Ava Berkey arrived on Friday, March 12 at 3:33pm. She was 8 lbs and 2 oz and almost 21 inches long at birth. Aaron and I were so thrilled to finally meet her. You can see from this picture taken when she was a day old, that she came into the world with tons of dark brown hair! Surprisingly, she has slate blue eyes. I had several dreams about her before she arrived. One of the dreams only 3 weeks before her birth, she had so much hair like a mohawk and blue eyes and Aaron and I were asking her where she came from because we hadn't had her yet. I kissed his cheeks and told her that I loved her. Who would have thought that she would be born with those blue eyes! My eyes are dark brown and Aaron's are lighter brown.
I spent time preparing my body for pregnancy years beforehand to make sure that I was in optimal health to produce a healthy human. It turns out that really paid off! My delivery was very long (26 hours of labor) and in the end, I had to have a cesarean section to give birth safely. The good news is that my recovery has been complication free and my nurses and physicians have all said that they were impressed by how quickly I bounded back. It makes me feel like a rockstar enduring 14 hours of drug-free labor and enduring another 11 hrs with medical assistance to bring our daughter into the world.
As a person committed to healthy lifestyle, breastfeeding Ava is my priority. Breastfeeding has major health and physiological benefits for mom and baby. It's considered an "art" and not a science because while it's natural, it's not easy for mom and baby to get into a routine with breastfeeding. Luckily, I've had lots of support from my friends that have given me tips and advice. My mother-in-law called the local La Leche League leader who came out to my house to help with hands-on tips. Surprisingly, my best support has been Aaron! He's so tuned into Ava that he can tell me from the outside perspective, what's happening and suggest a tweak. He's so patient and helps calm both of us in the heat of the moment. I laugh because sometimes it's like nursing a ninja baby because her arms are flailing everywhere!
On the last day at the hospital, the doctors were concerned because she lost 1 pound from birth weight. All babies lose birth weight, but they were concerned since it was more than the 10% average. We took Ava to her first pediatrician appointment yesterday when she was 5-days old and it turns out she regained 5 oz in just 2 days at home and the doctor was so impressed with her overall health, we're off the "watch list" and going back for her 4-week check-up. She gave Ava an "A+" for her health and said she's perfect! We couldn't be prouder parents. The hard work of getting her to eat and be happy will pay off!
Because of my surgery, I'm taking the stairs less at home and staying in our bedroom with the baby because she eats every 2-3 hours. To keep my energy up, I have a bag of snacks next to my glider where Ava nurses for the middle of the night or if I need a quick bite. I have nuts, fig newtons, dried fruit, cut up apples, and juice boxes stashed for quick snacks. You know how I love my snacks! I'm hungrier now that I'm nursing.
I will post more updates soon! We're happy, healthy, and celebrating Aaron's birthday today!