valentines day.

Friday, February 28, 2014


we hope you all had a lovely and happy valentines day. 

We loved our day of love in our house. I loved having two valentines this year and getting my favorite german pancake breakfast in bed with flowers, Henry loved getting his very first valentine + v-day present (thanks grandma! -- how did you know we loved stripes!), and Tanner and I celebrated our first Valentines Day with a baby in style: 
a lá P.F Changs take-out and redbox. 

It was perfect. Our kind of perfect. I'm kinda really in love with my life at this moment, I just want to capture it in a bottle so that I can relive it as many times as I want. Do you know that feeling? I hope so, cause boy is it a good one. 

letters to henry: 1 month old.

Thursday, February 27, 2014


my little henry,

You are one month old! You are growing so much. You weighed in at 8 lb. 1 oz at your one month check up and are healthy as ever (way to go dude!). Your squishy little newborn face is almost gone which makes this mama sad, but at the same time look at what a beautiful baby boy you are becoming. Your dad and I hope you don't get too full of your baby self because all we can do is say what a beautiful baby you are about a million times a day. So in case you need to hear it again, Henry, you are one beautiful baby. You are becoming such an active little fellow. You love to kick your legs like no ones business and wiggle whenever you can. You never stay still, so it's quite a feat when we get photos of you without a blurred leg here or a blurred arm there. Henry, you amaze us every day. You are starting to smile! Yes, it's very random and inconsistent but every day you are smiling more and we can't get enough of it. You have some cute quirks too, like your "fake" cry which just attests that you are one dramatic little guy who is too smart for your own good. But our favorite is whenever you sneeze, the little sigh that accompanies it right after. There is no cuter sound, and whenever we hear a sneeze come from your direction, the whole house goes silent in anticipation of the most adorable noise ever heard. We hope you never grow out of that one. In fact, just stay this little forever ok? 

Henry, you are one loved little boy. Just in case you didn't know already.

Love always, your mama

letters to henry: 2 weeks old.


my little henry,

Since your first week of life was spent in the hospital, your second week was heaven for us. It finally felt just like it should be. You were finally home! The day after we brought you home, when I had to leave you to stay at the hospital to get healthy myself, it broke my heart. But your Dad and Grandma took such good care of you. When I got home I felt like everyone knew more about you than I did, but you were so patient with me and before we knew it we found our groove. And oh how I loved finally being able to be your Mom. I loved seeing you hold onto your ears and snuggle in bed next to us. I loved the fact that you would immediately stop crying when ever I started singing, and that when I sang "my favorite things" your dreaded hiccups would magically disappear. I already love looking back to your first bath at home, and how frantic your dad and I were. 

You were just so fragile and teeny. And it already breaks my heart that you've grown so much already. But I also love seeing you grow into your own little personality which was already so apparent from our first moments with you. You are one stubborn little guy (which you get from both of your parents) and you are just so sweet and love to be held as close as can be. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

Love always, your mama 

meet henry: our nicu experience.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

If I could sum up the hardest part of having my baby boy in the NICU, this picture above would explain it all. This picture was taken two hours after I delivered Henry, and they wheeled me to the NICU to see him for a few minutes. This was the first time, of many, that I would see him hooked up to all his wires and IV's. Thankfully he was off his CPAP at the time so I didn't see him with the large tube up his nose that he has on in the pictures below. I don't think my heart could take it. He looked so helpless and as his mama, I wanted to do all I could to take it all away and just hold him close. But I couldn't. So not only was he helpless, but I was as well, and during our 8 day stay in the NICU this was one of the hardest things for me to deal with. 

But the hardest was not knowing entirely if our baby boy was going to be okay. From the moment Henry was born (as I described in this post) with the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck twice and his lack of crying, he had some problems breathing. And this was the only problem they thought he had. So as they took him to the NICU to hook him up to a CPAP, we thought he would only be there for a couple of hours. Once we got set up in the mother and baby wing though, we just kept waiting for them to bring him in. They would call us and say he needed a few more hours, and then once those hours had passed they would call again and say he needed to stay for a few more hours. Needless to say, that first night was the longest night for me. All you new mamas out there can attest, that once your baby is finally here all you want to do is be close to them. And that night especially, as I laid there waiting for my baby, it felt like a part of me was missing. 

