Eva Sophia Malone was born on Halloween night at 8:18 pm, 4 lbs. 15 oz., 18 inches long.
She spent 10 days in special care with only one complication while she was there: she had an apnic episode where she stopped breathing for 15 seconds. This is a common thing in babies born at 34 weeks, but they wanted to keep her for at least 7 days beyond the episode to insure nothing else happened.
Nothing did, and after 8 days of driving up to the hospital every 3 hours to feed her, I was so relieved when we finally got to bring her home.
Nancy was an absolute Godsend, taking care of Will just about every waking minute AND helping us cook, clean, and get the house ready for Eva's discharge.
Michael was also such an awesome help, taking Will while I was in the hospital the week before she was born. Our church also stepped in, as I mentioned before. It's times like these that you truly understand how important the community is, both as a giver and a receiver.
Because of cold and flu/RSV season, Will was not allowed in the special care nursery (all siblings/children were prohibited) and didn't meet Eva until she was discharged from the hospital. We often wondered what was going through his head as I got my coat on and rushed out the door every 3 hours. He really showed no signs of understanding what was happening and even since she's been home, he's been the same little boy. He likes to pat Eva's head gently while she eats and put his head to hers in a mini hug. He is really sweet when it comes to babies and it's no different with Eva.
The most difficult part about coming home with a preterm baby is the fact that it's cold and flu season and due to her fragile immune system she is at high risk for getting sick. Because of this we have to avoid public places for at least 3 months and limit non-family visitors. No one is allowed in the house that has even the slightest signs of having a cold or being sick. It sounds anal, but in my doctor's words "You kinda have to be paranoid. The alternative is another extended stay in the hospital. " It's already affected plans for Thanksgiving as my sister and her family were planning on coming and they can't now because Mia (my niece) currently has a cold and gets them a lot this time of year. We had a visit with Dr. Schmandt on Thursday and we talked about the risks, with RSV being the biggest. She told us that toddlers are the most common carriers (especially those in daycare) and even then it's hard to know when they have it because the symptoms are the same as a cold. Dr. Schmandt recommended Eva to our insurance co. to get the RSV vaccination but she was denied because she has to meet more criteria- Ex: born at an even earlier week or have a sibling in daycare. She also told us that Will is a big risk (he just got over an ear and sinus infection) and we need to do our best to keep him healthy. That part is going to be hardest. Needless to say, we've been hand-sanitizing nazis.
Besides all of that paranoia, she's really doing amazingly well. We get home visits from a pediatric nurse twice a week for two weeks and we had the first visit on Wednesday. According to her Eva has just been sailing along. She was impressed with how well she did at birth and in the special care nursery, not needing a feeding tube or help with breathing. What also impressed her was how well she's been nursing. She's already gained weight (she's up to 5 lbs. 2 oz.) and grown a half of an inch.
We are truly blessed despite all the possibilities. We have a healthy baby girl, even though technically she wasn't due to make an appearance for another 6 weeks. I'm feeling great and am so relieved about the success of the VBAC.
Here's a little summary of the birth: After 5 days in ante-partum after my water broke I was induced at 34 weeks. I got an epidural remembering the pain of the contractions from Pitosin with Will's birth. I have no regrets about this because those contractions came so fast and frequent (I did feel them on a much lesser scale- they just felt like menstrual cramps) that I'm sure I would have ended up with the epidural anyway. After 10 hours of resting in bed, reading, listening to music, and even watching a little tv, the contractions got more intense and I started feeling a lot of pressure. Then it all happened so fast. Within 30 minutes the baby was born. I was scared that Dr. Turner wouldn't get there in time, but she did. My recovery has been worlds better and I definitely recommend a VBAC to any woman for their second child. Of course, I realize that it could have ended in C-section, but it's so worth the attempt.
Thanks to everyone for your words of encouragement, prayers, and phone calls. What an amazing feeling to be surrounded by such love and support.