Friday, March 6, 2009

Eva Mahassen

My baby girl was born last night (March 5) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania at 11:26pm in a natural, drug-free VBAC!

After dropping Ian off at Montessori on Wednesday, I went walking at the mall with another Montessori mom. Just as we were finishing, I got a got that Ian was sick so I went to pick him up early. He had a gastrointestinal thing happening and slept most of the afternoon. I went to the chiropractor for my final planned adjustment at 3:00pm and then I started feeling badly, like I was getting what Ian had. All through the night, I had a kind of crampy feeling and had to go to the bathroom a lot,--every hour. The next day, Ian was better, but I just wanted to lay around. I still had some crampy gastrointestinal feelings and they got worse over the day. My husband decided to come to Erie, PA from DC that night instead of Friday night as planned since I wasn't feeling well and thought something might be happening. He left DC at 4pm for the 7 hour drive to Erie. But, by about 5:45pm, I told my mom that I thought something was happening. She told me to time the "happenings" and they were three minutes apart. We decided to jump in the car and head to Pittsburgh (2 hours away). Unfortunately, my husband did not have a cell phone with him so we couldn't contact him.

I laid in the back of the van on the floor and listened to my Hypnobabies. I called my doula and midwife, but my midwife didn't call back. I called again and the nurses answered because he had left his phone at the hospital, but they said he was on his way to the hospital to pick up his phone. I told them to tell him I was coming.

We arrived at the hospital at 8:45pm or so. I was put in a triage room and checked a little after 9pm and was 8cm dilated! We moved to a Labor and Delivery Room and I labored mostly on my hands and knees. I can't imagine laboring or pushing on my back. My doula applied counterpressure and massage to my back and both she and my midwife offered encouragement through the intense pressure waves. (It is important to note that my back did not hurt, but I needed her touch it was incredibly supportive to be touched). I went to the bathroom and wanted to get in the shower, but my midwife wanted to check me first and then get the baby back on the monitor before I got in the shower. My water broke as he checked me. it was clear and warm and all over the bathroom floor. I was complete.

No time for the shower, we went back to the bed and waited for the pushing urge. I started pushing and don't know how long I pushed for but it wasn't too long and she was born. I did not feel a ring of fire. I did have a second degree tear, but I didn't feel it happen. I did mother-directed pushing and I pushed my placenta out by myself as well, without traction. I cut the baby's cord and then they extracted the cord blood for donation. We do not have anything in our family that would make it likely that we would need it and it is so expensive to store it. Also, it is more likely to get used by being donated. They got a lot so I was happy about that.

Everyone was impressed with how well I handled the pressure waves and that I went drug-free. The Hypnobabies did not make things pain-free, but did help keep me focused, to get through one pressure wave at a time. Everything went perfectly, except that my husband missed the birth, but even that was not necessarily a bad thing because it was so fast. (Maybe next time we'll have a normal birth and he will be there!)

Immediately afterwards I said,"That was it? I could have 10 more babies!"

My mom had three c-sections so this was her first time to see a vaginal birth. I am really glad she was with me and got to see.

Curt got to Erie at 11:00pm and was sent to Pittsburgh by my dad and brother. He arrived at the hospital at 12:50pm, at which point, my mom headed back to Erie to rescue my dad from Ian who bestowed 3 dirty diapers on him in the short time we were gone (finishing up his gastroinestinal issues).

Eva latched well shortly after birth, but slept most of the night. Curt and I just dozed. We ordered breakfast and after I eat, I will wake her and start our breastfeeding journey. She pooped twice over the night and Curt changed both diapers. The hospital is so full that we are still in the labor room and haven't been moved to the recovery floor. It is just as well. Our stuff (almost none of it used) is all over the room. It will be a pain to move!

This was my first labor so I really didn't know what to expect. I thought pressure waves would be a lot more dramatic and a full-belly experience. Everyone says,"you'll know" when you are in labor, but I didn't. It is funny, but Patrick, my midwife, told me on Monday that he always envisioned my labor being quick. I was just hoping to go into labor before March 24 (after the 42 week mark), the day they would induce me if I didn't go in. The other thing that was weird was pushing. I though I'd feel the urge to push in my vagina, but I felt it in my butt. It wasn't even that strong, I've had stronger pushing urges when I am actually pooping.

Anyway, if any of you mamas are far from the hospital and start feeling crampy, gastrointestinal or just weird, might be a good idea to head in and get checked. On the other hand, laboring in a car ensured my drug-free status because I had no other choice.

Eva is pronounced with a long E. This sort of violates my easily pronounceable rule, but most Americans will say it that way and since we are primarily around Americans (except for this wonderful group) it works. Europeans will pronounce it Ava, but that is o.k. Her middle name, Mahassen, is an Arabic name and she is named after a women we met while living in Egypt. She was like a mother to us and was never able to have children of her own. We wanted to give Eva a meaningful middle name and honor our good friend.


wilson said...

Congratulations!! I am so happy for you!!!

Blacktating said...

As I said on Twitter, congrats! I am so happy for you that you got the labor and delivery you wanted. Sounds like everything is going well. I didn't feel the ring of fire either and I also tore and didn't feel it. I guess there was just too much adrenalin pumping at that time.
Anyway, I am looking forward to seeing pictures of little Eva. Is Ian excited?
Congrats again!

Connie said...

Yay!!! Congrats to you all! :-) It sounds like everything went very well. All your hard work has paid off. You got the prize! Welcome to the world little Eva! Hugs and love to you all!!

tanya@motherwearblog said...

Hooray and congratulations! What a wonderful birth story!

Mama Seoul said...

Thanks everyone! Ian hasn't seen her, yet. He is in Erie with the grandparents. We go home tomorrow so we just decided he can meet her then instead of driving him down to Pittsburgh to come to the hospital.

JessinSeoul said...

Great News! I'm so happy for you Karen. I can't wait to meet her.

bryguy said...

That's fantastic, congratulations!

Mama Purls said...

Congrats!!! So happy you had such a good birth. We are still waiting...

J.D. said...

Yay!! Congratulations!! What a great birth story...I never even thought about having a natural birth (I always said "give me drugs!") until I started reading stories like this! People like you really started to make me think :) Thanks!

barefootin said...

Congratulations Karen ~ dreams do come true! You made it your highest intention for this vaginal birth, and how smoothly it seems to have gone for you both! I spent Jay's birth in cat pose myself (back labor) ... you took me back 22 years my friend!
You surround your family in such loving, peaceful energy ... you are such a wonderful Mom ~ you make me want to have another child ~ so we could raise our kids together (however, since mine are now 22 and 19, it will have to wait till our next lifetime perhaps)!!!
Sending you much love and light,

Amynf said...

What a beautiful VBAC story and beautiful baby girl! Congratulations!