Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Business of Being Born - Movie

Folks, 3 hours of sleep is simply not enough for me to function as a normal human being! Since I don't have the energy to complain, let's talk movies and birth. Disclaimer: The following post is my perspective and my opinion. It is not meant as an attack on the experiences or choices of others.

I received an email a few weeks back a documentary called The Business of Being Born. Here's the synopsis from the email:

Birth is a miracle, a rite of passage, a natural part of life. But birth is also big business. In the new documentary THE BUSINESS OF BEING BORN Executive Producer Ricki Lake and Director Abby Epstein question the way American women have babies, and explore this fundamental question: should most births be viewed as a natural life process, or should every delivery be treated as a potential medical

THE BUSINESS OF BEING BORN makes a compelling argument for more humanistic approaches to birth, challenging the ideals of our technocratic society which places absolute faith in machines and technology. It is a must-see for anyone thinking of having a baby.

More information: http://www.thebusinessofbeingborn.com/
I checked out the website and am highly intrigued because of my own views of labor and birth. Yes, I believe that medical intervention has saved the lives of many babies and mothers who might have died in childbirth a century ago, however I also believe that the Western culture has gotten a bit too far away from the natural process. People schedule their inductions like they schedule play-dates. Women choose to have cesareans so they don't have to go through the whole labor and pushing ordeal.

Inductions and cesareans were meant to step in where the natural process of labor and birth failed, but only if the natural process fails in some way. They do make life more convenient, and in the world we live in today, convenience is something we expect and take for granted. It really irks me, though, when I hear a mother say, "Oh, we scheduled the c-section at 38 weeks so that Little John would be here before we take our cruise."

To me, pregnancy and birth is a rite of passage, and I treated mine as such. Due to our finances (or lack thereof) when we were pregnant with Tree Faerie, we could not afford to go to a midwife instead of a traditional OB. So, I chose an OB, prepared a birth plan, and proceeded to have as natural of a birth as possible in a hospital setting. Memphis has one of the highest c-section rates in the nation, so I was just a bit nervous.

(Everything turned out fine, of course, and we had a natural birth. Tree Faerie is healthy and beautiful. I also know that if things had not turned out "fine," I was already in a place where they could provide the best care in Memphis.)

I know there will always be those who prefer convenience over letting nature take its course, but I wonder if more women are educated about the natural process of birth, would more women be willing to follow that natural process?


Heather said...

It drives me nuts that so many women would voluntarily sign off on major surgery they don't need, instead of allowing their bodies to do what they're supposed to do. "Oh, I don't want to tear/get an episiotomy (sp?)" but it's OK to get your abdomen sliced open.

It's a mystery.

Amy said...

I really think scheduling unnecessary c-sections is a mistake.

Scheduling inductions I have a little more sympathy for, only because some women (me, for my third child) have mentally and emotionally had it and it's better to get it over with (I was induced 2 days before his due date, so it wasn't all that big a deal).

And my first child was born in 1989 when they WOULD NOT induce you unless you were half dead already. She was due on the 8th and came on the 28th. Yes, 3 weeks late. No one should have to go through that, ever. They should have induced me after two weeks.

In general, c-sections and inductions should be more carefully considered than I get the impression they are right now - I agree.

icanseeclearlynow said...

i have been there, done that: 3 hours of sleep. i was in my twenties then. i could NEVER do it now. i don't know how women over 40 have babies.

yes, sadly, the birth process has changed. people's priority are out of whack.

Not Afraid to Use It said...

My whole thing is that I just want the RIGHT to choose what kind of birth I want. I don't want anyone to TELL me that I have to have a c-section or that I have to be induced because the "baby is going to be big" i.e. doc's going on vacation. I am interested to see this film, but I am so emotional about the whole damned thing that I don't know if I would be able to sit through the whole thing.

Monnik said...

I was induced with my oldest because she was 19 days overdue. It wasn't a convenience thing, but it was an induction. And it was HARD.

My middle kiddo and my youngest were both spontaneous, 'natural' labors. (though I hate using the word 'natural' because it seems to belittle those who gave birth another way) Both labors were less than 3 hours from start to finish. Easy peasy (relatively speaking.)

I know this isn't how it is for everyone, but I was offered a scheduled induction (not a c-section) with my youngest two and declined because I think pitocin is the nectar of the Devil himself.

I think there's a lot to be said to wait for nature to take it's course.

However, if you do end up needing a c-section for whatever reason, I don't think there's anything wrong with scheduling it at a convenient time...

KATE said...

I do agree, people do turn it into a "penciled in" event in their date book.
3 out of my 4 kids I was under close care of my docs & had to have them all early. I agree with Monnik, Petocin is the nector of the devil & I have had WAY too much of it! I am grateful for the docs that helped bring my babies into the world early & they are all healthy now, & I didn't have a stroke during my last delivery like they thought I would...
I also couldn't imagine picking a c-section, just because. I don't understand peoples thinking sometimes!

Random said...

i need to send you a book that i read on birthing now that you aren't pregnant (yes, i realize it's been a year... i'm behind!) i found it super interesting, but too scary for people who are about to actually give birth. talks a lot about the history and societal norms and how they've changed.

i really want to see this movie... i hope that i get to soon.

Andrea said...

I know inductions and cesareans are necessary in some cases, and if it's necessary, why not schedule it? I am saddened when I hear of a woman who wanted to go natural but was unable to (like my sister-in-law).

In Memphis, mothers have the option to choose to schedule these things and never allow their pregnancy to run it's natural course. I know several mothers who have done so. It's almost like they treat pregnancy as a fad.

Annikke said...

I happened to be lucky enough to be able to have a mid wife with my first two births and then the second two births were with an OB. I certainly enjoyed both experiences. None of my labors were intense, my first one was born in 6 hours and the rest were less than that. Having done both, epidural and no epidural I would have to say that no epidural is definitely the way to go for me (although we won't be having more children).
I loved my midwife and that whole experience with her, my OB was one of the best and I loved him, but the care was definitely different!

KATE said...

Treating Pregnancy as a Fad, that is the perfect way to describe it!

carrie & troy keiser said...

I agree ... mostly, I had a pretty natural even with the first one and it was an ordeal mostly because I didn't know what I was doing. I took the classes I thought I knew. I talked to my mom {she had 8 kids} and I talked to my sister {she'd had 2 at the time}. Every body is different I learned. Mine takes awhile to get to 5 but once I'm there, it's ALL over and the baby is making an appearance in a matter of mins! I was So tired for having endured all the hard stuff at home with our anything! Not to mention that my first was 2 weeks late and well over 9 lbs! My second and 3rd were induced... 3 days late and one day early, both nearing 9 lbs. it was the 2nd baby that I learned the to 5 thing. The 3rd was induced but still pretty natural as I didn't get an epidural, which was wonderful! I learned with the 2nd that they are not very effective for me anyway, so what was the point?! with the twins, I went to a bigger city with all the sepcialists because they told me I'd have to have a C-section if I had them where we live. I had to get the stupid epidural "in case" which didn't work. But I delivered them naturally and I'm happy about that! I would never get a C-section unless it was life threatening!
{done with my little rant}