Shaylee Grace Meyaard Pfanschmidt was born today at 10:08 am, in a very speedy delivery following my 6:30 induction. I am pleased to report that her head is, in fact, smaller than Bryn's, thus making both delivery and the subsequent recovery much easier. She matches her big sister in all other ways though, weighing in at 7 lb 12 oz (Bryn was 7 lb 11 oz), measuring 21 inches (Bryn was 20), and sporting a full head of dark hair and the longest eyelashes the nurses have ever seen (we got comments on these exact same features when Bryn was born). Here's a few preliminary photos:
Cathy brought Bryn up to the hospital as soon was we called her, so Bryn got to climb up in bed with me and hold her baby sister even before lunchtime today. Bryn fell in love with Shay immediately, endlessly repeating "baby" and stroking her hair. Bryn also kept pointing proudly to her own "I'm a Big Sister" shirt, showing us that she knows her new role.
Here's me with my two girls. Both were much happier than they look in this picture, I promise! After cuddling me for a few minutes, Bryn settled happily into a rocking chair and got to hold Shay all by herself. Ben brought Bryn back to the hospital after her nap at Cathy's, and he says that she babbled about "Mommy" and "Baby" the whole way. He also claims that she said something resembling "Shay," or at least something featuring a "sh" sound, but I haven't personally heard that yet.
So I guess we kind of posted these pictures backwards, but this is Bryn's grand entrance into the labor room to visit Mommy and meet Shay. She was bearing two balloons (which she only parted with in order to see "her" baby) an a beautiful carved figurine of a mother and two children (which just happens to match an existing colletion of ours), all compliments of Cathy. Bryn made quite the cute little messenger, coming in to greet us all by herself while Cathy and Chris hung back for a few moments--although they did soon get a chance to admire the baby themselves! Chris tried to climb out of the stoller to see her, and all the photos posted here are actually compliments of Cathy, who wasted no time in breaking out her camera.
And here she is, our own little Shayby. This is what Cathy has christened her, a shortening of "Shay the Baby," and I think the nickname has already stuck for Ben and me. I have typed this whole post with her snoozing on my lap while Ben drives Bryn back to Cathy and Eric's to spend the night. She is certainly a litte angel! Labor was quite fast, and she didn't even cry when she was born. She has been sleeping like a champ and seems as fascinted by Bryn as Bryn is by her. We hope she continues to be this well-behaved and easygoing!
The nurse says it's time to check vitals on Mom and Baby, so I'll leave off her for now. More pictures to follow as we continue to brag on baby!
Well. As I said before, there will be a baby this week--more specifically, tomorrow--one way or another. At my doctor's appointment this morning, Dr H decided to try stripping my membranes, which, for those of you who have not experienced it, is not a fun process. Basically, this process achieves three things:
1) clearing the way for the baby, so now there is essentially nothing between her and fresh air
2) releasing tons of hormones into my body
3) causing intense achiness
According to Dr H, this process starts labor in 50% of the people who have it. I am also dilated 4-5 cm and now 70% effaced. The baby's head is in position, and I've been having mild contractions for a little over a month. All together, one would think that these things would add up to labor starting any moment, but with my luck, we're thinking probably not.
As a back-up measure, they also scheduled me for an induction tomorrow.... at 5:30 am, which is the latest time they had available. Double ouch. I am not terribly thrilled about this, since I was hoping to avoid an induction if at all possible, but it has come to the point where I don't have a lot of other choices, considering that the doctors are afraid that this baby girl is going to get too big for me. So if I don't go into labor naturally tonight, I'll be hooked up to drugs as of 5:30 am tomorrow. So she's coming, one way or another!
BIG thank yous go out to several of our local friends ahead of time -
* Suellen and Alicia for spending the night here tonight so that Bryn can pass a comfortable night in her own crib and not face an early morning wake-up call.
* Derek for being on dog duty until my return from the hospital.
* Cathy for being babysitter extraordinaire, and also Eric and Christopher, for allowing all their lives to be severely complicated by "adopting" Bryn for the next few days, as well as bringing her to the hospital to meet the baby sister, whenever she arrives.
I will post again as I am able, as the fancy-schmancy hospital where I will be delivering has laptops and wireless internet access in every room (wow). So keep an eye out for news!
