ALL EYES ON JACKSON
New mum Frances on her early arrival
I had always pictured myself becoming a mum, I envisioned myself with a little baby girl who was just like me and we would play outside, go for walks with our dog and meet up with friends and their babies for coffee. So when I found out I was having a baby boy I had to change my whole chain of thought and create a new vision of a mini-pax and not a mini-me. And my, oh my, Jackson really is the spitting image of his daddy, so much that everyone who meets him proceeds to tell me, “He looks just like Paxton!” like I haven’t heard that one before.
Stitch in time
For someone who was so sure they wanted to have babies, my body was not on the same page, making my pregnancy journey quite challenging. On August 9th, I had a follow-up ultrasound, as the week prior at my anatomy scan, my cervix looked shorter than normal. As my midwife had suspected, my cervix was extremely short and I was in the hospital for surgery in less than a week to place a cerclage in my cervix – basically they stitched my cervix closed so my baby wouldn’t fall out! So 21 weeks into my pregnancy, I was no longer allowed to take the dog for a walk, lift anything heavy or even walk up stairs. It wasn’t total bed rest but it felt like house arrest. This was difficult for me as I’m very active and went from working out every morning to not being able to lift the groceries into the car. Luckily, I was still able to work for most of my pregnancy which kept me from completely pulling my hair out, as did my wonderful friends and family who kept me occupied and entertained. My mum and sister even came around every weekend to help out with the household chores.
Our friends and family were so happy to hear we were expecting a baby. We were bestowed with boxes and boxes of hand-me-downs and baby gifts galore. My amazing mum, sister and bestie threw me the most beautiful baby shower, where we were laden with even more amazing gifts. Baby Tibbits was going to be one kitted out kid! The bigger my belly grew, the
less I slept and the more bathroom breaks I needed. I got hit with heartburn but managed to avoid stretch marks and swollen feet. Every passing week was a feat as even the doctors didn’t know how long the stitch would hold. I’d read my pregnancy app everyday to see how viable he’d be if he were born that day. But, it was a pretty easy pregnancy, despite the challenges.
A last-minute dash
Fast forward to 37 weeks pregnant, I was booked in at the hospital the following day to have my cervical stitch removed. But that morning I started having contractions on and off and by lunchtime I rang Pax to say they were getting quite frequent and painful but that I’d just wait it out until my scheduled appointment the following day. He told me to let my midwife know just to be sure. Well, she told me to get my butt to the hospital to get the stitch removed immediately which I am now extremely grateful for as Jackson was definitely not waiting till the next day to see the world. So Pax rushed home from work and we were at the hospital by about 3pm.
Here we go!
They checked the baby’s heart rate and monitored my contractions and by about 4pm they had removed the cervical stitch (and I thought that was painful - haha). I was still on the hospital bed where they’d removed my stitch 20 minutes earlier, when my waters broke. During the next hour, my contractions really ramped up until they were back to back. Little did I know this was how the rest of my labour would continue, with no chance of a break, even just to catch my breath. Luckily, this only went on for a few more hours until I told my midwife that I really needed to push. She said it hadn’t been long enough but much to her surprise I was 9cm dilated and she began getting everything ready for the main event! It really is amazing how different everyone’s labours are and how we know our own bodies so well. After what seemed like five minutes (I was told it was closer to 40 minutes), Jackson Bennett Tibbits was born at 8.05pm, on Wednesday 7th December 2016, weighing a mere 2.81kg. He was happy, healthy and the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. His umbilical cord was short so my midwife lay him on my belly as he could not reach my chest until the placenta had come. As soon as I moved him up to my chest he started searching for his dinner!
The whole thing was a blur...even once Jackson was born, I felt so far gone that I couldn’t believe he was actually there and that he was my baby. Pax and mum supported me throughout my labour, but I barely even noticed them half the time. When it came time to push, I was worried that Pax might pass out as he is known to be a bit of a fainter, but he proved me wrong and was extremely supportive and even watched as Jackson was being born (much to my dismay). I could tell he was one proud daddy the moment he saw his son for the first time, I may have even spotted a tear or two. We chose Jackson’s name because it was a late Gran’s maiden name. She was my favourite person in the world so I wanted a little piece of her in my baby. Bennett is Paxton’s mum’s maiden name and therefore his grandparents’ surname. I can’t speak for him but I know he loved and cherished his grandparents dearly and was overjoyed when I suggested it for the middle name.
