With my 1st born being a C-sec, my chances of attempting a normal delivery, forget a natural one, for my 2nd were almost Nil in India. Hence, I had accepted my fate to have a caesarean for my 2nd child whenever we planned one. Initially, 2 years ago, a cousin of Davies, my hubbie who was a VBAC herself delivered at Birthvillage. From then on, I’d decided to have my next baby here.
In spite of deciding so long ago, I met with Priyanka only around my 31st week of pregnancy. Of course, this was a huge concern for her since I had not physically prepared myself in terms of diet and regular exercise until that point and as a VBAC, this was even more vital.
When I first met My midwives , I still had concerns about my preparedness for a natural birth and perhaps I was afraid of what my body was capable of. The usual concerns of the c-sec stitches coming out, drilled into me by medical fraternity were also there.
Anyhow, the week after, Davis and I attended the Lamaze classes and we became convinced that it was safe to have a natural delivery at Birthvillage. A lot of our fears were dispelled. Davis especially had a 360° change of opinion. His only concern from thereon was that I would need to work really hard and he was diligent in following the instructions given by Birthvillage.
At 33 weeks, I moved to my parents’ house in Cochin from Bangalore. Once I got here, I started attending the workout classes, doing my daily walks, gradually started doing 12 flights of stairs every day, followed their diet plan of 2 salads a day, rice only once a day, beetroot juice everyday and so on.
At around 39 weeks, I was finally told that the baby’s head was engaged, though not fully. I never experienced this with my son. His head never got engaged and gynecologist didn’t give me a chance to wait till that happened since we were already 3 days away from due date. I must add at this point that apart from reaching my due date and having fluid levels on the higher side I did not have any other risk factor to be scheduled a c -section without a trial of labor for my first one .
This time around as well, as we got closer to 19th April, my due date, there were no signs of labor and I told Davis who had planned to come from Bangalore a few days before due date to hang on, since it was very likely that I would need to wait beyond due date.
On my due date, I met up with my midwives who told me that now that the date had passed, I should stop stressing about the date and enjoy this time by stepping out, visiting places, etc.
On 24th April, I had cramps through the day but since they were mild, we went ahead with our plans of stepping out for lunch and later in the evening, we went for a wedding reception. The cramps continued till I went to bed though never increased in intensity. Late that night, when I woke up to pee, I suddenly realized the cramps had stopped. Davis consoled me and I finally went to bed feeling that God was testing my faith and that I shouldn’t lose hope.
I spoke to Priyanka next morning and she told me that this happens to many women and it’s called start-stop labor – all pre-labor signs – the body preparing itself for labor. Just that in my case, it was happening after my due date since anyway everything was delayed. That gave me my confidence back. I continued my workout classes and exercise routine though at times I would feel sheepish about going since everybody knew that my date had passed. In the end, I was glad, since I always felt energized and stronger after every workout and Donna’s advice would ring in my ears whenever I thought of labor, “Breathe from the belly, not from the chest”, “Don’t fight the contractions”, “Only you can birth the baby, no one else can do it for you”, “Accessing the primitive brain during labor”.
Whenever I went for walks, our neighbors would look at the size of my tummy and ask, “Still waiting?” and I would say, “Yup, still waiting”.
After my 41st week, every morning, my parents would enquire if I’d had any cramps the night before. They were, of course, concerned but still supported me. My dad would always take an update on what the midwives were saying and if all was well with baby. When he had heard that the midwives were satisfied with all vitals and scan reports, he would encourage me to be patient. Twice during this period, Donna and Priyanka tried to do a sweep but couldn’t since my cervix was too high up and they couldn’t reach inside. Only contractions would bring it down. I even had a sound healing meditation session with Donna to relax my mind, and it did.
Finally, on 29th April, I woke up with mild cramps. This was similar to the ones I had on 24th, so I decided not to focus on them and went to Cherai beach in the evening. The pain had only mildly gone up by evening but the intervals had shortened from an hour to 20 minutes. That night I was entering the loo when I heard a pop sound. Immediately after, I felt a mucousy discharge except the discharge continued for some time. So I was confused if my water had broken or if the mucous plug was out. On clarifying with my midwives it was, in fact, the mucous plug. The pain intensified that night and this time the cramps were in the back as well. It was more painful when I lay down. So every time the contractions came, I would get up and Davis would automatically get up too, to massage my back. I didn’t get much sleep that night and I suspect Davis didn’t either.
On 30th morning, Day 2, my midwives told me this was just the beginning and that I should get a hot water bag to help with the back pain and not tire out Davis, my labor support. The contractions continued whole of Day 2. The intensity of the pain was mostly the same though intervals were shortening. That night I got some sleep in spite of the contractions, as I managed to massage my own back without getting out of bed.
