Nothing adequately prepared us for the pushing and delivery stage of childbirth. Not the classes we took at the hospital or the chapters we read in What to Expect When You’re Expecting or the videos we watched on our BabyCenter app. It was an equally exhausting and exhilarating experience. And it was, by far, the most challenging — and the most rewarding — thing I’ve ever done.
When Dr. C told me it was time to start pushing, I had no idea that I would be pushing for the next hour. And, over the course of that hour, my epidural wore off, which I believe was actually a good thing because it allowed me to feel the urge to push. With each passing minute, though, the doctor and the nurse told me that I had to push harder. But how could I possibly push any harder? I was exerting every bit of energy that my tired body could muster.
It was not just a physical challenge, but a mental one, as well. And so when Dr. C said, “We have to get this baby out now” — which she may not have actually intended for me to hear — I looked to Nick for encouragement. The nurse started a Pitocin drip to keep the contractions coming in regular intervals, and then I bared down and channeled all of my focus into pushing.
There are truly no words to describe the final moments of childbirth. As baby’s head began to crown, the pain became almost unbearable, but so did the anticipation. The top of baby’s head appeared and then disappeared several times before (finally!) the tiny body followed. Dr. C guided baby into the world and then raised the slippery little human into the air. A BOY! Born at 10:47pm on September 25th, just over an hour before his Daddy’s birthday.
I was sweating and crying, and I only got to feel baby boy on my chest for a brief moment before they whisked him off to the opposite side of the room. I told Nick to please go be with him. Our sweet Samuel Woodford had not cried yet, and so they had to suction some fluid from his mouth. In reality, it was probably less than 30 seconds, but it felt like an eternity before we heard the beautiful sound of Sam’s first cry.
While Dr. C stitched me up and the pediatric nurse tended to Sam, I asked Nick to please tell me everything he could about our son. Weight: 6 lbs 11 oz. Length: 19 1/2 inches. A tiny Peanut! Apgar score: 9. Healthy little man! Ten fingers and ten toes. A button nose and baby ears. Soft blonde hair. A strong grip — he grabbed Daddy’s finger just minutes after birth. Our perfect baby boy.
And speaking of Daddy, I had never seen a bigger, more genuine smile on his face.
Finally, the nurse placed a tightly swaddled Sammy into my arms. My heart melted, and I fell instantly and completely in love.
Nick and I spent the next hour alone in the room with our new son. We stared at him and stroked his face and allowed him to wrap his tiny fingers around our long ones. He cooed and whimpered and settled into a warm spot on my bare chest. Samuel’s first few moments of life are ones that we will forever cherish.
Just after midnight, Nick went into the waiting room to share the news of Samuel’s arrival with our anxious family members. He then invited them back to meet baby boy and witness his first bath. It was another special moment that I’m grateful we could share with our parents and sisters. I was even feeling strong enough to get out of bed and stand beside Sam as the nurse gently bathed him.
Then it was back into a warm blanket and into Daddy’s arms.
Soon our family left and the nurses left, and it was just the three of us. And we were never happier.