Noobie Box Review

Time for another baby box review! The next baby box I tried after the Babylist baby box was the Noobie Box. These can be found at They do have other box options including subscription boxes – I chose to only get the free pregnancy edition Noobie Box, which cost $6.95 shipping. I truly enjoyed this box and feel that the shipping cost was worth it for new moms (or dads!). I’ll include some pictures of everything I received!

I love the samples that came in this box! The MAM bottle and paci is my absolute favorite. The Aquaphor tube and the Purell spray will be GREAT for baby’s diaper bag, and the little Cuties box of five diapers will absolutely be used! Overall, I’d say the Noobie Box is well worth the shipping cost. If you get one, let me know how your items compare!

Hello Baby Box by Babylist Review

Now that I’ve finally shared the news (we are expecting another baby boy!) I can start sharing reviews of the cool free and inexpensive baby stuff I’ve come across. Since this will be my husband’s and my second child together but third child in our family (full time stepdaughter, wild child two-year-old), everything I can get for free or cheap is very, very welcome. A family of five + a husky starts to get expensive!

Today’s review is going to be about the Babylist Hello Baby Box. I earned this by starting my baby registry through Babylist, and only had to pay $4.95 shipping for the box. Babylist is a very cool registry service, and if you haven’t checked it out, you definitely should! You’re able to add registry items from Babylist itself, Amazon, Target, Etsy, Buy Buy Baby, and more. All from one site! The consolidation makes creating a registry SO simple, which is what a busy mom like me needs.

The box came within a few days, and although it’s not the cheapest baby box I’ve found, I’d say it’s definitely worth the shipping cost! I’ll include some pictures of what I received in my Hello Baby Box in January 2019.

Parenthood is a trip! (Not a trap 😂)
The box comes with a nice little guide you can peruse as you build your registry!
The first gift inside was a paci and a couple of breast milk bags! I haven’t decided yet whether baby will be breast or formula fed, but I love being prepared for both options.

Better picture of the cute little pacifier!

Two Huggies diapers with a coupon for design-it-yourself diapers was next.

Sample newborn baby wash and lotion by Noodle & Boo. I’ve never tried the brand before but love samples!

A Velcro-adjustable bib by Green Sprouts. This came with a coupon as well!

Lanisoh nursing pad samples. It seems that these sample pads come in EVERY free bag and box anymore. Even my doctor’s office gave me some! These will come in handy if I decide to breastfeed baby.

20 free cards for us to put in our baby shower invitations.

My FAVORITE part of the Hello Baby Box was this adorable little Pampers bag! It’s high quality and will be great for the diaper bag. It came with a sample package of six wipes, a Pampers Swaddlers diaper, and coupons.

More breast milk storage bags!

This adorable “paci-pouch” was at the bottom of the box. I can definitely see us using this if baby ends up taking a paci. It helps keep pacis out of the bottom of a purse, diaper bag, pocket, etc.

Overall, I really enjoyed this baby box! I think it came with a lot that moms-to-be and new moms will actually use. If you want to check out the Hello Baby Box for yourself, just head over to and start your registry!

Stay tuned for my next review…The Noobie Box!

5 Things to Expect as the Parent of a Preemie

When my son was born at 28 weeks gestation, my husband and I were completely unprepared. Being a first time mother and having a perfectly healthy pregnancy up until the day my water broke (in the middle of the psychiatric hospital where I worked), we had not planned for a situation in which my son would spend his first seven weeks post-birth in the NICU, away from his family and unable to be held at all for the first four days out of the womb. Staring at my 2 pound, 14 ounce son through a glass Isolette was terrifying, and resources for the emotional and mental support of parents who were in our position seemed limited.

Now, 19 months into our experience, we are still reminded every day that our son came into this world three months early, mentally unready and physically unprepared. We have been very fortunate with our son’s health, and we can do nothing but give thanks that our miracle child survived. But as we approach his second birthday, I look back on some of the things we have experienced throughout this adventure.

