How do you measure a baby’s worth? I certainly hope no one would say–on a scale.

My newborn daughter is a precious baby human, and not a little ball of numbers. Her sole purpose for existing is not to win the gold star of approval from any current pediatric expert, or from anyone.

Velamentous cord insertion. I’d never heard of it. And because my delivery went smoothly with no problems, I can honestly say–I’m glad I didn’t know during the pregnancy that her cord was attached abnormally to the placenta.

 
Rebekah Ruby Kate, born February 15, 2016, arrived only one day before the 40-week mark, but she only weighed 5lbs 10oz. Healthy and strong, tiny and perfect.

I know that her size isn’t super tiny for a full-term baby, but she is super tiny for one of my babies. My other girls weighed–7lbs 14oz, 8lbs 8oz, 7lbs 6oz, and 8lbs 4oz. 

Had I done something wrong? Would she have other developmental problems? I was a nervous wreck as I read and read and gathered as much information as I could about velamentous cord insertion.

This was a high-risk pregnancy, but we didn’t know that until after her delivery. 

Because Rebekah’s cord was attached to the sac instead of directly to the placenta, there were veins that could’ve easily ruptured.

Velamentous cord insertion occurs in 1% of singleton births, and in 15% of twin births. My sister had twins, my aunt had a twins ultrasound at 6wks along, and then it was “a disappearing twin” by the next ultrasound. I only had one ultrasound, at 16 weeks along. Did Rebekah also have a disappearing twin? I’m glad I don’t know. 

Apparently this type of cord abnormality often results in a miscarriage early in pregnancy. Had it been known, it would require a mandatory C-section possibly as early as 35-weeks. And if the condition is unknown during a vaginal delivery, often a vein can rupture resulting in a stillborn birth.

I’m glad I didn’t know. Now…had something gone terribly, tragically wrong during my delivery, maybe I’d say something else. But I’m glad. I am glad I didn’t know.

Maybe it seems reckless or irresponsible to say I’m glad that the risks were unknown, but I would’ve been stressed out for my whole pregnancy and possibly would’ve let her be taken early. I am glad that she lived and developed inside me almost the entire 40 weeks. And I am very thankful that nothing went wrong with her delivery, SO thankful. I barely bled and healed quickly after her delivery. 

Rebekah was easy to carry, and she stayed in utero until 39 weeks, 6 days. I taught my fitness dance classes until I was 39 weeks. I didn’t stress about anything. I have 4 other daughters, and Keith has 3 children. Our lives stay very busy, and I didn’t slow down any during pregnancy. Rebekah was my easiest delivery. I went from being dilated to 6cm to having her in my arms in about 30 minutes.

I knew she was small when I held her, but we didn’t know her cord was attached abnormally until I delivered the placenta. After reading and reading and reading, all I could find out about velamentous cord insertion was that–there could be serious complications with a vaginal delivery, and the baby will be small. 

Her brain, lungs, heart, liver, kidneys, etc would all be formed and functional. She would just be small. And she was. And she is. 

God designed us, and he didn’t hand over growth charts to make sure we all scrambled around trying to force our babies to all grow at the exact same rate. 

She was 5lbs 11oz at her one week appointment, and we were praised that she was back to birthweight so quickly, because they just want newborns back to birthweight by 2 weeks…so this was good progress. 

She had a minor cough her second week of life and had lost an ounce. She was 5lbs 10oz at her 2 week appointment, birthweight. Okay. This was fine to me. 

She can’t be expected to grow too much in length weekly, so all her gain is most likely going to be chub, 100% fat. 

I was thinking about it yesterday in terms of butter–

A box of butter is one pound, 16oz

One stick is 4oz, 8 Tablespoons 

So each Tablespoon is 1/2oz of fat. 

The pediatrician was saying he wanted her gaining 1-2oz daily, that’s 2-4 Tablespoons of butter staying on her DAILY. I’m thinking… what am I supposed to be eating to make that happen?!

Her pediatrician wanted me to pump and feed her instead of nursing her. And I’m staring at him thinking–when did numbers on paper replace common sense in parenting? 

I can’t imagine suggesting such an idea to all animals–pump and feed. We need to measure. Now, I’m not a wild animal…most of the time. But this made good sense?

I’ve successfully breastfed my other 4 daughters when they were little–15 months, 14 months, 14 months, 10.5 months. This is a 24-hrs a day, 7 days a week commitment. No I don’t have a medical degree, but I have pretty extensive on-the-job training. 

Pump and feed her instead? Because she lost one ounce? You wanted her back to birthweight by two weeks. She is. Where’s my stupid gold star? 

