My Sweet Baby

[newborn pictures taken at 9 days old, lots more to come!]

My heart is so full. My sweet little girl is already 2 weeks old. I am so in love with her. My love doubled the second I held her and she wrapped her little fingers around mine. My eyes well up with tears when I stare down at her perfect little face. She is mine. The long journey it took to get her here is now over. I couldn't be more grateful to my father in heaven for sending me this sweet baby. Her sweet spirit has filled our home. I am so blessed to be her mother.

... tissue please

Now for the long overdue story of The Delivery:
Beware. It's ridiculously long.

It was Monday night. I had cleaned out the car, gotten the oil changed, shopped kid to kid and written a post on this blog. I had been wanting to get out and run a few errands down in Provo, but the day had gotten away from me. Taylor came home and I begged him to come help me run errands so that I wouldn't have to go on my own. We grabbed the car seat base on our way down stairs and installed it before we headed off. We stopped at Hobby Lobby so I could get some notions for some sewing projects and I found a few cute flowers for more head bands. Taylor ran and got a new battery for our garage door opener across the street. We stopped at Old Navy and checked the clearance rack. Then we headed over to Lowes for some plywood to go under the crib mattress for our new monitor. I was so glad Taylor had come with me, cause I was TIRED. We stopped by the mall and looked around and had dinner at subway in the food court. It was getting close to Caden's bed time so we started home. We had slacked a little bit with going on our nightly walks the week previous and I was dead set on making sure we went on a walk every night till the baby came. We ran our stuff upstairs, threw on some jackets and got Caden in his pajamas. Our neighbors were just getting home and we sat and chatted for a minute. Their baby was going to be 2 weeks old the next day! She had come 3 weeks early and we were supposed to be due only a few days apart. I was totally jealous {yes emily.. I was jealous!} We told them we were going on a REALLY long walk walk to get the baby here. We all laughed and joked that it would work ;) Taylor took me on his 2 mile jogging route. I wanted to speed walk, I pushed the stroller and walked as fast as I could. My belly was hard as a rock the entire 2 miles. Walking always gave me braxton hicks. We got home and we were all pretty tired. Our house was kind of messy and I had a big day of cleaning starting the next morning. I finally got in bed about 10:30 and I was out. The last thought I remember crossing my mind before I fell asleep was, "ha! wouldn't it be funny if I went into labor tonight?" I quickly pushed the thought away. I hate getting my hopes up about things like that. Little did I know.....

3:20 am. I woke up suddenly. I was all wet! It just kind of came out and woke me up! I got out of bed fast and ran to the toilet. My thoughts as I ran: "Either I'm just really wet.. I am peed my pants.. or.. no. It's not possible. There's no way my water broke." I sat down on the toilet. I had to pee. So I peed. Then I sat there for a minute. THERE IT WAS AGAIN! That was not pee! NO.WAY. There was no way. It hadn't been a big gush.. just a trickle. I didn't know what to do? Do I wake Taylor up? What if my water didn't break? Have I lost complete control of my bladder already? I got up and walked to the bathroom door. More came out! I opened the door and told Taylor to wake up. I said "I think my is breaking.. and I'm not kidding" He was up and out of bed in a second. I sat back on the toilet. More was trickling out. I was shaking. Shock. What do I do. It was like I had completely lost my brains. I couldn't think what I needed to do. I just sat there dumb founded. Taylor was looking at me like: What the heck is wrong with you? I got up and grabbed a towel and stuffed it between my legs. I told him to start packing. The only things I had packed were, the car seat, a receiving blanket, a nursing bra, and some clothes to bring baby home in. I ran and grabbed my phone. I paced back and forth. I didn't know what to do. We needed to go to the hospital. How much time did I have? Taylor finally grabbed my arm and asked what I was doing. haha. It was 3:45 in the morning. I felt horrible about calling my mom! I dialed the number and let it ring. It probably rang 10 times before she picked up. I told he my water had been trickling. She was delirious as well. She kept asking if I was sure my water had broken. Yes, No.. Yes? Now I was doubting myself. But the fact that it kept trickling out every time I made a sudden movement made me sure. She told me she would get dressed and be up in half an hour. We had some time. I stood there not knowing what to pack. My pillow and toothbrush were the only things I could think of. Then I remembered I had made a list of everything I needed to pack. I just had to find it. I flipped through all of my notebooks and finally found it. Thank goodness. It had everything I needed. I was able to grab everything and check it off the list. We got our bags packed, the camera, batteries, video camera. Then I headed into the baby's room. It was a mess. I wanted to take some things to use in pictures at the hospital. A flower head band, the white cotton gauze fabric I hadn't had time to turn into a blanket. After I had finished grabbing everything we needed for the baby, I got this killer urge to clean the entire house! Yes. Those of you who know me.. you were expecting that right? So Taylor and I ran through the house and cleaned it as fast as we could. We finished everything but the dishes in the sink and the laundry on our bed. When my mom got to our house I grabbed a few things for Caden and Taylor carried him downstairs and put him in her car. I had no idea what to wear to the hospital. I finally put on a skirt, the only practical thing I could wear and still keep a towel between my legs. I wasn't having any serious contractions at this point. They were kind of sporadic and mostly felt like strong braxton hicks. Taylor had already packed up our car. I remembered to grab a couple garbage bags and a towel to sit on. I had read of people who's water would gush on the way to the hospital and leave a huge mess on the passenger seat. That was not going to happen to me. I was still in denial as we pulled out of our parking stall.

