Birth story of James

I feel kind of bad about how little I’ve recorded of this pregnancy considering how much information I recorded during Kellen’s gestation. I figure the least I can do is at least record the labor especially considering the current epidemic going on.
James Oliver Siems was born on May 18th, 2020 at 9:22a. He was 20″ long and as I predicted he was heavier than big brother at 7 pounds and 12 ounces. A couple of people have asked about the meaning of his name. At one time we had considered Oliver James because, like Kellen (Kellin), Oliver is also the name of a lead singer from one of the bands we listen to. There’s no real significance to James, we just thought it sounded good together and we don’t really know anyone with the name James. Anyways, I couldn’t really settle on Oliver James (and the five other names I liked that Cody hated) and so I flipped it around to James Oliver and Cody agreed with it so we stuck with that version.
When I was pregnant with Kellen everyone told me the first child is always late and the second child is always early. Since Kellen had been born a week before his due date I figured James would either be even earlier or right about 39 weeks as well. I was due on my birthday and as many know my mom’s birthday is the day after mine so I had hoped he would be born the day before my birthday but alas, May 15th came and went and James was just a snug little bug. Since I didn’t expect to make it to 40 weeks I didn’t even bother making an appointment for that week. I was supposed to be seen on the 14th but I figured I would wait the weekend and if nothing happened then I would call the doctor on Monday. Sunday night I laid in bed researching induction information so I could be prepared when I went to my appointment the next morning. Right before rolling over to go to sleep I randomly thought I should try flexing my uterine muscles just to see if that would do anything (mind you, I had already tried all other natural induction methods at this point so I was trying to get creative).
As I drifted off I suddenly got that knee-jerk reaction like when you feel like you’re falling in your sleep and somehow I just knew my water had broke. I didn’t feel or hear anything it was just an instinct. So when I shifted to check things out I definitely felt a gush and laughed. I reached over and jostled Cody but he was dead to the world. I had to shake him fairly violently before he finally acknowledged me to go get a towel. “What’s the towel for?” he asked. “Did you not hear me say my water broke?” I responded. He just said “oh” and went back to bed.
I wasn’t having any contractions at this point so I just grabbed a new towel after soaking the first and went and sat in the nursery. I was a little disheartened when I was reading blogs and Facebook post about mom’s who had been in similar situations (water breaking before contractions) because most of them said they didn’t end up having the baby for another 12-72 hours. There was no way I would be able to go back to sleep like this so I just hoped I would start having my contractions soon. Sure enough, I began having light contractions about 6 minutes apart. My water had broken at 1:45a and an hour later I called my doctor. She asked me a few basic questions and decided it wouldn’t hurt to get there sooner rather than later just in case things progressed quickly. I called my mom and told her she better come over since it would take her about 45 minutes to get to our house.
I woke Cody up for real and told him what was going on and started giving him tasks to get ready. I tried helping but I kept finding myself in the bathroom switching out my pad because the amniotic fluid was just flowing every time I took a step. Once my mom arrived we gave her instructions and headed out. My contractions were still pretty light at this point so we weren’t really rushing but as soon as we got into the car and hit the bumpy road things began progressing a little quicker.
Due to covid, we had to be screened at the entrance before going in. We were asked a few questions, had our temperatures checked, and then we were given masks. Once we were up in labor and delivery and checked into a room we were able to remove our masks.
The nurse began with hooking me up to a contraction scanner and a fetal doppler to begin tracking my progress. When she checked my cervix I was only 3cm dilated but since my water had broken they were going to go ahead and keep me. After they established a good heart rate for the baby they detached me from the monitors so I could get up and move around. I absolutely refused to be kept in the bed this time because last time I felt really restrained and stressed (with Kellen). The nurse brought me a birthing ball and I spent most of labor on it until my contractions started picking up and actually hurting. Before I had come into the hospital I had drunk three bottles of water and then drank another 25 ounces during early labor at the hospital so in between contractions I was peeing almost every twenty minutes.
