Tuesday, June 11, 2019

The Birth Story of Axton John

This is the story of the arrival of our little firstborn son, Axton John Maxwell. The details of his entrance into the world had unexpected developments and more trauma than we anticipated, but they were laced throughout with the grace and goodness of Jesus. God was so so good to us in protecting and watching over our little man. Truly we are so blessed...

Wednesday, January 23rd was my due date. I had a midwife appointment that day and my midwife confirmed what I was already thinking: "it's going to be awhile yet!". I had had not a single contraction (except a few Braxton Hicks back in December) and I was feeling quite energetic and normal. Thursday seemed like the perfect day to deep-clean the garage. (I had all the nesting feels going on!) That was the last real thing on my "do before baby comes" mental list, and once that was completed I felt like I was truly and really ready.
(Friday morning)

Friday, my sis in love Elissa had planned a birthday lunch + shopping out with me, since we both knew that most likely I could have the baby the week of my birthday. (which was the following week) Again, I felt great, and enjoyed walking around the outlet mall at the Legends and eating our favorite (Chipotle!) for lunch. We got home around 6pm and I excitedly dumped all of my purchases on my desk in the office and showed them off to John.

I left his office and five minutes later, my water broke. Apparently there is nothing like a full day of shopping to kick things in gear?!
(last "normal" pregnancy picture I snapped right before we left for Walmart)

We were so excited-finally, baby was on its way! Still, not a single contraction, but I knew they were surely soon to come, so I hurried around getting dinner, and we planned to head to Walmart right after for some snacks/etc for the weekend. As we drove into the parking lot, I had my first contraction. I didn't tell John about it because I wasn't positive that it WAS a contraction, but twenty minutes later I felt the exact same thing, only stronger, and I realized that this was the real deal!

Once we got home we headed to bed. By this point I had had several contractions, but they weren't very painful, and were spaced apart, and since I was fully expecting a long, drawn-out labor, we figured I'd get a good nights' sleep before everything really got going.

I think I must've slept on and off for the first two hours, but it really didn't feel like I slept at all. Contractions kept coming closer and closer together, and getting more and more painful. I have a very high pain tolerance so I was fine for awhile, but around midnight they started getting so intense that I was having to breathe heavily through them, and was having a hard time doing so quietly. I didn't want to wake John, so I slipped out of bed and went out to the couch in the living room. From there things really progressed, to the point that I was moaning so loudly that John woke up and came to see how I was doing. It was about 2am by this time. He got out his phone with the contraction timer app (I highly recommend it) and began timing my contractions.

4 minutes apart.
5 minutes apart.
2 minutes apart.
5 minutes apart.
2 minutes apart.

This definitely wasn't looking like the hours and hours of labor that I was anticipating. From everything we had heard and known, one needs to get moving with calling the midwife/heading to the hospital, when contractions get 3-5 minutes apart. I could hardly believe that my labor was progressing so quickly, but those contractions were close and just not slowing down, so it really appeared that labor was well underway.

As my labor continued throughout those wee hours of the morning, I kind of lost all sense of what was going on. John handled all the details-timing my contractions, coaching me through, and deciding when it was time to call the midwives. He called our doula in at 6am and she arrived an hour later. By 7:30am I was exhausted (I basically hadn't slept all night) and had that first tinge of "what in the wooooorld am I doing?!" (all you other  moms know what I mean---it is that moment when you realize that you think there is NO WAY you can do this and there is also the very real understanding that there is literally no turning back, and it is QUITE the helpless feeling) John told me later that I also told him that "I can't do this!!" around this time. If only we had known what all was ahead yet!

The midwives came several hours later and when they checked me I was only dilated to 3cm, in spite of, by now, 6 hours of contractions 3-5 minutes apart. I had prepared myself for not being very far dilated, so that wasn't too discouraging; my main thing I kept thinking though was "if it is going so slow and I'm not further progressed, than why in the world are my contractions so close?!"

The rest of the day was honestly a blur. Time seemed to stand still as I labored through contractions all day long. I hung on to John for dear life and I don't think there was a single contraction that I went through without him right there. It may sound odd to some but it literally felt to me like we were laboring together. I felt emotionally knit to him, throughout that day, like nothing I have ever experienced before.

