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Khoren is born!


I don’t know why, but I have a hard time writing down my birth stories. I’ve brought a journal with me to the hospital to do it fresh twice now, but I just can’t do it right away. With Lily it took a few weeks/months before I was ready to put the experience into words and so far it’s been the same with Khoren. I think it’s just an intense emotional experience and I really want to truly capture it with words, not just write it down, and the post-birth-lack-of-sleep fog makes it hard enough to speak coherent sentences let alone write down something eloquent and creative. But here I am, finally needing to write it down before it gets any later and I start forgetting the details.

Lily and Khoren’s due dates were a day apart (Lily on Feb 6 and Khoren on Feb 5), so we were very concerned as Lily’s birthday got closer that they were going to possibly share a birthday. It finally reached a point on the day of her birthday where even if I went into labor right then it was reasonable to believe that the baby wouldn’t come until after 12:01 am the next morning and we breathed a sigh of relief. NOW we were ready for the baby and I fully expected him to arrive any day!

Except he didn’t come the next day. Or the next. Or the next.  I never had this feeling with Lily. The waiting and anticipation. I was needing her to stay in there a few more weeks because of work at the bakery! As worried as I was about the transition from one to two kids, I was starting to feel VERY ready for this pregnancy to be over. I was getting painless, but uncomfortable, Braxton Hicks contractions more and more frequently so I was constantly on edge waiting for the start of labor. With Lily my water broke first before any contractions hit so I didn’t know what to expect this time around. And planning for something so unpredictable as labor was stressing me out big time when it came to how to handle Lily. We had her overnight bag packed and friends on call for every scenario and timing we could think of.

On Sunday, 5 days later, I can’t tell you how many times I heard, “You’re STILL here?!” from our fellow church members. On Monday Chris was supposed to start very boring 2-week training program at work that we never expected he would actually attend (he would get out of it if he went on paternity leave) that would mean he would be pulling extended hours and we went to bed dreading the upcoming week.

But lo and behold, I was awakened at 3:15am by contractions 15 minutes apart! I had been worried I wouldn’t know how to distinguish real labor from preparatory contractions, but that worry was in vain because it was pretty clear right at the beginning. I couldn’t sleep through them so I gave up trying at about 3:45 and got up to make sure everything was ready to go. I could still walk though them, so kept myself busy. I packed the last bits and bobs needed for my hospital bag, made sure Lily had everything ready to go, made myself a sandwich to stock up on energy for later when I could no longer eat, texted my parents, touched up my hair and makeup (because why not?) and did the dishes from dinner and cleaned the kitchen (because our landlord was the one on call to watch Lily for us if we went to the hospital before she woke up). I was really hoping we would be able to keep Lily asleep as long as possible and hold off going to the hospital long enough so that our friend Stephanie could take her straight away, rather than have her wake up to the surprise of mom and dad already gone to the hospital. I really wanted her to be aware of what was going on and to explain it to her before we left. Mom and Dad called and I talked to them for a little while until I needed to focus more steadily.

Overall contractions were a lot more regular this time around. Still not textbook regular, but definitely more so than they were with Lily. I called the hospital to let them know I was in labor when contractions were about 5-6 minutes apart. They asked “What would you like to do? How can we help you?” It was such a contrast from labor with Lily when they told me to just stay home that I didn’t really know what to say. “Um… Can I come in for a check to see where I’m at?” And they said, “Come on in!” With Lily I spent most of my labor at home, but with this one I wanted to get to the hospital early so that I could relax and zone out and focus on the labor without having to worry about whether or not we should go to the hospital at any given moment and risk traveling during transition, which happened with Lily and I wasn’t keen on repeating it!

