I’ve been wanting to sit down and blog Jaxon’s birth story for quite a while now - I seriously can’t believe it’s already almost been SIX months since this little man joined our family! So far he’s been the most easy-going of our three babies and fills my days with smiles, adorable baby-giggles, and of course, a never ending stream of drool!
My excitement grew every day in the months and weeks leading up to Jaxon’s birth. This was going to be our first home birth (a decision we had come to about midway through my pregnancy), and I felt very confident in our midwife and the birth team we had chosen. During the last few weeks of pregnancy, I had been listening to birth affirmations to help me mentally prepare, and the day before he came had finally finished assembling the birth affirmation banner my friends / kids had helped me make. The day before my due date, I hung it up in the living room where he would be born, and it felt symbolic that I was officially ready for him to come.
Like Elikia, Jaxon is also a rainbow baby. Several months before we got pregnant with him, I had lost a baby we dearly wanted at 11 weeks, and that experience made each day of my pregnancy with him all the more precious and meaningful to me. I think there is always a bit of anxiety (at least for me) that comes with pregnancy after loss and I was so looking forward to finally having him safe and sound in my arms.
Both of our girls had come exactly two days before their due date, and as that deadline came and went, I prepared myself for the possibility that I might go past my due date for the first time. As a birth worker, I KNOW babies come in their own time and there’s really nothing I can do to control it, but I was still having a hard time being patient as I went to bed on Saturday, the night before his due date.
His due date, October 28, was a Sunday and since both of the girls had ironically been born on a Sunday, I was still holding out hope that maybe he would come sometime that day! I’d been feeling a little crampy Saturday afternoon, but nothing exceptional and it had completely gone away by that evening, so I didn’t think much of it. I must have had some intuition though because that evening I couldn’t shake the lingering nudge that I should ask my friend down the street if I could borrow her big pot to boil water in just in case we ran out of hot water for the birth pool. I asked Andrew to go over and pick it up from her around 8pm “just in case.”
I fell asleep at 11:30pm Saturday night and at 1:10am, I woke up with one somewhat strong contraction. This wasn’t super unusual since I’d had quite a few night-time contractions the past few weeks. I got up to make one of my many nightly trips to the bathroom, then went back to bed. Barely had I laid back down when I was surprised to feel a little gush of water. With both my girls, my water didn’t break until I was pushing, so this was a new experience for me! Knowing that it can still take quite a while for labor to start after the waters break, I texted my midwife to let her know then went back to bed to try to get some rest.
Around 1:30am I started noticing more small contractions and by 1:45am, I realized these were getting strong enough that I couldn’t really sleep through it. Andrew was still sound asleep at that point, so I woke him briefly to let him know I was going to get up and told him that I’d call him when it was time to set up the birth pool. Once I was up, I decided to time a few contractions and realized they were already lasting at least a minute and were coming about every 3-5 minutes. About 15 minutes later, I decided to wake up Andrew and began to contact my doula, birth photographer, midwife and my mom. I told them not to come yet, but wanted them to know things were ramping up. Looking back, I think I was in some degree of denial about how fast everything was actually moving! I asked my husband to go ahead and start filling the birth pool just to be safe, and I put the giant pot of water on the stove to boil.
Each contraction only seemed to get stronger than the last and after a few particularly powerful ones, I decided to go ahead and ask my birth team to head in. This was around 2:20, and I’m glad I didn’t wait any longer because things began to intensify very quickly from there! I’d been walking around picking up and gathering some last minute stuff for the birth, but at this point contractions were coming so close together, I decide to roll out the yoga mat in the baby room and went to a hands and knees position over the birth ball to continue laboring. Andrew checked on me and asked if he could help, but I told him not to worry about me and just to keep filling up the birth pool! By around 2:45 (less than an hour since I had gotten out of bed!), I was starting to feel a ton of pressure and knew baby was very, very close!
Not sure if I could hold off pushing for much longer, I asked Andrew to call our midwife who instructed me to stay put and not to try to move around or stand up! She was still about 10 minutes away (later she told me she was running red lights to try to make it on time!) The contractions and pressure I was feeing were extremely intense, and I was starting to legitimately think we might have to catch this baby ourselves! I remember pausing for long enough between contractions to find the bulb syringes and put them close by and ask Andrew to bring me some towels. Thankfully at almost that exact moment, my birth photographer, Lindsey Bartell walked through the door. I was so relieved to see her and remember thinking that if I caught this baby myself, at least it would be documented, haha!!
About 5-10 minutes later my midwife arrived and I instantly told her I wanted to get in the birth pool to push. Andrew had had to stop filling the pool earlier because the hot water had run out and there wasn’t quite enough water to push in (the water needs to be deep enough for baby’s head has to remain fully submerged during pushing)! He quickly turned the water back on and added the huge pot of hot water from the stove (which truly saved the day!). Now there was just enough as long as I stayed low as I could.
At this point his head was so low, I couldn’t stop myself from pushing and with two long, intense pushes, Jaxon’s head and then body emerged. I remember reach down to feel his head as he crowned and reminding myself to breath gently through the sensation of the ring of fire. Soon his body was out, and I reached out to pull him up as my midwife unwrapped a loose cord from around his neck. He was covered with white, cheesy vernix, and I instantly noticed his beautiful spiraled cord. Being the birth junkie I am, these aspects of birth were so incredibly beautiful and special to me! I embraced him and cried with relief to hear his little noises. He was very calm and content to just be on my chest.
The joy and relief of finally holding him in my arms was indescribable! Our original plan had been to have the girls at the birth, but things had been happening so fast, it hadn’t really occurred to me to wake them up. But almost as soon as he was out, I asked Andrew to call them so they could be part of it! I think they were a little shocked to be woken at 3am to find a birth pool, birth team, and brand new baby brother in the living room!
Zoey was feeling a little hesitant, but Elikia (who has always been fascinated with everything medical) wanted to get right in there and inspect her new baby brother!
After the placenta was delivered, we moved to our room to get a little more comfy and keep Jaxon warm. The girls were as excited to touch and feel the cord and placenta as I was to show them!
After about an hour, we decided to cut the cord. Elikia really wanted to help, so she and Andrew cut it together
By around 6am, everyone except my mom headed home, and she took care of the girls so Andrew, Jaxon, and I could try to rest for a bit. It was so nice to just cozy right up in my own bed, with Andrew and Jaxon right next to me. I was in a state of total bliss at how smoothly and beautifully everything had gone, and also still a little shocked at how fast my labor was. Less than 2 hours from my first contraction until he was born! I was so thankful I’d been able to just listen to my body and labor in the comfort of my home. We hadn’t taken the decision to have a homebirth lightly, but knew 100% that was the right decision for Jaxon’s birth! And truly, looking back, by the time I really realized I was in true labor, we probably wouldn’t have made it to a hospital or birthing center on time anyway.
Jaxon has truly been the missing part to our family - our family has felt so much more complete and settled since he arrived!
Many, many thanks to my wonderful photographer, Lindsey Bartell, https://www.lindseyedenphotography.com, who captured all these moments, and also made a short film of his birth! I will treasure these memories forever!