Heather Skaats is a mother of five and wife of a loving husband, living in Kentucky. She was nine months pregnant and started feeling contractions. Thinking she had some time on her hands before the baby was ready to arrive, she ran some errands with her children until labor sprung upon her so suddenly that she was forced to deliver her baby on the side of the road.
A Natural Birth
Heather Skaats had planned the arrival of her younger son to be a waterbirth from home with carefully chosen midwives. In a post she made on Facebook, Heather wrote: “Well, I had another wonderful water birth planned at home just as I had in the past. That didn’t go as planned.”
Heather’s contractions started, but they were still quite far apart, and she thought she would have some time to run a few errands. She told TODAY Parents in an interview:
“I thought I wouldn’t have a baby in my arms until eight or ten hours later.” In her Facebook post, she said: “Just for reference when I started driving, I was having some lighter contractions. In my previous births, I didn’t have a baby in my arms until 8ish hours later.”
While out with her two other children, Heather felt her contractions go from far apart to intense and close together in a short space of time. She remembers starting to drive a bit faster so that she could make it home to her planned waterbirth. It soon became clear to Heather that she would not have time to get home for the birth, so she pulled over.
Read: Mom delivered twin girls with matching snow-white hair, and their unusual beauty comes out years later
“I pulled over — assured the kids that everything was OK — and then I grabbed my phone and got out of the van,” said Heather. Not long after that, her baby boy was born on the side of the road. Heather did it all by herself, without the help of her midwives, only her husband whom she called right before.
“I put my hand down there and his head started coming out with his body,” recalls Heather. “I didn’t even have to push. It was so quick. I was on the phone with my husband, Nick, and 20 seconds later, I was like, ‘He’s here!’”
She Wrapped Him Up and Went Home
Heather managed to catch her son as he came out, and she wrapped him up in a blanket. “He started crying right away, and he just opened his eyes and looked at me and I said, ‘Yeah, buddy that was fun, huh?’”’ said Heather.
Weighing about seven pounds, Heather kept him close to her chest and drove home very carefully. “I wrapped him in a blanket and drove with him close to my chest,” Heather said. “I think the kids were in shock. They were pretty quiet.”
Her baby boy was still attached to the placenta which was inside Heather’s body. When they got home the midwife had not arrived yet. This meant that Heather’s oldest daughter, Kaelynn needed to help her mother to deliver the placenta. They did so in the shower.
Read: Mom Gives Birth To 16th Baby, And Each Child’s Name Begins With ‘C’ For A Special Reason
“I’m still in Shock”
The mother of six is healthy, and so is their new baby boy. Heather recalls the day with amusement, saying: “I’m still in shock that I delivered my own baby on the side of the road. But he is perfect, all of the kids are happy to have him here, and today was a day I will never forget. My husband is not too happy about missing it but at least he was on the phone with me when I called to say “I’m going to have a baby on the side of the road” and 5 seconds later he came out.”
This was not the first baby that Heather had given birth to, outside of a hospital, but the only one she did by herself. She says that her home birthing experiences had taught her how to trust her body, and this enabled her to remain calm. “I think having had home births in the past sort of taught me to trust my body,” said Heather.
Heather and her husband are still trying to think of a suitable name for their new son. The names, Porter or Wolf have been thought of, which are the names of the streets that he was born on. For now, Heather’s son, Austin, wants to nickname him The Flash.