Birthing Pool

Beez Neez now Chy Whella
Big Bear and Pepe Millard
Fri 18 Apr 2014 22:57
We are Introduced to ‘The Birthing Pool’
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After a wonderful couple of days with Martin, Kim, Oscar and Jacob we took our still ill selves to Miffy and Rachel, Bear is managing a hoarse croak, I’m still at the shouted, low volume whisper. Rachel went for a quick visit to her Grandma and over a cup of tea the new delivery was soon mentioned. The Birthing Pool............
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Within a flash it was out of its bag, unfurled, compressor on in the garage, curly pipe laid out across the garden and ten bar was being delivered to blow up - first the floor, then the seat and each of the three layers. Miffy demonstrated the attachments that will bring water from the hot tap behind the washing machine and we were given our first lecture on water pressures, filling time, temperature control and emptying. A real first.
In less than ten minutes – there it was.......
Definitely time for a road test.........
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.......and to toast the forthcoming event.
Rachel came home and soon joined in the family fun.
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A real laugh and the addition of extra ‘equipment’.
Oh my word. Extra equipment included using Luca’s Frisbee as a placenta tray.
The more ‘serious’ position.
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The cool misting fan (didn’t know such things existed), sieve added ‘for just in case foreign bodies’, if not used will always do for straining the sprouts. Then Bear rushed in to be the ‘cooling hand to the sweating brow’. So pleased he wasn’t a midwife, let’s face it, the beret wouldn’t have suited me.
Home birth was, until the advent of modern medicine, the de facto method of delivery. In many developed countries, home birth declined rapidly over the 20th century. In the UK 80% of births occurred at home in the 1920’s and only 1% in 1991. Over a similar time period, maternal mortality during childbirth fell during 1900 to 1997 from 6–9 deaths per thousand to 0.077 deaths per thousand, while the infant mortality rate dropped between 1915 and 1997 from around 100 deaths per thousand births to 7.2 deaths per thousand. 

One doctor described birth in a working class home in the 1920’s:

You find a bed that has been slept on by the husband, wife and one or two children; it has frequently been soaked with urine, the sheets are dirty, and the patient's garments are soiled, she has not had a bath. Instead of sterile dressings you have a few old rags or the discharges are allowed to soak into a nightdress which is not changed for days.

This experience is contrasted with a 1920’s hospital birth by Adolf Weber:

The mother lies in a well-aired disinfected room, light and sunlight stream unhindered through a high window and you can make it light as day electrically too. She is well bathed and freshly clothed on linen sheets of blinding whiteness... You have a staff of assistants who respond to every signal... Only those who have to repair a perineum in a cottar's house in a cottar's bed with the poor light and help at hand can realise the joy.


Current figures are not available but home birth in the UK received some press in recent years and there was a movement, most notably in Wales, to have increased home birth rates to 10% by 2007. Between 2005 and 2006, there was an increase of 16% of home birth rates in Wales, but the total home birth rate is still 3% even in Wales (double the national rate) and in some other counties of Great Britain the home birth rate is still under 1%.


On a serious note Rachel has had a straightforward pregnancy, looks well and as a couple they have done much research. The birthing pool has a sterile liner at the ready and the midwifery ‘kit’ is in a bag stowed in the corner. Anything can happen in the next few weeks and both are ready to go to hospital “if the need arises”.

We as parents and grandparents wish the three of them well and cannot wait to welcome our new grandson.



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The hoover was employed in the deflation process and within ten minutes all was neatly packed away. I may never look at a paddling pool in the same way again but was very pleased to see how things have changed ‘since my day’. I asked Bear how may water births he had attended in his thirty five years as a doctor, just one and we couldn’t get the lady out, so we had to send her husband in to help her as none of us fancied a paddle....................... Miffy and Rachel showed us a hilarious video on YouTube of two American chaps being rigged up to experience ‘proper’ labour pains. How humbled and sympathetic, even sheepish they were at the end of their short soirée into the their wives shoes.

We went on to have a smashing Easter weekend, me still whispering and both of us still choking. BBQ in the garden on Saturday. Sunday, fantastic roast New Zealand lamb and all the trimmings, with Grandma and Adrian. Apple pie and gravy for afters. It’s OK Rachel it’s a pregnancy thing........ Monday was a lovely chill day with our film collection being added to, thank you both.

For now back to the fun and we leave you with Miffy giving his impression of a ‘push’