Unassisted Birth, Born in the Caul

My favorite part of this unassisted birth, "The most undramatic birth ever."  How many people say that about unassisted birth?!


Hello all! In honor of the new year I decided to get to it and type up the birth of Tranden Excalibur. When praying about how to go about posting this I was perplexed as to how to start off. I do not want to offend nor do I feel like I should apologize. I know unassisted birth is a touchy subject and birth itself is very personal. I thought about posting the reasons we chose this route but feel that might detract from the story itself..and after all this is Trandend's story, not mine.

So I will just start off by saying birth is very near to my heart and something I take seriously. This took months of planning…years really, it wasn't something we stepped into lightly. If you are someone who has made different birthing/pregnancy choices I think that is completely wonderful. I think mammas who make informed decisions…whatever they be are great! And just as I respect your choices I hope that you will show us that same encouragement.

OK, hear goes it! As a disclaimer..this is a birth story…with lots little details..involving birth. Its a neat little messy process. Don’t say you werent warned I promise I wont be offended if you choose to quit reading now!

Alrighty then…now here we go, for real…

On the morning before Trandens actually birthday I woke up pregnant, yet again! (shocker, I know) Being just as convinced as I was the day before that i was clearly in labor I rolled over and begged my husband to stay home from work. We both lay there talking about our hesitancy in keeping him home another day.

After much listing of pros and cons it was clear he would yet again be staying home. Labor was on! Problem was…the contractions weren’t so much. I can honestly say I just knew...I knew.  I needed Austin there for mental support as well as to wrangle the kids so i could concentrate on letting my body relax and do what it needed to do.

Having been 5 centimeters dilated for about 3 weeks now people tend to doubt that the real deal will ever actually conspire. I on the other hand was hopeful. I know my body works! I know it is an intricate process! I know it takes time! Did I get impatient at times? Yes. Did I ever consider throwing in the towel and going to the hospital and letting them break my water or a number of things that would have been done when they realized how far dilated I was and that I had been laboring on and off for quite some time? Yes!

It was one of those times where you just want to meet your baby soooooo bad (in our case, just want to know if babe is a girl or a boy…although I was CERTAIN he was a girl…yes, I said he!) I decided we would do the next best thing…enjoy our final day as a family of 5! I was a little concerned Austin would get in trouble staying home…that his boss would think he was playing hooky…I mean, its pretty hard to tell your boss “yes my wife was 5 cm dilated and yes we were at the park and yes she is in labor but no she isn't in pain,” for some reason, because of our fast food/birth mentality I don’t think he would have bought it. 

And even if he had that would be just one more person telling us to go in and “let them help us start things moving”. Nah, we prefer to fly under the radar. I had already skipped my last doctors appointment knowing i was dilated..a lot…and knowing there is no way they would be happy with me going home to let labor take its course.

So we woke up, got dressed and had breakfast.I made my “death tea”…Austins nice name for my red raspberry leaf tea. I asked if he wanted a sip, he said he wouldn't drink it EVER! We then proceeded to go to the park, to the library (where I read frankie a book 6 million times with something in the title about mommy having a baby.  This is a book she had become very attatched to every single library visit for the past 6 weeks or so).

The boys played video games, Austin and I talked, mostly about the coming child…what would happen if I really weren't in labor and he had to go to work on Monday with no baby news…you know…the usual topics lately.

He kept track of the rambunctious group while I took a quick trip to see my favorite Chiropractor. She adjusted me, we laughed about how I was sure a week before that I wouldn't be in again. We joked about this getting me all lined up for baby to shoot right out! Then I set up my next appointment and said as always, I hope I don't see you next week. 

 I stopped by Grand Central and picked up supplies for Labor Day Cookies. (I have now found out these are the basic same ingredients that women have used for quite sometime in the “groaning cake” generally baked during early labor.)  After getting all of my ingredients I didn't have at home I swung by the library and picked up the rest of the clan and we headed home. I baked cookie, “death cookies” they were later named…notice a theme here?!  They did taste and smell awful. I ate as many as I could handle (3) and decided that was it, I was taking a nap and labor would pick up. So Austin took the boys and Frankie outside to play basketball, swing, burn off energy, and most importantly leave mama alone!  Mama may have been a little teensy bit grumpy!

