Avery's Birth Story

You all know how this birth story begins, panicked at 5:00am in the hospital because Avery had stopped moving (you know, until the moment my lovely nurse went to put the monitor around my stomach, of course). I was happy to find that my contractions were finally getting stronger and more regular throughout the day and for once I was not hesitant to call Rob to come home from work and have my mom come pick up Lucas, because glory of all glories, this thing was finally happening. I couldn't focus much on anything that needed to be done around the house, and had zero urge for last minute nesting. I mostly sat on the couch with the dog, eating bowl after bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch until help arrived.
We landed back in the hospital around 5:00pm, incredibly excited to find that I was now 5cm dilated. But there was a major problem. My contractions had stopped. I mean stopped. There were little flutters that you could barely call contractions about 10-15 minutes apart. We walked laps around Labor and Delivery for an hour, spending lots of time gawking at the single newborn in the nursery, until the nurse ushered us back into the room and hooked me up to monitors again. Regular contractions! Then a few minutes passed and we were back where we started. Nothing. Zilch. Zip. Nada.

The nurse left us again, and I started crying, because I was sure they were going to send me home. Again. Then my nurse from the 5:00am freakout came in. That nurse, Jen, was an angel. Instead of shaking her head in disappointment at my lack of regular contractions, she checked my dilation again, proclaimed me at 6cm and told me we weren't going anywhere. She offered me the pitocin I so desperately wanted to get things moving and we were on our way to having a baby at last.
When the contractions started to get really painful, I hesitantly agreed to an epidural. After the terrifying experience of my last epidural, I swore I would never go through that again. But thankfully Jen assuaged my fears and finally (for the first time ever) someone explained what had gone wrong with my first epidural (too much medicine too fast plus my highly sensitive system was a recipe for disaster). Our anethesiologist was amazing. He was fast and friendly and totally in control when I started getting woozy after the epidural. He didn't leave until I felt safe. Until I felt in control again.We had a dream team for Avery's birth, and I couldn't be more thankful for them.
Soon I was managing to breathe through my contractions, and it wasn't long until I started feeling the need to push. But stubborn as my babies are want to be, I wasn't quite 100% effaced yet, despite all the pineapple eating earlier in the week. Jen left us to work through this time alone. Rob fell asleep holding my hand, and I focused on uujayi breathing to stop myself from tensing up and squeezing (a technique I had hoped to use during Lucas' birth, before the Demerol made me lose control of all my senses).
The contractions were long and painful and constant, but I felt strong and in control. It was such a sharp contrast to the blurry edged nightmare in the end stages of Lucas' birth. I was working in sync with my body, and the medication was helping rather than hurting. That quiet, painful time was a truly amazing experience - the only time in my life I have felt so attuned to my body. I knew the moment I was ready, and she was ready. Jen and another nurse came in to prepare the room for her arrival. It was time.
"We're having a baby," I said, smiling. Then the next contraction hit and there was no more smiling. Just focus, no more breathing, pushing, counting, everyone telling me I was doing good. Rob tells me he can see her head, that she's so close, "she's got hair." Tearing, screaming, the doctor barely making it into the room, more pushing, counting, bearing down through the pain. Twelve transcendent minutes, and there she was.
They wiped her down haphazardly and laid her on my chest. I said, "Hi, beautiful," and she opened her eyes and looked towards my voice. One look into those eyes, and I was in love. I could have held her there forever, just basking in the glory of the fact that she was alive and mine. She looked for Rob when she heard his voice too, opening those big bright eyes to get a look at her Daddy. She knew us immediately, and being near us calmed her. She ate well, slept soundly and came home with us the next day.
For all that fighting not to come out, she sure was at peace with the world in a hurry. xoxo
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