"Our women are not incredible because they have managed to avoid the difficulties of life—quite the opposite. They are incredible because of the way they face the trials of life...They remain remarkably strong and immovable and true to the faith. Our sisters throughout the Church consistently “succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees.”
Elder Quentin L. Cook
Since quite a few people have asked for details about Levi's birth, here are the essentials:
At around 10:30pm on Oct. 20th I noticed that the cramps I'd been having off and on for several days had become much more frequent and regular. I wasn't convinced that I was 'in labor' but thought that these cramps might be an early indication that real 'labor' might start soon. I went to bed only to discover that laying down was most definitely a bad plan; that made the contractions (which I still thought might just be "cramps")almost unbearable. Even though I wasn't sure if these were even real contractions, I figured I'd better time a few just to see if there was a pattern; sure enough, they were coming about 2-3 minutes apart! They weren't lasting very long and were more uncomfortable than they were painful (as long as I wasn't laying down) so I thought we probably still had a ways to go before "active" labor. Still, a little after 11pm, I told Isaac I thought I was in labor and asked him to go to Walmart to get a yoga ball. I'm pretty sure he didn't believe that I was actually in labor, but went to get the ball and got it all set up for me (incidentally, I'm not usually this unprepared, but I really didn't think I'd go into labor for several more days and had a plan to buy the ball "soon"...the best laid plans and all that). I labored through the contractions for another couple of hours, watching TV and sitting on the yoga ball until they were consistently 1 minute long and 2 minutes apart. At that point, I asked Isaac to call the midwife so we could meet her at the birth center. He did and we set off to the birth center. Even as we were leaving, I wasn't convinced this was "it"; I told Isaac that I would be extremely unhappy if this was a false alarm and they sent us home again. He laughed; I'm pretty sure he still wasn't convinced I was really in labor (who can blame him? I wasn't convinved I was really in labor) but off we went. We arrived at about 2:30am and got settled in with the student midwives; I found that as long as I sat on my little yoga ball and held Isaac's hands, I could relax and manage the contractions without too much trouble; they were uncomfortable, but not at all painful in the way I was expecting. Laying down or sitting on anything else was extremely unpleasant, so I stayed as much as I could with my little ball. Jeanetta, the midwife, arrived shortly after 3am, checked and announced that I was about 6cm dilated. Horray! This was "real" labor and we were going to have a baby soon. I moved to the birth tub and labored in the water through another 45 minutes or so of increasingly intense contractions. At about 3:45 I felt a ton of pressure to push and told Jeanetta; she checked again and told me I was ready to go; if I felt the urge to push I should go ahead. I did (holding onto Isaac's hands the whole time; his poor fingers) and after about 30 minutes of pushing, little Levi was born!
Things really did go that fast! From the time I was aware that I was having regular contractions to the time Levi was born was only about 6 hours. The labor and delivery went exactly as I hoped they would; Isaac was the best support I could have ever asked for, the birth center staff was amazing and little Levi is perfect. We are very blessed.