So I woke up Chris around 6:30 and told him he wouldn’t be making his training because it was go time! Luckily we had passed the point where we needed to keep Lily asleep so while Chris showered I woke her up and got her dressed in between contractions. “Baby brother is coming today, Lily!” “Baby brother is coming??”  “Yep! Mommy hurts right now, but Mommy is ok. We have to get you all dressed so that you can go with Sam’s mommy this morning.” In the short time it took for all this to happen, the contractions increased in strength significantly and got closer together to 2 minutes apart. On the way out the door I had a few strong contractions where I had to actually stop what I was doing and crouch down. After one, I opened my eyes to see Lily’s face right in my face nose-to-nose. She grabbed my hands and said “Lily help Mommy!” and tried to lift my hands up to pull me to standing. My heart just about melted!

I could no longer talk or move through contractions once we got to the car. We had to wait a little while for our friend to get through morning traffic to pick up Lily. I stayed in the car and listened to my hypnobirthing tracks while Lily and Chris walked around. Everything with Lily’s labor was so unknown, but with this one I felt very in control and calm. Nothing was rushed, I was prepared mentally and physically, and I felt very in touch with what was happening in my body. It was a pretty stark contrast and I thank the hypnobirthing training I worked so hard on this time around. All the preparation definitely paid off!

We drove to the hospital as the sky was starting to lighten around 8:00. Contractions were about 1-2 minutes apart, which seems close but with Lily we learned that I had piggy-back contractions one right after the other so we weren’t worried. They did get much worse and much more frequent though if I moved and by the time we arrived I could barely walk without stopping every 30 seconds so Chris pushed me up to the 7th floor in a wheelchair.  The midwives gave me my initial exam and I was at 4cm, which was a little disappointing because based on the pain I thought I was at least at a 5 or a 6. They got me all set up in my room and I was able to relax as I had wanted to. Everything was so much more chill than it was with Lily’s labor! I felt so much more present and aware of what was going on. Our friend Dezi arrived shortly after to document the birth with her amazing photography skills.



I had initially planned on trying to do what the hypnobirthing book suggested and just curl up on the bed and try to go into the super deep relaxation state I had been working to achieve in my practicing, but the midwife encouraged me to move and change positions every 30 minutes. I hated shifting as every time I moved the contractions surged and got crazy painful, but once I was in the new positions it did feel better.  I found I really liked sitting on the birthing ball. I could lean on the bed for support and Chris could really push on my back.  Just as I had with Lily, I felt the contractions primarily in my back. I could breathe out the pain on my belly, but nothing helped the contractions in my back except Chris drilling his thumbs and knuckles into a specific place on my lower back. The poor guy’s hands were shot after this!


Chris was definitely my rock throughout this labor. He was calm and collected and knew exactly what to do and say to help remind me of the techniques I had practiced and to help me regain focus and calm when I started to lose it. Even the midwives commented on how impressed they were by him! At one point our main midwife assigned to us was just sitting in the chair in our room and asked, “Do you even need me here? I could leave you be and just come back and check on you occasionally maybe?” As she was leaving I asked when the next internal check would be and she said they check the heartbeat every 30 minutes and do an internal check every 4 hours. I thought to myself, “4 hours?? There is no way I want to be here another 4 hours from now!”



As painful as they were, I was really proud of myself for staying so calm during the contractions. I used the visualizations I had practiced and I was amazed I could actually feel them help! It was really cool to be that in touch with my own body! When I was focused and relaxed enough I could literally feel the pain lessening (except in my back).  I had my “birth affirmations” track on loop the whole time and they helped a lot. Whenever I could feel myself slipping I could tune into the affirmations in the background and they helped me recenter. One of the things that amazed me this time compared to Lily’s birth was how present and aware I was throughout the whole process. With Lily I remember most things in small bursts and snatches. Where with this labor I was aware of everything happening around me and what people were saying, but I could relax through it and only respond when necessary. It was pretty cool!



About an hour after arriving at the hospital things started to really pick up. I could tell I had entered the transition phase (7cm) without even getting a check. The piggy-back contractions came on in full-force, although thankfully every 4 or 5 contractions in a row I was able to get a little bit of a break to regroup. That didn’t happen at all with Lily! The midwife had me move back onto the bed though, which was a very painful shift. That’s when I felt like I started slipping and it was getting harder and harder to maintain calm. I didn’t like it when they checked the heartbeat or when I had to shift in any way. I tried to move in between contractions, but whenever I moved it would start them again immediately. The midwife did another internal check and said I was about a 9.5. I was starting to wear down so she did some sort of stretching or something on my cervix to get it to open up the last little bit.

