4 September 2013

Two days ago, a woman arrived at the birth center who did not seem to be in active labor. She then slept through the night – not a sign that things were progressing. In the morning, I went to visit her, and she was calmly sitting on the floor with no signs of labor. I assumed we would send her home. So imagine my surprise just a few hours later when midwife Stephanie told me midwife Kate wanted me at the birth center ASAP! I ran down. The mama was pushing!

However, this was a nice, normal, 1 hour and 40 minute pushing phase with a primip – or so I thought. After the birth, it turned out the baby had been in an asynclitic position, as evidenced by caput on molding of the skull bones — and more significantly, the placenta had a velamentous insertion of the cord. Unusual! A velamentous insertion is a major risk factor for hemorrhage.

For those interested in this important part of midwifery: Most placentas have a centrally inserted cord. A velamentous insertion, however, looks different – as if several strings were inserted into the placenta that eventually come together into the cord connected to the baby’s umbilicus. This is dangerous because if one of the “strings” breaks, the break can cause a major bleed for both the baby and the mama, and this terrible bleeding can lead to either a maternal or fetal death – or both.

As I examined the placenta after the birth, I found myself thanking God, from my heart, for blessing all of us with a peaceful birth, completely complication-free. I caught the baby as she was born from her mother, who was sitting on a birthstool. Such joy!


Later, one of the midwives was showing this rare type of placenta to others. She pointed out that the individual vessels growing out from the placenta toward the properly formed part of the cord did seem very strong. She hooked her pinky finger into the smallest vessel, and slightly lifted the weight of the placenta in the bowl to demonstrate her point, and as she did, it broke.

This reinforced to me that it was God who had protected both the mother and child for he did not allow that placental vessel to break at any time during the birth.

The baby girl’s name is Miracle because her life is a miracle.



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