My birth story Part 1 and

A baby that would not latch and how I worked it out Part 2

Part 1 Birth experience was the most ironic one of my life. Watching a birth video of a water birth was the biggest turning point in this journey of birth. That led to googling the possibility of water birthing in Kerala, with the sole goal of achieving a “painless” delivery without epidurals.Giving birth, alone, in a scary, hostile atmosphere hooked to medications had become a nightmare for me by then, and I somehow wanted to escape it. When Birthvillage came as an answer to our quest, there was a bonus of giving birth with hands-on support from your partner. The countless testimonials on the site gave us huge confidence and we ended up making an appointment on a Tuesday morning. That ‘frank’ talk with the midwives there confirmed that my goals didn’t match with the concept of ‘natural birthing’. I realized that there was no way of escaping the pain but only embracing it but in a warm atmosphere filled with care and lots of encouragement. Finally, it was after many days of scrutinizing my confidence level that we finally decided to go for this not-so-common option.The workout classes that I attended in my last-minute preparation for birth(it was already week 36 by then!!) were an energy booster that inspired me to take the prescribed 45 mins walk, 40 situps, and 200 steps as a daily routine. Combined with the strict diet, it gave awesome results as the baby descended in record time and I was in labor by week 38! As the water broke, with a shiver and heartbeats that kept rising …surprisingly not in fear as I had suspected; but in uncontrollable excitement, was a testimony of my boosted confidence in such a short span. The progress of labor was fast and furious and within 5 hours I delivered a chubby little boy who weighed 3.5kgs! The decision to wait at home till the onset of active labor was really helpful as my body was fully ready for this experience by the time we reached the center. From there it was a laborious journey made so easy for me by my quick boy in the belly, loving husband, and supporting and limitlessly encouraging midwives.They made this the most beautiful experience of my life which was why I was beaming as our little boy took his first breath in this world!!

Part 2 Here is where my journey really began….. Greatly relieved that the biggest challenge was over, we drifted off to exciting naps on that night one with our little darling. Little did we know then that this journey had unexpected hurdles in store for us!! On the day of delivery, we were helped with the latching and our baby boy slept sound mostly utilizing his energy in store from the womb. Day 2 started with him not being ready to latch on his own and that resulted in him being fussy because of the hunger. Suddenly we felt so helpless seeing our baby cry without a break. That whole day and night we were supported online ( and in-person ) giving us articles to read about how to express milk and effectively breastfeed. It took us all our patience to get the milk expressed(it was really painful too!) and to feed it to the little one in a sterilized spoon. With little progress with the latching, we started to use a breast pump when she came in for the day 3 home visit and we got familiarised with the manual pump. That day passed with pumping and spoon feeding with again zero progress in breastfeeding despite the continued effort. On day 4, we were back at the center getting help and support with the latching issue. We all waited till the baby woke up from sleep by himself and again tried latching, alternating between sitting and lying down positions. We also got a nipple shield and a syringe by the time we left and that night we switched from spoon-feeding to syringe feeding. It also helped us effectively track the quantity of milk that was fed during each feed. That night we started feeding by keeping the nipple shield in the baby’s mouth and using the syringe to fill it with the pumped milk. Then we tried latching by keeping the shield on the nipple with some milk sprinkled on it. After many many attempts, he started sucking. Still, it didn’t work all the time and we alternated it with the shield-syringe combo. The next day We were advised to cut down the syringe feed by half and luckily it worked out. And the next day, on day 5, we completely cut off the assisted feeding and finally, our boy did latch on happily and quenched his hunger on his own! It was an incredible moment when he latched on by himself and proved to us that our effort didn’t go in vain. We felt so proud that we didn’t give up and that we didn’t turn to formula and bottle feeding. It was one of the most satisfying milestones in the birth journey, it even felt like a bigger accomplishment than the birth!! This remarkable achievement could not have happened without the patient and supporting effort taken by Our birth team and we are deeply touched!! Now that tough times are over, we relive those days once in a while remembering our midwives with lots of gratitude and feeling proud of ourselves to have successfully crossed the first step of parenting… Navaneeth & Ramitha 🙂 🙂

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