Reshmi Menon and her husband Anil share the birth story of Thanishka.
“Birth village gives me a special feeling as our gift from God was born there.
I came to know about BV during my college days through Renuchechi, who was the first person to tell me “Natural birth is a beautiful experience and BV had given me those valuable moments”. She had given me few insights on her personal experiences which made me feel something extraordinary about the place. Since then I started following BV on facebook and got inspired by the birth stories, the fact that they used no medical interventions, no episiotomy and so on.
After couple of years, when it was my turn as ‘mommy to be’, I was a little unsure about taking the decision – as I was abroad and coming down to Kerala for delivery was not a sure thing. My husband, Anil was extremely supportive about BV and finally we decided to contact them after my Anomaly scan. We had our first interaction with my midwife on a Skype call, which gave us immense confidence about natural birth but she was very particular about diet and not to put on weight with extra carbs. I started going on low carbs with regular exercise and walks after work hours. Weeks passed by, my baby was growing and I was 35 weeks pregnant when I reached Kochi.
19th October 2017, the day I reached Birth village. The first impression was amazing with a homely ambience, candles around, pictures of cute babies in the waiting room. Giving happiness in small things, which took me aback and gave me a delightful feeling. I met Ginju for the first time who was giving me all updates through mail till I reached Kochi. Furthermore, my first appointment with my midwife Priyanka an epitome of confidence who radiates positivity to the people around. I was extremely happy after my meeting, she cleared my queries about natural birth at BV and advised me to join the workout classes with Donna, the iron lady at BV. My Lamaze classes were also started soon as I was nearing my due date and I continued my workout sessions regularly surrounded by the positivity and wonderful music collection from Donna.
Days passed by and our countdown continued with the increasing quickening of our little bundle of joy. As my baby bump was growing I felt after every work out session, my baby is going to come out soon. I kept on saying the happy motto which Donna taught me at the work out sessions-“I will push out my baby and hold her in my arms”. As we were nearing to the due date, most days at night, Anil was busy going through Lamaze class notes and comfort measures – he says he has never done such dedicated preparation even during semester exams!!!
14th November 2017 – since morning I was feeling discomfort and at around 5 PM I felt little fluid leak and informed my midwife. But it was just a false feeling, maybe I was too much anxious as I completed 40 weeks the same day. On 15th November, by evening I started feeling mild contractions which I again reported my midwife and she guided us on things to do. At around 10 PM, I felt my contractions were increasing gradually. And I realized that the feeling was something new and told my husband that its getting severe. We started trying the comfort measures taught during our classes by deep breathing, swaying my hips, back massage and so on. As we were told during all our sessions to labour at home till the contractions get to every 5 minutes, lasting for 60-90 seconds, we waited for that stage. From our sessions, I remembered we were advised to sleep, eat and take rest and not to keep concentrating on the contractions.
My pain still continued but was very much manageable – occurring every 20 minutes for 60-90 seconds. Later I slept off with the continuing contractions and at 4 AM, I got up with amniotic fluid leak. As contractions had also increased which came every 10 minutes for 50-60 seconds, we decided to call our midwife. She immediately picked the call and asked to reach the centre in 15 minutes. We took our packed bags and by the time we reached, she was already waiting at the door, with a smiling face. As I was walking, I was happy that I was finally going to meet my baby. I felt my contractions were getting severe. My midwives checked my dilation and it was only 3 cm. I was quite disappointed because I felt it’s going to many more hours of wait to meet my baby. But, they gave me a happy note, “Contractions can vary quickly and dilation will increase”. We were advised to take rest till morning.
My contractions got severe and I couldn’t sleep. I kept waking up my husband at short intervals and asked “Is our baby going to come out soon, I can’t wait to see my baby”. He was too sleepy to give me a satisfying reply. Between all these happenings, the sun rose and it was 10 AM. We were planning to go back home and that’s when I felt the contractions got extreme but subsided later on. I had a small bowl of kanji but I puked it all. I was feeling sleepy and tired after that. Sofy came as a help to me as Anil was also tired without proper sleep. She kept massaging my back and head which was a big relief in all the pain. I remembered my midwife’s words, “It’s a mind game”. I kept thinking of my baby and dreaming about pushing my baby out. My contractions were on and off and by afternoon, I entered the pool and started pushing. It was a heavenly feeling and was totally relaxing. I pushed, pushed and pushed. I spent few hours in the pool, but my baby was reluctant to come out!!!
I moved out of the pool and started pushing on the birth stool, rope and squatting. Throughout my Lamaze sessions, I had felt squatting was the most comfortable position for me. With the contractions getting severe, I was pushing with more and more pressure. Anil was holding me from the front and I could see him sweating and getting tired as I pushed. I started pushing more firmly with eyes closed and chin down and Anil counted my breath holding time. My midwives kept motivating me and Sofy stood next to me and gave me water, kanji vellam during all the push time. I kept pushing and felt I was nearing to that moment!
That’s when Donna gave me the magical coffee drink which made me more energetic. Anil continued to count the push time and suddenly my baby’s head started crowning. My midwife asked me to feel my baby’s head and that very moment was totally priceless! I could see the bliss on my husband’ face.
During my final push, he kept on telling “Commondra maheshe” which left all of us in jovial mode and I couldn’t stop laughing in the midst of the strong pushes.
With every final push, I was feeling more stronger and then quickly my baby’s head was out and the next moment I could see my baby. My husband shouted, “It’s a girl”!!!. The next moment, my midwife laid her in my arms.
I tightly held her towards me and cuddled her. Anil and me stared at our beautiful little gift of life for some time. We felt blessed during those few seconds and this will remain the most treasured one’s in our life. After a while, my midwife gave me hot chocolate which was yum!!! We couldn’t stop taking eyes off our baby as she crawled on my chest. Anil cut the umbilical cord himself after 40 minutes and was extremely joyful. We went back home the next day morning.
A few words from Anil:
I realized how important the role of a partner is and being together with my wife through the process of natural birth. I’m extremely thankful to BV for giving this magical memory for our lifetime. They taught me the first steps of fatherhood where I realized how strong a woman can be. According to my opinion, every father in this world need to go through this experience which will make them realize the fact that giving birth to a new life is not only the responsibility of a mother but equally a father’s by giving the “Push Gift” to her. Waiting outside the labor room will only give too much of anxiety, but giving company to your partner during birthing process will give you the most valuable moments for your lifetime. Moreover, I felt overwhelmed on seeing each steps of my baby entering to the world. I held my baby on my chest when my wife was taken care post birth. Thank you so much for all the treasured moments!!!
As we write this birth story, it gives us immense pleasure recollecting all the priceless moments, the BV family has given us. As a mother, I’m speechless on my birthing experience with the Entire Bv clinical teamThe ‘Push gift’ from my husband with all the laughter sessions and fun moments. Sofy, a sweet girl helping me throughout the day. Thanks to Bincy for the postnatal cares at home and for her cheerful conversations during the visits. Ginju and Smija for being utmost friendly and informative whenever we were at the centre for appointments and classes. We are thankful to the entire BV family who made us feel at home.
For readers who are not from Kerala: ‘C’mon dra Maheshe!’ (Meaning C’mon Mahesh! – to denote ‘You can do it Mahesh!’) Is a term that was the highlight of a scene in a recent blockbuster Malayalam movie. The writer would have had no clue that it would be such an intrinsic part of a couple’s birth journey! Laughter and humor always have a place in a good birth!