I would not want to first give a graphic narrative of the ordeal of my 49-hour labor and its various stages, as anybody who has been following up with this Facebook page of Birth Village or the process of Natural Birthing would know the drill. Not that I want the intricacies of my labor to remain a personal affair. I would certainly want the world to know that I am a strong woman who held on for 2 exciting and painful days to see that iridescent face of my little one. But readers have already gone through a lot of such stories of women who showed such courage and determination. So I would rather start by painting a slightly different picture of my birth. A picture that shows how Birthvillage changed me and my perceptions of life itself. It all started in my 17th week when I decided it’s not going to be my Ob.gyn in Coimbatore, but these lovely ladies at BV, who will be taking me up to the D-day. Priyanka and Donna, I would want to address them as angels, really. Coz, when you experience changes that you never thought would happen, it’s natural to see divinity in the ones that caused them. The first angel Priyanka did a major diet modification to which I am so thankful, coz I had piled up in 16 weeks, more than half of what I should be weighing at the end of my pregnancy, and that really freaked her out during our first meeting. 🙂 Though it was very tough to follow(cutting down rice, sugar, eating raw beets, and all, lol), it did bring down my IBS and made me gain weight steadily till the end. Happy me. My second angel, Donna made me further work on my health through her highly motivating exercise sessions. She is one live-wire, always full of energy and I used to look forward to every class. I remember in my first ever exercise session at 17 weeks, I met a lady who was in her 36th week who seemed to be far more flexible than me. (i felt like a total nut, unable to move even with my smaller tummy). That night, while massaging my aching legs I wondered whether I would be able to do all that yoga till the very end. And now that brings me a smile when I think of the days I went to exercise even in my 40th week, and once even with contractions on. I can’t thank Donna enough, coz for the first time, I am incorporating into my life, all of what she taught me. Hubby and I kept traveling down to Cochin for consultations, classes, and pre-natal workouts and it was totally worth it. These midwives amazed me every time with their passion and dedication to support mothers and babies. Compared to the grossly bitter experiences we have had at one of the top Ob.gyn back home, each consultation sessions at BV were fun and educative mainly because you can never ask such a lot of questions and actually expect answers from a medical practitioner. The long discussions on the importance of doing household chores(mopping and scrubbing floors on all fours became my favorite pastime at home, lol.), the Lamaze classes on labor, infant care, and breastfeeding, the open houses that made us learn from couples who actually went through rough times, the happiness I felt when they said baby has engaged in the 32nd week, the excitement I felt when they feel my baby and say that the baby is doing great, the motivation I felt after every meditation session. I can keep going on and on about every little pregnancy milestone I crossed with the angels constantly by my side. My experiences with BV also proved to be psychologically enriching as I could delve into unknown areas of my own psyche and discover a lot of untapped mental potential in me. Sorry, I have to say such complicated things, but being a psychologist by profession, these changes did impact me a lot. What I meant is the tough path I had to tread by the time it was 38 weeks. Your folks at home and your friends and relatives start asking about your due date and whether the baby has arrived. After a point saying ‘No we are waiting too’ just doesn’t work out as they all start doubting whether the baby has started to rot in the womb. Those last few weeks are when your patience is put to test and being assertive to people around you makes you sound rude and ruthless. When my lady angels suggested the tolerance I will need to build up to face this scenario, I never imagined it to be such a heavy load to bear. And I am sure women who read this will also not get it completely unless you reach this stage yourself. (I do have my deepest respect for a couple that I met during one of the open houses who waited for 18 days post due date, those guys rock..! ) During those days of emotional mayhem, my husband was the only person who understood what I was going through and though I didn’t mention it till now (ok hubby, if you are reading this, don’t be mad at me for acknowledging you at the end, lol), he has always been my guardian angel, my strength and my support. He gave me the toughness to hold on and handle pressures from outside and within. (Thank you, sweetheart). And him being a real softie, I never imagined he could endure seeing me go through tough labor, thereby proving that my better half had a heart stronger than I thought. 🙂 As with my pregnancy, apart from the usual discomforts, I had to go through a bad upper body itch for a couple of weeks and I had sleeping issues right from month 6. But I never vomited even once and that made me hungry all the time during my first trimester and all thanks to Donna, the yoga and exercises made sure I never got a backache or muscle cramp throughout. And thanks to Priyanka, I did travel extensively during this pregnancy, including taking a break in the hills in my 7th month. All of which otherwise I wouldn’t have done. I have never heard any of my friends talk positively about their pregnancies, but just because I trusted BV, I feel I indeed had a very happy pregnancy. All this and nothing about my long labor would make you all feel cheated, so here goes. I had contractions on two occasions, during my 38th and 39th week which made hubby come down to Cochin and go back in a couple of days as they reduced in intensity and came down to nothing at all. The third time I experienced contractions in my 40th week, one day after my due date, on July 21, I was doubtful whether to call him at all. Lol. But Priyanka suggested he come and after he arrived, they started coming down. I didn’t lose heart as I was ready to wait till week 42 if necessary. My thoughts were on hubby going back immediately as I didn’t want him to miss out on work. He stayed back the following day and on the night of July 22, I started having contractions. At 1.55 am, my water broke and Priyanka asked us to time the contractions and come over to BV when they were 5 mins apart. She asked me to try to sleep, but that wasn’t happening in between contractions. By 5 am they got close and we reached BV. Everything was ready and set and Priyanka was making me relax during the contractions. Then again, my baby decided to play around a bit, and by 9 am my contractions came down. We both had been sleepless so we slept at BV till 11, had breakfast, then went out for a walk. We even went out to a lone coffee shop to spend some time. I had a brownie with ice cream, hubby clicked some pics of extremely tired and sleepy me, and I even went through a couple of contractions sitting there (i guess the waiter did wonder,’ what in devil’s name was this guy doing here with a fully pregnant woman, that too when she’s going through some sort of pain’..Hihi) The contractions weren’t getting closer so we decided to go home for lunch. I had to make a call to mom saying we were on our way for lunch and the moment she took the call I was like, “Ok, don’t get excited, I still didn’t have the baby”. Lol.. 😉 After lunch, I tried to sleep again but I couldn’t and by evening I finally felt them getting closer. Again at 9 pm, we set out to BV, and Donna checked me to find out that I was 8 cm dilated. Then to get things going, I started walking around like a madwoman and I was doing lunges and squats until I could do no more. The contractions got real close together and I did try the birth pool first only to find myself drifting off to sleep and unable to focus on the contractions. Then I was out of the pool and kept on pushing. Hubby darling was constantly saying something (sounded like jibber-jabber but I knew he meant well, lol) in my ears to ease me out and Priyanka was motivating me so well and making me push stronger and harder. Donna was checking with the baby’s progress. What followed next was a huge blur. And then after traveling into unknown territories and undergoing pain that I never dreamt I could tolerate, finally I had my princess with me. We have named her Maya. 🙂 Though birth being the primary focus of one’s birth story, I wanted to shed light on what other areas of one’s life can one change and modify at Birth Village. There is immense scope for lifestyle modification and I genuinely feel that if you have the resolve to adapt them and the determination to follow everything that the angels at BV propose, every woman that gets into this temple of birth can step out as a changed individual, stronger personality and a better mother. Thank you, angels, Thank you BV.