Monday, October 31, 2011
Since she is 3 weeks old tomorrow, I figured it MIGHT be time to post about her birth!
Ally joined our family on October 11, 2011 at 6:27 pm. She was 6 lbs 12 oz and 19 inches long. Although she was born almost a full week later than her brothers, she was the smallest child born in our family, and the smallest grandchild in our extended family to date. When I originally found out I was pregnant with Ally, I was seeing a doctor in Denton, and the affiliated hospital did not have the staff and resources to perform a Vaginal Birth After Cesaerean (VBAC). However, shortly after, Ben started his residency and our family was covered under his insurance policy. I was able to switch to a local doctor who worked for JPS. Since JPS is a much bigger hospital, VBACs were an option, and my new doctor was very supportive of this option. As I was not eager to spend a long several weeks recovering from a c-section, I decided to try to the VBAC option. We set a c-section date for 39 wks and 1 day, and I was checked for readiness before going in the operating room. My doctor told me I was dilated to a 4 and completely effaced. He thought we could have a very successful VBAC! They wheeled me into a delivery room at 8:30 am, Dr. McRay broke my water and I was able to do the rest on my own, without any help of any labor inducing drugs! (I had made it clear that I only wanted to do a VBAC if my body could do it naturally. I have heard the risk of uterine rupture is higher if you force your body to do what it is not ready to do with labor inducing drugs such as pitocin.)
It went perfectly! With both of the boys, my labor was slowed down or (in the case of Sam) stopped by an epidural, so my doctor and I agreed that I would hold out as long as possible for the epidural. With the help of low doses of IV Morphine, I was able to hold off on the epidural until I was dilated to an 8, (there was a delay in getting the epidural though, due to how busy the labor and delivery floor was. The anesthesiologist was in another room before he could get to me, so there was about an hour of horrible labor pains after I had requested the epidural. That was my only complaint - it took a while to get pain meds when I requested them. My doctor came in and checked me one last time at 6:30 and said I looked ready to push. At this point, I was pain free (a new expereince for me in deliveries) and cheerfully agrred to push. After about 25 minutes of easy pushing, Ally was here! She was so small, I didn't even need an epesiotomy or any stitches!
This delivery was such a different experience from the vaginal delivery I had with Jackson. I felt everything with Jackson because my epidural wore off twice. I was in hard labor, pushing for 2 hours with Jackson. By the time he was here and they asked me if I wanted to hold him, I numbly mumbled "no" because I was afraid I would drop him. I was THAT exhausted that I didn't even want to hold my first child! I have foggy memories of the whole experience because I was so beside myself with pain and exhaustion. With Ally, I remember everything. It was like I was a more active player, and when she came out, I really got to experience the delivery of my child with a clear head. It was wonderful! Such a beautiful experience! I felt like I bonded with her immediately.
Because delivery was such a breeze, my recovery has been pretty speedy, too! I mopped my kitchen floor 3 days after giving birth, then Ben and I took Ally on our date to the Arlington Log Cabin Show when she was 4 days old. People were asking me if I just went in the back room and had a baby because she was so tiny! :) Then when she was 8 days old, we went on a family hike near Eagle Mountain Lake to have a picnic. I am really feeling great! I started working out a little last week (15 minutes on the elliptical), and plan to push it a little more this week (adding 5 extra minutes of cardio and light weights).
I just feel so blessed! I prayed so hard that I would have an easy recovery so I would be able to do all the things that my life requires me to do. Ben is gone so much and my family isn't nearby to help me all the time, and I hate depending on other people all the time to help me. It makes me feel like a helpless leech. Heavenly Father answered my prayer and then some! I have had the speediest recovery of anyone I know!
Since Ally was so small, we had to keep a close eye on her weight. She dropped down to about 6 lbs, 2 oz after birth, and was only eating 2-3 ozs at a time, but she was back up to 7 lbs, 4 oz last Monday at her 2 week check-up, and with the way she now eats 4-5 ozs every 2 hours (or less sometimes), I am certain she has gained even more since. She has already outgrown the preemie clothes she was wearing (which when we brought her home were the only clothes that didn't swallow her)! The first few days of being home, Ally slept 4 and 5 hours chunks at night, but now she is starting to get into a more regular 3 hour feeding interval. I miss getting that extra sleep all in one chunk, but I am happy that nursing is going so well and she is thriving. These sleepless nights will pass soon enough, I know.
Jackson and Samson are really sweet with her, and surprisingly, Sam is the more smitten brother. I thought I was would have to battle him since he is my child who just craves a lot of attention no matter how he can get it, but he is really sweet with her, asking to hold her and "be soft" with her all the time. Even when I am not right next to her, I watch him creep close to her and talk sweetly to her when she is fussy. He just loves her so much! Jackson is a bit caught up in his big boy activities and "fighting bad guys" to care either way about her. When he notices her, he is sweet with her, but most of the time, he lives in his own superhero world. :) He is very proud to tell people he has a new sister now, named Baby Ally, though.
So we have pretty much settled down into our normal routine now, albeit a bit slower than usual. Ben starts a 7-5 M-F schedule in the month of November, so he'll be home more to help in the evenings and home all weekend long! YAY! We have really missed him, and it has been a little challenging having him have such an erratic schedule when we first came home, especially after my mom left, but we managed just fine. Since he took off 10 days when Ally was born, he didn't have many days off the rest of the month of October. He had to work a required amount of shifts for the month or he wouldn't have completed his requirements for his residency program. So that's the story of how the Blakes went from a family of four to a family of FIVE! :)