Thursday, April 28, 2011


An amazing, miraculous, and wonderfully-beautiful conclusion to the "Our Journey to Five" series.

The Story of Bryce's Arrival

(Warning: This post contains some details of the birthing process, including words/phrases such as "cervix", "water breaking", "contraction", "pelvic pressure", and "pushing". If you are not interested in reading about such topics, stop here. Lance, I'm talking to you. For those of you who wish to avoid the longer version of this story, here's a short version for you: I started with early labor Friday morning, then came active labor Friday evening, and then Bryce was born Saturday morning. The end.)

For the rest of you, and for Bryce someday (though he's a boy and will likely not care), here's the long version...

At 3:45a on Friday morning (4/22), I awoke to a contraction. Now, I've been having Braxton Hicks contractions for probably about 15 weeks, so I'm quite used to them. But never before had one caused me to awaken. So, for the next 3 hours (until the girls woke up), I laid in bed and timed them. They didn't hurt, but they were pretty regular at 10-15 minute intervals. Exciting! So much for going back to sleep!

Since it was Good Friday, the girls didn't have school. Dale had a golf date with a friend early that morning and, since my mom was here with me and the golf course is only 15 minutes away, I saw no reason to cancel his plans. So I sent him on his way, promising to call if the contractions strengthened or got closer together.

They didn't. In fact, by the time we got started with the craziness of our mornings on "days off" from school, I wasn't even noticing them any more. We went for a mid-morning walk, and I managed to catch a 2-hour nap with the girls in the early afternoon.

Around 5p, as Mom was cooking meatloaf, the contractions started up again. This time, they were between 8 and 10 minutes apart, but still not really hurting. In anticipating of potentially needing to head to the hospital, though, we began to make plans with Brooke to watch the girls until my dad arrived at 9:30p on his flight from Missouri. Thankfully, since Brooke's husband, Danny, was out of town, Brooke's mom and dad were willing to help out, as well, so that Mom could join me in the delivery room.

The final plan was for Dale, Mom, and me to head to the hospital after sending the girls to play with Emerson at Brooke's house. When bedtime arrived, Brooke would bring the girls back to our house (so nice to be neighbors!) and get them to bed, while Brooke's mom stayed to put Emerson to bed at her house. Then, at 9:30p when my dad's flight landed, Brooke's dad would head to the airport to pick him up and bring him home to take over watch of the girls. It took some coordination, certainly, but they pulled it off without a hitch. (Unless you consider the fact that Ivie was wide awake and so excited about Bryce's impending arrival that she gave Brooke fits for a couple of hours until finally falling asleep!)

But back to the story. Once we got this plan squared away, I was adamant about eating my meatloaf before heading to the hospital - it might be my last homemade meal for a few days!

By the time we finished dinner at 6:45p, the contractions were continuing at 8-10 minute intervals, though not necessarily any stronger than before. We took our time finishing up the last-minute packing and getting the girls settled in at the Devers. It was about 7:40p when we got in the car for the 15-minute drive to UNC Hospitals.

I only had one contraction along the way, and continued to second-guess our decision to leave so early. But I kept reassuring myself that I wasn't comfortable with waiting any longer, since I'd only been in the hospital for 2 hours before Macie's birth, and I knew that child#3 could likely come even quicker.

Once in triage at 8:15p, I was 3-4 centimeters dilated. The doctor told me that they wouldn't admit me until I was in "active labor", which they define as 4 centimeters. So she said that she would be back at 9:45p to check to see if I had progressed.

Literally 3 minutes after she left the room, the contractions starting getting more and more aggressive. At one point, the triage nurse came in and exclaimed, "Is that contraction STILL going?!?", in response to a contraction that literally lasted 2 minutes. Bryce was not a fan of that one, and his heart rate dropped into the "scary" area on the monitor. Thankfully, he recovered quickly and there were no more extended contractions.

Dale and I managed through the contractions (Mom wasn't allowed in the triage room) until 9:40p, 5 minutes before the doctor was scheduled to come back to check my progress. It was then that I felt a gush of water and sent Dale to get the nurse. I'd never broken my water before, they had always had to do it for me during delivery, so that was a new experience. Once the doctor came in, she confirmed that it was at least a leak, found me at 5 centimeters, and encouraged the nurse to get me in a room quickly, knowing that, after the water breaking, baby #3 would likely not be far behind.

The nurse asked if I wanted an epidural. I emphatically answered YES, and she was able to have the anesthesiologist waiting for me in my room when we arrived. After the epidural was placed, I shifted to move back to lie in the bed. While so doing, I felt the sensation of sitting on a water balloon. POP! Had it not been for the pain I was in from the contractions, I'm pretty sure I would have laughed out loud. Such a weird feeling. So THAT was what it felt like to break your water!

