Birthing a baby is the most natural thing as all mammals can give birth naturally including humans. Many people don’t want to take any chances or risks to the mother or baby during pregnancy or delivery and often opt for the best OBGYN and medical facility to birth.
However, some woke couples are opting for a natural birth experience with a more positive, casual, and homely environment to reduce the birth trauma and also avoid unwanted medications. Birth experiences are not easy either. But a lot depends on how the mother has prepared herself for the experience. Recognizing this demand and void, many birthing centers have sprung up to give a homely yet medically sound birthing experience for to-be-parents.
Being a doctor herself, when Rohini Rau and her husband, Krishnakumar conceived their first child, she knew that she did not want a hospital-like experience for her during birth. Even in the face of a pandemic they had planned the pregnancy in the way they wanted. Having come across the midwifery concept a few years back through her friend’s birthing experience at Birthvillage Natural Birthing Center, Rohini was sure that when her turn came, a natural birth experience was what she would opt for.
Dr. Rohini Rau, is also an international sailor and has represented the country at the Olympics. Last year her team had secured 4th place in an international sailing competition after a sabbatical of 7 years. She is also a TED Fellow & TEDX speaker.
When the time came, the couple travelled all the way to Kochi, from Chennai. Also with the pandemic around they were sure that delivering a baby at the hospital was not an idea they were looking forward to. Rohini has worked both in government and private sector hospitals and knows the approach that doctors have towards child births. They are prepared for the worst and at times whether its required or not, the expecting mother is subjected to various Medicines, IVs and procedures that are uncalled for. The midwifery approach is very different. The entire focus is on making the expectant mother comfortable during the labour and ensuring safety of the baby at the same time. But hospitals seldom take the non-conventional approach and depend largely on medical procedures.
Taking to social media, Rohini shared her birth experience:
My Birth story (an excerpt)
At 4 am I started having a slight blood-stained vaginal discharge (bloody show) which became a lot more profuse as the day progressed. KK and I kept active between the contractions – we danced, we walked, we listened to music. The contractions slowly became a little more painful and got stronger around 5.30 pm. I was in touch with our midwife @priyankaidicula over the phone who also told us that it could happen today or in a few days.
During the contractions KK would massage my back and was just an amazing birth support partner. Our bags were already packed. I didn’t seem to want to sit or lie down, I was walking the entire time. We were supposed to wait until the contractions got to 5 mins apart and strong.
It was a 20-minute drive – we left the hotel at 11.45 pm and reached around 12 am. It was a dimly lit room with lanterns – Priyanka and 2 other nurses were there Anne and Smitha. Priyanka checked my cervical dilatation and said we were at 8 cm. She then said that the baby was ready, she has done all she can and now it’s just up to me.
The next few hours KK massaged and compressed my lower back during the contractions, which were now quite regular lasting a few minutes. He also played an 80s essential playlist to set the mood. I started with standing, walking, semi lying down, lying on my side and pulling my knees up during the contractions. Then I was on the floor kneeling with my arms and head on the pillow/bed.
I entered a trance-like state (Pregnancy Trance) where I was able to hear everything but wasn’t able to respond consciously. It’s almost like your body gets you into ‘high’ flushing your body with hormones to help you cope.
Priyanka kept mentioning that I had to let go and breathe in deep and let it go all the way to the bottom fully. I had brief moments where I did feel something happen. But my back was excruciating and the abdominal pain was intense as well.
I remember screaming out to KK ‘Back!!’ So that he would press my back. There was one contraction where I spent the entire time saying ‘Nooo’. And that I can’t!
Then it came to the final stages – Priyanka said I needed to walk and then when the contractions happened I had to squat with KK behind me and my arms on his arms and knees. Everything was such a blur! I remember at one point I was standing during a contraction and my water broke right there on our feet.
This was about 30 mins before the final push. After this point, there was a transition when the pain from my abdomen and back transitioned to a bearing down push. It was unreal how that happened. Just when I thought I was going to give up as the pain was a lot and I guess I was exhausted, the words of encouragement really helped.
Priyanka said that the baby is almost here and that I needed to do this! And with that final push in a semi-squat position, she gushed out like a cannonball! And Priyanka caught her even though she was slippery and so close to the ground. I remember coming to that point! Until then I had my eyes closed and was in my trance.
She was put on my tummy, she now had to make her crawl up to breastfeed. The placenta had to be delivered as well. The cord was still connected. About 20 mins later, the placenta was delivered and she was still connected to the cord & placenta for about an hour. KK cut the cord and Atiya had her first feed. I needed 3 stitches as there was a tear on my perineum. But it wasn’t as painful as I thought it would be. We then had a long well deserved sleep for a few hours, Atiya’s weight and vitals were checked. I was given a hot bath which was so lovely! Then we had breakfast and went to our temporary home (Hotel Novotel Kochi Infopark) at 12 pm on the same day.
The entire post can be read here.
Do you have an interesting birth story? Did you have a supportive partner? Share your experience with us in the comments.