iris's birth story

I was getting ready for bed at midnight on November 21 when my water broke. I woke Phil up and told him my water had broken and he started getting things together. After calling Cheryl, our midwife, contractions still hadn't begun so I lay down and listened to my birthing affirmations. Surges began at around 1:30am; I spent the time on the birth ball and walking around the house. It was amazing that with each surge I could feel the baby moving down into my pelvis, and by visualizing these movements I was able to facilitate dilation. It also became quickly apparent that the baby was in a posterior position because at about 3:00 I stopped getting a break in between surges and was feeling a constant intense pressure in my back. I had been in the shower for about an hour and by this time the surges were coming about 2-3 minutes apart. We spoke with the midwife again and headed to the hospital at about 4:00am.

By the time we arrived at the hospital the pain in my back was so intense that I was unable to stay on top of the surges. Even with 28 hours of back labor with Ocean, I was able to deal with it pretty well but this time felt much more intense, and I even cussed Phil out a little. They checked me at 4:30am and I was 4cm dilated. Phil had called Lindsay to let her know we were at the hospital and she arrived soon afterwards.

By the time Lindsay arrived I was completely out of the zone. I wasn't in control of the surges and was unable to cope with the back labor I was experiencing. But when Cheryl got there at 5:00 she checked me again and I was 8cm! Yes, that's right, I dilated 4 centimeters in 30 minutes. Cheryl took control, turned down the lights, started filling up the labor tub and put exactly the right counter-pressure on my back to get me focused again. At one point I had Cheryl, Lindsay and another nurse all massaging my back and encouraging me through each surge and the surges suddenly felt more productive and manageable again.

Once the tub was full I got in and was able to get a little bit of relief of some of the pressure, but before long I was feeling the most excruciating pain in my back. Despite my efforts to go deeper into relaxation I was unable to work through it and asked for an epidural. Cheryl wanted to check me one last time to make sure I wasn't completely open and when she did I was still at 8cm, almost 2 hours later.

At 7:00 the anesthesiologist arrived and I got what my nurse called The Perfect Epidural. My back labor was instantly gone but I could still feel the contractions and was able to move my legs and change positions. At this point it was much easier to use visualization to continue helping my body open and move the baby down.

The midwives also had a shift change at this time and so Cheryl left and Jodi arrived. The next several hours were uneventful from an outsider's perspective. Jodi checked me at 9:00am and I was almost 10cm. Then she checked again when I began feeling a slight urge to push and I still wasn't quite complete. But at about 1:00pm I felt my body bear down and she checked again… sure enough, I was fully open and the baby was ready to be born.

I pushed for about an hour and Iris was born… all 9 pounds, 10 ounces of her! Her head was also really big, which explains the intensity of the back labor that I experienced given the size and shape of my pelvis. But even with all of that baby, I birthed her easily, quickly and painlessly with no damage to my body.

And now my shameless plug for Hypnobirthing. I went into this birth with no fear and with absolute certainty of my body's ability to birth my child, and my ability to help facilitate and control what most would consider an involuntary process… no small feat after the negative associations I carried with me following Ocean's birth. I also connected so deeply with Iris during our birthing time that when I would give her an instruction she followed it ("Turn your head," or "Drop down further.") It was amazing to feel that involved, knowing she and I were working hard together to bring her into this world… I would not have been that aware of the baby's role in birth had it not been for the connection she and I forged during our relaxation sessions. And finally, the fact that a 9 pound 10 ounce baby came through my body so effortlessly… wow. You could say that her brother paved the way but he weighed two pounds less than she did and let's just say my recovery with him was much more difficult. This time my recovery has been easy and relatively painless… no meds needed. Iris has been a calm, alert and sweet baby so far and I also attribute much of that to the peaceful way in which she entered the world.

There is no greater sense of accomplishment than bringing forth life, no matter how it's done. Yes, we were made to do it… but when it actually happens we feel super-human. Or maybe we are simply experiencing the fullness of humanity as God intended, as creators made in the Creator's image.

Thank you, everyone, for your kind words of support and congratulations. We can't wait to introduce Iris to all of the people who have been anxiously awaiting her arrival.


it's a girl. =)

I will post a more detailed update later but wanted to announce the arrival of Iris McCabe this afternoon at 1:58pm after about 14 hours of labor. She is clearly the linebacker of the family, weighing in at a whopping 9 lbs, 10 oz, and 21 inches long! I didn't know I was capable of making such a big baby. But I'm sure cookies had something to do with it. =/

Anyhow, we're all doing fine and I will update more later for those who want to know all the details. =)


blah blah blah, me me me

Not-my-favorite-midwife scheduled an induction for Friday. Since both NSTs have shown baby to be healthy and thriving, I plan to reschedule for Monday if baby doesn't come by Wednesday night. As uncomfortable as I am I don't like having someone else decide when and how my baby will be born... sorry.

Today I had contractions every ten minutes from 11am-7pm. They stopped at 7, I went to sleep for a bit and woke up drenched with sweat. Gross, I know. Hoping it means hormones are getting ready for the real deal.

I've been doing okay up until today, but honestly I'm getting to the end of my emotional pregnant rope. I truly can't imagine actually having a baby at this point. I know it's impossible but I feel like I will be pregnant forever... like this baby will just always live inside of me.

At any rate, if desperation is any indication of impending labor, it should be happening any second now...


it must be comfy in there

...or my babies just like to gestate.


a (sort of long) general update

I am 9 days away from my due date and aside from the exhaustion and general aches and pains (which are to be expected) I can't really complain too much. I've been having some contractions (or "surges" as we say in Hypnobirthing language) for the last week or so and I have to say that it's fun to feel my body working to get ready for this baby to be born. I didn't really have any contractions with Ocean until labor began so I'm enjoying the sensations of preparation this time.

We took the hospital tour at St. Joe's tonight and can I just say HOLY COW... those mother/baby rooms are ridiculously tiny. There's no room for a visitor, much less a husband to stay there. And NO showers in the rooms?! Oy. We will definitely have to focus on getting me the hell out of there ASAP after giving birth.

Our house is coming along quickly (it's painted!) and we're hoping to be in by February, but it could even be sooner than that... fingers crossed!

Because our apartment lease is up shortly, and therefore to avoid renting month-to-month, we are moving in with my wonderfully generous and accommodating parents this weekend and will be there until our house is completed. I have to say I'll be glad for the assistance and the company once the baby arrives... Ocean has such a special relationship with his Mimi and Papa and it will be good for him to have in-house spoiling while I'm tending to the needs of his new little sibling.

And while we're on the subject of my little man, I've really been treasuring this time I have with him before the baby arrives. We were playing outside the other day after it had rained; Ocean was stomping, jumping and rolling in the puddles on the sidewalk and just having a great time. I was watching from a few feet away, feeling such love for him and at the same time such sadness that he will be my "one and only" for just a short time longer. By the end of our play time I was wiping away tears because he just has no idea how much his life is going to change in the next couple of weeks... and I wish I could communicate to him how special he is to me, right now, as my only child. People keep asking me if I'm worried that I won't be able to love another baby like I love Ocean, but that's not the case. I KNOW I'll love this baby as much as I love him and it makes my heart ache a little to know that I won't be feeling that love for ONLY him anymore (if that even makes sense). These are probably just crazy ramblings of a highly emotional pregnant mommy so thanks for indulging me.

Thank you for all the emails and phonecalls to check on me... if I don't get back with you right away I've been crazy trying to pack up for the move so please be patient and be assured that I am very grateful for everyone's love and care for me. =)