Editor's Note: This is the fourth in a series of posts about child health in India, where, in 2011, 1.7 million children under the age of 5 died. Health reporting fellow Harman Boparai travels to India, where he once practiced as a physician, to take a deeper look at child health in his home country. "A Doctor's Notes" is part of a GlobalPost Special Report titled "The Seven Million," about the many challenges faced worldwide in an effort to reduce child mortality.
PANNA, India — Chunnu Bai looked out the window of her house, an opening in a wall of unbaked earth, and saw no one in sight. She had thought it would be just another morning. But then she felt a “lightening” in her belly; the baby had descended. Her mother-in-law had left to collect wood for selling in the nearest town, so she was in the room with only her three-year-old son.
The contractions came faster and stronger. She knew she would have no time to call anyone. Panic gripped her, but she took a few deep breaths and tried to calm herself down. With sweat trickling down her face, she lay down on the uncovered earth in her room. A few minutes later she delivered. It was a boy.