Sequels are seldom better than the original. Superman II, Conan the Destroyer, are great examples of poor sequels to a great first movie. Of course, there are a few exceptions to the rule. Batman – The Dark Knight, The Godfather Part II, Terminator 2: Judgement Day, all incredibly successful sequels that stood up to and even went beyond expectations. So what makes a great sequel, you ask? Well, here’s my take on it. Firstly, retain the same cast and crew (as far as possible). But, if you can’t do that, at least make sure that the new members to the team are on board with the original idea and are passionate about the direction the script should take. Secondly, don’t get pressurized by external influences. The initial success of a franchise can actually have a negative impact on the creative process. Audience expectations, studio’s expectations, budget, etc. can all bear down on the team and result in poor decision making. Thirdly, add a new character or two, who can enhance the value of the franchise. Finally, ensure that every member of the team is fully prepared for their role and the lead players continue to put in the hard work that resulted in the success of the first movie. Wondering why our birth story starts with references to movie franchises with great sequels, read on to find out. Our story and association with Birth Village started way back in 2012 when Aditi was pregnant with Eku. From the moment we knew that Aditi was pregnant, I knew that our script wasn’t going to be entirely conventional. Though it took me a while to warm up to the idea of natural birthing at Birth Village, once there, I knew that there wasn’t going to be any looking back. After all, our midwives were ready to listen to our concerns, talk to us like adults and educate us on Aditi’s pregnancy. With Eku, we started our appointments are Birth Village only by the 20th week of Aditi’s pregnancy, but straight away, we got very involved, attending Lamaze Classes and birth story sessions. Aditi was very active from the beginning and practiced prenatal Yoga and exercised profusely. She was also super strict with her diet, without compromising on the joy of eating. Safe to say, we were as prepared as two people could be for the birth of our first child. Under the expert guidance at Birthvillage, Aditi managed to deliver Eku after 18 hours of labor. It was an emotional experience for us, and one that I can never forget. Holding my son for the first time, I remember how worried I was that I would hurt him, just my touching him. But with encouragement and with practice, carrying Eku became second nature and I took on the role of consoling him and putting him to sleep whenever I was around. I am proud of the way Aditi and I have put in every effort to raise Eku into the child that he is today and look forward to all the adventures and experiences that lie ahead for him. Hold on, the story is only half over. After all, I started off talking about sequels. Around the time Eku turned two, Aditi and I started talking about the prospects of having another baby, and as luck would have it we soon found out that she was expecting our second child. This time around, we had the amazing opportunity of doing an even better job. We started working with BV from the 8th week of Aditi’s pregnancy. With a slight change in members, our birth team made us feel at home right away. Not once did we feel any different from the first time, Because Aditi was busy raising Eku for two years, she never got her fitness back, so it was clear that she had to work on strengthening and aligning her body to ensure that this pregnancy was going to be as smooth as the last one. Prenatal Yoga cum dance classes thrice a week were perfect to get her back in shape and it was super fun seeing her practice some of the moves at home on days that the classes couldn’t happen. As the weeks progressed, it was clear that the strict diet and frequent exercise were paying off, as Aditi was super healthy and the baby was developing beautifully. 37 weeks in, we knew that the baby was due any time, there was even a refresher class for us on the 18th of February, just to remind us of what to expect during the pregnancy and how it might progress. Good thing too, because barely 24 hrs later Aditi’s contractions started. The second time around we knew that the delivery was going to be shorter and faster But little did we know how fast. Far as I can tell her contractions started at around 4:30 pm on the 19th of Feb and we were in BV by 7:35 pm. By 8:00 pm, Aditi was in the birthing pool and her contractions were full-on. Would you believe it, by 8:07 pm little Rishi Zacharias was born!! Keeping with the true Birthvillage spirit, the first priority was to ensure that the baby and mother bonded. But soon enough we had to get Aditi out of the pool to birth the placenta. This took a little longer than expected and even required a bit of coaxing, but finally, by 8:35 pm, Aditi was happily feeding Rishi and all was well. And yes this time around we sustained zero tears hence no suturing was required and blood loss was very minimal.Our midwives were superb throughout and gave us ample time to rest and recover. After an hour of relaxing, they checked Aditi and Rishi to make sure that everything was normal and informed us that we could go back home after a few hours. Aditi was given a bath, which really rejuvenated her. We desperately wanted to get back home with Rishi.The journey back was slow and gave us the opportunity to introspect on the past 9 months, and we both came to the same conclusion. It was time to let our hair down, forget about our diets and just eat ICE CREAM. So, newborn baby in toe, we headed to the nearest Ice Cream Parlor that was open to celebrate in the wee hours of the morning. I know we aren’t perfect and I know I have made a lot of mistakes along the way, but I hope that Aditi and I can be great parents to Rishi and help Eku be a great brother too. We are super excited to start this all-new journey and can’t thank the Birth Village team for helping us have such a wonderful pregnancy. Before I sign off, I want to also thank my immediate family and close friends who have been our strength from day one. Reggie, Amma, Shubhra, and Tarsh for taking care of Eku and giving Vincent a wonderful second home. Appa, Amma, and Thoma for unconditional love. Jujitsu Mama for teaching us how to Party Tonight. By Sebastian Zacharias(Proud dad to Eku and Rishi) and even prouder partner to Aditi.#gentlebirths,#skintoskin,#naturalbirths

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