SK: What were your older kids doing during your labor?
Amy: They were wonderful. They fell asleep on the bed watching their movie while I labored in the tub nearby. My daughter actually woke up, got in, rubbed my back and poured water on me. Then was done, got out and went right back to sleep on the bed with her brothers. It could not have went any more smoothly! It was such peace of mind for me to know they were right where they should be — not off with someone else when such a huge event was happening in their lives, in their family.
SK: What tools did you use for pain management during labor?
Amy: I used a birth ball for a while, the pool was the big thing, and my husband did some counter pressure when I needed it. Mainly this time my comfort was in being left alone and having the lights very low and the warm temperature. My husband was always in the same room but for the most part left me alone, like I had asked.
SK: How big of a help was your husband?
Amy: He was amazing. Very hands off like I wanted and never second guessing. He was present but not in the way. Family birth was just what we needed.
SK: How did you know you were doing the right thing by having your baby at home, unassisted?
Amy: I prayed and prayed and prayed — this is not something you go into lightly. I could not imagine it any other way. It was what I need and what Tranden needed. I felt this still small voice saying, “This is the way, walk in it.” I feel like it is individual each and every time and each time deserves all the care in the world. I also feel like it’s important to know that just because it was right for this time does not mean that it will always be right for every birth. It just was and we knew it. And I’m very thankful for that.
We were also at a place in our lives where we felt like we needed to take full responsibility, that this was our birth and our baby and ultimately we would have to live with the choices we made whether it be another hospital birth or a family only home birth.
SK: Did you ever question your decision?
Amy: Not really. I think we did all of our real questioning during the previous pregnancy. This time was right. I did waver once in awhile... “What will friends and family think? How will our community react?” But that is when I had my husband reminding me of what I told him was important and the reasons we decided this was our best option. I also didn’t want other's opinions as well-meaning or fear based or wherever they came from to dictate how our baby was welcomed into this life.
SK: How did you know when it was time to push?
Amy: I checked myself during pregnancy and labor. Looking back I don’t feel that was necessary but at the time it’s what I did. Really, you will push when your body says push and your body isn’t going to lead you wrong. It’s kind of crass but like, well, how do you know when to push when you are having a bowel movement? Because it’s right there and you just do. If it’s not time, you won’t waste your effort trying to make it happen.
It just is another physiological process that works, this time you just get something way cuter out of it! I also know women who never feel the urge to push and the contractions do all the work. In all reality the baby is going to come out, whether you push or not. I think in some aspects it’s simpler than we make it out to be.
SK: What was your baby like when he was born? How did you feel?
Amy: He came out in the caul. It was funny because during transition, I just kept thinking, “Well, if the water breaks, then I’ll really know it’s time.” And then I’d check myself with, “It is working, you checked yourself, you know Baby is coming.” So he was born in the caul with his little hand up on his forehead, sunny side up. It was so neat. And I finally got my water birth. There was no me leaving that pool, that is for sure!
The bag broke as his shoulders emerged and I grabbed him right up. He was pink as can be. I remember his arms were flailing and he came out crying. He was raring to go. It was the most amazing feeling ever, and yes I thought that with each of my births but this one was so different. No one telling me how to feel or what to do or that something was inadequate. It was even better than I could have ever asked for and imagined! I remember the first thing my husband said was, “What is it? What is it?” And I said, “I don’t care.” I was just so excited to see my baby. Tranden Excalibur was born. He was 7 pounds, 9 ounces. And all of the kids were snoozin’ on the bed while he made his entrance.
SK: Were there any complications at all?
Amy: Nope. I believe it was the first time I had had a truly physiological birth, and an unmanaged third stage. The placenta plopped out within five minutes and we carried on with life.
SK: When did you have him (and yourself) checked over by a medical care professional, if you did at all?
Amy: I didn't have myself checked, but we took him in two weeks later. We were told by the clinic to wait until we had his birth certificate back. Really the only reason we took him in was because in Nebraska it is mandatory to have the PKU done, there are no waivers — religious or otherwise.
SK: Now that you’re pregnant with your fifth child, what are your plans for this next birth?
Amy: As of right now we are planning to have a baby at home in front of our Christmas tree. I am so excited and feel so blessed that God would let me carry and birth another child. How do I get to be so lucky? It never ceases to be miraculous. I just hope the kids get to witness it this time.
SK: Do you have hopes that in the future, a midwife-assisted home birth will be legal in Nebraska?
Amy: Yes, I do. I think it will be a while but as of right now we are one of only two states that don’t allow midwives to attend home births so I do believe our time is coming.
SK: Is there anything being done to attempt to change the law? If so, what?
Amy: Nebraska Friends of Midwives is an organization attempting to help get laws changed. They are a grassroots group that is working hard to push Nebraska legislation in the right direction. They have been around for years and aren’t going anywhere, that is for sure.
SK: What would you say to a mom considering having an unassisted home birth?
Amy: Follow your heart, pray about it and find others who are on that same path. You would be surprised at how normal it is. It is definitely not a new idea, or a movement, as some people think. Know why you are doing it — at some time you will probably be asked to explain it to someone. Know your body and your baby are intelligent and you were made to do this! You can birth your baby with or without assistance.
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