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Taking her sweet time: The birth of Avery Nicole Epidural

Taking her sweet time: The birth of Avery Nicole

"Then my little lady gave me couple of big kicks, which of course only I saw, and I knew that this was only temporary, and I would meet my little angel very soon."

At my 41-week appointment, three days past my due date, hearing the words “Do you want to have a baby today?” not only caused my heart to race but my mind as well. Have a baby today? Of course I was ready, wasn’t I? It was all I had thought about for more than a year now. We had read all the books, bought all the best products and even wrote in a journal to our little girl every week.

But that glaring question snapped everything into reality. I was going to be a mother! Someone would call me “mom.” That three-letter word felt so foreign on my tongue but made my heart hurt with adulation. I couldn’t wait another second to meet our angel.

Without hesitation I yelled, “Um, yes!” to which the doctors all laughed. I knew that I had prepared the best I could but would learn so much more, and I couldn’t wait for that.

After months of preparation and enjoying a fairly smooth pregnancy, my due date of September 21 arrived and then passed. Despite my halfhearted attempt at bouncing on my yoga ball and eating spicy food, my little one was having too much fun kicking me from the inside to bother making her debut. She fooled us by being “in position” since about week 32. And by 36 weeks, she was as low as she could be without being out.

I had developed a waddle in my walk and appeared to be smuggling a watermelon under my blouse. I began enduring those tricky Braxton Hicks contractions, but as that elusive date crept closer, the doctor told me (to my disappointment) that I was only barely 3 centimeters dilated. I was getting antsy to meet her! I am a very impatient person, but I was somehow placated by the fact that she would come when she was ready.

17-179B0115Back to my 41-week appointment—so, I was three days overdue with the looming possibility of holding my daughter—daughter—that word is going to take a while to get used to. My blood pressure had risen to a higher than normal number, so my doctor wanted to monitor it alongside our baby’s heartbeat. My husband and I were sent over to the maternity floor; my OB/GYN office is at the hospital where we were delivering. We were monitored, and she stayed nice and strong while my blood pressure decreased slightly. She still wasn’t ready to join us in the outside world.

We decided after consulting with the doctors to go ahead and be induced. I was dressed in the gown, settled in the hospital bed and hooked up to all the monitors already. I would probably be induced in the next couple days anyway as my doctor wasn’t going to let me go past 41 weeks. Also, they didn’t want to send me home because my blood pressure had risen. The big moment was almost here!

I was already having natural contractions, but they gave me Pitocin to kick them into gear. I became slightly more dilated and started having more contractions. A couple hours later they broke my water. My pain went from a two to a nine (on a scale of 1-10) in a few seconds flat! I wanted to go all natural for as long as I could. I lasted about five hours and decided it was epidural time. I learned that I had a narrow spine—45 minutes and two sticks later, the epidural was finally in place.

Then my contractions seemed to come hard and fast—talk about an adverse effect. I gripped my husband’s hand as I tried to remember my meditation breathing techniques. He tried taking my mind off the labor pains by talking and joking with me—got to love him. The anesthesiologist added a narcotic to my epidural, causing it to work very well—a little too well. All of a sudden, I couldn’t feel anything at all. I tried coughing but didn’t know if I actually was. I wasn’t too sure how I liked being on the opposite end of the spectrum of the contraction pain.

photo-2-2The next few hours I dozed in and out of sleep. Between my bladder being emptied by two young nurses and being checked to see how dilated I was, all modesty became nonexistent. Sometime around 3 a.m., I began to shake so much that I became concerned my nerves were literally shot. Turns out hormones really do a number on your system. Also, it had seemed I spiked a temperature. The nurse administered Ibuprofen, which brought it down. A couple hours later, I was exhausted from being hungry and being turned from side to side to sleeping straight up to round out my cervix. At one point, I started to feel anxious from being so intensely numb that I tried to remember what those contractions felt like and wondered if the epidural was worth it. Then my little lady gave me couple of big kicks, which of course only I saw, and I knew that this was only temporary, and I would meet my little angel very soon.

My temperature spiked again, but this time the baby’s heartbeat increased. I laid there with an oxygen mask trying not to panic. At this time my husband woke up from his nap and became concerned. We comforted each other in our weary state. Everything was fine just a few mere moments later. Then the nurse checked me, and I was 9.5 centimeters dilated! I was so excited but that completely faded because apparently Avery was not ready to come out just yet. Finally, two hours after that, it was time to push!

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I asked them to turn off my epidural as I started pushing. My biggest worry seemed true. The epidural had worked too well, and it seemed I couldn’t push as well as I should have. Not that it felt better to feel everything, but in a way it did. My body could do what it needed so my baby would arrive safely. At the hospital where I was delivering, they offered to bring out a half-length mirror. I was hesitant at first, but was curious to see the view everyone else had been checking out for hours. So here I was, spread eagle under two of the biggest spotlights I had ever seen, the doctor and two nurses counting and my husband cheering me on. Out of context before and after the situation, it sounds and seems odd, but in context, I was completely as ease (this coming from a very private person).

Slowly my epidural started to fade, and I could push with each contraction. I couldn’t have asked for a better cheerleading squad. In between each contraction, we just laughed and joked. By using the mirror I could see my little one’s head start to appear, which was all I needed to remind me of the goal when I felt tired. After two hours she finally crowned. It was amazing how quickly my room was transformed from a comfortable bed, a computer and a couch into a surgery room. Staff and utensils and cloths appeared out of nowhere. Everything else happened so fast. The team was incredible!

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I gave one huge push, was told to stop and then pushed with everything I had. Next thing I knew, I heard the most beautiful sound of my baby girl taking her first breath. I immediately gushed with tears as the doctor held up this little body that was emitting so much sound. Avery was immediately placed on my chest, covered in goop and all. I couldn’t get her in my arms fast enough. The only thing I remember is staring at this little being on my chest while the rest of the world faded around me. I whispered, “Hi,” and welcomed this incredible little person into the world.

My husband cut the umbilical cord; the doctors delivered the placenta and cleaned me up. That was all a blur. My husband came around to the head of the bed and kissed me. As I looked up at him, I noticed his eyes brimmed with tears. It was a beautiful moment filled with so much pure joy and happiness and a love that is the deepest bond between two people. We both just stared at this precious girl crying in my arms. When we spoke to her, she immediately quieted and stared at us, then glanced around the room taking it all in.

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It was at that moment, I noticed her huge, light-blue eyes. Holding my husband’s hand while staring into her miraculous eyes and beautiful face, I had never felt more at peace. The next couple hours were the some of the best of my life. It was just my daughter, my husband and me. We relished and soaked in the new feeling of parenthood. We admired all her little toes, perfect lips and loads of hair. My heart was bursting at the seams with love and just how complete I felt. Avery Nicole Kleingers had certainly taken her time but, boy, was the wait worth every second. Who knew such a miracle and such love came in a tiny 7 pound, 15 ounce package?

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Send us your birth story! Whether you had a home birth, hospital birth, 37-hour labor or emergency C-section, we’d love to read the tale of your little one’s grand entrance. Write up your birth story (click here for tips on getting started) and email it, along with a few photos, to birthstory@pnmag.com. We’ll share it on our Birth Day blog and may even print it in an upcoming issue!