I am just in love with Ava's nursery now that it's finally complete. I love sitting in the rocking chair holding her. The border near the ceiling are alphabet cards named for flowers. Every couple cards have a little fairy on them. Her growth chart has fairies on it and is super cute in person. On her bookcase is a porcelain doll I got for Christmas one year as a little girl and it is one of my favorite presents I've ever received. Ava will be in for a treat when she gets older as I've saved all of my Barbie dolls and furniture/accessories/clothes. I have about seven tubs of it all.
Announcement of Ava on Josh's dad's Dairy Queen sign
Recovery has gone so much smoother this time. I guess it helps to not have your blood count drop by almost half. I do have a strange after effect this time that I didn't last time. My belly in the center is all black and blue and looks like I got punched in the gut. It worried me so I called the dr. and I was told it was all normal. Whew! I'm really exhausted though because Ava wants to nurse about every hour at night. So if she nurses for a half hour and eats every hour you can guess how much sleep I'm getting.
Ava's bilirubin levels are still within normal range, but she's just not gaining weight (yep despite nursing her around the clock practically). This is likely because I have a foremilk/hindmilk imbalance, which means that I'm producing too much of the watery/low cal milk so it takes a really long time for her to get to the fatty hindmilk which is really important for her to gain weight. So I will have to pump off some of the foremilk before she nurses, then nurse her as long as she wants, and then finish off with a supplement of formula. I'm exhausted just typing it.
I just love those newborn hospital pictures and even though they always seem to look a little bit goofy I think they're a must-have. It's kind of strange because I didn't really think Hayden looked like himself in his pictures and Ava doesn't really look like herself either. We had a few pictures to choose from and went with the pose with her eyes open. She wasn't too happy during the session so we were lucky to get a decent pose.
Ava trying out her swing. Unfortunately her bili blanket kept it from swinging.
All dressed and ready to go home
Our two wonderful children. We might have to move Ava to the side too because Hayden kept trying to steal her blanket.
Our security tags from the hospital. If Ava and I were more than 30 minutes apart it would play a little song when we were brought back together.
Yesterday morning I was given the ok to go home by my doctor and we just had to wait on Ava's pediatrician to see if she could go home too. After meeting with her we were allowed to go home, but she had to go home with a bilirubin blanket. It's a tube that gives off UV light that goes to a hose and then to a pad that either is strapped to her back or belly. It makes her light up like a little glow worm. She has to be on it 24/7 until we get her levels down so it makes feedings difficult since we have to be next to an outlet. Close to 1 pm we were finally given the blanket and we were on our way home after they cut off our security tags. It was really nice to be home. Hayden was really curious about her when we set her down in her car seat. It's really hard to have him stand at my feet with his arms up, but I can't pick him up for 6 weeks. My parents cooked us a nice dinner and then I went to bed shortly after so I could get a head start on some sleep and I definitely needed it. I was up every 1 and half hours to feed her and if she fussed in between Josh got up to check her diaper or soothe her a bit. She gets so sleepy during her feedings that I'm constantly tickling her little feet to get her going again. Today we're headed back up to Springfield to get a check of her levels and hopefully the frequent feedings and the light are helping.
Vian and Papa Joel seeing Ava for the first timeGrandma Debbie and Grandpa Denny with Ava
Grandpa Pat and Ava
Jenn and Ava
Two new proud grandparents with Ava
Another pretty bow for her hair
Grandpa Denny, Grandma Debbie, Hayden and Ava. Hayden's shirt says, "I'm the Big Brother".
Sitting with Mommy after she was able to get up for the first time since the surgery
It's photo time! Ready to go in her pretty dress.
This morning after Ava's assessments we were informed that she was jaundiced so they ordered a test to see how much. Her levels were high, but our Dr. hadn't decided a course of action quite yet, and ordered another test for the evening. After those results came in and her levels were even higher they decided she needed phototherapy under the bilirubin lights and that supplementing with formula would really help her to clear it from her system along with me nursing her every 2 hours. After considering it we decided this was the best choice as the lights can make her dehydrated. Then we were informed that she has already lost 10% of her birth weight and that our decision to supplement would help her even more when she's placed under the lights. My milk hasn't come in yet and Ava is needing more to maintain her body weight so once it comes in she should start gaining her weight back since she is nursing well otherwise. My milk should be starting to come in tomorrow or the next day as it takes a little bit longer after a csection to come in. I'll be trying not to stress out too much about it throughout the next day or so.
