There were a lot of people in the room during my active labor and delivery. Each member of the NICU team had a shadow for the day, so I felt even more pressure to deliver Ailey. I was also annoyed with the side conversations going on while I had my legs in stirrups and grunted out in pain.
My nurse and Doctor were amazing birth coaches. Through every push, my nurse encouraged me that I was doing amazing. At the end of every push, my doctor told me how to correct myself or that what I did was exactly right. Dr. E was so calm and collected that it made me feel calm too. Brandon was a good birthing coach too – for the most part. I could feel how tense and anxious he was as he held my leg. More than a few times I had to yell at him to grip my leg better… poor guy.
Knowing that if I did not deliver Ailey soon they may have to medically stop my labor, I tried to focus so intently on pushing her out. With each contraction, I bore down, pushed, and silently prayed that she would come out okay. Dr. E said he could see her head, but that she was still sideways. There was nothing we could do at this point, though. She would have to come out sideways and face up. Understandably, this could be painful or dangerous- but Dr. E reassured me it would be okay in the end.
On top of the fact that my girl didn’t want to come out like a normal baby, I also had the NICU staring me down. There were a few times I almost told them all to leave the room. Do you know how distracting it is to have side conversations and giggles going on within earshot while your trying to push a watermelon out when you can’t feel anything?
I pushed for almost 45 minutes before Dr. E said she was almost out. At that point, I didn’t know if I could do it anymore. My head hurt, my chest hurt, my arms hurt from holding my thighs. I pushed three times – with everything left of me – yelling and screaming my head off – and then I heard a baby cry. The most wonderful sound anyone could hear after 9 hours of labor.
Sobs erupted from my chest as they laid her on my stomach. The amount of relief, joy, and emotion I felt was unreal. I could see Brandon looking at me and Ailey with love and adoration. As we kissed her head, over and over again, I felt a tiny hand wrap itself around my finger. Ailey grabbed on so tight, silenting saying, “Thank you, Momma. I’m finally here and it’s all okay.”
In the blink of an eye, the NICU whisked Ailey away to assess her for meconium aspiration. I wasn’t able to try to nurse her or have skin to skin time I had hoped for. While my doctor delivered my placenta and sewed up my 2nd degree tear, he tried to distract me with conversations about Saved By The Bell on Netflix (hah). He did a good job keeping my mind off of the fact there were what seemed like 20 women flitting about my baby.
Weighing 7lbs 12 ounces and measuring 21.5 inches long, Ailey was perfect. When they finally brought her to me, I didn’t want to let her go. But, my Mom, inlaws, and Annabelle were waiting outside in the family room to come in and meet Ailey. Brandon went out to get Annabelle first…