Paul's story

Our little baby girl Sofia was born in mighty quick time - actually on the bathroom floor in the early morning of 22nd June, before our midwives could be in attendance. We later realised that it was my wife Helen who had delivered her own baby herself ! It was total panic!! It took just 45 minutes from Helenís waters breaking to the actual birth !!. I have to say this is very exceptional indeed, and nothing had quite prepared us for the shock of what we experienced.

We were about to go to sleep when Helen's waters broke. I've never heard such earthy screams in my life ! Our midwife, on the other end of the phone, heard Helenís shout and immediately knew it was time to get to us asap. However, even then I didnít expect things to go so rapidly. There was certainly no time to set up the birthing pool or put anything else weíd planned into place. I stayed with Helen & tried to time her contractions that were coming so intensely, but it was almost impossible to keep track of them. I was still thinking in terms of many hours of labour. She took refuge in the bath where very soon her vagina was dilating - only 1 cm...but then the next minute I looked, a baby's foot was appearing ! I couldn't believe it !! - so much so, that I didn't even describe it as a foot to Helen or our midwife !  

The babyís position had been diagnosed in the womb as head first, so there was total disbelief all round. I rushed back and forth like a headless chicken between Helen in the bathroom, and the bedroom phone - in contact with our midwife - who told me that she was not going to make it to us by time of birth, and had called emergency services! As the midwife instructed over the phone, I shouted to Helen to get out of bath, and I threw down a pile of towels on the bathroom floor. Then, the next I recall is that a couple of minutes later, Helen was squatting on floor with half the baby hanging out of her ! I momentarily broke down in tears, not knowing what to do and feeling totally helpless - our baby's head was still inside Helen's body, and we didnít know whether it was alive!

I remember asking Helen to support the baby's emerged, slender, dangling body with her hands whilst I dashed back to the phone. A minute later when I came back into the bathroom, the baby was totally out of Helen, lying on floor, with blood everywhere !! She had delivered her own baby !! We still didn't know whether it was alive though ! I called out the midwife's instructions to Helen to check the baby's chest for a heartbeat and then a moment later we mercifully heard our baby's first cry! What a blessed relief !! By this time the placenta had come out too! It was lying on the floor with the chord attached to the baby.  

Within the next 5 minutes the emergency ambulance crew arrived. It wasnít like Helen had imagined birth to be. She was naked on the bathroom floor with our tiny 5 lb baby and surrounded by blood & guts, about to be greeted by a big burly paramedic guy coming up the stairs! But it was such a relief to know that experts were now on hand. Helen was unprepared for how fragile the baby appeared and had not dared pick up our baby, so the paramedics assisted, drying the babyís body with towels and clamping the chord.  

Our midwife arrived just as I was about to cut the chord. She took over, and before long we were all back in bed being reassured and comforted by the midwife. Helen & I spent the next hours coming to terms with the shock of the proceedings, and being totally agog at this tiny beautiful little being that had so powerfully emerged into our lives on that June night. A friend asked me a couple of days after for 3 words to some up my feelings. I struggled to find adequate expression for what is the most magical of moments in my life. All I could say is... "she is beautiful". As a mature first time parent, Iím amazed at how long Iíve taken to want to be a Dad, and am so pleased to be given this opportunity.

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