The Hospital Bag

Right around 39 weeks I started thinking about the hospital bag. I was unbelievably uncomfortable, unknowingly carrying a 10+ pound baby in my womb, and hoped that doing so would help kick my body into birthing gear. We have the luxury of living just minutes away from the hospital which kept the pressure of having everything packed early on. Similar to Paityn’s birth,  Landon was free to head home during our stay for anything we’ve forgotten and to go on a TacoBell run or two. ;)

Now that Hudson is a month old and we’re getting settled in as a family of four, I wanted to reflect back on what we were so glad to have with us when we needed it. Each birth is different, so if you’re preparing to go into labor and want to know what you’ll need make sure to read a few posts and see what resonates with you and your style. But here’s what worked for me!

Landon and I packed three backpacks: one for Paityn with things she’d need while with family, one for myself and Hudson and then a third with things Landon would need along with electronics. I for sure did not want to be that mom in labor that comes in wheeling a suitcase.

Hospital Bag Blog Post

For Birth
Birth Playlist/Speakers
^but ideally a birth photographer if you’d like photos, because you know we ended up with 0
A doula by your side. Biased! You can read my birth story here.
Liquids to drink — apple juice (supplied by the hospital)was heavenly both times for me
Light snacks if you’re up for something, I snacked (nibbled) on rice cakes walking in and for the first bit in the hospital till the contractions required every ounce of my concentration

Clothes that I wanted to labor and birth in were laid next to my bag and the put on once I got out of the shower at home Wednesday night and knew it was the real deal. For reference I wore a soft tee, one of my normal underwire bras, VS basic undies and sweats. I had made a conscious decision ahead of time to not wear the hospital gown and chose to go for clothes that I loved over finding a gown alternative online.

For The New Mama, Recovery
Comfy Sweater — This one from Mulberry Press Co only seemed fitting
Cheapo Leggings
Cozy socks
Granny Undies No I take that back, take the nurses up on their offer of mesh panties, Tucks, Dermoplast spray or whatever else they suggest if it helps. Sorry mama.
Belly Bandit — I wore the Bamboo in a size S till I needed an XS at 4 weeks again like last time but didn’t want to shell out the $$. So grab two ahead of time if you can!

For Baby

Newborn Onesies — Carter’s are my favorite
Footie Pajamas
Aden + Anais Swaddles — so soft, perfect for pictures and making your babe feel like your own.
Goumi Kids Newborn Mitts and Booties

For The New Dad 
A few changes of clothes depending on your length of stay

Hair Dryer + Straightener
Makeup Remover Wipes
Hair ties

A RedBox or two to watch during downtime during your stay
A phone charger or two, don’t forget!
Laptop — for playing movies if your room doesn’t have a DVD player, uploading/emailing photos, etc
and socks and shoes for your toddler doe when she comes to visit and you realize you dropped her off in footie pajamas and forgot to add those to her backpack :)

I know this may sound like a lot looking over it, but I promise i was grateful to have everything with me and it really only took up two smaller sized backpacks. My mentality going into labor is to make it feel as much like home as possible without making the labor staff’s life difficult. If you’re pregnant and getting ready to meet your new babe, congrats mama! I’m getting excited just thinking about the point of life that you’re in. Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you!

Birth Story | Hudson Elle

{our last night as a family of three}

Our evening began with a cute dinner date, our phones put away and focusing on each other. We laughed at clips of a show playing off in a corner and Paityn trying to eat her meal. The sweet simple love for each other was palpable. I wore my orange maternity dress, and for that hour I wasn’t uncomfortable or even necessarily feeling pregnant. The past few nights of exhausting contractions felt years away as the rain felt softly outside. It had been so important to me that Landon and I be emotionally close and in sync the night that I go in labor. At the time it had felt like just the break from pregnancy exhaustion that I needed, but it turned out to be the start of our birth story.Hudson2

We ran to the car through the rain with only one girl to buckle into her car seat for our last time. Once  inside I pulled out my phone to check what I’d missed. The decision about a blogger opportunity that I’d been refreshing my email over all week came through, and it was positive. Excitedly I read Landon the details as we drove home. It felt like just the sweet gesture that I needed to get through a few more days of pregnancy. That if I went to sleep that night and woke up on the due date still pregnant that it’d be ok.

Luckily, my body had other ideas. So as we cuddled up on the couch to watch a movie, and I tried to focus despite my excitement over the collaboration, my body began to really prepare to bring this little girl into the world. I didn’t begin to notice the consistency of contractions till I was set up to fall asleep on the couch for another night (our bed having become too miserable to sleep on) and I found myself leaning over the arm of the couch playing on my phone through waves of back labor. I knew things could carry on for a while, and that the odds of it phasing out eventually were good. I acknowledged that the next day could be a long and tiring one, and tried to not stress over that fact.