After multiple disappointing phone calls that night from the NICU saying that our baby boy was still in the danger zone and not ready to be discharged from the NICU, early the next morning we finally got a phone call with some good news--that we could come and see our Henry and start breastfeeding! But of course the good news stopped there. We were told that Henry's blood sugar was dangerously low. A normal blood sugar level for a new baby is in the mid 50's and Henry's blood sugar level was an 8. So the road to getting his blood sugar up was a long one, but after weening him off his IV, he was eventually able to hold his blood sugar level up on his own. We were so proud of our little man. 

But after two days in the NICU, we had another curveball thrown at our little family. I was being discharged from the hospital that night, and we had been told that Henry was doing well and would probably be able to come home with us. We were beyond thrilled. But that same afternoon, we were told that they had run a test on Henry and the results had come back, and they weren't good. It showed that Henry had an infection. 

Up to this point, we had taken this experience relatively well. Tanner was strong, no surprise there. But surprisingly, I was too. Because up to this point, Henry's problems were calculated. They knew what was wrong and how to fix it. But with these test results, it was unknown what kind of infection he had. That uncertainty mixed with the sudden realization that my baby boy might not be okay, broke me. As I stood there in the NICU looking at my sweet baby with wires all around him and IV's in his little hand, foot, and head; hearing the nurse tell us the news, I lost any strength I previously had. Thankfully, I had the strength of my family around me and the peace of priesthood blessings given by my loving husband and sweet dad that Henry would be okay. 

That night I was discharged from the hospital. Tanner and I were forced to return home to sleep, without our baby. I was deflated, but we knew Henry was in good hands. We returned to the hospital bright and early for Henry's morning feeding and experienced a tender mercy. We ran into the head Doctor of the NICU, who is a family friend, and he decided to take Henry on as a patient. He explained that they would put Henry on 7 days of multiple antibiotics, just to be safe, as to be sure to kill whatever infection Henry might have. Hearing him explain to us his plan of action and that Henry would soon be as healthy as can be, strengthened this mama's heart. 

The tender mercies kept coming after that. The next day, Sunday, I was able to partake of the sacrament in the parent's lounge with a few nurses and my mom. A sweet elderly man blessed the sacrament while his darling wife spoke only the most tender of words, that my Heavenly Father knew I needed to hear. I again felt strengthened. We were blessed yet again that day when we were told they had a room for us to stay and sleep in, just down the hall from Henry. I was able to stay in that room for the rest of Henry's stay in the NICU, with my Mom and Tanner switching off staying with me during the night, to help me with Henry's night feedings. I was so blessed with help and strength from my family and with no doubt, strength from above. But most importantly with the health of my baby boy. He had the best doctors and the sweetest nurses. The NICU truly was a community of the best people, and we will always be grateful to them for taking care of our Henry.   

After 8 days in the NICU, Henry proved to all of us that he was indeed a fighter. His breathing issues had disappeared entirely, his blood pressure was up to a normal level, and any signs of infection were gone. 

^^ My awesome husband was so loving during this whole experience. He made the hospital a party (as much as it could be) as we frequented the surprisingly yummy hospital cafeteria together daily and had a sushi party in our hospital room for his 25th birthday. He makes hard moments like these good, and good moments even better.

^^ Such a handsome little boy, even with the IV in his head...which was one of the saddest things for me.

^^ I could not have gotten through those first few weeks of hospitals without this beautiful and strong woman. My Mom was there for me the whole entire time. Crying with me when I needed it and being strong for me when I needed. Those nights she stayed with me in the hospital, although with not so perfect circumstances, those "sleepovers" will always be some of my most precious memories of my Mom and I.

^^ Henry got spoiled in the NICU. With the endless attention from his awesome nurses and riding in his most favorite mammaroo, we weren't sure he really wanted to leave. 

^^ Bringing our baby boy home with us was the best day! No words can describe my joy.

^^ I can't tell you how excited I was to be home with my precious baby. Just seeing him right next to me in his bassinet during the night was something I ached for during those 8 days in the hospital. 

