Tag Archives: Husband

Imperfection makes us perfect.

Imperfection makes us perfect.

I’m the first person to admit I’m far from perfect. In every way. Although a few nights ago my husband told I was perfect. Perfect for him, which was really sweet as he is not a man that hands out compliments often. He is quite shy and very reserved. Even with me, his wife of 6 years and partner of almost 11years!

Anyway, we were chatting about my insecurities (yes I have a list) and how I’d like to change a few. I already have my eyeliner tattooed on am was considering getting my lips tattooed. Not only for vanity, I don’t actually wear any make up, call me lazy but I’m just not that girl. I’m quite the ‘tom boy’. I’ve also really got not clue, how to apply ‘make up’. If I’m going to an event, I will put on mascara and maybe some tinted moisturiser, otherwise it’s just SPF on a daily basis for me.

So I hear you asking why I got the eyeliner tattooed? Well when I was 25 (12 years ago for those trying to figure out my age, yep I’m 37 😉) I was in a sales role. I actually had my own jewellery wholesale business where I would design and wholesale semi precious gemstone and pearl jewellery into jewellery shops and boutiques Australia wide. This required me to do face to face sales with business owners. I needed to look presentable and no matter how hard I tried, I just was not very good at putting make up on. So one day I was on a big sales trip and she across a beauty salon that did cosmetic tattoos, so without a second thought, I booked myself in for my eyeliner to be done.

I must say it was the BEST decision I have made for make up. I don’t have to think about it, I don’t have to try and do it myself, and each day I look a little bit presentable with out trying!

Now mine are not super thick lines, nor are they ‘winged’, they are really quite thin top and bottom in a blue black Inc. I have green eyes so the really thin eyeliner makes my eyes stand out and also makes my eyelashes appear thicker and fuller. Almost like an optical illusion. Easy and best of all I don’t need to apply anything. I wake up, shower, moisturise and dress. Quick and easy! Leaving me more time with my little people.

So I was thinking to get my lips done. I have a few scars on my lips from various childhood battle wounds. Mainly split lips from being ‘crazy’ (it’s the tom boy in me). I was chatting with hubby about it and he said, I was perfect to him and I didn’t need it. He knows my eyeliner is done, which he quite likes. I guess he is worried that I may come out looking like a clown? I assured him I wouldn’t be going bright red, just something in similar colour to my natural lip colour but ‘fixing’ the scars. Apparently it can be done so that lips will be even and the scars no longer noticeable?

I’m still not 100% certain that i will go ahead and tattoo my lips, but it certainly got me thinking about my conversation that I had with my hubby about this subject.

It made me think, we are all perfect in our own way which makes us unique. It’s also all our own little imperfections that make us perfect. Perfect to ourselves and perfect for our partners and friends. Because let’s face it, if we all looked the same, that would be boring! We all have different wants and needs and thoughts on what we each find attractive right? If we all looked the same what fun would that be?

So back to the imperfections. What I see as something that I don’t necessarily like about myself, that I see as ‘flaws’ such as my uneven and scars on my lips, my husband says is perfect to him.

And let’s face it, who else do I need to be perfect for?

Shouldn’t I be happy with myself?

Real beauty comes from within right?

Maybe I should stop worrying about what I ‘don’t’ like about myself and focus on what I do?

Nobody really is perfect, and everyone has different ideals in what they believe to be perfect.

I think as as long as we are good honest people, should we worry about what others think of us? Shouldn’t we be more worried about our personality rather than our looks?

We we are all perfect in some way or another. Maybe I should just focus on that rather than focusing my thoughts on my flaws? Or what I see as flaws.

5 words

5 words!

I was chatting with hubby over the recent holidays about words that I ‘apparently’ say ‘all the time’. We were having a giggle and he says ‘you always say this, do you know what it means?’ Of course my response was ‘yes, if I’m using the words of course I know the meaning’.

So he tested me. 😉 that’s my forever academic hubby! Keeps me on my toes.

So I just wanted to share my ‘words’ that I ‘apparently’ use all the time.

This is not my made up meaning, I actually have copied the true meaning from the dictionary – just to prove to hubby that I do know what I’m talking about!