1. Fear. The NICU is a scary place. There are continuously beeping monitors, humming computers, staff racing against the clock to save tiny, medically fragile newborns, parents crying, families sleeping, and a bond with other parents and the staff keeping your child alive that is unparalleled to any you will find outside of those NICU walls. But as much as you yearn to take your child home with you, as much as you prepare to take on the responsibility of caring for your premature child just as well as those trained professionals did, nothing compares to the fear you feel those first few nights (or weeks) at home with your preemie. With no computer screens to reassure you that your child’s heart rate is within normal limits and that his oxygen rates are stable once you leave the security of the NICU, you begin obsessively checking on your preemie every time he closes his eyes. You become hypervigilant in your respiration counting and you listen for the smallest sound of a steady breathing as your preemie sleeps in his bassinet next to your bed at night, just so you can keep him within eyesight at all times. Eventually the fear lessens, and you find yourself (and your preemie!) sleeping for longer stretches of time, but as much relief as I felt the day we “graduated” from the NICU, the fear multiplied tenfold as soon as we arrived home.

2. Therapy. Not the kind that involves a well-intentioned third party listener who has mastered the reassuring head nod and offers a slightly uncomfortable couch to sit on (although you may need that too!). Life with a preemie is full of everything from weekly physical therapy to monthly home visits with an early intervention case manager.  Nearly two years into our Preemie Experience, our son’s therapies have only increased as he has aged and as his prematurity has become more evident the further and further he falls behind his peers. Our normal week consists of feeding therapy on Mondays, physical therapy on Tuesdays, monthly meetings with an early intervention case manager, and for a while, we also had occupational therapy on Thursdays. Our son has special shoe inserts to help support his ankles, and at 19 months old he is still unable to walk. So we continue therapy. Therapy eventually becomes a way of life, and as tiring as it can be, you begin to find a community within the walls of the Children’s Rehabilitation Center waiting room. Each week, you see the same children with their supportive and loving families. You see kids of all ages, with all disabilities, delays, special needs and reasons for being at the center, and you start to feel at home there. Within those walls there is no judgment, no questions about why your toddler is unable to walk, or why he is wearing special shoes. It becomes a home and a safe haven, much like the NICU once was. And for that, you are grateful.

3. Comments from strangers, friends, and well-meaning family. “Wow,  he’s small for his age!” the woman at Kroger will tell you. “Is he running yet?” the cashier will ponder. “I bet it’s tiring chasing after him! Is he walking? Talking?” For the first few months home, you will be eager to share your story with anyone and everyone who will listen. You will excitedly tell the man on the sidewalk about all that your son has been through. LOOK AT MY MIRACLE CHILD! you will want to shout. Eventually, as you fall into your normal routine and your child’s prematurity simply becomes your new way of life, the well-meaning comments from others become tiring. Even the most thoughtful and supportive friends will say things like, “You’ll regret wishing he’d start walking when you’re chasing him everywhere!” All you can think of when you hear comments like that is the hours of physical therapy your son has endured, the tears streaming down his face as his feet were fitted for special shoes, the frustration you witness in his eyes every time he tries and fails to take a step. You think of the times you cried on your husband’s shoulder as your baby missed yet another milestone, and as you watch your friends’ kids meet and exceed each and every milestone they face. But then you look down at your smiling preemie’s face, full of hope and love and simply needing your support, and you realize that it doesn’t matter WHEN he reaches any milestones. All that matters is that your child is happy, healthy, and hopeful…and suddenly no one else’s comments matter.

4. Doubt about your ability to endure another pregnancy. As a woman who’s body gave up on her first pregnancy after only 28 weeks for reasons unknown to any OB specialists, there is an intense fear of going through another pregnancy that will result in another premature child, or worse. I think about how much we would love another child, how strong our family bond has become since going through my son’s prematurity experience, and the depth of the love I have for my son. I see others with their newborns and long for another baby. But as strongly as I feel about wanting another child, I feel equally selfish and guilty for wanting to potentially put myself, my family, and another child through that Preemie Experience once more. I feel like I don’t deserve to try again, because my body was not capable of carrying my first child to term. I feel scared and afraid to tell people that I would love to have another child, another sibling for my son and stepdaughter, because I put myself at risk for their judgment and their curiosity as to why I would wish that upon myself and my family. “Do you really think that’s a good idea? After all you’ve been through?” I’ve been asked (those well-meaning friends…). And I begin to doubt my desires and ability to carry another child to term. At the end of the day, however, it will be a decision between my husband, myself, and my doctor, and regardless of what we decide, our family will continue to be full of nothing but love and support for one another and our children.

5. Love and gratitude. The love you feel for your own child is unlike any other love in the world, but when you have a child who was born too soon, a child who doctors told you may have breathing problems, severe handicaps, or may not even survive, it’s hard to feel anything but gratitude. The nights can be long and tiring (we are currently battling 18-month sleep regression), but looking down at my son’s smiling face each morning while he stands in his crib reaching for mommy is nothing but a blessing. Our son has taught us the meaning of strength and perseverance, and we watch him grow and achieve new milestones (no matter how small!) while cheering him on each and every day.