4:10 am. We were on the freeway and the hospital was 30 minutes away. As we were driving I started having a little panic attack. I started blurting out everything on my mind. I hadn't washed my hair for days! I was going to look gross in pictures! I hadn't taken maternity pictures yet! I had planned on doing them in the next few days. Our bath tub was so dirty! How was I going to take a sitz bath when we got home? Taylor was laughing. He was thrilled that his 2 mile walk had done the trick. He was so much more prepared to meet our little girl than I was. We stopped and grabbed breakfast for Taylor on our way up. It was still pitch black outside when we pulled up to the hospital. We grabbed our bags and headed in. Thankfully I had pre-registered a couple days before so our check in was very fast. They got us in a room and had me put on the lovely hospital gown and hooked me up to the monitors.

5:27 am. They had to do the swab test to make sure my water had broken. The nurse also checked me, I was 3 cm and 60% effaced! We had to wait for about an hour to get the results. While we waited I started doubting myself again.. It would be so embarrassing if my water really hadn't broken. The nurse came back in and sure enough my water had broken. They had been monitoring my contractions and they really hadn't picked up speed much. She asked how painful the contractions were. I told her they felt like strong braxton hicks, but no pain. She was surprised. She said if those don't hurt.. you would have an amazing natural labor. I guess they were really strong for how little pain they were causing. They wanted to wait a little longer and see if the contractions picked up. They were also waiting to hear back from my doctor to see what he wanted to do. They had their shift change at 7:00 and my new nurse and doctor came in. They decided to start me on pitocin. I was kind of bummed. I had been expecting it after my contractions really hadn't changed over the last few hours. But I was still a little disappointed. They asked if I was planning on an epidural. I had been through labor once with pitocin and I knew if I had to be on it again.. I would definitely get an epidural. I told them I was going to get one. I didn't want it to slow down my labor, but from my labor experience with Caden I knew that chances were good that it wouldn't. I had gone from a 4 to a 10 in an hour after I had been given the epidural. They told me I could get my epidural whenever I wanted because I was already dilated to a 3.

7:16 am. I got my IV put in. Seriously that is my least favorite part of having a baby. I hate. hate. hate the IV. They put it in my left arm a couple inches above my wrist. It hurt so bad I couldn't even move my left arm. I can't even stand to think about it. They started the pitocin with everything else and we waited for labor to set in.


7:55 am. My doctor came back in to check on me. My contractions weren't very strong at this point. He upped the pitocin and the contractions started to pick up. He sat and chatted with us for a while. Taylor jokingly asked if he could deliver the baby. The doctor said, well if everything is going well you most certainly can! Taylor was pretty excited at the idea, but I wasn't sure if it would even happen. I had to go pee really bad. Getting off that bed and taking the IV system plus the monitor cords.. It was a nightmare. As soon as I got off the bed My water gushed all over the floor. Nasty. Yes. I went through at least 10 towels up till this point with how much my water was leaking. I got back to the bed after going to the bathroom and the nurse came in and cleaned up the mess. haha. I felt so bad.