Melodramatsing / Melodramatic –
melodramatic
mɛlədrəˈmatɪk/
adjective
adjective: melodramatic
relating to melodrama.
“a melodramatic comedy about Slavic miners”
characteristic of melodrama, especially in being exaggerated or overemotional.
“he flung the door open with a melodramatic flourish”
synonyms: exaggerated, histrionic, extravagant, overdramatic, overdone, overripe, over-sensational, sensationalized, overemotional, sentimental;More
theatrical, stagy, actressy, actorly;
informalhammy
“he flung the door open with a melodramatic flourish”
antonyms: calm, stoical

Retaliate –
rɪˈtalɪeɪt/
verb
verb: retaliate; 3rd person present: retaliates; past tense: retaliated; past participle: retaliated; gerund or present participle: retaliating
make an attack in return for a similar attack.
“the blow stung and she retaliated immediately”
synonyms: fight back, strike back, hit back, respond, react, reply, reciprocate, counterattack, return fire, return the compliment, put up a fight, take the bait, rise to the bait, return like for like, get back at someone, get, give tit for tat, give as good as one gets, let someone see how it feels, give someone a dose/taste of their own medicine; More
have/get/take one’s revenge, take/exact/wreak revenge, be revenged, revenge oneself, avenge oneself, take reprisals, get even, even the score, settle a/the score, settle accounts, pay someone back (in their own coin), pay someone out, repay someone, exact retribution, take an eye for an eye (and a tooth for a tooth);
informalgive someone their comeuppance;
informalget one’s own back;
raregive someone a Roland for an Oliver
“they could torment him without his being able to retaliate”
antonyms: turn the other cheek
archaic
repay (an injury or insult) in kind.
“they used their abilities to retaliate the injury”

Humiliated –
humiliate
hjʊˈmɪlɪeɪt/
verb
past tense: humiliated; past participle: humiliated
make (someone) feel ashamed and foolish by injuring their dignity and pride.
“you’ll humiliate me in front of the whole school!”
synonyms: embarrass, mortify, humble, show up, shame, make ashamed, put to shame;disgrace, discomfit, chasten, subdue, abash, abase, debase, demean, degrade, deflate, crush, quash, squash, bring down, bring low, cause to feel small, cause to lose face, make someone eat humble pie, take down a peg or two; informalput down, cut down to size, settle someone’s hash; informalmake someone eat crow; informalown
“you’ll humiliate me in front of the whole school”
embarrassing, mortifying, humbling, ignominious, inglorious, shaming, shameful;
discreditable, undignified, discomfiting, chastening, debasing, demeaning, degrading, deflating, crushing, quashing, squashing, bringing down, bringing low;
informalblush-making;
rarehumiliatory
“a humiliating election defeat”

Monotonous –
monotonous
məˈnɒt(ə)nəs/
adjective
dull, tedious, and repetitious; lacking in variety and interest.
“the statistics that he quotes with monotonous regularity”
synonyms: tedious, boring, dull, uninteresting, unexciting, wearisome, tiresome, repetitive, repetitious, unvarying, unchanging, unvaried, lacking variety, without variety, humdrum, ho-hum, routine, mechanical, mind-numbing, soul-destroying, prosaic, run-of-the-mill, uneventful, unrelieved, dreary, plodding, colourless, featureless, dry as dust, uniform, monochrome; More
(of a sound or utterance) lacking in variation in tone or pitch.
“her slurred monotonous speech”
synonyms: toneless, flat, unvarying, uninflected, droning, soporific
“a monotonous voice”

Hectic –
hectic
ˈhɛktɪk/
adjective
adjective: hectic
1.
full of incessant or frantic activity.
“a hectic business schedule”
synonyms: frantic, frenetic, frenzied, feverish, manic, restless, very busy, very active, fast and furious; More
lively, brisk, bustling, buzzing, vibrant, crowded;
informallike Piccadilly Circus
“a hectic business schedule”
antonyms: leisurely, quiet
2.
MEDICINEarchaic
relating to or affected by a regularly recurrent fever typically accompanying tuberculosis, with flushed cheeks and hot, dry skin.
nounMEDICINEarchaic
noun: hectic; plural noun: hectics
1.
a hectic fever or flush.

I know I use these words a lot and now that he has picked me up on them I think I will make a conscience effort to choose different words.

The thing is though, I’m comfortable with these words and seem to use them in correct Grammer so maybe I should just get the thesaurus out and use different words with the same meaning?