Today Ava had her pictures taken and once they are uploaded onto the website I will share the link and password for everyone.
We left our home at 4:30 am in order to arrive in pre-op by 5:30. I changed into a gown and they got me all set up with an IV, hooked me up to monitors, and started asking questions and taking vital signs. The two hours went by really fast before I was wheeled back to get the spinal block. It went a lot smoother this time, but it was still quite painful. I was able to keep myself more calm and the nurses were very helpful with their support. Once it was in I layed down really quickly and waited for everything to be set up. The spinal made my blood pressure go down too far so I was given some medication to raise it, which made me throw up. After it took effect I felt so much better. Then they raised the big curtain in front of me and Josh was allowed in the room. Then all I felt was tons of pressure and it felt like someone was pressing super hard or even standing on my belly while they pulled her out. The Dr. said, "what a round headed baby". She was pooping on her way out just like her brother did. Then I heard a big cry, which just brought me to tears. They took her over to the baby care area and did all the initial clean-up and tests while my breathing started to feel really strange. It felt like I had to work to breathe, but it was just the spinal. My heart was beating really fast from the medication used to raise my blood pressure. I was curious to know how much she weighed and drum roll please... 7 LBS. 9 OUNCES. She was 21 inches long and her head was 14 inches. She's a little peanut compared to Hayden. So while the baby staff is taking care of Ava, I'm getting sewn up and moved back to the bed on wheels. They handed Ava to me all bundled up and we were wheeled together back to the recovery room where Grandma Debbie was waiting. In recovery they kept taking my vitals and got me stabilized . Right after that I was able to nurse Ava for quite awhile. Then they took Ava to the nursery for her bath and other tests while the nurse got me cleaned up and ready to be moved to my regular room. Once there I was able to eat something of a normal diet since my Dr. feels that it helps to wake up the bowels after surgery a lot sooner, but my nurse and I agreed to take it slow and I had some chicken broth and a little later some pudding. Ava is just beautiful and tiny and she just loves to camp out and nurse. Mommy and Daddy Built a New Addition.
Hayden meets his little sister for the first time.
Today Josh and I celebrate two years of marriage. The last two years have been absolutely amazing and we are so blessed to have each other and a beautiful son and soon to be daughter to make our family complete. We played it low key and just stayed home with each other. I'm pretty much hibernating for the last week and a half.
Just two years ago we were married in an intimate ceremony at the Yampa Valley Botanical Gardens in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Josh's grandfather officiated the ceremony and Josh's aunt and dad performed the special music. The happiest day of my life was when I said "I Do" to Josh (well besides Hayden being born). The whole wedding was very stress free and relaxing. After the wedding we traveled to downtown Steamboat to the Cottonwood Grill for some pacific rim cuisine. I had the halibut and Josh had the duck. It was just nice to relax amongst family. My only regret was that I wish the wedding had been sooner so we could have had more time to visit after dinner. After cake it was getting pretty late so the evening seemed to end really quickly for us. Once the reception was over Josh and I went back to our amazing honeymoon home where we opened our gifts and and read our cards together. It was so nice. The place we stayed at was this really cool tri-level home that would be a great place to take a huge family for vacation. It was nestled in the mountains near the ski slopes with a hot tub on the deck and gorgeous sunset views. We had a good time inviting family that was still in town over to play games, visit, and eat pizza. We were sad to go back home to Florida, but Josh was ready to dive back into his cases at work. Just two months later we found out we were expecting Hayden and now we're getting ready to have our second baby!
You have reached the Josh, Lea, Hayden, and Ava Neally webpage. Josh and Lea were married on August 5th, 2006 in Steamboat Springs, CO and have welcomed a baby boy into the family, Hayden Louis on 6/5/07 and a baby girl, Ava Elizabeth on 8/15/08. The Neallys reside in Missouri where Josh is an attorney for Summerwinds Resort Services. Lea is a stay-at-home mom and plans to be until all their little ones are older. They hope you enjoy reading about their family.