James's Birth Story
James is two weeks old today, and I've wanted to write up his birth story while it’s fresh in my mind…
I went for a walk with my kids and my parents throughout the neighborhood and after, I was feeling a lot of pressure in my pelvis as I ran around the kitchen and made lunch. My parents ran to the store, and my husband was on his way home from work early, and I decided to take a bath and try to assess what was going on with my body. I was having some random contractions, but mostly pressure, and I figured that a bath might make contractions taper off if it wasn’t true labor.
While I was in the bath, I started having a panic moment that I've had in every labor right around the transition phase where I have to deal with any and all fear related to actually pushing a baby out of me. I wasn’t feeling filled with faith… at all, and knew I was at that moment where the rubber met the road, and had to embrace what might come next.
I had an appointment at the birth center at 3, and I had intended to go myself, but with all the pressure I was feeling, I decided to have my husband take me and to bring all of my birth supplies just in case. When we got to the appointment, I explained what had been going on and the midwife checked my cervix and was completely shocked that I was at 7 cm.
They gave us the option of going out for dinner, or staying at the center, and I decided to stay and "settle in” emotionally because I knew a birth center was a bit different than my previous home births.
I met the on call midwife, and she was divinely appointed to be there for our birth. We chatted a bit, and I told her about my previous births and some of my concerns and fears with this birth. She really wasn’t sure what to make of the situation and explained that she’s not used to women coming in and smiling and talking at 7cm and wasn’t sure if she’d just have to catch a baby at any random moment.
I labored on a ball for a while and worked on figure eights to help get the baby in a better position. I continued to have mild contractions that got down to about 3 minutes, so I decided to get in the tub. But, as I stayed in the tub for about 20 minutes, my contractions grew further apart so I decided to get out. Then the midwife checked on baby’s position, which was still posterior, so we did some spinning babies techniques. She mentioned it was normal for contractions to slow with these, and my labor pretty much stopped.
By now, it was 10 at night and I was disappointed. I had never had a labor stall out, but our wonderful midwife suggested some options. We could sleep there and see if anything else happened naturally, we could try a breast pump, or membrane strip, or go home and come back if things progressed in the night.
I talked it over with my husband, and at this point, I made up my mind that I wanted to be home in the morning when my kids woke up with their new baby brother. I had to make a conscious decision to let my body go into labor, and tune off all the distractions that were keeping me from mentally entering "labor land."
I opted for a membrane strip and then decided to stop all the enjoyable chit chatting and pace around the hallways by myself to get it the right mental spot. During this time, I'd have contractions, most of which I kept walking through, and they still weren't regular which made me worry labor wasn’t progressing.
I went back to the birth room and decided to try to sleep, but before I could climb in the bed I heard a pop and my water broke. In all my births, this was the first "pop" experience I had and it was kind of cool. I woke up my husband and told him to get the midwife and she came with the nurse quickly.
By this point, my mind was fully in "laborland" and I walked to the bathroom and they asked what I wanted to do and I just said I didn't know, which was a clear sign my mind was fully withdrawn to my body. I eventually said I wanted to get in the tub, and they started the water, and then reminded me that things could slow again, and they wouldn't be able to help with positioning as well, so I opted to go on the bed. I knew I'd be pushing momentarily, but I was surprised by how much these contractions were actually doing the pushing and moving for me. In between each, I felt like I could sleep, and told the midwife that because I was worried she might step out if she saw me sleeping, but she reaffirmed that it was simply the hormones doing their job and I was almost there.
After a few of these really strong contractions, I felt the urge to push, so I did. In one push, his head and an arm emerged, and with the quickest hands on earth, our amazing midwife was able to untangle James from being double wrapped in his cord. Then, with a second quasi push, he was born!
James came at 37 weeks and 6 days, but was a whopping 7lbs 14 ounces for that gestation. A further surprise was that the placenta WAS circumvallate (the first ultrasound showed it and second didn’t). Due to this, and his crazy one arm up, posterior, and tangled in cord, I was so thankful he came that day and not weeks later when he could have been well over 10 lbs.
Of course, we’re all over the moon in love and so thankful he’s joined our family!!
And, just like I envisioned, we got home just in time to greet my older three when they woke up with their baby brother and was greeted by my early rising 5 year old.
I'm so thankful that God planned the perfect time, the perfect people to help, and provided the peace and strength I needed at each step of the way!