What are your most used words?

What do you think your words say about you?

Why do you think you use those words regularly?

I’d love to hear from you.

The 3rd child?

So on the weekend my husband bought up the ‘3rd’ child question….

We currently have a 3yo boy and a 17mo girl. I feel complete, and extremely blessed. One of each is perfect for me. I have enough time with each and was questioning how would I manage another? We are in a great routine, they play so well together, they both sleep through the night, they adore each other, why ‘rock the boat’ so to speak.

Well firstly I was extremely shocked that my hubby bought this subject up, as he was the one that never wanted children. I basically gave him the ultimatum. He knew that when he proposed he was definitely having babies with me. He still proposed so he must not have worried too much about this.

Once we had our little man he then again said, no more babies I want my wife back and one is plenty, well again we had a chat and yes, we now also have a daughter. We have 2 amazing, gorgeous, smart, fun, happy and healthy little people. I feel completely besotted by them and am happy with the 2 children so you can imagine the shock when hubby bought up a third.

He was away last week for business and clearly missed us. His conversation Saturday went something like this.
‘Babe, do you ever get a pang for another baby?’

Well I nearly fell off my chair and replied, ‘yes I do, but I thought we agreed that the 2 that we have are perfect?’.

Hubby’s response, ‘after being away the past week I really missed you, little man and princess, I was thinking about having a third with you, would you consider it? Would you put your body through it again?’ (FYI, I get really bad morning/ all day sickness, with complicated pregnancy and difficult to actually fall pregnant)

My response, ‘I would put my body through it, absolutely, but we have 2 amazing little ones, do we really want a third?’

Hubby, ‘Hmmm I know, I just think how great a mum you are, how much our kids adore you and how beautiful our kids are, gives me pangs’.

Me, ‘Hmmm’.

So this was never a position I thought I’d be in. I’m pretty sure I’m completely happy with 2, I am one of 3 and remember that one of my siblings was always left out. I feel like 2 always play together and 1 is on the outer? Not sure. I think I’d want 4 rather than 2.

I know I have enough love.

We will see…..

http://www.scarymommy.com/the-day-i-fell-in-love-with-having-two/?utm_source=FB

And what century do we live in?

Please remind me, what year / century are we living in?

– “It’s so fascinating to learn about how people used to live — especially when we discover that not much has really changed.
However, sometimes you come across some old traditions that you simply can’t believe people ever followed — like these odd dating rituals throughout history.

But what women in the 1950s were expected to do for their husbands? Well, those traditions have certainly flown right out the window!
In May of 1955, Housekeeping Monthly published an article entitled, “The Good Wife’s Guide,” detailing all the ways that a wife should act and how best she can be a partner to her husband and a mother to her children.

It may feel a little strange to accept these rules today, but it remains so interesting to see how society once behaved.”

Click the link to read more…..

http://www.littlethings.com/1950s-good-housewife-guide/?utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=postplanner&utm_source=facebook.com

Split families

Split Families.

I visited a friend recently who is in a similar position to myself. She had married a man who has children to his previous wife. 4 in fact.

Being that school holidays had just finished and a few more were just around the corner we were chatting about school holidays and how do they split them and also if she includes his children in in all their holidays.

Her response was very truthful and I agree.

She said they do split them but as her husband works full time and long hours, when his children are with them for the holidays he arranged for them to stay with his parents – the Childrens grandparents, half the time so that she doesn’t have to change her plans or do the running around after them. After all she said – quote – ‘they are not my children and they require a lot of work and it’s also important for them to see and spend time with their grandparents’.

I understand that this may offend some people but I think it’s a smart move. She has a 3 year old with her husband and is pregnant with their second child. She said their 3 year old is her main responsibility and that the other children are also old enough to be self sufficient.

Their ages are varied between 13 to 17. I agree that they are old enough to be self sufficient.

I also know that a toddler is busy and does require a lot of attention.

So when she said that her husband also believes that they should be doing things including ‘alone’ holidays with just them 2 (adults/parents/her and him/hubby and wife) and their child I was intrigued as I know my husband thinks that step children should be included in everything.

I asked why he says they need to do things with ‘just them’ and her response was ‘although he loves all his children it’s important for us to do things alone as our family, we do separate holidays with his children but he understands the importance of us having our time together. Me him and our son’.