9:00 am. Taylor had been sleeping for about 45 minutes. He had gone to bed really late and only got a few hours of sleep. I was bored. I had been skim reading through Baby Wise one more thing I hadn't finished on my "to do" list. My contractions were starting to pick up and they were starting to hurt. I didn't want to call the nurse and wake Taylor up. Laying down was doing me no good. The worst position to labor in is the one they force you into at the hospital. I sat up and crossed my legs and rolled my hips back and forth. It made the monitor stop working for the baby. I sat like that for about 10 minutes. It really eased the pain. My nurse came in to check on me and fix the monitor. She made me lay back against the bed. I told her I was ready for my epidural. She, being way ahead of me, had already put me on the list. The anesthesiologist was putting one in at the time and there was another girl ahead of me. She said the list had quickly filled in after she put me down. I was so grateful she had put me on there when she did. There were 9 other women in labor.

10:00 am. I was definitely in pain. The anesthesiologist came in and started prepping for the epidural. I really liked him. He was so funny and nice. He had me and Taylor laughing out loud. I talked to him briefly about making the epidural only take away the pain, but not complete feeling in my legs. With Caden I was so numb I couldn't even wiggle my toes. He told me his goal was to leave me with the ability to lift my legs and feel the pressure of when I needed to push. I warned him that drugs effect me really strongly. I hardly ever take medicine so when I do It has a pretty strong impact on my body. The epidural went in fast. It is such a weird sensation. When he was numbing my skin before the "big needle", He had me hunch over and stick my back out at him. At the end, just before he pulled out the needle I suddenly sat straight up. It was the weirdest sensation. It was like when the doctor hits the reflex nerve in your knee and your leg pops up. It scared me! He just laughed and said it happens all the time. I grabbed my knees tight when he put the epidural in. I didn't want to jolt up with that huge needle in my spine. He was super speedy and was done in no time.

10:18 am. The pain as gone. My legs felt tingly and I could feel the contractions, but not the pain. They brought me lime flavored ice. It was really yummy. I was starving. I started making a few phone calls. I was still waiting to get checked again to see how far progressed I was. I called my family, Caden was very excited that I was at the doctor getting baby sister out. I was so excited for him to meet her. My nurse came in and checked me. I was only at a 4 and 80% effaced. I was really hoping to be at least a 5. I asked her how long she would guess it would take me to dilate completely. She said that most girls who get the pitocin by 8:00 am will usually have their babies between 2:00 and 5:00 pm. So in her mind I still had a ways to go. I was hoping that I would at least have her by 6:00 so we could have visitors come. I was still in shock that I was having the baby! She was 9 days early. I never expected to come early.. and if I did I only thought it would be by a couple of days. I called Richelle to chat for a while. It was kind of boring to sit there waiting. I was glad I called her, It helped pass the time.

11:15 am. The epidural was starting to feel weird. The epidural was effecting me more than the anesthesiologist expected, he can't say I didn't warn him. I had lost a lot more feeling in my legs. I couldn't lift them on my own but they weren't completely numb. They felt tingly, the way your leg feels when it's asleep. It was so uncomfortable. I wished that I was just completely numb. I was so tired and wanted to try and sleep for a while. My legs made that impossible I had to have Taylor come help me turn from one side to the other to get comfortable.

