Levi's Birth Story

He's here! Two glorious weeks early, little Levi William surprised us by showing up on Leap Day!

Saturday night, I started to have timeable contractions that were more painful than my usual Braxton Hicks. They lasted from 9:30pm-2 am, coming between 8 and 15 minutes, but then they totally stopped and I slept all night. I had the same sporadic, barely painful contractions allll day long on Sunday. Sometimes as close together as 8 minutes, sometimes as far apart as 40. I never had early, unproductive contractions like that with the girls and I was worried I would have them for the next two weeks. Again, Sunday night, the contractions stopped when I went to bed.

Monday was Leap Day and the day Justin travels to Alpena (4 hours away) for work. So I just wanted the baby to stay in until Tuesday. Haha. I woke up at 5 am and rolled over to steal Justin's pillow (he left for work at 4:30), when I felt a gush. I immediately thought, "No way was that pee." By the time I got out of bed, my shorts were soaked, and by the time I hobbled to the bathroom there wasn't much doubt in my mind that my water had broken. I quickly called Justin and told him not to go to Alpena! He was still at work, about 15 minutes from leaving. Whew! He headed home while I took a shower, packed our last minute things, and texted my sisters:

The contractions picked up immediately after my water broke and were definitely more painful and close together - coming anywhere from 2-5 minutes apart. I have been extremely paranoid this whole pregnancy about making it to the hospital in time to give birth . . . and get my epidural. I've heard too many stories about third babies coming super fast. (I also tested positive for Group B Strep so I knew I needed a couple rounds of antibiotics.) I didn't wait for the contractions to get to that 5-1-1 pattern. My parents were just waking up for the day, so once Justin got home, we took one last belly picture, left the girls sleeping and sped off to the hospital.
This is how I look at 6 am. Lol.
I called my doctor on the way in and got to the hospital at 6:45 am. The contractions were 4 minutes apart and hurting. I was also having some major anxiety. I was unreasonably paranoid that they'd check me and say it was too late for an epidural. And I was just anxious in general about giving birth. Even though it's what I've been begging for for weeks, I couldn't help but think of all the scary worst case scenarios. The nurse came in and checked me. I was relieved to hear I had progressed past fingertip, but wasn't too far for the epidural - a nice 3.5 cm, 80% effaced. I sent my sisters this picture from triage with the caption, "C'mon epidural! These things hurt!"

We got to a delivery room by 7:45, started my first round of antibiotics, and the anesthesiologist showed up at 8:00.

Again, I was having some major anxiety about the epidural. I got into position with the assistant and the doctor gave me the numbing shot. A second later, he poked me with another needle and I jumped because it startled me. He was surprised I wasn't numb yet and kind of scolded me about holding still. He gave me more local anesthetic and I started to get really hot and anxious. I was so worried the local wasn't working and I'd feel that huge needle go into my back. Eventually, I started to feel really faint. I told the assistant that I have a history of passing out and wasn't feeling very good. She had the nurse put a cold washcloth on my neck and I clung to the poor lady like my life depended on it. I was so worried about passing out with a needle in my spine! Finally, the anesthesiologist finished and I got to lay down. He told me they were going to do a test dose and to let him know if my feet went numb or I got a metallic taste in my mouth or any other number of scary possibilities. But I just started to feel warm and tingly like I was supposed to. Just as I was starting to feel relieved, he said that he did something called a "wet tap" when I jumped - essentially putting a hole where he shouldn't have in my spine and warned me that I'd likely get a spinal headache. Glorious. (So far, I haven't gotten one, but he said it could take a day or two to show up . . .)

I was numb by 8:30 and Niki showed up to hang out with us. I got checked at 9:00 and was up to 6 cm, almost completely effaced. The nurse said she'd check me again at 11 when she started the second dose of antibiotics and I secretly wondered if I'd make it that long since I seemed to be progressing so quickly. Levi's heart rate was dipping just a little bit after each contraction, so they turned me from side to side and kept a close eye on it.

At 10:00, I told the nurse I could feel my contractions on the underside of my belly and asked if she could up my epi. She pushed the button for me, but when I was still feeling them ten minutes later, she decided to check me . . . and declared me complete and ready to go! So much for the antibiotics! Niki left as they broke down the bed and got my feet up in stirrups.

We waited a minute for a contraction to start, and at 10:35 I started pushing. I did one ten-second push, took a breath for the next push and only made it to about 5 seconds before the doctor told me to stop. He told me to do three half-pushes. I was confused at first, wondering about cord compression or something. The doctor was being encouraging, but he never said anything like "There's the head" or "Here he comes." All of a sudden, I felt that huge relief and the doctor was pulling the baby out! I seriously pushed twice through one contraction and he was out! It was the most surreal thing ever!! He did have the cord around his neck once - which is why they had me stop mid-push. They unlooped it and he came out without a problem at 10:37 am.

My first reaction was that he looked disgusting all covered in goo, was very blue, and wasn't crying. But he started crying almost immediately and they laid him right on my chest. Things have changed since I had Lena and they don't whisk the baby away to get weighed/worked on anymore. We did skin to skin for an hour (goo and all). Justin and I agreed that he looked way smaller than the girls and couldn't wait to hear his weight. Levi was very alert, looking all around with huge eyes, and extremely content to just lay on my chest.

The doctor delivered my placenta, said I didn't tear or need any stitches (praise the Lord!), and left about 15 minutes after he arrived. Haha. I was still very numb and didn't feel anything (praise the Lord again!). The nurse helped us with breastfeeding a little bit. He struggled to latch, but eventually caught on and nursed well for 15 minutes or so.

Finally they weighed him. I figured he was somewhere between 7 and 8 pounds and was shocked when she said 6 lbs, 15 oz! My smallest baby by almost 2 pounds! (Lucy was 8 lbs, 8 oz. Lena was 8 lbs. 13 oz.) He's an inch shorter than the girls were at 19".

Justin's parents arrived just as he was going out to get Niki, so they all came in to see Levi and marvel at how quickly everything had gone. We got upstairs to our recovery room just as my sister Libby got here. And then my mom showed up with the girls.

They were adorable and thrilled to see their baby brother. Lucy stroked his head over and over, Lena wanted to hold him and asked if she could kiss him. They both held him and loved on him and are fascinated by him.

I'll update more about breastfeeding, circumcision, and my recovery later. But right now, he's sleeping, it's blizzarding outside so we don't have any visitors, and I'm off to take a nap! I brought the wrong cord to the hospital for my camera, so most of the good pictures will have to wait. Here are a few from my phone. Thanks so much for all the love, everyone!!

Less hair, and a lot lighter, than the girls.
Bright eyed while getting cleaned up.
Justin finally got to hold him after my hour of skin to skin.
Sisterly adoration
Lena desperately trying to get him to look at the stuffed animal she picked out for him.
Levi Burrito

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