Here is both mine and Jesse's account of Weston's birth. It's really long but overall a good read. If you want the details of the birth read my account. If you want the emotional experience of the birth read Jesse's. Better yet just be well rounded and read both!
Weston's birth from mommy's eyes:
It was the 12th of November and it was for me, just another school day. I woke up feeling pretty good. I went to class at 7:45 in the morning. Towards the end of the class I started to feel uncomfortable. By my 9:45 class my back felt like someone was stabbing me with a knife. I spend most of my second class listening to the lecture from the hallway, pacing, and stretching. By the time I got home my back was absolutely killing me! I had barely sat down with my heat pack when Jesse called. Our real estate agent had a house she wanted to show us. So I met Jesse at her office and we drove out to the middle of no where to look at this house (luckily her car had heated seats). When we got home I got my heat pack and laid down to take a nap.
I was woken up a short time later by the dull stabbing in my back. Jesse called to see if he could get anything on his way home from work and I told him about my back. I jokingly said, "I think I'm in labor!" Though I never imagined I was actually IN labor. The contractions started to come and I was still uncertain I was in labor. I kept thinking they were just braxton hicks. I wasn't due for 2 weeks and everyone said my first baby would be late. I think I was trying to pretend I wasn't in labor because I wasn't ready to have a baby. We hadn't even packed the hospital bag or typed our birth plan!
When Jesse got home we started timing my contractions they were 2 minutes apart but were only lasting 30-45 seconds. I took a shower while Jesse started typing our birth plan. Soon my contractions were a minute and a half apart but still only lasting 30-45 seconds. We decided that now would probably be a good time to pack the bags. That's when things started moving faster than I was ready for. (Warning: if your not comfortable with birth or descriptions of the bodily fluids skip to the next paragraph.) At about 6:30 pm I started bleeding more than just typical labor spotting. I called my midwife and she said I should come up to the hopsital to be on the safe side. We left thinking we would be back and didn't take anything with us. When we got there I was only dilated to a 3 but my contractions were a minute apart. My midwife said the bleeding wasn't normal but wasn't super concerning either. Since I was almost a four (the minimum they like you to be dilated to before letting you stay at the hospital) my midwife said I should go walk and then they would check me again. At that point if I hadn't progressed they would send me home to labor for awhile more. I went for my walk, came back, and was only monitored for a few minutes before Weston's heart rate fell practically off the charts. They continued to monitor me for the standard 20 minutes and his heart rate dropped twice more and the bleeding became more heavy. Even though I was still only dilated to a 3 my midwife came in to inform me that the bleeding combined with his little heart rate stunts meant I was at the hospital to stay until I had the baby (this was about 8pm). ***Shout out to Ben for finishing packing our hospital bag and bringing it up to us!!
Every time I stood up, changed positions, or tried to walk around Weston's heart rate plummeted. So I was confined to my bed, hooked up to machines, for the rest of labor. My original intention was to do a natural labor. However, my plan was to use movement, hot tubs, and back massage/pressure to help me get through it. Not only was I stuck in bed but I had to lay in very specific positions without moving in order to keep his heart rate in a healthy zone and avoid a c-section. I labored like that for about 2 hours but finally threw in the towel. I was having extreme back labor and in the positions I was laying Jesse couldn't even reach my back to apply pressure. Despite what I had originally wanted I went ahead and got the epidural. After that things seemed to fly by. Occasionally Weston's heart would dip and a team of nurses would come in to rotate my position. I tried to sleep but only slept for 4-5 hours. It was worse than waiting for Christmas, I was so excited I couldn't manage to stay asleep. While Jesse slept I watched movies. Finally at 7:30 the morning of the 13th I was so bored I made Jesse get up and play cards with me. As soon as we started playing my midwife came in and checked me and said I was ready to push. For someone who has been laboring for 21+ hours that is great news!
I pushed for about 50 minutes or so. It was pretty intense though. We were trying to push as hard and fast as possible because Weston had been/was so stressed. His heart dipped a million times during pushing and all I could think was if I don't push this baby out soon they're going to have to do a c-section. That was great motivation. Before I knew what was happening Weston was out and crying, I was crying, and Jesse was crying. Weston only got to stay with us for 5 minutes before he was taken to be weighed, measured, etc. During all of that they were trying to get him to breath to a point where they could pass him. He was only breathing at 80% efficiency and to be cleared babies have to be breathing at at least 90% efficiency. They took him to the NICU to see if they could clear his lungs to improve his breathing. While there, they discovered he also had a very high fever. Unable to improve his breathing combined with his fever he was admitted to the NICU. Jesse got to go in and see him (not hold him) but I had to wait until I had taken a shower, after my epidural wore off. Even though my epidural had only worn off half (at this point I was really regretting getting it) I insisted they help me into the shower so I could leave my delivery room and go see my baby! It was the most tortuous hour of my life.