{the real deal contractions}

Eventually I wanted to be near Landon so I crawled into bed next to him and started timing the contractions, not wanting to wake him up knowing that he had a long day of work tomorrow without the option to take a nap like I would. Around 2am I gently woke him up, letting him know they were 5 minutes apart, lasting around a minute, and that I wasn’t sure what was going to happen from there. We stayed in bed and talked till it was too uncomfortable to lay down through each one.

I killed time doing my hair and packing a few things in our hospital bag before getting into the shower finding so much relief feeling the water hit my contracting torso. And then a contraction came that scared me. There I was, not even sure if I was going to ‘go into labor’ that night, and I was experiencing a contraction that stopped me in my tracks. Everything around me disappeared as I attempted to calmly breathe through it. I got out of that safe haven of comforting water to talk to Landon — it was time to assume this was the real deal. As he woke Paityn and got ready to take her to my aunt’s the doubt stayed in the back of my mind. “If I could barely make it through that contraction in the shower how was I ever going to do this?”

Taking one contraction at a time, standing still and finding one spot on our floor to focus I got through each one while worrying about cleaning our house for our doula Gloria who was now on her way down from Salt Lake. I encouraged Landon to grab some food for himself quickly on the way home from dropping off Paityn, knowing it could be a long journey for both of us till the little one arrived. When he got home though I was too nervous to continue laboring at home. You always hear how much faster the second baby comes, and that knowledge was making me tense as I could feel the energy in my body changing — the rushes becoming stronger and closer together. I had Landon call Gloria and see what she thought about meeting at the hospital. Originally the idea of laboring as much at home as possible had sounded so lovely, but just a few hours in I was ready to be checked in. I’m so grateful for her response: “I want you to be wherever you’ll feel safe.” You guys she was the best. And it just got better from there.


{checked into the hospital}

The worst contractions of Hudson’s birth were by far the 5 or 6 that I had in the waiting room while they checked us in. Totally our fault for not pre-registering. And thankfully they were fine having Landon answer all the questions and provide our information. Taking each one at a time I stared at a spot on the wall or floor, feeling thankful that we were at least at the hospital knowing that these contractions weren’t going to phase out like the previous three nights that week. As they wrapped up the paperwork and I watched the nurse come around to let us in, tears fell that I didn’t try to stop. It felt so good to let some of those fearful emotions go with each tear — the fear of not having help from my doula in time, the fear of having the birth go too quickly leaving me feeling out of control, the fear of not being able to do this; I was doing this.

Gloria, our doula, arrived just minutes after I was pulled into the side room with two nurses to be checked for progress. “Kyra, you’re doing awesome!” she greeted me with the warmest smile, and I believed her.  I was doing awesome. Within minutes I was walking down to the room where we’d stay for the birth and recovery process. I was dilated to a 7 and most definitely, in labor. In the comfort of my own v-neck tee, boy shorts and socks I labored with the help of Gloria and Landon, bringing little Hudson closer and closer to greeting the world.


Going into, or rather anticipating a natural birth, I knew that positive words really resonated me. So that’s what I expected Gloria’s role to be — to help remind me of my goals, to let me know that I WAS doing this and doing it well when I thought I wasn’t or couldn’t any more. I had no idea just how much I would physically rely on her. My need for her help was as primal as it gets — I could not have gotten through each of those contractions from a 7 to a 10 without her. It was a powerful but simple need. So I sat on the edge of the bed, closing my eyes and going inward as each rush began — Gloria pushing firmly on my knees and Landon pushing on my lower back. I breathed, then later moaned through each one. When I had things under control my breathing was steady and my voice was low. If one intimidated or scared me there was an audible change in my voice, hearing it rise in pitch. She was right there giving me a breath or sound to imitate — a yoga “ohm” for example, and we would go back and forth, me trying to relax and coax my voice and fears down to her deepness till we were in sync and the contraction had ended.

All the while Landon was there, and his physical proximity was one of the most spiritual changes between my two birth’s. For this birth I was able to take the lead, showing what I needed, and he was able to support me. With Paityn he was just as involved, helping hold up my legs that had no control or feeling due to the epidural and helping coach me through pushing her into the world. This time everything felt simpler in the most beautiful way. His head resting against my upper back as he applied pressure to my lower back is a feeling I hope I can always recall. And if not I wish I could bottle that emotion up, because I fell in love with him so many times over in those moments, but didn’t realize it till a few days later.


