Rajesh, a first time BV dad, shares in his own words the experience that he and his wife Reshma had, birthing their second born at Birthvillage:

“Our first child birth was a healthy normal natural one at Chennai with me being actively involved hence when we had the news of the 2nd ones arrival, we were sure about where to go.However destiny added its own twist to the story.

At 25 weeks, we decided that it would be extremely difficult for us to manage the elder one all by ourselves and manage the delivery in Chennai. Reshma chose to go to her hometown in Thrissur. This was all but sudden that I was wondering about finding a new careprovider and institution in Thrissur. I was quite convinced and worried that we would certainly not get the care, support and options we had during the first childbirth. My wife took it cool and pacified me saying that she is not the first one to deliver at an institution and would manage. We both agreed on exploring options where they would allow husbands to be part of birthing. I was keen to welcome the lo as I did for the first one. More than me, Reshma kept telling that she will feel safe if I was around.

We decided on going to one of the well known institutions in Thrissur. Reshma had to manage the first visit all by herself. I could thoroughly sense her disappointment and anxiety of being there, her sense of worth jolted on being reduced merely to a token number. She maintained a brave outlook though. I was super worried by now and even suggested that she come back to Chennai and we will somehow manage. I made up arguments after arguments against all her practical questions on how we will manage in Chennai and finally gave up.

Destiny had another twist. I have not been active on facebook for years now and the only time I log in is to check for weather updates during rains after the flooding in Chennai. The forecast is sort of precise than the MET department. A storm was cooking up and I had to check in the details. I logged in and Bingo! I found a Facebook update of a colleague on his wife’s VBAC at Birth village a midwifery led birth centre Cochin. I went on to check the details and called him up. What I heard was encouraging and explored more. I was impressed with what I learnt. I forwarded the pictures to my wife. She commented “How she wished, I was around when she was in labor”

I suggested that we visit birthvillage for a consultation and then decide how we go about this. She agreed, though with some reservations Eventually when we met Priyanka, Reshma was impressed. She loved the home-like feel at Birthvillage. While we were deciding on Birthvillage, she was worried about the travel distance and logistics. Eventually everything fell into place with help from friends and family. As advised by the midwife, Reshma made drastic changes to her diet and it was showing even before our next appointment. I was glad.

Then came the Lamaze classes. Reshma always hated being in a class room and hence had a huge resistance of going to the Lamaze classes. She protested saying that she knew what she needs to know about childbirth from her previous birthing experience. I almost dragged her for the classes only to find that she loved being there. She sort of started relating to the midwife as someone who can help her have a safe birthing experience. For me, the Lamaze classes added more to what I knew about labor and child birth. I was also amazed at the clarity, communication, patience, presence, and grit of the ladies who ran the show. We did have some fun mocking up couple conversations.

At week 36, we moved to Cochin from Thrissur to an apartment which is more or less a stone throw away distance from Birthvillage. I started working from my Cchin office anticipating the birth to happen any time. We kept our appointments and met Donna during one of the appointments. Her energy was infectious. She was a super Mom herself. All was well.

I insisted that Reshma go for the workout classes but she kept postponing as she was anxious. Finally, I had to literally force her to go. From then on she loved it so much that she would not miss a workout session till she birthed. Donna became her inspiration and our daughter would go and shake a leg along with her mom. They were happy and tired after each workout session.

Our due date was 25th February, 2018 and since it was the second birth, we expected it to happen sooner since the first one arrived bang on the due date. However the baby had other plans. There was no sign of labor till the 40th week and it got the ladies at home worried. On the due date, my darling wife grew real anxious, people were calling up, my MIL was managing everything but was beginning to break down. It was tough to pacify them. In the wee hours of the night, I told them both that even now we have a choice of going to the nearest instituition and inducing labor, and pulling the baby out and I would go with whatever they decided. They sort of settled down and went to sleep. Thankfully we had our appointment the very next day and the midwife assured Reshma that everything was fine and she could see her alternate days if she preferred. That was enough. Reshma told she was confident now and let the baby come when it has to come.

She went about her things as usual, We went for our walks. She diligently climbed steps, went for the work out classes and danced with our daughter. It was a sight to adore. Finally we were getting signs and on 28th February post lunch, she started getting her contractions. She was sure that it was not yet time to call up the midwife and I went by her word. She refused to drink or eat enough fearing that she may throw up. Reminiscences of her previous labor. I was worried and insisted that she keep herself hydrated but she would not relent. We slept through the evening and at around 2 she woke me up and told that the contractions are getting a little heavier. She wanted to wait. Her contractions were aberrative, one landing up in 5 minutes and then the other after 15. Finally she called up the midwife and was told to come to Birthvillage if she has more than 3 contraction in the next 30 minutes. She got 5 and so we called again to inform that we are starting. I checked with Reshma if she would want to take a hot shower, she said we better go to the birthing center. We arrived at Birthvillage at around 3:30 Am.

Our midwives were already there. I felt sorry for these ladies. They looked sleep deprived due to the back to back births they were managing. My darling wife was tired. She wanted to sleep and would not relent to do anything. A midwife pep talked worked like magic. We went up and down the stairs and then went to the birthing room to rest for some time since the contractions were not progressing. Our midwives both did all the preparation that was required. I suggested that they take some rest and I would call them if Reshma felt like pushing. With the midwives retiring, Reshma rested between contractions for almost 30 minutes.

I couldn’t sleep. I was gazing at the ceiling and the furnishing of the room. We had our consultations there. It had become too familiar. It felt like home. It holds witness to innumerable women who has surrendered themselves into the safety of its lap, discovering themselves, their will to birth at their choice in a dignified way. These walls probably testifies to the innumerable cries of babies born , with them their mothers, into the safety of the midwives skillful hands. It probably accepted men who discovered their women, gave a new meaning to their relationship with their wife, celebrated the joy of birth and fatherhood. It has seen the conviction and magic of these midwives who are giving in their all to celebrate the joy of birthing. This is probably an oasis of human emotions. I was getting overwhelmed.

Just then my darling wife told me that she felt like pushing. I suggested that we move to the birthing stool and I was supporting her from the back while she leaned on me. Her contractions were becoming rigorous. I asked her to feel the baby but she wasn’t willing. I called the midwives, who were immediately there. The midwife suggested that Reshma take the standing in position. I supported her from behind while the midwives encouraged her. I was getting overwhelmed. I was devoured into the ecstatic dance of the push and pull, the enormity of a woman’s power, here ability and will. I was grinning like a Cheshire cat. I was in a space where there is no fear, no sound, just smiles and all was well. The midwives were whispering something to each other. Everything was being understood without spoken words. For a moment I found it strange to be smiling when my dear wife was grunting and growling I was witnessing the phenomenal art of mother nature, her magic of bringing in a life into this world. What a blessing to be available to this great phenomenon of life!!

Within a few moments the baby slipped into the hands of Priyanka. Her first cry filled the room with a fragrant energy. The mother and baby were made to lie down skin to skin. The cord clamped after it drained. We spent the next few hours together. I knew I cannot ask for more, there cannot be a better way to be born or to birth. Thanks to all those fantastic souls at Birth village. They are very special and unique in their own way. Ginju with here “never say no” spirit and every smiling nature, being always available to help. Bincy with her calm composure, diligently practicing the great act of caring. The chechis at Birth village and of course all those wonderful people we met during the Lamaze classes. You are awesome. Thanks for being YOU. We love you. You have given us a lifetime memory to cherish. Prayers and Gratitude. God bless.

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