 There was about an hour, over noon, when contractions slowed to every ten minutes, and we were able to get a little bit of sleep. (although I have to say that drifting asleep knowing that you will be awakened ten minutes later with excruciating pain, isn't very restful)

(this is one of my favorite photos that our doula took-a perfect depiction of the closeness and unity we felt throughout the labor. Every minute of it was together, as a team, working toward the GOAL of birthing this baby!)

To spare this story from being thousands of words long...I will tell you that I was unable to keep anything down, was in and out of the birth pool, tried every position under the sun, walked up and down our street, and did allllll the things...and little man was still just not even close to coming. John was right by my side the entire time, holding the bucket, rubbing my back, holding my hands, and coaching me through the pushing. Even though I couldn't seem to keep anything down, he knew that I had to have something to keep up my strength, and so he kept trying to get me to eat different things. In the end the only thing I could keep down was some sparkling juice, which wasn't much, but provided just a little boost to help.

John also occasionally updated our families via text with updates of continued "no progress" and it was such a gift to have such an army of our loved ones praying for me. My mom and sisters-in-love texted encouragement and scripture, which John read to me at various times as I was laboring:

"Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith; Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."
Hebrews 12:2

"Delight thyself also in the Lord, and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord, trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass. Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him...."
Psalms37: 4-5, 7

"They that wait upon the Lord, He shall renew their strength..."
Isaiah 40:31a

"The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in Whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower."
Psalm 18:2

"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee."
Isaiah 26:3

My doula had also set up twinkle lights and had the diffuser running with my favorite oils, and John had set up a playlist of worship music. It was such a sweet environment to labor in and the verses and words from the music were such beautiful promises of God's faithfulness and nearness. In a way, it was so hard to process and think through the verses and lyrics, but little bits here and there would sink in and give so much peace. It also just combined to create such a time of beauty, in spite of the pain. Words can't describe but that atmosphere really just felt holy to me. We felt the Presence of Jesus surrounding us and carrying us along throughout the entire time.

By 5pm I was almost fully dilated and pushing. I proceeded to push for three hours and still no baby.

The midwives held a consultation in the other room to discuss options. I remember being so out of it that I thought " what is there to discuss?" I couldn't even think straight to process what happens if a baby just won't come...

They came back into the room and told us: "you are going to have to transport to the hospital to have this baby delivered safely." John immediately said "yes" and began preparing for the transition. I can't explain it, but there was such peace in the decision, and I actually remember feeling relieved. It could sound very strange, considering that we had really wanted a home birth, but by this point our only concern was delivering our baby safely. We knew that if that couldn't happen at home, but could potentially happen at the hospital, we wanted that.

Pieces started to fly as I dressed and John packed in 5 minutes flat. (John said in future we will ALWAYS pack a hospital bag just in case!) 

It was dark and bitterly cold outside as John opened the door and half-carried me out. (Again, I'm just in awe of the unity we had, and the incredible experience God gave us. I'm literally getting teary-eyed just remembering as I write this!) It was such a scary moment, in some ways, as we still had so many unknowns ahead of us. It seemed as though time was standing still as John helped me into the backseat of the truck. I laid with my head on my midwife's lap and I pushed almost the whole way to the hospital, although I tried SO HARD not to. I was so afraid I was gonna deliver my baby in the backseat of the truck! I remember crying out in fear and pain, and telling John that I just couldn't keep myself from pushing, and John telling me that it was okay, and that everything was going to be alright. I have no idea how he stayed so sane and calm, but that was my lifeline, to be holding his hand, and hear his voice speaking encouragement to me. That drive was terrible and beautiful, all wrapped into one, and I think I will remember it for the rest of my life! John drove safe but FAST and we made the 45 minute drive in...significantly less.

