I know certain people have been anxiously awaiting pictures of our BEAUTIFUL BENJAMIN so I am finally going to post about his birth and beginnings. This may be a little long and may have too many birth details for some so feel free to skip to the pictures. I did leave out all of the graphic pictures. My sister Carri was so wonderful to drop everything and come be our photographer. Thank you Carri for capturing this for us.
Ben was due on April 20th. I always go over my due date and was expecting to have him closer to the beginning of May. I tend to get crazy a week or two before my due date and start trying a few things to bring my babies sooner. In the past it has never brought on labor sooner but I do believe it makes for a quicker labor since I have so many contractions prior to labor. This time was different though. I had my midwife strip my membranes on Wednesday the 14th of April, which she couldn't really do since I hadn't effaced much or was not dilated to more than a 2. I decided to go home and take castor oil to possibly efface me more and start me dilating. I did not believe it would put me in labor since it never had the seven times before when I took it in previous pregnancies. I took it at noon with no effect until midnight when I started having contractions every three to five minutes. I figured they would last a few hours and then fizzle out. At 3:30am they were starting to get stronger and a little closer together. I finally told Alan I might be in labor. At 4am I told him maybe we should fill the birth tub in a little while. He said ok and went back to sleep. At 5am I was laying there and felt a sensation like the baby had just punched my cervix really hard and felt a trickle of fluid come out. My water broke. I now knew for sure I was really in labor and it wasn't going to stop. I was thrilled of course but also knew it was time to get to work. I got Alan up and filling the tub while I called my midwife Sue DiSilvestro and my mom and sister. They all arrived about 6am. I had her check me and then settled into the tub as the contractions were getting pretty strong and I needed to have silence and be able to relax. Alan was right there getting my music on, wiping my face and neck with a cool cloth, getting me drinks and just being present for me. He is my perfect Doula. I absolutely adore laboring with only my husband by my side. I love that it is he and I going through the entire process from conception to birth together focused on each other and this new spirit that will soon join us. When I labor I go completely silent and focus all of my energy on relaxing every part of my body while letting my uterus do its job. I always get to a point where I feel like I could keep my labor at the current level of intensity and it will take another hour or so before I am complete and ready to push or I could tell my cervix to open and finish dilating and I could be done in a few contractions. That happened about 7am and I started to push at about 7:20. He was born around 7:26am. He was my first water birth and I loved being in the water for relaxation, the relief from pressure and the ease it gave me to change positions. Alan was right there and caught Ben. The midwife gave a few instructions that Alan told me later were totally unnecessary because he knew exactly what he was doing. The whole process was intense but quick and absolutely perfect. I just kept thinking how grateful I was that I wasn't going to be pregnant anymore and I couldn't believe I had actually gone into labor five days before my due date. We found out that night that Alan's Mom who is on a mission in Africa had woken up that morning and thought that I should have the baby that day and prayed and asked that I would go into labor that day. That would have been almost exactly midnight our time. I really feel like me getting to go early was just a very sweet and kind gift that Heavenly Father gave to me. Thank you Mom for your prayers!
Another fabulous thing about home birth is having the midwives and visitors clean up and check the baby and me and then they all go home just a couple of hours after the baby is born. My amazingly wonderful sister in law Angela came and got Luke and Darren so that Alan and I and the baby could spend the entire rest of the day in bed adoring the baby and each other. That is such a special time to get to know each other and just be grateful for a healthy baby and such a miracle. Everything about this birth was Pure Perfection.
Grandpa Vanderpool stayed downstairs with the kids eating cereal and watching TV during the birth.
I loved the birth tub. It is very soft. The water was very warm and it helps to relieve pressure and aids in deeper relaxation.
Alan was by my side provinding comfort and a cool cloth when needed but also backs off during the contractions when I can't stand to be touched. It takes all of my concentration and effort to deeply relax and focus on letting my body do what it needs to do.
Alan and the midwives are quietly standing by while I push. This is the exciting part. Here's our Ben. He is so beautiful even all scrunched up and completely covered in vernix. It is such sweet relief to finally hold him in your arms for the first time.
This is my very favorite picture. It embodies everything beautiful about the amazing father that Alan is. There is a look of complete love and peace on his face and his arms wrapped tightly around his new son as if he will protect and love him forever.
Grandma Vanderpool was in the middle of a temple session when I went into labor. They came and got her out but she didn't quite make it for the actual birth. I think she arrived just a couple minutes after he was born. We loved having her there afterwards though.