I started on my back and pushed through every contraction for about 30 minutes. I still wasn’t making much progress, so we moved to my right side with the peanut ball between my legs. When a contraction came on, they’d take the ball away and make me push. The epidural was completely useless by this point and I found this position uncomfortable and painful. After about 25 minutes, we moved to my left side and did the same thing. Again, it didn’t seem to be doing much, except for making me more and more miserable. Obviously, the contractions were getting more intense as we went on and I was getting completely exhausted. I was sweating profusely. The nurse changed my gown because I had completely drenched the one I was wearing. I was so sweaty even the tape holding my IV and epidural in wouldn’t stay on. They had an anesthesiologist (my third one now) come in and give me another kind of pain medicine through my IV, but like everything before it, it wasn't doing anything for me.
They sat me up again, this time with the back of the bed almost all of the way up and my legs below me – almost like sitting in a chair. I sat like that for what felt like forever. I was in so much pain I had completely checked out. It was beyond my control, I just couldn’t seem to focus on anything. I could hardly open my eyes, and when I did I could only stare in a haze at the wall ahead of me. I couldn’t see anyone’s faces, and could hear their voices but not muster the strength to respond. I remembering being afraid they were going to tell me I wasn’t progressing enough and they were going to have to do a C-section, but my nurse kept telling me to push and we’d see how things were looking “in a little while.” She knew I was in a lot of pain so she went to talk to the doctor about some sort of relief. She came back and said that the doctor agreed to doing a spinal block. She checked me while we waited for yet another anesthesiologist and discovered that the baby was crowning.We didn’t have time for more medicine.
Everything that followed was even more of a blur. Everything moved so quickly. The lights all came on. More people filled the room. They started taking the bed apart and putting it into position to deliver. Meanwhile, I sat there groaning in pain and pushing—almost involuntarily—through every brutal contraction. Finally, the doctor and her resident arrived and the real pushing started. I could feel him crowning. I remember screaming and saying I couldn’t do it, but Sean, the nurses and doctors kept pushing me on.
“Kristin, he’s coming. I can see him. He’s right there. You’re almost there!” I could hear Sean saying. Hearing his encouragement and sensing the excitement in his voice gave me the final strength I needed. I gave 2 more hard pushes, screaming through them, and suddenly felt a whoosh of relief. I looked down and saw the doctor holding our baby.
“11:50 a.m.!” our nurse Liz announced.
I was so exhausted and still in a bit of shock. They put Jackson on my chest and I started crying. I looked up at Sean and he was crying, too. I just kept saying, “he’s here, Sean. Oh my God, he’s here.” Sean was taking pictures and videos and we were soaking in this little boy who in an instant became ours.
The doctors finished stitching me up and eventually they took Jackson to weigh him and get his measurements. He was 8 pounds and 11 ounces and was 21 inches long. They quickly returned him to me and a nurse helped me as I tried to breastfeed him for the first time. Sean and I just sat and stared at him. We couldn’t believe he was finally here. Around 1:00 Sean went to the waiting room to find our families. He returned with my mom, sister and his mom who came in and met our little man!
We all hung out in the labor and delivery room for a while, and around 2:00 the nurses came back to prepare us to move to our recovery room. They had our family take our things down to our new room. They put me in a wheelchair with Jackson in my arms and wheeled me down the hall. We were soon in our new room, ready to get some rest (hah!) and start our lives as a family of three!