Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Midwife Hannah's legacy

Jenni, Maiya and Bubbe Fran at birth

When Maiya was born on her due date February 1, we were so lucky that Tony's mom was able to be at the birth. Fran flew down from Idaho on the morning of January 31st, not knowing until we called her frantically at the airport, that my water had broken that morning. She timed her arrival perfectly, I'm sure it was based on her many years of experience as a certified nurse midwife.

She came with us to the hospital, helped us get settled in, monitoring my contractions, walking with us for 3 1/2 hours, keeping me comfortable, reading mantras over and over, and generally keeping everyone calm. Whenever the hospital staff would come in and tell us something, or tell us nothing, we would look to her to confirm or give better explanations in helping us decide how to proceed. She knew that we wanted to have a natural childbirth. She promised me (or maybe she was just estimating to make me feel better) that I would have the baby on February 1st (as opposed to February 2nd), which was a relief to me, as I was in labor for what was seeming like an eternity (37 hours in total, about 20 hours of hard labor). We couldn't have been in more capable hands.

Maiya with Bubbe Fran, 1 day old

When Maiya gets a little older, we will tell her about what a special gift it was that her Grandma Fran was there to help bring her into the world. She will learn about her Japanese American heritage, and she will also learn that not only is her Grandma Fran a midwife, but her great, great, great, great aunt Hannah Sandusky was also a midwife.

Hannah was born in Lithuania in 1827 and came to Pittsburgh in 1861. She delivered 3,571 registered births before passing away in 1913. She was Maiya's Grandma Fran's Grandpa Leon's aunt, and was the birth attendant for her great-grandmother Fannie (AKA Freya) Davis (AKA Davison or bed David) when Fran's Grandfather Benjamin Davis was born in 1874. (I think I got that right).

Here is a link to the Jewish Women's Archive which documents Great great great great aunt Hannah's story.


Monica said...

Hi Jenni, Tony & Maiya!
What a beautiful family history!
Maiya is growing so quickly, two teeth- wow!

Jenni said...

Thanks Monica!