Enter Brycen Claire

It's been almost four months already! She looks so tiny and fresh in that picture! I figured I'd better write it all down while I still remember some level of detail.

Out of the blue I had gestational hypertension at the tail end of the pregnancy and had been put on bedrest right before her due date. They said having a baby was the only way to cure it and I was ready to do just that! But my doctor does not like to rush into inductions, which I appreciate in retrospect but at the time I wanted to do anything and everything to get that baby out of me--especially when the due date came and went without so much as a back twinge. Finally the doctor scheduled an induction for the 12th at 9pm...on what would've been 5 days after her due date AND the day of my father-in-law's funeral. Their plan was to start the induction late, I'd labor through the night and have a baby by the next morning. I got permission to go to the funeral as long as I took it easy before coming in that night, so I was planning on sleeping all day after the funeral to prep for an all-nighter on pitocin. I was feeling discouraged in general--it was a sad time with Herb's passing, bedrest was driving me CRAZY (seriously, I don't know how you mamas who are on it for months do it), I was overdue and uncomfortable, and throughout the entire pregnancy I'd had basically no Braxton hicks or anything. It was like this baby was just planning on staying in there forever. Well the big morning arrived and we started early getting ready for the funeral. Around 6am I'd started having what I thought might be contractions, but I wasn't sure and had had no context so I ignored it. But by 8am there was really no denying it--NOT great timing! I started using an app to time them and they were pretty consistently 10 minutes apart and 30 seconds long. But they weren't strong enough to where I couldn't put on a smile (or...funeral face?), so I got dressed up and told Ethan we'd just continue with normal plans. By the time we finished breakfast with the family contractions were at a pretty steady 5 minutes apart lasting 30 seconds each time, also taking up a little more of my attention. By the end of the graveside service nothing had progressed except some intensity so we discussed leaving but by then my mom was there and said unfortunately we had a long ways to go, so we stuck it out through the next service. We got home as quickly as we could and hours later nothing had really changed--still 5 minutes apart but getting more intense. At around 2, we decided to go in to the hospital...we were going in that later night anyway so it's not like they'd turn us away! So in the hospital they put me in that little room where they observe you and see if you're actually in labor. They checked and I was barely even dilated, I think it was a 3! That was SUPER BAD to hear since there was hardly any time between contractions which were now to the point where I was having to breathe through them. Obviously this was going to take awhile. We waited forever to get into a labor room where we could finally settle down for the long haul. Finally I was dilated enough to get an epidural which was a lifesaver--I'd barely slept the night before thinking about what was to come that day, and was exhausted dealing with close contractions for around 8 hours at that point. Things continued this way into the night. My mom and sister slept on the couch in the room and Ethan fell asleep on the floor! The nurse laughed and laughed at that. Things continued to progress at a snail's pace so much so that my mom and sister ended up going home for some real sleep before the action, with the promise that we'd call if there was any change. I was even able to sleep too! Early in the morning (I want to say 3 or 4?) things started progressing. The contractions were pretty intense even through the epidural and the nurse said to call mom to make sure she didn't miss it! Yay! Mom and the sisters got there soon after but actual morning came, that little girl was still in there, and I wasn't having any fun. I ended up getting a bit of pitocin to encourage her to join the rest of us, and it worked! Pushing time! Honestly I don't remember if I pushed a 5 hours or 5 minutes. My mom could probably tell you. All I remember is hearing the doctor ask Ethan if he wanted to catch a baby. He did! Around 8am (the 24 hours of labor mark!) they put a 8 pound 13 ounce baby on me. I figured she'd be big but she beat everyone's guess that had been written on the whiteboard :P One detail I'll never forget is when her big ole baby eyes looked right into mine...

So all in all, it was pretty awesome :) The nurses and LCs at Mercy are the real MVPs--all so great.

My mom at one point described Brycen as "a surprise in every way" and that pretty much sums it up! You'd think dark hair and eyes would be the dominant trait, but nope...bright blue eyes, fair skin and strawberry hair! You'd think she'd be like a normal baby who mostly just sleeps and poops for awhile, but nope...pretty much from the very beginning she's had VERY strong opinions and ways of expressing them. Unless she is just getting all of her stubbornness out of the way now, I am going to have quite a time with this one for the next 20 years or so HAHA. Ethan is the only one who apparently isn't surprised, he's predicted everything about her from the time he kept telling me I was pregnant and I said nu-uh. I need to ask him if she'll be a good two-year-old. Anyway, now at almost four months old Brycen Claire has the best smile, the cutest giggle, the angriest temper, the funniest personality, and she LOVES her mommy and daddy. I love being her mama, it's by far the best thing I've ever been.

I love you sweet girl!!

I love you sweet girl!!