Baby · Family

Jackson Willis Goodsell: A Birth Story

Babies. The Urban Dictionary defines ‘baby’ as “…a bundle of joy…until you realize that they are a bomb full of smelly substances, and are capable of exploding at any minute.” Before becoming a mom, that is about how I described babies, however the word ‘cute’ was in there somewhere.

The Discovery: After being married for about two months, Jon and I had discovered that we would be moving to Utah. I had started aesthetics school for about three days, and then Jon got his acceptance letter for school at BYU, so I left school, and we got ready to move. We had found an apartment in Orem, one bedroom, very small, and very over priced. On November 10, three days before Jon’s birthday, I was at work at Arby’s in Rexburg. I was on the front till, and I was scheduled to work all day. The day started out okay, but then I started feeling absolutely awful. I felt like I was going to throw up all over the customers. I was having a hard time standing, and I thought for sure that if I looked in the mirror, I would be green. Like a dark, sick, yucky green color. Finally, after six hours or so, at around 3 p.m. I went to the back to sit down. My boss saw how awful I looked, and bless her soul, she sent me home.

When I got home, Jon was there to help take care of me until he himself had to go to work. I lounged on the couch, binge watching One Tree Hill, and eating saltine crackers. It was a typical sick day, and I brushed it off as a flu bug. I had a small fever, and it all made sense. While lounging on the couch, doing nothing productive, I pulled out my phone. I had an app called P Tracker, that I use to track all the fun monthly stuff women get to deal with (sorry, TMI) I was looking at the app, because I knew that in a day or two, things were going to happen (If ya know what I mean) and I thought that maybe that was some of why I was feeling sick. I looked at the calendar, which had been extremely accurate in the past, and realized that I was late. not just a day, like several days! I totally freaked out! Jon had gone to work, and I was having a full on panic attack! We had just gotten a puppy, to help me deal with my anxiety, depression, and PTSD. We were trying to train him, we were moving in a month, I could not be pregnant. It was not convenient for us at the time.

In my panic, I went to my friend Jeannine’s house. I told her what happened, and asked if she would go with me to buy a pregnancy test. We went to Walgreens and picked up a couple of tests. Back at her apartment, I took the tests. If memory serves correct, I took about four. Then came the wait. The dreaded two to four minutes! I paced back and forth, played with Jeannine’s dog, and tried my hardest not to throw up. I went back into the bathroom to look at the tests, and they were positive. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t think. Was I happy? Was I scared? Did I want this? I had no Idea!

Jeannine and I hopped in my car to go tell our friend Cassie. After we told her, we went to Walmart, and started coming up with ways to tell Jon. I decided to get a gift bag, gender neutral baby clothes, and the positive pregnancy test, and make a gift. I buried the positive pregnancy test at the bottom of the baby clothes, and made a card that said “Happy Birthday! You are going to be a Dad!”After getting the gift ready, I nervously went home to give my husband his early birthday present. Jon was both surprised, and happy. His reaction helped me to be a little bit more excited, and a little less nervous.

 

Telling the Parents: I literally told my parents the very next day. I was going in to a doctor to see if I was really pregnant, or if maybe, by some small chance, I was wrong. (But really, 4 tests, how could they all be wrong?) My parents wanted to know why I was in town, why I had a doctor’s appointment, etc. So, over the phone I said “I think I am pregnant.” and my parents called me a dork. Yep. They were happy, but they also knew that Jon and I had a lot on our plate at the moment. They were still happy though!

Telling Jon’s parents was a different story. We went to their house on Jon’s birthday to celebrate. We had gone out to Apple bee’s with them for Jon’s birthday dinner, and it took everything I had to not throw up. When we got to their house for cake, ice cream, and presents, Jon and I had a special present prepared for his parents to open. After Jon opened all of his presents, we told his parents that we had a gift for them too. Inside the gift bag were baby clothes, and a card addressed to Grandma and Grandpa. At first they were taken by surprise, but then they were super excited! Jon’s little sister ran upstairs to grab baby clothes, boy and girl, obviously she was very excited.

The Pregnancy: Throughout the pregnancy, I had no idea what to expect. I don’t know how many times I called my mom, asking “Is this normal?” or “When you were pregnant did you…?” And don’t even get me started on my Google searches. I had all sorts of pregnancy searches on there.

I would like to say that I had an easy pregnancy, that it was fantastic, and I enjoyed every minute of it. But I would be lying. I was sick as a dog for most of the first trimester, and half of the second. I slept and slept, which made unpacking and moving extremely difficult. I was also throwing up, like a lot. All the time. multiple times a day. It was horrible. Before being pregnant, I had a very sensitive nose, and while I was pregnant it was even worse. I couldn’t feed the dog because the smell of his food made me throw up every time, guaranteed. I had to ask Jon to stop cooking eggs, because for whatever reason when he cooked them, the smell made me want to vomit. Basically, I was super sick, all the time. However, despite the fact that I was sick constantly, I loved feeling him move. I felt him move for the first time at 13 weeks. I was sitting in church, singing a hymn, and he wiggled.It was the weirdest sensation. As the pregnancy progressed, I also learned that certain music would get him to move. Jon was not thrilled with the fact that hip-hop and rap did the trick.

