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...
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.