November 29, 2012

Ava's First Week

No birth story yet...I'm actually going to start with the moment she was born, on Sunday night (11/18) at 8:49 p.m. since our first week with her was something totally different from what we expected!
 Ava Autumn Harper was born at 8:49 p.m. after about an hour and a half of pushing!  Towards the end, her heart rate was quite elevated and she wasn't crying or anything when she came out - she wasn't breathing like she should.  Had it been normal circumstances, they would have placed her right up to me, skin-to-skin, but they had to take her over to the warming bed to be examined and helped to get breathing.  It was such a relief to finally hear her cry from across the room.  I was pretty scared with how fast everyone was rushing around and the way the number of people surrounding her little bed kept multiplying.  They determined she had a high fever of about 103, so they brought in the bed to transfer her to the NICU.  Thankfully, they brought her over for me to hold for a couple minutes before taking her away.  Devin went with everyone to the NICU while I got stitched up :/.  They determined she had an infection that would require some tests and days of antibiotics to treat.  That started our week in the NICU...


 These were Ava's living quarters in the NICU at St. Luke's Boise.  My room was on the 8th floor, while the NICU was on the 2nd. This made night time feedings quite awful. [The NICU nurse suggested a time for me to be brought down to nurse.  I would try and sleep until the alarm on my phone woke me up.  Then I had to call a nurse, who then called "transport", who would come get me in a wheelchair and take me down.  IF she was ready to eat, I'd try and feed her.  Sometimes she just wasn't ready so I'd have to go back up and be given another time to come down.]  Between that and nurses coming in to take my vitals, etc. I was getting VERY LITTLE sleep - like 3 hours.  I was pumping very small amounts of colostrum, which we would take down to her in a tiny little syringe and add it when she would nurse.  Ava had an IV put in her scalp which gave her the antibiotics, as well as fluids to keep her nourished until she could keep her blood sugar stabilized from exclusive breastfeeding. 
 Some highlights from this day: Grandma Laura arrived Monday morning as her first visitor :)  Devin and I ordered the "celebration meal" for lunch - a free meal for the parents after the baby is born, with sparkling cider and all!  Tyne and her brother Race came to visit as well and brought beautiful flowers with them. The pediatrician offered to try and get her transported to the NICU at St. Luke's Meridian - so much more convenient!

 Early Tuesday morning, the pediatrician told us that her first blood culture test came back showing no bacterial growth.  Woohoo!  They would have to do one more, at 48 hours from birth, to determine that the infection is not still there.  He explained some tests they had done at birth that determined she had the infection.  One was a test that showed a high white blood cell count - her body was producing lots of white blood cells to fight whatever was going on in her body.  Another test showed extremely elevated levels of "procalcitonin" - I don't know what that is, but her numbers really were much higher than what is normal - which apparantly was another indicator of infection.  Because of this, they determined she'd be in NICU for about 5-7 days to get the full antibiotic treatment.  They also did a chest x-ray after she was born and found some inflamation in the lungs which could be an early sign of pneumonia.  Scary!
 Highlights from this day: Ava had her first ambulance ride being transported from St. Lukes Boise to St. Luke's Meridian - and it was free because they are sister hospitals :)  After being discharged from downtown, Devin and I arrived at Meridian right before the kitchens closed, to find out that although I am not a patient at the Meridian hospital, they let moms of babies in the NICU eat for free.  It's part of their "commitment to breastfeeding"! Devin ordered me a delicious quesadilla :)

This was the first day being at the St. Luke's Meridian hospital and boy was I happy!  The NICU was a little smaller but Ava had her own little room and MY room was SO much bigger and nicer than in Boise, not to mention I was right across the hall instead of 6 floors away!  At night the nurse just gave me a phone call when she was ready to eat.  I got so much more sleep this way because I wasn't watching the clock.  The nurses here were so great.  So much more interested in my/our wants, needs, and concerns than we had experienced previously and tried to meet our every need.  They set a "daily goal" with me every day.  Today's was to master breastfeeding, which Ava did great
    We also got results back this morning about her second blood culture which, again, resulted in NO bacteria growth.  They also did a 2nd chest x-ray and things looked great, ruling out pneumonia! 
 Highlights from this day: Devin ended up spending Tuesday night with me there and even though his sleeping quarters were not very comfortable, he decided he would stay there every night so that his parents/brothers could stay at our house while they were up for Thanksgiving.  We watched lots of Seinfeld, which I had rented at the library because I knew I would want something funny to watch during labor or recovery.  SO glad I got that, it was so fun to watch together.  Devin went home to shower/get some things from home to gear up for staying the rest of the week there at the hospital.  He came back with presents!  A sweet girl from the ward brought an adorable outfit and my friend Nicole had sent a package with some adorable clothes as well.  It totally made my day!  
    I was also LOVING the food at the hospital.  Who would think?  Their cheese tortellini with grilled chicken and sundried tomato cream sauce was my favorite. I could have eaten it every day :)

Thursday - Thanksgiving! 
Ava had her first "bath" aka wipedown.  The nurse was great to walk us through it and Ava was a total peach! She didn't make a sound. I'm sure if the rag had been cold it would be another story. We brought her little Thanksgiving onesie to put her in once she was all clean :)
Aaand...of course we had to get a picture of her having her first Thanksgiving feast, haha! She always holds on to her ear like that - so cute!  I was able to pump about an ounce before we left so that they could feed her in case she got hungry while we were gone for Thanksgiving. 