Weight Gain: Thankfully, while I was pregnant, I didn’t gain a ton of weight. I only gained about 20lbs, and all of it came off in the first six weeks postpartum.

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Cravings: I never really had any weird cravings.Right at the very beginning, I had a constant craving for popcorn. I wanted popcorn all the time. I also went through a phase where I would eat Arctic Circle salads like there was no tomorrow. Also, fish. For a while I ate nothing but fish and chips. I like to think that is why my kid is so dang smart now. My favorite craving was Sonic’s Grape Cream Slush. Mmmmm! Thankfully, I never really had any “out there” cravings, like pickles and ice cream.

Labor and Delivery: In June, When I was about 36 weeks pregnant, Jon found out that he had to have a third jaw surgery. He had had a previous jaw surgery in May that, for whatever reason, didn’t work. So we made the trip to Idaho for him to have another surgery. I was so sick, and tired, that I was hardly able to be at the hospital with him. Thank heavens for my mother and father in-law! They helped out SO much. My mother-in-law, Cynthia, stayed with Jon in the hospital during the days, and Troy, Jon’s dad, stayed with him at night.

While we were staying at Jon’s parents’ house during his recovery, I started to have contractions, very consistent contractions. Due to insurance problems, we hopped in the car, and Cynthia drove Jon and I back to Provo. For the next two weeks, I was having contractions every day. At one point, we went to the hospital because they were painful, and consistent, about two minutes apart. While I was being monitored in L&D, Jon was super supportive. I was scared to death. If  this was actually happening, was I ready? I definitely didn’t feel ready. I was afraid of the pain. I was afraid of the epidural, and the possibility of an episiotomy. Most of all, I was scared to death of the recovery. A co-worker of mine had told me how awful the recovery after giving birth was, and I am a total baby when it comes to pain, so obviously I was not looking forward to that at all.

It turned out that that hospital visit was a false alarm. The nurse gave me a shot of morphine and phenergan, aka, the best combination in the entire world. I don’t even remember the car ride home that night, and I slept literally all day the next day. I think I woke  up to eat, and that is it. When the shot finally wore off, I was back to normal, and having contractions all the time. I got paranoid. Every time I had a contraction I was positive that it was time. And of course, it never was. I became so impatient. I just wanted my baby out of me. I had reached the point where I was very done with being pregnant.

Finally, on July 14, it happened. I was out visiting teaching with my friend Jeska. While we were visiting one of our neighbors, I noticed that I was having some pretty intense contractions. They weren’t painful, just strong. Later, when Jeska and I were outside talking, the contractions got more consistent, and continued to get stronger. Jeska and I walked around the neighborhood for a while, and she timed my contractions for me. They started out at two minutes apart, and eventually made it down to one minute apart. We decided I should call Jon, and he should take me to the hospital. So, I went to the hospital again. I was trying so hard not to get my hopes up. I didn’t want another false alarm, but at the same time, I was scared to death of the whole birthing experience. Thankfully, my husband was able to provide some comic relief by catching pokemon while I was there. Yep, caught this weird bat thing.pokemon

The nurses monitored my contractions and I was at the hospital until about 2 a.m. I was dilated to a two and fully effaced, and had quit making progress. So, they gave me a shot of my new favorite drug, and sent me home. I didn’t sleep much. I don’t remember much of being at home, but I know that any sleep I got was poor. Finally, a sharp pain woke me up. Like, really woke me up, and at 6 a.m. I told Jon that we were going to the hospital again. So we packed up the bag, and left. This time, I was dilated to a three, and my amazing nurse, Tara, said that I got to stay, and that I was having a baby. Around 8 a.m. or so, the anesthesiologist came in to give me my epidural. I was scared to death!  A couple of years ago, I had had a spinal tap, and the nurse who was helping the doctor give it to me, had told me that “It is just like an epidural.” Let me tell you, a spinal tap, and an epidural are SO different. I was laying on my side, awaiting my epidural and I asked my nurse not to laugh at me if I cried. She promised she wouldn’t laugh, if I would breath through the whole thing, using the exercises she had taught me. They worked, and let me tell you, the nurse in Idaho a few years back who said that a spinal tap and an epidural were so much alike, was so wrong! I love epidurals. Once it kicked in, and I couldn’t feel, well, anything, my body relaxed. I relaxed enough that the morphine and phenergen had an effect, and I was able to sleep. Unfortunately, because I was so relaxed, my O2 levels plummeted, and I had to be put on oxygen.

I slept for about 10 hours or so. I was in and out of consciousness. I remember them checking me, and telling me they were going to break my water, and later give me the induction drug to get things moving more quickly. By 4:30 p.m. on July 15, I was very awake, and even though I was numb, I could definitely feel the pressure of the contractions, and I was very thankful for the epidural. At 5, the nurse told me it was time to start pushing. My mom wasn’t there yet, and  I wanted her to be there. I pushed for about an hour, and Jon stayed in contact with my family.