11:44 am. I was feeling so groggy. I felt like I was on lortab. I couldn't think clearly I slurred my words together. I was talking really quiet. I was frustrated with how I was feeling and I just wanted to sleep. I had finally gotten comfortable on my left side and was drifting off to sleep. The nurse came in to check me again. She made me roll on my back. So much for all our hard work getting me comfortable ;) I was hoping I would be to a 5 by now. While she was checking me I asked what was causing me to feel so funny. She said it was the epidural. Strange. I hadn't felt like that with Caden. I wanted it to go away. I wanted to be able to think clearly. The look on her face made me think I was still at a 4. She finally said said, "ok! you're a 9 and fully effaced. I'm going to call your doctor and we'll start prepping for the baby!"  A NINE! Wow. I guess once I get past 4 my body just goes really fast. I hurried and called my house to let my family know we would have the baby here soon. I couldn't get a hold of them! The phone was busy. I called my dad at work. He as apparently the one on the phone with them. I told him we were close and as I was on the phone with him the nurse came back to check me again. It had only been about 5 minutes since she had last checked me. I was a 10! I hurried and got off the phone. They were just waiting for my doctor while they finished prepping my room. My head was starting to clear, the adrenalin must have helped. I lost track of time at this point. Everything was happening so fast. It was a little past noon. They wanted to have me start pushing while we waited for the doctor. I told the nurses that with Caden I pushed 3 times and his head was there and they made me wait and stop pushing for almost half an hour because the doctor was delivering 2 other babies before me. The nurses there told me I pushed harder than anyone they had seen. This stopped my nurses from having me push before my doctor got there. I was glad because I knew she would come fast after I started pushing. My doctor walked in about 12:30. He praised us and said we got an award for best patients, He had been in the clinic that morning and just got done with his lunch break and was going to head home as soon as our baby was delivered. He was very happy that our schedule had fit right in with his. haha. He turned to Taylor and said "Are you ready?" Taylor and I were both a little surprised. The doctor went out to go grab 2 delivery gowns and gloves. Taylor was sending out a text that we were about to deliver and the doctor walked back in and stood in front of him holding out his robe. Haha. Taylor almost threw his phone down as the doctor waited for him. They slipped on their robes and gloves. They pulled up a stool for Taylor to sit on while the nurses helped me hold my legs up. He briefly explained how things were going to work as I started pushing. The doctor had Taylor feel for the baby's head. It was barely an inch away. The doctor wanted to let me tear on my own this time so he watched carefully as I pushed. I pushed 3 times through 3 contractions. Her head was down and the only thing holding her in was my skin. I asked if she had hair! I was dying to know. They both looked at me and laughed, yes she has hair and it's very dark! I was floored, a baby with hair! And DARK hair! I wanted to see her! The doctor wanted me to push through one more contraction to see if my skin would break. After the first push in the next contraction he said my skin was tough as nails and it wasn't going to break on its own. He barely clipped it and had me push again, her head was out! Taylor grabbed her head and turned her to the side. The doctor suctioned out her mouth and nose. Taylor held her head while I pushed her shoulders and body out. Taylor held her in his hands and she took her first breath and started to cry. It was the one of the sweetest moments in my life. He placed her on the blanket they had spread on my belly. She was beautiful. She was the most beautiful thing I had ever laid eyes on. They clipped and clamped the cord. I pulled the blanket up over her back and started wiping off her face. I put my finger in her tiny hand and she wrapped her fingers around it. I was in heaven. They took her after a few minutes and cleaned her off, then weighed and measured her.

Brynnley Rae Van Leeuwen
June 21, 2011
1:00 PM
6 lbs 8 oz
20 inches


When her eyes adjusted to the light she kept them wide open. I've never seen a newborn with such big beautiful eyes. The doctor stitched me up while they were taking care of the baby. He said I still had minor 2nd degree tear, It tore just up to the muscle and was about half the length of the episiotomy I had with Caden. I was so thankful. I only had a few stitches to close it up. They brought my bright eyed little girl over for me to feed and hold. They gave us a good half hour to spend with her before they checked her vitals and gave her a bath. She was a great eater from the first try. I couldn't believe she was here! She was so perfect. We looked at her fingers and toes. She looked so much like Caden. Her eyes were so big and alert. She reminded me of my little sister.



Taylor took her to the nursery when she was done eating. She was still wide awake. I finally got some food. Graham Crackers and Cranberry juice. Yumm. I ordered my lunch and had it sent to my recovery room. They had me move from the bed to a wheel chair. I had a little bit of feeling in my legs, but I was still very clumsy.

Brynnley was quite content while she had her vitals checked and got her bath. She loved the water and didn't make a peep.


Look at that hair! I am in love!


