I still cherish my empowering birth experience & would like to share my story with those who believe in being informed, who believe in being able to decide the plan of this most important event of life, who believe in being loved, cared & respected in labor, who believe in the word NATURAL. My aim to post this story is to spread awareness about the evidence based birth practices & midwifery care... Its indeed shameful how people disrespect this noble profession... I bow down to all the qualified midwives... Hopefully my story should turn fruitful for someone.

Here I go...

I had this passion to excel in women’s health post my Bachelors in Physiotherapy, which fascinated me towards antenatal care. This interest pulled me towards Dr. Vijaya Krishnan in Hyderabad. I am thankful to my mentor Vijaya for two reasons: one is to introduce me to Lamaze Childbirth Principles which were way above the Lamaze breathing and throwing light on evidence based birthing. Second is to refer me to Lina Duncan. Vijaya your work and related powerful birth stories will always be inspiring for many and me.

Lina was like a God sent Angel who was suppose to fulfill my wishes in future. In fact, before I planned pregnancy, I had messaged her informing that I have booked her service in advance for the future.

As soon as I conceived, Lina was the first person after family to know about it. She referred me to Dr. Ameet Dhurandhar who was like-minded, as he believed in the same philosophy (as Lina & I did) that birth is an involuntary process, which should not be assisted nor intervened by anything until medically inevitable. He was very interactive & communicable in all aspects from the beginning & was highly approachable for any kind of doubts. We were very clear from the beginning that until medically necessary, Dr. Ameet will sit on his hands & Lina will do her job. He also never forced us for unnecessary sonograms, promoted water birth, spoke openly on the sensitive topic of routine birth practices, cord blood banking etc.

I had met and enquired a couple of doctors whose name I cant mention before finalizing Dr. Ameet for my birth. I was highly disappointed with everyone as they laughed on most Lamaze principles and called it a “FAD!!!” It was really sad to know this response from an obstetrician whom I considered in high regards.

How can old generation natural principle be a “FAD!!!” They disrespected my BirthPlan. However I was happy that I met them, which made me strong to not opt them & instead go ahead with Dr. Ameet who respected my preferences & believed in informing all sides of coin but leaving it upto parents to take the final decision. However, he was clear that if medically indicated, he will use interventions but only as the last resort & only with consent.

Now next step was finalizing my birth center. In the midst of confusion to select a birth center where an integrated birth was possible with my midwife and obstetrician and which allowed gentle birth practices, I got to know about Surya Child Care. We straightaway went to assess the center. First look was impressive – medically, hygienically and technologically and was guided with a proper hospital tour. I was in my 37th week and was diagnosed to have PIH and I was kept on heavy anti/hypertensive medicines. I was staying approx. 10kms away from the hospital. 10 kms in Mumbai traffic can be on an average day take minimum of 1 hour and with heavy traffic can even take 2 hours. Luckily I was equipped with my childbirth knowledge and immense support of my husband, I chose to birth in Surya Child Care. It was a trial for me with a set up which was new in water birth, away from my home and with a staff who were complete strangers to me. But worth mentioning it was a wise decision. The staff was like a family – helpful, kind, affectionate and sweet. Indeed recommendable. They never made me feel we were in a hospital. My husband was really excited with their gesture of decorating the room with colorful balloons on baby’s arrival and gifting the parents the precious mould of baby’s first footprint.

“My Birth Story”

17th December 2014 (39th week)

12.30 pm - Lunch
02.30 pm - Afternoon nap
02.45 pm - Rupture of membranes with water leak
03.00 pm - Confirmed the clear rupture and informed Lina and Dr. Ameet
04.30 pm - Took my packed, hospital bag and headed towards Dr. Ameet's clinic
05.30 pm - Dr. Ameet evaluated me and confirmed the fetal position at 0 pelvic station and initiation of cervix dilatation and asked me to reach Surya (somewhere my exercise protocol uniquely designed for my pregnant body from the knowledge I have gained till date helped in the process & should also take credits)
06.30 pm - Left for Surya & I chose to be with only my husband who also believed in my philosophy of labor. We got the dreadful Mumbai traffic and simultaneously my contractions had begun. It was my early phase with mild contractions of 20 - 25 seconds with 10 - 15 minutes of rest. Also was in regular touch with Lina updating her my progression using the contraction mobile app. We were least tensed about reaching hospital & that was one of the key factor of my labor progression.
08.00 pm - Reached Surya and well wisher family took a breather
08.15 pm - Got settled in my room and in a while even Lina was there. Lina gently did the routine evaluation and asked me to do stair climbing for labor progression
10.00 pm - My family was with me to wish me luck & Lina constantly emphasized me to rest & save energy. Wish.. I should have listened to her early…
11.00 pm - Finally went to bed for a nap
11.30 pm - Soon I slipped into Active phase where my contractions were 35 - 40 seconds with 5 - 10 minutes of rest. Lamaze breathing taught by Dr. Mugdha Wagh Shaan helped a lot to cope up. As contractions were getting stronger we woke up Lina who was in the neighboring room for help. After the evaluation where I was close to 80 - 90% effaced and 2 cm dilated. She started arranging the water tub. In the meanwhile, my husband comforted me with light stroking, assisted me with Lamaze breathing and encouraging and reminding me to recite. Lina kept me encouraged saying “Its commendable labor progression for a Primi”

As they were inflating the tub two unforeseen events happened –

  • The motor of the pump burnt.
  • The geyser in my room wasn’t working.

