Dharunya and Amarnath – came to us from Coimbatore. This was a mom who knew that what her heart desired was a VBAC. She was committed and worked hard to this end. Here is her experience in her own words.

BV Observation: The interesting thing to us about this case was – in Dharunya’s first birth, the baby was transverse and was breech at 36 weeks. This was the reason for her C-Section. In this VBAC – it was EXACTLY THE SAME CASE – baby transverse at week 36. The difference was that we worked on positioning and exercise and the baby turned at week 37-38. Nothing can beat the combination of evidence based practice and working with natural physiology!

Birth 1 –
“When I was pregnant with my firstborn, we went to a reputed institution and consulted with a care provider (whom my mother had consulted with when she was pregnant with me) – all these with blind trust. Things were all fine, I had completed 35 weeks when my care provider wanted to do an internal exam. I wasn’t told why it was needed or that I can decline to have one. The result – a very, very, tensed me lying on the table , while the care provider and her assistant checked me with comments that I have to relax , that I should be able to bear the “pain”. ‘How are you going to deliver if you can’t bear even this pain..?’ – was the comment to me. I felt violated, confused and stressed thinking about this.
The following weekly check up (36 weeks and 3 days), I was taken for a scan and checked for the baby’s position. The care provider called us into her office and said that the baby was in a transverse lie and we will have to proceed with a C-section. We were all upset but then decided to go ahead with the care provider’s decision because we trusted her. “

Birth 2 – Paari ,14th November, 2017
“For my second baby, we decided on the care provider (due to our previous experience) at a different institution. This time, I was more observant on the way my consultations went. I had internal scans every time I visited for the first trimester, which I wasn’t totally ok with – but went ahead with, as it was the institution’s norm. The chief care provider never read my file history before the consultation – she would go through my file when she came to check me up. All this after a couple of hours of waiting, getting my vitals checked, and the scan. And when I told her once that I wanted to have a normal delivery, she said – I can’t promise you anything but we will try our best. It all depends on how things go – which didn’t exactly give me the confidence I needed. I wasn’t satisfied with the care I was receiving but continued with the care provider, hoping for the best.

I then came to know about Birth Village’s session in my city arranged by the local parenting group that I am part of. It was a total eye opener for my husband, who was impressed by Priyanka’s passion towards making a normal, healthy childbirth every woman’s right. When I asked my husband about having a consultation with Birthvillage, he gladly agreed.
When I spoke with the midwife, I was asked to make changes in my diet, walk for 30 minutes and to climb a minimum of 300 stairs a day. I was also asked about my emotional well-being, which was much needed at that time. It was a hard for my husband and I as a couple, as my husband had just come out of a business partnership and in the process of setting up a new company. Knowing my satisfaction with the session, a couple of weeks later – my husband and I decided to visit the centre and to have a look around. We had our first one to one session on 29th June which satisfied both my husband and I. We decided to change our care provider and to begin our journey with Birth Village.
I made changes in my diet. I started climbing the stairs at my apartment every morning at 5.30. I was irregular initially but I pushed myself and kept myself as active as possible (thanks to the toddler and the scar of my first birth).I started to read books on pregnancy – but my favorite was Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth. I consciously removed the word pain from my vocabulary, and replaced it with discomfort (which helped me a lot during labor).
We headed to Cochin as we neared the 36 week mark. We started to settle in and joined the workout classes headed by Donna – I was very much inspired by her energy levels and she did make us sweat with her moves.
On the evening my contractions set in, we were at dinner. I would walk and rest in between while the toddler (who has fallen in love with ships and fishing) had fun riding his imaginary boats. As I started experiencing more discomfort, we headed home, post dinner. Around 12.15 in the morning, I started to feel more uncomfortable and I woke my husband up and we tried to time the contractions. But we weren’t sure if we were doing it right and messaged Priyanka asking if we could head to the centre. Our bags were already in the car – we just grabbed the hot water bag and made our way to the centre.
I felt calm and relaxed at the centre after seeing Priyanka and Donna. I even slept for a while. I kept asking during the labor on what will be happening next. I just needed to know what was happening so I could visualize and focus on the baby. I decided to get in the birth pool and try pushing the baby. After a while, I wasn’t able to concentrate on pushing and decided to leave the comfort of the pool. I was advised to climb the stairs 2 at a time to help bring the baby down. My midwife guided with different positions that I might find comfortable to labor in. 4 hours into labor and drained of energy, a hot chocolate with a bit of coffee helped me to go on.

We felt the baby crowning and I remember shouting my lungs out, just letting go. I had been told in the Lamaze classes that women go into a space intermediate physical and spiritual medium when the baby is about to be born. This was what I experienced, as I remember putting all my energy in pushing the baby out and the next moment I open my eyes to see that I have a boy. My water broke just as the baby emerged with the cord wound twice around his neck. The baby was given to me to be held skin to skin. The placenta was delivered a while later and we did the delayed cord clamping. While I was being checked and cleaned up, my husband held our son skin to skin and dozed off peacefully for a while. This is the kind of birth I want every woman to experience, with the parents working together as a team, with the woman trusting her body in doing its role for a natural and intervention free birth.

I thank my husband, V.T Amarnath for giving me the freedom to choose and consult with a kind, empathetic care provider. For giving me confidence, giving me the energy when I needed the push, helping me explore my limits, giving me space when I needed it and being there for me when I needed him the most. I proudly admit that I have been blessed with a wonderful human as my husband and as the father of my boys.

My primary midwife, for giving me the emotional and mental support that I needed the most, for the knowledge she shared with us, for the guidance throughout the pregnancy and postpartum. Thank you so much for making me believe in myself.
Donna – for the most amazing workout sessions. Your “Visualize your feet on the floor, take deep breaths” guided me during my difficult times. And the special hot chocolate – I loved it!
Bincy, Ginju, Chechi and the rest of the Birth Village team for the patience and the support all through our journey.
Parents, family and well-wishers for keeping us in their thoughts and for all the support offered.”

Amarnath says:
“Being a man and writing a post about labour is a little weird – but it was a startling experience since I was part of labour and every man should have an opportunity to experience this.
Our first son was born via a Cesarean in the hospital – where my role was to help in making the baby sleep when he woke up during the nights and answer the visitor queries. Our second son is a VBAC baby – born naturally without any interventions, and I was with my wife during labor offering her physical and moral support.

When the 36th week scan showed that the baby was not in position yet, our midwives were very much supportive and encouraged my wife to do more exercise, meditation and asked Dharunya to stay calm, focused. It was the moral support and encouragement my wife needed to come out of the stress and to focus on the baby. And the very next week scan, showed that the baby was cephalic and not in a transverse lie.
Nearing the end of 41 weeks, my wife started experiencing some cramps and discomfort. That evening, we shopped a while, and walked around a bit. Later that night, we headed to Birthvillage, where the labour continued in the birth room. Our midwife stayed with us the whole time, helping my wife manage her contractions and positions that will help bring the baby out.
When the baby’s head started coming out, he was still in the water bag. Amniotic fluid gushed out. It was like a pearl inside the shell. I felt proud to be part of the labour. I held the baby skin to skin while my wife was taken care of, and felt the joy of birth. At that moment, I wished to be a woman to go through pregnancy and the natural delivery.”

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