Giving this piece the title “The Key to Childbirth” may seem a bit presumptuous, but since it's going to be about the pelvis, I think it's actually quite truthful. When we give birth to our babies, those babies need to negotiate the human pelvis in some way. They have to get out! Understanding the pelvis, and more importantly, understanding your pelvis is a major key to getting your baby from your womb to your arms.
I'm focused on the pelvis a lot right now because we've been discovering (or re-discovering) a lot about it through the Pink Kit over the past couple of weeks. I took a week off from most of my Pink Kit work because I had a miserable cold and fever. But now that I'm doing better I've been studying the materials on the pelvis and Scott and I have been working through the DVD. We've also been faithfully doing the Internal Work.
A Different Perspective
As I prepare for birth this time around I find that I have a much different perspective than I did preparing for previous births. I've lost the fierce and determined attitude I had with my first birth, when I was making a choice that most of my family thought was foolish and unsafe (I was 19 when I had my first and I'm sure everybody thought I chose a homebirth just to be a rebel!) I've had four births now, and I believe that birth works. I don't feel the need to justify or defend my plans for a homebirth, or plans for a natural birth. I don't feel like I need to explain my body was made for birth. I trust in all of that and feel confident in it. But I also feel strongly that every birth needs to be prepared for. I'm not reading too much about trusting in my body, or accepting birth anymore. Maybe because I already do.
Don't get me wrong – I still have moments of thinking “what did I get myself into?!” “I'm going to have to go through labor again!” In fact, I've had three friends have babies recently and find myself feeling slightly more jealous that they're done with labor than the fact that they have their babies already 😉 But really, I know that labor will come, I will do the work, and our baby will be born. Labor is part of life. Parenting is hard work. In fact, labor is nothing compared to the work of parenting. Labor is over and done in a day or two. I can handle that.
Getting Baby From Point A to Point B
But as I go through the Pink Kit now, I find myself being fascinated by the focus on the pelvis this portion of the Pink Kit has. Not just on any pelvis. On my pelvis. I really think that's a strength of the PK. They don't just show you the 2D drawings in the book and the 3D models in the video. You actually get to focus on your pelvis – what is it like – is it wide or is it more narrow (mine, by the way, is more narrow front-to-back and I have had 4 good-sized babies with no problems… don't let your pelvis intimidate you!) What is your sacrum like? Is your tailbone really in your baby's birthing space?
Perhaps more importantly than just getting to know my pelvis, we're also going through getting it open – what positions and techniques will open up my pelvis? What makes it feel more closed? What positions effectively open the pelvis and help the baby move down?
There are some positions women commonly use during labor that give relief from the pressure of labor… but they don't help the baby come down (or may not). I think it's fascinating to look at these. They're good for a mom who is really struggling and needs a break, or maybe who needs a position with less pressure so she can calm down and feel more in control (perhaps while her birth partner uses breath work with her – a quick way to get back in control). But they're not the best positions to choose to really move baby “down and out!”
With Galen I was totally ready. I wanted him to come down. To borrow a term from Ina May Gaskin's books – I wanted labor to “get heavy.” I favored positions that kept my baby coming. I welcomed the contractions and the positions that brought them on.
So I'm enjoying re-discovering which positions open up my pelvis… I know that in a few short weeks, Lord willing, I'll be bringing a new baby into the world through this same pelvis. It's good to know what baby and I are working with 🙂
More on the Internal Work coming soon!