Sunday, July 20, 2008

Business of Being Born

Last night we watched the Business of Being Born. It is a documentary about the birth industry in hospitals vs. home birth with a midwife.

The movie
1. frightened me
2. made me cry at least 3 times
3. has prompted some interesting conversation in our home about where/how to have our baby.
4. made me dream all night long about giving birth

We know a number of people who have had natural childbirths, or at least tried to. Bradley method seems good. Geez, it is really scary to have a baby. I thought that an epidural would make the pain go away, but apparently it slows the laboring, so you need pitocin to speed it up, which increases pain, which means you need more epidural which slows down labor.. its a vicious cycle.

This was in the movie, but scientist that I am, I looked it all up and ITS TRUE!

We have a lot to think about.

I think the worst thing to think about is being in a hospital with a "normal low-risk" delivery, but feeling vulnerability because you are pressured or frightened by your birth process (which is normal) and then having a physician or nurse exploit that vulnerability.

I was there when Andrea gave birth and it was really intense and scared me a little bit. She was said that if she had been in a hospital she would have taken the epidural when offered. BUT when it was all over and Sophia safely delivered, she said she was really happy that she did it that way, and it was just like she wanted.

My mom delivered us naturally in a hospital and reports that it was great. Andrea was happy with her natural delivery in a birth center. C&C prepared for natural in a hospital, but baby was breach and she had to have a C-section.

My grandmother doesn't remember her births because they just knocked her out. She said it was great, I used to think this sounded wonderful. Then I saw this movie and learned that she wasn't knocked out, she just didn't remember it because she had "night terror" or something like that. They used to tie the women up because they would scratch and claw themselves from the pain, they were completely unaware of their surroundings and what was happening. They would tie women up with lambswool because it didn't leave marks and the husbands wouldn't question what was going on. This does not sound wonderful, it sounds horrible.

In many ways, I wish I had not watched this movie, and in many ways I am so glad I did. I think that whatever we decide with be both horrible and wonderful. I know that memory blocks out bad and painful things. I know that there will a flood of happiness at the end which will make it ok. I just hope that all of the oxytocin makes me forget the whole thing except for the good parts.

I know that a number of different people will eventually read this and I'd like to hear what you think, what your experiences have been, and stuff like that. Thanks.


  1. Giving birth isn't an injury or disease, so it makes sence to me that it ought to take place in the home versus a hospital. The trouble for me lies in possible complications of childbirth. And can enough be put into place in the home to take care of the most common things that go wrong?

  2. Yikes! That's freaky! Luckly I'm just some teenager who hasn't even regulated her periods yet so I don't have to worry about that stuff. I hope whatever you do your happy you guys! Esspecialy cuz your my cuz's :D! Talk to you soon and feel free to check out my blog!

  3. I didn't watch the movie because my feminist hackles are up often enough these days, but I have read about these things and was there listening in when these issues were new. Regarding the "What happens if things go wrong?" concern, remember that many hospitals have lovely midwifey birthing centers where they will let you be unless there is a need for surgery, in which case they will whisk you into the operating room. Remember, too, that human beings have been giving birth for quite a while now! :)) and the species seems to be rather successful at it, don't you think? In fact, most couples have more than one baby! I also think it bodes well that your relatives had relatively easy childbirths, as I think these things are inherited to some degree. Just my thoughts! Your blog is such a great idea, by the way, you'll enjoy re-reading it so much when you are older. :)

  4. Read about the Lamaze method, take a birthing class, then practice, practice, practice the breathing & relaxation exersices. Oh yeah, and ask your Mother Mary to put in a good word for you.

  5. I am so happy for you guys and know what ~you will forget all about the pain when you hold that little one in your arms~ yep! it's true even if it is a paper pregnancy. We are now 12 mths into ours! ugh!

  6. Hey Veronica- it's Emily Erspamer. Congrats on the pregnancy! I'm so happy for Tom and you. :D

    You should definitely take Bradley Method classes. If I have any advice about birth, it's to take Bradley classes. I had a natural hospital birth, but it took work! I had to fire my original OB when I was 37 weeks pregnant because she wouldn't support my natural birth. If you were on the VA side, I would recommend my doctor and hospital. :D Good luck- and if you have any questions, feel free to email me- I LOVE talking about birth. :D

  7. Congrats Veronica - such an exciting time in your life!

    I was well overdue with both my girls, so had to be induced. It took me about 6 or 7 hours to get to 3 cm. Then I got my epidural and went the last 7 cm in 1.5 hours (same with both girls). So, for me I didn't have the viscious cycle and the epidural helped my body to relax to get the job done. But, I knew going in I was going to have an epidural, so didn't feel stressed or pressured to have one.

    Good luck - childbirth is a beautiful and amazing thing. Yeah, it hurts, but it is really wonderful!