I remember being wheeled into the NICU. I was on one side of Weston and Jesse on the other. Surrounded by tons of machines and only being able to reach in with my finger and touch him and Jesse doing the same. At that moment I tried to comprehend what was happening. I was a mother. At that point I remember feeling extremely guilty. In every birth story ever told the mother talks about how when she first held the baby she was filled with an incomprehensible love for that child. I loved Weston from the moment I saw him but it wasn't as "lay down my life" intense as I imagined it would be. I assure all moms out there that if you don't feel it at first it will come. Without even realizing it you will look at your perfect miracle one day and feel the most powerful serge of intense and warming love for them.
Jesse and I didn't get to hold Weston for the first 24 hours of his life. Holding him was hardly the experience I thought it would be. With all the wires and tubes it was so hard to hold him let alone feed him. Despite the difficulty it was worth it to have that baby close to me.
Weston's birth was scary. I was upset when I didn't have the natural peaceful personal experience I wanted with my husband and our new son. I wanted so many things from the experience that I ended up getting, just not in the way I expected. Jesse and I had spent 9 months praying and pondering decisions about Weston's birth, though I felt like hardly any of our decisions mattered. Throughout the whole experience I remember feeling so calm. I wasn't worried about Weston and I was happy in a way that he was in the NICU because I knew they were helping him to be healthy and strong. I know that I could not have felt the peace I felt throughout the whole experience if it wasn't for my Heavenly Father. I knew he had a plan for me and for my family. I knew that I would have all eternity to hold my baby and make up for the time lost right after his birth. I knew that Weston would come home healthy and strong. My blessing was to be able, in that moment, to see through Heavenly Father's eyes. To see the whole picture and because I could see it, I was calm. As a new mother that was the greatest gift I could have had. I for some reason am having troubles writing my feelings about this experience. It was such a special and spiritual experience that I am blocked from recalling all the emotional details. However, I can say that this experience was like taking a little glimpse into heaven.
Weston's birth from daddy's view:
The whole experience to me taught me two things: childbirth is a miracle and my wife (and womanhood) is amazing.
Everyone always talks about how childbirth is a miracle and that you won't know what that means until it happens. I have to agree. We had taken the local child-birthing class, read a few books, counseled with friends and family, and made our (very specific) plans. We thought we were as good as child-birthing pros. But in the end, all that stuff hardly mattered. Not so say preparation for such an event is unnecessary - quite the contrary - but I'll get to that later.
It also seems like a majority of people we talk to had some sort of complication or scare during pregnancy or delivery. Most making reference to their "miracle baby." The fact is, every child is a miracle. There really are so many things that can (and do) go wrong. The fact that Weston made it through some of the hard things he went through during pregnancy and birth is truly a miracle. And by "miracle" I mean a gift given through God's grace. There is simply no other explanation. Weston came into our lives through God's will. It was completely in his hands (well, you know, after we did our little part there at the beginning).
Since he came two weeks early, it all just kind of sprung up on us so quickly. We were upset/distressed/concerned combined with about 50 other different emotions when his little heart started to show some issues. It was so hard to believe that it was actually happening. And absolutely nothing was going how we planned. I don't think I actually grasped what was going on until I saw the top of his little head stick out. That's also when I realized, "Oh crap, I have no idea how to take care of this little guy." But little by little, push after push, Weston started to make his way into the earth. When he finally made it out, all fear was gone for a moment and all that was left were love and joy. For a minute, that place was like a temple to me. I stood bawling in amazement at what had just happened. God had entrusted me with one of His special little children. And he was absolutely beautiful. That is an indescribable feeling.
This is where the second part comes in. Rachel is an amazing woman. We men think we are tough, but I'll tell you what, I don't think I could have handled what Rachel went through as well as she did (if at all). Not just the pain of having a baby pushed out of your body. But her attitude and her spirit were so bright, so positive, so faithful. Though she was in pain and nothing was going right, she showed such faith in herself, in her God given gifts, and in her Heavenly Father who she knew was in control.
Even though it was far from the best delivery experience, I really am happy that we took the classes and read the books and stuff. I can't imagine what it would have been like to go into that experience ignorantly. I don't think we would have been able to be as calm as we were. Not only were our minds at ease (mostly), our spirits were open to the comfort and peace of the Savior.
Through all of the worry and stuff, Rachel was my rock. She was entitled to be the one to hold him close and feed him and bond with him and share these special moments with him, but she couldn't. But she was so patient and calm and comforting to me. I always knew I married an angel. That day, I really saw her amazing power and strength. And I've continued to see it in the past months as she has cared for him with such love and patience.
We love our Weston and are so grateful for the blessing he is in our lives. What a joy these past six months have been! He was indeed worth it!!