After welcoming a daughter into the world in 2014, Kim Guiley wanted another baby to complete her family. And when she fell pregnant, everything seemed to be going to plan – despite there being a few problems along the way. But when her second child finally arrived in November 2016, she and her husband Travis couldn’t have expected a shock quite like this.
Kim, a 28-year-old doula from Santa Cruz, California, is used to providing non-medical support to families before, during and after pregnancy. So when she was expecting again, she knew exactly how to make everything run smoothly, in spite of a few scares.
Indeed, Kim and Travis had already brought their first baby, Hazel, into the world three years after their wedding in 2011. And having grown up alongside her brother, Kim thought that having a son would therefore be the perfect way to complete her family. The mom’s journey, however, would be fraught with hurdles and heartbreak.
In 2015, for one, Kim fell pregnant again – but, tragically, suffered a miscarriage. And the couple’s distress over their loss was so great that she and Travis knew it would be a while before they’d start retrying for baby number two.
But life has a funny way of throwing up surprises: just a few months later, in fact, Kim fell pregnant again. Still, the joy was tinged with worry. What if the mom had another miscarriage? Would she be able to cope?
And as it happened, Kim’s third pregnancy was also far from straightforward. Indeed, she had to contend with hyperemesis gravidarum – an extreme form of pregnancy sickness – after six and a half weeks. And her nausea, rather than gradually wearing off, lasted until the birth itself.
“As the pregnancy progressed,” Kim further wrote on her blog, “we suffered through scare after scare – worries about my gallbladder, concerning images on the anatomy scan, small fundal measurements, too much amniotic fluid and a transverse baby at 36 weeks.” Fortunately, though, scares were all they were.
Throughout the pregnancy, meanwhile, Kim and Travis didn’t know the baby’s gender. And despite Travis being keen to find out, during scans the couple turned their heads when the baby’s lower half came into view.
“After the miscarriage, I was just really attached to having a healthy baby, regardless of sex,” Kim explained in a November 2016 interview with Today. “My husband wanted to find out, and I said, ‘No, let’s have fun with it.’” And so the couple, who had wanted a son, were happy for their baby’s gender to be kept a surprise.
Kim believed, however, that she was having a girl. Why? Because female babies, apparently, are synonymous with difficult pregnancies. Furthermore, little Hazel also thought that her mom would have a girl. Could this be a textbook example of female intuition?
“I was really sick with this pregnancy, and there’s a correlation between sickness and having girls,” Kim said to Today. “And my two-year-old daughter thought it was a girl. I had all these silly reasons.” Silly reasons, maybe, but when you know, you know, right?
Well, despite her prediction, Kim was by no means sure that a baby girl was on the way. “Because I’m a doula and I work with babies and births,” she added in her Today interview, “I know you can never have any expectations about anything.”
And with the due date approaching, Kim discovered that the baby was posterior, which meant that it was head-down and facing her abdomen. It’s fairly common at the start of labor, though it makes for a tricky delivery. On July 26, however, Kim was finally ready to give birth.
And given that Kim’s pregnancy was rough, would the labor also be difficult? Well, it was preceded by a fortnight of contractions, and more than once she thought that she was going into early labor. By the time it started, though, Kim was remarkably calm, to the point where Travis said, “Uhhh, you’re in labor.”
And while Kim saw an acupuncturist and a chiropractor to get the baby to turn, the infant had other ideas. So although the expectant mom wanted a home birth, as the complications continued preparations were made to transfer Kim to a local hospital. Unfortunately, though, it was too late – the baby was ready to come out.
“I knew my baby was coming,” Kim recalled on her blog. “I had survived the hardest few hours of my entire life and it was almost over. All it took were a few contractions this time and my body did it all – I never consciously pushed, I just let my body do its thing.”
At 5:00 a.m., then, Kim pulled her newborn baby to her chest. “I couldn’t believe I had survived the past three hours and somehow still gotten the home birth that we wanted so badly,” she explained. But the burning question remained: had she had a little girl or boy?
“After a couple of minutes,” Kim recalled, “I opened baby’s legs and discovered that we had a little boy!” And, despite having convinced herself that she was having another girl, she added, “In that perfect moment, all of my dreams had come true. My family was complete.”
“I was just in hysterics,” the mom told Today. “We were cracking up. That face! I don’t even think I could replicate that face. I was truly shocked.” As for the baby’s name? Well, the family settled on Theo.
“The recovery hasn’t been the easiest,” Kim later explained, “and transitioning to two kids has been more than a little overwhelming, but I am trying to use this time to soak up his newness. I still can’t believe I have a daughter AND a son… despite the long and difficult path of pregnancy, loss and birth, I feel like the luckiest mama ever.”