Jackson was sunny side up, or posterior. The doctor had tried to turn him, but sweet Jackson decided to turn himself on his side, so the doctor had to use the forecepts.  That meant my second biggest fear, an episiotomy. I went into full panic mode. I refused to let the doctor cut me, not until my mom was there. Finally, around 6:19, my mom came into the room, the doctor made the cut (without my knowing) and at 6:20 p.m. Jackson Willis Goodsell was born! He was 7lbs even, 20 inches long, and completely perfect.

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Jackson Willis Goodsell

His name is a fun one that took a lot of thought. Originally, before we found out the sex, we had decided on the name Spencer Michael if it was a boy. The only problem with that name is the fact that my brother’s name is Spencer.

In Jon’s family, it is a tradition that all of his aunts and uncle’s on his mom’s side get together every summer in Jackson, Wyoming. So Jon an I joked that we would name our son Jackson, and we could take Jackson to Jackson! Well, we found out in February 2016 that we were having a boy, and Jon, while talking to my stomach, called the baby Spencer, and it sounded so wrong. I can’t even explain it. He called the baby Spencer, and I knew that my son’s name was NOT Spencer. So, from then on, his name was Jackson.

His middle name is very special to me. Willis is my Grandpa Moore’s first name. My grandpa and I were very close, and we lost him very suddenly back in 2008. It is something that I sometimes still struggle with. I would love to have my grandpa be apart of my son’s life on earth. Since he can’t, I wanted Jackson’s middle name to be Willis. me-and-jacks

The NICU: Jackson was perfect, nothing was wrong with him, or so we thought. We noticed that he wasn’t really eating. He wouldn’t nurse, and he wouldn’t take a bottle. My nurse decided to check his blood sugar, and realized that it had plummeted down to 27. For those of you who don’t know, that is really REALLY bad. When they realized that Jackson couldn’t keep his blood sugar up on his own, he was admitted into the NICU. I was numb. I didn’t know how I felt. The best way to describe the next couple of days would be an out of body experience. I knew that I was supposed to be sad. I knew that this was my child, and that he was sick. But I just felt numb. I didn’t understand how this could be happening, and I felt like it was my fault. I also felt terrible for not feeling. There were points while he was in the hospital, when I knew I should feel sad. I knew that I was supposed to be devastated, but I wasn’t. There were times when I literally felt nothing.

Feeling nothing scared me so bad. It made me feel like I was not worthy to be this child’s mother. One day, while my sister was driving me to the hospital, we talked about it. And she told me something that I haven’t forgotten. She said that it was completely normal for me to not feel at times, and to be completely devastated at others. She said that the numbness was my protection against the pain. After that conversation, I didn’t feel so bad about how I was feeling, and I was able to focus more on my son and my recovery.

We discovered that Jackson had an infection, and he was put on antibiotics. Later, he needed billy lights. He was in the NICU for a week exactly. During that week, I went in several times a day. I did the 5 minute scrub that they ask visitors to do every time, and I held my baby for as long as I was allowed to. Sometimes it was only a few minutes, other times it was several hours. It just depended on how long he had been under the lights.

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Jon holding Jackson the day he went into the NICU
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Our little bug, snoozing under the billy lights

Finally, when my baby boy was a little over a week old, we were allowed to take him home. It was definitely one of the best days of my life. Looking back, while there were some nurses that Jackson had that I was extremely annoyed with, there were others that I absolutely loved. They were so understanding, and helpful, and they answered all of my questions. I can not imagine what it must be like to be a NICU nurse. I personally don’t think I could do it. Those nurses have to be so strong emotionally, especially with all of the heartache and tragedy they must see. I am so grateful to those nurses who took such good care of my sweet boy while he was sick.

I also have to say a HUGE thank you to my mom. My mom stayed with Jon and I for a little over a week. While I was recovering, and dealing with all of the strange emotions, she cooked, cleaned, and drove me places. She drove us to the hospital, because I didn’t feel like driving, and quite frankly, I didn’t think that I could focus on the road. My mom was my rock at a time when Jon was dealing with his own mental breakdown due to the stress of everything. And, to be honest, her cooking was way better than mine has ever been, so obviously I appreciated her yummy cooking, and the fact that she cleaned my apartment for me. There are days now that I wish that she was here to clean it for me again, or at least hold Jackson while I clean.

I love being a mom. It definitely has it’s challenges, and I am still learning day by day, but even on those challenging days, it is worth it. Jackson’s smile lights up my world, and I can’t wait to see why kind of person he will grow up to be.

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By the way, I got his adorable outfits for these six week old pictures at Gymboree! It is by far one of my favorite stores to buy baby and toddler clothes!

3 thoughts on “Jackson Willis Goodsell: A Birth Story

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