Unfortunately, that next morning I woke up with a fever of 103, the chills, and was frankly delirious. My Mom took me to my Doctor where they did a couple tests and within minutes told me I needed to go check into the hospital. They put me into the tiniest hospital room and hooked me up to 4 different antibiotics. I was devastated. I just wanted to be near my baby. I can't tell you how badly I just wanted to bust out of that joint. Especially, since we thought we had said goodbye to that hospital for good, just the day before. Well the verdict was in, I had an infection in my uterus. Fun. But with lots and lots of prayers and priesthood blessings, I thankfully only had to stay in the hospital 2 days. 

I'll admit, it was really hard to count my blessings during those two days. All I could think was, REALLY? I guess they are right when they say, "when it rains, it pours." But I guess Heavenly Father just really wanted to make sure I appreciated being home with my baby and being a Mom. Let me tell you, I will never again take one snuggle for granted. No matter how utterly exhausted I may be. 

I am truly so grateful though for modern medicine. It is a crazy  (and scary) thought to think just 100 years ago, both mine and Henry's experiences could have ended a lot differently. If I have learned anything from those crazy weeks, is to never take anything for granted and to always be grateful.

I feel so blessed to be living my dream life--to be a mom to a beautiful boy. I am so grateful I was chosen to be little Henry's mama and I always will be. And hey, life is soooo incredibly good now in comparison. It's all up from here, right? 

meet henry: birth story.

henry levi rhodes
6 lb. 12 oz
1.1.14 | 8:07 pm

We rang in the new year, the best way possible. By welcoming our perfect baby boy into the world. It was completely unexpected. My due date was January 6th so we thought we had more than enough time to relax, sleep, and wait for my due date to come and go-- because don't most first time mom's go way past their due date? Well, our little Henry just couldn't wait any longer. Which turned out to be a miracle.

We had a very late morning on the 1st, I mean it was New Years Eve the night before after all, so we slept in and found our way to the couch cuddled up watching Zach Galifianakis on TV. I must have found him way too funny because before I knew it I felt a gush of liquid (gross, I know!) and all I could say was, "Uhh...Tanner! Tanner!" as a rush of nerves flooded over me, right then I had a pretty good idea that my water had broke. Thinking back on it, it was pretty hysterical. I'm sure every first time mom knows what I mean, because with your first you have no idea what to expect or simply even know what the heck is going on--because hey, you haven't done this before. The only reason we had a sense of urgency was because at 35 weeks I tested positive for Group B Strep which didn't really affect me but could severely affect my baby as soon as my water broke, so they needed me to rush to the hospital to start me on antibiotics. So as soon as we were sure it was in fact my water that had broke, we grabbed our already packed bags (thanks to my over-prepared self), said a prayer, and started our 5 minute drive to Utah Valley Regional Hospital. 

We checked into the hospital around 3:00 in the afternoon, they checked me and my water had indeed broken and I was dilated to a 2.5--which was what I was at a week before at my doctor's appointment. Because I wasn't dilated very much but my water had broken, they needed to get things moving due to the Group B Strep, so they started me on Pitocin around 4 o'clock in addition to the antibiotics. I wasn't too excited about the Pitocin since I had heard not so great things but because it was for the benefit of my baby, I knew it was the right thing. Shortly after that, I started feeling pain. Lots and lots of pain. But since they had just checked me and I was a 2.5, I figured I was just being a pansy and decided to simply work through it since I was only a 2.5 and no reasonably strong woman needs an epidural at 2.5 cm. Right?! Wrong. After one hour, it had gotten unbearable so I had them check me again and I had progressed to a 5! A FIVE, I tell you, in one hour I went from a 2.5 to a 5. I sure didn't feel bad asking for my epidural at that point. But unfortunately my epidural took a mighty long time to kick in. So I spent about 3 and a half hours in the worst pain I had ever felt, with the nice old anesthesiologist man coming in frequently to check on me to give me more and more (but still not enough I tell you). 