After being on the birthing ball for awhile my contractions began picking up and became more intense so I moved over to the pull out couch where Cody was trying to sleep. For about an hour or so I was in the hands and knees position rocking back and forth during contractions and alternated that with leaning against Cody so he could hold me up (laying down hurt more but I was exhausted). Cody had apparently remembered some advice from our chiropractor and began pushing my hips together when I contracted and, wow, what a relief; the pressure he was applying actually helped counteract some of the pain. At this time, I decided I wanted to go ahead and receive a shot of fentanyl since I again was opting out of an epidural. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a heplock in place yet because I was trying to put it off as long as possible (stubborn Jacobsen), so the nurses were trying to insert the needle between my two-minute contractions. Before they started they checked my cervix again and estimated I was only four in a half centimeters. I internally groaned thinking labor was going so slowly and it already hurt so much.
The first nurse who tried inserting the heplock busted my vein so she got a different nurse who was apparently better who also busted two more veins. The third try was in the top of my hand and hurt more than my current contractions so I waved them off and told them we would try later. I wasn’t even sure I wanted the fentanyl anymore but I knew they wanted a heplock on me anyways in case they needed to push pitocin later (in case of hemorrhaging). After about thirty minutes I had gotten myself into a comfortable laying down position and allowed them to bring in a third nurse to try for a fourth time to get a heplock started. The nurse remembered us from when Kellen was born and apparently was also from Glenwood. She was preparing to insert the needle and told me to take a deep breath and that it was going to hurt but I didn’t even feel a thing and she was able to get it in no problem. I said, “you should have done it the first time.”
So then I got really drunk off fentanyl for like ten minutes and then was back to immense pain. Unfortunately, all the fentanyl did was make me feel like I had just taken eight shots of patron and then fell off a roof.
Right around eight o’clock, my midwife arrived. Somehow I’ve been really lucky where I show up in the middle of the night and my babies hold off until my actual provider arrives haha. My contractions started feeling different and I instantly knew things were going to start progressing. I felt like my insides were ripping when I had a contraction and I told Cody I felt like James was moving down the canal. Out of nowhere I got the urge to push and couldn’t stop it, it was so intense and weird feeling my body just take over. I had a few more contractions with a couple of pushes with every other one, and then my midwife decided to check me again.
“Do you want to have this baby on the couch? Because he’s coming out now,” she said.
“Yup. I’m staying here.”
There was no way I was getting back in that bed and honestly, I didn’t think I would be able to walk over there anyway. Everyone jumped into action and started getting their gear on, pulled off my super attractive mesh underwear from the hospital, got my personal bedding out of the way, and then I grabbed the nurses hands who had been next to me for the last hour because she had cold hands and they felt great lol.
“Do you want to take your shirt off?” my midwife asked.
“No. That’s her birthing shirt,” Cody answered for me.
When I was in labor with Kellen I told Cody to just grab me something comfortable to wear to the hospital and he grabbed this purple Kool-Aid shirt of his that had a picture of the Kool-Aid man holding a blunt. I thought it was so funny I decided next time I had a baby I would make sure to wear the same shirt and make it a tradition. So here I was, pantless with my purple blunt-smoking Kool-Aid man shirt, giving birth on the pull-out couch. I pushed two more times and could hear my midwife talking about how she could see all his hair and if I really beared down on this next push I could probably get him out. So I did. Obviously, it hurt but the thing that bothered me more was feeling like when I pushed he was right at the opening and then would slide back in so I thought to myself “this is it. I’m pushing him completely out with this next contraction. I’m done. I don’t want to feel that again,” and I pushed that sucker out. I felt his head pop out but then it literally felt like he had three sets of shoulders because it felt like I kept pushing out more ligaments.
