Real Birth Journey: Archer Lane

Birth. It is the most incredible, indescribable, unpredictable and miraculous occurrence. Bringing life into the world is an experience that is personal and precious beyond belief. Each delivery is different to the next, and yet I feel that despite the varying differences it is something so special it can actually bring us altogether. I’m pulling together a range of real birth stories to share in the hope of expanding our knowledge and expectations of birth, and to dwell in the wonder that is the gift of life, in the countless forms it may arrive in!

Name & age at birth:
Morgan Jackson, 23

Due date:

Cravings during pregnancy:
Apples and tomato sauce (I absolutely cannot stand tomato sauce normally)

Worst symptom/s:
Morning sickness the whole way through. I ended up going on medication at 14 weeks so I could actually function. Also, leg cramps and carpel tunnel. 

Biggest concern about birth was:
The unknown! I’m such an organised person and love to plan ahead so not knowing what will happen was hard. I don’t have a high pain threshold either so was very nervous about the contractions and pushing. 

Ideal birth plan was:
For such an organised person the only plan I had was to get him out safely and try to go as natural as possible. 

Hours in labour:
13 hours in total. 

How we went from wombmate to roommate:
On Friday 9th March I hadn’t felt the baby move around as much as I normally had been – he was such an active baby usually and didn’t stop moving. I mentioned it to my husband Chris and said if I still don’t feel him move as much in the morning I’ll call the hospital. On Saturday morning there was no increase in movements so we rang and they asked me to come in for some observations just to make sure everything was ok.

I spent about 4 hours being monitored. Baby’s heart rate was fine but he only moved once in 45 minutes which was not ‘normal’ for him. We decided to go back on Sunday afternoon for further monitoring and go from there as to what to do next. Sunday comes around and after more hours of being monitored and still not a lot of movement I was given two options: to be induced right then and there or wait until Thursday to be induced. I burst into tears while calling my hubby Chris. My heart was saying to be induced now you wouldn’t forgive yourself if something was actually wrong and you waited. However my head was saying to wait until Thursday as you might go into labour naturally earlier and I heard that the pain was worse when being induced, so I was terrified.

6pm I made my decision to be induced. I had the gel inserted and was advised that they would see how it went and if nothing happened overnight they would break my waters at 7am the next morning. After being moved into the maternity ward Chris was asked to leave and I cried and cried. I didn’t want to be left alone. At midnight they inserted more gel and gave me a sleep tablet with the thinking that the gel wouldn’t work and they would break my waters in the morning, they wanted me to at least get a good nights rest.

At 1:30am I woke to the gushing of water and instant pain. I panicked and buzzed for the nurse, who came in and confirmed that my waters had definitely broken and my contractions started straight away. Everything went from 0-100. My contractions were about 5 minutes apart and were lasting about 2 minutes and were all in my back. I couldn’t lay or sit, I had to be standing. I asked if I could call my husband but they said no, not until I’m in a labour suite and needed pain relief. I only lasted until about 2:30-3:00am before asking to be moved so then called hubby – I needed support!

By the time Chris arrived my contractions were only 2 minutes apart and were lasting 2-3 minutes. I was given the gas at first which made me feel really sick. After 4 hours I asked for the epidural – which took 8 attempts to get into my back! Finally I had some relief from the epidural and got some rest between the vomiting. After another 8 hours in labour I finally reached 9cm dilated. However baby was becoming a bit distressed and I had blood in my urine, so I was raced up for an emergency c-section. I was absolutely terrified and upset that it had come this point but I was exhausted and was ready to meet my baby. After all the drugs and sleeping tablet I was completely out to it, I couldn’t keep my eyes open and struggled a lot to stay alert. I was so blessed at 2:07pm, he arrived crying and we had our first cuddle as a family of three. 

Most vivid memory during labour:
Panic when the doctor told me I would be taken up for an emergency C-section after being in labour for 12 hours and finally getting to 9cms dilated 

Most amusing/interesting moment during labour/birth:
When my waters broke – being by myself and feeling a massive gush. It was the weirdest feeling. 

During labour/birth, I definitely did not expect:
To vomit so much. Every time I would try to drink or eat something I would vomit straight away.  

A myth I believed prior that I now don’t is:
That morning sickness stops after the first trimester.

Baby’s name, birth weight and date:
Archer Lane Jackson, 7 pounds 15 ounces, 12/03/2018

Baby’s name was almost:
Didn’t have any other names, we both agreed and it was set in stone. 

Time spent in hospital post birth:
3 days. I wanted to leave earlier however feeding wasn’t established properly.

Best tip/trick you received for those early days:
Skin to skin cuddles instantly soothed Archer and he would fall straight to sleep. 

Top 3 lifesaving items for a newborn: 
Burp cloths, muslin wraps and Raffy (riff raff toy – plays white noise and lullaby and is a great comforter)

If you could go back and speak with your pregnant self, what would you say?
Relax, everything will be ok and to trust my body.

If you could speak with yourself during labour, what would you say?
You can do this and the pain won’t last forever.

If you could speak with yourself on day 3 of having a newborn, what would you say? 
It’s okay to cry and feel your emotions, they will pass. 

Any words for first time mums-to-be nervous about their own upcoming birth?
Trust your maternal instincts. Even as a first time mum it kicks in straight away, you know your baby!

Any further notes you’d like to include:
I was hoping to also bring awareness to Pyloric Stenosis – Archer was feeding well up until 10 days of age, until after one late night feed he power chucked all of his bottle straight back up (and I mean it went 2-3 metres at least). This then became constant for 4 days and we were told it was just reflux and babies can spit up their bottles. However my maternal instincts were telling me there was something more. After two trips to emergency, an ultrasound, X-ray, multiple bloods tests, nasal tubes and weight loss Archer was diagnosed with Pyloric Stenosis which means the muscle at the stomach has basically closed over and is stopping the milk going through and it bounces off and comes straight back up. We were raced down to Royal Hobart Hospital for surgery, and this was the scariest moment of our lives seeing our tiny baby being raced off for surgery. Once the operation was completed we were amazed – within 3 hours Archer was drinking from his bottle and had a full bottle without any vomiting. It was such a quick fix. We were lucky we trusted our parental instincts.

If you have a birth story you’d like to share then please get in touch and let’s start the conversation!

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