Help at hand
The next day we transferred to the Helensville Birthing unit for two nights which was so amazing. All the ladies there were so helpful and wonderful, it really gave us the confidence we needed to start our lives as new parents. We then spent the next two weeks at my mum and dad’s place so we could focus on Jackson and not have to worry so much about cooking and cleaning. They were more than happy to help us out with anything and everything, when they weren’t ‘wasting’ hours at a time just staring at the baby that is.
The early days
Those first few weeks really do just blow by. Between the visitors, sleeping *cough* and breastfeeding, there wasn’t much time left for anything else apart from being a total creep and just staring at my
sleeping baby. Speaking of visitors and breastfeeding, isn’t it funny how you go from being a woman with boobs, to simply baby’s feeding machine? Everyone looks at his beautiful little face while he’s feeding and somehow it’s like half your boob isn’t hanging out for them to see! I’ve been extremely lucky that Jackson has fed well from day one – I know a lot of mums try really hard to breastfeed and it just won’t work. He may not be the chubbiest baby around but he’s steadily gaining weight.
Our first bump in the road occurred when after nine days Jackson’s cord stump hadn’t fallen off and it started to bleed. It wasn’t a terrible amount of blood but as a first-time mum it freaked me out. We rang our midwife and she told us to take Jackson to the hospital just to be safe. The reason his cord stump wouldn’t stop bleeding was because we’d opted against the vitamin K injection initially, and his blood was not clotting well. So after a blood test and the vitamin K injection (and a lot of needles and crying from baby) we took him home, he stopped bleeding and his cord stump fell off the next day. Which brings us to bump in the road number two: the umbilical granuloma. After the cord stump fell off he was left with a red mass of tissue cells called an umbilical granuloma. We had no idea what it was to start with but we took him back to the hospital to get it looked at. They attempted to burn it off with silver nitrate – which is scarier than it sounds as granulomas don’t contain nerves so it didn’t hurt. The GP followed up with a few more applications of the silver nitrate but the granuloma wasn’t going away. It was just “too big and juicy.” We now have an appointment at Starship hospital for Jackson to be put to sleep to have it surgically removed *insert hyperventilating mother here*.
Head over heels
It may sound like the first few weeks of Jackson’s life were scary and miserable but I promise they weren’t. They were the most exciting, loving, magical weeks of our lives. He was such a happy baby, he fed well, slept well and stole the hearts of everyone who met him.
They call the first three months of a baby’s life the ‘fourth trimester’ because baby once they’re born they still want to be as close to you as possible to feel safe. Jackson definitely followed in this thinking and would only go to sleep when being cuddled for a long time. At around three months, he began sleeping through the night much to this mummy’s satisfaction, all in time for the end of daylight savings to muck everything up! However, every morning he wakes up refreshed and raring to go, full of smiles and talking about how he slept and what he dreamed of (in goo’s and ga’s). His day then consists of lots of boobies, naps, cuddles and presents for mum in the form of nappy surprises.
On the move
At first it was hard to get out of the house, especially when it was just Jackson and I, but every outing became easier and easier. Now four months on, there is rarely a day when we just stay home, even if it is just a trip to the park or the beach to walk the dog.
Jackson at three months old, with his bunny from mum’s bestie, Jessie Frances, at 26 weeks pregnant, had to take it easy after a cervical stitch in the second trimester Frances, Paxton and Jackson’s first family photo, post birth. Jackson’s cot was handmade by Dad, Paxton. The blanket is a family heirloom, made by Nana.
Mum with Dad’s mini me A book from Dad, as he drives diggers for a living!
One day old .... Jackson’s muslin blanket and romper are from Nature Baby – Mum’s favourite clothing brand