Birth Stories

Levi's short, med-free birth (short/long versions)

Short version:

total labor, 12 hours long, but only felt contractions for about 4 1/2 hours.

water broke at 4pm, and called midwife. wasn't feeling contractions. went to maternity center for non stress test. everything was fine. went home to labor there for as long as possible.

ate dinner, took a shower, finished packing hospital bag, went for a walk and tried to get some sleep. woke up at 11:30 pm. contractions had started. labored for 3 hours. at 2:30 went to birthing center and was fully dilated. pushed for an hour and a half.

 Levi was born at 3:54am on April 21. 6 pounds 14 oz 20.5 inches.


Long version:

On Tuesday the 20th I woke up like I usually do and went to the climbing gym for a couple climbs. In the early afternoon, DH came home early after having jury duty all week. They had just finished deliberating and had reached a verdict right after lunch time. I suggested that we drive to a nearby coffee shop and then take a walk through the Harbor.

We walked for a little ways and then sat down on a bench to watch the boats. A family with a little baby walked by us and we talked about how that was going to be us soon.

It was 4:00 pm and We decided it was time to go, so we got up and started walking back up the path. As we were walking under a pedestrian bridge, I felt something like discharge, but thought nothing of it because by this point I was wearing panty liners every time I went out. But then I felt a little more, and a little more. Then a trickle. Then a strong trickle. Then a gush and my yoga pants (unfortunately purple in color) starting darkening from the waist down. DH was walking slightly in front of me. I believe I said "Oh sh!t" and he turned around, "What!?" and I said "My water broke!" (another gush). Luckily no one else was on the path at this point. I walked over to the nearest bench and tried to cover myself with my sweatshirt, but water kept gushing, now onto the bench. I sat down on the bench and took some deep breaths while he went to get the car. Some guys on a boat were watching me on the bench, but I'm not sure if they knew what was going on.

I got in the car and we went home to call the midwife. I wasn't feeling any contractions at all at this point; just a very dull aching like my period was going to come soon. At home I went straight to the bathroom and had to just sit on the toilet for a while because water was still trickling out. DH called the midwife. She said that because I wasn't feeling contractions yet, I should head over to the maternity center and get a non stress test. I grabbed a hand towel (because pads were useless for the amount of water), stuffed it in between my legs, threw on some sweats and we headed to the maternity center.

At 4:30 a nice nurse checked us in and we went to a triage room. They took my vitals and started the non stress test. I was given some apple juice to drink. They said the baby sounded great, and I was having contractions every 5-10 minutes, but still wasn't feeling them. Still just that dull, period-like aching. They didn't check my dilation while I was there ... not sure why. Maybe because my water had already broken. I said I wanted to labor at home as long as possible, so they said just come in when the contractions got difficult to talk through. Unless it was sooner, the midwife said to come in at 8 am. Since it was only 5:30 pm by the time we left I was ready for the long haul.

The next part of the story is pretty uneventful. We came home, my parents brought over a light dinner for us, I ate, I took a nice long shower and later at 9:00 pm we went for a 20 min. walk down to the beach and back. I still wasn't feeling any contractions. Only an aching that would come and go. At 10:30 pm we decided to get some sleep.

I woke up at 11:30 pm, feeling my first contraction. I was easily able to breathe through it, but I noticed that afterwards my body was shaking, like I was shivering, but I wasn't cold. I told DH and he said it was probably because I was feeling a little scared, and also it was my body's response to pain. DH handled this so well. He reminded me to breathe deeply like I'd learned in pre-natal yoga, and try to relax as much as possible, and focus on the present moment, rather than think ahead to the next contraction. It worked and the shaking subsided. From 11:30pm to 2:30am I labored at home, changing postions frequently, but the one I found the most helpful was placing a pillow on the ground for my knees and leaning over the bed onto another pillow. Being on all fours also felt good. The contractions got stronger and more painful, but the pain was totally managable. DH started timing them and they were anywhere between 7 to 2 minutes apart.

At 2:00am I started getting really intense back pain with contractions which required more vocalization to get through them (just breathing wasn't cutting it). This is when both of us knew that I was definitely in active labor (or had been for an hour or so). At 2:30 I decided it was time to go to the maternity center. The ride over was really difficult, as the contractions got even stronger, as did the back pain. I just remember gripping the car door handle and having to be very vocal to get through them.

