Real Birth Journey: Jaxon Maxwell

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: 
Anna Vos, 24.

Due date: 
9th September, 2019.

Cravings during pregnancy: 
Carrots and salt & vinegar chips. I normally can’t eat McDonalds because it makes me sick but I really wanted a McChicken Burger and I was prepared to be sick just to ease the craving.

Worst symptom/s: 

Biggest concern about birth was: 
Getting an episiotomy.

Ideal birth plan was: 
I didn’t have a birth plan as it was my first I didn’t really know how I would cope during labour etc. So I just had a loose plan of trying whatever I thought would be good at the time and was safe for the baby. 

Hours in labour: 
They said I was in active labour for 7 and a half hours. But all up it was roughly 15 hours. 

How we went from wombmate to roommate: 
I woke up with an extreme period like pain at 1am in the morning. I have IBS so I thought maybe I had just eaten something I shouldn’t have because I didn’t expect labour to hit that hard so soon, but the pain was coming in waves every 5-8 minutes. I called the hospital to check whether I could be in labour and they told me to monitor the minutes between contractions. Since I was getting close ones like 5 minutes and never had experienced labour/birth before I panicked and thought maybe we should go in.

We got there at 3am, they monitored and checked me and I was already 2cm dilated. I hadn’t lost my mucous plug or waters yet so the midwife thought it might be a good idea for me to go home instead of staying as the doctors might intervene to move things along quickly. We headed at 5am and I tried to get some sleep, which I couldn’t as the contractions were becoming a lot more intense. By this time they were in my back so I tried the tens machine which helped the back pain a bit, but more so pushed them to the front. I got into the shower for the rest of the morning until 8am when we decided we should go back to the hospital.

As soon as I got to the hospital I walked through the doors and said I wanted the epidural right away. While I was waiting for the anaesthetist I waited in the shower, then walked around the room and leaned against the bed. I couldn’t get comfortable so my midwife thought it might be a good idea to run a bath since the anaesthetist hadn’t shown up yet. 3hrs later, I was very much in a state of crying and screaming for the epidural until he finally arrived. I got the epidural and laid in bed (best feeling ever). My midwife decided to take her lunch break, and I started pushing at roughly 2pm.

The pushing seemed easy at first until his head wouldn’t get over the lip bit and I got about an hour and a half in until a doctor came in and advised that I had already been pushing for far too long and she wanted to intervene, even though the baby wasn’t yet showing any sign of distress. She checked me and broke my waters and put me on a hormone drip to speed things up a bit. She left me for another 15 minutes to try and push him out. When she came back she said that she wanted to try the ventouse on his head to pull him out and started setting this up. At this stage I got fairly annoyed at her because I felt like she was pressuring me to just do it when I wasn’t that keen, seeing as he was still safe and fine in there. Thankfully just before she wanted to start, she got a phone call and stepped outside. Just as soon as she did my midwife said “come on Anna let’s show her you can get this baby out yourself!” We put my legs into the stirrups, I pushed and pushed and within another 5 minutes he was out. 

Most vivid memory during labour: 
As much as I tried I just couldn’t get into a comfortable position for my contractions.

Most amusing/interesting moment during labour/birth: 
I have a few.. When we got back from the hospital the first time in the early hours my husband decided to make me some toast. He made it just the way I like it and gave it to me on the couch. I took one bite and started having a contraction, so as soon as it hit I spat it out in my hand and threw it at him in the kitchen! haha
Also, I had a contraction in the shower at the hospital as I was leaning over the sink. I grabbed a hold of the sink tap and turned it on resulting in the water splashing up into my face.
And when my midwife went on her lunch break, I had a drip in to keep my fluids up and the new midwife didn’t hook it up to me so for an hour the drip was soaking my bed, but I couldn’t feel it because I had the epidural! haha

During labour/birth, I definitely did not expect: 
To be able to move with the epidural – I couldn’t feel my legs but I still had control over them. Weirdest feeling ever! 

A myth/misconception I believed prior that I now don’t is: 
Since I have IBS I had read that the pain was very similar to labour pain, but can confirm labour is 1000x worse! Or the same as above – that I wouldn’t be able to move my legs at all once you have the epidural. 

Baby’s name, birth weight and date: 
Jaxon Maxwell Vos, 7 pounds 8.5 ounces, 11th September 2019.

Baby’s name was almost: 
Jaxon Michael or Harvey. 

Time spent in hospital post birth: 
4 hours.

Best tip/trick you received for those early days: 
Sleep when you can! Like seriously just sleep! Let people do things for you even though it’s hard to let go just do it, it will help you so much! 

Top 3 lifesaving items for a newborn: 
Swaddle, water wipes, and it’s probably not highly recommended but a co sleeping bed (Jax wouldn’t sleep in his bassinet for ages and this helped us a lot).

If you could go back and speak with your pregnant self, what would you say? 
Live it up, this is the easy bit haha.

If you could speak with yourself during labour, what would you say? 
You can get this baby out, just push and don’t let this doctor scare you! 

If you could speak with yourself on day 3 of having a newborn, what would you say? 
I know it’s hard, I know you feel like your whole world has turned upside down but it gets easier every single day, just keep going. 

Any words for first time mums-to-be nervous about their own upcoming birth? 
You got this! It seems so daunting but it’s what our bodies are made to do. Don’t be too strict on a birth plan, keep it stress free and try things you think you’d like. Don’t worry about what other people you know have done during their birth. I know there is a lot of talk about natural is best, etc. but seriously don’t feel like you need to do it too. Do your research and if you need pain relief go for it! Do what is going to make you comfortable, for you and your baby! 

Any further notes you’d like to include: 
I highly recommend speaking to someone if you are struggling. Jaxon was a tough baby – I went through all sorts of things with him and I struggled a lot in the first 10 months. I had a few people mention maybe I should talk to someone, but I felt like I could handle it on my own since a lot of other people I knew didn’t need that type of help. I felt stupid and dumb that I couldn’t go a day without crying or stressing myself out when there were so many mums around me smashing it at being a mum. I put it off for so long until I got myself into a bad place with anxiety and depression. I couldn’t leave the house without feeling anxious that he would cry and I just didn’t find being a mum fun at all. It’s honestly worth it for you and your baby to reach out and speak up! 

If you have a birth story you’d like to share, then please get in touch and let’s start the conversation and continue celebrating this incredible life changing event!

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