William Trubridge lives his life in the water and he has high hopes his newborn daughter will join him there.

At just 12 days old, , Mila Trubridge sleeps peacefully for now on her mum, Sachiko Fukumoto's lap.

Freediving world champion, Trubridge and his partner Fukumoto are smitten with her.

"I feel so blessed", Fukumoto, an actress and herself an avid diver, says.


On March 16, she was welcomed into the world in a very fitting water birth at the Trubridge family home - a nod to the pair's shared passion for diving.

The couple had originally wanted Fukumoto to give birth in the sea; either Long Island, Bahamas, or Okinawa, Japan, but given it is now winter in both locations, the sea proved to be too cold.

William Trubridge with his partner Sachiko Fukumoto and their daughter Mila. Photo / Paul Taylor
William Trubridge with his partner Sachiko Fukumoto and their daughter Mila. Photo / Paul Taylor

A birthing pool at their Havelock North address was the next best option.

Trubridge's father; renowned furniture designer David and mother Linda were not far away, providing support when needed.

Trubridge said he had a new admiration for all womanhood after Fukumoto's 13-hour labour to give birth naturally.

"To be honest, I didn't think I was going to make it. I was really exhausted and I had no energy left. I felt like it was not going anywhere," Fukumoto said.

"I'm so glad that everything went well and all as I wanted. I think it was a miracle because you can't expect everything to be right until she is born healthy."

They travelled back to New Zealand - where Trubridge spent most of his formative years - especially for the birth.

But their stay will be short-lived, as they plan to head to Japan, and then the Bahamas at the end of April.

Fukumoto says New Zealand appealed as a spot to give birth because of the choice our health systems offers.

"I didn't have a choice to take what kind of birth I want in Japan.

"New Zealand is one of the best places to have a natural birth, especially the way I wanted to do it - at home and in the wild," she says.

Her midwife in Japan even recommended for her to have the birth here, noting, "it is a human right".

It sparked the idea of filming a documentary around the birth, with a Wellington-based director, Fukumoto says.

But the story is also heavily focused on how "water and the underwater world can be a very natural home for us".

"We are very adept [at] being underwater. We, both in our careers and our lives have spent a lot of time and made a living out of that and you can even do something as intimate and important as giving birth in the water."

It captured raw moments during the labour and is expected to be released later this year, in June or July.

While the pair aren't sure of what their first family outing will be, a swim for Mila is at the top of the priority list, Trubridge said.

"We'd like to take her and see how she is in the water and how she likes it.

"Maybe one day, if she likes the water as well, then she will come along with us in those adventures ... we'll just see what she's attracted to."