Waiting the 45 minutes for the epi (while they got fluid in me and called the anesthesiologist) was the worst - contractions were coming hard and fast and I was ready for relief. When the guy came in I don't even really remember him or the process - he was quick! Side note - Tyge said he was the exact twin of "The Most Interesting Man In The World" from the Dos Equis commercials:
I did have two contractions while trying to sit still during while he worked, and Tyge and midwife Mary literally had to help hold me still. Good news was I didn't even feel the needle compared to those!
I got settled in bed as the meds started to work and was so happy to feel relief soon. I got the shakes a bit but they covered me with warming blankets and I was able to lie down for some glorious rest. We turned the lights off, Tyge went out to Chipotle to get something to eat, and I closed my eyes. I didn't sleep but it felt so good to rest my body and mind before pushing. It was the first time I'd smiled since realizing I was in labor early that morning!
Mary checked me about an hour later and happily told me I was at a 10!!! I had dilated from a 5 to a 10 in an hour! She also explained that baby's head was turned a bit and my pre-epi my tense body wasn't able to relax enough to correct it and dilate fully, so once I got the epi and my body relaxed, the head fixed itself and I dilated quickly. She said I could take a little more time to lay and let baby labor down, then around 9:30 PM it was time to push. I was feeling much more rested and excited at this point to meet baby soon! The epi was a perfect amount - I could still feel and move my legs and bottom, and could also feel the contractions as they came, just more as pressure not pain.
I had Tyge set Pandora to a Black Eyed Peas station and had some upbeat music to begin pushing with. Midwife Mary helped me figure out how and we got into a good rhythm. I could feel most contractions so knew when to push, and she would help guide me with how long or hard to push each time. An hour into pushing, they got the baby warmer ready and started her paperwork for a birth date of 8/29, thinking she'd come before midnight. Baby's heart rate dropped a bit low at one point, but it wasn't too concerning. We continued pushing and I really didn't have any concept of how long it had been. My support team of midwife Mary, doula Mary, nurse Cindy, and especially Tyge were all so encouraging and helpful. They would cheer me on with each push and gave me progress updates. Close to two hours in I started to get really tired and wondered if she'd ever come out! I had asked Tyge to change the music to Hillsong as I wanted a more peaceful setting than the pumped one I had been feeling hours ago. I had my eye on the clock in the room and as we neared midnight, realized she wouldn't be born on 8/29!
I knew we were getting close and when she was crowning, Mary looked at Tyge and asked, "Do you want to catch baby?" Tyge looked shocked and responded with, "I need to wash my hands first!" She said he'd better do it quick as baby was coming on the next push. He made it back in time and sure enough, on the next push the head came out. I looked up and exclaimed, "It's huge!" and everyone laughed! The rest happened so fast but the moment is forever etched in my brain. Baby came out next and Daddy caught her and said, "Girl, girl, it's a girl!" She let out a huge healthy cry and I remember saying her name, Aven Hope, and getting a little teary. Our awesome doula got the entire thing on video, which is obviously just for us, but here are some clips of Tyge's reaction:
Proud, happy Daddy
They placed her on my chest right away and since she was still connected her back was to me, but I could tell she was beautiful.
After Tyge cut the cord, we got some good skin to skin time right away and she nursed well from the start. We were able to bond for as long as I wanted before they took her away to be cleaned and checked out.
Our new family of three!
So it was a 21 hour labor (16 of it without meds) and 2 1/2 hours of pushing, but I'd do it all again tomorrow. It truly was an incredible birth experience and I would not have changed a thing about it. I am glad I was able to experience so much of it naturally, and I'm also glad I made the decision to get the epidural when I did so I could somewhat enjoy the rest of labor and be more rested and "myself" when she finally arrived. The end goal of healthy mom, healthy baby was achieved - praise God!