I layed down and proceeded to nap and woke up about 2 hours later IN LABOR! These contractions were different…they almost followed a scale…they would start suddenly…intesify slowly..and then work back to nothing…I KNEW THIS WAS IT! I smiled, almost scared to…thinking surely if I knew I was in labor it would somehow stop the whole thing. This is 3 days after my EDD by the way. I went to the bathroom, made some more death tea.  And happily walked outside.  I’m pretty sure there was a skip in my step now.  I also realized I was 6 cm now. (that was back up in the bathroom btw…yes yes, i warned you about TMI). 

So I walked out the door and wave to my husband who is too caught up in impressing the 8 year olds with his half court shot. I say, “Austin! Austin!”…and I smile and give him a thumbs up! We chat and decide its time for a walk. The boys wail, knowing they have to walk, no bikes this time. Frankie gets excited and we head out. Upon walking our usual route Frankie gets super excited and runs and trips over her own feet and falls and bonks her head!  A real nice goose egg! On the bright side she happily fell asleep in my arms and snoozed the rest of the way home.

We returned home and daddy filled the birth pool with the help of two little excited boys. they settled in to watching Scooby Doo on the TV in our room, sprawling across the bed. I spent time in Frankie’s room leaning on the birth ball just enjoying myself.  We posed for some pics courtesy our little photographer Kalel. Eventually the kids fell asleep and contractions got stronger.

I decided I would get in the water and relax.  I spent some time in there and Frankie woke up and joined me. She had fun splashing, “swimming”, and rubbing my back.  Eventually she got tired and made her way to the family bed and fell asleep too. That is when it really picked up.  Austin helped with hip pressure as Tranden was moving down as well as counter pressure on my back. Eventually I said, "Okay thats enough, you can leave me alone now, nothing is really helping now," and that he did!

He watched a little News Radio and I labored on. I only freaked out on him once…he entered the room and I yelled “Ew gross you brushed your teeth didn't you?!” my pregnant senses were on overload and that did not please me. I proceeded to apologize immediately following the contraction.  He also fixed the lamp on the nightstand beside the pool and I yelled at him for that too, which I also apologized for one second later.

Eventually we came to pushing…I began doing grunty pushing at the end of every other contraction.  It felt great…like I was actually doing something.  It took the edge of a little. At first I worried in my mind about “what if I am pushing too soon?” but that quickly was wiped away by “well I couldn't stop pushing even if I wanted to.”  I pushed off and on for almost three hours. it was great, powerful, scary…everything. I wish I had said out loud some of the thoughts going through my head at the time.

On video they would have been very funny. My husband took care of the obvious while I labored on. he basically left me alone (not physically, he was in the room) and that was the best thing he could have done at the time, its what I needed.  I had little conversations in my head about “how can i get to the hospital and get them to give me an emergency c-section,” but then I freaked out thinking “they won't give me one…there is no medical reason…I have to make them think there is a reason…well, that won't work…they will be so mad at me for trying to do this at home that they will take their time helping me and really make me wait it out!”  Then I was thinking “man now I see why women get the epidural,” and then freaking out.  “What if I'm not even dilated and I'm pushing and in pain for nothing???”

I quickly reminded myself, "duh you already checked and are fully dilated…you can feel the head right there…you’re just going to have to do it!”  Yes, I midwifed myself!  It was as if in that moment a lightbulb went off and there he was.  I remember Austin being in the bathroom and saying,"Baby! Baby!"  He ran in and said, "He’s right there!"  So out came his head and it was as if time was suspended with me thinking,  "Wow that is a really cool whitish bag"  The contraction was over and I waited for another and then his shoulders were out and about the time his stomach emerged the waterbag burst. He was the cleanest baby I had ever seen!

He came out crying and pink and flailing his arms. I brought him up and Austin said, "What is it? what is it?"  I replied, "I don't care!" Then I looked and sure enough he was a boy!!! Talk about shock! Yayay! So we waited and eventually I clamped and cut the cord.  Then I got out and loved my baby!

Within 3 minutes I was back leaning over the pool to deliver the placenta and the rest is history…not much left as far as story goes. We loved our baby, I fed him, we weighed him and he took a bath with me. We called a friend and had her stop by because we were just so excited!

She got me juice and helped us settle back into bed for the night. She also took the coolest picture of us and you can see the three kids snoozin' in the back ground. It was the greatest most undramatic birth ever…..Tranden Excalibur was Born!