Wednesday, June 24

The Business of Being Born

If you know me personally you know that I am this weird hybrid of hippy ideals (going green, no more plastic bags, vegetarianism, no GMO foods) and modern living (iPhone, iPods, nintendo games, constant internet). I'm forward thinking -- and yet there is a side of me that dreams about growing all my own food and sewing all my own clothes. Of course, I would be a naked skeleton, but STILL, the idea exists within my thought process.


I just watched this documentary. Wow. I have investigated "natural" childbirth before and debated with the slim possibility that I would consider it for myself. Most of you know that I am a fan of a pre-scheduled c-section. I will pick the day, the way, and move all obstacles to the side. But the documentary poses an interesting idea that eliminating all the obstacles detracts from the experience of childbirth. And, even more so, that in America the hospital/medical system/insurance companies/OBGYN businesses take away a woman's options. They talk about the horrors of excessive drug use in the hospitals; the birthing plan out the window. I read a book about an OBGYN nurse who had a hospital birth for her first child. She told the doctor that her legs were up to high and that couldn't she please put her legs down and when she was not permitted to shift her position, she ripped. Her doctor wouldn't listen to her -- because what did she know? She was a hysterical pregnant woman in labor!

And this story. This is exactly what I want to avoid, hence the opted c-section route. Part of me figures, if everything that can go wrong, will go wrong, why not jump to the end point? Bypass hours and hours of pushing with no result and just enjoy the calm-inducing drugs followed by baby and perfect life.

Now...all of this is hypothetical. I'm not planning on being pregnant for sometime. But during this time before becoming pregnant, I want to be smart. I want to research everything and do what really is best. The cynical part of me cringes when women talk about "doing what's best for the baby" and all that hyper-mother stuff. But. I already talk about slowing down immunization schedules, 100% cotton clothing, making my own babyfood, breast milk, and on and on. So I'm trying to push away my cynic response and really dig in to the research.

Because, you see, I fear the c-section just as much as I fear a natural childbirth. It just seems LESS fearful to my rational brain. How could anything go wrong? You're in a hospital! You're surrounded by medical staff in a sterilized room! I don't want to give birth at home. I might ruin my favorite bedding...

That said.

Watching the homebirths in the documentary is magical. The woman is in her own house. She walks around through her contractions -- naked if she wants to be. Holding her husband, having her husband hold her. Sitting in the bathtub. Lying in the bed. That certainly seems nicer that being stuck in those icky hospital beds with an iv in my arm. Watching these scenes, I can see myself. I can actually picture myself moaning in pain -- but it's okay because my husband is beside me on the bed comforting me through a contraction -- and then reaching down and bringing my own love child into the world. Finding out what the sex is the old fashioned way; looking down. The women in the documentary talk about this internal struggle where you realize as a person that you are faced with two horrible options: 1) don't push because it hurts too much or 2) push because it hurts too much. But they say that afterwards, after it's all over, you can't believe that YOU, this teeny tiny regular woman, climbed the mountain of childbirth. And it's very easy to feel caught up in that kind of empowerment. This idea that you can listen to your body, surrender to your body, and come out a winner.

Obviously it's not for everyone. If you have high risk factors you won't be able to have a birth at home. But why would you? No one wants to DIE during childbirth; and yet the U.S. has a higher infant mortality rate than most of Europe and Japan. According to the documentary, Europe and Japan use midwives for 70-80% of births. We use midwives for less than 10%. Do the two go hand in hand? Not necessarily. Some experts say that our mortality rates are higher because we have more high-risk pregnancies: obese or overweight mothers, older mothers, more multiple births, fertility aided pregnancies.

Please watch the documentary and provide feedback. Obviously this is like, massively critical, so drop everything so you can respond thoughtfully to this post. If you have Netflix, you can watch it instantly online. I'm serious. Watch it now. I want to know what you think.


Gretzbabi said...

