A Baby Story: Liam Jude Parks

I’ll begin his story the weekend of my 36th birthday, late March 2018. I flew to Alabama to meet up with my friend, Courtney, we had plans to head to TN for a class with The Patriot Nurse.

I expected to be mid-cycle for the trip, so packed accordingly; but by the 2nd day of my trip, my cycle still hadn’t started. It didn’t alarm me because I had previously begun to have suspicions I may be entering peri-menopause; but also, I hadn’t been that late as of yet. To be sure we swung into Walgreens to get a test (I bought a 3-pack), before turning in for the evening. I took a test in the Walgreens bathroom and stared intently at the indicator, only to feel a warmth come over me as the second line started to show. Back at the hotel room I took another test, two lines again. I was stunned.

My friend was 7-1/2 months pregnant at the time, could I be starting on the same journey, really!?!

She encouraged me to take another test in the morning, to really be sure. I couldn’t wait that long to tell Will though, so I texted him a photo of the test. His initial response: WHOA. I couldn’t help but agree, WHOA.

I mean, we both knew it was possible given he had his vasectomy reversed, but after 1-1/2 years had passed since his reversal, I had begun to accept it wasn’t going to be a reality for us.

Will then shared how excited he felt. 💁🏻‍♂️ As for me, I had a load of feelings and thoughts racing through my brain. We talked a bit more through text, and I remember feeling overcome with anticipation, before turning down for the night.

In the morning, I took another test, and again, it was positive. It had settled in overnight anyhow, I was pregnant. 🤰🏻I felt different, but couldn’t articulate my feelings. Oh how life can change so suddenly.

Back home we waited to share the news with our girls. When we did share, about a week later, we told Bria first. Being the oldest, we trusted she could keep quiet about it, and she did; but she didn’t have to keep quiet for long. We had become too excited to keep it a secret any longer. The girls joined in on our excitement too, the younger ones could barely stand it!

As news spread, we were met with much encouragement! I couldn’t help but think about the timing too, we were just settling into a house again after “wandering” a bit for the previous 4 years. I had just begun to feel somewhat “alive” again too, after a long period of great heartache and gloom. It felt good, it felt right.

We decided early on we wanted to attempt another home birth, so we began looking for a midwife. We interviewed one and considered birthing at her center, but the idea of having to go into the city for all of my appointments, and then to birth, and in Winter, grew less and less appealing. A couple of weeks into our search we learned from a friend – of a friend – of a friend, that there was a midwife office very close to us, and the midwife herself was highly regarded.

We met with that midwife soon after, and Will and I were both at ease. After taking time to consider all of our options, we decided to commit to our desire for a home birth, and hired Jennifer Holshoe of West Michigan Midwifery, to be our care provider.

From there we had an ultrasound to confirm my dates. I then sought to arrange for me to take a blood test, to determine gender. I wasn’t sure I wanted another ultrasound later on, and felt the blood test a more appealing option. I took the test at 10 weeks, and lo and behold… we were expecting a boy. 💙 A son, a longing desire I held dear in my heart, my prayer had been answered. 1 Samuel 1:27

Fast forward to 19 weeks. I did end up having an ultrasound. It was at the advice of my midwife because I had had a previous c-section; and though I had 11 years to heal, it remained important to make sure my placenta hadn’t attached near my uterine scar. All checked out good, and we saw our lil’ guy’s face for the first time. 🥰 By then he had a name: Liam Jude. “Liam” an Irish name derived from William, meaning resolute protector; and “Jude” a Hebrew name meaning praise.

As Liam grew, and his movements became more recognizable, I noticed he felt different than I remembered the girls feeling. It was hard to know what was what, and at my 29 week visit I asked our midwife to see if she could better detect his position. By that time, too, we had begun receiving care by our midwife’s apprentice, Jenn DeWaard. They both felt around, and agreed, Mr. Liam was breech.

It was then that it all started to make sense. To be safe, we had his position confirmed by ultrasound, and also had my amniotic fluid level checked. Ultrasound confirmed he was breech, and my amniotic fluid level was good.

That same week we began our efforts to try and encourage him to flip. Even though we were informed it was totally normal for a baby to be breech at 29 weeks, I felt a greater urgency to address things, as opposed to waiting to see how things went.

Enter: Spinning Babies, moxibustion, pulsatilla, ECV, massage, Webster’s technique, and head stands in a pool. We felt like we had tried it all, but at 36 weeks, Liam remained breech.

Longer story shorter, we then consulted with two doctors (MD & DO) who had experience with natural breech (hospital) births, and that my midwives felt we’d be supported by; and we were.

While we had made an attempt to flip him by external cephalic version, once already, and at our midwife’s office, we decided to try it again at 37 weeks, at the hospital, with one of the doctors. After 25 minutes, at 5-minute intervals, the Dr.’s arms were limp like noodles, but Liam wasn’t budging.

We considered trying a third time, but Will greatly lacked peace with the idea, and I wasn’t all that excited about it to begin with. We came to agree enough was enough, we were letting Liam be from that point on.

It’s worth noting that we were met with confirmation on two different occasions, that we were to be at peace with Liam being breech, including the likelihood he’d be born that way. And at peace we were.

November 29th arrived, Liam’s “estimated due date” and yet I had no signs labor was near. By 4am the morning of the 30th, I felt things beginning to change. My suspicions were confirmed after I took a shower, the “show” had appeared, and contractions, while low intensity, were definitely feeling “real”.

I woke Will to bring him up to speed. After we got the girls off to school we updated our midwives and headed out to gather fresh food for home, and get breakfast.

By 4pm I had to put my phone down and stop interacting with people. My contractions were intensifying and were requiring all of my focus. I took position kneeling in front of our living room ottoman, and there I remained until he was born.

According to my midwife’s notes, active labor began at 4:30pm and lasted 2 hours and 5 minutes. The second stage began at 6:35pm and lasted 29 minutes, ending with Liam’s SWIFT arrival at 7:04pm. The third stage concluded at 7:10pm, his cord was then cut roughly 7 minutes later, after it stopped pulsing.

From my perspective, his birth truly felt like an out of body experience. The contractions were the most painful I’ve ever had to endure, and it brought out a part of me I’d yet to realize. Early into the more intense stage of active labor, I wasn’t sure I could do it, and I remember asking Will to just take me in (to the hospital). He put his arm around me, not saying a word, but he didn’t have to. His presence alone encouraged me to keep on believing. As if I had any other choice by that point anyway… Liam was coming and my body was ready… it was time for my mind to join forces.

Liam was in a frank breech position when he was born. He took his first breath after 30 seconds, and didn’t require resuscitation or suction. He weighed 7lbs 12oz, and measured 20” long.

A very special thank you to midwife Patrice Bobier, who was also at Liam’s birth, to lend her support and experience. Her presence put everyone all the more at ease.

And to our friend Lynsey, for making herself available to photograph the intimate moments of his birth. I cherish the photos.

We are proof c-sections aren’t the only viable and safe option for breech babies. Not only was Liam born breech naturally, he was born at home, and to a mom who had previously delivered a baby via c-section. We defied odds, albeit assumed, with his birth, and we’ll forever be grateful.

HalleluYah. ❤️