Magdala, our daughter (and 1st born) saw her first glimpse of this world on 22nd February at 9:17 am. Weighing 3.1 kilos, she cried as soon as she arrived, stopped soon after and strangely enough began to look around at all the people in the room with curiosity and wonder. My husband Issac and I were looking back at her in absolute amazement and there was only one thought in both our heads… it’s a Miracle!
It’s been 41 days since she’s arrived and the memory of my birth experience is still fresh in my mind and I often wonder how in the world I actually did it!
Issac and I married in late 2012 and indeed like most couples we had the ‘baby’ talk and we both knew we wanted kids, but we didn’t think more about it at the time. Of course parents being parents were eager, yet respectful and accepting, and preferred to pray to God rather than actually telling us to grant their wish. Surprisingly however, this wasn’t the case when it came to many other people. As the years passed we learned to not mind the occasional inappropriate curiosity and concern people had about why we weren’t getting pregnant. Some of these questions were so funny that we’d come home and laugh about all the possible answers we could’ve given but didn’t. I always had only one answer – “It’s going to happen only when and if it’s meant to happen” and this wasn’t just an answer to keep them quiet, it’s also what we believed. And then one day it happened! I still remember that night I found out, and how I couldn’t contain the excitement and found it so hard to hold on to the 2-month rule when I actually wanted to tell the whole world the next day!
Family in the village
A few years ago (maybe a year after we were married) we had a conversation about some strange place in Kochi where they had babies in water. I remember how Issac was excited and went on about how he’d read about alternative approaches to birth and how there was even something like orgasmic birth where he said the mother could convert pain into pleasure and how it was great for the baby. Of course I didn’t buy it one bit and we never talked about it again.
Soon after we shared the exciting pregnancy news with our family we visited the doctor. It went well, the doctor said everything was fine and I went back home happy and almost decided on where I wanted to have this baby. Since it was too early to decide we talked to more friends and were once again pointed to Birth Village. I know Issac was keen that I visit, but never pushed me to go since he knew I wasn’t as excited about it as he was. Anyway, I decided to visit with a semi-open mind to have a look at what these villagers were up to.
I decided to visit alone, and the address got me to this 2 storied house in a residential area. I went inside into what was the living room of the house converted into the waiting area with pictures of babies, positive messages and aroma of lavender in the room. I met with Rohini who gave me a quick introduction to what they do and a few brochures to read. I must say I left with a positive impression because this place was very intimate (I love lavender) and unlike any hospital. I soon signed up for the Lamaze classes with no commitment to sign up for the birth. I was somehow under the impression that all pregnant women were supposed to look forward to a boring 9 months, avoiding most physical activity and putting on weight since they had to eat for two. Turns out I was wrong on all these counts and many more. After My midwife shed much light on nutrition in the first Lamaze class she invited me to try a workout session. I went the next day and was pleasantly surprised, all the pregnant women were on a high intensity workout, boogieing down with Snoop Dog and Frank Sinatra remixes (Her favourites ). I love to dance, so I signed up for it immediately.
The more I got to know my team of midwives , the more comfortable I felt with them. They were like a family, and apart from all the knowledge and confidence they gave me about my own body they also cared for every little thing, and felt I could ask them anything. It was the kind of care I couldn’t or wouldn’t expect to get even at the best hospital. They also insisted I bring my husband along for the first appointment, and of course my man was only waiting for his chance to get involved. He was thrilled the day I told him that I would birth in the village.
The new normal
My pregnancy time was special for me and I do remember it fondly except for some emotional roller coaster rides at times. I suppose it is normal, but noticed that I erupted into tears and had fits of gentle fury a bit more often than I normally did. And learning to carry my tummy around certainly took some getting used to, especially since it happened to be the busiest time at work for me. Thankfully my ladies at BV taught me a few tricks when it came to dealing with these changes. The stretching exercises, the breathing and meditation helped me more than I could have imagined. I also found a lot of inspiration from the other expectant mothers with tummies way larger than mine who shared their stories and stayed super active till the last day they popped. The classes and workouts really helped me stay active, although, I’m sure my enthusiasm raised a few eyebrows when we decided to go snorkeling in Thailand and trekking in the Ghats in my 7th and 8th month. But I felt normal and gained new confidence and faith in my body. They told me I was a birthing goddess and I was starting to really believe it.
