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Amy with newborn TrandenTranden’s birth day

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?

"I felt this still small voice saying, 'This is the way, walk in it.'"

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"

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.

Tranden on the beachOn to the next baby

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.

More on home birth

Home birthing celebrities
Home birth: Is it right for you?
Why I chose home birth

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Comments on "Home birth, without a midwife: Unassisted childbirth"

Anita November 21, 2012 | 1:45 PM

This is a beautiful article! Having an unassisted home birth is really miraculous. I just gave birth to my third baby unassisted. As Amy says it's really not that difficult, your body is meant to do it. What helped me was to pinpoint any real fears and research them. A big one for me was: What if the baby is not breathing? My husband helped me out here. What would a doctor or midwife do? Give the baby oxygen and you can do that with CPR! It's easy to get certified and then you don't have to worry about this. It's not likely anyways. My baby had no issues whatsoever, but just in case, it's good to be prepared. www.diymotherhood

Amanda November 20, 2012 | 2:38 PM

I am 19 years old and I live in Nebraska as well, the second me and the father found out I was pregnant we looked into midwives, after lots of research I found out here and Alabama its illegal, you can have an at home birth just no lisenced practitioner can be there, this is my first child, I am only three and 1/2 months, but I have been trying to do as much research as I can before the baby comes, my sister had to have a c-section because the umbelical cord was around the babys head twice and Im concerned something might happen if i have an at home, though I am pretty head strong that I do. I talked to my doctor and a few other, we planned on buying a pool and having a room ready, just to be prepared for anything, my mother is if-yy about it but wants to help, and my doctor and womens center I go to Think it isnt a good idea. Im very worried and was doing research when I came across this story my heart sank when I found out she was from my own state, but that wasnt her first child either it was her fourth. I guess I am just looking for some clear thoughts and help from people that have went through this to know what is safe for my baby, and me.

Ariel August 13, 2012 | 7:13 AM

Hi Amy, my husband and I are planning our third home birth and are considering not using a midwife this time. Where did you get most of your research from? Do you have any books or sites you reccomend? Thanks so much for your story!

Christy August 07, 2012 | 9:49 PM

Congratulations Amy! We have four children, with this progression of births: birth center, homebirth with midwife, unassisted homebirth due to fast labor, planned unassisted prenatal care and homebirth. We are very comfortable with birth and believe complications are rare when the mom is undisturbed. She instinctively knows what to do. I did a lot of study on what to just in case of complication or emergency. I wanted to be prepared, but as I expected, all went well. I fully support moms birthing wherever and with whoever they choose.

Lindsay July 26, 2012 | 6:33 PM

this is exactly the reason my husband and I stayed home to welcome our first child into the world. I had an inner voice just telling me so. I did a lot of yoga and meditation those last six weeks, tried to work with the hospital (sign waivers and such) in the weeks leading up to her birth day but I never felt comfortable in the hospital. everything in my body was telling me to follow my gut and stay home, in my tub. so I did. best decision of my life. I have received a lot of "you're crazy" comments and people telling me I put my baby at risk but you're right - intuition knows more than any doctor, nurse, scientist, anyone. my intuitive voice was so loud, I couldn't block it out. I just KNEW that is how my baby girl was to enter the world. so with the help of my sister (my bestest friend)and my incredible husband, we had a great birth day. all 19 hours of it! whew! I was exhausted at the end of that but I have a beautiful baby girl who has been bright, alert and strong since the first day of her life on earth. congrats to you!!!

Erica July 25, 2012 | 9:38 AM

While this might seem unusual for modern times, we shouldn't forget that women gave birth without doctors or fancy medical equipment for hundreds and hundreds of years. I say, to each her own!

Julie July 23, 2012 | 11:26 AM

Critics of home birth might say this is "crazy" - but what is really crazy is the ongoing standard of hospital births in this country which creates a multitude of complications with negative results. Our "civilized" nation now has an embarrassing 32% cesarean rate - are we supposed to believe that a third of all moms are incapable of delivering their own babies? Kudos to Amy and her courage based on faith in the natural process.

Amy Bauman July 22, 2012 | 8:22 PM

There is one more thing I wanted to say,its a nice sentiment but it kinda makes me sad to see so many people say the words amazing, this should be a normal natural process and I feel like we are so used to being pushed and prodded and second guessed that it is hard for us to even view it in that light. I think pregancy and birth are normal but for the most part the way we handle them are what is not. I'm praying that changes.

Amy Bauman July 22, 2012 | 8:14 PM

Yes, I used a stethoscope to listen a few times during labor. Morso at he begining of labor.

Kim Mosny, CPM July 21, 2012 | 7:57 PM

What a great birth story. I didn't read whether or not you monitored your baby's heartbeat at all during your labor. Just curious.

Tina July 21, 2012 | 4:20 PM

Wow this is great. I agree with everyone else that Amy is amazing!! I don't know if I'd consider a home-birth, but I definitely want my next delivery to be a little more low key and simple. Not only is it better for baby, but having a baby in a hospital is VERY expensive. If I researched and was prepared, I would be wiling to do something a little out of the ordinary for birth.

Amber July 21, 2012 | 11:32 AM

Yes, Amy IS amazing. I dare anyone who knows her to profess otherwise. And to those who don't know her, your judgement regarding how many children she and her husband chose to welcome into this world...says something negative about YOU!

Teacher July 20, 2012 | 2:10 PM

Wonderful interview, Amy! I'm so proud that you were open to sharing your experiences even knowing you could face ridicule and judgment. You've given an amazing testimony here. Thank you. Carol, while comments are certainly open to the public, you state your thoughts as if it they are fact w/o presenting any peer-reviewed literature. We all make guesses at what our planet can sustain, yet at this point in time there is no scientific proof of overpopulation or an inability to sustain life on Earth. Evidence goes both ways. In fact, many make the argument that our planet could sustain over 50 billion if we did things like move from eating meat to eating a vegetable-only diet. Nevertheless, I hardly think this article on unassisted childbirth is the place to have such a judgmental debate over when it's time to "slow down on having kids...". Women's/parent's choice on number of children is just that, their personal choice.

Angie July 20, 2012 | 9:17 AM

Amy IS amazing. And her 5+ children born into a stable and loving home are the LEAST of this planet's worries.

Carol July 20, 2012 | 8:44 AM

I think it is time to slow down on having kids.....this planet is only able to sustain so much life....when are as humans going to take responsibility for this? So praising a mom who keeps wanting to add more, I think is adding fuel to the fire. C

Monica July 20, 2012 | 8:08 AM

Amy is amazing.

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