Home Birth Reference Site

Boat Homebirth for my first baby, by Martine

Martine's first baby was born just 5 days after her due date, on a barge.

I woke up around 2 am with something that felt like intermittent tummy ache, and quickly realized what was going on... I called Roland (my partner) who was sleeping on his sailing boat that night, and said that things were happening and could he come over. We had run out of water on the barge so I started filling up the tanks in between the contractions, as they were still not too painful and I figured water would come in handy later!

My parents had come to visit a few days earlier but they were banned to the aft cabin as I didn't really want too many people around... Roland arrived 15 mins later, we had a cup of tea and a game of backgammon, and then went to bed because my contractions were picking up. By this time they were about 4-5 minutes apart and lasted for about 1 minute each, and quite painful. I kept trying to go to the loo because it felt like otherwise it would all come out at a less suitable time, and had a very bloody show that kind of freaked me out a little because I had no idea it was meant to be that bloody!

Roland called the ward, they got hold of the midwife, Di, who called us back a few minutes later. By this time I had only had contractions for about 3 hours, so I figured it was still going to take a long time so I said if she'd be there within an hour it would be fine. By this time I started having a bit of an urge to push with some of the contractions. I went to the loo again and the waters broke with a squirt! The colour was a bit dark, and things started speeding up so I got Roland to call Di again and ask if she could get there sooner. I really wanted to push now, but thought there is no way I'm dilated already so I tried not to, and breathed through the contractions as best I could.

Di arrived a little later, she confirmed that there was meconium in the water (probably because I was past my estimated due date) and said this would be the time to go to the hospital, but because I was so far along already she was very happy to stay with me on the boat. I didn't want to go, so she monitored the baby's heartbeat and it was fine. Then she did an internal examination and said the baby's head was right there and to go ahead and push! So I did. By this time I was down on the floor leaning on the sofa, the contractions were getting very painful and I felt quite uncomfortable about pushing in the beginning because I was paranoid about pooing. I soon got the hang of it though and started recognizing the feeling of the baby moving down, so Di called the backup midwife, Dee, who arrived a bit later.

This went on for a bit, pushing through the contractions and then resting, a couple of times I nearly fell asleep in between... I was getting tired though, so I started digging into my goodies bag, popping Maltesers and crunching ice cubes. Just before the last big push I was in dire need of energy so I popped a whole handful of Maltesers in and didn't have time to swallow before the contraction came, so I had a mouth full of melted chocolate :P

For a while she  kept nearly crowning but slipping back in, which was quite frustrating but gave me lots of time to stretch down there, so I didn't tear or anything when the head finally did pop out. She wriggled around with her head sticking out, which was the most bizarre feeling I think I've ever felt. It was also quite sore, but by that time I just wanted it over with so I gave a big push then the shoulders and rest of body slid out, "She's going to cry!" said Di and she did:) A short but strong cry and then good strong breathing, although she had a bit of goo in her mouth that came out easily with a bit of wiping.

As I was sitting there staring at this new person who suddenly arrived, my placenta fell out! No contractions or anything, it literally just slid out completely painlessly. It was fine, and a little while later when it had stopped pulsating and everything, we clamped and cut the cord. I sat down on the sofa with the baby and she instantly latched on with a strong suck and was feeding for 20 minutes.

In the meantime the midwives were clearing up all the mess, and when they were done the place looked like a living room again:) They then checked her over, everything was fine, her APGAR score was 9 and 10.

She was born at 8:52 Thursday morning; the whole thing took about 7 hours, no painkillers and no tearing. Just lots of Maltesers and an absolutely beautiful baby girl as a result:)

She's a very calm baby, she does loads of sleeping and eating and is super snugly and yummy. She's also very strong and can already nearly support her head and squirm around surprisingly well!


Related pages:

First Babies and homebirth

Meconium in the waters - what does it mean? Should you go to hospital?

Transferring to hospital - why it might be advised.

Overdue - but still want a homebirth? When is 'postdates' risky?

Home Birth Stories


Home Birth Reference Page

Site Contents