Checking Your Own Cervix

How to Check Your Own Cervix- “it’s not rocket science”

“I think it’s a good and empowering thing for a woman to check her own cervix for dilation. This is not rocket science, and you hardly need a medical degree or years of training to do it. Your vagina is a lot like your nose- other people may do harm if they put fingers or instruments up there but you have a greater sensitivity and will not do yourself any harm. Clean your hands well and make sure your fingernails are trimmed and rounded.

“The best way to do it when hugely pregnant is to sit on the toilet with one foot on the floor and one up on the seat of the toilet (or if that yoga is too difficult, put one foot up on the bathtub or a stool with your knee bent).

toilet Put two fingers in and go back towards your bum. The cervix in a pregnant woman feels like your lips puckered up into a kiss. On a non-pregnant woman it feels like the end of your nose. When it is dilating, one finger slips into the middle of the cervix easily (just like you could slide your finger into your mouth easily if you are puckered up for a kiss). As the dilation progresses the inside of that hole becomes more like a taught elastic band and by 5 cms dilated (5 fingerwidths) it is a perfect rubbery circle like one of those Mason jar rings that you use for canning, and about that thick.

“What’s in the centre of that opening space is the membranes (bag of waters) that are covering the baby’s head and feel like a latex balloon filled with water. If you push on them a bit you’ll feel the baby’s head like a hard ball (as in baseball). If the waters have released you’ll feel the babe’s head directly.

“It is time for women to take back ownership of their bodies.”
-Gloria Lemay, Vancouver, BC

http://www.gentlebirth.org/archives/birth.html#Self-Checking

    Update

One birthing woman who checked her own cervix described it like this: “I could feel my bag of water bulging down and then later the baby’s head once the waters broke- so cool.”
“How did I do it? I just reached up in all the way to the back and felt. It’s sort of awkward/difficult to reach but if you are familiar with what your cervix normally feels like, sort of like the tip of your nose, it gets shorter and stretchy. I felt it at like maybe 2 cm, about 6, which is when I could feel the bag, and then when it was time for baby to come. When the contractions were getting super intense I pushed a bit and that was enough to break my waters. Babe came shortly after.”
(shared with permission) 2014

Behold the Lilies of the Field

This is something that I posted to Facebook for a 9 day period while I enjoyed this bouquet and thought about how birthing women bloom when the time is right. I promised a long time ago to make the photos into a blog post, so here it is. Gloria

A bouquet of tightly closed lilies was purchased in the morning. The birth attendant left them alone for the day. No checks, no blood pressures, no heart tones were taken. One over-achiever dilated to fully with no coaching or support. A few of the others are dilated a fingertip (failure to progress after 12 hours), some are “unfavorable” and may never dilate. They certainly aren’t following the normal curve. We’ll wring our hands and wait to see how things look in the morning. 🙂

First day, one fully dilated

First day, one fully dilated

DAY 2 Two more have gone into the blooming process and have now dilated to 5 cms. Some signs of early ripening and an improved Bishop’s score for some of the others.

Day 2, slight progress

Day 2, slight progress

DAY 3 Stragglers and over achievers, all hanging out together.

Each in her own time

Each in her own time

DAY 4 I noticed on this day that the water level in the vase had gone down. . these flowers know how to self-hydrate

Day 4 of the blooming process

Day 4 of the blooming process

DAY 5 There are 5 closed buds amongst all the exuberant fully opened flowers. They stand straight and unconcerned, knowing the Universe will open them when the time is right.

There are 5 closed buds

There are 5 closed buds

DAY 6
Only two remain undilated. The other ones that were closed yesterday are 5 cms, 3 cms, and fully dilated.

 Only two remain undilated.


Only two remain undilated.

DAY 7 Another one opened overnight, only one left to dilate. The very first one that opened immediately on Day 1 is at the bottom of the bouquet and she’s looking a bit depressed now.
It was all I could do to hold myself back from interfering. . . I wanted to trim the stems, add clear cold water, fluff them up, trim off the stamens. Every time I went to do it, I could hear the women on Facebook, who were following the daily progress reports, shouting “Hands off!”
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DAY 8 One lily remains closed but there is an almost imperceptible change going on if you compare to yesterday’s photo.

One lily remains closed

One lily remains closed

DAY 9 WooHoooo! The very last one is dilated to 7 cms! Can you see the last one at the very top of the bouquet?

They've all dilated!

They’ve all dilated!

She’s opening up in her own way and her own time. Every one of them knew when, how and with whom to do it.
Yes, they had an unassisted birth . . .even though they were cut off from their roots and photographed with a flash camera every day. . . . despite that, they dilated without fuss, muss or shenanigans.

lilycollage