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Making a Video Documentary about Water Birth

The production of "Water Baby: Experiences of Water Birth" took several years to complete. It began with the video documentation of the birth of Merlinna Rodgers, the sixth American baby born in water, in November, 1981. As of May 2000, although no one knows for sure, it is estimated that there are about 100,000 American water babies. In England, where approximately 200 hospitals offer water birth, the numbers are even larger.

Marilyn's Joyous Water Birth Experience - Delivering Merlinna

When, at around 6 PM on a crisp and clear evening, Marilyn Rodgers called to say she was in labor, our film crew rushed to her home. Since water birth was so new at that time, Marilyn was unable to find any doctor, hospital or birth center that would allow her to deliver in water. Consequently, her only option was a home birth.



For Marilyn, that was just fine. She preferred to deliver at home because her first baby, who was born in a hospital, was severely damaged at birth. He suffers from cerebral palsy due to oxygen deprivation during the first few minutes after birth. As a result, Marilyn wanted the most non-technological birth possible for her second child. Being assisted by her husband, a midwife, a registered nurse and a Ph.D. psychologist, at home, with the company and support of her family and friends, was exactly the kind of birth experience she wanted.


When Marilyn gave birth to Merlinna, after about 9 hours of light labor, the tiny baby girl gently entered a warm and cozy world filled with loving relatives and friends. She never cried out. The first person she saw was her father, who was positioned in the tub to catch her as she emerged. The baby had a definite look of delight and wonder on her tiny face as she opened her eyes and looked up at him while she was still in the water. Then, Marilyn gently gathered the infant in her arms and brought her up and out of the water.

A detailed and intimate look at Marilyn's joyous birthing experience is one of the main features in the video WATERBABY: Experiences of Waterbirth.


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