P.S. Very weird to think that by 24 hours from now, I will have produced another human being, who will change my life forever.
Just another update for those of you following the pregnancy saga. Today is my actual due date, and since there are only about 3 hours left in today, I'm assuming that no baby will be arriving. Our not-so-notable day was spent at church, napping, and having pizza with friends. I have another doctor's appointment tomorrow, and since the doctor said last week that we would have to induce if I went past my due date, I'm assuming that tomorrow's appointment will include scheduling that. So I will have more news tomorrow, but it seems that there will be a baby within the next few days, one way or another.
I've had so many of you ask, either via email or on my voice mail, "when are you having this baby?!?!" that I thought an update was in order. No, I have not had the baby yet. And no, just because I did not pick up the phone when you called, that does not mean that I am in labor. It just means that I am trying to keep myself busy with other things in order to distract myself from the fact that there is no baby yet! :)
People I do not know well tell me that I should not be impatient, as my actual due date is not until this Sunday, the 25th. This is true. However, 39 weeks and 4 days of pregnancy is quite enough for me, thank you. Plus I have now been having Braxton-Hicks contractions for nearly a month, and they continue to grow in intensity. I'm starting to think that if these get much worse, I won't be able to tell the difference when the real ones arrive! (although everyone I know who has gone through labor naturally before assures me that, yes, I will most definitely know the difference :)) I've also started having really bad acid reflux every time I lie down, which only further disturbs my already fragmented sleep. I mean, I have to come fully awake to roll over once an hour, and I have to pee every other hour, so it's not like I'm getting quality rest here!
I did take my packed bag when I went to the doctor this morning, but that was only because I felt it was silly not to do it as long as I was going to the hospital, not because I actually felt like anything was happening. I saw a different doctor (Dr M) than my usuals (Dr P and Dr H) this morning, since scheduling is all wonky for the holiday. Dr M tells me that I am 50% effaced and "a good 4 cm dilated," which he seems to feel is significantly further than the 4 cm that Dr P quoted me at my last appointment on Friday. He says they measure differently; I thought a centimeter was a pretty standard measurement? Anyway, he says things are moving along nicely.
Dr M strongly encouraged me to induce and wanted to schedule me for Saturday. I, however, suspect this is because he is the doctor on call for the entire long weekend, and it would probably be a lot easier for him if he knew when he needed to come in. I can sympathize with that, but I am not going to induce this child, who is showing all signs of coming in her own sweet time, just so the doctor can eat turkey on a more reasonable schedule. In spite of the fact that I am desperately sick of being pregnant, I really feel strongly about not inducing unless there is a legitimate medical reason. Bryn was induced (for many legitimate medical reasons), and I would really like to go into labor naturally this time.
Thankfully, Dr M said he could respect that. However, he also said that I need to have this baby by next week one way or the other, so I will need to reconsider induction if I go past my due date. He is estimating the baby at 7 3/4 or 8 pounds now. Bryn was 7 lb 11 oz, and second children are usually larger, so I guess that's not a big surprise to me. Of course, Bryn's head was also in the 99th percentile, so I'm not actually all the concerned with this child's weight, as long as her head is smaller! Anyway, the doctor worries that if I go too far past my due date, the baby might get too big for me to handle. This I do view as a legitimate medical concern, as I am, after all, a little person and have no desire to birth some 12 pound beast. :) So if I go past Monday (which is when my next appointment will occur), then I'll reconsider the whole induction thing. For the time being, though, we're going to just hang on.
And here are some pictures of Bryn's "big girl" room overall. She has made the transition really well. She doesn't even try to walk into the nursery; she knows that this is "her" place now. I took pictures from each of the four corners of the room, so hopefully you can kind of imagine what they look like together.
Here's a shot from the doorway. You can see Bryn's "big girl" bed (thanks again to Jennie and family for the "donation"), where she likes to sit in to read stories, and occassionally climbs under the covers, but still refuses to sleep. The white shelves are ones that we bought unfinished and painted ourselves to hold picture frames, keepsakes, etc. I sewed the curtains myself (I know, I'm getting very crafty!), the "vanity table" is one that Nana rescued from being thrown out by their church in Elkhart (Bryn loves it and sits there to play after her nap every day), and the chair is one that was in my room growing up.
