Well, as you might have guessed, the third dose of epidural medicine did not work, and at this point, I was in excruciating pain. I was also terrified that they were going to have to redo my epidural and I hit a low point in the day. It was about 12 o'clock and all of our families had left to go grab lunch. I remember being curled up in the fetal position and crying, both out of fear and pain. The nurse had already called for the anesthesiologist to come back in to figure out our next step, so we were just waiting. Well, we wound up waiting for over an hour, as there was some type of emergency on the floor that required all of the anesthesiologists' attention. That was the longest hour of my life.
Eventually, the original anesthesiologist (who was initially very rude) came back and was much more attentive and caring this time around. He said we had one more option before redoing the whole epidural. He would try to adjust it and reposition it first, which sometimes would fix the problem. He adjusted it by a couple of centimeters and all of the sudden, all of my pain was gone. Hallelujah! I have never felt such relief in my life. I spent the next couple of hours trying to get some rest and updating my friends and family on my progress via text.
At 3 o'clock, the nurse came back in to check me again. At 10:00 that morning, I had been about 3 cm dilated, so the nurse was hoping that I would be to " a 4 or 5" by this point. So, imagine my shock when I was at an 8! The nurse told me she would go ahead and alert my doctor so he would be ready and that we would start pushing around 4:00. Michael and I were super excited since we knew that we were getting so close to "go time," as we called it. He went to the waiting room to tell everyone:
My parents came into the room one last time to give us their well wishes and after that, the nurse started prepping the room. I will say that it is nothing like you see in the movies. There is no sheet covering you from the waist down, and the doctor doesn't even come into the room until the baby is almost out.
At about 4:10, the nurse finished up all of the preparations and started instructing me on how to push. Then, she turned to Michael and asked him if he was ready, too. All along, we had planned on him "not looking" down there during the delivery, but at this point it was pretty clear that it would be unavoidable. The husband takes an active role in the birthing process, as the nurse holds one leg and the husband holds the other one during each contraction. She had me do one set of practice pushes and then we got started.
Both the nurse and the doctor mentioned several times that Emerson was very low in the birth canal already and that they thought it would just take a few pushes to get her out. Well, they were right, because at 4:42 p.m., just 30 minutes after starting pushing, she was born!
Emerson Avery was 6 pounds, 5 ounces and 19 inches long. She came out with the cord around her neck, so it took her a second before she started crying, but she eventually did and the doctor quickly put her on my stomach.
I have never felt such an overwhelming sense of joy and love in my entire life. It used to bother me when people would say that you never truly know love until you have a child, but now I understand. It was immediately the most pure, unconditional, consuming love. I am not one that cries a lot, but I found myself sobbing the minute they laid her on my chest. I remember looking over at Michael and seeing tears roll down his cheek, too (the first time I've seen that in seven years together), and just feeling indescribable joy.
They left her with me and Michael for about fifteen minutes, so I was able to (clumsily) nurse her for the first time, and then they took her over to the scale (which was also in our room) to get her measurements and clean her up. Michael followed them around the room, taking photos and video of everything they were doing while the doctor stitched me up. I wound up having an episiotomy, which I was very upset about at first, but looking back, I do think it made recovery much easier, as my doctor told me that I would have torn and had a worse time had he let that happen.
About an hour after she was born, Michael finally went to the waiting room to announce her arrival and invite everyone in to meet her. She was passed around to my parents, Michael's parents, Michael's sister and my grandparents while everyone took lots of pictures. Our first family photo:
The rest of the evening and night were a blur of visitors, food (finally!), and taking turns loving on and cuddling Emmie. After delivery, I was unbelievably thirsty and hungry, so as soon as I was allowed, I downed two coconut waters and a Larabar, and eventually, my sister-in-law went to my favorite Mexican restaurant to pick us up some dinner.
Eventually, the visitors trickled out, leaving just me, Michael and Emmie, our new family, all exhausted and happy. And that's where her birthday and birth story end. And the rest of our story begins. :)