The Birth Story of Iris Ilea

December 13, 2004

Iris Birth Diaries

This is the birth story of how our second daughter, Iris Ilea, came into our arms. I hope this story shows empowers you to choose natural childbirth!

To preface, we had moved to a new town and so were seeing a new doctor at a different hospital. I had actually switched to my family doctor at 28 weeks after realizing my new obstetrician and I weren't on the same page.  It was the best decision I could have made, despite some of the headaches with insurance and paperwork it caused.  I'd do it again in a heartbeat!

If you're wondering why I didn't have a homebirth, it's because there are no midwives in my extremely rural area.  We just weren't quite comfortable with an unassisted birth.  There's always next time...

But I digress...with this pregnancy, the baby had dropped at 34 weeks.  I was already 4 centimeters dilated and 60% effaced.  Both my doctor and I were afraid that she would fall out at any minute.  We were both surprised that I hadn't delivered prematurely. 

This story starts at 1 am on December 13, 2004.  Again, I was 38 weeks exactly.  I woke at 1 am to contractions.  This had been the theme for the past two weeks-hours of contractions 3 minutes apart that faded to nothing.  I expected the same this night.

I got up and went to the bathroom.  When I came back to bed, my husband woke and asked if I was having contractions.  I replied that they were the same as usual, and got back into bed. I tried to get comfortable lying down, but I was restless in bed, so I got back up.  My husband got up with me and asked if I had timed the contractions yet.  Since I hadn't, I timed them...2 minutes apart. He asked if we should call my mother to drive over to watch our oldest daughter (a 40 minute drive).  I told him we should wait.

About five minutes later, I changed my mind.  The contractions were right on top of each other.  He called my mother and asked how much time I thought we had.  I replied that we could wait until she arrived.

Five minutes later, I told him we needed to leave NOW!  I could actually feel the baby's head as I walked! We woke a neighbor who had offered to be on stand-by.  She and her husband arrived about two minutes later. I was standing by the door praying for them to arrive.  At this point, I didn't know if we should go or stay.

I climbed into the van and realized I'd left my relaxation tape inside.  Despite the urgency I felt, I asked my husband to get it for me.  After what seemed an eternity, he returned.  (I later found out that he had also shown our friend's husband how to operate the tv remote!). It was the windiest night of the year.  Our van was all over the road.  I just kept trying to keep the baby in! We lived only 15 minutes from this hospital.  My husband had called ahead to tell them we were on our way and didn't know if we'd make it. We pulled up to the emergency entrance at 2 am exactly.  My doctor was waiting at the door.  He helped me into a wheelchair as my husband parked the van.

My doctor took me all the way up to my room where he had already told the nurses that I wouldn't take long to deliver.  My husband arrived and helped me into a gown. The nurse helped me onto the bed while my husband and doctor put on gloves.   Yes, my husband put on gloves.  Our doctor allowed my husband to catch the baby so long as he was there to "spot" him. The nurse checked me and said, as I already knew, that I was complete with a bulging bag of waters. I turned on my side and told them I needed to push.  My doctor said to go ahead.

In one push, the baby's head was out.  I heard the doctor tell my husband to pull up and to the left, then down to the right to ease out the shoulders.  The baby then slid right out, completely encased in her amniotic sac.   She was "born in the caul", a rare occurrence these days as most women's bag of waters ruptures on its own or is broken by a caregiver.

My husband proclaimed, "It's a girl!".  He then asked what time it was. In all the excitement, no one had even thought to look at the clock! The nurse looked at her watch and told us, "It's 2:09".  She was born exactly 9 minutes after we arrived at the hospital, a perfect 8 pounds, 7 ounces and 21 inches long.

She was a natural at breastfeeding and latched on perfectly!  It made me reflect how with our first, I felt as if I needed three hands.  This time, I couldn't figure out what I thought was so difficult the first time!

I knew her birth would be easy, but it really was a piece of cake!  The first thing I said after she was born was, "That's it?  I'm done?".  I was shocked at just how easy a birth could be when you let your body do its job!

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Page Last Modified by Catherine Beier, MS, CBE

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