Here's one taken from near the crib. Again you can see the curtains and chair, as well as her bookshelf. This bookshelf was quite the project. We wanted a white one to match the room, but we just couldn't find a white one anywhere for a decent (aka reasonable) price. Eventually, we painted one of our old ones. This was quite the project, as it is actually made out of particle board, which, it turns out, does not hold paint well. You can also see the Cinderella wall mural and her princess clock, folding table, and chairs. Apparently Disney has made quite the business on all their princess paraphenalia.
This shot is taken from the corner by her (walk-in) closet (spoiled little girl). You can see the Cinderella mural, which is right over her table and chairs. So far she hasn't played much with the table, but she loves climbing in and out of the chairs! You can also see the white dresser, which doubles as a changing table and ended up being far more of a task to assemble than we had ever dreamed (good thing we called in Ben's family as reinforcements). You can also see the corner of her new crib--the old one is still in the nursery, awaiting the arrival of the new baby. On the wall over the dresser and crib is the princess poster that started the whole project. Over that are wooden letters which Suellen and I painted to match the room. Bryn loves when I point at them and say "B-R-Y-N spells Bryn!"
And here's the view from the armchair by the window. Nothing really new here, just a different view. You can see the princess poster, her name letters, the dresser/changing table (baskets compliments of the Siegmanns' storage unit clearance sale :)), her crib, and the Belle mural (which you can also find in close-up shots in a post a while back). Next to the crib is her "babies' bed," which is another Elkhart church clearance acquisition. You can just barely see the rail of her big-girl bed next to that. So that's the whole room! We're very proud of it, and Bryn would be happy playing in there all day long, so I guess we achieved our goal. :)
In other news, no, there is no baby yet. I have continued to have Braxton-Hicks contractions, which are growing in intensity by the day, and I am now dilated to 4 cm, but still no baby. I did have a bout with the flu this past week (thankfully Ben and Bryn both got flu shots beforehand), and that left me pretty weak, so there were a few days there when I was quite glad to not be in labor. Now I'm feeling much better, though, and definitely ready for this baby to come!
As I mentioned two posts ago, we finally got Bryn moved into her big girl room. I've been meaning to post pictures since then, so here we go. I can't seem to figure out how to post more than five in one entry, so we'll just do it in two. Here are all the pictures of the Cinderella mural.
Here's the finished product: Cinderella and friends
Cinderella's loyal dog, Bruno. I actually had to copy him out of a different picture than the rest of the mural, so he was a little more challenging. I really like how he turned out though.
Furry friends Jaq and Gus-Gus.
There are actually four bluebirds surrounding the chair, but I figured posting a close-up of one would get the job done.
And here's a closer shot of the princess herself. HUGE thanks to Jen for coming over to do the eyes, nose, and mouth, as I failed in that area several times before calling in a real professional.
This past Sunday was my birthday, the big 29. My dad and stepmom came into town for the occassion.... and, of course, to get their turn at spoiling Bryn. Pretty much the whole weekend was present-fest; Bryn opened hers on Saturday and I opened mine on Sunday. Here's Bryn, Grandpa Dave, and me, trying to coax Bryn to open her presents (she took her sweet time about this weekend).
Let it be said that my birthdays since college have not been so great. In my six post-graduate years, two birthdays have been spent in large, tear-filled conflicts. Two years ago, I spent the vast majority of my birthday in bed, enduring the worst migraine of my life, fighting my way out of bed only to nurse a ravenous week-old Bryn. Last year's birthday was spent moving heavy boxes into our new house while having 1-year-old Bryn throw up on me all day while enduring her first flu, then coming down with said flu myself.
This year's birthday was spent in a somewhat exhausted stupor, caused by the fact that the baby has been beating me up from the inside and that I've been contracting like crazy, and thus have not been sleeping very well. There were a few hours there when I was absolutely sure that I would be delivery a baby on my birthday, or at least beginning the labor process, but neither occurred. What DID happen was that I got a very good visit with Dad and Diane, took a nice afternoon nap after they left, and had an enjoyable Game Night with friends to top off the weekend. All in all, the best birthday I've had in recent years, in spite of the contractions.
