Introducing the newest addition to the blogosphere:
Lea Paxton Eble-Schrader
6 lbs. 7.6 ounces, 19.75 inches
January 31, 2009, 8:23am
39 Weeks Gestation!!!
After a long day and night of regular contractions, Sharon finally began to feel some significant pain (she has an acutely high threshold for this, which did her well in subsequent hours) at about 2am. We woke up Grammy (Sharon's mom) who had come in from the Jersey Shore earlier in the day and had her switch places with us in the futon (where we practice a significant amount of attachment parenting by co-sleeping with Hallie) and we called ourselves a cab, whose arrival was amazingly fast. On the way to the hospital, we called Aunt Laura, who jumped out of bed, into the car, and managed (thank goodness) to arrive safely in Philly by four am (without having stopped for coffee on the way...do not try this at home, folks!).
Laura got there in time to help us pace the halls of Pennsylvania Hospital for a couple of hours. By six am, the contractions were more intense and coming one to two minutes apart and our room in Labor and Delivery was ready (we managed to score the newly-renovated birthing suite, but did not have time to enjoy its amenities). Things happened very quickly from there on out. By seven am, Sharon began to transition into hard labor and by a quarter or a half an hour later, she went from six to ten centimeters dilated in a matter of seconds. We remain ever grateful to her nurse for recognizing this and re-checking Sharon herself after the resident toodled off, assuming we still had a lot of time, to do something else. At that point, Sharon's water had broken, but no one but Sharon had evidence of this, and things began in earnest. And less than an hour later, Lea made her debut.
The irony of the whole event? At six centimeters, and operating under the assumption that the resident was correct in her assessment that we still had a ways to go, Sharon called for an epidural. But anesthesia was held up with a C-Section. Lea did not receive the memo, though, and decided to come before the epidural. Thus, Sharon had a natural childbirth, without any drugs at all. Until after the delivery, that is. It turns out that the pushing was so intense that Sharon needed a spinal block AFTER Lea was delivered so that they could patch her up (and not cause her excruciating pain to intensify even further).
Anyway, all of that was well worth this:
I am also happy to report that Lea, living up to the acronym G.E., which not only stands for Great Expectation but also Great Eater, came out hungry and ready to nurse. She was rooting and smacking her lips very loudly while I held her in L&D as they finished sewing up Sharon's tears. Lea was relieved to nurse for the first time and we were thrilled that Sharon's milk had already become to come in (truth be told, Sharon's milk has been coming in for weeks now and its flow had intensified over the past three days when all of the pre-labor hormone changes began to kick in). Thus, I have little doubt that little Lea has taken in more milk today than did big sister Hallie who set some sort of record today by drinking fewer than four ounces, total, of goat milk.
Before I go, a few more pictures of our little girl with some of the important people in her life:
Here's a picture of Aunt Laura holding Lea. None of this would have been possible without Aunt Laura's assistance in the delivery room and inspiration more generally. We are all so grateful for your presence there and are sorry that we needed to wake you in the middle of the night!
And here's a shot of Grammy holding Lea. In the background is Dr. Abbasi, one of the neonatalogists from the ICN/CHOP who took care of our twins and who always encouraged us to have another baby. Her motto: if one mommy is good, then two mommies are better. Thank you Soraya! We are so happy that it was you who had the opportunity to assess Lea today after she was born.
Grammy's role in all of this was really significant. She dropped everything to come down and take care of Hallie for us and make this event possible.
In the same vein, we are grateful for Sheila and Brett, who came over today and relieved Ami (who made it possible for Grammy to get to the hospital to meet Lea sooner rather than later). We could not have done it without them, since they not only hung out with Hal, but were also the prime movers of our furniture and de-clutterers of our mess.
And, here's a picture of your's truly with her little girl. I don't look great after an evening of labor coaching, but I'm glad that I managed to stay upright for the whole thing, help Sharon through it (even if I did have the tendency to continue grasping her leg AFTER a contraction was over and while she was trying to relax...hey, at least I didn't break it...and only managed to burst into tears once during the whole process:
Finally, I want to thank all of our friends, virtual and real, who have supported us through this pregnancy. It was no easy matter to decide that we were brave or crazy enough to do this again. We were inspired by the many micropreemie moms (you know who you are) who carried their subsequent pregnancies a lot longer than their micropreemie ones and whose strategies for coping with things (psychologically, perinatalogically, etc) were so important to us. We are thrilled to have everyone out there rooting for our family, offering to drop everything to come lend a hand, and just being there with us on this journey.