James Van Der Beek is a proud dad again. On Monday, the Dawson’s Creek actor celebrated welcoming his sixth child with his wife, Kimberly, by posting a gallery of photos and videos on Instagram. “Humbled and overjoyed to announce the safe, happy arrival of Jeremiah Van Der Beek,” he wrote.
But it hasn’t been an easy road for the parents. James, 44, shared that Kimberly, 38, experienced two late-term miscarriages before the birth of Jeremiah.
“After experiencing late-term #pregnancyloss twice in a row (both at 17+ weeks), we kept this one quiet. Truthfully, I was terrified when I found out,” he wrote.
Kimberly told The Make Down podcast that these experiences were, understandably, both emotionally and physically hard on her. “I understand that I am very blessed to be able to birth five children. I’ve also had five miscarriages, two of which were really hard experiences,” she said. “The last two miscarriages, they’ve been really extreme. The one in November, it was losing a ton of blood, losing consciousness over and over again and feeling like, ‘Am I going to die?’”
In James’s post, he shared what was different this time around. “We found a doctor here in Texas who diagnosed the last two as having been caused by an ‘incompetent cervix.’” If that term makes your skin crawl, James is with you: “I asked him what kind of misogynistic old dude invented that term and he laughed—which made me like him even more.” As James notes, this complication has other names as well, like having a “weak cervix.” (Cervical insufficiency is another term for it, but “incompetent cervix” is still very much in use.)
The cervix is the lower part of the uterus that opens into the vagina. In a healthy pregnancy, the cervix remains closed and firm until you approach your due date, when it begins to soften, get shorter, and open. In the case of cervical insufficiency, it begins to open too soon, potentially leading to premature birth or pregnancy loss, according to the Mayo Clinic.