Archive for January, 2010

Annelise Rose,

The first two weeks of your life have already passed, and I can’t believe how fast time has flown by us. So much has happened, and you’re changing so fast already. We have LOVED having you become part of our lives.

Our time with you at the hospital was wonderful. You had so many visitors—family and friends who just wanted to come and meet you and love you. The first night of your life, you got to meet three of your grandparents, your two aunts, one uncle and a cousin. Not to mention your father and I. We enjoyed the help of the nurses at the hospital as well. They came in each time I fed you to make sure we were doing everything right. You took to feeding like a champ. I felt so blessed after all the breastfeeding horror stories I’ve heard.

One night, you stayed in the nursery in between feedings. This was nice for your dad and I to get sleep, but he worried about you. He would walk down the hall to look at you through the window to make sure you were okay. He would always report back that you were doing well and looking very content. One time while he was looking in on you, the nurse took some blood from your foot.  He did not like watching that at all because you looked like you were in pain.  He told me he wanted to storm the nursery and make them stop.  You are such a daddy’s girl already.

Our family at the hospital

We left the hospital on Monday and came home to a welcoming committee of Mommy’s family. Your first ride in the car went well. You slept in your car seat. Mommy sat by you in the back and panicked any time any other car came within a 10 foot radius of the Subaru. I’ve gotten better at riding with you in the car (I even sit in the front seat now), but I haven’t been brave enough to drive you somewhere by myself yet.

First ride in the carseat

You, my child, have been such an easy, sweet baby. You sleep well. You eat well (mostly). You look at us with your beautiful deep blue eyes. When you’re awake, you light up when your daddy talks to you. You love the sound of his voice, and you pay close attention to his face. You like to sit in your Boppy in the living room in the mornings and just look around the room. You sleep there during the day too. We love to watch you sleep. You make the most hilarious little faces. Sometimes, you make your mouth into an “O” shape, making you look like a monkey. Occasionally when you pass gas, you flash the most beautiful smile. Other times, you furrow your brow and look very serious. Each expression you make is so adorable.

Making faces with Daddy in the Boppy

At night, you sleep in your Pack N Play in our room. The first few nights you were home, I slept with my head at the foot of the bed so I could see your face whenever I opened my eyes. Now, I’m comfortable enough to sleep normally under the covers, but I can’t imagine what it will be like to someday move you out of our room. I like being able to hear all your little noises. Sometimes I reach over and put my finger under your nose to make sure you’re still breathing because you’re just so peaceful when you sleep. You usually let me sleep a couple hours at a time at night, and I’m very thankful for that.

Your first doctor’s appointment was a little emotional. You did not like the baby scale, and Mommy teared up watching you scream and flail your arms, hopeless to be able to help you. Even though you didn’t like the scale, you didn’t react at all to your first shot. The nurse was shocked. She said she’d never had a baby ignore the shot before. I was pretty proud. Beyond that, the visit went well. Except for your weight loss. You were down to 7 pounds, 13 ounces. You’d lost almost a full pound in under a week since your birth. We’re still working on getting your weight back up. If there has been anything stressful about your first two weeks, getting you to eat enough has been it. Some days you eat voraciously. Some days you quit after just a few minutes. I think you’re just developing at your own pace, but the doctor has been a little concerned. You are content after feedings so I’m pretty content with that for now (although worrying about your feeding has brought me to tears and your daddy and I to our knees several times already).

You’ve had a lot of firsts the last couple weeks:
• We had our first family lunch out at Zip’s Café. We went there the night before my water broke so we thought it was appropriate that we took you there for your first outing. You slept through the event, but all the waitresses still came over and oohed and ahhed over how cute you were. For the record, I think they were right.
• You had your first bath a few days after your umbilical cord fell off. You weren’t sure what to think at first, but once I poured some warm water over your belly, you really enjoyed it. That is the Schaeper in you…we love our baths. Grandpa Schaeper asked if you read a book during your first bath, but I told him that would come with more time.
• On Thursday, you went to your first bible study. The girls *loved* you and passed you around, giving everyone the chance to hold you. I love that you are already being surrounded by the truth of God’s word. I know you don’t understand, but I’m still glad you’re hearing about Jesus already.

I’m sure there are so many details about these first weeks that I’ve already forgotten, but I try to soak you up every minute. I try to memorize the expressions you make, the shape of your face, the smell of your hair, the cuteness of your double chin, the way you rest your (giant) hand on my breast when you feed, how you throw your arms up in the air when you’re napping, the deep blue of your eyes, and the beauty of your feet.

Thanks for making the transition to parenthood so easy for us so far, Annelise. We will always look back on these last two weeks with really happy memories of the making of our family. You are beautiful, and we love you beyond belief.