It's been busy around my house these last few weeks and consequently very quiet on my website and social media. We welcomed James on 7/29 and have been loving all the snuggles and family bonding time!
I'll be back in the fall with some new content, new fun products, and plenty of adventures to share!
With baby number 5, I went to my first prenatal appointment around 13 weeks, after waiting for my referral and then another month for the next available appointment.
I was thrilled to get that first peak at baby on the dating ultrasound, and it was equally exciting to see a much more developed ultrasound image than the typical first ones that look like an abstract bean- a lovely bean, don't get me wrong...
Nearing the end, the tech was taking some notes and making some marks. then, I went to see the midwife and do the rest of the appointment.
The midwife mentioned the placenta was circumvallate, which was an "irregularity." I left, feeling great, though still nauseous, and went about my day.
Later, I remembered that strange word the midwife mentioned and decided to google it to learn more. That was a bad idea...
When searching for "circumvallate placenta" across the internet, you'll learn that it's a rare condition where the placenta curls away from the baby, which can lead to poor nutrient transfer, preterm birth, excessive bleeding/hemorrhaging, placental abruption and potential death to mom and baby.
I was paralyzed with fear! Was my doctor doing enough? What could actually be done? If something went wrong before 20 weeks, then there was nothing to do to save the baby, but should I be preparing for a preterm baby? Birth defects due to lack of nutrients?
I just wanted to scream:
SOMEONE TELL ME WHAT TO DO!
I decided to not announce my pregnancy until 20 weeks, in case something happened, I didn't want to be bombarded with questions, and I waited in pins and needles for my next appointment.
I finally had another ultrasound at 23 weeks, and guess what? Placenta looks great. The tech didn't think it was circumvallate anymore, but the ultrasound needed to be reviewed by a doctor. Baby is doing well, though on the smaller 35th percentile (uncommon for me).
The reason for this post is essentially this: if you've been diagnosed with a circumvallate placenta, take a deep breath and let those worries go.
I wish I didn't worry so much about something I had no control over. I spent so much time fretting about potential complications that haven't happened, and reading through forums of other moms, it seems most people are diagnosed, read WebMD, totally panic, then eventually realize their worry isn't needed.
The midwife's term of "irregularity" sums it up the best. The placenta is different, or appears different in shape. For me, it seems to have adjusted- though medical personnel will say it doesn't do that and was falsely diagnosed. I'm not sure what the actual deal was, I just know that I was totally panicked for months about every little ache or pain, kick, or lack of kick, and it was simply fruitless and ducked the joy out of the beginning of this pregnancy- so my advice is to not do the same but embrace the irregularity, and your precious bundle of joy growing within you!
Have you been diagnosed with a circumvallate placenta? I'd love to hear your story in the comment section!
When I was pregnant with my first baby back in 2011, our insurance wouldn't cover a 20 week ultrasound because they deemed it not medically necessary. The OB practice said this was pretty unheard of, and despite everything progressing normally, we desperately wanted to find out the gender of our first baby to start planning for the nursery and baby showers.
We opted to go to a local 3d ultrasound business and find out what we were having!
I was thrilled, starting listing baby names, and buying a plethora of pink baby clothes [because that's what you do with your first!!]. My sister and a friend planned beautiful baby showers where I was gifted every beautiful pink thing I needed and I patiently awaited our little ones birth! I share my first birth story here.
During this pregnancy, I was having some minor health issues, my heart rate was running high, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, so I was sent to a cardiologist and pulmonologist and had an echocardiogram done to make sure all was well.
During my echocardiogram, I had the sweetest technician who performed the heart ultrasound, and then said, "let's take a quick look at baby!"
She moved the ultrasound wand to my belly and asked what we were having. I gleamed, "a girl!" And she got really quiet for a moment...
In hindsight, she was trying to think of the best way to break it to me...
She showed me the screen, which revealed with certainty that the baby was not actually a girl! I was so surprised, and thinking about alllllllllll the returning I would have to do.... but I was also releaved to have that news broken to us outside of the delivery room so I could prepare with some boy items instead of bringing home a newborn boy in a pink layette set...
We contacted the first ultrasound place, and they offered us a free ultrasound package to confirm the gender... which was in fact a boy!
Ultrasounds are such a wonderful thing, but they're operated by humans and there's always a margin of error! Since then, we've take every gender announcement as a prediction and I appreciate the techs guess!
Have you had an ultrasound tell the wrong gender??
is a writer & tired homeschooling mom of five.