I was impressed that her husband understands this as most split families are not as open minded and some have a sense of ‘guilt’ so therefore go over and beyond to try and make the step children or children to previous relationships feel super important and in most cases they get all the attention and are not self sufficient as they are mollycoddled. Or felt sorry for. (See previous post on step children which I write after meeting a family in fiji)

I get each family is different and everyone has different needs.

I also understand children to previous relationships still need to be included in some things but do they need to be included in everything?

Do you see importance of doing things as a family and not always having to include step children or children from previous relationships?

I think in most cases it will help the husband and wife’s relationship as my friend was saying that the 2 younger step children are quite jealous of the 3 year old and if her husband is playing with the 3 year old, the others interrupt and ask the father to do things that they know they 3 year old can do, that way the 3 year old is excluded.

What are your thoughts on this?

Do you think children to previous relationships should always be included in everything?

Should they get special treatment as the parents are no longer together?

Should there still be holidays for the new partner and their children?

Is it important to have separate holidays?

I’d love to hear from you – email me, noordinarymummy@gmail.com

 

autism

A friend of my husbands wrote this beautiful piece about his son who has been diagnosed with autism.

It was published in The Sun Herald here in SYDNEY this past Sunday. (Which also happened to be Australia’s Father’s Day)

The writer, my husbands friend, speaks about his acceptance of his child, how he will love him no matter what and will do everything to ‘help’ rather than ‘fix’ his beautiful innocent son.

Such a touching piece of writing and very well said.

http://m.dailylife.com.au/life-and-love/parenting-and-families/i-learned-to-let-go-of-the-urge-to-fix-my-son-20150904-gjfdr8.html

Being a step parent.

My husband sent me this article earlier today. He says it’s helping him to understand the ‘challenges’ of being a step parent.

Are you a step parent?

What are your thoughts on this article?

I think it’s defiantly worth a read. So many people are so quick to call step parents ‘step monsters’ and judge the situation.

I personally don’t think it’s anyone’s right to judge another’s situation.

We are all different and we all parent differently.

We all fall in love for different reasons and we all have various relationship requirements.

Some of us can’t help who we fell in love with. Others choose to be more picky with choosing their partners.

I have  friends who would never date anyone who have children to other partners and I totally respect that. Being a step parent is challenging.

Id love to hear your thoughts on this article.

Email me – noordinarymummy@gmail.com

or find me on Twitter @noordinarymummy

or Facebook www.facebook.com/noordinarymummy

http://powertochange.com/sex-love/support-stepmom/

 

My life as a mummy of two!

My life as a mummy of two!

So settling into being a mummy of two has been challenging. Loving it, but challenging.

Experiencing the love all over again, smelling and absorbing my new born and still being everything I can be for my 2 year old.

My 2 year old has been a little jealous and understandably. He has had his mummy all to himself for the past 2.5years, now all of a sudden he has to share his mummy and it hasn’t been an easy adjustment for him.

Throughout my pregnancy I was trying to help him adjust, I bought books about becoming a big brother, books about expecting a baby and we would chat about how he is getting a little sister and that it’s very special for both him and her.

I thought he would be a little jealous but I guess I wasn’t prepared for the huge change in him.

Firstly my little man used to be a fairly good sleeper. After night nurses and reward charts I had managed to get him to go down approx 6pm in his own bed, we would read 3 books then it was lights off. My little man would then sleep through in his own big boy bed until approx 6am the next morning.

Since I was in hospital for over a week my husband and mother were looking after my little man. His routine wasn’t really followed and for a few weeks he didn’t like to go to bed and wasn’t sleeping through, waking multiple times per night and insisting on sleeping with me and leaving his bedside lamp on.

The first few nights I was really strict and walked him back to his room, comforted him and helped him to go back to sleep but after 5 nights of the same behaviour I began to feel bad and allowed him to come into my bed and sleep with me.

Mainly because it’s a huge adjustment and in between feeding my little girl every 2.5 hours I have been pretty tired. Also secretly I love snuggling with him and he is my little man, my first born and always will be.

This phase only lasted approx 3 weeks though and now he is happy to go to his own bed, he isn’t sleeping through every night, however most nights he does, and if he doesn’t he is only waking once or twice and I carry him back to his room and he goes back to sleep.

