family of four in hospital

Birth Story: “I didn’t think I was going to have the strength to keep going.”

Josselyn is married to Caleb and a working mom of four. Of all of her children, the pregnancy and delivery of her second was the most intense. Below is their story.

When we found out we were pregnant with our second, we were so excited. I will always remember my husband Caleb’s reaction once he saw the test results. He scooped up our daughter Alaina (one-and-a-half at the time) and said, “We’re going to have another one of you rug rats!” With our first pregnancy everything went smoothly, so we were expecting that again. But we had no idea what was actually in store for us!

At 17 weeks, my cervix began to dilate because of baby’s positioning and I started to have pretty intense pain in my back and pelvis. It was so bad that I had to stay home from work and really limit my activity. I could barely do anything. Through it all baby was safe and healthy, but I started to worry more and more as our due date got closer.

My mom had delivered three babies premature and lost one at 5 days old. That was a terrifying thought to me. So, even though I was in such awful pain, I constantly told my husband: No matter what happens to me, I need to make it as close to our due date as I can. Then 10 days before that due date, I started having contractions.

A sleepless night
One night my husband and daughter had gone to bed, but I was so uncomfortable that I couldn’t even lie down. I had been dealing with contractions all day and they seemed to be ramping up. I walked around the house, taking small sips of water and nibbling on crackers to keep myself from feeling shaky.

I decided to stand in the shower to see if the warm water would help. After that I tried crawling back into bed, but I was still just so uncomfortable. My contractions were getting stronger and closer together. Around 2 am, I woke my husband to let him know how I was feeling. We probably should have just gone to the hospital then, but we decided to wait a bit longer.

I only lasted a few more hours. At 5:30 am my contractions were 2 to 3 minutes apart. I knew it was time to go. I flipped on the light, woke him up and we got out the door as quickly as we could.

To St. Luke’s just in time
We got to the hospital just after 6 am and came through St. Luke’s Emergency Department. We got upstairs to the Birthing Center and they told me I was 8 centimeters dilated. I was practically ready to deliver! I knew I was in active labor, but I didn’t expect them to tell me I was that far along. My water hadn’t even broken yet!

After that there was barely time for anything. They couldn’t even finish my admission because I was progressing so fast. I got in a gown and they hooked me up to monitors. I was working through the end of a contraction when they told me they wanted me to start pushing on the next one. Once that contraction ended, my water finally broke.

Honestly, I was so scared. With how hard the pregnancy had been, I was worried that if he was positioned goofy he’d get stuck. I wondered if there would be complications with him being 10 days early. I had so many things running through my head. Then I started to feel another contraction coming on. My nurse looked at me and said, “Alright, here we go. You can do this!”

Welcome to the world, Axton
There was no time for an epidural, so I felt everything. If you want my opinion, I recommend an epidural. It was really hard. At one point, I didn’t think I was going to have the strength to keep going. But my nurses kept telling me that I could do it, so I kept on pushing.

Through the whole experience, the Birthing Center staff was so awesome to me. They kept reassuring me that everything was okay and reminding me that I needed to breathe. I knew they were doing everything they possibly could to help me. Finally at 7:27 am, I heard our son cry for the first time.

It was such an emotional experience. They handed him to me right away and I couldn’t believe we had actually made it through everything. He was totally safe and healthy, with no complications. All the pain was suddenly gone. My husband and I just sat there with him, both of us crying. We were so happy and exhausted, it was all we could do!

This is how Josselyn remembers the day her son Axton was born. To hear what Axton remembers, watch his story below. View More Stories »



St. Luke’s Birthing Center is located in Duluth, MN, with St. Luke’s clinics in the surrounding region, including Superior, WI. To schedule a tour of St. Luke’s Birthing Center, call 218.249.5605.


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