Cody said his cord was wrapped around his shoulders and chest and once I saw him he was dark purple. My midwife handed James to me up through my legs (because I was still on my hands and knees) and I talked to him and messed with his face until he finally let out his first cry. Everyone helped me get turned around and situated onto my back with six pillows propping me up so I could try to get James to breastfeed to encourage my placenta to come out on its own. Cody cut the cord and my midwife gently tugged my placenta out and even showed me what it looked like. For those that don’t know me very well, I love looking at gross bodily things. I was the kid that would twist my loose teeth 180 degrees just to freak people out, and wanted to see the mass they removed from my neck when I was like eight. So I thought it was pretty cool of my midwife to show off the placenta and pull it out of the bucket to show me where it had torn and everything.
My little breastfeeding champion had latched on perfectly and then ate for forty-five minutes, so once he was done Cody and the nurse took him to check his vitals and measurements. Originally I thought I heard the nurse say he was 7#4oz which surprised me but then later she corrected me with his actual weight of 7#12oz which somehow surprised me more even though I guessed he would be around that weight.
After we had gotten situated and notified our family of the news Cody went to pick up Kellen and I had to spend the night alone. I moved all my sheets and pillows back to the couch because it was more comfortable than the bed and then slid the table and bassinet next to me. Every time a new nurse came in to do my vitals I had to wave at them because they couldn’t see me in my little fort. It was actually kind of funny watching them panic a little bit when they first walked in, and then during shift changes, they started informing the next nurses of my accommodations.
The next day I was so stir crazy. I was bored out of my mind, had no one to talk to since I couldn’t have visitors due to Covid, and just wanted to go home, but I wasn’t being released until the next day. Since I hadn’t done the gestational diabetes test they wanted to check James’ blood sugar every four hours for the first twelve hours, and since I had rejected the GBS test and antibiotics during labor they wanted to keep James for forty-eight hours to make sure he didn’t develop early-onset GBS.
My sister offered to have Kellen stay the night at her house so Cody could come to stay with me the last night because honestly if I had to stay one more night by myself I might have literally lost my mind. Surprisingly, Kellen did really well at his first sleepover and even fell asleep in an actual bed instead of on the floor like he does at home.
The next morning all we had to do was the PKU blood test and test his hemoglobin before we could go home. The PKU test was excruciating to watch. If you don’t know what the PKU test is, they have to prick the baby’s heel and then fill 4-5 circles on this piece of paper with blood. James wasn’t gushing blood so it was taking a long time to fill the circles and the tech was squeezing his foot to get more blood but James kept kicking his hand so he kept losing the drips. Let me tell you, I’ve never had to hold my tongue so hard. I was about to freak out on this tech. I mean it literally took five minutes to fill the first circle and he had to fill four more and poor little James was just screaming his head off. Either I wasn’t there when Kellen had his test done or the last tech had better luck because I don’t remember Kellen going through this traumatizing experience. When we got the results back for the hemoglobin he was right on the line for jaundice but our pediatrician okay’d it and said he trusted us to take him home.
We were finally released and instead of loading our new baby into a tiny little Mustang we actually had a nice big SUV with four doors this time. Cody dropped me and James off at home and then went to pick up Kellen. When Kellen walked in the door it was like he had been a big brother his whole life. He was super interested in James and was very gentle with him like he was a professional big brother or something. Now he loves holding James alllll the time and will try to console him when he’s crying. It just melts my heart seeing these two together.
We just had a two week follow up appointment for James and he weighs a whopping 9#2oz! Generally, babies lose a little bit of weight and by two weeks they’re supposed to be back up to birth weight. I asked Cody what he thought James would weigh and he had guessed 8#2oz so both of us, along with the nurse and doctor, were really surprised by his weight gain. I told my mom about how some of my old coworkers would joke about my small boobs and say “Where are you even gonna hold milk?” Well look who’s laughing now 😛 my pediatrician said, “You must be making breast cream instead of milk.”

*6 weeks later because I suck at timeliness*
Kellen has been adjusting really well! We had one week of him being especially naughty and otherwise, he’s been really sweet to James. He loves holding James and he will pat James when James is crying. My favorite is when Kellen comes up to James and says “HI!” and sometimes he’ll nuzzle James 🙂
We’re slowly adjusting to sleepless nights and our little family of four. We can’t wait to see all the trouble these two will get in together 😛

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