The staff was ready and waiting when we arrived. I couldn't focus on anything, but John and my midwife were on top of all the details and I didn't have to take care of a thing. We flew up to the delivery room (me in a wheelchair) and everything was ready to go. Within a mere matter of minutes, I was changed and prepped and was pushing again. (actually, I don't think I ever really stopped pushing during all that)

The room became a beehive of activity. I didn't realize it until John told me later, but with Axton's heart rate dropping, the NICU team was lined in the room/hallway, on call for the very real possibility of extreme complications. The room was full of doctors, nurses, and NICU staff, but all I knew was that I was GOING to get this child born. Just a few pushes in, and the doctor said she needed to use vacuum suction, and asked if that was okay. Obviously it was not our preference, but I looked at John and my midwife (who knew exactly what we wanted and is very naturally minded) and when she said "yes, this has to happen", then it was a YES for us. It was quite the process and one I wouldn't wish on anybody; John said afterwards it looked like I gave birth twice, and it certainly felt that way. I was completely focused on pushing and I remember thinking (in my very foggy mind) that watching the vacuum process would most likely not benefit me anything, and that it was best for me to just look UP and push. After trying that to no avail, the doctor told us, "I never do this, but we really need to do an episiotomy." Again, I didn't care-I just looked at John and knew I was at peace with whatever he said; I didn't even have the ability to think through what I wanted other than OUR BABY.

I remember at the very end, after one of my ten-second pushes, the doctor said "and done" to encourage me for a several second break before going again, and I said "No! I'm going again!" and her and the nurses said, "OH! Okay! Well that's great, then let's go!" I have to say that those last minutes were only Jesus, because I have NO CLUE how I powered through pushing over and over again for the last batch of pushes with no break. Humanly speaking, I was way too exhausted for it, but it was like every fiber of my being came together in the most powerful surge of energy to BIRTH THIS BABY.

The moment when he finally shot out was the most incredible and beautiful thing I have ever experienced. Literally, the joining of the most painful moment of the actual delivery,  directly to the most exhilarating moment of having my son on my chest. Words simply cannot describe. I thought my heart would burst. What glory.

Our birth team was so incredible. I didn't even get to meet all of the many people (nurses etc) who assisted our little one into the world, but I am deeply grateful for each of them. We are pictured above with two of my three midwives (the third was at another birth) and my doula. They were all absolutely amazing and I cannot imagine a more perfect team. Unfortunately only one of my midwives was able to come with us into the hospital room for the birth, but all three of these women assisted us all day long during the labor, and even though the circumstances did not allow for them to do the typical delivery that they usually do, I still think of them as being the birth team for Axton's birth. We did not get pictures of the doctor and nurses who delivered Axton but they were truly amazing in every way and I am beyond grateful for the medical intervention and tools that helped our little man enter the world safely.

Our baby. The miracle of life. The perfect blending of two people into a tiny little human.
I counted his fingers and toes. I kissed his soft little checks. I cuddled his tiny little form, and then my heart burst all over again as I watched his daddy do the same. (You think you love your husband, and then you watch him with your newborn, and you fall in love alllll over again)

I've heard many women say before that "I could never have done it without my husband". And those sentiments could not be more true. John was literally the most amazing support I could have ever imagined. He was by my side throughout the entire labor and words just really cannot describe how steadfast and confidant he was. I felt like he was in labor WITH me, that is how unified we were. I am the most blessed woman in the world to have him!


Axton was wide eyed from the start-so curious about the big new world and all the adventures just waiting for him to discover.

First picture as a family of THREE!
Our baby, our Axton John Maxwell, was finally here!

And that's the story of his little grand entrance into the world! 


  1. Wow!! So thankful he arrived safely!
    I also had a very long labor with my little guy and ended up with an emergency c-section because his heart rate dropped way too low (he had to be resuscitated upon delivery, yikes!), so my heart was in my throat reading your story! I'm so so glad everything turned out okay!
    Good job, Chelsy and John!

    1. Thanks for sharing part of YOUR story!
      Aren't we SO thankful for medical teams that can do whatever it takes to try to get our little ones safely into the world?!