On the other side I was dancing in pain and started moaning "MUMMY !!!"

What was really commendable was the teamwork of my midwife and the hospital staffs to overcome these technical faults. Soon the tub was inflated and filled with water and I eagerly stepped in and to my surprise, (surprise – as now it was no more theoretical but I practically experienced) the pain went down by close to 50%!!! I was more calm & composed as observed by my husband. Secondly, throughout the labor, Lina kept a record of my B.P. & FHR, which was absolutely normal without any intervention.

Even after 50% pain reduction due to water effect, I occasionally lost control during the Transition phase and the Pushing phase exclaiming “I want an Epidural – Episiotomy” “I won't have second baby” “Who said childbirth is not painful” and the most funny was “I am exhausted, can we do Time-Please!”

But the amazing labor support team that I had – husband, midwife, obstetrician, nurse who encouraged me till the end and because of whom I survived!

I was embarrassed with the constant fear to pass motions while pushing but my husband made it casual & asked me to pass it without hesitation. Transition was actual pain but Pushing was exhausting. Moments where I was loosing hope cribbing “How many more pushes Lina!!!“, she patiently encouraged me stating “You are doing very well being a Primi, your labour progression was super fast & that was the reason for your exhaustion”. As these words came, I was recharged to push again. She emphasized me to rest between contractions & though I kept resisting she made sure that my husband kept me hydrated. Also I did enjoy my stay in warm water during contractions but in between contractions I was sweating. It was hormonal side-effect but Lina checked my vitals to rule out any medical emergency. Also they couldn’t lower the temperature of the room keeping in mind not to disturb a suitable birthing environment for the baby so to comfort me they kept a table fan in front of me which I would use in all fours position in between contractions. It was a huge relief.

Apart from the super speed of labor for a Primi, the benefit that I had in the tub was using different positions (full squats, all fours, leaning back) without any effort because of the buoyancy effect that helped my labor to progress. The final pushes were a task but everyone backed me & because of exhaustion, I acquired the leaning back position towards the final minutes where my husband supported me & kissed my forehead often. During Crowning stage, they asked me to feel the head, which reassured me “I’m right there!!!“ & then towards the last push THE MOTHER INTUITION worked that now my baby will surely arrive & her head did at 4.09 & my husband beautifully exclaimed “Yes!! We have done it!!” My contraction had stopped & her head remained in water till my next contraction began & my world was in my arms at 4.12. The birth happened in most calm, gentle, quiet, relax, dim atmosphere, absolutely perfect for a newborn whose new to this world. My husband was super excited & puzzled me by asking me to guess the gender of our baby. Soon he revealed “baby GIRL” (what we always wished!) Lina beautifully welcomed her by saying “Hi baby” (I still remember her subtle & gentle tone). She cried immediately & Lina made sure that skin to skin contact was maintained while gently moving out of the tub with the pulsating umbilical cord for the breast crawl. My girl successfully breastfed within 30 minutes with Lina’s assistance. I was given sufficient time to deliver the placenta naturally but because of lot of pressure pain around rectum I couldn’t give my best & chose to use Pitocin for the same. Dr. Ameet gently stitched my grade 3 natural tear which was far more better than non-consented episiotomy complications (my stitches have healed beautifully). In the meanwhile, our girl was in her father’s arm without any delay caused by routine newborn procedures (weighing, bathing etc..). I followed Lina’s recommendation of not to bathe her until her umbilical cord falls off & chose to breastfeed exclusively even after relatives & certain doctor’s pressure to give top feed. I was confident & it helped. Lina again praised me addressing me to be a SUPERWOMAN since it was indeed a tough labor only because of its speedy progression which didn’t give me time to take a breather. Words play a vital role making moments memorable. Acknowledgement is expected as labor is never easy & Lina made sure she did that & made me feel great. I am highly thankful to Lina for fulfilling my dream of having a NATURAL WATER BIRTH in the most gentle way possible. We will always cherish this birth experience which was not just beautiful but also respectful, empowering, caring, safe & very importantly evidence based!

All the controversies & jokes whirling round water birth went for a toss

I’m thankful to Lina & Dr. Ameet to convince me to opt Surya & water birth & also for addressing to all my querries promptly & efficiently whenever asked. My family is also very impressed with Lina after I narrated my entire birth experience which they doubted initially. They also love her raw Hindi language

I wish, pray & hope Lina you reach more & more mothers, make the society aware about midwifery care & spread the word “NATURAL”

Last but not the least 3 important aspects without which nothing was possible

  • My husband
  • My baby & My confidence that we can birth naturally
  • Almighty (Many a times we have a birth plan but HE has his own. Always wish the best but leave it on HIM)

With Love,

Thank you to everyone mentioned above to make this story happen!!!