I was watching PBS on a Sunday afternoon and although dozing off, my ears perked up when the interviewer asked the guest the title of her next book and she said, "Effacement." What?????? Finally!!!!!! Effacement is a crazy awesome frontier that women encounter each time they give birth and no one has elevated it to the WTF platform where it truly belongs.
In effacement your cervix, against all rules of body behavior, suddenly flattens out and stretches (dilates)sideways ten centimeters like a bored schoolboy making faces. If you weren't consumed with pain, you might be enthralled with the magic of it. Think if any other body aperture suddenly stretched several times its normal size. What if your nose did that? What if your nostrils flattened against your face every Thursday and the two holes stretched out ten centimeters? What if your ear did that? What if you could fit your entire iPhone inside your ear and carry it there.
One centimeter is equal to .3937 inches. A dilation of ten cm's is just shy of four inches. If the U.S. used the metric system, women would know they were screwed. What baby's head can fit through four inches? The delivery team talks in centimeters and uses terms like cesarean and placenta previa because there are a million things worrisome and unfair with this movie. They get all Latin-y on you and talk in Arthurian language to obfuscate the reality.
If you're having a cesarean, they put a sign above your bed that says "Nil by mouth." What the heck does that mean? Are they going to put something in me through my ass? Just know that cesarean means they're going to cut you open like a watermelon and take the baby out. Placenta previa means a rogue placenta has barricaded the exit door and therefore they have to cut you open like a watermelon. My first ob-gyn, Dean Grandin, was a specialist in placenta previa although he didn't get to use his expertise on me. He did have to turn the baby's head into the right position and I believe they are still talking about my screams across the river in New Jersey.
* Only three countries don't use the metric system: Burma, Liberia and the United States.