NowBlowPoMe: The Birth of Emory. (Chapter 7)

Previous Chapters: Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5, Chapter 6

It was 2:30 AM and I was exhausted. My body shook uncontrollably. My mother had warned me about it earlier. I was ready for it to happen, but I wasn’t ready for it to happen before I gave birth. No matter how much I tried, I couldn’t get the shaking to stop.

“Breathe, Michele. Practice what we learned during Lamaze class. Do your hee hoos.” TobyJoe began to breathe. I thought about my favorite yoga instructor Kyra and everything she taught me about relaxation. I followed his lead. After about a minute of hee hoo-ing, my body stopped shaking. But as soon as I thought about it, it would start up all over again. From that point forward, I decided to go about things as mindlessly as possible.

While I concentrated on my breathing, the doctors and nurses filed into the room. It was like something out of broadway play. They were so well rehearsed, so organized, the finest ballet dancers haven’t ever been so in sync. Some wheeled in equipment, others brought in clean towels. Each person had a specific role in this organized production. Not one person ran into another, they just reacted, or acted. Before I knew it, a mess of people were all around me. Dr. Kauffman, my 7-months pregnant doctor, sat down at the foot of my bed. My husband stood at my right knee, my mother up near my head. The doctor who talked me into staying 27 hours earlier stood by my left knee. Still others milled about the room waiting for their cue. Someone had opened up the adjoining room – the room where Emory would be cleaned and warmed. They were ready. But was I?

Earlier, I had been told that it would take me three hours to push. I prepared myself for that. I asked the nurse if I could have a Pedialyte ice pop for strength. I wondered if the ice would feel good against my heartburn as well. Toward the very end, the heartburn became unbearable. And the pain made me nauseous. I looked at the clock. It was after 3. The baby would be with us by dawn. I hoped.

I saw a bolt of lightning from outside. “Was that lightning? Is it storming?”

“It’s really bad out there. There’s thunder, lightning. It’s torrential.” Someone assured me.

It was a perfect backdrop, the greatest of encores, for that particular performance.

Everyone took their position. The doctor instructed all the newcomers (my husband and my mother) what their roles were. The woman at my left knee told me what I had to do and when I had to do it.

The last 45 minutes I spent pregnant exist in my memory in pieces. I don’t recollect things in any definitive order. I know that it took me a few times before I understood how to push. At first I was afraid to push too hard because it felt like I had to take a massive crap. (Which is exactly what’s supposed to happen.) Between contractions, I grabbed an ice pop or the oxygen mask. But nothing became more glorious than sucking on that damned ice pop. It was my reward for every other push. The oxygen was a have-to. I ate two popsicles before getting Emory out. They were the best things I had ever eaten.

If the birth of Emory had consisted of only the last couple of hours I would have had the greatest birth story tell. I had an epidural, sure. But the right hand side of my body felt everything. I mentioned before that this became a blessing in disguise. It ensured that I work harder because it hurt. And since I had feeling, I also knew when each contraction was coming before the machine beeped letting the doctors know.

I had worked myself up over labor. And it didn’t end up being that hard for me. It didn’t hurt as much as I would have thought. (Although, I am sure had I been totally epidural free, it would have hurt a whole lot more.) I had prepared myself for something terrifically difficult and painful. And it simply wasn’t. When it came time to push, I had something to focus on, something real. I was no longer a spectator of my own labor; I became an active participant in the production.

It took me 45 minutes to get Emory out. I think we counted 9 pushes. That included the amount of time it took to get the hang of it. For me, the pushing part of labor wasn’t difficult at all; it was the induction, the wait, the failure to get things going, the hunger, the heartburn, the wait again, all of that proved very trying and difficult.

On push 8 in room eight, the doctor asked me if I wanted to look at Emory, whose head was almost completely outside of my body. I said no. But then my mind turned on again and it sent me a message, “Do this. How often do you get to see a human head poking out of your vagina?” So I did. I looked down. And that’s the first time I saw Emory.

He looked just like you’d imagine, which is to say freakishly weird and alien. He looked unreal. His head was a little beat up. But he was alive and well and it was only a matter of time before I was to hold him.

Push 9 was the last push. I felt him come swooshing out along with a lot of other stuff I won’t talk about. They held him up. I looked at the umbilical cord, which was shockingly beautiful. It looked like blown glass – a piece of perfectly purplish spiral-blown glass.

“Do you want to cut the cord?” Dr Kauffman asked Toby.


Emory was freed from me by the man who helped me create him. He was wrapped in a blanket and then immediately placed on my belly. There wasn’t a tear in sight or a sound in range. He just looked up at me with those great big dark eyes.

“You are perfect. You are perfect. Hello, little person! You are perfect! It’s so nice to meet you! Hello!”

And then he was gone again.

The room looked like something out of an episode of CSI. It was that messy, like, over the top messy, staged even. Blood was everywhere. It was a mess. Earlier, one of the nurses made Toby lay on some sheets. She had joked about what she had seen on the floor of that very room. We laughed at the time. But, wow! Was she ever right. It looked like someone had died a gruesome death. There were clots, red towels, red gauze. The characters that had filed in so perfectly earlier were now covered head to toe in blood. Until that moment, I had no idea how much birth could resemble death. Replace tears with smiles and gasps of shock with gasps of joy and you have birth.

As they stitched me up, I fell back into my pillow and I looked toward the window again. I let out a sigh. The city was being beaten by thunder and struck by lightning. A tornado touched down in Brooklyn for the first time in a century. The subway tunnels flooded. Millions of people were rudely awaken by that storm.