Highlights from today: I wore real clothes for the first time (something other than a hospital gown or sweats and a t-shirt), we went to the Strickland's (Talane's family) for Thanksgiving and everything was so good.  Stuffing made with homemade bread, awesome gravy, yummy pretzel jello salad, and LOTS of pie!  They were so sweet to invite us, getting out of that hospital felt great! We all sat in a huge circle in the living room, with food overload, and played the name game.  My ankles had gotten totally swollen in the previous day or two so Laura graciously rubbed them to help the swelling go down, which it did!

Today was my day to get caught up on work.  They were able to wheel Ava in to my room to be right next to my bed.  It was kind of nice to have an excuse NOT to go Black Friday shopping.  I usually love it, but this year I had no interest (besides that I just had a baby!).  Devin, however, was able to finally enjoy an entire day outside of the hospital, which he totally needed after sleeping on that uncomfortable "bed" and not eating very much food!
 Highlights from this day: I just enjoyed the day in my room with Ava and some episodes of 7th Heaven :) Devin and his dad and brothers hit up all the guy stores (Cabela's, Best Buy, REI, etc.) while Laura and Lily paid us a visit!  Devin also got to go out to dinner with his family at an Argentine restaurant they discovered in Boise - and he and his brothers got an epic goofy-faced-picture.  When Devin returned, he brought me the most delicious empanada I've ever had - chocolate cherry filling.  SO good.  We ate it while watching the rest of the Seinfeld episodes we had. It was a great night :) Especially knowing we'd get to take our little girl home the next day!

We got Ava all dressed in her own little going home outfit, ready for discharge!  I was getting a little tired of the pediatrician who was filling in for ours, due to the holidays.  He kept talking like they were going to keep her another day - no thank you! The nurse we discharged with was SO sweet (Angie), she even remembered Lily's name from visiting the day before. 

Great dad moment: Devin was changing her diaper before getting her dressed and as he was lifting up her legs to put a new diaper under, she pooped - which of course sprayed everywhere, including his jacket.  Sad, but hilarious :) We were glad she wasn't dressed yet and that it was the hospital's stuff she got dirty, haha.

Above: First picture at home :)  Below: First diaper change at home :(
Highlights from this day: We successfully got Ava dressed, fed, put in her car seat, and home with absolutely no crying. Although we were home, we were still sick of being inside - so, we decided to try out Ling & Louie's for dinner with Devin's mom for our first trial run at bringing a baby out.  Thankfully she slept the WHOLE time so we could keep her covered, which made us less paranoid about germs.  Food was good too :) Devin got his mom to watch 3:10 to Yuma on the Clearplay with us that night, that's one we can watch multiple times.  By this day I am finally able to wear regular clothes but...still in some pain. 

Overall, I only had to wake up about twice a night to go feed Ava and never really felt like I needed a nap!  Devin was successful at getting some sleep as soon as he brought his earplugs with him, hospitals just have strange noises all the time. She had her IV moved from one side of her head to the other, and then to her hand throughout the week.  She was born 7 lbs even and left the hospital weighing 7 lbs 1.1 oz.  Great eater!

Although the hospital was SO welcoming, we are incredibly grateful to be home with a healthy baby. Pin It


  1. I LOVED the update. I've been wanting to hear EVERYTHING, but know you've been so busy, so I've been practicing my patience....Love her already! I hope we can meet her soon!

  2. Claire she is beautiful. I don't think that about every baby, but she... she is one of the most beautiful babies i've ever seen. Congrats and i'm happy you're out of the nicu.

  3. Congrats, you guys!! She is beautiful! Everything always tastes SO GOOD while you're breastfeeding! Glad Ava is home and doing well and you guys seem to be transitioning into parenthood like pros :) Remember to sleep when she sleeps and don't push it--you'll feel super lazy but will heal much, much faster if you sit around eating and drinking as much as possible. And sleeping :) End of lecture. Again.

  4. Claire, she is beautiful! And you are beautiful! You are so strong for having to go through this. I admire you so much. I don't know if I would have been able to handle it. I'm so glad the little one's home with you now. And I hope things are going well as this huge transition takes place. You are wonderful! Glad to know she's healthy!

  5. Oh my goodness! I can't wait to meet her! She is perfectly adorable! And I can't believe how big that itty bitty bow looks on her TINY head! :] So cute!

  6. Oh my, Claire...first of all I want to tell you Congratulations and how beautiful little Ava is! I also want to tell you how strong I think you are, I feel like her birth was very eventful too eventful and from what I read, you handled it very well. You are both so incredibly strong and yall made a beautiful little girl! We love yall! please let us know if you guys need anything!

  7. So glad that everything turned out well and that you have a happy, healthy, beautiful little baby at home! It was so fun to see you and her this past week. Love you and can't wait to see you again!