She asked me if I felt the need to push yet. I wasn’t really sure, as with Lily they just told me to push, I didn’t necessarily feel the urge I’d heard about. But I did start to feel pressure that I remembered very vividly from Lily’s birth so I said I thought so and they started getting me into position for delivery. Soon, I could feel my contractions change (another sensation I remembered from Lily’s birth) and I knew it was pushing time. By that point I was tired and DONE and just wanted that baby out. I lost the calm relaxed feeling I had a bit and had to work REALLY hard mentally to stay in the zone. This time I definitely felt the urge to push once it got going. Possibly TMI for a blog, but up until this point my water still hadn’t broken, but after a push or two it broke and came GUSHING out all at once, all over Chris’ pants!  Whoops!



Pushing is where my memory blurs a little bit because it was so intense and I lost the focus, but I do remember pushing as hard as I could to get that baby out! I’ve decided that the sensation of the baby moving down the birth canal is definitely my least favorite part of the whole birth experience. It felt like pushing took forever, although the midwife later told me it barely lasted 5 minutes.

It took 2 or 3 pushes to get him all the way out, but at 10:57 Khoren Christopher Hill was born!


The midwives put him right up onto my chest as he screamed his little heart out. He apparently did NOT like being birthed.



This part is seriously the best feeling ever. The naked little newborn on my bare chest all wrapped up together in blankets. Nevermind all the fluids gushing out of me. It’s pure bliss! We got to soak up those first few moments of looking him over to finally see what he looked like. Chris in particular was immediately obsessed with his little son! He came out almost clean and smelled so good! I remember noticing his little fingers in particular, and how full they were already. Chris got to cut the cord after it stopped pulsing and we eventually got him to calm down. We sure love our little Khoren!

This picture looks WAY sadder than it was! I was bawling, but in a good way! 

Mr. Grumpy 

The traditional celebratory apple juice! I love this part!

Overall, my labor was about 8 hours from start to finish, with active labor about 3 hours. Not too shabby! Khoren weighed 3450g (7 lbs 9oz) and was 52cm long (almost 21 inches) and is named after his great-grandfather on Chris’ side. I’m so proud we were able to bring Khoren into this world in the most peaceful way we could!

(And a public THANK YOU to Desiree for capturing these special moments for us! These photos are such a treasure!)

It’s 2017…and we’re back!

Hello there! Did you miss us??

We’re finally back after a looooong hiatus from the blog. It has been a bit of a crazy year (plus some) as I’m sure you have guessed. As much as I loved updating the blog, the stress of running the bakery and raising a toddler had me at a breaking point where I had to cut everything non-essential. The pressure of trying to stay on top of updates was just too much and I needed to take a cold-turkey break so I could attempt to decrease the feeling that I was “not enough” in pretty much every aspect of life during that time. Luckily though things have since mellowed out significantly. Katrine and I decided in November to close Slikkepotten (more on that later) so despite all the hard work it has taken to actually shut down (and still not done), the crushing weight of it all is gone and I feel like I can finally take some time and mental energy to be creative again!

I thought the best way to begin again was to start with a new year and a new life!

2017 began with us preparing to welcome our new little baby boy into the world! The thought of two kids was overwhelming to say the least (at least for me. Chris was ready to have another boy in the family!), but we were excited to start this next chapter of our lives!

The photos were taken in the sheep field just behind our house by the amazing Desiree from Desiree Photography, who pretty much documents all our major family milestones these days!



It happened!


