Jaxson's Birth Story
You may have seen the TV shows and movies that dramatically portray birth as a medical emergency. Clearly, a Hollywood labor differs from what labor can be like.
I think I should begin by saying my husband and I made the decision to have a natural home birth. Although it is not for everyone, it was a great decision for us. (And no, I’m not a hippie.)
If you are pregnant or planning on it, I would suggest you do your research and do what you feel most comfortable doing. You have options.
Here is my story. Once there was a women who got pregnant, and 40 weeks later there was a baby. The end. Although it would be nice if it was that easy, I am thankful for the longer story. I’ve learned so much on this amazing journey.
I believe God designed every woman’s body to be able to do what she is designed to do. He created perfect human bodies capable of delivering a baby without intervention. He knew exactly what He was doing when he created a woman.
One thing to consider, the outcome of the birth may be determined on how you care and nourish your body.
I had a baby…or at least I think I did. It came before I knew it, and it is still difficult for me to believe. I keep feeling like I am watching someone’s child in the “extended stay”(However, I hope his parents don’t mind, we have decided we are going to keep him forever.)
Due to a recent miscarriage a few months prior, I was staying busy and trying to keep my mind off of the loss of my angel baby.
Once I found out I was expecting again, I was determined to raise a healthy baby; taking greater precautions and care of my body.
I went by myself to the first prenatal visit with the doctor. My husband was unable to come with me. I sat in the waiting room for about an hour before going in, then the visit lasted about 10 or 15 minutes. While the doctor was trying to listen for a heartbeat, she abruptly left the room with no explanation, simply stating “uhhh, I’ll be right back…” Being left alone, it felt like an eternity before she return to the room. Memories flooded into my mind of the previous appointment just months before when I found out I had lost my little baby.
Finally, she returned pushing a cart with equipment on it. She decided to do an ultrasound. There on the monitor we saw a little fluttering of the heart. It was tiny but it was there. I felt a wave of relief wash over me. Feeling grateful that I could share the good news with my husband. The doctor completed the usual checkup, and she was a little concerned about the length of my cervix. She referred me to a high risk doctor.
A week later my husband and I went to visit the high risk doctor. We had an ultrasound and they measured the baby. The expected due date was November 16th. He saw some concerning things on the ultrasound. He told us that the fluid in the spine was thicker than average for babies at that many weeks along, which usually indicates a Down Syndrome baby. He spoke to us for quite a while, explained the risks, and many options that people will take. He said there was a small chance things could change before I reached 11 weeks. (I was 10 weeks along at that time.)
He recommended doing a blood test to have more answers. We did so.
A little overwhelmed with the unexpected news, we went home in tears. Although, I knew together we would love this baby no matter what.
My husband and I talked and felt a peaceful reassurance that everything would be okay. We knew our baby would be perfect in our eyes.
Many people suggested that we terminate the pregnancy. “It would be such an inconvenienced to keep “that kind” of a child.”
I started drinking Red-Raspberry Leaf tea. It is great for pregnant woman, and swelling. I thought it might help the enlarged spine. I knew if the child was Down Syndrome, it wouldn’t change the physical outcome, but I decided it would be beneficial to drink it.
We returned to the high risk doctor at 11 weeks. The doctor did another ultrasound and he was amazed at the changes that occurred from the week prior. Statistically speaking, he said that there was a lower chance, although there is still many factors that we need to be addressed. We still were waiting for blood test results to come back. They recommended another test, amniocentesis, which we denied. I knew that test wouldn’t change any outcome, and I didn’t want to increase the chances of another miscarriage.
We hadn’t told anyone in the family about the pregnancy yet. We were going to mail my parents an announcement to their hotel as they celebrated their 30th year anniversary. Their plans kept changing because of weather and timing, so we kept putting it off. I finally mailed it to my brother Alexander at their home, so he could surprise them. They were so excited to here the news.
My husbands parents came down for his birthday. We told them and they were thrilled!
We soon received a call regarding the results of the blood test. The results were negative. I asked if the test revealed the gender of the baby. The nurse informed me, my baby was a little boy.
I surprised my husband with a scavenger hunt to reveal the gender.
Now we had ruled out most of the unknowns. I was thankful I didn’t go through the other testing and was so happy to find out I was no longer classified as “high risk.”
When the time was right, I wanted to deliver a baby in water, I don’t recall where this idea began. I soon learned that water births are more common than I realized. There are even birthing rooms with tubs in some hospitals where you can deliver your baby in water.
Mentally, I thought of a hospital full of noise with lights, beeping, and commotion. When I thought of the home setting, I imagined a quiet, peaceful place—this is what I really wanted.
During my research, I stumbled onto a place called Well Rounded Momma. They had an upcoming open house so I invited my husband to come. He reluctantly joined me.
At the open house, my husband asked many medical, thought provoking questions. To me it sounded like a different language! I was unsure how they would respond to his questions. It was such a relief to hear them answer his questions with confidence.
