I wanted to share this memory with you, Ted. I don’t know if you remember this incident but I’ve told it to so many people and it always makes me laugh so I thought you might enjoy this trip down memory lane.

Many years ago, when we both had young kids and you were married to Karen, I bumped into you in the parking lot of the “7-11” on West Fourth Ave. We exchanged small talk for a while and, all of a sudden, you got a strange look on your face and blurted out the following, unforgettable (to me) sentence: “Gloria, is it true you were a topless dancer in China?” I couldn’t fathom how that thought could ever enter someone’s head. I’ve been accused of many things in my life but that was pretty far-fetched—I had never been to the Orient, I had never been to the local nude beach, none of what you said made any sense at all. But, somewhere in there, I started thinking “How could this husband of another birth attendant have gotten this idea in his head?”

Then, I remembered a birth that I had called Karen out to one evening. It was the second vaginal birth for the woman. When Karen arrived at the home, I went through the woman’s chart with her. The only surgery the birthing woman had ever had was a breast augmentation. She was a Caucasian woman who was married to a Japanese man. I explained to Karen that the couple had met in Japan and the first child had been born in a Japanese hospital, completely natural birth. The woman had been in Japan because she had taken a job as a hostess in a nightclub in Japan. japanese fan

Now, they were living in Vancouver and having their second child. The baby was born just after midnight and I sent Karen home soon after.

I’m guessing that what happened is that she crawled into bed with you, Ted, and you must have asked her “how did the birth go?” There wasn’t much to tell except that bit about her previous breast augmentation surgery so perhaps Karen told you about that. Somehow, in your sleepy state, that got changed into “Gloria Lemay was a topless dancer in China”.

Once I had retraced the strange pathway of that statement, I said to you: “You know, Ted, that’s not true about me BUT it’s way more interesting than my real life. Will you, please, spread that rumour about me!”

Thanks for the special moments and laughs that knowing you has added to my life. I love you and your dear family.

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

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!”

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.


Giving birth is another elimination process

It feels so much better when it's all done.

It feels so much better when it’s all done.

Why do I say that birth is an elimination process? Something large is within a body cavity and it must come out. When it’s time, it will come out. It will come out no matter where you are, no matter how smart/dumb you are, no matter if you want it to or not. Even if you want to call the whole thing off and come back to it another day, it will still come out. You’ll be very uncomfortable when the body messages say “It’s time“. You’ll get the right information from the messages of that discomfort and you’ll know exactly what to do. When you’re done, you’ll feel a lot better!

(Now, go back and read what I’ve said and apply it to vomiting, pee-ing, poop-ing or birthing and see how it fits.)

"My Greek Grandmother Had Twins": a birth story

Don’t you love it when people tell you stories about how their grandmothers gave birth?

One of my favourite grand mother stories was told to me by a client. My client was a Greek woman who only came to see me because she was “dragged” by her (also pregnant) friend.

This lovely pregnant Greek woman was terrified about having her second baby because she had had a bad forceps pull out with her first born. She wanted me to coach her in the hospital and protect her from interventions. One prenatal visit, she told me the story of her grandmother’s birth, as follows:

“My grandmother was expecting her first child. She lived in a small village in Greece where everyone knew each other and knew everyone else’s business, too. She was overdue and everyone would make remarks to her about “When are you going to have that baby.” She felt so huge, fed up and discouraged, she decided to ride her donkey to the next village to visit her married sister for the day.

Pregnant woman on a Donkey

On the way back home, she realized she was getting stronger and stronger cramping and, she finally had to get down off the donkey and squat down. When she did that, she gave birth to the baby. With the placenta still inside her, she wrapped the baby in her skirts and got back on the donkey to continue on home. She hadn’t gone too much further along the road when the cramping returned and she again got off the donkey, squatted to give birth to the placenta, but, no, it was another baby. . . . she had given birth to twins! The placenta came out shortly after and she wrapped the two babies and the placenta in her skirts, mounted the donkey again and rode into her village a proud mama.”

When I heard this story, I knew that the grand daughter would give birth just fine, too. I said to her “You are from good childbearing stock and all we have to do is keep the medical people away from you.” Her birth was great. We got to the hospital when she was at 9 cms dilated. We went into a nice room where she immediately released her membranes on the floor, squatted down at the end of the bed, doctor came in and caught the baby down on the floor. The legacy was returned to this family. Gloria