He is really sweet with his sister and is quite protective and loving towards her. If he hears her cry he will come straight to me and tell me she is upset and he also runs to her room and says in the sweetest little voice ‘you ok Mila?’

He also loves to help me change her nappy and I allow him to choose her outfits. I want him to feel involved and part of her life. Although he is only 2.5years old I think that by allowing him to be a big part in the decisions around her will help him to adjust and accept her more easily and not have him be as jealous or feel left out or pushed aside.

My little girl though is a different story, she sleeps very well and I actually wake her to feed. During the day I’m feeding every 3 hours however of a night I let her sleep and she wakes me. She is only 3 weeks old though and I anticipate that this may change.

The dynamic in the house has also changed, it feels complete now. I feel like I’m whole. My little man and my little princess have completed me, of course with my husband. 🙂 I was once told that to have one child of each sex is a ‘gentleman’s family’ or a ‘pigeon pair’ which is apparently quite well looked upon in the eyes of some. I feel blessed that I have been able to create this little family with my husband and also be able to give him a child of each sex.

Being a parent is a constant lesson, I’m always learning more about myself but also about my children. I’m feeling very blessed at this stage in my life.

I’m sure with each step and change in growth patterns with my 2 children things within our home will change also with dynamics and learning. I look forward to sharing these moments with you.

She is here!

For all my loyal readers I want to apologies for my lack of posts lately.

I’ve been a little pre occupied of and I hope that you understand why, my little princess arrived 3 weeks early!

It has been a whirlwind of emotion and I am yet again besotted.

I thought I knew what love was when approx 2.5years ago I welcomed my gorgeous lil man into this world.

Today I feel absolutely besotted, proud, fulfilled and over joyed with love and happiness all over again.

My lil family is now complete.
Two precious little cherubs to love, adore, enjoy, watch grow and protect for forever more.

Let me take you through my journey.

I had been on weekly ultrasounds and checkups with my midwife as my little miss was measuring small. On the lower 10th percentile on the growth chart which had our midwife and obstetric is slightly concerned.

Now hubby not myself are big units however our amazing little man was born 3.53kg and 53cm long. Our lil miss was measuring approx 2.3kg. Quite a big difference.

After my ECG – where they turned my little princess successfully she engaged straight away, I was displayed though however at that time, I could have dilated easily as my cervix was apparently ‘ripe’ and ‘soft’.

Going back to those past 2 weeks, I had my regular weekly ultrasound on the Tuesday followed by my midwife appointment on the Thursday. After the appointment I had a CTG which is a monitor that listens to the baby’s heart. My little miss had a strong healthy and regular heart beat which was reassuring.

She was still measuring small so I then went onto daily check ups. So with my little man, packed up for a few hours we were in the hospital room. Mummy hooked up to these monitoring machines to check little miss and my little man – who was so well behaved, watching a DVD and snacking.

After being monitored for 6 days straight we were advised that our little miss hadn’t grown within 2 weeks, not gained any weight nor had her head or stomach circumference had changed and that the best and safest option would be an induction.

The induction was set for 3pm on Wednesday. I had my bag packed my little miss’s bag packed and my mother had came to stay with my little man.

I was filled with various emotion as id never left my little man before for any longer than 10 hours. So leaving him over night I was heart broken. I was however exited that the time has come to meet my little girl.

After getting the brief on how I was going to be induced I was feeling very nervous.

The obstetrician decided that cervadil was going to be the better option as its a slow release. Releasing 2mg of the induction drug every 6 hours over a 12 hour period. A long process but as my lil miss was small they didn’t want complications and wanted it to be as stress free as possible. Well that didn’t really happen….

After the cervadil was inserted approx 2 hours later my contractions started.

They were quite intense and were lasting a few minutes each time and approx 15 minutes apart. With this I got cramps down my right leg and in my right bottox cheek – very painful. The contractions were coming on closer and closer then at 10pm after 5 hours of fast intense contractions my little miss was distressed and her heart was beating irregular.

They had to stop the labor and calm her. They took the cervadil out and I was put on a drip and given morphine to stop the contractions as I was also still not dilating. I was told to rest over night and they would try again in the morning.

