“The ability that my body has to grow and then birth a living being is the greatest power I have ever felt”.
Scars of the past
My first delivery, at a government hospital in Chandigarh, on a cramped hospital bed with a forced induction and an artificially ruptured membrane, had left quite a few scars. It had only strengthened my resolve to plan my second one better and deliver the child on my own terms. Immediately after my daughter’s first birthday, I took a home pregnancy test and it came positive. Even before I came to know of the existence of my second child, I had reached out Midwife Krishnan and the Healthy Mother Sanctum Natural Birth Center in Hyderabad. And thus began my journey of birthing with her.
A friend, a confidante
From the start of the pregnancy, my midwife was more a friend than a medical practitioner. I had monthly visits to her center which became bi-weekly and then weekly from the 30th to the 36th week. I vividly remember most, if not all of those visits. She was a source of comfort, talking sense into my mind whenever I wandered into depression.
The days when everything stood still
The birth of a child is a euphoric experience and a way of accessing the unique power of the body! I remember the day when I experienced my first pain - I was on a walk with my husband and toddler. Because my husband worries a lot, it took me a lot of self-control to mask the pain in front of him. I called my midwife and spoke to her about my experience - she asked me to note its progression and prepared me for the fact that I may not be far off from my delivery. With thoughts of delivery within the next 48 hours running through my head, I drifted off to sleep. Over the next day, my contractions were highly irregular and I could not sleep the entire night due to pelvic pressure and strong hip pain. My husband napped between my contractions. My mother was leaving to come to Hyderabad on the same day. My mind was plagued with so many thoughts - who would take care of my toddler if I had to rush to the Birthing Centre before my mom came? Why was the baby arriving before the due date?
Despite lack of sleep the previous night, I felt unusually nimble on the day of my delivery. I made breakfast for my toddler and went to the Birthing Centre for a check-up and got admitted. The contractions were irregular, sometimes even 20 minutes apart.
Frustrations and doubt
I was thinking of all those people who had told me that second deliveries were easy! For me, it was turning to be tougher and slowly frustration started to grow. My first delivery had taken all of four hours. My midwife and her team were constantly there for me, and the nurses were very kind to continue massaging my back and offering hot water bottles. I even asked for a pelvic exam because I was so confident in my midwife, and that indeed turned out to be a better experience than how it was done during my first delivery.
Pain and peace
In the evening, around 6 pm, I went deep into labour, the contractions were two minutes apart. The pain was intense, so my midwife suggested that I try water birthing. I have been fascinated by water birthing and decided to try it out. It did reduce my pain but not the perception of pain in my mind. But it did one good thing - I lost my mucus plug in the water and because of that I definitely felt the urge to push.
The Goddess Pose
Once I came out of the water, my midwife suggested that I sit on the toilet seat but my mind was driving me towards the steel bar wedged in the wall. I decided to go with my mind and began to try and do a squatting position, what I now like to call ‘The Goddess Pose’. My midwife took to the floor beside me and sat down. It was already 7.30 pm and I was exhausted with all the work. Sadness and depression caught me in a deathly grip and I cried my heart out then and there, thinking I need episiotomy..(I had begun to doubt my body’s strength)...and it was my midwife who once again held my hand, comforted me and gave me the push I needed to see this through.
Moment of truth
Finally, my water broke at 9 cm (this feeling of water releasing was so different from the artificial rupture of membranes that was done without my consent during my first delivery). At 8.32 pm, with constant pushing, the baby came out like an explosion. I was suddenly bathed in the cocktail of hormones and the oxytocin rush made me forget the pain instantly! The baby was placed upon my chest for skin-to-skin contact.
Everyone in the room was emotional, especially me, to have finally felt the tiny squish on my body. In all the excitement I realised that we did not even know if the child was a boy or a girl. It was a boy, both my husband and I were expecting a girl. The umbilical cord was cut after it had stopped pulsating and I even got my placenta imprinted then and there at my request.
Life is a breeze...
My postpartum journey has been a breeze ever since this birth. My husband and my toddler got sick on the third day. I took care of them, not to miss mentioning that my toddler is still going through a phase of sleep regression due to sibling acceptance. I am sleep deprived but not for once have I experienced a meltdown. My cuts healed quickly. I was afraid that I might have groin pain or experience pelvic discomfort but there was none like in the first one. I am nursing my child without any discomfort and this time it’s a love relationship with breastfeeding unlike the previous one.
My husband and I are grateful to Dr Vijaya Krishnanand and her team for accompanying us on this journey. It was so refreshing to go into pregnancy with a caregiver who trusted in my body to a birth healthy baby. After our initial meetings I felt encouraged, empowered and most importantly confident. And special thanks to my neighbor and my maid, who spent additional time with my toddler that day and night so that my husband and I could concentrate on the delivery.
I am still amazed at how my body showed me its real potential by letting me deliver the baby naturally. Seems it’s quite true that when you doubt your body, it rises to the occasion and amazes you!
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