Monday, August 2, 2010

What to Take to the Hospital | How to Celebrate a Birthday | More baby pictures!


Yes, more baby pictures! You can tell that I've had my camera out a few times since we've been home, but for the most part, these are just snapshots from the hospital that I wanted to share.


And I thought I would make it a little more interesting by offering my hospital tips along the way! I've realized that we are pretty good at celebrating in the hospital. We get a lot of comments from nurses, doctors, friends and family that we seem to know how to do this. . .so . . .

1. Have a true birthday party. I like this idea for a few reasons. Turning anything into a bigger celebration is always fun, but I've found that having a designated time for friends and family to show up for a party is ideal. You know when they are coming, you get "ready" for the company once, everyone entertains each other, you serve birthday cake and champagne and have great photo ops! (Our hospital, Memorial Hermann delivers the cakes shown in this picture through their room service. And I love and highly recommend Memorial Hermann--rooms are big and the nursing staff is superb!)

2. Take outfits for your new baby. Even just little hats that aren't the standard hospital issue make it feel more special. For this one, I even had a matching outfit for me and Hank for his party. A little silly, but it was fun. I love the matching sets from Olian. They are super soft, have great cuts and actually made me feel a little cute while I was in the hospital. Truly, a miracle! You can go do web searches for Olian or try Nine Maternity.

3. Take your camera into the Operating Room! Some of my most treasured pictures from both of my boys births are in the OR. I've now had 2 emergency and one scheduled. They'll let you bring it either way, and it's even easier in the regular delivery rooms. I love having the shots of the first time I saw each of them. The nurses are happy to help with the camera.


4. Same with the recovery room. Be clear about your ideal recovery room experience and communicate it to your doctor. For me, it's about having my babies with me for as long as possible--which has been a little over an hour in both cases. Once Craig and I have had time together with our sons, then he's been able to go get Lane, grandparents, family to catch a quick peek before they are off to the nursery for the first big evaluation. For me, I've asked that they not get a bottle or even a pacifier and that they be delivered right back to my room asap! (As tired as I was, I didn't sleep at all that first night because I couldn't take my eyes off him!)

5. Take pictures of the details. Flowers, little tiny piggies sticking out of a blanket, special cards, etc.

6. Bring an air matress for Dad to sleep on. This is key.


7. Take your ipod and have music in your room. For me, aesthetic beauty is so calming. So the more I can make a room feel like home with music, flowers, flameless candles, my special books and journals, the happier I am. I love relaxing classical music--try George Winston or Jim Brickman for beautiful classic piano.

8. Pack thank you notes. I love writing the notes quickly after receiving gifts and it gave me something productive to do while I was there. (Again, keep in mind that you are there quite a bit longer with c-sections . . .)

9. Make it special for older siblings. Lane had a special day to go to Build-A-Bear to make a gift for Hank. And then Hank arrived and specifically told us that Lane would love to have the new Woody and Buzz Lightyear as a gift from his new brother. It was especially thoughtful of the new little guy since Lane had been asking Santa to bring these for Christmas. (And Grammie made the boys matching "Big Bro" and "Lil Bro" (and "Big Cuz") shirts.)


10. If possible, let your older child stay a night with you in the hospital. This turned out to be one of our favorite things from the entire hospital experience this time. I know for sure that one of my happiest moments was when Lane came back into the room and was able to crawl into bed with us and I got to hold both of my boys together for the first time.

10b. Once again, emotion is more key than perfection when it comes to pictures. Especially here (see especially picture in upper right corner and larger pic at bottom). I promise you that I wish both eyes were open completely and that I didn't look like I was still carrying a baby in my chubby cheeks alone--but this moment was magical. I'm happy. I will always remember this feeling.


11. Take your own pillows. Or at least pillow cases. In regular delivery or even during the emergency c-section you get to have them. And otherwise they are just more comfortable (and yes, look better in snapshots) than the flat ones from the hospital.

12. If you feel like it at all, put your make-up on. Again, to me, this helps with the mind over body aspect of recovery. (And go to the makeup counter before you go to the hospital and have them do your makeup and make you feel pretty. Ask them for products with staying power--primers make a huge difference. I have tried so so many of the makeup lines. And trust me, I have LOTS of favorite products. But I'm back to MAC on the make-up front. I love the MAC counter at Nordstrom's, especially!)

13. COOZIES! How did I not get this one earlier in the list? We had coozies made for Craig to give instead of cigars, and we all love them! Grandparents get some to give, I get some to give, the boys will grow up seeing us drink from coozies with their name on them (!)--what could be more perfect?! I'll post a picture of them sometime soon.

14. Journal. I love the idea of journaling. I buy countless beautiful journals with good intentions. But I don't actually journal WITH THE EXCEPTION of our time in the hospital. We take turns writing, we write down prayers, messages to each other, things that make us laugh, and list our favorite moments. Lane gets to draw, we tape in fun stuff. LOVE our hospital journaling. This one is especially great--it was a baby shower gift (what a great gift!) and it just feels so perfect and right. Again, I love beautiful things. This is tactile and handmade and gorgeous.

15. Take something special with you to stamp your little baby's feet onto. We used the first page of the journal and intended to stamp Craig's shirt, too, but forgot. One of my senior reps just had her senior pictures made with her dad's hat that he was wearing at the time--that were stamped with her and her sister's baby feet. How special is that?!


16. Camera angle. When you are taking pictures of your baby (anyone, really, but it's especially easy to fall into this trap with newborns), don't shoot "up the nostrils". That means that camera angle is really key. Generally my advice is to get down on a kids level to shoot them--but with babies I shoot a little above them so that the plane is more flattering. Play with the camera angles. I'll show you some taken from directly above, at an angle looking down over their face, etc. coming up. But it's easy to remember as a basic move to get somewhere that you can't see up the little bebeh nose!

Anyone else have great tips or recommendations? Think I got something wrong or want to add to my commentary?

Take care, friends, and blessings to you all,
All images copyright 2A Photography.

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