A few weeks ago there was a large solar flare which caused enough magnetic activity for the aurora to be seen in Stavanger. This has happened many times since we moved here, but for various reasons we always seem to miss it. To get the perfect combination of a powerful magnetic storm with a cloudless night, without a full moon, when we were actually available to leave the house and stay up all hours of the night was starting to seem like an impossible feat. We thought this storm was going to be another missed opportunity because we can’t exactly leave the house in the wee hours of the morning to go aurora hunting when we have a little one fast asleep. Normally there is too much light pollution to see it from our neighborhood and we’d need to head for a much darker location, which just isn’t feasible these days.

Around 1am that night though (please don’t ask why we were still up. “Sleep when the baby sleeps” doesn’t always work out. We make poor decisions, ok?) Facebook lit up with pictures and reports of aurora sightings all over the place. I was freaking out a little bit because a friend of ours posted a great photo of the lights from the beach just south of us so Chris suggested he stay with Lily so I could go see them. I grabbed the camera and tripod and jumped in the car feeling horribly guilty and second guessing my choice to go because I REALLY wanted to experience our first aurora sighting as a couple, but I also REALLY wanted to see them and who knows when we would have been able to leave together in the middle of the night now that kids are in the picture.

I got in the car and backed out of the driveway. As I was pulling out, I saw something weird in the sky through the windshield. It took half a second, but then I realized what it was and SLAMMED on the brakes and leapt out of the car, dashing back into the house shout-whispering (because, you know, baby), “Chris! Chris! Chris! Get your shoes on and come outside NOW!”

It must have been a powerful magnetic storm because we could see the aurora clearly right out in front of our house even with the neighborhood streetlights! It was ridiculously cool! Granted, it wasn’t the crazy bright aurora that you see in photos and videos from much farther north, but it was clearly visible and at times we could even see it dancing! From what we’ve read you don’t get much better than that this far south in view of city lights!

You can even spot the big dipper!

We watched it for a good hour and Chris, being the pro photographer he is, captured these photos with a 2 minute exposure. They will forever be some of my most treasured pictures of the two of us. I’m beyond thrilled that we got to experience it together after all!


Campouts, glaciers and the tallest mountain in the Northland
Chris is the Young Men’s President in our ward/church congregation and back in August (yes I know…still catching up! It’s a never-ending battle) he and the youth went up north Jotunheimen National Park for a dual-stake campout for all the LDS youth in Norway. It was 5 full days packed with 10 hour drives, lots of gear, campfire food,  devotionals, treks across glaciers and summiting Galdhøpiggen: the tallest mountain in Northern Europe.
Tethering together to prepare to cross the Styggebreen glacier.
The summit of Galdhøpiggen
The view from the tip top of Northern Europe!
Devotional/testimony meeting.
Building temples out of woodland materials.
The end of an adventure. 



A Summer in Sirdal
Our landlords are awesome. They are the sweetest family and are so helpful with whatever we might need as renters. They are kind and caring and we love living in their basement. To top it all off, they VERY generously offered us their hytte in Sirdal, a local ski resort, for a week for our summer vacation.  Hytte directly translates to cabin in English, but as is typical with Norwegian it encompasses much more than that.  Hytter commonly ARE cabins, but the word can mean all sorts of vacation homes as well.


Our landlords’ hytte was GORGEOUS! We spent a full week there with just the three of us and it was very, very nice to get away from it all up in the fresh air of the mountains. We spent our days relaxing (as much as anyone really can relax with a curious and energetic 5 month old around), going for walks when it was sunny, playing with Lily, spending time with Skittles, reading, blogging and grilling lots of yummy food on the porch overlooking the lake. Sometimes we take crazy vacations, but this one was chill and low key and exactly what we needed at this point in our lives :)
I mean…this view!!
This little trip was the sole reason I have finally been able to get caught up on the blog. I was able to sit and finish all the posts I wanted to write during Lily’s naps without feeling guilt for not doing the myriad of other projects I need to do around the house. Like cleaning our fridge. And organizing our bathroom. Yes, this ended up being a much better vacation than if we had stayed at home ;)
Lily spent the week practicing her sitting up skills. I can’t believe how big she is already!
Are we sure it’s the middle of July??
The Grill Master
This is how we do burgers in the Hill household.
And this is how we do babies.