Love, Mommy

Love you, little girl


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Our Labor Story

[This story includes words like dilated so if that freaks you out, you should know the long story made short is that my water broke on Friday night, and sweet Annelise came 25 ½ hours later]

The story of Annelise’s arrival starts on Wednesday, January 13th. We had our 39 week appointment with my OB/GYN, and she checked my “progress” toward labor. I was at one centimeter and thick, not exactly what we wanted to hear. You want to hear words more like “four” and “thin” and “any day now”. I really thought this baby would never come. Of course, the doctor reassured me that anything could happen and that I could go into labor at any time. I thought, “Yeah, right.”

Royce and I decided on Friday to have a special date/try to induce labor day. We went to an early showing of Avatar 3D Imax (yes, I am a super wife). Mostly, I wanted to go for the popcorn. The movie was good though, and Royce even left partway through to add more fake movie theater butter to our popcorn (yes, he is a super husband).

After the movie, we went home and took Sunny on a nice, long walk (labor inducing attempt #1). On the walk, we talked about how God knew exactly how our baby would come into the world, even if we didn’t. I did say that I was pretty sure she wouldn’t be coming that day though, that I wasn’t feeling it. We were partway through labor inducing attempt #2 (preparing burritos for dinner, i.e. spicy food) when my water broke at 7:35 pm. Royce was on the phone with a friend when I yelled from the bathroom. Everyone asks the question, “Was it a big gush?” My answer is not quite. There was definitely somewhat of a gush, but mostly it was a slow leak that kept coming for hours that definitely felt distinctly different from pee.

I called the doctor, and she told us to take our time and head to the hospital in the next couple of hours since I hadn’t started having contractions yet. We were freaking out—excited, nervous, in disbelief, but mostly really, really excited. We called the family. I took a shower, waxed my eyebrows (couldn’t have unruly brows for my daughter’s first look at me), cleaned the bathroom and finished packing our hospital bag. Royce scrambled around cleaning up the place and making a substitute dinner of turkey sandwiches since the burritos wouldn’t be the best pre-labor choice (and all I’d eaten all day was popcorn).

Our last picture as a family of 3

One last shot of Annelise in my belly

I went through triage at the hospital where it was confirmed that my water had in fact broken so I was admitted. We got to our birthing room (which was amazing) at 11:00 pm. My family arrived at 11:05. Since I wasn’t contracting, I was sent on walking duty to try to get labor started. I did laps around the labor and delivery floor, only to be still 1 centimeter dilated at 3:00 am. Since I hadn’t made any progress on my own, I was hooked up to pitocin to jumpstart my uterus.

The family hanging out in the hospital

The nurse had to increase the dose every 30 minutes. I finally started feeling contractions sometime around 7:00 am and decided on an epidural around 8:00. Not that the contractions were that bad. I was just tired already and knew we still had quite a way to go, and I sensed I would need some rest. This was the best decision ever. I took a nap while my body finally started doing what it needed to do to get labor moving. We progressed to 4 centimeters, then 7, then 9, then finally at 4:40 pm, I hit the magic number…10 centimeters. I was sat up in bed in a Buddha position to try to let gravity help Annelise get into position since she was determined that her home under my rib cage was her preference to the outside world, thank you very much.

Enjoying my only sustenance other than ice chips

At 5:45, it was time to start pushing! I will say this was the biggest surprise about delivery for me. I think after enjoying the relief of the epidural, I wasn’t necessarily prepared for the pain of pushing. My epidural was turned off before we started so I would be able to push more effectively. Which I did not do at first. Nurses were coming in, turning me this way and that, trying to help me push better. They kept saying, “Push like you’re pooping.” Apparently I don’t push my poop out right because I certainly didn’t push the baby out the right way for quite a while.

After what seemed like an eternity and a lot of (more efficient) pushing and energy, the nurse said she could see the baby’s head. I was so excited, and it gave me some motivation to keep going. An hour later though, the nurse was still saying the same thing—We can see her head. I wanted to just yell, “If you can see it, just grab it and pull her out already!” Of course they couldn’t do that. I do remember at one point asking what color hair she had because I was starting to not believe they could really see her.

Finally, I sensed that she really was on the verge of making her appearance. The doctor kept telling me, “Two more contractions, and she’ll be here.” And finally, at 9:01 pm on January 16th, Annelise Rose came on out. They put her on my belly. It was the most surreal moment of my life. I didn’t believe that she was actually there and that I was actually done pushing. It wasn’t how I imagined at all. I wasn’t overcome with this mommy love right away. I mostly was kind of out of it from the lack of oxygen and exhaustion from pushing for over 3 hours. I felt like I was watching a movie of my life.

Meeting my baby

Then, the nurse took her to be weighed and cleaned, and from the bed I watched my husband become a daddy. He followed Annelise everywhere taking pictures and then got to hold his baby for the first time. He had transformed while I was pushing from a spouse into a father. When I started the pushing process, Royce stood by me quietly, letting the nurses coach me along. At one point, he leaned down and whispered, “Good job.” By the end, he was yelling along with everyone else in the room, cheering me on through each contraction, ready to meet his little girl.

