Thursday, April 18, 2013

Expect the Unexpected

Landon Clark Westfall arrived five days early on April 6th, at 5:05 pm. He weighed 7 lbs. 13 oz and was 19.25 inches long.

I was fully not expecting an early arrival of this precious baby, since his big sister came 8 days late, and I just had this feeling that since I was so darn uncomfortable and ginormous that of course he would come after my due date.

I also wasn’t expecting labor to start the way it did, or shall we say my ‘trip to the hospital’ since it wasn’t really labor that made us get in the car at 1:00 a.m.

But then, with babies, you must learn to expect the unexpected, right?

Here is the gist of my ‘birth story’ (the part appropriate for a public blog):

I basically had one more thing to get for the nursery on Friday, April 5th: a little lantern lamp from Ikea. So we made the trip over to Portland and on our way back I joked with Joe, “watch, I’ll go into labor tonight knowing the nursery is finished.”

That was sign number one.

Then, that night, as I was preparing for labor by writing some Bible verses down and going over the hospital bag list with Joe (telling him the ‘last minute’ things he needed to be aware of to throw in the bag), I started to feel anxious that Joe wasn’t quite as ready as I needed him to be to support me during labor.

So at 11 pm that night, we got into a little argument. I was feeling nervous because my platelets had been low (platelets = what makes your blood clot) which meant I couldn’t get an epidural if they dropped any lower. This in turn meant I really needed Joe to be the super labor coach if I had to give birth without any pain meds.  Even though he was amazing with Kate’s birth, I just can’t help myself: I like to control things, and at that moment I really needed his assurance that he was up to the job (i.e. he had read over my ‘notes’ and ‘visualizations’ of what to say to support and comfort me and help me to breath and relax, etc.).

So it didn’t help when things were said like, “I mean Jennie, I’m like a boy scout – I’m always prepared.” That’s not what I needed to hear in that moment.

I went to sleep in tears. Sign number 2.

Sign number 3 was the fact that I went to sleep late. It was probably 11:30 or 11:45 when I finally conked out.  Going into labor tired was one of my worst fears, especially with the added reality of the platelet situation.

So, of course, when my water broke abruptly at 12:20 a.m., just a half hour after falling asleep, I was thinking, “Go Figure!”.

But it was still very unexpected. I mean, who has their water break, unless you’re on tv? (Fewer than 15% of pregnant women have their water break before labor). Plus, I was in bed. Asleep.

I couldn’t believe it.

We had to go to the hospital right then since I needed antibiotics (I was Group B positive, for those of you who care/know what that is). So there went my plan of laboring at home for a few hours. And then, when labor didn’t start in the car, or overnight in the hospital, or by walking around and up and down stairs in the morning time, I knew what was coming: induction by pitocin – the dreaded drug I had heard horror stories about. Oh, and my platelets had dipped below the line so unless they went back up during active labor, there would be no epidural relief.

Things were not going as planned, but, I knew I would get to meet my little boy soon, and I also knew that people were praying for all of us. And that’s what got me through.

The rest is easy – I started pitocin around 9:30 (it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought – I just needed a tiny bit), labor started progressing, and by the time I was at a 8.5 cm or so, my blood work came back showing my platelets had improved so I was able to get a perfectly light epidural in the 11th hour (thank you Jesus!).

Landon was born healthy and beautiful and perfect. I got to hold him on my chest right afterwards and it was such an amazing moment. I never had that with Kate since she had aspirated meconium pretty severely and was whisked away to the NICU. So it was extra, extra special to hold my baby, the one we’d waited so long for, and just rejoice in that moment.

Thank you to all of you who prayed for us and supported us during this journey. Landon is a perfect gift.

I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made,
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
Psalm 139:14-15

Every good and perfect gift is from above…
James 1:17

Here are some photos (ok, lots!) of our first few days together.

Only hours old...
Daddy very intense and focused on a diaper change.
Meeting baby brother for first time... she is thrilled.

Aunt Maggie
Uncle Ben and Aunt Maggie
Proud daddy.
Precious Landon
Alert and awake. For a minute.
This is right when my mom first walked in the room. She was giddy.
Tired mama and sweet babe.
Sweet sleep.
About to go home!
First car ride.

Kate greets Landon at home...
Me and my children. So crazy I have 2!
Love my baby brother!
Grandmama and grandson.
First day at home.
'I want to hold him!'
Our first walk, out by Columbia River.
Asleep in Ergo.
Yes, he sucks his thumb.
Those little burpy smiles... or whatever they are. They are cute!
Our hands.
Grandmama and grandkids!
My mom, me, and Landon.
Story time with Daddy.


  1. So awesome Jennie!!!! That part about holding him on your chest after praying and waiting so long made me start crying all over again. We are rejoicing with you guys in this miracle. Can't wait to meet him!

  2. What a roller coaster labor and delivery can be! I am so happy your second ride had fewer bumps. It's funny how similar our first and second births are. How sweet it is to hold your newborn baby seconds after his birth! I'm very happy for you, Joe and Kate.

  3. Love it! What a sweet family! Thank you for sharing!

  4. Wonderful. Beautiful. Heartwarming. Love all of this. And I never knew Joe was a Boy Scout.

  5. SO happy for you guys! Maybe someday Landon and Liam will get to meet. :)