After the presentation, they introduced the entire staff. We both felt drawn to one midwife in particular, Tiffanie Gonzales.
I’m grateful she also understood the medical terminology of my husband’s detailed questions and she could easily answer them. I believe it made my husband feel more comfortable. We both felt good about the decision to have a home birth. I was so thankful for his support.
I started more faithfully taking Dr. Christopher’s Vitalerbs and Dr. Christopher’s Calcium nourishing herbal formulas. I also massaged with Wheat Germ Oil morning and night.
During our first appointment with Tiffanie she checked my blood pressure, and listened to little mans heart beat. “Perfect little baby.” We had as much time as we needed with Tiffanie to ask our questions and there was no rush to get us out of the office. I loved that, she seemed to genuinely care about us. I could visit the “doctor” on my lunch hour! It was amazing.
Each visit we built more of a relationship with Tiffanie, and Amy, a student doula at Well Rounded Momma. Six weeks before my expected due date, I began adding Dr. Christopher’s Birth Prep six week herbal formula to my daily routine.
I continued to work full time, and to stay active. I would ride my bicycle to work every day that I could, take walks and go swimming on my lunch breaks. Luckily, I lived down the street. I soon had to stop riding my bike due to Nevada’s heat waves.
November was going to be a busy month for us. My husband was graduating on November 1st, November 11th he would be taking his national boards, and the baby’s due on the 16th.
October we had little man’s room set up and ready to go. November came around, and we had our tub and equipment. We moved our kitchen table, and brought our spare bed to our dining room.
My mom flew from Iowa to Henderson to provide comfort and assistance to me before and after I had the baby. Together, we laughed because several occasions My husband would talk to my belly and say, “baby…please don’t come early. I have ___ that still needs to be done.” Or “don’t come yet” etc. due to his busy schedule.
My mom and I would get something finished and prepared, then we would say, “ok baby now you can come. All is ready.”
Got all the supplies the midwife recommended, “Ok baby… Now you can come.”
Mopped the floor and deep cleaned the garage. “Ok baby… NOW you can come.”
We seemed to always find something that needed to be done. Then we would say, “Ok! Baby! NOW you can come. All is ready!”
The house was the cleanest it has ever been, from the ceiling fans to the baseboards; organizing every nook and cranny; to the cars and mailbox. We concluded that little man wanted everything perfect for his arrival.
After completing his medical boards, my husband gave the official permission, “ok baby, you can come now. Daddy is finished.” We laughed. (Baby was a good boy) He waited for His daddy and I to complete all we felt that was needed to be done.
Finally, Monday, November 16th, our due date was here. During a game of Monopoly at 5:45 pm, I began having small contractions. Not knowing how long they would last, or if they would last, or if I was having Braxton Hicks contractions. For some reason that night, the Monopoly game just wasn’t that fun for me. Not letting my husband know what was happening, I humored him, and I continued playing the game.
I remained silent to not worry my husband. I didn’t say anything to my mom either, she just knew. So mom and I just started laughing and singing, “I am feeling very oooooopen.” (A song off of the Birth Story from Ina May Gaskin.)
That night I slept well.
Upon awaking Tuesday morning, my husband left for more medical training. As I lay there feeling fully rested, I felt like I had done a strenuous ab workout the entire night. When I got up, I lost my mucous plug.
About 12:00 pm, noon, I had more mucous.
At 2:00 pm, my husband and I had an appointment with our midwife Tiffanie.
During the checkup, she felt my stomach and I was having a contraction. I didn’t say anything. Although Tiffanie said, “I think you’re having a contraction my dear.. we’ll wait for that to end.”
My husband asked her to check me. I was dilated to 4 cm. As we left she said that she thought she may see me a bit later that night or the next day.
I started to have some irregular contractions. We decided to go “walking” to pass the time. We walked around the mall, returned the unenjoyable Monopoly game my husband had purchased the day before and went to dinner. We had Mexican food.
During dinner, I would pause in the middle of a sentence or while chewing my food as I would have a small contraction.
We had been timing contractions, and they were averaging 20-30 seconds long and 10-15 min apart when sitting. 6-8 min apart when walking.
On our way out to the car, I would walk, then stop and slow down, then walk fine, then slow down, due to the tightening of my stomach. This happened a couple of times. I felt bad for the people walking behind us.
At 7:00pm, my husband had previous plans to go to a movie with friends and asked if he could still go. Of course, I said it was ok if he wanted to go. I figured there was no sense in having him wait in anticipation. If I needed him I would let him know.
While he was gone, I got in a nice relaxing bath with Epsom salts.
Tiffanie had recommended I try to get some rest. I got out of the tub and Mom and I climbed into my bed and listened to relaxation music and meditation for labor. It was good to hear reinforcing words about “opening” and the “rushes” (contractions) were hugging my baby to make a safe delivery. Each contraction mom would start the timer. I would count slowly in my mind backwards from 10..9..8…7.. Etc. they got easier each time. They averaged 4 min apart and 45-50 seconds long. I decided maybe I better have him come home. He had 20 min left in his movie.