  2. Oh my, Chelsy!! That was one dramatic entrance into the world for your little man. I can't imagine pushing for HOURS. I'm so glad he is here safe and sound. My husband is also a rock during labor. He is a farmer, so birth is something he has witnessed ever since he was young. The nurses always exclaim about how calm and helpful he is. I've had two babies (13hrs labor for the first and 4.5hrs for the second) and then two dramatic miscarriages that landed me in the hospital hemorraghing badly. Both of them requited D&C's to keep me from bleeding to death. He was such a help through all of it. Now we are expecting a baby in September and are very excited to meet him or her. Congratulations on you CUTE little guy.

    1. Congrats on your baby on the way! And thanks for sharing part of your stories as well-sounds like you have alot of experience also in the blessing of medical teams to provide such wonderful care and a happy ending!

  3. I'm crying also, as I read this. Brings back many wonderful memories when I worked as a birth assistant

    1. Bless you-I have a WHOLE new appreciation for birth assistants/doulas...they are AMAZING!

  4. Chels! What a story! :D And you out into words that exact "I CAN'T DO THIS BUT THERE'S NO WAY OUT OF IT" panic feeling I remember so well lol. I'm so thankful he arrived safe and healthy...still can't wait to meet him! Oh and I'm definitely packing a hospital bag AHEAD OF TIME this time around! :) Bless your heart!

    1. Haha, so true! It's quite the feeling of helplessness, yes?!

  5. Oh sis....tears as I read this! I remember so clearly how worried I was. And how proud of you.
    You wrote this story absolutely beautiful. Actually it’s the most beautiful thing I have ever read.
    You are so strong, and an absolutely incredible mamma!

  6. Thank you for sharing something so deeply personal.
    I’m so glad you had an amazing and supportive birth team.
    Midwives and doulas are heaven sent in my book!

    Most importantly... thank you for sharing those beautiful scripture.
    I’m at a different places in life (I’m facing loss and fertility issues) but reading those really helped me...kinda like knitting my heart, if that makes sense.

    Blessings to you and your family.


    1. You are so welcome! Thankful it could bless you, even in your time of difficulty.
      It does make sense to me! Took a minute to stop and pray that Jesus will bless you with your own little one!

  7. Sounds like an amazing experience. So glad everything turned out great. God is good.

  8. Aw I am in tears! Thank you so much for sharing. What a beautiful testimony of God's power and grace, and congratulations!

  9. Wow!What a story! What a blessing taht Axton entered this world safely!
    Your hair is so pretty in a bun, and i love that headband!
    The pictures of you and John at home are beautiful!
    Axton is super adorable!

  10. You are one amazing momma! I’m exhausted just reading all of this! But what a beautiful time with your husband and praise God for a healthy Axton. And I second a cheer for amazing midwives - my second was breech and I ended up needing an emergency c-section. There was a time where my husband wasn’t allowed in the operating room with me, but my midwife was, and she was an amazing support!

    1. You are so right-my midwives + doula were not only there for me medically but they were also an amazing spiritual and emotional support. SO blessed to have them!

  11. What an absolutely precious story, Chelsy! You are so courageous + brave in the face of pretty scary circumstances. Praise God that everything turned out well. Axton is such a sweet little boy, and I know you and John are doing an amazing job with him. Thank you for sharing your birth story! I appreciate your godly example. :)
    love in Christ,

  12. Well worth the wait! Wishing you all much joy and many blessings!!

  13. Thank you for sharing your God story. What an incredible start to your boy's life journey! It'll be sure to have much excitement along the way. I'm sure God has big plans... the best is yet to come!

  14. So glad he is here! It sounds like you were really brave. I was also counting on a “natural” birth and was disappointed that my 48 hour labor needed hospital assistance and gave me some pretty traumatic memories. The births of our second and third went so-o much better, if that is any encouragement!

    1. Loved hearing a bit of your story! I know the first one is often the hardest, from what I've heard!

    2. Congratulations, Chelsy! Though you and I have never met, I have followed your blog for a while, now, and do enjoy reading!

      To your comment immediately above - yes! My first labor (52 hours) was longer by far than the next four combined (2.5 hours, 5 hours, 17 hours, and 9.5 hours). God knows just what He is doing!

      Your sister in Christ,

      P.S. My youngest girl (Zetta Joy) is just two months older than Axton.

    3. Hi Willow,
      What fun that we have babies close together! Also good to hear your perspective on birth lengths as well! Thanks for sharing!

