I had my first son by an emergency c section three years back, after 6 hours of painful induced labor. Even though we bonded well, the experience left me with questions , a story that was incomplete, leaving me feeling incompetent and doubtful of my ability to birth naturally.
By the time we were expecting my second child, I had gained a substantial amount of knowledge on natural birthing and was all set to try for a Vbac. The only problem? None of the mainstream doctors (I met three popular ones in Calicut) supported my vision and put me on a clock (38 weeks) even before I actually went into labour. I was desperate and determined to meet my goal, fully supported by my husband who knew how important this was to us.
I got in touch with BirthVillage, while based at Oman still undecided about birthing there because of the distance from my hometown Calicut. I knew I wanted to birth there when I talked with my midwife over skype. She gave me closure about my first birth, gave me answers that I had been looking for (how unnecessary medical interventions could lead to a c section) and assured me that this was something I could achieve.
If my first pregnancy was a healthy and active one, this was even more so. My midwife made sure I stuck to eating wholesome food, taking 45 minutes walk every day ( not an easy task when you have a toddler to push as well). I gave up my favourite treats, all in the name of achieving my goal.
Around 36 weeks,I shifted to Cochin. I loved doing the workout classes (I miss them even now), had fun exploring the city and its food. I had slowly started having cramps at night signaling that my body was getting ready. We had fun-filled days, making sure that I built lasting memories with my firstborn. My husband finally reached when I was 38 weeks, much to the relief of my midwife (who I think was starting to doubt the existence of my missing husband). We had a great week together and when I was halfway through my 39th week, labor began with my amniotic fluid started leaking .
I was happy that I was finally going to meet my baby, but part of me was scared of history repeating. (I was induced the last time when my fluid started leaking, after a wait of 24 hours at the hospital). my midwives kept a close watch on me, regularly getting updates on my temperature , baby movements and asked me to spend the day doing what I love. 9 months of careful diet, I was a monster waiting to be unleashed. We went out shopping and had an amazing dinner (I was having minor contractions every now and then)
Around 1 am, I kept getting up every half an hour as the contractions slowly started building up. I tried pain relief measures that were taught at the Lamaze sessions, the birthing ball was my favorite hands down. Around 10 am, they were coming in quite strong and I went to the centre to make sure that the vitals were alright. My midwife that she’d send me back since I still had time, she had predicted that my body would take time to go into labour. I went back home confident only to return two hours later to the center. This time, the contractions were in full swing. My husband took the brunt of it, he was an amazing coach along with my midwives. I had dilated to 6 cms on reaching the centre at 1 :15 pm (This was hard to believe because I was stuck at 3 cms for 4 hours in my previous birth)
I navigated between positions, went to the pool for comfort (The hot water was a piece straight out of heaven in my moment of pain). One of my biggest fears of birthing naturally was whether I’d want to give up midway,(and we had spent a lot of time talking about this prenatally) but my midwives were there on one side, strict and supportive at the same time and my husband on the other, holding my hands, reminding me of how far we had come and how close we were to the finish line.
After two hours of back to back contractions, my baby was out. I was gaping in disbelief, crying in joy , I could write a million emotions here that every mother can resonate with. My husband was relieved that it was over for me and he finally got to meet our son after so many months of hardwork.
Postpartum care was amazing – I could start breastfeeding immediately, my baby wasn’t taken away without my consent and the privacy ensured that we had maximum skin to skin contact.(These were things that I felt very strongly about all through my pregnancy)
It goes to show what we are capable of achieving if we have the right support and evidence based care– I have a loving husband who believes in me and supports my dreams, he’s my rock. He set aside his fears of seeing blood and pain just to hold my hand. I had superwomen midwives from the beginning till the very end, massaging my back, comforting and reassuring me that I can and I will, when I had almost given up. I have a close knit family who took time to digest that natural birthing is the norm and moved their schedules around to accommodate my birth and be there for me. I have an amazing bunch of friends who made this their dream, instead of mine and were my biggest cheerleaders.
And above all I had gods guidance to direct me to whatever was best
The only prayer and hope is that though I am mum based overseas and if I were to have another child would be to head back to my dream team because me and my babies matter!!
We love this mum for her honesty, her trust from the start to the end.
Not once did she falter when asked to go back home, to walk and to move her body.
Her husband who we met in labor worked equally hard and his tears of joy at the end of it was a moving to all of us.
You worked amazingly hard may the universe shower you and family with love and blessings all the way throughout.