Still in my t-shirt bra and socks, just how I wanted, I began to feel the involuntary need to push at some point after 6am, after checking into the hospital a bit before 4am. Within minutes, after being cleared to follow the lead from my body (and after my water accidentally breaking all over my doula) I started the second phase of labor. Similar to the contractions before, once each was over it was over I was able to open my eyes and take in my surroundings. Working with my body I pushed with each rush, resting in between. But at some point early on with pushing I realized how fearful I’d become again. As I rested between two more contractions I layed back on the pillows that were propping me up and thought back to Paityn’s birth when it came down to buckling down and pushing that little girl into the world or being wheeled off for a C-section. I told myself that I needed to find that place again. With the next contraction I grabbed my legs after being scared to do so before, and lowered my chin.

A few minutes before 7am, the energy in the room became chaotic. My eyes still closed through each contraction, focusing inward and willing the child into the world, the music disappeared and more staff came into the room. Landon’s face who had been right next to mine, cheek to cheek through the pushing was now facing me telling me that I needed to do this. That Hudson was stuck and that we needed to get her out. The midwife (who was unfortunately the one that I hadn’t met yet, my appointment with her being scheduled for later that day) who had been there out of necessity up to that point in my mind became just who I needed. With eyes open now I made fearful but unwavering eye contact, doing everything that I could to lean into the contractions and push the little girl out while she helped assist with turning her shoulders. And then in the most satisfying moment ever she was out at 7:01am. Our little Utah baby.

It got a little dramatic after that, but I’m writing this story so I’d like to rewrite it a little. Because as disappointing as it was how chaotic it got as our request for delayed cord clamping was denied (as well as getting to do skin to skin right after) and my midwife rushing the placenta being expelled, the room eventually cleared till it was just Landon, Gloria and I and this little babe and all of her dark hair. All 10lbs 9oz.

IMG_1143I was disappointed that I didn’t get the chance to revel in that glorious post baby moment when all is right in the world and pain isn’t even close to a word in your dictionary. I wish they would’ve calmed down a bit, and not rushed the Pitocin into my IV lock and began the pressure to make a decision about taking other drugs to combat the possibility of hemorrhaging due to having a large baby. I wish I wish I wish. But it’s ok. She is here, and this is my birth story, it’s not going anywhere. I did it. We did it. She’s here.

I had gone into this birth wanting it to be a spiritual experience, and as we left the hospital as a family of four I left with the reminder that spiritual doesn’t mean that it has to be overwhelming or full of tears. That things of a spiritual nature can instead often be simple and peaceful — everything resonating with what you believe in.

gloria 2

Along with that reminder, I left having been taught about trust on levels that I didn’t expect — learning to trust myself, my instincts, my body; and learning to lean and trust others.

39 Week Update

The week that all of my great intentions of being greatful for this pregnancy fly out the window as I wake up each morning bummed to realize I didn’t go into active labor through the night.
— that my red raspberry leaf tea drinking begins and I kick myself for not remembering to start weeks before.
— that the positive guesstimation from my midwife of when we’ll meet this little girl turns from amazingly exciting to the biggest bummer.
— that I feel the most distant from this little child as I’ve ever felt.
— that more prayers are said than I have the rest of the year combined.
–that I begin googling everything, from birth statistics about going into labor at night to full moon statistics. Fun fact, I had a 1% higher chance of going into labor over the full moon weekend. Dang moon let me down.

Friday night/Saturday early morning contractions began around 3am that were entirely too exciting to fall back asleep through. I gently woke Landon up to let him know that I was going to take a shower but to not get his hopes up yet. I mostly needed something to do instead of letting my thoughts race, and it was just what I needed. By 5am, back in bed and fresh faced, all labor progress had fizzled and I fell back asleep.

Sunday morning I woke with a dull ache in my back and the bottom of my womb for a few hours. Not wanting to driving up to Avery and Trevers to watch conference with potentially worsening back labor we asked if they could meet us at our house instead. Together we watched conference, ate cinnamon rolls, I took a nap between sessions feeling exhausted, and we went to the park in the evening. All day I had though for sure we’d meet this little girl; Easter Sunday. By that evening however, it was clear things weren’t going to pick up.

But then early early morning Monday morning I tossed and turned through contractions that were so powerful they made me nervous for the big ones. I found myself being grateful for Gloria the doula I’ve chosen to work with already, knowing that I’ll be needing her to make it through labor. But once again they didn’t become regular and were over by morning.