We arrived at the maternity center at the same time that my midwife was on her way to a c-section. But she decided to check my dilation real quick before her surgery. She checked and said, "I think you're ready to have your baby." I couldn't believe it. I was fully dilated. I started feeling an urge to push (which sort of feels the same as the urge to have a bowel movement) but I had to wait a tiny bit for her to get out of her c-section, which was hard.

I wasn't comfortable laying down in the bed. I didn't like the feeling of having my legs held and I felt like gravity was working against me. When she returned a half hour later (that half hour is really fuzzy. I remember laying on my side, and gripping the hell out of the handles on the side of the bed), the midwife suggested trying to push on the birthing stool. I agreed and felt much more comfortable there (well, as comfortable as I could be at this stage. The pain was pretty intense but it never crossed my mind to get any kind of meds).

DH was sitting behind me, with his knees on either side of me on the stool. During contractions I could brace myself with his knees (and squeeze the crap out of them). The strong contractions were now accompanied by a bearing down feeling that I couldn't really control. I was scared at this point. Not as much from the pain, but the realization of what had to be done (you want me to push a baby's head out of where!!??) Again, things are sort of fuzzy during this time ... I just remeber that it felt good to yell, moan, scream, whatever had to be done. The contractions came every few minutes and in between I could lean back and rest in DH's arms. Towards the end, I was able to push in between contractions too if I wanted.

There was only one moment when I said "I can't do this" but DH assured me I was so strong and that I was so close. As the baby started crowning, my midwife told me to push into that place that was scary. I finally decided that I just wanted it to be over, so I was able to give several hard pushes. The head came out so suddenly that apparently everyone was startled. As a result, I ended up tearing a bit and neeed 2 stitches.

They put him on my chest and I was so out of it (in a good way) that I forgot to check if he was a boy or a girl. Finally DH pointed it out, "it's a boy"! and I said to him "I told you it was a boy!" I delivered the placenta soon after in one push. Levi was on my chest at this point while the midwife sewed me up. I felt so accomplished in that moment.  A little later they took Levi away, cleaned him up, and returned him to me saying that everything was perfect. It was one of the best feelings in the world. He weighed 6 lbs 14 oz and had the most wide, beautiful eyes!
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Levi 4.21.10
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Re: Levi's short, med-free birth (short/long versions)

  • What an amazing story! You seemed so calm through everything! I'm so happy for you - congratulations. Levi is beautiful.
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    Avery Corinne - Born 7/9/10 at 37w2d
  • Thanks for sharing!  It sounds like you had a great experience.  I hope my DH can be as calm as yours!  I can totally see mine freaking out but it sounds like yours kept it togethor great. 
    Cole Alexander 6.9.10
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  • Congratulations on your healthy, handsome little boy!  Your story is really interesting to hear how you didn't feel anything for several hours and then it all went so quickly.  Congrats to on making it through without pain meds. I love the part where you were so absorbed with having just given birth that you forgot to check if it was a boy or girl! 
    Ectopic pregnancy Aug. 2008, followed by a diagnosis of two blocked tubes.
    IVF#1 gave us a BFP on 8/24/09, DD born May 2010
    Surprise, natural BFP July 2012 ended in miscarriage 9/4/12 at 10w4d
    FET#1 January 2013
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  • Congratulations! He is adorable. (I love the forehead wrinkles!)  And I love the name.  It's at the top of my boy list. 

    I have to ask about the "climbing gym" though. Is that like rock climbing? How could you do that with your bump?  Haha.

    natural m/c 6-1-09 @9 weeks, Lucy born 5-11-10, m/c (D&C)1-24-12 @10 weeks Lilypie Third Birthday tickers Lilypie First Birthday tickers
  • Great job!! Congratulations on your baby boy, he is beautiful!
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  • Congrats!
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  • imageJustSadie:

    Congratulations! He is adorable. (I love the forehead wrinkles!)  And I love the name.  It's at the top of my boy list. 

    I have to ask about the "climbing gym" though. Is that like rock climbing? How could you do that with your bump?  Haha.

    haha, yeah indoor rock climbing. I did it throughout my pregnancy. I wore a special full-body harness. Surprisingly, my bump didn't really get in the way, especially when the climbs were at different angles (the wall isn't always 90 degrees).


    My Food Blog - Oishii


    Levi 4.21.10
    Lilypie Second Birthday tickers

    Visit The Nest!
  • He is absolutely beautiful!  I hope my labor and delivery go similar to yours.  It's my ideal story and you should be very proud of yourself!  Congrats!
  • thanks for sharing, your son is adorable (:
  • Congrats!! Glad to hear you're doing well.
  • we are naming our son Levi also.  beautiful birth story
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