I was quite exhausted and tried my best to sleep but was being constantly monitored and slept with the CTG machine on me which also limited my comfort level but that was nothing as I wanted what was best for my little girl.

The next morning the midwife and obstetrician decided that perhaps the best thing to do would be to break my waters and see how my body reacts and if I dilate that way.

Well at 9:25am my waters were broken and within 15 minutes I was in full on contractions again.

The contractions were lasting over 3 minutes and were only 2 minutes apart. Very fast and very intense. They became faster and longer and closer together. The whole labor only lasted 2 hours as my little miss was born at 11:25am.

As the contractions were so intense I had no time for pain relief. I had gas only. Which helped a little but as the contractions were so intense I struggled to breath and catch my breath so was also ‘blacking out’ due to the pain. Within the 2hours that I was in labour, my husband recalls me blanking out 4 times.

I also hemoraghed and lost a great amount of blood that required me to have 6 bags of fluid administered via a drip followed by a iron infusion that took over 6 hours via a drip. They considered a blood transfusion but we’re hoping that the fluids would work, which they did.

My little miss was born at 1.88kg and 44.5cm long. Teeny tiny but healthy! Yay!

I was exhausted and felt completely out of it, my little miss was also exhausted as she was so small she was tube fed for the first 3 days. I expressed my breast milk and it was syringed into a tube that went down her nose.

I felt relived that she was ok and born strong and healthy however also was upset that she was tube fed. It was for the best though and did only last 3 days.

After 5 nights in the hospital we were discharged and allowed home. Back with my little man and husband. Back into my comfort zone and able to settle into my family of 4.

I feel so complete and in love. I have these 2 amazing children whom I love more than imaginable. No words to describe the happiness or fulfilment that I have for these 2 little people.

Since being home my baby girl has had continual weight gain and is now 2.14kg her 00000 clothing is too big but she is going to grow into them.

Stay tuned and I promise to write again soon.

Dilation

So I have approx 19 days until my little princess arrives. Well her due date is 19 days away 🙂

As I get closer to my due date I’m getting lots of questions, are you dilated? Are you having contractions? Are you experiencing labour symptoms? etc

With my first child (little boy) the labour was only 5 hours and apart from being posterior then needing vacuum and forceps, it was pretty straight forward. I actually didn’t know that I was in labour.

So this time around, I’m really not too sure what to expect so of course, I’ve been doing lots and lots of reading!

An interesting read that I came across is the article below on ‘dilation’ not sure I’d check myself however if your expecting and as curious as I am, have a read.
*************************************************
Dilation – How To Check Without Checking

Recently I have noticed a few blogs writing about dilation and it’s benefits, as well as how to do it in other ways besides simple vaginal exams. This is my take on the subject, modified from the hand out that I have available for my clients.

Why Check?
One of the biggest repeat questions a doula/caregiver can hear during labor and birth is ‘how far along am I’. Some women would prefer not to know, some women could care less, and some women desire this knowledge almost habitually.

As with any intervention in labor and birth, cervical checks carry risk. The risks include: increased risk of infection, PROM, false readings (i.e. human error), and regret/disappointment at any ‘lack’ of dilation.

Regardless of women’s reasons for wanting to know their dilation, it is helpful for a doula/care provider to have more than one trick/way of knowing where mom may be, beyond timing contractions.

Some methods that can help a caregiver or doula know how dilated a woman is during her labor include:
Teach self exams
Sounds she makes
Smell of the room/mom
Show
Emotions
The bottom line
Physical Make-Up
Fundal height
Symphysis Crease
Mexican Hot Legs
Pressure
Methods

All of these methods are generalities. It is important to remember that women are not textbooks, they are organic, living, evolving organisms that there are many exceptions to every rule. Each of these cannot be applied to all women.

Self Exams
I have found that the best explanation of self exams can be found from Gloria Lemay. It is a practically applicable explanation that gets good results.
“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. 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 a finger into your mouth
while puckering for a kiss). As the dilation progresses, the inside of that hole becomes more like a taut elastic band and by 5 cm dilated (5 finger widths) it is a perfect rubbery circle like one of those Mason jar rings that you use for canning, and about that thick.” – Gloria Lemay

Sounds of Birth
A non-vaginal indicator that can help to detect progress is notable sounds that a woman makes in labor.