So, by 10:45p, the epidural was WORKING (unlike with Macie's, when it only worked on one side and was, therefore, pretty much useless), and Mom, Dale, and I were hanging out in my room, enjoying some quiet time. We joked with my nurse about whether Bryce would arrive on 4/22 or 4/23. About 11:30p, the nurse told me to call her in when I began to feel the need to push. While the pelvic pressure was increasing, it hadn't yet reached that level, but, by 11:55p, it was time.

The nurse came in and prepared to check my cervix. She never got that far. She lifted up the sheet, took a quick look, said, "Uhhhh, no need to check. Let me get the doctor!", and headed for the door.

The doctor arrived, got everything in place, and the pushing began. Five to ten pushes later (I didn't put anyone in charge of counting, so the accounts from Dale, Mom, and me differ), Bryce entered the world with a quick scream. The doctor placed him on my chest, but he began to show signs of being stunned from the low heart rate he experienced during the pushing process. So my mom quickly cut his umbilical cord and the nurses took him to the table to "wake him up". They were quickly successful, and more wonderful baby cries escaped.

So my third child, and first son, entered the world at 12:23a on Saturday, April 23, 2011. And our life as a family of five began.

(A picture post to follow soon.)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Not Much Time...

We're hopefully leaving the hospital in the next couple of hours, so I don't have much time to write. And, thanks to my Blackberry, this is the first time I've been on the computer since Bryce's arrival in the wee hours of Saturday morning.

But I wanted to get Bryce's birth specs out to the blogosphere:

Bryce Frady Herman
April 23, 2011
8 pounds (even!)
20 inches long
13.5 inch head circumference

But the most important descriptor?


Thank you, God, for the blessing of this sweet little boy into our family. Despite getting 6 total hours of sleep over the last 52, already being sprinkled because I haven't yet learned the art of changing an infant boy's diaper, and seeing the early signs that Bryce is going to take after his sisters in the spitting department, I'm, well, smitten.

And I wouldn't have it any other way.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Easter Treats, 2011

It's Easter time again! Although the egg hunt at school is not until tomorrow, I decided that I would "treat" the class to Easter snacks today, as well. You know, just in case Bryce decides it's time to enter the world - wouldn't want to leave the kids hanging!

So, yesterday afternoon/night, my mom (Yippeeeeeee! She's heeeeeeeere!) and I set to work on the two projects I picked out for this year.

The first idea was a very simplistic one that I found here. Called Peeps on a Straw. It looked so easy, yet I knew the girls and their school friends would find it novel to have a Peep on their drinking straw. Besides, what better way to encourage them to finish their milk? ("When you finish your milk, you can eat your Peep!")

Turned out it WAS a simple project, short of a few minor issues that Haley didn't mention on her blog:

1) The bunny Peeps are a lot more dense than the chick Peeps. Making it much more difficult to get the straw through them. Without destroying the bunny, that is (which I did on two occasions).

2) The Peeps don't just slide cleanly onto the straw. Not sure why I thought they would, since they're made of MARSHMALLOW. So Mom's task in the assembly line evolved quickly into cleaning the sticky mess off of the bottom of each straw after I got the Peep placed. The hotter the rag, the easier the chore. Not the most fun job in the world, but someone had to do it. (Thanks, Mom!)

3) Don't forget to use a toothpick to remove the ball of marshmallow that will stick in the straw upon its insertion into the Peep. Otherwise, the kiddos might not be able to get their drink through it!

All-in-all, a quick and fun project. The girls tested out a few extras at dinner last night, and gave them a big thumbs up!

Treat #2 came from Cake Mix Cookies. I loved their "spring-y" look (and easy directions, of course!), and I knew the girls would love the frosting and the sprinkles.

The hardest part about these were making sure we made the mounds small enough to get exactly 60 out of the batter. Because 60 mounds make 30 cookies, and there are 15 kids in each class at school. Imagine the pressure Mom and I felt as we proceeded through the process, knowing that if we dropped EVEN ONE COOKIE, we wouldn't have enough! Stress has been known to bring on labor, right? Didn't work for me last night.

These treats were a bit more complex, but only in that they took more time. Each step was easy and fun. In fact, Mom and I both agree that we preferred this process to that of the sticky Peeps!

So here's the process in pictures!

The 60 "mounds" and sprinkles...

After they were baked:

The resulting cookies with spring-y frosting middles...

So there you have it! Another round of successful holiday treat-making. Here they are, all packaged and ready to go to school. Hope the kiddos enjoy!

