26th April – The day we became a complete family (Our little bundle of joy – Raksha, Abhay(Elder son), Shalini (Wife) & Karthik Nath (Myself) Yes, this was my wife’s second pregnancy yet there was nothing common between the two. We had our first kid way back in 2008 and it was a normal hospitalized delivery. The sudden realization that our elder one was feeling lonely made us go for the second kid. This was a properly planned kid viz. right from the ovulation date everything was calculated but nothing went as per our calculations. It was the First Scan, way back in the month of August and the radiologist did not turn up for 2 hours, got canceled. Then the scan was done at another hospital on the 1 st Sep and they said everything is fine EXCEPT that the cervix is open (according to them- high risk of miscarriage -age factor, DMC, etc) and medicines were prescribed with all warnings (can’t climb stairs, no physical activity, etc). My wife works with a bank that doesn’t have a lift (all that we could do was lead life with worries) Both of us like to make informed decisions and that was not to our advantage this time. Through friends, she learned the Triple Marker test was something that a pregnant woman of her age should not avoid. The result, the test was positive (high risk for TRISOMY 21) and the doctor wanted us to go for amniocentesis (confirmatory test) which is an invasive test and the risks were never told. At this moment, I just paused for a moment and felt, “four months and two hospitals there is something that we need to take charge of”. Googled all the details about amnio, triple marker, etc. only to learn that triple marker was just a probability-based test and amnio has a miscarriage risk. I was against doing this and searched for an alternative. Yes, NIPT (Non-Invasive Test) at the same cost was available (money was not an issue, at least through NIPT one can avoid the miscarriage risk associated with amniocentesis test). All these days I was away in Chennai on an assignment and my wife had to go through this mental struggle all alone. Now, she went to a third hospital (for a second opinion) where they again suggested amnio and the test had to be done in a fourth hospital which was famous for such tests. The results came on 4th January and the baby was absolutely healthy and fine. This reinstated my belief about the S.O.P’s followed and how pregnant women too were tagged as patients. My wife is an athlete.The first pregnancy was normal and I had no doubts about the mode of the second delivery. My only concern was Where and Who provides such care in Cochin…there was only one such organization and it was Birth Village! In fact I had fixed for a BV appointment way back in October (I always admire the power of nature and natural birth was so close to my heart) but couldn’t make it then, but destiny had its way!! After going through four hospitals, we were at the doorsteps of BV and my wife was tired and felt hopeless. The very first meeting with our midwives was enough to regain the lost confidence. They carefully went through and assesed all our reports (some 50+ pages). In one of the GTTreport, the sugar level were slightly above normal and this was a concern for BV as they do not take diabetics. The next appointment we were advised to make changes to the diet (include fruits, nuts, veggies etc). One month passed and the GTT result showed the sugar levels to be way below the cut off. We were like wow! Again goes to prove that nature is the best remedy!! From then on we were able to reduce all the negative energies and just focus on positive energies viz. attending workout sessions, Lamaze sessions(was really an eye opener for all the myths about pregnancy, especially for MEN), meditation. Now our only focus was on the D- day. My wife had her first kid 17 days before the due date. She took her maternity leave from the 19th of March. Worst case, she was expecting the baby by the 31st. My wife had a huge belly and right from the 5 th month everybody seeing her felt pity for her state. Now every night was getting difficult and things were getting on her nerve. So from our experience, Please forget the due date, natural birth does not work that way and never reveal the real date to anybody, even your parents (their concern can trouble you). During the last month we did literally everything viz. climbing two 13 storeyed apartments(439 steps one way) every alternate day, brisk walk for 40 minutes every alternate day, workout sessions, movies, parks, etc. Nothing happened, no signs of labor at all. The due date was 23rd April and it passed off silently. Now, the only answer my wife was looking for was, “will this baby ever come out?” What our midwives underwent is a separate story?!! It was 00:38 on the 26th when she had her first contractions There were five regular contractions, we informed our midwife and by 01: 50 hrs we were at BV (7 mins. drive from our home) We were welcomed with a smiling face and we were getting ready for water birth I had Ilayaraja songs in my Pen Drive & unfortunately the first song was a romantic number and my wife yelled, “Karthik, STOP that song!” My wife had short labor, viz. around 3:30 mucous plug was blown, by 4:40 water broke and by 5:17 the head was visible and 5:27 the placenta was out. No time to think of water birth et all. My wife’s only & repeated Question after birth was, “ Is it a boy or girl ?”. I couldn’t get a clear view for some 2 minutes & she was about to cry if it was a boy. We both wanted a girl and I was the first one to know the Gender….told my wife with dull expressions “Itz a Boy… a couple of seconds of silence and I cheered…Itz a GIRL GIRL GIRL!!! Shalini said, “You are MEAN”…and “I was in Bliss!” Oh, Yes ! the umbilical cord was cut by me! We were back home by 6 in the evening. During the beginning of labor, she puked.was very tired…all along she was holding on to me like a bear (FULLY GROWN NOT THE TEDDY KIND). She delivered our little princess upright and standing on foot like a queen My pointers for the men! Every man should experience this at least once! It really helps in better bonding as a family, the trust earned will work wonders throughout. This simple act will go a long way in gender sensitization! You will realize what a woman goes through in making a man! For the WOMEN: Of all the women I met at BV, there are few things that were common among them: Courage Determination Progressive thinking Commitment Sacrifice Patience Perseverance Clarity of thought Never say DIE attitude I can now vouch that they are not the ones you get to meet quite often (wish they become a MAJORITY soon). Hats OFF to all the BV Mommas!!! Re-quoting Olga, “Natural birth is NOT for the FAINT-HEARTED”! For the PARENTS: We had our baby on the 41 st week. So nature (baby) decides the time. There is not much data available on full/post term births. Whatever data is available on the internet is based on a small sample size and it may not be true/applicable in your case. Stop worrying and consult your midwife before making any decision. We have experienced the power of nature and please try and avoid medical interventions unless absolutely necessary and indicated , particularly when you are healthy and when you want your progeny to be healthy. After changing 4 hospitals and going through all this, we had a healthy baby as a result of proper care, guidance and support of Birthvillage. BV was the only place that gave a commitment for normal delivery which is never heard of. At BV, it is we who make the decisions and they just assist us in making informed decisions which makes us very comfortable. During our consultations, they use to say we will not touch you during labor especially second-time mommas, I didn’t believe it until I assisted my wife (so men – be ready for the role play). Labour and birth as it is something that should be experienced and I have mine imprinted in my heart! We owe this experience to midwives and they will be in our memories for life! Ma’m – you ROCK !!! one of the very few people who put their customers’ interest FIRST. We have never seen them say No / talk negative even in the toughest of situations. Whatever question you pose, you will get a precise explanation backed by research and data. Just with a gentle touch, they tell things happening in the womb which a scan report can never explain. Our midwives = a wholesome combination and without them, we would have easily got lost! Our heartfelt thanks to each and every member of BV for making our script memorable! All’s well that ends well!