Guest blogger: Emin Gabriel DerHartunian

by meleeneh on May 10, 2017

Saturday, April 29 started like this: Mihran (my older brother) told my parents that he needed to talk to me to tell me that I needed to come home today. My parents chuckled and said, “Mihran, Aper (little brother) needs to grow a little more in Mama’s belly. He’ll be home soon.” But my brother was insistent (as any 2.5+ year old is), “No, he needs to come home today.” And like a good little brother, I listened and obeyed. 🙂

After putting Mihran for his afternoon nap, Papa went to Home Depot while Mama remained home. Mama started to notice some leaking fluid while she was in the bathroom. After speaking to her acupuncturist and her doctor, she was advised to come into the hospital. Mama was convinced that she was not in labor because her experience with her water breaking with Mihran was a very sudden gush of fluid, in addition to feeling strong contractions. This, on the other hand, was small amounts of fluid leaking and no pain from contractions. The doctor told her that with a second baby, it is a whole different ball game. Thus, Mama called Papa and told him he should make his way home sooner rather than later. She tried to reach Mamik, who was at Hillsdale Mall, to see if she could come stay with Mihran while they went to the hospital. Mama had barely finished packing her hospital bag only the day before, and along with my car seat and birth ball in hand, Mama and Papa headed to Mills-Peninsula Hospital as soon as Mamik arrived at the house. Mihran had just woken up from his nap and was a bit confused by the circumstances. Before falling asleep, Mama and Papa had promised him that he was going to visit Nicole and Nina, but now plans had changed, and he was disappointed to miss out on his play date. This was around 4PM.

The nurse that checked in Mama was named Alicia, and both Mama and Alicia quickly realized that they were high school classmates! Alicia confirmed that Mama’s water had released and that she was having contractions, of which she felt none! Dr. Fletcher, the doctor on call, advised my parents that if labor did not progress within 12 hours, Mama would have to be induced in order to prevent potential introduction of infection or other complications. Her deadline was 4AM. Additionally, there was a possibility of meconium in the amniotic fluid; therefore, it was important that I be admitted and monitored. When checking her in, Alicia made sure that Mama got a hospital room with a tub and the best view- how sweet! Unlike what my parents had expected and what happened with labor with Mihran, they would not be able to labor at home this time around.

Mama made it her mission to avoid induction and to start the labor on its own, so after being officially admitted into the hospital, she and Papa started walking laps around the Family Birth Center, passing the same nurses’ station and the same family waiting in the Waiting Room (enjoying a giant size of Kentucky Fried Chicken dinner) several times. The contractions began on their own without intervention around 10PM, and became more and more evident and prevalent in a short amount of time. The timing between contractions decreased as the labor was rapidly progressing. The contractions were coupled with nausea, but having experienced the same thing during labor with Mihran, my parents had come prepared with citrus essential oil and a diffuser to combat it. Mama was also armed with her birth ball, headphones, iPOD, and eye mask to allow her to concentrate and connect her mind and body without the distractions of the beeps and commotion of the hospital room.

Our Stork and Sprout doula, Laura, joined us around 3AM to help Mama with her contractions and labor. Mama was 6 cm dilated and experiencing intense back labor (similar to what she experienced with my brother Mihran and what she describes as having your back ripped open and hot acid poured on it) and opted for an epidural in order to preserve her already injured and weak back. With no sleep since the day before, she continued to labor for several hours through the early morning. Throughout the process, the nurses thought that her contractions had slowed down, in which case they wanted to prescribe pitossin to progress the labor quickly. She advocated for herself and reassured the nurses that she was, in fact, having contractions, and with the help of Laura, repositioned the monitors to better detect the contraction activity. Also, I preferred only one position, Mama lying on her left side. If she changed positions, I was less of a happy camper, so she remained side lying for the rest of the labor and even pushed that way as well.

Hours passed and with several changes in nurses (it was Vanessa at this point), I had traveled down the birth canal to 10 cm dilation. Mama began to push with the support of an incredible girl-power labor team, and within 30 minutes, I was making my first appearance. Papa’s first reaction as my head had crowned was the sound of glee and the words, “Oh my God, he has so much hair!” The nurses agreed. Dr. Divanji soon joined the festivities in order to see me through the rest of the birth. She allowed my Mama to feel me as I was coming out, and Mama’s reaction, too, was, “He’s so fuzzy.” Finally, Dr. Divanji pulled me out and Papa cut my cord. I had arrived at 10:16 AM on April 30, 2017 (1.5 weeks before my due date).

We spent the rest of the morning and day having major skin-t0-skin time and bonding. The pediatrician said I was doing well and my Mama was in the recovery process. My favorite part of the day was meeting my older brother. At first, he kept looking between Mama’s belly and me and wondering how I got out of the belly and whether or not there was a baby still in there. He was so excited and giggled as he asked question after question about me and how I got to the hospital. He was fascinated and very cautious. I had bought him a stuffed animal of his favorite Paw Patrol character, Rocky, and several new books, his favorite. He also gifted me a turtle toy. How sweet!

Because this was the second child for my parents, it was a vaginal delivery, and both the pediatrician and OB signed off on it, we were able to go home one day early so we could reunited with my brother. Since then, we have been learning how to operate as a family of four, to manage new sleep and eating patterns, and to hopefully establish a “new normal,” though we are all aware it takes time to do so. Thus, we are enjoying the journey and accepting any and all help we can get. 😉

Finally, Emin Gabriel, my name. In Armenian, Emin is pronounced Eh-meen, and Gabriel is pronounced Gaw-bree-yel. Emin means safe and trustworthy, and Gabriel means God is powerful or to have strength and is also the name of God’s messenger angel in the Bible. My parents decided to name me once they met me in person at the hospital. They had various criteria they had wanted to follow, and both names fulfilled their wishes. Simply put, they loved the names and their significance. Most importantly, Emin was Mihran’s top choice (runners up were Francia [France] and Tonatsar [Christmas Tree]). Thus, I start and end my blog with a story about how my Metz Aper (big brother), having never met me in person, has already made some key decisions on my behalf that will forever impact my life and the life of my family, first, the date of my arrival and second, my name. I’m one lucky little Aper (brother)! <3

Mama_Emin Big bro_Nini_Emin Baby_feet Papa_EminAfter_birth  Emin





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Happy Christmas and New Year!
December 21, 2017 at 9:13 pm

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

meleeneh May 24, 2017 at 9:07 pm

From Janet Shahkarami:
Welcome to the world baby EMIN!
What a wonderful job accomplished with your mama Meleeneh!

We wish you all the best in life.
May God always keep an eye on you like he does with the angel Gabriel!
կանաչ ճանապարհ ,առողջ ու ուրախ կեանք բոլոր ձեր ընտանիքի անդամների հետ միասին։
Բարի զավակներ լինէք և ապեր Միհրանը և դու միշտ ամենալավ եղբայրներ լինէք։
ամենայն բարիք ձեզ բոլորիդ
մենք ձեզ շատ սիրում ենք
Ժանէթ, Անդրանիկ Շահքարամի և ընտանիք

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