There’s an iguana at my homebirth wot am I gonna do?

iguanaA student midwife asked me the other day what’s the best thing about being a midwife? Now I think she was expecting me to say something like – ‘Oh the sheer joy and privilege of being part of such a magical time in a woman’s life when she makes that huge transition from a woman to a mother and witnessing another family bond being created’.

That was not my answer, this was my answer –  The best thing about being a midwife is the crack. In no other job would you get caught up in such hilarious moments. I’m talking proper belly laughing moments that remind you to work your pelvic floor muscles more often.

For instance, I remember a night shift on labour ward when a midwife colleague arrived on the unit having just attended a homebirth. She had a slightly weary look about her as she dropped off her safety equipment and restocked her birth bag.

“Nice home birth was it?” I asked. She gave me ‘the look’. “Oh, not all plain sailing then?” I asked

“Would have been alright if it weren’t for Dave*” she replied.

“Dave? The birth partner? Bit over protective was he? An Alpha male type?” I asked.

Turns out Dave* was in fact an iguana. (*please note, name has been changed to protect the iguana’s identity). Dave was a free range iguana, free to roam around the house as he pleased. No staying in the tank for Dave that night, oh no, Dave wanted to be right where the action was.

My colleague went on to set the scene – Dim lights, the aroma of essential oils wafting around the room, relaxing music playing, woman floating serenely in the birth pool, making deep mooing type noises during each contraction that got louder as her labour progressed. With her, by her side was her partner, attentively mopping her brow. And then of course there was Dave, the iguana, scuttling across the top of the book shelves and along the curtain rail.

My colleague confessed she wasn’t a huge fan of reptiles and may have lost her focus slightly at this birth as she kept her beady eye on Dave’s beady eye as he hovered over her shoulder, just above the birth pool. In fact she paid so much attention to Dave, convinced that he would leap in the pool at the crucial ‘birthing moment’ that she almost missed the arrival of the baby altogether. “To be fair the room was very dark.” she said.

“Was he interested in the whole birthing thing d’you think? cos animal are very intelligent.” I said.

“No”, she replied “ I’m convinced he just fancied a dip in the pool and then I guess I would have to fill in a clinical incident form if that had happened cos I guess that would be classed as a health and safety risk?!”  Then we both laughed, a lot, at the thought of management receiving the clinical incident form and deciding on what action should be taken in any future incidents involving a midwife, an iguana, a labouring woman and a birth pool.

Look out for future posts on animals at the birth, so many stories to tell…!

If you want your partner (or pet iguana) to be fully prepared and supportive for you in labour then why not sign up for our hypnobirthing classes, visit our website

Sharon x


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