henrik and bond with him as a family. He sneezed a few times while we were there and it just about killed me with cuteness. He was also super snuggly, which definitely melted my heart, and it was adorable to see how much he looooved laying on my feather pillow I brought from home (he still loves to hang out there). 

The nurses and lactation specialists who took care of us were likewise amazing. They helped us figure out nursing and aided in my own recovery a ton. All of them were so nice, patient, and helpful as I asked a zillion and one questions about how on earth I keep this baby alive. We were really blessed to have such great caregivers while we were there. They helped make the transition into motherhood muuuuch less scary.

We also had several friends and family members come visit us at the hospital which was soooooo nice. It helped to pass the time and we really enjoyed getting to introduce Henrik to some of our favorite people. The best part was that the timing worked out perfectly for my grandma, who had been in town for Christmas, to get to meet Henrik on her way to the airport. I was really worried that she would have to leave before he was born so it was such a blessing that she was able to stop by and meet him, even if it was just for a few minutes. 

The last thing I wanted to touch on in this post is the meaning behind Henrik's name. Before I was even pregnant, Chris and I had discussed baby names at length. We had agreed upon several girl names, but really struggled with boy names for some reason. We wanted names that were a bit unique, but not sooo weird that our kids would be made fun of or people wouldn't know how to pronounce it. Once we found out I was pregnant, we were quite sure I was having a girl so we were all set with a first and middle name. But of course, we found out I was having a boy so we had to reevaluate the name situation. Chris really liked the name Henry, but I wanted something a bit more unique so we settled on the German version of Henry, Henrik, since we both have German heritage and our last name is German. We chose Marshall as his middle name after my maternal grandpa, whom both Chris and I are very close to. And rest assured, we plan to use our girl names (assuming we someday have a daughter or two) as well as one additional boy name, just in case :)

As always, thank you for stopping by! Stay tuned for more posts on our new life as a family of three as well as some outfit posts. That is, once I feel like putting on real clothes again and the weather is nice enough to do photos haha.

Just: Ate several granola bars in bed. 
With: A snoozing baby on my chest. 
Plan: To go to Target today! This is big. 
Days Until Christmas: 343!

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