Friday, April 24, 2015

Levi's Birth Story

On Tuesday, January 27th Hyrum woke up as common around 7 a.m.  His dad was in the bathroom getting ready for the day.  I walked over to talk to Riley and Hyrum put his little arms up to have me pick him up.  As I picked him up, I felt a gush in my undergarments.  It wasn't a significant outpour as when my water broke with Hyrum, but it felt like more than just a little lack of bladder control.  Upon examination, and after a little fb consult with my indie birth friends I determined that it was indeed the start of my waters breaking, although only a leak as opposed to an entire break.  I didn't assume that meant I would be in labor that day though, as it was only a leak.  

I continued to leak throughout the morning, especially when I would pick up or interact with Hyrum.  At around 10:45 I noticed what I thought might be my first official contractions.  I noted them and sure enough, every 10 minutes or so I would have a contraction.  They weren't painful, just a steady moving pressure for about a minute at a time.  I had a hair appointment for later in the afternoon and I was hoping I would be able to make it :).  So I didn't worry about the contractions too much, I figured they could stay this way for a long while yet.  

While putting Hyrum down for a nap at around 11:30 I felt like it would be a good idea to call Nicole to see if she could possibly take Hyrum for the afternoon.  I didn't want to call in the troops yet and since I figured I had all afternoon I thought it would be nice to be alone and have time to meditate and prepare mentally/spiritually/emotionally.  I called and she said she'd be happy to take him.  I called Riley to let him know what was going on, but also to tell him that I didn't want him coming home until the contractions were closer together.  

Amazingly, a little while before Sharon had called and asked what I needed to do to get ready.  Riley had told a number of people on Sunday that we thought Levi might come on Tuesday.  It is my Grandma Boot's birthday, so we joked that it would be a nice gift for her.  I am not sure if that is why Sharon felt impressed to call and come help on Tuesday or not, but either way she was certainly inspired!  She came over and helped me clean up and prepare my room.  So in terms of physical space, I felt peaceful and ready!

I decided I had better get some good food to have on hand, should I actually go into labor anytime soon.  So I placed an order with the raw food shop around the corner.  At 12:15 I walked over to the shop with my dad.  On the way there I had a very powerful contraction.  The contractions seemed to have jumped from 8-10 minutes apart to 5 minutes apart.  I decided I should call Riley when I got home.  

I got home at 12:30 and gave Riley a call to let him know they were coming more quickly.  He said he'd head straight home.  My contractions went back to 8-10 min apart and I was disappointed that I had called Riley and given up my quiet alone time since the contractions were far apart again.  

But of course, by the time he arrived the contractions had become a little more painful and I was grateful he had come.  I bustled around the house getting a bag together for Hyrum when I got a text from Evy saying that she was the one coming to get Hyrum.  Apparently she had been at Nicole's house when I called and wanted to be the one to come get him.  I had often thought that should I want a doula at this birth I would call Evy.  She isn't trained as one, but she is such a peaceful loving presence that I had actually before contemplated having her there. 

When she pulled up at 1:30 I was feeling the pressure and the pain of the contractions and was ready to be upstairs, no matter how long it took.  I went up and started a bath while Riley handed Hyrum off to Evy.  I was starting to think this little guy might come sooner that I expected, so I asked Riley to ask Evy if sh wouldn't mind watching Hyrum at the house for just a bit, on the off chance that the baby came soon.  I felt like it would be good for him to greet his little brother as he came into the world.

I hadn't thought I would do a water birth, but once I got in the tub at around 1:45 I realized I wasn't likely to get out again.  The water was just so soothing against the pain of the contractions.  They were getting closer together, probably about 5 min apart, and really powerful.  It felt like no time at all, perhaps only a half an hour later, that I started feeling my body push.  Woah!  I tried to slow it down, but it was doing its thing and not about to slow down.  I felt my cervix and it hardly felt open at all.  I was very confused as to how my body and this baby thought they were going to come out of that very small opening.  I don't think I had more than 5 pushing contractions, each stronger than the first, 3 min apart and lasting
perhaps 2 min each.  I felt that little body move down and his head pressing against my cervix.  I knew he was coming and scrambled to get into a position where he could.    With one fiery, massive push, his little head was out of my body!!!  I told Riley to holler down the stairs for Evy to bring Hyrum up.  

I just rested for a moment, holding his little head in my hand under the water.  Then, perhaps a minute or two later, just as Riley came back to the tub from calling downstairs, the rest of his precious little body pushed out!