Day 3 continued with contractions through the day, some longer than a minute, some shorter. The intervals were also equally erratic ranging between 2 minutes to an hour. Finally, that evening the intervals shortened consistently to between 4-8 minutes and the length of each contraction lasting beyond a minute. At this point, Davis called and asked if we could come in to Birthvillage. He also told her that we were prepared to be sent back if I wasn’t dilated enough. Once we reached BV, checked mine and baby’s vitals and proceeded to check my dilation. I was 4 cm dilated. Around the same time, my water broke and there was a huge gush of water everywhere. This is what everyone was waiting for, since I had a lot of fluid and this is probably when my baby’s head finally got fully engaged. Thereafter, my contractions stopped, my midwife who had also come in by then asked us to sleep it out and let them know whenever the contractions started again. I couldn’t sleep that night as I was expectantly waiting for the pain to start. Next morning at 7:30 am, We were told to go back home since as per my cycle my pain would probably only start post lunch. She asked me to sleep well and let labor take its own course.
At around 1:30 pm, while having lunch, mild cramps started again. It was like rings around the back and front but somehow felt different from before. By 3 pm, the contractions had intensified to such an extent that they were back to back and unbearable. No amount of grunting and heaving gave me any relief. In this state, Davis drove me to Birthvillage. I told him to drive slowly since I couldn’t take any jerks. He was nervous because of the intensity of my contractions but never said a word as he drove.
When we reached BV around 3:25 pm, My midwives came to receive me and they congratulated me for getting this far. I was showing all signs of being fully dilated. When they asked me to lie down for them to check the dilation, I refused because of the back cramps, so they didn’t insist.
From thereon, I was doing one stunt after another. First, I held onto the ridges on the wall and grunted and heaved as I had been doing all the previous days at home. Then, I knelt down with my hands resting on Davis’s lap, facing him, while he sat on the edge of the bed. From time to time, I would ask for water and fluids as I was dehydrated and feeling extremely hot. Then I moved to the pool where the warm water massaged my back. I was able to tolerate the back cramps a lot better in the water. Just when I was getting comfortable in the water, I was asked to get out of the water and try a different position. I was reluctant but she insisted that I could always come back to the water after trying other positions. From there I went back to the ridges on the wall and I think I started pushing at that point or at least I thought I was.They kept saying that if I didn’t feel like pushing, I shouldn’t and that there was no hurry .I remember somewhere at that point, I just wanted to cry. I started thinking of all the BV moms who inspired me and I wondered how they ever tolerated so much pain. At some point, I felt like pushing. I said, “I would like to Squat.”Mind you, squatting is the one position I found most difficult during workout classes and here I was volunteering to squat. Trust me, it took me a few days to recover from the soreness and muscle aches of this stunt. So here I was hanging on to the birth rope and squatting during contractions and marching up and down during intervals. Apparently, I pushed for 1 hour and 20 minutes mostly in the squatting position.
Before the baby came out, I felt like I was pushing forever with all my might. I had begun praying in intervals asking for Mother Mary’s intercession, praying for God’s strength to bear the pain. When the baby finally came out, I heard a ‘swish’ sound and the baby was in the midwives’ arms. The cord was looped around her neck twice over and she cried .I couldn’t believe she was out. I was relieved and finally cried tears of joy. My daughter, Mirai, was born on 2nd May at 6:17 pm at 41 weeks and 6 days. If she had crossed 42 weeks, the family’s and my own stress levels would have gone into overdrive. But God did not let that happen. I believe He was just asking us to trust Him.I would also like to stress that everyone should do their research on the fact that it is globally accepted that a healthy babies are born between 36-42 weeks .Every woman must search and find out what’s best for her based on scientific evidence coupled with true professional loving care just like I did.
Birth itself is a miracle. Those who think that c-section is a safer option, perhaps have no understanding of how risky a surgery can be. There are those who think that I risked my baby’s life by waiting beyond due date and having a natural birth but I know I could feel my baby happily kicking throughout. I had regular biophysical done and above all was in contact with my midwives every day mostly every hour day and night .After carrying my baby for 9 months, would I want to risk my baby’s life? With my type of long gestational cycle, I never stood a chance of having a normal delivery in Indian hospitals. But I was given a chance by Birthvillage and I’m grateful for that.
In the long run, I believe this is better for me and my baby. God bless the BV midwives who truly dedicate themselves to their profession unlike many careprividers of our time. Thanks to them and the unfailing support of Davis and my parents, I have a healthy, happy baby in my arms today.
Mirai means Miracle, Future and WAIT in 3 different languages. The last meaning was not known to us when we chose the name before she was born. Now we realize that it couldn’t have been more apt.
Bv notes
We are in awe of the amazing support and unconditional love that this mum received from her parents while she and her partner worked towards the birth that they wanted hence we insisted on the proud grandparents pic as well to be posted .
Her hardwork and his commitment is simply unparalleled.
Births of this magnitude have such deep strength and power to change our perceptions about ourselves and life .
Fabulous work . You have done us so proud !!!

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