I told him I didn’t want to, and didn’t plan to, pump and bottlefeed her. My first daughter had nipple confusion because we introduced the bottle when she was 3-4 weeks old.

He smiled smugly and assured me Rebekah’s nursing was well-established by 2 weeks and that wouldn’t happen. And he knows this fact because…? He has personally breastfed…how many babies?

Um, I don’t care what your books say, nipple confusion and frustration is VERY real. And it’s incredibly difficult to work through. He suggested I could feed her with a syringe.

I didn’t. I breastfed her.

We came back to the pediatrician for a 4 week appointment, Rebekah had gained 15oz in 15 days and weighed 6lbs 9oz. This was the low end of acceptable for his charts, but acceptable. I let Clara, my 2-year-old, take 6 or 7 Doc McStuffins stickers from the sticker table as we left. Sure, have another. Another? Sure. Strolled out. 

Rebekah gained some again at 5 weeks, and then she lost some at 8 weeks. Panic gripped my heart. I got so sad. I felt like such a failure. And here she is–this beautiful little baby, kicking her thin limbs around and staring at me, trusting me, loving me, not worried, not sick. Just little. 

This is my job. And I’m failing. Socks don’t stay on–tragedy. I must fatten you into a pudgy basketball as soon as possible. Google search–can I feed my newborn…butter?

I borrowed a digital scale from my midwife and I am nursing diligently, and I’m weighing and recording her results regularly. My midwife told me that a 4-6oz gain per week would be great with breastfeeding, which is more like a pound in a month, not in week. That seemed more realistic. She said at the rate of a pound a week, soon Rebekah would be so round she wouldn’t be able to roll over or sit up. 

One night when I was frustrated because Rebekah is so small and her gains just don’t always fit the charts, my oldest daughter Margaret (who had just gone to her room for the night) sent me this text–

  

Margaret’s words really touched my heart. Rebekah’s beautiful eyes are full of curiosity. She smiles with pure joy when we talk to her. She tries very hard to coo and communicate with us. Rebekah is healthy and active and surprisingly very STRONG for her size. 

She may never be chubby. She may never fit the mold. I see more than that when I look at her. 

Rebekah is small. Okay. So what?
 

  
  

    

  
  

  
     

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16 thoughts on “Regarding Rebekah, 5th daughter

  1. Doesn’t matter at all how big, little, or otherwise. She’s here, both of you survived, and she’s beautiful. That’s the important part. Our twins had issues, placental shunting. C-section at 31 weeks. One just under 3lbs and the other just over 2lbs. It was a journey, but they survived, and the rest is icing on the cake. Just getting them here is what matters.

    Liked by 1 person

                  1. I figured. I give mine a rash of shit sometimes, but they’re all good boys. Big hearted, helpful, polite. But they can be a wild bunch. My wife said someone told her about the Rule of 3 Boys: 1 boy=1 brain, 2 boys=1/2 a brain, and 3 boys =0 brains. It’s true! 😃

                    Liked by 1 person

  2. My son was born a good weight but lost a lot. He did not regain his weight in 2 weeks, maybe not even inside a month. The doctor wanted to send him for testing because Morgan wasn’t on the growth curve. I kept saying to him “Morgan isn’t losing weight he is just below your curve. If you plot his weight he _has_ a curve which means he’s gaining weight.” At 8 years old, Morgan is anything but small. He is tall and very thin just like his dad.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s good to hear that he made it through just fine! And I know Rebekah will too. But enough with the charts and curves.

      I don’t feel like I could get a word in edgewise in the 30 seconds that the pediatrician was in there. I feel like he had maybe gone to auctioneer-school, in addition to med school.

      I wanted to say–if you could take the stethoscope thingies out of your ears, and your eyes off your chart, and just…sh-sh-sh for a sec, you might recognize that we both have brains. And among other things, my brain knows the definition of extortion.

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  3. My daughter wasn’t small, but after she was born I was told by the pediatrician to stop breast feeding because her test came back positive for “galactacemia” and she would have an intolerance to my milk.

    My midwife was a lifesaver. I showed up in her office crying. She told me, “that baby isn’t sick!” She encouraged me to keep breastfeeding. The repeat test came back negative, the first was a false positive. These kids! It’s always an emotional roller coaster. lol

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Maybe as you took the approach of not knowing all the worrisome details during pregnancy, you can continue stop worrying about her daily oz. gain and just feed her your sweet milk and continue with the sweet love from her family. She is a beautiful baby and born into a blessed home!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a very good point! I am trying not to worry, but just to pay attention to her weight. I don’t want to stress, but I also don’t want to see her lose weight again. 😞👎🏼

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