• Rachel Ceness

Levi's Birth Story

Prodromal labor and mild contractions started right on Leviʼs due date of 6/29. I thought maybe he would come that day or a couple of days late. Every day, especially the evenings brought on varying amounts of inconsistent, and variable contractions. I hadnʼt had any other Braxton Hicks throughout this or my first pregnancy, so this was totally foreign territory to me.

That week was filled with lots of anticipation, anxiety and let downs when contractions subsided. We even had the midwives come over on the 1st when it felt promising. Sure enough, when I went to bed late that night, contractions slowed and faded.

Every day could be THE day, and I tried all the tricks to help induce labor naturally. Acupressure, essential oils and spicy food. I walked laps around my backyard barefoot which always seemed to get things moving along. Something about the grounding energy.

I was able to enjoy the 4th with family despite being very uncomfortable. Iʼm certainly grateful I had that extra time!

Our patience was running thin, though we tried to use each day to get more prepared, relax, and enjoy some good sleep.

I made my 41 week appointment with the midwife-something I was not expecting to have to do. They had mentioned weeks earlier that they offer a membrane sweep at 41 weeks. After doing some research, I knew this was something I wanted to do since it was completely safe and natural and could get things moving if my body was indeed ready.

My appointment was Saturday morning at 9am. Baby was healthy and stable according to the NST. The sweep, although uncomfortable went very well and I immediately felt

crampy afterwards. I had a feeling right away that this might indeed do the trick. I could tell my body WAS ready. It just needed a little extra push to move beyond the tipping point.

Mild contractions started in the afternoon, and became slightly more noticeable around 3ish. I went for a walk with Chloe around 4, which definitely helped continue to keep things going. When we got back, I was starting to have to breath through some contractions. I explained to Chloe that I had to focus on taking lots of deep breaths.

I heated up some food for dinner, and found myself more and more distracted with the contractions now. I reached out to my parents to come get Chloe for the night and also touched base with the midwife to give some updates. They wanted me to monitor things a little Ionger, but I knew this HAD to be the real deal. Things were feeling more intense already than they had all week. Contractions were longer and closer together, and the intensity was picking up noticeably.

My parents came for Chloe around 630, and right after I called the midwife back and she agreed it was time to come over.

When they arrived around 7, Chris and I were outside hanging out under the easy- up in the driveway. I was alternating between pacing up and down and trying to sit and rest. Contractions were now requiring deep concentration and I felt myself getting into the “zone”. Focusing on breathing and riding out each surge. Telling myself that each contraction was bringing me closer to finally meeting my baby.

The midwives monitored the baby, my temperature and blood pressure and let us do our thing until I had to go inside and focus on how to work though each intensifying contraction. We came in around 8pm. I used my exercise ball a lot, leaning over it to stretch out while Chris massaged my lower back. Eventually I switched to just being on all fours or in a wide legged squat position leaning on my knees for support.

I was pretty out of it by this point, deeply focused and concentrated on breathing and keeping my body as relaxed as possible. The midwives asked if I felt ready for them to fill up the birthing tub and I agreed. It sounded wonderful, and indeed felt amazing when I finally got in about a half hour later. It was warm and comforting. I could feel my body relaxing and opening.

Not long after getting in the water, I felt a big pop and my water broke. I immediately started feeling the incredible urge to push.

Sensations and pain were intensifying fast. I reveled in the relief between each contraction, reminding myself that each surge was temporary and essential to get this baby out. It would all be so worth it to hold him in our arms.

I started moaning and making low pitched noises with each push which really helped me to able to tap into my inner warrior goddess strength. It felt very primal and instinctual. I could start to feel the pressure of babyʼs head and knew he was so close which gave me a boost of motivation and strength.

The last few pushes were incredibly intense and emotional. I mustered up all of my strength and determination and gave it my full effort. The midwifes advised not to push too quickly, and that the pace I was going was great. I was able to re-coop in between. I wiped the beads of sweat off my forehead and kept asking for water to stay hydrated. When I felt his head super close I knew I could push it out. It was such a relief to finally feel it come out. I had to wait until the next contraction to push out his body, which I later found out was a full 2 minutes later!

Finally! He was out and the midwife lifted him up to my chest immediately. I couldnʼt believe my eyes. There he was, this sweet little baby we had been waiting for for so long. More beautiful than I could have possibly imagined. I was overcome with emotion and utter relief.

He came at 10 18pm-almost exactly an hour or so after getting in the tub. My timeline was a little blurry at that point but I got the lowdown from the midwives a couple of days later. Chris and I stared at him with awe. He was finally in our arms.

After settling for a bit and checking me for bleeding, the midwives helped me out of the tub and over to the couch. They had set it up with the vinyl protective covering and plastic sheet on the floor. I relaxed on the couch with Levi as we awaited the delivery of the placenta. It came about 35 mins after Levi. I squatted over a bowl and it popped out in a couple of pushes. The cord was longer than Chloeʼs had been, so we had more slack. After inspecting it and explaining more about its position while in my body, the midwife wrapped it up and tucked it next to me for the time being. We waited

longer to cut the cord. They were even able to start Leviʼs newborn exam with it still attached.

He was healthy and thriving. I felt so proud of myself and of him. He weighed in at 8lbs 4oz and was 20.5in. He immediately looked so healthy and full of color. He was calm and strong. Didnʼt cry much and latched on right away. He had the most perfect little features and a fuzzy head of darker hair. He was awake and alert right away.

When it came time, Chris cut the cord and we opted to save the placenta so that we could bury it in our backyard later on with a commemorative plant.

The midwives were extremely helpful and incredible. They cleaned everything up while we relaxed, and took down the tub. They assessed me for bleeding and tears, and helped me get to the bathroom to pee. They even helped prepare a peri-bottle of soothing herbal sitz tea.

Chris and I were overwhelmingly grateful to be in our own home. It was such a completely different experience than we had had in the hospital with Chloe. So much less stress and poking and prodding! I had a snack to replenish my body. Child birth definitely is like running a marathon!

The midwives cleared out around 1 30 am, and we were all able to settle in a little and relax. I wasnʼt able to sleep much that first night between the adrenaline and racing mind and checking on Levi.

Iʼm so grateful and happy for the way things turned out, and couldnʼt have asked for a better overall birth experience. My body did amazing work supporting new life and birthing my baby so smoothly. Iʼm ready to rest and recuperate! The miracle of life never fails to amaze.

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