The most amazing day of our lives… 14 hours of labouring together, side-by-side to bring the most beautiful gift to this world – a new life. We have wanted a child for a long time we were determined to have our baby in the most natural way from the start. However, life had another plan for us… it took us a few years of trying to conceive and we had a few failed attempts, which made us even more determined We developed and run a hospitality business at Marari Beach for the last 6 years and two of the midwives from BV had stayed at our villas. We also have many friends that had delivered at BV and were so fortunate that is just 1-hour drive from our home, so it seemed the obvious option as a better alternative to hospital birth. Up until 1 week before the birth, we were really busy as we are very much involved in daily operations at the hotel during the main tourist season, so we could not join most classes organised at BV. Thankfully the midwives were very flexible and organised special intense classes which included a beach including singing bowl meditation, which was a truly memorable experience! Babymoon We were SO overjoyed that we finally managed to conceive naturally and, even better, the baby was due in mid-April – right at the end of our tourist season, so we could escape and have a mini holiday together for a few days before our lives changed forever. Our ‘babymoon’ was the best decision we made: we treated ourselves to a very nice hotel within 5 minutes drive of Birth Village. We were alone as a couple as our parents were all abroad, but we cherished this time; firstly, as the last few days as ‘husband and wife and then as the first few days as a ‘family’. It allowed us time to really focus on the pregnancy; with active swimming, climbing the 16 storey staircase every day (an essential part of BV training!) and eating lots of healthy food whilst we waited for the contractions to start – it is the best present you can give yourselves as a couple! Labour After the biggest preparation of our lives; with lots for reading, researching, consulting with midwives, exercising and mental preparation, it was still not possible to understand the power of natural birth until we had done it! The pain and power of contractions are incredible and you have to find reserves beyond your extreme limits to cope with them. My advice to first-time mums is not to be fooled by the soft wording in the hypnobirthing books and the pain-coping exercises (ice testing techniques, meditation, breathing, etc). The reality is that you have to be prepared to go beyond your limits and have a very strong partner and midwife to support you in labour. Luckily I had both, but I was still shocked by the intensity of back labour pains for many hours and the uncertainty of not knowing when they would finally stop. Patience, determination and the ability not to feel sorry for yourself during labour will bring you the greatest respect for yourself as a woman! NATURAL BIRTH IS NOT FOR THE FAINT-HEARTED! It’s for strong women with the courage to face their physical and mental limits and not take the easy path of epidurals and painkillers. The immense challenge is the most powerful life experience that enables you to discover a greater self that you never realised existed! It’s the price you pay for bringing a very alert, calm and healthy baby into the world, who can immediately latch onto your breasts and have the best start of a new life! I am a real water lover, as we live on the beach, and I swam a lot whilst I was pregnant, so the pool birth was perfect for me. The pool was my saviour as the warmth and buoyancy of the water really took the pain out of the contractions. I had to move out of the pool every so often to maintain the intensity of the contractions and pushing was stronger whilst holding the ropes and on all fours. The Final Push! The last couple of hours in the pool was magical with our soothing music playing and the birds singing outside as dawn broke. The midwife gave me a stronger message: to really ROAR like a bear! Rupert gave me energising coconut water and turned on more rhythmic music. I was finally fed up with the endless pain, screamed aloud “I AM A BIRTHING MACHINE” and there was no holding me back…. 3 big surges and our daughter was with us. The umbilical cord was very short, so I had to get out of the pool as she was in the water and the cord couldn’t reach so she could lie on my chest. The midwife was very quick and professional in adapting and making the final procedures for the new mummy. Natural birth is real power! I am so proud of myself and so very grateful to our midwife and mother nature for giving me the opportunity to bring such a gift into this world naturally. It’s amazing how quickly you forget all the pains when you look at your baby – even just 1 day after arrival! We feel SO grateful to have had the Birth Village experience with our first baby and hopefully, there will be more to come in the future! Thank you to all of the staff and their commitment to this unique initiative in India. Bv notes When u have a strong woman who is willing to accept challenges and go all the way out spiritually and emotionally it’s impossible for the universe to stop her… To go against social conditioning that pain during labour is suffering and that one can do it takes great resolve and strength When u have a man who climbs the stairs with u, whips up wholesome meals so that u can put your feet up especially at the very end of pregnancy, you have the best birth companion in the world Such a lucky child to have amazing adults as her parents who will show her the way… Congrats and happy parenting.