Creating a nursery that feels good (& looks good too!)

Bedtime is my favorite time of day with Ezra Joy. No matter how stressful or busy, boring or mundane the day has been, I look forward to our nightly ritual. Before I lay her down for the night I always try to tidy up her room. Something about putting away tiny baby clothes, blankets and toys is such a sweet end to each day. Then I turn on soft lighting and lay her on her changing pad. I select just the right pajamas from her top dresser drawer—the Oarsman blue dresser we had picked out for her older brother. I massage her tiny feet, legs, tummy and arms with chamomile-scented lotion, making silly faces to try and coax a grin or giggle. Next, I turn on her sound machine; she likes the ocean sounds even though she has yet to see a beach. I take her in my arms, settle into a wooden rocking chair—a gift from my grandmother—and sing hymns and prayers over her as she nurses for the last time of the day.

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Sitting there in that rocking chair gives me such peace, which is a stark contrast to the sorrow once held in that room after losing Xavier. Preparing the nursery for Ezra was initially very hard for me; early in pregnancy I dealt with anxiety and fear of losing another child, and so I was reluctant to throw myself into planning until much later. Even after her birth, during her first weeks in the NICU I was afraid that if I got too far ahead of myself, something would drastically change and all my plans would be for naught. Weeks passed slowly and quickly all at once, and with every milestone reached I grew more and more confident that our girl was coming home. And so I slowly and thoughtfully started collecting things for her room.

When it came to decorating her nursery, I was less concerned about picking just the right theme and more focused on the way I wanted to feel—and the way I wanted my daughter to feel—in the room. I wanted her to feel bathed in truths of the Word. I wanted to her to experience warmth and comfort within its walls. To have room to play and scuttle on the floor, or cuddle in a corner with a book. I wanted her to open her bright eyes in the morning to beams of airy light. And I wanted her to remember her brother.

I came across the picture below in a local craft store. The word “children” is what initially grabbed my attention. I loved it instantly because it referenced both of my babies, not just the one I now get to hold. This was purchased before we knew we were having a girl, and we hadn’t even thought of the name Ezra Joy yet! Such a sweet gift from a Good Father.

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When we were deciding where to have Ezra’s newborn photos taken, I was adamant we had them done in her room. Not only does it get some of the best light in the house, but the nursery represents loss and sorrow, life and hope all in one tiny space. During our photo shoot with Bindu she captured the emotion that I feel when I step in Ezzi’s room in the morning, or when her father and I pray over her crib at night.

Here are a few of my favorite shots from the day, with a few added details.

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Here we are bathed in light with a few other special photos behind me: Our first ultrasound, my first picture holding Ezra on my birthday just 3 days after she was born, and our first family photo, also taken by Bindu while she was still in the hospital. Being a NICU family disrupted the normal course of family firsts, but we have been intentional about saving the memories that matter most to us. It may seem redundant, but having pictures of your little in their room is a sweet way to look back and see how much they’ve grown. The day I first held Ezra she was barely over one pound! Seeing her that small always reminds me what a fighter she is, and how faithful the Lord has been in her life.

Ezra is wrapped in one of the blankets we bought for Xavier—our very first baby purchase. After Xavier died I kept his blankets and outfits tucked away in a chest along with other memorabilia, and I held onto hope that I would one day get to use them with another child. I was overjoyed when we were able to use the same one in both our NICU and home shoot.

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Top: Abalone shell and brass feather chimes in honor of Xavier and our favorite Psalm for him, Psalm 91 ( Laurelbox , Loved and Remembered Chimes)  L to R: “Here’s to Strong Women” print (done myself); hand stitched embroidery project (as instructed by  Tammy Harper ), print of bear in honor of her brother bear Xavier ( etsy.com  Melinda Wood Designs)

Top: Abalone shell and brass feather chimes in honor of Xavier and our favorite Psalm for him, Psalm 91 (Laurelbox, Loved and Remembered Chimes)

L to R: “Here’s to Strong Women” print (done myself); hand stitched embroidery project (as instructed by Tammy Harper), print of bear in honor of her brother bear Xavier (etsy.com Melinda Wood Designs)

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Above Ezra’s crib are two floral pictures—one coral for Ezra and one aqua for Xavier. Since everything else in the room is pretty neutral, I wanted to bring pops of color in the art. Ezzi was born during the spring, when things are coming to life and beginning to show off their colors. I feel these pictures capture the vibrancy of that season, as well as the joy both of our children bring to our lives.

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So whether you are early in pregnancy afraid to take that first trip in the baby section, you’ve been pinning ideas for months, or you are in the final stretch and in full nesting mode, here are some takeaways:

  • · Place meaningful items where they can be easily seen. Even if it’s only for you, it is a sweet touch of memory and past that you can look back on and reminisce as your baby gets older

  • ·  Beauty can also be functional.  A gorgeous refinished dresser can double as changing table; just add a changing pad to the top with a cover! Also, we opted for one of those storage cube shelves instead of a traditional bookshelf. The open squares are for books, and we have toys, bibs, burp cloths and blankets organized in canvas storage boxes. Everything must have its place!

  • ·  Last but not least, take some photos in the nursery to remember these precious moments. Babies are only little for so long, and it is so easy to forget these hazy memories. (And, this may be the most tidy their room will be, ha!)

NewbornBindu Liang