During those painful hours, they found that I had a high fever and that our baby boy's heartbeat was showing signs of trauma, which are both very scary things especially during labor. So they put an oxygen mask on me, so that our baby could get more oxygen and that was that. I was worried, but didn't think too much about it since it had never crossed my mind that I wouldn't have anything but a healthy hefty baby. Around 7:40 pm they said it was time to push. By then I had had 30 minutes of pure bliss. The epidural had finally kicked in, I was chit chatting with family and feeling oh so good. (Word to the wise, if you have decided to get an epidural--there is no need to wait. If my whole labor had been like those 30 minutes, I would've been one happy lady).  When the doctor came in and Tanner and my Mom were by my side, holding my super heavy numb legs (one of the funniest parts about having a baby), I just couldn't help but be excited and a little anxious. I was expecting a good many hours of pushing but thankfully it turned out to be only 25 minutes of pushing. Which yes, was great for this mama to be, but more importantly it was the best thing for our little guy.

As I was getting closer and closer, and even with only 25 minutes of pushing, getting more exhausted with every minute--when the doctor said he could see our baby boy and that he had HAIR I went into full force mode because I just couldn't wait any longer to see my beautiful baby boy with a head of hair (which was a surprise for these former bald babes)! Before I knew it, with one more push, he was there. It was the most beautiful and surreal experience and I will never forget it.

But after that moment, all there was was silence. Which is every mother's fear. Right after you deliver your baby, the most beautiful sound to hear are those little lungs crying and crying some more. But with our Henry, there was too much silence. All I could say was, "Why isn't he crying?" over and over again. Henry came out with the umbilical cord wrapped around his little neck twice. Thankfully, it wasn't wrapped too tight, but still he had a hard time breathing and making any noise at all. All of a sudden, the room was full of nurses whisking him away and minutes later we finally heard that perfect noise. It was faint but our boy was using those set of lungs of his the best he could and we heard his sweet little cry. We watched the nurses clean our little guy up and all I could do was stare. This beautiful boy was all mine. This was the little person that I had carried for 9 months. And all I could say is how he looked like a Henry. He was my little Henry and all I could think about was how I wanted, no needed to hold my son. 

Henry was still having a hard time breathing so once they finished cleaning him up, they gave him to me for a very brief minute before taking him to the NICU. That was a perfect moment. Holding Henry for the first time, this sweet baby boy that made me a mother, was a humbling experience. I felt so close to heaven and now looking back on it, I'm so grateful, because at that moment I didn't know how badly I would need heaven close to me. 

The next week and a half would be beyond anything I'd ever experienced--with Henry being in the NICU, for what would be much longer than we ever expected, as well as my own stay in the hospital. I'll talk about that in the next post (this one is long enough on its own, and if you've made it this far, bravo!), but given everything that happened and everything that could have happened, I am so grateful for my Heavenly Father's hand in our Henry's coming into this world. I can't help but think if my water had not broken when it did, if my body hadn't progressed as quickly as it did, if I had to have pushed longer than I did, or if anything had gone just even a tinge differently in the labor and delivery process, would my little Henry be pictured there in my arms. I know that might be a bit on the dramatic side, but I'm a mother now, and I think it comes with the territory. But even so, it's not that. It is me being grateful. Me being forever grateful for how things turned out, for this beautiful baby boy, and the blessing to be his mother. 

-- part II, with our NICU experience and why Henry was there can be found in this post

baby update: 36 weeks & baby showers.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Technically I'm almost 37 weeks but I had to stop time for a minute and write down everything that has been happening since I wrote the last baby update 6 weeks ago. It's been a full 6 weeks, with this baby boy of ours growing to what I feel like is his max (I mean how can I get any bigger than I am it that picture above...seriously. and yes, I know I say that every time, but this time I sincerely mean it). 

My favorite thing lately is feeling him get the hiccups almost everyday. It's a big moment in our house, when it happens (usually in the evenings) I yell for Tanner and he puts his hand on my stomach and we both feel those adorable hiccups together. There is nothing cuter, and I can't wait to meet that hiccuping baby soon!

Speaking of, at this point it could be anytime now. Our last few doctor appointments have made us feel like we need to be ready now for this little guy to come at any time. My belly has been measuring ahead of schedule for the past many appointments and this week my doctor said I'm dilated to a 2. Already! More than that, my prayers have been answered and our little man has started to drop and is head down. Hallelujah! Other things have started to happen (I'll spare you the details) which has confirmed that my body is getting ready to push this baby out! We just can't wait for our little boy to get here, even though we have decided he has to wait at least a week and a half until our carseat gets here. Kinda important I know. So hold off little buddy till then. 