Wordless Wednesday (#53): Their OWN Lap Tables

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Ivie's Gymnastics Report Card (April, 2011)

If you remember, Ivie's last gymnastics report card in January showed room for improvement in most areas. This past week, they did another round of evaluations and provided parents with updated report cards.

Check out Ivie's improvements! I guess I need to figure out what a "Cast Back Hip Circle" is so we can work on it... Otherwise, she's well on her way to mastery of most skills. And I love that the teacher calls her sweet and enthusiastic! Not to mention that she seems to "listen very well" while in class. Sometimes I'm not sure that trait carries over into our home life as much as I wish it would!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Like Mommy, Like Ivie

This morning, Ivie and Macie were sitting at their table, each eating their own Pop-Tart that Dale had "cooked" for them while I finished getting dressed upstairs.

When I ventured downstairs and walked into the kitchen, Dale motioned over to Ivie and, in all seriousness, said, "I'm having a hard time figuring out who she takes after."

Confused, I asked him what he meant. Before he could answer, I looked over at Iv to see what might have sparked the comment.

Here's a picture of what I saw. And then I couldn't stop laughing.

Anyone care to venture a guess as to what he was referencing?!?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Show-and-Tell, Round 63: Daisy the Dog

After being trumped by Rapunzel for the first Show-and-Tell following Ivie's birthday, Daisy the Dog (Ivie's Build-A-Bear birthday creation) made a roaring comeback and was Ivie's choice this past week. I mean, who doesn't fall in love with a stuffed dog dressed in a Carolina cheerleading outfit complete with pom-poms!

Don't ask about the green hair bows. Let's just say that Build-A-Bear was out of blue ones. I don't understand Ivie's insistence on green either, but Daisy might be the one-and-only UNC cheerleading dog out there with them. And what kind of mom would I be to not fully support Ivie's desire for uniqueness?!?

Macie's Turn (#9): "Singy" the Sing-a-ma-jig

Yesterday, when I told Macie to pick out a Show-and-Tell item, she headed for the living room. When the girls go in there after a toy, there's no telling what they'll come back with. Generally it's something with 15 parts and we have to negotiate how many I'm going to let them bring to school (for fear of all the pieces not making it back home safely).

This time, though, Mac came back with one item. And it was one new to the Show-and-Tell circuit, so she hit a home run!

This doll had yet to have a name, for some reason, so we spent the drive to school trying to name her. I started with "Pinky", obviously trying to think of something I could remember, but the girls weren't fans of that. Then I told them that it was called a Sing-a-ma-jig, and that maybe we could call it "Singy". Lame. I know. I'm not very creative. This should not be news to any of you.

But Macie liked it, and, since it was in her possession for Show-and-Tell, she was the ultimate judge.

So there you have it. Singy (pronounced by Macie as "Sin-gee", not "Sing-ee").

Turns out I was more creative than the folks at Mattel. They call this particular Sing-a-ma-jig "Pink". I mean, come on. At least I added a "y" to the color to make it more name-like!!!

Show-and-Tell, Round 62: Rapunzel

Time to get caught up on Show-and-Tell posts. You know, before Bryce enters the world and takes over the blog for a while!

Ivie's favorite princess movie these days is Tangled. Probably because it's the latest one to come out on DVD, so it's the first one she chooses at movie time. For her birthday, she got a Rapunzel doll from one of her friends, further solidifying its status at the top.

It was the perfect gift, and the obvious choice for Show-and-Tell the next week!!

Ivie's 5th Birthday School Treats

Sometime in the past week, I realized that this would be the last time I would bring treats to daycare for Ivie's birthday. And I'm pretty sure that once she's in kindergarten, her "real" school is unlikely to allow parents to bring in anything homemade.

Our little girl is growing up. SAD, but so much fun at the same time.

Anyway, for her last birthday treat, I made what Keebler calls "Kooky Cupcakes". Cupcakes in ice cream cones, topped with frosting. Given Ivie's affinity for ice cream cones, I was pretty sure she would like them. And they were easy to make. Score.

First step, mix cake batter according to box's directions. Then spoon some mixture into each cone. I was worried that they were going to overflow in the oven, so I was cautious with the amount. The directions said, "fill half the cone". I think I put in a bit more than half, but it seemed okay to me. Of course we made strawberry, since Iv still loves PINK...

I shouldn't have worried about overflow. Rather, I should have put in a bit more! Here's what they looked like coming out of the oven...

While I would have liked them to be a bit taller, it probably worked out for the best this way, since I'm sure Ivie's teachers were not thrilled to see chocolate frosting walk through the door that morning. Especially since it was spring picture day! So I took it easy on the icing, and topped them off with red sprinkles (since that was the only color I had on-hand!).

And that was it! Kooky Cupcakes for Iv and her friends.