About 10:00 pm my husband came home while I was still resting in bed. He began to fill the birthing tub.
I put on the skirt I planned to birth in, but due to baby being lower, it was too tight. I found a different outfit that felt more comfortable.
We ran out of hot water from the faucet. Mom and my dear husband began boiling water to warm the tub.
I put headphones on and rolled on the exercise ball. I listened to the same relaxation visualization audio that I did earlier, ignoring everything else going on to mentally prepare. I blocked out all my surroundings. It helped me when I realized that my contractions lasted a minute or less. I knew I could do anything for a minute. Time passed much more quickly when I counted backwards.
I felt relieved when Tiffanie arrived at 11:30 pm and Amy the doula right behind her. At this point, I couldn’t ignore the contractions any longer. Right as she was walking in the door was when I felt lots of rectal pressure. I could tell baby was moving. I rocked back and forth on the ball.
Around midnight, I asked about the water in the birthing tub and asked if it was ready. It was 101 degrees, and I decided to get in. It felt good. It was just what I needed.
I kept moving in different positions while in the water. Due to me needing to concentrate, I felt bad I had been ignoring my husband. I needed to focus without distractions. I asked my husband if he would like to get in with me. He did, which I was grateful because I needed him.
Soon after I was trying to find a comfortable position. I tried leaning on him. Then all fours, then leaning over the tub. I found leaning on my husband was most comfortable. Tiffanie reminded me I needed to breathe slower. I was breathing for baby too.
Amy would check the baby’s heart rate and he was never distressed. Tiffanie said “your boy doesn’t mind labor.” Each time Amy checked me with the Doppler, I tried to focus harder because I would loose my concentration. The third time I pushed her away.. I needed space. I felt the urge to push. I leaned back on My husband again. With each rush I would push on the walls of the tub. Tiffanie reminded me by pushing that way, it tightens my lower half of my body. She said to grab the back of my knees and pull them to my chest. Immediately as I did, I felt movement and stretching that I never had felt before. Once the contraction stopped, I let go and tried to rest.
I was so thirsty. I drank water. Each time I took a drink that relaxed me more than anything else. I think I drank about a gallon.
I leaned on my husband and breathed. He was so sweet to try to help pull my knees up, but I needed to do it myself. I didn’t want anyone touching me.
Labor isn’t really something you can prepare yourself for. Although, I knew I was designed to do it. At one point I did have doubts, and I thought it was time for someone else to do this… But then I came to my senses and realized no one else could. I had to do it, and no way to stop it. So let’s do this.
Baby did good. I pushed, Tiffanie and Amy both said “that’s it” and wanted me to feel his head was crowning. I didn’t think I could keep my focus enough and feel down there. I decided to stay focused. One more time, and I pushed and he was out. Head and body all in one push. Little man was under the water for less than 12 seconds. I didn’t expect baby to be placed in my arms that soon!! He was perfect. It was 1:13 am, Wednesday morning on November 18th.
I could hear emotion in My sweet husband’s voice… “Our baby…” he would say. We let the cord stop pulsing before it was cut. She massaged my belly a little to encourage the placenta to be birthed.
As little man came out she said his apgar score was 10! He had a small tongue tie, we had it clipped so he could nurse better. We decided it was probably a good idea for all of us to get out of the water soon, as one of the tub rings was going flat. Thank goodness it held up until little man was born. My mom held baby as I got out of the tub and my husband helped Amy drain the tub.
I went over to the bed we had in our dining room. Tiffanie helped me try to encourage him to latch to nurse. It took him a little bit, but he finally did a little sucking. It was tricky.
Tiffanie and Amy hung around and examined the placenta. I had 2 separate sacks attached the placenta. I thought that was interesting.
Tiffanie and Amy waited a couple hours and then did the newborn exam. He was 7 lbs 1 oz, 20 inches long. His head was 14″ in diameter, which was larger than the average baby. He had long legs also. He was perfect. His little bum so tiny even the newborn diapers would drown him. I fit him in premie clothes, just his legs are a little long for them. His body from his neck to bottom is an “octave” long on my hands. His head looked the size of a softball 🙂 he is perfect in every way.
My husband went upstairs to make a few phone calls to announce the news to his family. He came downstairs, as he called my dad. I heard the emotion in my daddy’s voice. He is a grandpa! He wanted some pictures to show off at work the next day.
Tiffanie and Amy packed up and left around 5:00 am that morning. After birth, I was amazed at how good I felt, I wasn’t tired at all. I was amazed at everything that had transpired. All I did was stare at that baby and fall madly, deeply, in love with our little one.
Thank you Tiffanie and Amy for all your support and love. Xoxo