When I was pregnant with Levi, I loved reading other people’s birth stories. It was interesting to see how birth was for other people, and beautiful birth stories gave me hope that mine could be just as beautiful. I still love reading them even after having my baby, so I thought that it would be fun to write out my own birth story. I haven’t written out the whole story anywhere else yet, so it will be special to relive all of the details, even if some parts make me nauseous just thinking about them haha. So here is Levi’s birth story!
My due date was October 11, but I knew since this was my first baby, I’d likely go late. And I was right! I didn’t go into labor until the morning of October 21, 10 days past my due date. That morning around 3:30, I woke up and went to the bathroom like I did at least 5 times per night at that point, and then went back to bed. I was still awake when around 3:45, I felt this strange pop and rush, but no fluid came out. I wasn’t having contractions, so I wasn’t sure if it was my water breaking or not. I stood up, and some fluid started to trickle, and I knew that sure enough, my water had broken.
I called my midwife and let her know, and she told me to try to rest and to call back later in the morning so that I could come in and start antibiotics because I tested positive for group B strep. I went back to bed again, and around 4:00 I started having very strong contractions. Right from the start, they were at most 2 minutes apart. After about a half an hour of those contractions, I called my midwife again. She suggested taking a bath, so I did until I couldn’t stand it anymore. My husband called the midwife once again and she said to go ahead and come in.
When we arrived at the birth center, I believe I was 4cm dilated. I labored for less than an hour with a peanut ball in the waiting room and got some antibiotics, where my mom met us. Then, I was able to go to my birthing room where my sisters met us. At that point, I was in a lot of pain and was feeling nauseous. I decided to start laboring on a birthing ball in the shower, but first I remember being so nauseous that I threw up. Laboring in the shower gave me the most relief out of anything I tried that day. After probably an hour of being in the shower, I got out and went to the bed. Once my contractions started at home, I had basically no concept of time, so I’m not exactly sure on the timeline of all this.
It hurt to sit or lay on the bed, so I asked if I could go ahead and get in the birthing pool. The midwives filled the pool up, and when my midwife checked me once I was in the pool, I was 7cm dilated. I didn’t get checked again, and my midwife told me that if I had the urge to push, I could start pushing whenever I was ready. I tried some different positions in the pool, and sure enough, I started feeling the urge to push. I believe I started pushing anywhere from 11am-12pm. I pushed for a little while in the pool and nothing was happening, so my midwife had me get out of the pool and try other places and postitions.
I tried sitting and pushing on the toilet, then the bed, standing up, and on a birthing stool. Still, nothing was happening. Levi was not in a good position, and he wasn’t moving to where he could come out. I went back to the bed and my midwife started rubbing olive oil around his head to try and help him come out. Weirdly enough, that probably hurt more than anything during labor. At that point, I had been pushing so long that they started talking about transferring me to the hospital because the birthing center’s policy required them to transfer a mother if they had been pushing for a certain amount of time with no change.
The owner of the birth center happened to be there that day for a baby shower, so my midwife went to get her to see if she could do anything before they transferred me. She showed up in nice clothes, put some gloves on, and sat down to try and help. I had a nurse on one side of me holding my leg, Jason on the other, my midwife at my back pushing me forward every time I pushed, and the owner sitting at my feet trying everything she could. Levi’s head kept coming out a little, and then would go back in when I stopped pushing. I remember everyone kept telling me he had a head full of dark hair, but at that point I didn’t care if he was bald; I just wanted him out of me haha.
Finally, at 2:43 pm, Levi was born. He had quite a cone head from pushing so long. I’ll never forget the moment they put him on my chest. I had been pushing for 3 hours and thought he was never coming out. Later, they weighed him and he was 9lb 15oz and he measured 22in long, which is a big reason he was getting stuck. When they were handing him to me, he pooped meconium all over my stomach. However, his breathing was a little labored from the start, and he never let out a loud, strong cry. I kept asking if he was okay, and everybody kept saying that he was, but I knew something wasn’t right. I held him for a few moments before they took him for a little bit to try and get fluid out of his chest. It turns out he had swallowed some of the meconium. I think they gave him a little oxygen as well.
They handed him back to me shortly after the midwife stitched me up as I had torn a little bit, and I was able to hold him for a couple of hours. We did skin to skin, and my husband got to hold him skin to skin while I ate some Chick-fil-A. I’ve never been so hungry or exhausted! Then I got to breastfeed him. This whole time, the midwives were monitoring his breathing and were a little concerned with his oxygen level. It was around 85, and they wanted it above 90 consistently. They recommended that he be transferred to the hospital, so he was.
My husband rode with Levi in the ambulance, and after I got cleaned up and dressed, my parents and I rode over there and met them. They did some x-rays where everything looked good, hooked him up to some oxygen, started some IV’s, and then transferred him to a children’s hospital that was better equipped to take care of him. There, they gave him some antibiotics and weaned him off oxygen, and 5 days later we were finally able to take him home.
Sometimes now, I read birth stories and wish mine went as smoothly as theirs’- that I didn’t have to push for 3 hours or that Levi didn’t have to be transferred to the hospital. But then I’m reminded of God’s faithfulness through the whole labor process. I wouldn’t have been able to see God’s hand so clearly in it all if it had been easier. He allowed the owner of the birth center to be there to help so that I didn’t have to be transferred to the hospital, to most likely have a c-section or at least get an epidural (there is nothing wrong with those, I just was exhausted and ready to have him here!). He protected Levi during those 3 hours of pushing, allowing his heart rate to stay normal. He protected Levi from swallowing too much meconium. He even allowed me to get a few hours of skin to skin with Levi before he was transferred. I’m so grateful for God’s faithfulness and protection that is so clearly seen in my birth story.
Levi truly is the sweetest baby and we are so thankful for him! Here are a few pictures.