The Birth of Porter Levi

Just as the New Year seems to creep up quickly and unexpectedly, so did this baby as his parents were celebrating New Year’s Eve. Little did they know they were about to be celebrating so much more…

Find the stories of Lillian’s second and third babies here.

The Birth of Porter Levi
By Lillian Keil

How to throw a raging New Year’s Eve party: Invite your friends over to ring in the holiday with gourmet sliders and wooden airplanes, then spend the entire meal having contractions on the couch, trying to convince yourself and everyone else present that you are not really in labor. At 9pm admit that this might be the real deal and call the birthing tub rental company to let them know your “two-weeks late” baby is actually going to be a week early. Text the midwife and hastily gather half the items from the home birth supply list. In an effort to fill the birthing tub: empty the house hot water tank, drain the hot water dispenser, boil 4 pots of water, and run a second hose from your neighbor’s place to finish the job. Climb in and have a baby…

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Things I remember: making lots of one-word demands for “ice” and “help.” Feeling sad that I had put Simon to bed without any warning of the changes to come. Asking to put my contacts in so I could see my son when he came. My arms falling asleep from dangling out of the tub. The camera click, click, clicking in the background. The gold NYE dress the birth tub rental gal was wearing and that she decided to stay, crying quietly in the kitchen while he was born.

By the time I got in the water, the contractions had become very intense but the time between them seemed long and almost serene. Between bouts of excruciating pain, I would become strangely clearheaded and sometimes talkative. I remember once looking around the room and seeing all my favorite people there, feeling so happy and normal that I asked the midwife if maybe the baby had gone the other way and I wasn’t in labor anymore… only to be bowled over by a contraction so intense it convinced me I was dying.

I did not die; instead I pushed. Simon slept miraculously through my loud screaming, and eventually Jason got in the tub with me. My water broke and it was clear; I felt the burning and bursting and at 1:55am he was born: waxy and wet and so, so perfect.

We stayed there in the tub gawking and trying to keep warm, the cord pulsing and the baby crying and me saying over and over that I could not believe he was here early and with such short labor. We tried out the name we’d chosen and it fit… hello, Porter.

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Porter must like champagne and fireworks, because New Year’s Day is a pretty special birthday. His name means “gatekeeper,” which is rather apt since he arrived right as the gates to 2014 swung open. His middle name “Levi” is a tribute to Jason’s family, a tribe of worshippers like the Biblical Levites.

Although one of us is a bit sore and one of us is a bit jealous, our family of four is doing great, and we could not be prouder to introduce to you our smallest and newest…

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Porter Levi Keil, 1/1/14. Happy new year, indeed!

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