WARNING: Graphic written content (no scary pictures though). If you can't handle a detailed birth story, skip this post...
(He sucked that thumb straight out of the womb! I was worried after the thumb-sucking fiasco we've had with Raelin and Ryker, but fortunately, Landon hasn't sucked his thumb since the first or second day. It was cute while it lasted, but I'm glad he stopped!)
I decided to rule out one of them and took a trip to the bathroom. I'd always heard that the toilet was a place lots of women found comfortable for laboring. It's true! It took me a minute to regain my relaxation after getting there, but once I did, I realized why people like it--I think it takes pressure off of a lot of birthing muscles so they can do their work while allowing gravity to help as well (gravity helps the baby's head put even pressure on the cervix, which reduces pain). I took care of one pushing sensation and stayed on the toilet for another couple of waves. Brice said that he thought I'd probably transition in about 10 minutes or so. I wasn't sure, but I thought it might be sooner than that. Brice said I should get to wherever I wanted to be to give birth. I told him he should get the kids. When I finished in the bathroom, everyone was in my bedroom. I left my drawers behind and knelt down next to my bed. It was time! I heard one of the kids say, "Mommy, are you saying a prayer?" I had a wave kneeling next to my bed and when I looked up I saw Ryker's wide eyes staring at me from across the bed. I smiled at him to tell him everything was okay. I think he could feel the anticipation in the room and he could tell that whatever I was doing was hard for me and I don't think he knew what to make of it. He's really tuned into that sort of energy. A slow smile spread over his face. On the next wave, my water broke and then I was pushing! But no one knew it until they heard me exhale at the end of my first push. Ah! Pushing! Such a relief! The pain is virtually gone and is replaced by pressure, which is totally better than pain! Then I heard, "She's pushing" and "It's crowning!" The kids were ushered to my side of the bed where Raelin and Ryker both grabbed front row seats. They'd been so excited for this! Then Ryker said (a bit preemptively) "It's a brother!" Maybe he was just willing it to happen. With my other kids, one big push brought the head and another medium push brought the rest of the baby. This time, I remember hearing, "Here come the eyes," and I thought, "Eyes!?!? What about head?! Get this thing OUT already! Sheesh!" This guy took a bit more work to get him out! After about 4 big, long, hard pushes he was out and into Daddy's waiting arms. I relaxed and tried to catch my breath. I looked down and could see that we had a boy! Ryker was SO excited! Almost immediately, the placenta detached, releasing a gush of blood and my midwife wanted to get me on my back to attend to the bleeding and keep it controlled. Ryker looked at me with big wide eyes again, even though we'd prepped him for all of this, and said, "Mommy, are you okay?" Sweet boy! I told him I was perfectly fine and that this was all normal stuff when you have a baby. He resumed his excitement at having a brother. My midwife and her attendants practically picked me up and laid me on some pillows on the floor. I'm still not quite sure how they did that so fast and smoothly. Brice laid the baby on my tummy and that was as far as he was getting; the cord was only about 18 inches long. Brice and the attendants cleaned me up a bit while my midwife held my uterus to keep it from filling with blood. I've never had a doctor do this to me and my postpartum bleeding has been substantially less than with the other kids, so Brice was wondering if this technique helped with that. I think maybe it did! As you can see in this picture, by "held" I mean that she was knuckle-deep into my abdomen, squeezing my uterus like she was wringing out a sponge or something. I didn't feel anything unusual, though. How does that work? After a few minutes, I wanted to get up on the bed and get comfortable. Brice held the baby (placenta delivered, but still attached to the baby!) while the ladies helped me up onto the bed. The rest of my family joined me and we all welcomed our new (but as yet nameless) baby into the world. He was SO squished! His cheeks were huge and he had lots of dark hair. He was one big baby! We all just hung out for a while. Brice was so excited to announce our new arrival that he started making phone calls even though we didn't really have any stats to give out yet. I think Brice really liked getting to announce the baby's gender, aside from just that we'd had our baby. Not knowing beforehand was lots of fun! For us, anyway. I think my mom and sister were totally annoyed with it! Heehee! After about an hour and a half of just hanging out with our new baby while the midwifery crew cleaned things up a bit, they started getting ready to check out the baby. They set things up right next to me on the bed (not across the room on some cold, hard plastic tray) and I got