This particular childbirth reenactment is…unique, to say the least
It’s hard to know what to expect during labor. Even if it’s your second, third, or fourth child, the experience is always unique. While some may not want to know exactly every single thing that happens when you have contractions and go into labor (me), others benefit greatly from knowing exactly what’s happening to their bodies. If you are in the latter category, this video is for you.
Liz Chalmers, an owner of the Puget Sound Birth Center in Seattle, Washington, created a video explaining childbirth for her niece, Charlotte, who is studying to become a childbirth educator in New Zealand. Chalmers probably never expected her lesson, which uses only a balloon and ping pong ball to simulate the birthing process, to become so popular — but people are loving it.
In the video, Chalmers says she got the idea from a workshop called “Stomp Out Boring Childbirth,” and once you see her reenactment, it becomes clear the class was well worth it.
Chalmers places the ball inside the balloon to simulate the end of pregnancy by blowing up the balloon and lodging the ball at the end of the opening. When contractions begin, Chalmers squeezes the side of the balloon, noting this does nothing to help the contractions along or soften the cervix, similar to Braxton Hicks contractions.
Then Chalmers shows how “real contractions” start from the top of the uterus and as she squeezes down from the top, the cervix begins to thin and prepare for childbirth. “Just squeeze and let go,” Chalmers says calmly. “Squeeze and let go.”
She points out some effacement happens at this point but there isn’t a lot of dilation happening, much to the mild chagrin (aka holy crap get this thing out of me now) of every single woman watching the video.
Then, as Chalmers squeezes and contracts the balloon, the tiny balloon cervix thins even more. And it keeps on thinning as she squeezes and squeezes and OMG, hurry it up already my vagina is puckering!
Chalmers admits this is the time where shit goes down, and soon-to-be moms start to get nervous. She says this is when educators play the role of the nurse by saying, “Oh, its ok. Just breathe. Do it gently. You’re stretching beautifully,” like they would during actual labor (you know, right before the nurse gets a plastic cup of Jell-O hurled at them). This is why maternity staff should make precisely one million dollars per year.
Then, without pomp or circumstance, Chalmers gives a final squeeze and the baby — er, the, uh, ping pong ball — flies out. There should be a parade or fireworks or something but no, it just comes out and we are all supposed to just accept it and remain calm. Not for nothing, the ball goes flying across the room so perhaps this is just an instructional video for medical professionals only.
All kidding aside, it is pretty incredible to see what happens to the human body during child birth. Thanks to this video, now we all have an Aunt Liz to thank for such an inspirational, and detailed, account of the birthing process.