Levi Gale // Birth Story

This little guy kept us on our toes,

and when he was ready to make his debut,

he did it in a *snap* *snap* *snap* fast and furious way.

At 20 weeks pregnant.

At 20 weeks pregnant.

God surprised us with the news of Levi's upcoming arrival back in October 2015.

All went well with the pregnancy (minus some morning sickness and some minor aches & pains) until my 28th week doctor's appointment.

"You're dilated! 1cm." my doctor said.

Some women do dilate earlier in their pregnancy with their second (or third or what have you) child, but dilating at 28th week pregnant is a little too early.

Right away my doctor sent me to the hospital to get steroid shots to strengthen the baby's lung and brain development, just in case he was born at 28 weeks.

Right away, the people in our small group at church started praying for this child.

Things got quiet for about 3 weeks; but then 2 days before I hit 31 weeks, contractions were keeping me up in the middle of the night.

They weren't getting stronger, but they were just frequent enough the hospital advised me to go in and get monitored.

So out we went at 3 am with our one-and-a-half year old toddler, who was half asleep and gave us this look of what-in-the-world-is-happening-and-why-am-i-awake.

At the hospital, they also performed a test to see if the baby would likely be born in the next 2 weeks or not.

The result was positive.

We were told I should be on bed rest to minimize the chance of having a preemie.

It would not be ideal to have him born at 31 or 32 weeks, but we trusted that God was above all so we emotionally prepared ourselves to have the baby in the very near future. 

Over the next several weeks, help and prayers came flooding in.

I can't tell you how incredibly blessed we were by the community we were in.

We had pastors and elders and friends praying for us, we had families staying with us, helping us with laundry, cleaning and taking care of Z, we had meals set up for us.

My pride was forced to be replaced by humility as we accepted help (of which I wrote about here).

As we progressed through the pregnancy, we rejoiced every day I woke up and still pregnant;

we rejoiced every week we made it another week and still pregnant.

God had been so faithful in hearing our prayers and in keeping little Levi in my tummy.

We were in awe when I made it to full term. (I, of course, celebrated with a Starbucks S'mores Frappuccino ;)

Just when everyone was anticipating the arrival of little Levi, exactly two weeks later, my contractions started to pick up.

They started at about 5 in the morning but I didn't track them until 7:30ish.

Just like with my first born, the numbers were super sporadic. I was yet again confused.

Sometimes they were 5-7 minutes apart but only lasting around 45 seconds.

Sometimes they were 2-3 minutes apart.

Sometimes they were stronger. Sometimes they were mild.

Do I go to the hospital? Do I ask Grant to come home from work?

I had no idea what to do.

But God knew what I needed. My mother-in-law originally had the next day off, but she somehow got someone to take her shift for that day just the night before.

She came into town right when I asked Grant to come home, because the contractions were stronger and they were 3 minutes apart.

BUT THEN again, they became mild and further apart.

Well... what do we do now?! Well, it was lunch time so naturally we went and grabbed some burgers. Haha.

We figured we would go to the hospital after grabbing a bite to eat since we didn't know how long we'd be in the hospital for.

After getting hooked up to the monitor at the hospital, the doctor gave me an update on my dilation: 6.

And since I was already at 39 weeks, she went ahead and broke my water. Dilation was now at 8.

Time now - 1:30pm

So now it was a waiting game: waiting for the contractions to get more frequent and more intense.

It didn't take long though.

The contractions were soon 2-3 minutes apart, accompanied with lower back pain.

The intensity steadily increased over the next hour, and when 3 pm hit, I started to feel some pressure down there.

Things were about to get intense.

I glanced at the clock and it said 3:15 pm - right when the nurse said I should be ready to push soon.

And right she was!

The next contraction started.

The pressure built up quickly. I grunted.

The pressure kept building up, it didn't feel like it was going to stop anytime soon.

Then I felt the baby traveling down.

I had to push.

The pressure was a lot to bear. I started screaming.

My body started pushing I couldn't stop it. 

Side note: whenever I hear about people telling the mom not to push, I'm like, "you can't NOT push. Your body is doing it for you. You can't stop it. It just does it for you." Anyways.

I could hear the pace of the room picking up.

Someone told me to roll onto my back because I had been on my side for the last 10 minutes.

And I was thinking, "UH. I'm in the middle of pushing here. I'll try????"

They helped me onto my back and someone quickly grabbed my feet and set them on the foot rest thingy.

This whole time the pressure did not die down and I was screaming and grunting.

My body kept pushing when I really wanted to take a breather so I could take a deep breath with each push. But it seemed like it was just one giant continuous push.

Then I felt something hanging out down there when the doctor said, "one more push and the head is out!"

What went through my head at that point was, "already????"

So I tried grabbing a quick breath and PUSH.

The head was out.

The doctor told me to take a quick break. I was relieved that his head poked out, but to be honest I just wanted to keep pushing because it was not very comfortable having somebody half-inside half-outside of you.

It wasn't even a minute later when I got the green light to push again.

PUSHHHH. And I felt his body slip out of me.

I deflated like a balloon, lying on the bed, exhausted and trying to catch my breath.

Holy cow. That was one fast, intense and exhausting birth.

I think I laid there for a good 30 minutes before I felt like I had gained my energy back.

And, that, is the birth story of our Levi Gale.

Speaking of his name, we didn't finalize on his name until a day after he was born.

It was a battle between Levi and Hudson. While we liked how Hudson sounded, it didn't really have a meaning. Meanings are important to us, so we decided on Levi.

Here's a little background story on the name: Levi Gale.

Levi came from the Levites in the book of Joshua. They were the only tribe that was granted the inheritance of God, which was the presence of God Himself. This mirrors the presence of God Himself we get through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. A beautiful picture we want behind Levi's name.

Gale is to honor my father who passed away this March. My father's name was in Chinese but Gale came the closest phonetically, so we chose it as a middle name. I hope and pray that one day Levi will meet his grandpa in heaven :)

This pregnancy has been such a journey. I am sure there is a purpose behind all the pre-term labor shenanigans; I wish I could tell you what it is but I have no idea.

I'm hoping someday I could look back and understand why God made it happen, but until then I shall go on living knowing that we are in God's good hands. :)