I Still Remember….

Balasaraswati

Goodbye to the world in which I was most comfortable. I am coming out gently without hurting the body which provided me with that cozy world, amidst the cheering voices I have been hearing for the last seven months. Ya…it is a calm, cool night. Time 7.36. A loud cheer from the two mammas comes clear to my ears. A feeble but strong and exciting chanting of my name flowing out from amma…Everyone around is on cloud nine. From Priyanka aunty’s arms to amma’s chest…feeling her warmth…wow…!!!
A pause, cry and tongue out… Donna aunty comments ‘she’s born to eat’. Impatient, covetous Achan disconnects my physical link with amma by cutting the umbilical cord. Priyanka aunty’s lessons on nursing me, the 3.3 kilos, 51 cm baby follows. Gets colostrum from amma and am allowed to take a rest.
Lying between my parents, let me rewind my journey for the last about ten months.

A heavy raining Sunday in June. Very early in the chilly morning, when my parents came to know that life was sprouting in amma’s body, both were super excited. I too could feel the excitement
as I was the result of their life’s longing.
As it is in vogue, my parents were forced to visit the usual health care route as if I made my amma a patient. In the eyes of our first provider, amma was very weak and was not able to withstand the pressures (or pleasures?) of the changes in her body. Nausea too was a concern.
In the sixth week blessing in disguise came in the form of a blood spotting for amma by virtue of which she was admitted to hospital for two days and imposed absolute bed rest for the remaining
weeks. I was exposed to the routine irritating scanning.
I was worried because amma was not allowed to even turn her body while on the bed. Bed rest continued for the next two months. I could hear amma weeping at times. In each visit, amma pleaded to the doctor for discontinuing bed rest. She was only 39 kilos and could not improve her weight owing to vomiting. She was scolded for not improving her weight. She seemed deliberately neglecting the fact that bearing a baby was not an illness and she continued treating amma as a patient. She was given more medication for five weeks. All these interventions made her weaker and weaker, physically and emotionally. Though nausea was at its fag end, amma could not sleep. Well, she wept all the time, became tired and depressed. Music and reading could not help her in any way. Even I could do nothing!! Both parents were fed up and wanted an escape from this state, for which they searched for an alternative.

And one day it happened. Birthvillage lighted on in our life. I still clearly remember the day. Achan called Priyanka aunty. It was a Sunday evening in August and they conversed for an hour. Filled
with positive energy, my unbelievably jubilant Achan, declared of taking my amma to Birthvillage.
The day we stepped into Birthvillage we knew our life was not going to be the same. We felt like we belonged to this place long before. It was like a homecoming feeling. Priyanka aunty and Donna aunty spent more than two hours with us. It was my third month in amma’s womb. Though I was moving inside, amma could not feel it. But she was so excited when my presence was manifest through my heartbeats she heard for the first time. Priyanka aunty told amma that she would feel fluttering like a butterfly soon. I tried my best to make her feel that movement. On 9th the day of my parents’ first wedding anniversary) early in the morning at 3.50 amma woke up and told achan that she could feel that fluttering of their little angel inside. The days followed were the happiest days in their life.
No drugs, no unnecessary scans, no sorrows, no swinging of moods. Only food and music filled with positive energy. They were in high spirits on each day of their visits to Birthvillage. All the misconceptions on bearing a child and birthing were washed away through the hour-long appointments and Lamaze sessions attuned to their needs. They impatiently waited for each ‘next appointment day’.
To hear them saying that I was smart and active, I used to play hide and seek whenever Priyanka or Donna aunty tried to locate me. Amma and Achan were pumped up each time they heard my
heartbeats and felt my giggles.
Amma gained enough weight. She enjoyed her life more than before. She could travel to the places she liked most. She could eat what she liked to. She did whatever she wanted. Beaches, lakes, hills, malls, cinemas, festivals…
Both enjoyed the Lamaze classes and exercises every week with other moms and papas.
After 36th week, Outing every day…only to places of beauty. No people, except those at home and Birthvillage because she had to retain her positive energy all the time. They visited Birthvillage almost every three days for appointments, exercise, or classes. Though everyone around was talking about the expected date, they were not at all concerned about it. They let me and God decide the D day.
Even on the day I decided to come out, amma did her exercise at Birthvillage and they spent time in the city. Back home at 8 pm. Still in high spirits. (coincidently week amma became more energetic, active, and happy and her health was at its best. 10th February mid-night – 41st week – I gave amma first signs. Backache started. As she had gone through false pain several times before, they waited this time for the rhythmic contraction. Yes, she was on her active pain stage with contraction every 5 minutes. Achan wanted her to take rest and sleep. But she couldn’t. Her excitement and pain were that much. Parents waited till 5.30 and called Priyanka aunty. The distance forced Priyanka aunty to give the signal for our start at that time.
An exciting 40 minutes journey. Just hours, maybe minutes to meet each other. Time 6.50. A calm Birthvillage was all ready to welcome us. Amma was so relaxed seeing them. Smiling, Priyanka aunty and Donna aunty welcomed amma with a hug and took her to the birthing room. Rest for a while. Checked blood pressure. Everything was ok. (Later we were told that she had high BP). Music played.
Everything set to welcome me. They all expected me sooner. But I changed my plan. Thought of making them wait for a while. Also, it was difficult bidding goodbye to that wonderful world – the womb.
Priyanka aunty, the good hostess shared their breakfast with us. Donna aunty insisted amma walk around. Amma in Achan’s good company started walking up and down. She was exactly on her
5-minute contraction and was 6 cm dilated. Sometimes the pain was unbearable to her that she ended up on the floor. Whenever she signaled for a massage both aunties and Achan gave her that superb massage. (Whenever Achan was exhausted from such a continuous massage and tried to take rest for a second, amma commanded him to continue it). Even then achan playing the cool man, made fun of her. Amma found her comfort in a birthing ball and slept laying over it. I was monitored constantly for my heartbeats. Expecting a ‘water baby’ amma jumped into the birth pool. Spent more than 2 hours in the pool and lost her mucous plug. She was in a super excited state then, thinking I was coming out.
But I was not. Time passed by. Amma started looking at the clock nearby. Priyanka aunty took it away from her so that she would not track the time of labor. Though not feeling nauseated,
amma vomited the lunch. Time 3.30. They insisted achan on having his lunch. Out for lunch, he was running throughout his way thinking he gonna miss me coming out. 14 hrs pain, vomiting,
sleepless last night…amma was exhausted and lost. They let her sleep as they wanted her to regain her physical and mental strength.
She woke up at 5.30. All waited patiently for her. The presence of Priyanka aunty and Donna aunty, Inspiring stories of other mammas… amma was back to her self. No one noticed the
time. How it reached the transition stage…don’t know, from pool to bed to floor to labor rope to birth chair…resting on achan’s shoulder… squatting… the final push and cry. My head out. I
could not escape from the smart Priyanka aunty. She caught me in her safe hands. Time 7.36.

The 18.30 hours labor girl came out ready for a camera click…

No words can ever truly translate our overwhelming gratitude for your team Birthvillage … so let the thanks be there unsaid. You all are always in our hearts.

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