Usually, early labor (0-4cm) means little to no ‘birth’ noise; mom can talk with little to some effort through a contraction.

Around 4-5cm dilation (for a primip) talk with be rather difficult to near impossible, noises may still be quiet, but consistently open voweled or a resonating hum.

5-7cm will typically be presented with louder noises, near to completely impossible to talk through a contraction, and sounds may become repetitive or staccato.

If a woman is a silent laborer, a good way to get a handle on her vocal indicators is to explain what you are about to do… then wait until a contraction starts, and ask a question that necessitates a sentence-long answer. The way in which she is able or unable to answer you during a contraction should be rather reliable.

Smell
Many birth professionals have spoken about the smell of birth.

Birth smells come about around 6-8cm dilation and are a very good indicator of good active labor. When a mom says that she wants to transfer to her place of birth around 6-8cm, I typically will go by smell and mom’s emotions.

The active labor smell is not so much the earthy/wet smell of amniotic fluid, and is not the sweet smell on a woman’s breath during labor (ever notice a laboring mom’s breath always smells sweet?)..

Instead, this smell is deep, dusky (not musky), heavy, familiar… the smell of deep and ancient work. It is something that is hard to explain, but something to definitely be on the look (smell) out for until you have familiarized yourself with it and can use this as a good indicating factor of active labor.

Show
A woman may or may not ‘show’ any bloody or mucousy discharge at the onset of labor, but blood and mucous often come in copious amounts, usually during contractions, when a woman is around 6-8cm. If a woman’s water broke earlier in the labor, you may see a second gush around 6cm.

Emotions
Early labor (1-4cm, oftentimes) often means mom is in the “this is it” stage – happy, excitable, a good sense of humor, perhaps even denial that she is really in labor.

Moving into active labor (4-6cm, oftentimes) often means that mom is still smiley and may even laugh at little things being said between contractions. Moving in and out of conversation as her contractions go and come.

Active labor (5-7cm, oftentimes) generally means she is more irritated at commonplace conversation or people trying to distract her with quips. It may take her quite awhile after a contraction leaves to become ‘re-acclimated’ to the room, or she may choose to simply remain in her birthing space and not interact with the room. (an aside, the room should be acclimating to her, although it is not always the case, unfortunately).

Around transition (usually, 7cmish) even between contractions, a woman can become doubtful, unable to make concrete decisions (“I don’t know” in response to questions), or irrational, a good indicator that mom is on the homestretch.

This method can be tricky, though, as this ‘emotional mapping’ can be skewed from a babies position or a woman’s labor make-up.

If it is from baby settling in a ‘malpresentation’, a mom might experience both an early transition (anywhere from 2cm to 4cm dilation, depending on if she is a primip or multip) and a later transition.

Depending on her labor make-up, some women can have an ‘early transition’ (4-5cm), especially for long-latent early labor patterns with discomfort disproportionate to her cervical dilation, but it will often still mean rapid dilation to complete.

Bottom/Purple Line
A study conducted and published in the Lancet hypothesized that the purple line that ‘grows’ up the natal cleft can be a great indicator of cervical dilatation. The line begins at the anal margin at the start of labour and rises like a “mercury thermometer”.

When it reaches the top, the woman is fully dilated. The authors propose that an “increase in intrapelvic pressure causes congestion in the … veins around the sacrum, which, in conjunction with the lack of subcutaneous tissue over the sacrum, results in this line of red purple discoloration”.
The best way to describe this is, looking at the anus, a purple line will appear and, throughout labor, move up the natal cleft (butt crack for us laypeople)
The picture shown at right is a fully dilated woman and her purple line.

Physical Make-Up
Many women will find that, as they get very close to the pushing stage, they may exhibit signs similar to the flu. If a mom suddenly feels the urge to vomit or complains of nausea, has a flushed face and feels warm, and/or begins trembling uncontrollably, mom may be at the cusp of second stage. Vomiting alone can be emotions, hormones, or fatigue alone. Flushed face is a good sign of 6-7cm, when noticed alone. And trembling uncontrollably, alone, might mean fatigue or fever. These indicators are most reliable when 2 or all 3 are noticed together.

