Now where did I put my Birthing Pelvis?….Oh, there it is!
For the past few weeks I have been observing a 6-week prenatal class series at Mothering Touch here in Victoria.
This week the teacher, Eva explained the actual physiology of the transition phase of birth. Her words, “Once the baby passes through the bony pelvis…..they’re very close to be being born.” She was holding a model pelvis in her hands.
I drifted off for a moment, back to my pregnant bony pelvis striding along English Bay in Vancouver. 41 and a half weeks pregnant, like many other expectant mothers at 40 plus weeks, I was as impatient as a ….well as a woman who just cannot wait for her baby to be born, for the phone calls to stop asking “where’s that baby,” and for my life as a mother to really start. I also wasn’t confident that my small framed pelvis would be able to pass a baby.
I walked…..and walked.
When I saw it. The sign. The bony pelvis. Alright, it was a woody one…..
Just ten feet from me, a large protuberance in the sand- the most glorious, beautifully shaped pelvis. I stopped and looked around me, someone had to see this ( I have a terrible habit of speaking to people on the street like I know them when something monolithic happens like this….I really need to get a handle on that).
No one was around to rant to, so I took in the moment.
I told myself that the birth of my child was imminent- I needed to take a picture of the bony pelvis and go home and deliver my unborn. Too bad merely seeing a piece of driftwood in the shape of a pelvis doesn’t will the unborn to be born right? Well, that’s debateable. I think I, and my baby were not ready to meet each other before that moment.
Sure I’d gone for acupuncture to see if I could coax the ol’ cervix along. Admittedly I bemoaned to my family back east “I’m so ready to have this baby” when really I had no pain, discomfort or medical cause to say that. Finally, I actually let myself get worried when 41 weeks came and almost went without a baby when I wasn’t even 100% sure the date she was conceived. Why? I was listening to everyone else, but me.
Which brings me back to that pelvis. As I walked away from it I smiled down at my baby. It seemed almost like this little unborn being needed me to take this walk, see that sign, and finally surrender to giving birth. I can now honestly say, I had some emotional peace to make, some walks yet to take before I became a person’s mother. I walked to my monolithic bony pelvis 3 more times that week.
I’m off to study with US midwifery sage Ina May Gaskin in three weeks. At present she is campaigning the whole “Baby come when baby ready” idea. The due dates in themselves, says Gaskin, do not indicate the need for induction (Guardian, Uk, I was Pregnant for Ten Months). She sites there are definitive signs if there is something wrong and the baby needs to come out before 42 or even 43 weeks: reduced foetal movement, for example, a deceleration in growth, or reduced amniotic fluid (even this last point is arguable). Mothers are advised to pay attention to the former, as is the midwife.
On the third day of walking by what I now deemed “my personal pelvis” I ate some apple cobbler, checked in with my midwife as I felt some deep sense of “calm” I described as “unnerving” ( what a loser). Turns out that calm was my surrender, that placid lake in my body was about to be rocked by a behemouth storm we call labor and birth.
Eight hours later my own bony pelvis passed a baby. I visualized my pelvis was the size of the 15×10 foot sized one I’d seen on the beach.
Nine hours later a squirming, red faced little girl was in my arms. Oh the power of staying in discomfort to see what comes.
Update: I showed Ina May Gaskin and Pamela Hunt the picture of the wooden pelvis I found on that English Bay Beach. Pamela’s exact words ” you knew you were ready to surrender after seeing that didn’t you?”