Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The Business of Being Born

This weeks Mothering Magazine newsletter guided me to an interview with Ricki Lake on her new documentary, The Business of Being Born.

Fourteen-months ago, I experienced the most empowering event in my life: Lila's waterbirth.

While Olivia's birth was moving to some degree, of course, nothing really about it was empowering. The epidural stopped my labor, I was given pitocin, I had to lay in bed on my back or side, therefore, unable to use gravity to help further dilation and progress of decent, my labor dragged on and on. There was a threat of a c-section because the pitocin wasn't working, and so on. So, when Olivia was finally born, I was swollen from IV fluids, and numb. The pitocin and epidural stopped my body's rush of "love hormones" at delivery and I felt, basically, empty.

Of course, life goes on and I fell in love with my healthy, little blondie. However, I was determined to do it MY way the second time around. I researched even more, hired a doula and learned that I, ME, MYSELF am in charge of my labor and delivery. No one will tell me to lay down if I don't want to (unless I have an epidural, in which you have no choice), no one will tell me I need an IV, no one will tell me I need pitocin after she's born and no one will cut the cord immediately after she's born. I consulted endlessly with my midwife and doula and stayed away from OB's who, most often, take a very medical approach to the birth process. I learned that labor and delivery is a normal event, not a medical one (in most cases - not talking about very high risk or rare, sudden emergencies).

There are no words to describe an unmedicated birth. For me, it was so different than an epidural birth. It cannot even be compared. The rush I felt at delivery, the feelings of absolute empowerment and feelings of elation that lasted several days. It changed me immediately. When we get pregnant with our next child, we're planning a homebirth - that's how confident my last birth made me feel about my body and the power I have to give birth normally.

I'm not dismissing mothers who had or desire an epidural as weak or wrong (obviously, I had one). I'm only encouraging mothers to look at all their options, inform themselves thoroughly about normal birth and decide for themselves what road they think is best for them.

I'm just an ordinary mother. I'm not a midwife, doula, nurse or OB. Maybe it's not my place to be going around giving unsolicited advice. But, i's my blog and this documentary excites me. While I know that an unplanned natural birth can be traumatic for a mentally unprepared mother, it is my desire to see every woman completely inform herself on all aspects of birth and delivery.

It is my hope that this documentary and website will be one resource in which women and their families can do that. Please, view the trailer here, go out and see the documentary and browse the website. Hey, you never know, it may change the way you think about birth and guide you in a direction you never imagined. At the very least, it'll educate you about the Business of Being Born.


The Dunns said...

I really like the focus of this blog. Great job! I tried to take the survey, but it's currently only available to women who delivered in NY. Said it would be available to everyone this summer.

With one epidural and 2 nonmedicated births, I've had a variety of experiences and really loved each one. The nonmedicated births were definitely empowering. It was great being able to get up and move around during labor. I was very fortunate to have amazing OBs, midwives, and delivery nurses. I received nothing but support for my birth decisions. I think it really helps to be confident and knowledgeble going into it and knowing that I have the right to say 'yes' or 'no' to anything that is offered. Hopefully, the tide is turning toward women being in control of their birth experiences.

Jamie Lynn said...

That for posting, Natalie. I enjoyed the video.