(When it is time to have the baby and you want to go home) At the beginning of our journey, my wife and I would not have envisioned birth in a non-hospital setting. We had no idea what was in store for us when we walked through the doors of Birth Village. Ryia’s initial interest was only in prenatal exercise sessions. Later, we learned about the Lamaze classes and went for it, more so to be better informed about pregnancy, labor, and post-partum. Natural birth was definitely not in the cards! Skeptics to Advocates: My Dad is a Doctor and so I consider myself somewhat medically aware through the many discussions that I have had with him. That also meant that I was conditioned to trust medical doctors, practices, and protocols. Hence, the clear birthing option, in fact, the only one, was to have our baby at a good hospital with a reputed gynec. So, we picked our gynec and saw her regularly. At the same time, we were having our Lamaze classes and learned quite a bit about pregnancy, birth, and post-natal care. Initially, our doctor was open to the idea of me – the future father – being in the labor room at the time of birth. She even mentioned how her son-in-law was in the room while her daughter was giving birth. So things were looking good at the hospital front as well. However, as weeks progressed, we learned about the different hospital protocols – for e.g. the mother will be induced on the due date if labor doesn’t begin naturally, there is only one birthing position, etc. We requested and got a tour of the facility – the labor room, the neo-natal care area, and the nurses were extremely informative. Also got a sense that hospital protocol will trump all our birthing preferences. The Lamaze classes were a huge eye-opener. A bunch of myths – “Must have C-section if the cord is around the neck”, “Need to induce if labor doesn’t begin by due date”, “Need episiotomy” – got busted. It was truly a paradigm shift for us. At 35 weeks, we made our decision – no more gynec or hospital. It’s going to be Birth Village. Tahlia’s Birth: A day before the due date of Dec 3rd, 2014, we visited my cousin and decided to take the stairs – 12 flights – to help Ryia prep for the birthing. And it did the trick, for lo and behold, that night she started getting her contractions. I got to say, this woman – yes, my wife, has quite some pain tolerance. She handled the contractions through the night, without bothering to wake me up! Early in the morning, her Mom did help with the heat pack, but other than that, not a word! At around 6:00 AM, the contractions became frequent, we called our midwife and got confirmation that it’s time to head towards Birth Village. To make sure Ryia had enough energy to last the anticipated long labor, I prepared her some corn soup – awww! Yeah, I know, right! But no, it wasn’t like that. I Will skip the details for now, but let’s just say that it caused some delay in leaving for Birth Village. Around 6:30 AM, Ryia’s water broke and she felt that the baby’s head is already coming. We went into panic mode! On the way to Birth Village, Ryia was already pushing. We arrived at 7:10 AM. Our midwife received us and we went to the upstairs room. As soon as she checked Ryia, her words were “The baby is coming”! As instructed, I got behind Ryia to support her, as we didn’t have time for our planned water birth. A couple of pushes and PLOP – the baby came into Our midwives hands at 7:14 AM, just as The other midwife was entering the room. Soon after, I cut the cord and our little one is passed to Ryia for the first feed and she latches on easily with The midwife’s assistance. 5-10 mins later, the placenta is out. Our midwife does the stitches and Ryia is now recovering. I (father!) get to hold the baby and the baby is placed on me for some father-daughter skin-to-skin time. I think I slept for around 2 hours with my baby on me, and that was one of the most peaceful naps I ever had – seriously! By 6 PM, Ryia was done with her bath and we were ready to head home. I couldn’t believe how energetic Ryia was by this time! All in all, it was just perfect! Luca’s Birth: For our second one, Ryia’s contractions started at around 9:00 AM on Aug 19th – 13 days before the due date of Sep 1. The contractions were not painful, so we informed Our midwife and continued to wait at home. Ryia had to do her eyebrows (who goes to birth without a little grooming, duh!), so we went to her usual place close to home and she managed to get it done between 2 contractions! From there, we decided to head to Birthvillage, since the contractions were now regular and 6-7 mins apart. We reached Birth Village at 11:45 AM and still felt that the contractions were not intense enough. Since our first birth’s labor time at Birth Village was relatively short – 4 minutes! – Our midwives suggested that we chill for a couple of hours at Birth Village and then if not much is happening, we could go back home. 30 mins later, around 12:30 PM, Ryia suggests – “This doesn’t seem like it. Maybe we should go and come back later” Knowing our history, she was reluctant to let us go and suggested that she could check the extent of dilation, so we did, and turns out Ryia was already 7 cm dilated! This was it. There is no going back home, until after birth. In the downstairs room, there was another couple who was also in labor and at 9cm dilation. To top it, Our midwives had a birth the previous night. So they hadn’t gone home at all. Our midwives were breaking a sweat going up and down in her yoga pants! Around 12:55 PM Ryia got into the water bath, but after a couple of minutes, she felt like she really had to go to the restroom. Our midwife tried to explain to her – “This is the baby coming. If you go, this will be a toilet baby!” But there was no logic that could convince Ryia from getting to the restroom! Ryia almost shoved the midwife out of the way, was out of the water bath and in the restroom in no time! She was now pushing hard with Two midwives on either side supporting her. While the third midwife was in a position to catch the baby. Two strong pushes and the baby was out at 1:04 PM! Ryia lost a little more than the usual amount of blood, around 750 ml, and felt dizzy, but with support, she made it to the bed. And then our baby boy was placed in Ryia’s arms for the first feed. Now it was time for the placenta to come out or so we thought, but the placenta seemed to have a mind of its own and decided that it wasn’t ready to come out. After about 20 minutes or so, a tug of war began, with Our midwife on one end and the placenta at the other and Ryia of course pushing whenever she felt it was time to push. There is no placenta that stands a chance with Our midwife (I think I even saw Her clenching her teeth!), so finally, The midwife won and the placenta was out. Phew! Finally, it was all done. After all of us got some rest, we had a chat later in the evening when she revealed – “Oh, by the way. Earlier in the morning when I said that Ryia was dilated 7cm, she was actually 9cm!” And this is when Ryia thought that we should probably go back home and come back later! All I can say is some mothers are blessed with good genes to not have a long painful labor. A BIG THANK YOU to All our midwives and the entire Birth Village team. The professionalism and personal touch from each and every one has made our experience truly unforgettable. We certainly wouldn’t have had it any other way! Our hope is that a lot more people discover midwifery and the blissful prenatal, birth, and post-natal experience that it brings. Bv Notes A mamma who initially thought that pain in labor was a challenge but in reality births like a breeze A dad who works hard in going through research and does good homework and goes all out when it comes to supporting his wife Much must be said about their big- bigheartedness as they made way for another mum within 30 minutes of their birth for another mum to use the birth pool. (P.s also its a treat to watch this mum birth without a strand out of place – check out the attached pics that were shot after birth) You guys are super special.Stay blessed always….. Love Bv. #midwifeledbirths#gentlebirths#birthyourway#.#womenschoice# #dadsupported#

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