While booking a couple for a planned home birth they asked me if I do yachts, because their home is a yacht. My heart stopped momentarily. I imagined a massive full-masted roomy boat on water, but then there are caravan sizes ones as well. I was quick to say, “That’s not a problem”, since we have babies born in caravans and hut homes. On the water, as opposed to in the water would be a new challenge for me. This is their home, their choice, and now I am their midwife.
My first antenatal visit on the yacht was a big challenge – I couldn’t get on! The tide was out and the yacht was resting on mud. I had to lift my big leg up and over the railing to step down onto the deck – it was so far down! Thankfully Dad (a big strapping fellow) was there to give me his hand for support. The next few visits were at night so no one could see how elegantly I got on and off the yacht. It wasn’t so bad when the tide was in, she was afloat and easier to board. I thought I had it mastered, when at one visit I miscalculated the drop!
Am I getting too old for this? I literally fell into Dad’s arms! Thank God he had the strength to stand firm. What an embarrassing moment. At my next visit Dad had come up with the idea of placing a red solid wooden box on the deck for me to use as a step. Great. Now I can board without help.
On board this solid yacht home comes this solid home-birth midwife. I did take up a fair amount of space! Entering the yacht backwards down the steps was another challenge for me. My feet are so long it took mw a while to adjust them onto the steps, let along get my body through the door. The nursery at one end of the yacht was beautifully done up by Mum and Dad and I could get in sideways as well, providing I took a deep breath. The kitchen was compact, cozy and warm. The wheel room was more spacious and the master bedroom was at the opposite end of the yacht. It was all good.
Labour day swung into action after 8 hours of Mum swinging. Birthing on this berthed yacht was all smooth sailing. When my second midwife arrived there was not much room left for the cat. He waited outside. A beautiful daughter was born while Mum was on all fours on a mat-covered floor in the galley kitchen. Baby was received into the world by Dad, while I rested my heavy hand on Mum’s lower back for support. What a wonderful birther she was!
The post natal visits continued to be mostly in the evening. My sea legs appeared to have steadied over time. I can get on and off quite well now, providing my red box in on the deck.
If you have read this midwife’s account of yacht birthing, and see a yacht with a red box on deck, you will recognize our first home birth yacht. Should you consider assisting with a yacht birth, slimmer rather than solid midwife is recommended, but not essential.