  15. Such an amazing story! Thanks for sharing

  16. Wow! I had my first son in December so It was pretty fun for me to track your pregnancy right close to mine and see your pictures.
    I cried reading this, because I relate so much to things you said, it’s wild how emotional I get when I hear birth stories now after actually having been through it!
    I felt just like that, “I can’t do this, I just want it to be over, there is literally no stopping and no going back!” Feeling!
    And yes it was a really special thing to work through each contraction with my husband supporting me and working through each one with me! Like he was part of the labor too!
    Thanks for sharing your story!
    ~Laura Kaye

    1. Aww! Loved hearing your story-how fun that we had babies so close together!

  17. I loved reading your story, Chelsy! Thanks for sharing!

  18. I've been waiting to read your story to see how it compared to mine. My first son was born in October of 2016 nine months after our wedding. My water broke 4 days before he was born. I was GBS positive, so having the water break first was not a good thing. We tried castor oil, tons of walking, herbs, and pumping to get labor started. It was long and discouraging to keep waiting. Labor finally started about 12 hours before he was born. At one point, his heart rate was real high, and we agreed with our midwife to go to the hospital to get antibiotics in an IV. That hour ride was awful as I have horrible back pain when I labor-like someone is stabbing or burning my lower back. The doctor was mean to me in various ways, and I was glad when he finally arrived several hours later after 15 minutes of pushing. I was so out of it that I didn't feel the birth. But I was so glad not to need a C-section.
    My second son arrived December of 2017 safely at home in our little trailer. My water broke again about 36 hours before he was born; labor was only 3 hours and pushing about 15 minutes.
    Our third son arrived 7 weeks ago also safely at home. My water also broke first but this time only about 22 hours before he was born. Labor was less than 3 hours and I wasn't even sure it was for real until an hour before he arrived. I was in the pool for barely 20 minutes and he arrived after 10 minutes of pushing.
    So be encouraged that you CAN have a homebirth after a hospital birth. I can sympathize with you so much. But I can't imagine pushing for so long. I don't know how you did it! Except by the strength of God!
    God bless you.

    1. Loved hearing your stories, Rosalind! It is so incredible how it can vary so much from one baby to the next. Hospital or home, either way, it is just such a blessing to have a healthy baby!
      Thanks for your comment!

  19. You are a trooper! My first birth experience was similar. I so badly wanted to deliver naturally. After more than 20 hours of really close and hard contractions and cervix opened only to a 5 for hours without change, the hospital staff told me:"You either get an epidural, or this will end up as a c-section." After a quick prayer, we decided that that would be best.
    In the end, the baby had a telly weird position and hardly came out and I also lost about 3 liters of blood. It was miserable.
    16 months later, I had my second birth experience and it was wonderful, all natural, from first contraction till baby was born 6 hours long. So, be encouraged. It might be very different the next time! You did so well with Axton and he is super cute.

    In only a couple weeks, we expect our third one :-)

    Blessings from Germany

    1. Congrats on your new little one arriving SOON, Lord willing!
      Loved hearing your stories also; thankyou for sharing!

  20. Beautifully written! Just 3 weeks ago we welcomed our first baby into the world - a boy, and his birth was rather like your Axton's ( decreased heart rate, emergency button pressed, episiotomy and vacuum). I also had to have a transfusion and developed an infection which meant an increased hospital stay. Had somebody told me that was how it would happen I would have been terrified to go into labour, but by leaning on my wonderful husband and knowing that God was watching over me I had no fear. And the moment he was placed on my chest I got a whole new appreciation of the miracle of life.

    1. So enjoyed hearing your story, Aoife! How fun that we have boys so close in age! Sounds like their arrivals were quite similar.
      Blessings to you as you adjust to the joys of motherhood!

  21. Aww, Chels, this is so precious. <3 God is so amazing!!

  22. Chelsy Thank You for sharing the birth of your beautiful Axton John. Wishing you happiness love and blessings to you and your family.
    God Bless
    Joan,Marilyn and Marion

  23. Did u really push for 6 hours? That's a long time!

    1. Yes, I really did. It definitely was a long time!


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