I was starving. I ate every last bit of food they brought me. Then they brought my sweet baby back in all bundled up and ready to eat more. My family all came up and brought Caden with them. The baby was sleeping in the bassinet when they got there. Taylor picked Caden up and showed him his new baby sister. He was a little confused but seemed ok with the fact that this was the baby that had come out of my "belly button". He climbed up on the bed with me. I showed him my IV. They wouldn't let me take it out till I could walk to the bathroom and pee by myself. He was very concerned about the needle taped to my arm. He loved the buttons that made my bed go up and down. We had him wash his hands and then he got to hold his new baby sister. He kept saying "looks like me". Something funny, While I was still pregnant we would ask Caden if baby sister had hair? He had guessed the gender right and we thought maybe he knew what color her hair was as well. He always answered "yes" she has hair. We would ask him if she had white hair like Caden and mommy? or Black hair like daddy? Every time he answered "black hair like daddy!" I guess he knew! I really didn't believe him at the time, I was convinced I'd have another bald baby. But he was right. He was very gentle as he held his sister. He gave her a few kisses on her forehead. Then he just wanted to play with mommy's bed some more. He kept telling me he missed me and he missed daddy, but he wanted to stay at Nana and Papa's house. He was more than happy to spend most of the week down there. When My mom held Brynnley she said the same thing I was thinking. She looks just like Rachel! There is something about her that reminds us all of her Auntie Rae.


Taylor's family came to see us and his cousin Tacy stopped by too. My father in law was scheduled to leave for a 6 week trip to Kenya on the 23rd. I kept telling him, the only reason she came 9 days early was so she could meet her poppy before he left. I was so glad he got to see her. She is going to be so different and big by the time he gets home!

I was so exhausted by the time 9:00 rolled around. Taylor went home for the night because he needed to go into work the next day. I was glad he needed to get a good night sleep. I slept better knowing that I didn't have to worry about him. I didn't get much sleep that night. Checking my vitals every 6 hours. I had a blood draw at 5:00 in the morning. Then I had to feed Brynn every 3 hours or when she was hungry. Plus I just felt super anxious and it was hard for me to fall asleep.

I had a constant flow of people checking in on me by 7:00 the next morning. The nurse, My doctor, The anesthesiologist, The pediatrician, Lactation specialist. I ordered breakfast and took a shower. It felt good to get all cleaned off. I had to use baby shampoo that the hospital had because I forgot to pack any myself. I got ready and ate breakfast. The pediatrician came back in after I had told him the nurse had caught a heart murmur the night before in the baby. He came in and explained that signs were pointing to it not being a "life threatening" condition because she wasn't blue. He wanted to check it over again in the morning and they would schedule an echo cardiogram for us in the next few days to find out what was causing the murmur. It was very concerning to me. Anything involving the heart seemed pretty serious. I called Taylor and told him what was going on. He called me back about an hour later and told me that he was coming to the hospital to be with me and Brynn. I was so grateful. I didn't like being alone worrying about my tiny little baby. We had a few more visitors through the day, and lots of time with our new sweet baby all to ourselves. It was so nice to relax.

She was looking pretty orange to me, I was nervous about jaundice since Caden had it so bad. She was also wanting to eat every hour. She was starving! So the nurse recommended we suppliment with 2 bottles that night, after each breast feeding session, to help flush the jaundice out of her system and fill her tummy. She slept really well and her jaundice levels were pretty good the next morning. Thankfully she never had to be under lights.

Taylor fed her the first bottle


I love that milk face


He is so in love with her. This little girl has melted his heart.





She was so bright eyed and alert through most of the day. I love her big beautiful eyes. She has the sweetest face. I couldn't stop kissing her sweet cheeks and lips.


We were very ready to get back home. We had to wait on the pediatrician to schedule the echo before we left the hospital.  We packed up and had breakfast while we waited. Once I had seen my doctor and the echo was scheduled Taylor loaded the car and we headed out. My recovery had progressed a lot faster this time around. I walked to the car instead of taking the wheel chair. It felt great.


Thank you to all our wonderful family and friends for showing us so much love and support. We love you all so much.  

Much more to come on our little Brynnley.


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