“He hath made everything beautiful in his time” (Ecclesiastes 3:11) First of all, we thank & acknowledge the unfathomable faithfulness God our Father has bestowed on us and the greatness of his blessing in our lives. My loved one being busy, cuddling our little Princess, I her husband would love to take up the task of narrating our baby’s Birth story. We came to know about Birth Village in 2014, through our friend Razia. Although skeptical in the beginning, we began our acquaintance with Birth Village with a preconception counseling way back in 2015. But yes, we liked and got interested in the idea of natural birth the way explained to us. Last Year, we came to know that God has blessed us with a precious gift in womb and we were really eager to contact Birth Village and could do it through a Skype Call . Since both of us were working in Bangalore, we managed visiting Birth Village whenever we visited our Parents in Kochi. But we kept the whole idea to ourselves, as we were unsure and were in the dilemma thinking how our families would accept our Birthing idea, since it was completely out of box compared to the traditional methods people usually follow. At Birth Village, we were given advices with respect to healthy diet and exercises which needs to be followed during all trimesters of pregnancy. My wife could even attend a workout classes when we came on vacation. My betterhalf tried everything she could which includes walking daily to office, doing all household chores, sticking on to healthy diet, even after tiring office hours and stringent project schedules. The greatest idea we got out of birthing at BV, was to stay & remain active during pregnancy rather being idle. Everything seemed fine until, we observed that the anomaly scan revealed higher resistance to blood flow in placental artery. Though it was only a predictor in medical terminology, we consulted a nearby I situation in Kochi where the care provider just made the situation worse by mentioning about IUGR (Intrauterine growth restriction) and treatment using Ecospirin. Nevertheless, she even scared us telling that our baby may be premature and may have other complications too.. That really drained away the peace from our hearts. We talked this to Our midwife and she informed us about all the pros and cons and suggested us a high protein diet. But I believe it was all part of God’s plan (For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts – Isaiah :55-9). This was the crucial turning point in our life to decide where the birth should happen. We trusted in God and by his Grace, proper diet along with exercises, the growth of our baby turned out to be normal during the final scans. Then it was all about final count down. With fingers crossed, we waited to meet our little one. Christina moved to Kochi one month before EDD and I was almost shuttling between Bangalore & Kochi almost all weekends. Finally it all started on Jan-9 (1 week prior to EDD), when I got call from Chris early in the morning, that pain has started. She went for her daily walks as usual, did exercises and we waited till noon to confirm that the pain was persistent. After we felt that it was the early stage, I booked my flight to Kochi. Thanks to the Lamaze Classes for giving us idea about the stages of birthing. by God’s grace, I could reach home within 3 hours from the time she called. Everyone at home were shocked and surprised to see me as Christina had kept the pain to herself until I came, instead of worrying her parents. I know she was demonstrating excellent example of perseverance which hardly few people are gifted with. Seeing her I understood that our baby has boarded flight and is on the way to arrive anytime. We first called up the center and reached there by 9.30 but had to come back as it was not yet properly dilated. We waited and waited until the pain became unbearable. I could see her really struggling in the pain and the mucus plug was out, So we called in again by 1am in the morning and arrived Birth Village by 1.30 am. There was our midwife waiting for us when we reached Birth village with a warm smile, soon joined by Other midwife as well .Our midwives were real angels who patiently encouraged us each and every moment, which I feel may not be present in any hospital. By 5.30 am, the waters broke .With all the Prayers and the encouragement from our midwives, we finally saw our little one’s face for first time in our life by 7.15am on Jan 10th 2017 and I got the chance to cut the umbilical cord. We forgot about all the pain and struggle we went through, when our Priceless possession was born. Though from a non- medical background and afraid of blood & medical procedures, God’s Grace enabled me to encourage & support my wife, through all these pain she gone through. No words to describes our midwives , truly are gems,who was constantly motivating Chris whenever she was going down. Their smile which was so soothing consoled us amidst all the pain chris endured. May God bless you all at BV, for all your good work. It was all God’s Grace and support from Birth Village which has helped me and my small family. Thanks to both the families who respected our decisions and for being with us when it needed the most. Thanks to all my loved ones whose prayers and wishes were a strong fortress for us. Birthing at BV made me understand how great a mother is and what pain she bears to bring out her baby. The Journey was not so easy and cannot be completely depicted in any form. There were questions to be answered, fears and moments of despair, But I always believed in verse which I loved the most in life- “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear- 1 John :4-18” Thank you Birth Village. Love, Manoj, Christina and Baby Joanna Bv notes This is family well rooted in what they believe in . Their journey began with us through preconception and it has been a very fulfilling journey one that is filled with trust , hope and hard work Congratulations again

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