Wow, what a thought process! I love to know that you are thinking and educating yourselves about the process. Not having the experience anymore than you have I can tell you that birth at all is a total miracle 2. studing the way to give birth is right on, (knowledge it power) 3. Every humane being on this planet does it differently!
Home birth? I don't know, birthing centers with midwives, yes I like that. I have seen babies born on documentaries in hot tubs, way to go, the baby is not so shocked by all the air right away,and it isn't as bad on the mothers. The Indians did it with lots of midwives and no men in their huts or tipis with the women breaking the water with a stick and the mother standing supported by other women. My great great someone did it is the wheat field, and got up after, raping her little one in a blanket and continuing to harvest. My mother was in the hospital for 10 days! She loved it! Now I see moms with their babies that are only 12 hrs old. So things change for everyone. For me it was 4 months of not knowing, worry if she was alive, not feeling any pain except acute anxiety~ all in all the end justify the means. Look what I got,perfect spoiled rotten lovely wonderful girl child! The unknown is the killer, be familiar with all aspects and go for if when the time is right. (NOW) no when you are ready. But remember, no one is ever really ready! Ever, no mater what you do to get there! Babies will come or not, and bring with them such joy you will never get it until you are there, and no timing, thinking or knowledge will change that.
Love ya

Dissasociative Dreams said...

On your advice, I watched it.

Wow. It was a riveting documentary. I found myself alternately appalled and amazed. It is definitely something that everyone should see.

Thanks for the recommendation!

Divulged said...

A few thoughts from my experience. The MOST important thing to start with is an amazing OB. I love my doctor she totally accepted my birthplan and made everything as easy as possible. With this in mind you can plan and prepare all you want, chances are it will go nothing like you anticipate. I really believe that having a vaginal birth is the best, why would you choose to have a major operation? Really a c-section is hard core and you face way more post op complications. Its not really a simple slice and out comes the baby. Your uterus is behind lots of other guts that have to be moved (out of your body) then getting into the uterus and all the sewing back together etc. You are looking at a much greater risk of infection not to mention a few months of recovery. All this vs. A few pushes and a few weeks recovery. The second most important thing is your health during pregnancy. A lot of women, most I have met use pregnancy as an excuse to get fat, to eat what ever you want. In reality the attitude should be totally opposite. The health of your baby is directly connected to your health. This is also helpful postpartum when you start loosing weight, any unnecessary fat doesn't just fall off. I gained about 30 pounds with Luke. He was about 8 of those the placenta about 2 the fluid between my uterus and milk another 10 and probably a few pounds of water retention. So I really only had maybe 7 or 8 pounds to loose. That's how I lost it so fast. Exercise in this is also major, this I found to be the hardest part, your already tired and don't feel great, but the better toned your core and legs are the easier your labor and delivery will be. You will be using muscles you didn't even know you had!
I didn't want to be at the hospital for hours either and in fact most hospitals won't admit you until you are in active labor, which means you are to the point where you are having contractions every 4 mins for 4 hours (sounds worse than it is). I went into labor on the evening of the 16th I got a few hours of sleep and by 6am. On the 17th I knew he would be born that day. I was in and out of the tub and bed all day. Mat forced me to eat a few times as well, and we finally went to the hospital at about 530pm. I was admitted and the nurse checked my progress then Mat and I were able to walk around for another hour or 2. After that my water broke so I had to stay in bed. About 1030 I was ready to push and he was born just after 11. So the idea that it takes hours and hours is not always true. I do credit this to my health. All the women I know that ate like crap and didn't work out had long hard labor. Maybe a coincidence but I doubt it! It was nice to do most of my labor at home and still have the ability and safety of delivering at the hospital. I seriously considered home birth and I had a capable doola(certified birth coach) that could have helped me. But my fear outweighed that option. I kept thinking about what would happen if something went wrong, the chances are slim but still there. Also, there is some benefit to having nurses there to help you postpartum. Most women, as I did think that babies just know how to nurse, this is not true. In fact, most babies have to learn how to latch on. I didn't know this and didn't know how to teach him, fortunately, the hospital has a lactation expert on hand to help. Yes you can get this help elsewhere if needed, but it was nice to have it right there because ideally you want to nurse as soon as possible after delivery. Really, having a baby is a big deal, but not as hard as you think. You are a woman, you are built for it and when the time comes your body already knows what to do and you kind of go on autopilot! I don't have netflix but I will try to get it!

longge said...