Alicia Bryant went to bed on New Year’s Eve prepared to greet a typical New Year’s Day. The expecting mother awoke before 7 a.m. knowing immediately that this New Year’s Day would be different. She spent the rest of the day and night in labor at Great Bend Regional Hospital before giving birth early Monday morning.
"I was sleeping and my water had broken," said Alicia, who wasn’t expecting to deliver for another two weeks. "Little did I know then that I was in for 18 hours of labor. She was stubborn, very stubborn."
At 2:36 a.m. Monday, Alicia gave birth to the New Year’s baby of Barton County for 2012. Shayla-ann Michelle Ploutz entered the world, weighing 6 pounds and 4 ounces and measuring 19 inches in length.
"It was a very long 18 hours, that’s for sure," said the baby’s father, Jon Ploutz. "Alicia was exhausted, but she’s better now."
Nearly eight hours after delivery, Alicia appeared surprisingly rested as she cuddled the sleeping Shayla-ann in her arms. The Great Bend couple reflected on her complicated pregnancy that somehow resulted in their perfectly healthy bundle of joy.
Alicia struggled with high blood pressure and placenta previa throughout the pregnancy. Three months into her pregnancy, she was forced to quit her nursing-home job as a certified medication aide, because of heavy-lifting restrictions. And early labor had to be stopped four times during her sixth month of pregnancy.
Even staying at home, relaxing proved difficult for Alicia, who is raising three boys, ages 7, 4 and 3. Fortunately, Jon has been helping every step of the way, and he’s entering paternity leave from his job with Allied Oil and Gas to help care for his family.
"They’ve been great at working with us throughout her pregnancy," said Jon about his employer.
Anxious to greet their newborn sister are brothers Dustin Riley 7, Trenten Bryant 4, and Brayden Bryant 3.
"They are so excited," said Alicia. "They keep asking when our baby is coming home."
Shayla-ann’s grandparents are Dusty and Cheryl Clark, from Ellinwood; Robert and Margi Marley, from Great Bend; and Susan and Doyle Lippert, from Bison.