We took 24 of them to school for the 15 kids in her class. And since none of them were left at the end of the day, I guess they (and probably some of the teachers!) enjoyed them. Another successful birthday treat!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Wordless Wednesday (#52): Another Birthday Video!

(Ivie, appearing only slightly shy and uncomfortable at being the center of attention...)

Wordless Wednesday (#51): FIVE

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Our Saturday

Tonight, as I put the girls to bed, we reflected on all the fun things we'd done today. Part of the way through the discussion, Ivie cut me off and said, "Mommy, we did a LOT of great things today! I wish we could do those things EVERY DAY!!!"

So I thought I would put a quick run-down of our day into writing, before the days move on and we forget the details...

1) Today was the UNC Football Spring Game, complete with bounce houses in the Bell Tower Quad. The bounce houses were ready for action at noon, so we were there by 10 after, fired up to get started. Sadly, we were without Dale, who woke up sick this morning and, therefore, stayed home snuggled in multiple blankets on the couch with cold chills and a fever.

2) At the bounce houses, we threw the football through the holes in the screen, bounced in the house, went through the obstacle course, and successfully made it up the tall stairs and down the big slide TWICE. I was so impressed by Macie, as she has mastered the art of climbing the blow-up stairs, which is HUGE, since my belly (also huge at this point!) likely wouldn't have allowed me to go up after her had she gotten stuck!

3) When we left the bounce houses, we went looking for ice cream. Unfortunately, the Chick-fil-A in The Pit was closed, but at least we got to see Rameses and give him high-fives (Macie) and hugs (Ivie). Rameses responded with a gift of pom-poms to each of the girls, which they, of course, loved.

4) Intent on getting ice cream, we decided to venture to the mall. We settled on Dippin' Dots (cotton candy for Iv, chocolate for Mac, and strawberry for me). After eating, we headed down to the mall play place to burn a bit more energy.

5) On our way, we saw that the Easter Bunny was set up taking pictures with kids. And, as luck would have it, it was his first day "on the job" at the mall, and there was NO line. So we took full advantage and walked RIGHT UP to his lap. Apparently the Easter Bunny looks a bit friendlier than Rameses, as Macie had no qualms about jumping right up into his lap. Thankfully, I had my diaper bag (and, thus, my point-and-shoot camera) with me...

6) After 20 or so minutes at the mall play place, we headed home for nap. It was 3p before we got home, a solid 2 hours after Macie's nap time generally begins, and I spent the next 40 minutes paying for it. Exhausted beyond comprehension, she screamed, flopped, and tossed herself around on the floor for a solid 30 minutes. I finally talked her into reading "Pinkalicious" and snuggling into her bed. I think she was asleep before I made it to the door.

7) Dinner was Hamburger Helper, crackers, and peas. Gourmet, I know. But you'd have thought it was something really impressive the way that Ivie raved about how good it was. She said, "Mommy, you make the BEST food!!". Gotta love a kid that loves pasta.

8) Dessert was an ice cream sandwich. And we didn't make the girls share one this time. So, once again, they were in hog heaven.

That was it! Our day. Probably seems kind of boring to most of you. But, to my girls, it was perfect.

And that's what matters most to me.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Wordless Wednesday (#50): Not Your Typical Napping Position...

(Sorry for the low quality - took this one with my phone!)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Ivie's 5th "Bear"thday Party

We had Ivie's 5th birthday party yesterday morning at Build-A-Bear. While her birthday isn't until the 13th, we wanted to be sure to get the party in before Bryce's arrival!

While we were successful from that standpoint, we did have a pre-party casualty. Macie, who had successfully battled and overcome a slight case of pink eye on Thursday, caught a belly bug on Friday at school, apparently, and couldn't make it the 9 minutes home without throwing up in the car. YUCK. Believe it or not, this was the first time we've had to deal with throw-up in the car. I hope it's the last. Not fun. At all.

Anyway, though she was acting better by Saturday morning, we decided that the very last thing we needed to have happen was a re-occurrence during Iv's party. So Danny, our neighbor and great friend, volunteered to sit out the party and hang at home with Mac. And, since Macie loves Danny more than we think she loves her own parents, she was satisfied with the arrangement.

But, back to the party. I'm planning on doing a birthday book through Shutterfly, as I do with every birthday, so I won't tell any stories here. Besides, as is typical, the pictures pretty much tell the story, anyway. Particularly when both Brooke and I are donning our cameras!

So, for this blog post, I'll just share some of my favorite Ivie pictures of the day. I'll save the pictures of her party-goers for the book (which I'll link to in another post once the book is done).

Happy 5th "Bear"thday, Ivie! I hope you had a wonderfully memorable day with your friends!