And in a room on the 4th floor of a hospital along the East River, my son Emory was making his first appearance on a stage called life.

Part of NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month). I will continue this story every day until it’s finished. Each chapter will live in a section titled The Birth of Emory.


  1. Wonderful. Simply wonderful!


  2. Thank you for sharing this amazing story!


  3. Michele, thank you so much for sharing this amazing adventure. What an incredible story.


  4. There are some things that happened after the birth that i really wanted to write about. Like how they literally squeeze you out. I might continue writing this. There are parts of the recovery that I think every woman should know. I had no idea about half of the stuff that would happen.

    That said, I will most likely write one more chapter about recovery.

    Thanks, y’all.I felt like it was getting really boring.


  5. Not boring at all – great story :) YAY! You’re such a tease with the daily chapters – f’n brilliant!

    I love the fact that you had a thunderstorm for a backdrop. It makes the it even more beautiful to imagine.

    Definitely finish up with the recovery. I found that massage they do on the uterus to help it contract back into place right afterward more painful than the birth itself!


  6. Delurking…

    Not in the least bit boring—-for those of us who have yet to go through it, it’s fascinating to read. I want to know what i am up against when the time comes.

    Now, I want to know what the aftermath has in store!


  7. Yes, yes, I vote for the aftermath. Pregnant with my first, scared to death about delivery, but reading details about it helps (as greusome as they are!) You did it! It took forever, but you survived! Your legs didn’t fall off. Your baby came out. You lived. That means I probably will . . .


  8. Thank you for sharing this with everyone. It is so personal, but after sharing childbirth with all of the doctors and nurses, sometimes I feel like I have no modesty left anyhow!

    I’m fascinated by the fact that you said you only had 9 pushes. And you could eat popsicles in between! I only had time to take two breaths between the end of a contraction and the beginning of the next, so I must have pushed at least 60 times in the hour.

    I couldn’t look as Jonah crowned, he just shot out, and the nurses had taken my glasses away, as I had an oxygen mask on. I don’t even think my eyes were open! It’s all a bit fuzzy now. I just remember the fantastic roast turkey dinner they served me to eat while I was being stitched up, or directly after.


  9. That was beautifully written, a story, not just a time line. I love other people’s birth stories. I had a c-section so some of this doesn’t relate to my experience, but the after party is also quite the extravaganza.

    Emory is lovely and you are courageous.



  10. Excellent. :-) A few of my girlfriends were shocked by the delivery of the placenta (one commented on how the doctor pushed hard with his fists and deep into her belly to force it out). The stuff they neglect to tell you…scary.


  11. Great story – have teared up more than once reading it. I’m about to have my second child any tick of the clock now, so it’s been fascinating reading birth stories to remind (!!) me. As cliched as it sounds, you really do forget so much, I think you will look back on this record of Emory’s arrival in the future and savour it. I wish I had written down more with the arrival of my first. You will be so glad you have this memory down the track. And yes, please continue with the recovery part as that’s the bit you never really hear about …!!


  12. And then they proceeded to abuse your uterus under the guise of getting it to shrink back down to size? I loved that part. Not.


  13. Wow, what a dramatic entrance to the world! I agree with you – thanks to the epidural, the induction was far worse than the pushing stage. All that waiting and no progress and the threat of a c-section after all that work-ug. But for me, nothing was worse than the recovery (I literally couldn’t sit for almost six weeks – it was awful). Am looking forward to that chapter!


  14. I agree this is a great help to all women who are thinking about/planning on having babies. We need to share stories to help each other out- how else would we know what to expect??


  15. And make it really gory so the girls who can’t have them (me) feel like they dodged something. :-)

    It was beautiful, though. Awesome job.


  16. I’m a new fan to your site, and a stayer. The story of Emory’s birth was beautifully written, and congratulations on your beautiful boy.


  17. I’m so glad you wrote this up. And I look forward to the “after party” post too. Amazing!


  18. Beautiful story for a beautiful boy! You take me back 15 years ago when my first girl was born. I tear up with joy everytime!


  19. Loved this & wasn’t bored for a second. I love hearing birth stories as much as I love telling my own. I like hearing the similarities & differences in all of them. Definitely include the recovery & hospital stay. My two little ones just turned 5 & 3 this month & we watched the video that led up to & followed their births to celebrate, but your story helped me remember the in-between. Freshly born baby pictures always make me cry & Emory is just beautiful.


  20. Take the following in a totally non-cyber-stalking way:
    I woke up this morning thinking about the next chapter in Emory’s birth! Thank you for sharing this – it has been delightful and equally terrifying (as someone who is pregnant with her first child)!


  21. Birth stories fascinate me—so different, but so similar. I don’t think I’ve ever read/heard one that was anything like mine, and mine and my sister’s could not be more different.

    You did a beautiful job with this.


  22. Ok, the how often do you get to see a head sticking out of your vagina made me laugh out loud. The birth and death being so close is a great observation.

    Thanks for enduring and sharing. Emory is wonderful and you and Toby are great parents. It is awesome. don’t you feel like you could lift a car over your head or something now that you have done this?



  23. Oh…. the sexy of the monster pad they put in the bed for you afterward – my hospital used diapers as ice packs so the first time I went pee I dropped a Pampers on the floor. So Alex and I matched.

    Wonderful end to a well told story :)


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