The emotional exhaustion of the start and stop nature of labor was really starting to get to me. I posted a pic on Instagram and had a sweet mom chime in that prodromal labor was the worst! I quickly googled the phrase and found an article that soothed my tired heart:

“Welcome to prodromal labor. Though not often talked about and poorly understood, prodromal labor is an important subject. Likely the cause of many early trips to the hospital, emotional and physical exhaustion on the part of the mother, and dashed hopes of natural birth, prodromal labor is something that needs to be talked about more and understood better.

Prodromal labor is usually defined as a labor that starts and stops, sometimes for days on end. Prodromal labor feels like real labor, it acts like real labor and in many ways it is real labor. Sadly, it eventually stops and doesn’t result in a baby like active labor does.”

Last weekend as I said a prayer with Landon before falling asleep I found myself being led to ask for patience rather than asking for labor to progress. So I’ve tried to keep that focus on my mind as this new week as begun. As contractions begin again yesterday evening I set an intention to trust the Father’s timing and not overthink the light surges I was feeling. That when they become closer together, and seem to be leading to active labor, that I’ll know. So in the meantime I’m being grateful. I’m listening to birth meditations, soaking in epson salts, and tearing up to birth stories and youtube videos. I’m focusing on my relationship with Landon and trying to make sure that we’re as in sync and that our relationship is as strengthened as possible. We’ve got some long nights ahead! But I’m so ready.


37 Week Update!

Happy Hump Day! I am excited to team up again with an amazing group of bloggers {Misty, April, Shannon, Amanda, Danica, Candice, + Kaitlyn} to bring you another instalment of our linkup: Hump Day Highlights. Feel free to click on the link at the bottom of this post to join in and link up your post.

This week I wanted to share and post a bit about how this pregnancy is going, in an effort to not completely drop off here at the end with pregnancy updates once things got weird. And they’re getting weird. And awkward. And uncomfortable. But some days, like Monday night you would’ve had to remind me I was pregnant. I had done my hair earlier that day for some specific reason I’m sure — because doing my hair lately takes a reason. And lately it’s been for the weekly midwife appointments or church on Sunday. But this Monday I was feeling good.

We went to check out Marley’s Sliders in the Riverwoods after Kortni Jeane posted about them, and they didn’t disappoint! A hybrid between a full size hamburger and a bite size and a menu full of fun options from a traditional hamburger to a fajita style. Right as we were finishing up a light rain started to fall so we headed off to check out a few of the baby and toy boutiques before heading home.


Paityn doesn’t seem to be thrown off by the growing baby bump or what it signifies, but she has definitely ramped up on just how much she loves all of her babies and stuffed elephants. I don’t know if she would’ve gone through this stage either way, but it’s adorable. My only concern is how she’ll do when little sister is here and she can’t carry her with her everywhere she goes.
IMG_5295 IMG_5291

I know I said I would stick to my guns about April 12th being our due date, but after every midwife that I’ve seen wanting to call it the 9th, I’m going for it. It’s an arbitrary number anyways, and if it makes me feel better about progress each week, why not! Right? So with 1 day left in my 37th week every shirt is officially too short. Part of it could be the fact that my sweet SIL who passed down most of my maternity shirts is a solid 6″ shorter than I am, or it could be that this belly just has a mind of it’s own. Either way I’m so glad I finally got a maternity band from Target that helps keep gaps of skin between the waistband of my pants and bottom of shirts at bay.

While Monday was a perfect day and just the date night with Landon and Paityn that I needed — Sunday and Tuesday were rough and reminiscent of the first trimester. Achy, sick to my stomach, and oh so low on energy. I’m trying to keep the perspective that it’s just my body getting ready. And it definitely helps with making me excited for labor to begin. “Wisdom in His plan” my mother in law texted me :)

Walking is ever increasingly difficult, and chocolate has become a very daily thing.  I’m keeping our weekends booked up and planned to keep these weeks flying by and starting to think about packing a hospital bag. I’m sure we were supposed to do that weeks ago. Baby girl is the size of a bunch of Swiss chard and I just can’t wait to meet her.


We would love for you to add your post to our link up (by clicking on the blue link below) of the things or moments you are loving this week, too. We hope you link up and follow along!

36 Weeks

The end and the beginning. // The end of this feeling like a nice experience with no specific end. The beginning of excitement setting in that there is an end, and it’s not as far away as it once felt.

Also the beginning of walking becoming a bit more difficult with a little baby’s head hanging out in my crotch and all. Seriously it’s like trying to walk forward with someone holding you in place. I’m also pretty sure I’ve started waddling a bit. It can’t be helped.

