The pushing phase was not at all how I had expected. I thought it would be... noisier. Instead it was me, Kyle, and our soft spoken and amazing nurse, Betsy. My parents hid quietly in the corner by my head to take pictures but I totally forgot they were even there. Betsy made me relaxed and focused because she was so soft spoken and calm. She was just what I needed.
Thanks to the epidural, my right leg was totally dead. Kyle was enlisted to hold it up for me so he got a front row seat whether he was ready for it or not. Betsy had a hold of the other leg, which I could still move to some degree. Betsy instructed me in the method of pushing and for the next 45 minutes I pushed along with the contractions. It was quiet and everything was so calm and peaceful.
Pushing was hard work but the 45 minutes went by fast and soon it was time to call the doctor in. Avery's head was coming close and Kyle could see her hair. I could see that he was really excited and seeing him so happy made me even happier. The doctor praised me for my expert pushing abilities. It's funny that when you're pregnant, comments from doctors like "You have a great cervix" and "You're a great pusher" are the best compliments in the world. (Later, they just sound kind of weird)
It all happened so fast: first her head was out and I could see elation in Kyle's face. Another push and Avery was here. It was 10:35 AM and I vaguely remember hearing the doctor talk Kyle through cutting the umbilical cord. Avery was immediately placed on my chest and Kyle and I admired her for the first time. I couldn't believe she was finally here!
Her little hands grasped our fingers and she tried to open her dark baby eyes. Her top lip stuck out over her bottom lip and we joke now that she looked like a little fish. We were surprised she had a lot of brown hair and noticed how long her hands and feet were for being such a tiny newborn. She must have been born hungry because she immediately tried to eat everything near her face: her hands, our hands, my hospital gown, my chest...
They told me whenever I was ready, they would take her back and weigh her but I didn't ever want to let her go. I eventually gave in. She weighed 6 lbs. 8 oz. and was 19 inches long.