At some point, I don't remember when, I told Riley that he could call my mom and tell her that if she wanted to come home for the birth, she could.  Apparently she had arrived at 2:35.  So at 2:41 she bounded up the stairs with Hyrum.  I had just sat myself down and was pulling Levi up out of the water and into my arms when they arrived at the tub.  

His cord was around his neck, but because of what I had learned, I didn't worry for a moment.  Riley quickly reached in and unwrapped the cord.  Levi sputtered and cried as I placed him on my chest, a good solid infuriated cry.  Then he and I sat back in the tub and cuddled as Riley cleaned some of the blood off of Levi.  

Grandma cried, Hyrum looked on shyly and Riley and I marveled in this sweet, tiny creature.    He was so small!  Long and tiny, much less filled out than his brother was.  But everything was in working order!  All fingers, all toes, all in place.
A little while later I noticed what looked like a large blood clot in the tub.  Although I had looked at pictures of placentas as I prepared for birth, I couldn't figure out if this was part of the placenta or not.  So instead of waiting, I tugged just a bit on the umbilical cord and kind of pulled the placenta out.  

After about 20 minutes of cuddling in the tub with Levi, we made our way to the bed where baby and I both passed out for 2 hours.  When we woke Riley cut the umbilical cord.  Despite a good deal of snorting (which he still does occasionally,) Levi latched and ate just fine. 

So, those are kind of the clinical details of what happened.  Strange for me to tell a story this way because I am such an emotional storyteller.  But I experienced this birth just the way I have described it!  Yes, there was emotion involved.  But I was so aware, so in the moment, so completely focused and in charge whilst simultaneously perfectly allowing myself and my baby to be in God's hands that every detail shows up in clear definition in my mind.  

This experience was such a contrast to my birthing Hyrum eighteen months earlier.  Hyrum was born at home with a midwife I trusted.  But I didn't trust myself.  I understand why--it was my first birth, I didn't believe that I knew what I was doing and each pain, each sensation, each part of the experience felt like it was happening to me.  The pain was scary, the amount of time it was taking tired my body out and I spent a good amount of time wondering if I really could do it.  I looked to the midwife to tell me when to push.  I looked to her to tell me that things were going perfectly.  I looked to her to know how much longer, to know how to breathe, to help me through the pain.  When H was born I felt exhilarated and exhausted.  I had done it!  I believed I could but I certainly doubted as it became difficult.

With Levi's birth the experience was so vivid but the emotions were much more calm.  Peace rather than exhilaration was the blanket that rested over all of us.  Not the giddyness of making it through a traumatic experience and finding the beautiful blessedness on the other side--the godly reward in the trial of faith.  Rather the sweet and steady security of knowledge.  I knew I could and would birth this perfect little boy perfectly.  I knew he knew how to be birthed.  And I knew that God would be helping me in this most sacred of experiences and that I could trust myself, trust baby and trust Him.

I want so much for every woman to have this knowledge--that we were born to give birth.  And we know how!!   I was so impressed when speaking to one of my best friends just a few weeks later.  She gave birth to her baby in the hospital and felt impressed to go to the hospital early even though she knew they would try to send her home as she "wasn't dialated enough".  She ended up having an emergency c-section and everything worked out just as needed--because she listened and she knew what she needed to do.  We do know!  We can listen!  To our bodies, to our babies, to our intuition.  We can trust ourselves and the still small voice more than our caregivers or any other voice.

I am so grateful to my precious Levi boy for partnering with me in this perfect, empowering birth.  


Blogger ALYN said...

Love birth stories! Thanks for sharing. All 5 of mine were hospital, but I took great comfort in the knowledge that my body knew what to do. Birth is amazing.

4:21 AM  
Blogger Kate said...

What a beautiful birth story! I've been curious how your independent birth went. I'm so glad you wrote it down and shared it. Love you cousin! xo Can't wait to meet baby Levi!

6:52 AM  
Blogger Kori said...

Very cool...trusting our bodies and babies is amazing. I'm so happy he got here safe.

8:56 AM  
Blogger Kori said...

Very cool...trusting our bodies and babies is amazing. I'm so happy he got here safe.

10:31 AM  
Blogger Erin said...

We Diehl girls apparently love a good birth story, and blogs, and the Thompsons! What a great story! I was very interested to hear how it went, thank you for sharing. Empowering is the perfect word for how I feel about giving birth. Growing, delivering, and nursing a human is an empowering and humbling experience. Congratulations on a beautiful birth and baby boy!

11:23 PM  

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