Aarti’s Birth Story: Practiced it all in her labor

Chapter 1: Possible Elective C-section

I was due on May 12. Somewhere around the last week of March, my gynaecologist told me that I had a low water-level. She was very kind in giving a gentle indication towards elective C-section within the next few weeks.

Since I had joined P101 for prenatal yoga since 4th month of pregnancy, I highly motivated to go for normal delivery.I got into remedial mode immediately. With a regular intake of ARG-9 powder sachets and reliable, age-old friend nariyal-paani the water-level remained stable, although low, for the next few weeks. I continued all my exercises, mainly squats, at P101 to make sure the baby moved favourably towards normal delivery position. With these efforts, I made it through all of April with a Yayyyy!

Chapter 2: Shift in due date

My baby was not done playing wonderfully inside me yet. So, as fate would have it, a week before my due date, the gynaecologist saw that although the baby had achieved proper maturity within my womb, there seemed to be no possibility of contractions starting naturally (something to do with low water level, zero opening of the cervix, baby’s position yet to reach head-engagement level and a declining growth-development chart from the 3D-doctor). She asked me to check into the hospital at a convenient time during the next few days.Blood drained down my face. All the efforts and exercises for nothing? She smiled and said she would try to induce labour first. I found some, albeit not a lot of, relief in that.

I went home and did 200 squats the minute I stepped into the house, followed by a rigorous foot massage and eating some really hot & spicy food (as the Hindi proverb goes – ‘marta kya naa karta’). I was also a part of Rita’s Hypnobirthing Classes, which works towards making birthing a positive experience in both the mother and the child’s life. Since this was a sort of alarming situation, I contacted Rita and informed her about the situation. She wished me luck and asked me to keep all the Hypnobirthing exercises in mind for a positive birthing.

Chapter 3: The D-Day

I was there at the hospital the next day at 7 am, something I hadn’t done during most of my pregnancy! But this was the D-day, so I had to give it all. Around 8 15 am the doctor administered a gel which would help my cervix mature, which she was surprised to see having opened up quite a bit since yesterday (Go Squats!).

All of P101’s training combined with the last straw of the efforts of the day before seemed to have paid off as I started getting contractions by 9 15 am. As we had learned at P101, my husband was ready with a lot of material – an exercise ball to help me sail through labour pain, instrumental music videos to keep me focussed on positivity, pictures of good times and most importantly some scripts from our Hypnobirthing sessions.

I immediately put all of this training received during the yoga and hypnobirthing classes to use – breathing exercises, listening to soft music, smelling good fragrances, looking at pictures, talking to people around me and occasionally getting up for ball and squat exercises.Due to the induction procedure, I had started to bleed quite a lot, but other than that all seemed to be going well, contraction-wise. The doctor had said that she would check upon me in 6 odd hours, which seemed like a really long time, but I was determined to pull through. My husband, mother-in-law and sister-in-law had accompanied me to the hospital.

As I tried, in vain, to sleep through the pain, they all patiently waited and tried every trick in the book to distract me from the pain. Everything worked initially. I was in pain, but in good spirits. I was checked upon by the nurses every 2 hours and all I heard was that the contractions were going well. This was positive news and I couldn’t wait for the 6 hours sand-clock to stop, which is when the doctor was to check on me. I had made myself to believe that this was the time when the baby would come out of me (Labour can make one so delusional and naive!).

So I patiently waited for the clock to strike 2pm and when the doctor came at that time, I became ecstatic. Home-coming! That is the term my husband and I had decided for our baby’s birth instead of the otherwise painful word ‘labour’. But alas! All the doctor said was – It is going well. You are getting good contractions. I will check on you again in a few hours.

What?! No Home-coming yet? But you said 6 hours…I said out aloud stupidly! She smiled and left. ‘Oh, these first-time mothers’,she must have thought and giggled in her head.

Chapter 4: The Labour

Then started the downhill trauma which made me shift from the sweet and positive ‘Home-coming’ to the rough and drilling ‘Labour’ experience.As the hours went by, the intensity of my contractions went on increasing.I shifted from breathing exercises to soft, painful moans at first and then gradually to deadly-silent-about-to-start-crying mode.