Other physical indicators of 6cm and beyond:
involuntary curling of toes during contractions, even when the rest of her body is loose and relaxed (6-8cm)
if standing, instead of curling her toes, mom may stand on her toes while leaning over something (6-8cm)
goose bumps on her bottom (buttocks) and upper thighs (9-10cm)

Fundal Height
Anne Frye’s Volume II of Holistic Midwifery speaks of the fundal height of being a very reliable indicator of mom’s cervical dilation.

When the uterus contracts, it swells upwards and pulls the cervix upward with it, causing more dilation. Around 40 weeks, you can get around 5 finger-breadths of measurement between the fundus and the xyphoid.

As mom dilates, the distance from the xyphoid to the fundus decreases at a rate of about 2cm per fingerbreadths. This way of measuring is not as reliable in primips, but much more reliable in multips. When there is about 1 finger-width or less of space between the fundus and xiphoid, mom is near to at 10 cm dilation.

To do this, have mom (or partner) ‘mark’ her measurement at the first thought of labor. Taking into consideration her starting point (from prior VEs (Vaginal Exams)), use this as a start point.

Unfortunately, this assessment during labor must be done at the height of a contraction and mom must be on her back. Using the chart below, determine fingerbreadths (fb) between the fundus and xiphoid:
5 fb = no dilation
4 fb = 2 cm
3 fb = 4 cm
2 fb = 6 cm
1 fb = 8 cm
0 fm = complete

Symphysis Crease
Late dilation can be measured by watching the symphysis crease. It’s visible mostly in mom’s who have lower BMI prepregnancy. As labor progresses and babies shoulder’s descend along with dilation, a line/crease will become visible directly above (parallel to) the symphysis. It will become wider latitudinally as labor progresses.

Around transition, it will be about 3/4 of the way across. If the line is nearly all the way across, mom is most likely pretty close to, or already fully, dilated and will probably start pushing soon.

To do this, check right above mom’s symphysis (pubic bone). If there is a line at all, mom is probably at least 5cm. If you are working with a woman who is intent on laboring at home as long as possible, the crease may be a good indicator for her labor, a drawback is that it can also mean ‘too late’.

Another drawback to this is if baby is riding high throughout the early and active labor stage (aka a ‘late descender’).

Mexican Hot Legs
As the birthing woman’s body works harder, blood is withdrawn from the extremities to be utilized by the womb. Thus, the woman’s legs get progressively colder from the ankle to the knee as labor progresses. At the start of birth, the whole leg will be warm. At around 5cm, the leg will be coldre from the ankle to around mid-calf than it is above the calf. Once the whole leg feels coldre up to the knee, then the urge to push should shortly follow.

This technique is less reliable if the woman is having an epidural, as the drugs will also affect the temperature of the hands and legs. If a woman is birthing in water then she’d need to be on dry land for around 20 minutes to allow the temperature in her legs to be measured accurately. – Kath Harbisher

Pressure
As baby descends, pressure will be felt at different levels on her back. This will not necessarily give dilation information, but will help in determining position/station of baby within the pelvic outlet. This pressure will move from the rim of the pelvis all the way down onto the coccyx (tailbone).

As doulas can tell you, as mom continues to dilate, and baby continues to move down the pelvis, the pressure she feels will go lower. This is why back massages turn into butt massages turn into tailbone massages. 🙂

By the time that mom is 8-10cm and 0 to +1 station, the small rectangular spot of mom’s buttocks (tailbone area) will bow outward as her pelvis makes room for babies decent. This usually means that, if you are at home and mom was planning a hospital or birth center birth, you very well may have waited too long.

Another indicator is that, if mom is feeling pressure between her legs, vomits, and her water breaks simultaneously, she is probably 7-8cm or more.

A final indicator is, regardless of dilation, if a mom is passing stool involuntarily with her contractions, whether she has the urge to push or not, she is either holding a posterior baby, fully dilated and about to start pushing, or baby is at a low station (more common without full dilation in multips).

In Conclusion
Dilation of the cervix can tell us how far open you are, but not how close you are to the destination of birthing your baby. Listening to your body and the cues it gives can help us know where you are at in your journey though. Some women’s journeys take them through jogs and shortcuts, while others are mountainous day-hikes.

More than anything else, these tools can help women to plan their next steps on their birthing journeys; when to move to their expected place of birth, when to enter the birthing pool, what their labor pattern might indicate, what is true labor vs what is practice.