Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Westin Enters the World | A Birth Story

Short version of the story:

He's here!

Westin Michael Daetwyler
Born at 1:25 a.m. on November 25th, 2014
9 lbs 1 oz   |   22 inches
32 hours of labor, 4 hours of pushing, then ultimately a c-section.

And now the long version, if you want to stick around for a little while...
(It's pretty detailed, for two reasons: I want to always remember everything about this event.
And, I kind of couldn't get enough of reading other people's birth stories in my twelfth hour, er, ninth month of pregnancy. So I figure I should offer mine to the world as well.)

Here we are at 39 weeks, the last of the belly shots. Westin and I were visiting the doctor twice a week at this point because of one random high blood pressure reading, so we were getting pretty sick of going in for those non-stress tests that he kept passing just fine. To be honest though, I never felt a huge desire for him to just GET HERE like so many 39-weeks pregnant women out there. I was so excited to meet him, and so happy to be done being pregnant soon, but I wasn't wishing away any of our final days as just me and Michael. We went to the Hunger Games premier, ate at Tucano's with a lot of friends, hit up the Cheesecake Factory -- we made the most of that last weekend as just the two of us. Then when Sunday morning rolled around, I could tell things were about to happen.

I stayed home from church that morning because I just felt so off. And maybe I had Michael leave early and come home too -- don't judge me. That afternoon I fell asleep, and woke up at 5pm with my first regular contractions. Braxton Hicks had been around a while, but these were different and so regular. I timed them at 7 minutes apart, and they stayed like that all evening and through the night. I had planned on calling my doctor when they were 5 minutes apart, but that never happened. Instead I spent the night wandering around my house finding different positions and distractions to deal with the intensifying pains. Sometimes I would fall asleep for those sweet 6 minutes between, then the 7th minute brought another painful contraction. I knew Westin was on his way, but I really didn't want to go to the hospital just to be sent home, so I kept waiting and waiting for them to get closer together.

Finally at 6am, after what was easily the longest night of my life, I called the hospital and woke Michael up. Contractions were still 7 minutes apart, but they were getting so much more painful. We took our time packing bags, tidying up, and getting ready to go. I knew they wouldn't let me eat at the hospital so I tried to get some breakfast into my nervous stomach. Before we left for the hospital, I threw up. I could feel that my body was saying, "I don't need anything else to worry about right now, this is baby time." So, we went to the post office (errands wait for no one). And then we went to the hospital. Long drives.

When we arrived at the hospital around 8:30am, they checked me and I was dilated to a 6 and 80% effaced. I was so happy! No going back home for us. We went straight to labor and delivery, and by 12pm I had an epidural and was finally ready to sleep for longer than my 6-minute stretches from the night before. We were feeling great at this point -- I thought I'd be holding my baby by early afternoon.

At 2pm I was dilated to a 7 and 100% effaced, and at 3pm they broke my water to see if things would speed up. Things still progressed slowly -- at 5pm I was at an 8, but Westin had moved down and things were still looking good. By 9pm I was finally to a 10, and more than ready to start pushing. I wanted to meet Westin so badly at this point!

But, it didn't go so smoothly from then on. At that point we learned that Westin was face up, which would make things more difficult. I pushed for two hours and he never moved. They turned off my epidural to see if feeling the contractions more would help with the pushing. But it really just made me throw up and gave Michael a taste of what labors are like in the movies. Poor guy, I look back on that part of the process and feel pretty bad for him. But worse for me :)

My doctor did not like how things were progressing at this point. Well, that's because they weren't progressing. After three hours of pushing he told me, "I don't know the reason this baby isn't coming, but it's obvious that there has to be a reason. We're kind of getting into unknown territory here." I knew he wanted to do a c-section, and I was feeling so heartbroken. I can't describe how fiercely I just wanted to hear my baby cry and have him handed to me like I've imagined my entire life. I've never prayed so hard or worked so physically hard for anything than in those hours of pushing. So, I asked my doctor for one more hour. Westin's heart rate was fine on the monitors and had been the whole time, so he let me have my one last try.

And so began that final hour of pushing, at midnight. We tried all sorts of positions, giving it one last effort. I worked so, so hard. It still makes me cry to think about how badly I wanted it to just work how I had always pictured. But by 1am we all knew that this needed to be a c-section. There was no frantic rush or hurried prep -- Westin's heart rate was still looking good, so it was just a calm change in procedure. I wish I would have learned more about c-sections beforehand so that I didn't have to listen to the resident explain all the risks to me right before having one with pretty uneducated ears. I just never thought that would be the route we'd go. But I'm so grateful I live at a time when my baby was still able to be de safely delivered, even if it wasn't how I anticipated.

After laboring Sunday night and all of Monday, I was so incredibly exhausted as they wheeled me into the operating room. I was no longer an active participant in this process, and my mind and body collapsed. I even fell asleep when they were stitching me up. They whisked Westin away to the NICU right when he was born because when they broke my water there was meconium there, so they wanted to check for respiratory issues. I slept for four hours, then they brought him into our room to meet him for the first time. What a precious little soul! That was an emotional time. I can't really describe how odd it felt to work so hard to get my body to do something, something I knew in me was so natural and right, and then just not have it happen. It felt so surreal that he was there in the world, there in my arms -- it was like I couldn't physically believe that he was really there. But I'm so glad he is here, safe and healthy, no matter what route he took.

When they brought him into our room we learned that he was 9 pounds 1 oz... we never saw that coming. Where in the hell me was that baby? I just don't know. But he was healthy and big and pink, and so stinkin' cute. Also, during my c-section they saw that I have a platypelloid (translation: odd-shaped and inconvenient for babies) pelvis. So that, combined with his size, and his face-up position, meant he would have just never come out. Westin's head was so bruised, as well as the backs of both of his arms. Being stuck that long could not have been easy.

We brought Westin home on Thanksgiving Day. So fitting, right? We are so grateful for that little man. It's crazy how special a newborn baby's presence is and how it fills your home. We really love him.

This transition hasn't been all rainbows though, obviously. But in the big picture, it is so wonderful. When I look at this whole new phase of life with an eternal perspective, I just can't believe that I have actually met one of my sweet, dear children. He's here, and we get to spend life getting to know his personality and helping him grow and learn. I am just so grateful he is ours.

Welcome to the family and the world, little Westin! 
We plan on having a good, good life with you.


  1. I shed some tears reading this, Maddie. Congrats. He's beautiful-- And I'm not just saying that like I often do about people's newborns. He really is perfect.

  2. Me too! Wet cheeks! I was so worried about you and the baby, and so relieved to hear that everything turned out well! He's super precious! Make sure to take lots of photos and keep up this blog!

  3. Love love LOVE this story. He is precious and I have no idea where that big baby was hiding in your little body. My sister has the same issue with C-Sections...her body just cannot physically deliver the baby normally. It sounds like things went as smooth as they could. Proud of you Maddie Moo! Love you and that sweet Westin!

  4. Stop making me cry! I'm so glad that you have your sweet baby and that you're doing well! I hope you're surviving the crazy newborn phase. xoxo

  5. what a beautiful story! I'm so happy he's here safe and sound. and I teared up when i saw that picture of you and him snuggled up in your hospital gown. you shine as a mama! He is so beautiful. So so happy for you! You're amazing!

  6. Such a sweet story! Thank you for sharing!

  7. He is such a beautiful baby! There is nothing like bringing a baby into this world (no matter how they get here). So much love. Congrats!


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