Today the contractions continue, although we appear to be no closer to the baby's actual arrival. I should point out that while they are hugely uncomfortable and frequent, these are just Braxton-Hicks contractions, not the actual I'm-in-labor contractions. I've been having these for about 3 1/2 weeks, and while they are becoming much stronger and much more frequent, they don't seem to be actually producing anything. Last week's OB visit yielded the information that I am dilated 3 centimeters already and that the baby's head is in position, so I could theoretically go any time, but the baby seems content to stay where she is and kick me from there. And so we continue to wait....
Bryn's 2nd Birthday Bash was actually three days long, and she'll have an addendum this coming weekend. Spoiled little girl--the presents just keep coming!
We began the festivities on Friday, when Ben and I took her to Chuck E. Cheese for some family fun. I think this picture is adorable, and even more so when you compare it to the one from last year (you can find it back in the archives from last November). We ate pizza and played games, and Bryn was wide-eyed at all the excitement. She loved all the car rides, and we discovered a horse ride at the end that she didn't want to leave. The games are still a little over her head, although she did attempt some of them in her own amended style. She ran all over the restaurant, leading to quite the chase for Mommy and Daddy, and cried when it was time to leave. I guess that means she had a good time!
Ben's family arrived after we had put Bryn to bed after her Chuck E. Cheese adventures on Friday night, so the first time she saw them was Saturday morning. Great-Grandma N. and Aunt Jill made the trip all the way down from Grand Rapids to celebrate with our little girl, and Nana and Papa came from Elkhart. We laughed that this is probably the last year when Bryn will be patient enough to wait until almost noon before opening her presents! I guess she didn't realize all those brightly colored boxes were for her. She was hilarious when opening gifts--her obsessive-compulsive tendencies really showed through! She insisted upon tearing every single scrap of paper off the box and handing them to Aunt Jill for safekeeping before even looking at her gift. Luckily she had a very patient audience!
All of Bryn's gifts from the Meyaards proved to be huge hits, and she had to stop in between each present to play with each. Luckily Nana and Papa saved the best for last, though, or she never would have gotten through opening anything else--once the new red wagon appeared, that was all she cared about! They sure make wagons way fancier these days than back in my day. Bryn's new ride includes fold-down seats, two seatbelts, and four cupholders (which I guess is good, considering how much this girl drinks). Here's Papa Tom taking her for a test run around the neighborhood. She also convinced him to take her for several laps around the downstairs of our house throughout the day, and by Sunday, she had taken to climbing into the wagon to play with her other toys.
No celebration would be complete without cake, of course. Here's Bryn digging into her (first of several) birthday cupcakes. She ate all the icing off the top before even considering the yellow cake goodness. Last year, Bryn's birthday held her first taste of pizza and her first sweet ever, in the form of another cupcake. I have to shamefully admit that this past year has held much pizza and many sweets for her. At least we were good the first year, right? In addition to cake, Saturday afternoon held the arrival of my sister Kristin, naps all around, the Saturday night service at church, and dinner out for all of us, before the Meyaards left for home and we tucked our exhausted 2-year-old into bed in her newly-finished big-girl room (pictures to follow in another post).
Sunday held just as much excitement. My mom and brother arrived around 11:00, and Bryn got to have brunch at Bob Evans with Mommy, Daddy, Aunt Kristin, Uncle Brian, and Grammy Tina. This scrumptious feast was followed by naps for all and then present opening once again. Apparently the favored "aunt" gift was this "I'm A Big Sister" book, as Bryn received (and read and deeply enjoyed) copies of it from both Kristin and Jill. Grammy's gift of a desk/easel was quite the project to assemble, and our friends had arrived for Game Night before the project was completed. My family got to meet some of our friends before taking off for their various drives home (Peoria, Bloomington-Normal, and South Bend).
In addition to our usual Sunday night games, there were more cupcakes for all and more presents for Bryn. Christopher got a kick out of riding around in the wagon with Bryn, and even Ravage tried out the new wheels. Everyone sang to Bryn and spoiled her rotten all night long. She went to sleep happy that night with music on her new cd player from Derek and Chris. Meanwhile, Cathy, I will have you know that she is upstairs playing her recorder in her crib (instead of napping) as I write this--she refuses to be separated from it!
Grandpa Dave and Grandma Diane are coming this next weeked to celebrate both Bryn's birthday and mine, so our festivities are not quite over yet. Meanwhile, we've got new toys to play with all week long!