The proud daddy

She weighed a hefty 8 pounds, 12 ounces and was 21 ¼ inches long. I couldn’t believe how big she was. I never felt like I was carrying a heavy baby, but as I looked down on her at her first feeding, I was amazed to see that she had neck rolls. And looked exactly like her father. And I think that is when I fell in love. With my beautiful daughter. My sweet Annelise.

The beauty

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Royce and I went to our 39 week appointment today, only to find out labor hasn’t progressed at all. It looks like she’s camped out in there, but of course the doctor still says, “You never know.” I was kind of expecting that we hadn’t moved forward at all so I wasn’t too devastated or anything. She’ll come when she comes. Worst case scenario would be 3 more weeks. Which would be really, really hard, but not the end of the world.

As we eagerly, anxiously wait for our little one to join us, some of our best friends are experiencing another kind of “parental” pain.

Meet Sam and Ashley.

They are great friends of ours. Sam and Royce have been best friends since 1999. We’ve all been in each others’ weddings and have walked through ministry and life and fun times and hard things together. Sam and Ashley lead a ministry with college students in Toledo called “Zakuska”. This group of students is committed to loving the world with the love Jesus, especially those in parts of the world not as fortunate as we are here in America. Their group has raised money to take clean wells to Africa, have supported many children around the world through Compassion, and most recently, have taken a couple trips to love 60 children in an orphanage in Haiti.

Sam and Ashley took 34 college students to Haiti for two weeks over Christmas break to serve the orphans there. They returned on Sunday. Less than 48 hours before the devastating earthquake hit the place and people who have stolen the hearts of the students of Zakuska. The orphanage was about 3 miles from the epicenter of the quake. Sam and Ashley haven’t just taken students to this country. They’ve also been pursuing adopting their first daughter, Bebe, from this place. Now they must sit here with the rest of the world and watch the horror going on all around their daughter. Unable to hold her and care for her the way a parent would long to.

As I think of Sam and Ashley and the stories they’ve told and then watch the news and see the massiveness of the devastation in this 4th world country, I think, “It’s just so big. What can I do?” Of course, we can pray for the people of this country. But we can also give. Sam has set up a fund where all the money will go specifically to the orphanage they have been partnering with. You can find the link on Facebook under the group “Haiti Relief Fund – Zakuska” (Sorry I don’t have a link…I’m not that techie) Your gift would be going to help individual children with stories and hearts and souls and feelings. Even if you can’t give, I would encourage you to check out this page to see pictures and videos of the beautiful people of this country. There is even a video of Sam to let you know more about this opportunity. Thanks so much.

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Dear Baby Girl,

Your supposed arrival date is just over a week away, and I can hardly wait to meet you. I can’t wait to see the cute little foot that has been trying to escape out the side of my body for the last few weeks. I’m thinking you’re going to be pretty strong because you’ve been nailing me in the stomach/ribs/bladder for quite some time now. Gone are the days of your cute little kicks. You’ve turned into some kind of ninja in there. You also like to stick your butt out my right side, just under my rib cage.

Although I’m so excited to meet you, there is part (and I emphasize part) of me that will miss being pregnant. I love being constantly aware of someone else. I feel like I have “unagi” when it comes to you (this is a reference from Friends, you’ll get it someday). The first thought I have when I wake up is of you and how you’re doing. I’m constantly aware of how you’re moving or not moving, of where all your little body parts are situated, of whether or not you have the hiccups. I know I’ll probably always have you on my mind once you’re born too, but there is something beautiful about having you be part of me that I think I’m going to miss at least a little bit.

I really can’t wait to see your face. Your dad and I keep seeing babies and saying to one another, “Maybe she’ll look like that.” I imagine you with dark hair and a little scrunchy face, but you could come and surprise us all with your own look.

Maybe you could come sooner rather than later? I’ve been keeping myself busy with a very long to-do list, but I would gladly not complete it if you wanted to come. You’ll be happy to know that your “room” is ready, that you have some clean clothes, and that I cleaned the microwave for the first time in two years just for you. I also plan on hardcore cleaning the shower and the couch before you come. I guess I will just set you up for high expectations when it comes to how clean your father and I are and let you be disappointed sometime later.

I’ll admit that I’m a little nervous to become your mom. I don’t really know what I’m doing, and I really can’t picture what it will be like to have you in our lives day to day. I can picture your dad and I going to the hospital. I can picture having you. I can picture our families coming to see you. I can picture putting you in the car to go home. And then? Nothing. I have no picture of what life will be like once you’re here. I know that I will love you a lot. I think that I will most enjoy cuddling with you. I think that your dad will be love struck with you from day one. I think Sunny will be very curious about you. But other than that, we’ll be winging it Baby Girl. I hope that is okay.

Oh, another reason you should consider coming soon? I only have 2 shirts that still actually fit me without an inch of my belly showing. Your dad has described this new look several times as “white trash”. I would be mad at him, but it’s kind of true. You’re a girl. You will soon understand the need for cute clothes, even when hugely pregnant. Please come soon.

I love you so much and can’t wait to see you face to face. You’re going to be beautiful.

Your mom

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