Having a premature child is something you can never fully prepare for mentally, physically, or emotionally. Preemie parenting is full of setbacks, obstacles, celebrations, frustrations, support and resources you never knew existed…and so, so much love.

19 months ago, our son was born too soon and abruptly taken away from us at only 2 pounds, 14 ounces. He was intubated and taken to his first home, a glass box safe within the NICU walls.

Today, that child is my hero.

The M Word

Miscarriage.  Say it too loudly and it burns the tongue, it singes the throat. It reverberates in the back of your ears as you wonder who might be offended, hurt, scared, or even angry if you call it by its name. If you say it out loud.

She lost the baby.

The baby didn’t make it.

It wasn’t a viable pregnancy.

Statistically, as many as 20% of known pregnancies end in miscarriage.  One in five people who are knowingly pregnant lose their baby, yet nobody is talking about it.

On June 22, Josh and I eagerly awaited the results of the ultrasound. We watched the screen with bated breath, hoping and praying we’d see that tiny flicker, the little bean we had come to know so well through Aaron’s many ultrasounds. It was all new, shocking, surprising, nerve-wracking. . . but exciting. We discussed names and wondered how Aaron would react to a new baby in the house. We talked about how Adelia would squeal with joy when she found out she’d be a big sister all over again. We were nervous and giddy with excitement, but left the office that day with more questions than answers.

The ultrasound tech suspected we weren’t as far along as we thought. She couldn’t see anything aside from a gestational sac, but told us that it looked as healthy as a gestational sac could look. There was no baby yet, no heartbeat. There wasn’t a flicker. My stomach dropped and I turned to Josh. The tech could sense my fear and told me that it could be normal – there may be nothing to worry about. But that the nurse practitioner would be in to speak with us shortly.

“At this point, it could go either way,” the nurse practitioner told us. “I wish I had better news to tell you.”

Either way. The only piece of mind we left with was that it could go either way. We might have a baby. We might not. Either way.

Is this what one out of five pregnant women go through?

Why aren’t we talking about this?

The next morning, I woke up with optimism. “How about Abel?” I asked Josh. We had to keep the A-team running strong. Maybe Ari. Or Archer. I got the kids ready to head to the Knox County library to meet their granny and aunt. Adelia had her library card and stack of books to return in hand as we walked through the door. As the books dropped one by one into the slot return, I felt something. I knew something was wrong. I quickly rushed into the bathroom with both kids in tow to confirm my fears. With a shaky voice, I called Josh and he rushed to me from work. I sat in his car crying in the library parking lot while my mother-in-law and Josh’s aunt took the kids through the library. The on-call physician told me to follow up with my doctor Monday, but that at this point, there was nothing that could be done regardless. She told me that it may still turn out okay, but to prepare for the worst. My heart sank. I sat in the car in silence for a minute with Josh, and he put his hand on my leg. “Maybe it will still be okay,” I said. But he knew.

It took three weeks of lab draws before my HCG levels were back to zero. Three weeks of making sure I was just a little less pregnant than I was the week before. Three weeks to know that I was officially back to “normal” and that there was no longer an either way.

I didn’t know how to mourn, or if I even had a right to. I cried, and yet I felt relief at knowing the rollercoaster was over. I felt guilty for feeling sad, like I shouldn’t be allowed to because it wasn’t as bad as it was for other people. I laid in bed and felt like I couldn’t move. I went out for an avalanche sized snow cone with my pint-sized sidekick. I felt different. But the same. It was just the four of us again, although it really always had been.

But still, it was different.

I opened up to several people about our situation. I had told too many people about the pregnancy before that magical 12-week mark that makes everything okay. The day that you’re allowed to share your excitement. I didn’t wait. And suddenly I felt embarrassed, like I was back-pedaling through the nightmare all over again, like it never really happened.

Like I was never really pregnant.

But you know what I realized? Instead of hearing, “I’m so sorry that happened to you,” I heard “I know what you’re going through. I’ve been through it too.” “I understand your pain, I’ve felt it before.”

“I’ve had a miscarriage before, too.”

And it helped. I didn’t feel like people had pity on me or that they were just saying things they thought would make me feel better. I felt like people understood, because they had been there. They knew.

20% of known pregnancies end in miscarriage. Maybe we should be talking about this.


Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.

—A.A. Milne