The past few weeks have certainly been the funnest of my whole pregnancy by far. Baby boy and I have been spoiled rotten by our family and friends on both sides! 

 ^^we had our first baby shower a couple days before Thanksgiving thrown by these two lovely women above. My Momma Rhodes and cousin Katie! I loved celebrating this special time with the Rhodes and Wirig sides of the family as we played some hil-airious minute-to-win it games (all pregnancy and baby related of course) and ate the most delicious apple crisp. It was oh so fun. 

^^my way too cool little sister in law Amanda and me after the baby shower. I find it so special that this little boy of ours will be making all of our siblings first time aunts and uncles!

 ^^to top it all off, last weekend we had our second baby shower with my side of the family and all of our friends. It was perfect. I mean look at those invitations. Swoon.

^^and these cupcakes made by my sister (how cute are those homemade milk chocolate duckies!), along with a gourmet hot chocolate bar, and lots of yummy food, made it a day to remember. My Mom and sister did an amazing job putting this all together. And there was nothing better than sharing it with all my dearest friends and family who spoiled me and baby boy far beyond my expectations. I can't wait to share all the adorable outfits and not to mention my dream stroller that I was way too excited about with you all. 

 ^^my beautiful mama, who is soon to be a grandma

 ^^the baby shower aftermath, with my two favorite ladies that made this all happen. I love you both way too much.

There were so many more people who made these baby showers so perfect, and I must find all the photos that were took that day and post them, because boy do I fell blessed to have the friends and family that I have. Not to mention, my best buddy that will make his appearance soon! Now, I'm just trying to soak up and enjoy the last few weeks of being pregnant as I fight through a nasty cold to get everything done before he arrives. WHY IS THERE NOT MORE TIME IN THE DAY! (And why must pregnant women get sick, it should be against the law of nature. C'mon). At least I have the best husband who will spend our friday date night putting together all of our baby items including the swing, crib, and bassinet. And more than that, be just as excited as I am as we do it. 

Baby boy, if you can't tell already, we can't wait to meet you!

happy december.

Friday, December 13, 2013

November has come and gone so quickly. We had such a great Thanksgiving with Tanner's family in Utah where we filled ourselves with turkey and peppermint shakes from Chik-fil-a. Nothing better.

But now its December, my absolute favorite month of the year! I mean, it's my birthday and christmas, so it's basically a magical celebration all month long. How could it not be my favorite?!

Already this month, we've had lots of magical (my december buzz word, for sure) moments together.

^^We've walked through temple square and seen the lights, twice, once with Tanner's family and also last night as we rushed to get our seats for the Mormon Tabernacle Christmas Concert (which was amazzzing). The first time was definitely a lot more enjoyable. There is something not so graceful about a 8 month pregnant woman speed "walking" er... waddling through crowds in her church dress, slipping on ice, all while getting distracted by the gorgeous christmas lights to help her forget about her shrinking bladder. Yep, not graceful.

** please note Tanner's annual Thanksgiving stache. 

^^We picked out our christmas tree, which we take very very seriously. We drove to our annual spot, "Francisco's Christmas Tree" lot by Target only to find a newly built gas station in its spot. Um what. You can not ruin tradition like that. But we were able to still keep the tradition alive, and find their new lot near Toy's R Us. Not as classy Francisco, but it still worked for us. And we found him. Our tree. 

^^He is perfect and smells so magical. 
The husband too. 

^^We shared a moment when our lopsided bellies touched. It was definitely meant to be. 

^^This year we soaked in the fact that this will be the last time in a long while where we will tie up our tree on the top of our car, and drive our tree home. Next Christmas in Manhattan (more on that later!) we will... umm not sure what we will do, but there certainly will not be a car involved.
 Love that husband of mine, and his tree tying skills. 

^^Another favorite of december has to be all the decorations that are involved. There is nothing better than dancing and singing to Christmas music all throughout the house with your husband setting up the Christmas tree, lights, ribbons, fresh wreaths (from trader joes all the way from California, thanks Mom!), and stockings. 

Except maybe hanging up a third stocking for the first time. That was certainly a magical moment. 

happy december!

Blogging tips