Our beautiful daughter Sai Isha Simone Swaminathan was born to us on 08.08.08 just after midnight in the loving environment of Corinna’s Birthing Center in Assagao, Goa. But my birth story started long before my daughter's birth.  It goes back to my mother's birth to me, to my days as a girl playing with my dolls; it links to my 19-year-old self, when I started training as a midwife; it connects to the woman I am now as a researcher in maternal health. So much goes into our birth stories. When I became pregnant, something shifted, and the daydreaming child, the midwife and the researcher melted away while a new mother emerged. 

Sai Isha's birth story is so special to us and is unique only to us. Yet at Corinna’s birth center, it is business as usual. We were well prepared by Corinna’s childbirth classes. My husband, Vishnu, was fully involved in all the preparation, birth and aftercare. My close friend, Asha, was present beside us for the birth as well. When I was hungry in labor I ate freely. Thirsty, I drank freely. When I was fearful or unsure I cried or asked for help and was enveloped with compassion. Even when I didn’t know I needed help it was there. With every contraction there were at least two pairs of loving hands to sooth me. As new parents we had so many questions. Each one was answered with seasoned wisdom.

Our daughter was born vaginally 3 days after my due date only with known, loving people around her, under soft light, in a calm environment, without induction, pain medication, forceps, counting to 10 as I pushed, episiotomy or any of the other innumerable unnecessary interventions practiced so commonly today. I gave birth sitting up on the birth stool. I did not tear or require stitches. Our daughter heartily began nursing just minutes after she was born. Her full newborn exam, weighing etc… was done next to us as we watched and Corinna explained what she was doing.

Working in maternal health care for so many years, I have seen the best and the worst of what is possible when pregnant and birthing women are in the care of trusted practitioners. From my experience, I can gratefully say, we received some of the best care in the world from Corinna: more caring, professional and thorough than I could have ever hoped for.

The birth of me as a mother, Vishnu as a father and Saiisha as a delicate, unique new being could not have been possible with such tranquility, dignity and well being were it not for Corinna’s love, intelligence and protection. She is an amazing resource to the women of India. We are forever truly grateful to Corinna, Peter, the back-up doctors, all the staff at the center and everyone and everything that makes the center run so smoothly, but especially to Corinna for making it possible. We thank her for each moment she spent with us. She gives so much. And we in turn are truly blessed.