The false alarm that wasn’t
I was into my 39th week and there were no signs of early contractions or any other clues that I was meant to expect before birth and I knew that I could go well into my 42nd week before I had anything to worry about. So I was relaxed and didn’t even bother to start packing my bags that were meant to be ready 2 weeks earlier. It was Tuesday 21st Feb and I had a long day ahead, I finished my workout went home to finish some work, met Issac for lunch and headed out for La La Land (the movie). We walked around the mall, went for a drive and got home late. It was about 11 pm when we finished dinner, Issac was tired and went to bed. And just as I was ready to get into bed I started to get this pain that made me think – “OMG could this be it!?”, I wasn’t prepared, I woke up Issac and we started to pack our bags in a hurry, and then the pain subsided fully. At this point Issac was acting on wishful thinking (acting like a pro from the training he’s had from the Lamaze classes),
telling me it’s probably just a small contraction and there was nothing to worry about. He knew I was too tired to have the energy for child birth, so he kept reassuring me that this wasn’t it and that I should try and get some sleep. So we switched off the lights and tried to sleep, Issac dozed off again and I tried to convince myself that it was a false alarm. In less than an hour (at 2.30am) my water broke in bed, and I knew this baby wanted to come out now and it didn’t care that I hadn’t slept. Thankfully the bags were already packed by now and in less than an hour we were on our way to BV. As we pulled up into the driveway, I was happy to see both My midwives (Issac had been texting them with updates) waiting for me at the porch with full bright smiles.
I feel it coming!
We got to BV at 3.45 am and by this time my contractions were at regular intervals every 3 to 4 minutes. My midwives settled me into a comfortable position and gave me some tips on how to handle my contractions that were like waves of pain that I had to surf. They had me try more positions and allowed me to hang on to Issac with all my weight and force during the contractions. I was moved into the birthing pool at about 4.30 am and that’s when the contractions started getting a bit more intense. At one of the intervals in the pool Issac quickly set up his little speaker and put on some music. It was a familiar tune and we smiled at each other when the beats kicked in for the song ‘I feel it coming’ by Weeknd (feat. Daft Punk). It was as if that song was made for that very moment, and as it played my contractions got stronger instantly and I felt the baby starting to push its way out, however, I didn’t realize at the time that I still had a long and hard labor ahead of me. Each time I would get tired of one position My
Midwives would make me move around and it all helped. I felt like I was all over the place, I moved from the pool to the tribal rope to the bed and back to the rope again. At around 8.30 I was starting to get a bit tired but They were right there comforting and reassuring me when I needed it most. I don’t know where I found that last bit of energy but it came to me. I went into a kind of spiritual trance, because I don’t think I’ve ever screamed that loud nor felt that much intensity in one moment. I could hear them in the background, Issac whispering in my ear “you can do it, you’re really close” and All my midwives cheering me on as if I was coming to the finish line. And then I heard a baby cry and I screamed again, only this time overcome with joy!
Today was our last appointment at BV and I felt a bit sad to part ways. But I’m ever grateful to these amazing ladies who guided me through this beautiful adventure. They have been such a blessing for me and I can’t thank them enough for the care they gave me from the beginning till the end, it was more than I ever expected. They are a dedicated bunch of women who really believe in the good cause they are working for. The essence of their work at BV as I understand is to empower women to embrace their God given abilities to give birth without unnecessary intervention. A year ago I never thought I would even consider this and now here I am an advocate for natural birth.
Making Independant strong decisions and following their heart and intuition is what this lovely couple is all about
This mamma worked very hard throughout pregnancy to keep herself fit and the birth ecstasy that she was in when the little one was born is still strongly etched in our minds not to mention the stronger yell of “it’s a girl”!! will always play on our minds each time we think about you.
Her quiet man was such a strong pillar of support and he was there for her lean on to in her time of need.(whether it was breathe together or to massage her back during her strong surges)
You guys have worked very hard for this together.
Well done and congratulations again!!