A little privacy please…

I cannot be other than delighted for anyone about to have a baby…I still envy mothers to be their adventures in the labyrinth of birth…nothing quite brings you into the moment, every moment, like the life and death, breathe and pray, soften and let go, groan and sigh, sensation by sensation pure effort of labour…nothing prepares you for that single second when life changes forever as your little soul comes earthside and you see their face, can touch their fingers, toes, belly, nose…

Nothing compares to that moment of pure anticipation…this is it, this is labour, this is the beginning of my baby’s journey into the world…

And for millennia, mothers’ instincts have told them to find some place that is quiet, wtih subdued light, private, intimate…

Ina May Gaskin tells it better than I ever will…a woman’s cervix is shy, not made for the limelight…read all about it & smile for your sphincter

And so, the press are in place, the hospital surrounded, the consultants are debating how long they are prepared to wait…Let Kate decide…trust her motherly instincts to want to preserve her own life and that of her precious babe…

Why do doctors think that women need to be told they are in danger…I know so many women intent on *natural* birth or home birth who suddenly decide that hospital is the place to be on a gut feeling only to discover a baby lying transverse or losing its heartbeat on a trace, or choose that ahead of time based on sound understanding of risk factors that they cannot accept as reasonable…Women want to give birth to healthy babies, it is in our nature!

And a word to the doting grandparents/aunts/uncles/Godparent-to-be…don’t text daily from 37 weeks asking if there is any sign…don’t text hourly from one minute past midnight on the *due date* (for those of you who like to know, around 5% of babies arrive on the EDD) … when the new parents are ready, when their little one is safely arrived & they have had seconds or minutes to savour that intense joy, they will let you know…

So how about we back off…Will & Kate are having a baby, it is no more important that the millions of other babies that will be born in that same moment all over the world…It may prove to be a revolutionary ruler in the long-distant future, or a wise and compassionate soul who will provide guidance for a troubled nation…and so might the babies of the women who come to my pregnancy yoga classes…

Will & Kate are human beings, they need to be able to celebrate the joy of their baby, but they will be urged to appear smiling & proud for the cameras as soon as possible…to emerge from what should be a protected, sacred space celebrating the emergence of their new family to satisfy the baying crowd of paparazzi & reporters…

It will still be a baby tomorrow people, it will still be the *first* picture of the royal baby if you back off & wait a few days or a few weeks…

My deepest wish for Kate is that she gets a birth that she feels positive about…one that is not dictated by policy & the whim of an impatient consultant eager to gain his bragging rights about *delivering* a future monarch…I wish her a gentle labour, a beautiful birth…but I am realistic too…and if intervention becomes necessary then I hope it is offered with humility & compassion and that Kate is made to feel like a goddess (as should every birthing mother be) and that she brings her child into this world knowing that every mother around the world sees her as just that, a mother…

Bright blessings Kate, may your baby’s birth be peaceful & your babymoon be blissful 

OMx

Lotus Image from Dribble.com

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“False” Positive…

Lotus Blossom Visualisation of Dilating Cervix

The language of pregnancy, labour & birth is so powerful, and yet it is often so negative, or even misleading.  

Braxton Hicks are sometimes made out to be something other than preparation for the birth of a baby, a “false” sign of labour, and some sources cite that they have nothing to do with “real” labour and do not in any way prepare the uterus or cervix for labour & birth…

Braxton Hicks are also sometimes called “practice” contractions.  Whatever you call them, they help to tone the uterus & get your birthing muscles tuned in ready for the main event…

Think of BH, or prodromal labour, as trailers for the forthcoming attraction…frustratingly short lived, they tease & tantalise so that you look forward to the moment when you get the full show on the road, these non-progressing contractions are in no way false; they help to prepare your body to birth your baby…

In the latest days of your pregnancy, this prodromal labour is every bit as real as you, the mother, experience it to be: if you are told that is it “false” labour, turn that on its head – this is very real, it may simply mean that your cervix is not yet dilating…

So, if you have had a VE (vaginal examination) and been told that there is nothing doing, and this is *false* labour, ask your midwife (or other caregiver) whether they simply mean that you have not begun to dilate.  Has your cervix moved forward?  Is it softening?  Has it started to efface?  Has your cervix opened at all?  Some caregivers will not really *judge* labour to have started until you are dilating over 2cm…and that is one of last things that happens to the cervix…

Knowing that the cervix moving into position, softening (ripening) and effacing (thinning) are signs of real progress can help you move into a much more positive frame of mind as you approach the birth of your baby…

Moving into position?  Through most of pregnancy, a woman’s cervix points somewhat to her back, it gradually moves forward and during VE can be assessed to be posterior (pointing back), midline or anterior (pointing toward the front of your body)…

Effacing?  Your cervix is usually about 3-4 centimeters long and if you feel it, not dissimilar in touch to the end of your nose!  As it effaces, it thins to paper-thin and shortens – ask your midwife or caregiver to explain how they measure effacement & to describe yours to you if you have a VE…

Dilation?  This is the bit that we get all hung up on…the dilation or opening of your cervix is measured in centimeters with that magic number 10 being the goal…Opening of the cervix can begin before *positive* signs of labour are felt, and you may be 1-3cm dilated before it is *confirmed* that you are in labour…

Not one contraction is wasted, whether it is *just* Braxton Hicks, or *just* prodromal labour…each one is a wave that carries you closer to the birth of your baby…each one will be playing its part to help bring about the changes to your cervix and to prepare your uterus & other birthing muscles…

Think of these early sensations of your uterus contracting as the gentle lapping of the waves on the shore…in their own time, according to a rhythm only Nature can set, these gentle waves will start to roll and roil and then to crash and crescendo…And time & waves work wonders when you simply breathe…your breath keeps you calm, it keeps you buoyant so that with even the most stormy seas & the biggest breakers, you can keep your head above the water, knowing that each wave carries your baby closer to being in your arms earthside…anchor to your breath, luxuriate in the ebb & flow and when the time is right, your body will know its work, until then, float along on the tide and let Nature’s rhythms lull you…

OMx