to be right there as the midwife instructed and supervised one of the assistants as she measured him and checked for all his reflexes and all that. Finally, they got him into the scale and we discovered that we had an 8 pound 13 ounce baby! That's almost a pound and a half bigger than Alaina (my previous biggest) had been! Holy cow! No wonder he'd been so much more work to push out! And no wonder I was carrying so huge! I look at him now and wonder how on earth he ever fit inside me despite how gargantuan my abdomen had been! He's certainly got some Somers genes in him! Different ones from the other kids, though. He's got a LONG torso and short little stumpy legs and big ol' man hands already. And, unlike Alaina who had flippers for feet, Landon takes after his aunties and has tiny little midget feet. Anyway, After they checked out the baby, my midwife checked me to be sure I didn't have any tears that needed attention. I had two or three "skid marks" as they call them, just like I'd had with Alaina. You remember that Indian burn game from when you were a kid? Remember how sometimes you'd get those red lines on your arm from where your skin almost tore (what kind of stupid game WAS this)? It's like that. She sprayed some herbal concoction on me and they had made me a healing herbal tea that they put in the little squirty bottle you keep by the potty. Between those two things, I was healed up completely "down there" the very next day! I love midwifery! After my midwife checked on me, I got dressed and they got packed up to leave. It was a wonderful experience and I feel like Hypnobabies helped a TON, even though it wasn't pain-free. With my other kids, the pain gets to a point where it's scary, I feel panicky, and my whole body shakes from the intensity of it. This time, I felt at the end about how I did when I got to the hospital with my first two, at which point I was dilated to 7 cm. And that's as bad as it got! It was kind of what I'd expected, in a way. I hoped for a pain-free birth, but it was really hard to bend my mind around that possibility after having experienced the full force of labor and delivery three times unmedicated and without Hypnobabies. I mean, how can relaxation, endorphines, and mind power overcome THAT much pain? I'm sure it can be done, but it was really hard for me to get my brain to truly accept that. What I could accept was that the onset of pain would be delayed, that the intensity would be less, and that the pain curve I usually followed would be later in the labor so I'd never get to the scary, panicky, shaky part. That's exactly what happened. The fact that I was able to take myself to the bathroom while in transition is amazing! Also, the intense part where I really had to focus and concentrate only lasted about 20 minutes instead of an hour or two. I would certainly recommend Hypnobabies to every expecting mother who wants to have a natural birth! I also think the comfort of being in your own home is a huge asset to feeling like your birthing was a joyful experience and a positive one! YOU are the one birthing the baby--nothing is being done TO you. I think being at home helped me to have a stress-free and low pain birth. It was so empowering! It was nice to be able to be in my own bed that night with my baby and my husband and not to have to try to squeeze into the little hospital bed. I LOVED not getting woken up all night by nurses (I know they're just doing their thing, but we didn't have any of that going on and the baby and I survived the night just fine without any vitals being taken!), no eye goop, no monitors (I think my midwife only checked vitals three times during the labor), no foreign germs (face it, hospitals are FULL of germs!), and best of all, my WHOLE family there together for the event and all that followed!Kisses!
(This is one of my favorite pictures. Where else but at home can big sister be RIGHT THERE after her new sibling is born!? What a sweet experience! I loved having my sweet husband AND my other kids there with me as we welcomed the newest member of our family! And my sister too, of course)
My mom, who was worried and skeptical about home birthing (though she didn't say it until afterward), realized the wonderfulness of it when she came over that evening to meet Landon and could feel the atmosphere in the home. How nice to be HERE to meet her new grandson and not at a hospital!Alaina LOVES her new brother (I have lots of pictures of her holding him but I have a different post in mind for them) and she was great on the day of his birth. So cute and sweet, at usual! The other two got to watch LOTS of movies, so it was an exciting day for them on two accounts.
My recovery has been amazing (we even went to Sacrament meeting on Sunday!) and I love, love, love this experience. One of my neighbors who also births at home asked if I would ever go back to hospital birthing. I don't think I'll be getting pregnant ever again (pregnancy I hate, delivery I can do!), but I certainly would never want to have a baby anywhere but in my own home! It was fantastic!