Paityn and I walked with a few moms yesterday in the sun almost 4 miles roundtrip and got at least an hour of relaxing time while the babes ran around and played at the playground we stopped at to their heart’s content. It seemed to symbolize something for me. The return of the sun, of resisting the urge to hunker down and become a hermit, being outside and trusting Paityn to play without me hovering and watching her every move. She’s getting older too, as this tiny babe grows in my womb, and I need to trust that process just as much.Hello Apparel Floral Matching Tees

Not everything about this phase of pregnancy feels so life changing though. Though it has a brighter and sunnier outlook that ever, it still feels so simple and peaceful — just what I need. Heartburn set in and I discovered Tums for the first time in my life. Oh they are lifesavers. Weekly midwife appointments have begun and they force me to actually get ready once a week. Which I need. Last Thursday at my appointment we got to see a little ultrasound of this babe on a handheld device — and though we couldn’t see much, it made it all feel real. That there IS a baby in there! And that we’re going to meet her soon.

Hello Apparel Floral Matching Tees
So the uncomfortable nights of sleep,
waddling while walking,
wearing Landon’s t-shirts and pullovers,
struggling to fit into pants,
needing help tying my shoes,
struggling to pick things up off the floor,
unquenchable thirst,
kicks to the ribs late at night,
soccer punches to the vag,
lack of interest of working out,
or even leaving the house some days;

they have an end date.
This doesn’t last forever,
and I’m going to miss this bump.
It’s inevitable.


It’s the 22 day countdown. Which means it’s time to start thinking about hospital bags, finally getting a crib for this little girl, and to continue to try and cool it on the no bake cookies.

matching floral shirts from Hello Apparel, grey still available here!

Photos with Ali Brown

Back in the day, when Landon and I were Salt Lake living and freshly engaged we got to take photos with his talented cousin Ali from Ali Brown Studios. We planned a vibe we were going for, picked out outfits, then met with her on a Saturday to shoot. Getting those photos back from her made my day/month/life. I don’t think I had ever had photos taken of me that I truly liked. We sent our favorite out with our wedding invites and now have small printed out versions hung with twine and clothespins in our room.

yellowwording bus1IMG_3695Now, almost exactly four years later we got to shoot with her again. This time for a maternity shoot with this second growing babe of ours. We don’t mess around.

We had the option to do a lifestyle family shoot of the 4 of us once this little girl makes her arrival but I am so glad that we took maternity photos. For starters it forced me to buy maternity pants, which needed to happen. [Thank you H&M maternity!] However, learn from me. I went for a flowy top, not wanting to do the typical basic ruched side t-shirt. Looking through photos later I realized how Ali quietly made the angles work so that I didn’t look like a blob of a mama. Form fitting to show off the bump is the way to go.

A few things that I look for in photographers is confidence in their work and feedback — please don’t be hesitant mid shoot and make me second guess every thing! Ali was great and reassured us right away that she’d let us know if what we were doing wasn’t working. This allowed me to relax and cozy up next to Landon without the fear that she hated how things were looking but was just too nervous to say anything. Of course natural lighting and attractive photos are also up there for me, but maybe that’s a given.

If you have the chance to take photos while pregnant, do it! I think there is such power in cultivating the mindset that pregnancy is a journey and a beautiful thing to be experiencing. There’s enough articles out there about the woes and cons of carrying a life for 9+ months and I have enough negative voices in my head about body image while pregnant. Getting these photos back totally helped me take a step back from the discomforts and insecurities I’ve been feeling with each passing week and see this phase of life from a different set of eyes.

AliBrownStudiosA huge shout out to Ali for being that different set of eyes and helping us have a cute afternoon shooting these photos. I’m ready to print out our three favorites and hang them in our 2014 goals frames. Its time for some updated photos in this home.


Maternity Photos with Landon

I use the phrase photos are my love language a lot around here. But what does that really mean? It’d been awhile since Landon and I had taken photos together with a photographer — our last time being with Andrew when camping near Tahoe last summer in California. So it was such an amazing reminder when after the focus of getting ready for these was over and it was just us and Ali that I remembered just how much I like taking photos with Landon. There’s something sweet mixed with a bit of those when-we-were-just-dating feelings that come back for me every time.

Maybe it’s all the kissing?

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I am so grateful to have these photos already. The more pregnant I get lately, the more I just want to be a hermit and stay inside most days till she decides to make her arrival. This was such a nice way to spend a Sunday evening with Landon and to now have these pics. They help balance out my memory of what I look like each night with my hair up and cozied up in his t-shirts.

a huge thanks to Ali Brown Studios for shooting these! more on our experience with working with her in my next post