My husband had prepared himself for everything through all of the classes that he has attended. He tried all ‘Saam Daam Dand Bhed’ with music, photos, helping me exercise and trying to make me stay hydrated. I refused to indulge in anything. I was in no mood to drink even water, forget the various citrus drinks and juices my husband was coercing me to have (he had prepared well in advance to be able to assist me with anything and everything).

As I adamantly refused to have anything, he grew a little upset. I guess it is natural to feel so after you put in so much effort and then have a cranky wife flush all your efforts down the drain.But he appeared calm and understanding from outside.

Even if he weren’t, he was to become soon. You see, although I had eaten just about 5-6 morsels of food and had consumed about 2 glasses of water since morning, even all of this came pouring out like water from a fancy tap at around 4 pm as I puked into a tub.Now my poor husband looked at me helplessly with pity.

Although I must say, I was relieved. My colon was as brand new again – fresh and empty, which now meant two things – a. I was to not be fed from mouth anymore as I was a potential risk for making the room smell up real bad real fast

b. I was to be put on a drip for hydration, while accelerating labour

I was in a state which my mother-in-law describes as being lost in the woods, now. I was barely responsive to anything except for when the contractions reached their peak, which is when I begged my husband to call the doctor and get the baby out of me. It looked as if I was going to give up on having a normal delivery. Had it not been for my husband and our family’s constant support, I probably would have given up. He kept holding my hand and caressing my head. It helped, but not much.

There were two more things, which I had learnt during the Hypnobirthing sessions, which proved to be immensely helpful during this time:

a. We were taught to associate a color with the experience of having our baby. I had chosen aquamarine for mine. As I thought of this color and associated it with the delivery, I felt a soothing feeling take the pain down by some notches

b. Of all the scripts we went through with Rita, this was my favourite – Forest Fantasy. It involved visualizing a tour through a mesmerizing forest. In it, I came across an adorable baby fawn, who played and hopped and led me to an opening out of the forest.

Following these along with simple steps eased my pain a bit. I also took my husband’s help with massaging my back as taught by Rita again in hypnobirthing.

However, the strength of the contractions was too much to be forgotten completely. Time has seldom passed by so slowly and painfully.My doctor came again around 8 pm.’Give me some good news doctor’,I pleaded her. This time she did not disappoint me. Or maybe my baby helped us both, for just when the doctor said she was going to burst my water bag, it flooded out on its own.

She asked the nurses to prepare the OT, as my water level was already low and the flood just meant that the baby must be out soon, one way or the other. I had taken the pains far too long to go for C-section now, but I cannot say with surety that I would have said no to it, for the pains were terribly hard to take now. But my family had not wavered on its support to me.With a contraction every minute now, I was taken into the OT at 8 15 pm.

Chapter 5: The true Home-Coming

Now was the time to start pushing with all the strength I could muster. There was just one small problem – I did not seem to have any strength left. The anaesthesiologist was a very chirpy fellow who kept talking about latest movie releases to keep my mind off the labour and surprisingly,that helped. But at this point of peak pain, I did not want any family member inside the OT, so I forbid my husband from coming in. I just focussed on the pushing. As the last few contractions advanced, I somehow got a fresh quota of strength from what can be considered as the power that goes beyond human capacity.

At 9:05 I heard my baby’s first cry. The world stopped to revolve. The pain stopped to affect me The people around me started to get blurry. I saw my husband rush into the OT. He took his shirt off and held our child to his chest. In aweak voice I asked him to give the baby to me. I held her in my arms. Rather, my husband helped me hold her to my cheek as I was shivering still. The skin to skin touch with my child was precious.

As for the next 30 min of that day, I recollect being in some animated world which resembled the land of the movie Inside-Out.I am sure I was drugged. Or maybe I was drowsy. Or maybe I went a little crazy. All the really matters is that there was no pain now; that there was no lack of pain either (I could make out I was being given some injection or stitches although compared to labour that felt like tiny ant-bites); all there was, was a blurred state of warmth wherein nothing affected me anymore.

My baby had entered our world. I had delivered normally.She was tiny and beautiful and just about everything I could have ever asked for. Thanks to 6 months of strong practice with P101, after 12 long hours of patience and pain, my baby’s aquamarine Home-Coming had been achieved

Geeta Solanki

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