Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Learn the business of birth

Two months ago I was able to watch Ricki Lake's documentary "The Business of Being Born" and was riveted by everything that I learned.

I actually took notes while watching it so I could share everything with you all, but I packed the notebook up in the move. So not as many facts as I want to give you...guess that means you'll have to rent the movie.

When I  got pregnant with Phoenix I knew right away that I wanted a natural childbirth. I read a book on the Bradley Method and anything else I could get my hands on. I purchased a big exercise ball, the last few weeks leading up to D-day I practiced all my squats. I printed out my birth plan from The Bump passed it to my doctor and slipped a copy in the hospital bag and one in my husbands wallet just in case.

I had all these visions in my head of a peaceful and serene birth for Phoenix. But I didn't quite get it.
I guess if I put my story up against others it wouldn't have been so bad. But for me, it wasn't what I wanted. The only thing that went according to my plan was not having any drugs.

I didn't want to be strapped to the bed monitored the whole time, but I was. I didn't want to be induced, but I was. I didn't want an episiotomy (Fact: over 1 million unnecessary are performed in the US each year) , but I got one PLUS 100 plus stitches. I had a pretty routine delivery, by hospital standards.

I know I left the hospital with a beautiful blonde baby boy, but I still was slightly disappointed in my birthing experience.

And after watching the TBOBB I really realized how much hospitals and doctors intervene and even cause problems in the delivery room.

The pitocin they give you to speed up your labor, that does nothing but make contractions stronger, which makes you beg and plead for some drugs (or a gun, in my case), that then slow your labor down, that makes the doctors want to speed things up with pitocon, which makes you beg for more drugs, and then they get the brilliant idea to give you a C-section to save your baby. But had they not done all of the interventions your baby wouldn't need saving.

-The US has the second worst newborn death rate among developed countries
-In Europe 70-80% of births are attended by midwives.
-Over the last 10 years the C-section rate has risen by 50%? 

Hospitals are in the business of making money. Open beds = more money. Natural vaginal delivers mean full beds for hours and even days. C-sections/inductions, = money. Period.

In the documentary some studies found that the amount of c-sections performed between the hours of 3 and 5 PM is staggering....and what they found was that doctors didn't like waiting around for a women to go into labor. Start the section then and you can beat traffic and get home to have dinner with your family.  

As women we have been told for so long all the horror stories of birthing and what we can't do it, that we are unable to trust our own bodies. I'm what you would call a creationist. I believe in God and that He alone created us all and everything that surrounds. And so I believe that as women He designed us for a very specific bring forth life and everything that we need to do that is within ourselves. If we allowed our natural instincts to take over I think we'd be surprised at what we would be able to do.

I'm not saying that doctors and hospitals are wrong. I also wouldn't consider myself a "hippie" by any means advocating giving birth outside by a tree or anything. But we spend so much time when we're pregnant worrying about not drinking coffee or eating fish, that we don't spend enough time thinking about our delivery and the things we shouldn't be putting in our bodies at that time. 

And if you must have a c-section for medical all means do so! Do whatever is safest for you and your baby. But always know that a c-section should not be your first thought and that being induced isn't always best either.

I've already made the decision that whenever I do decide to have another baby that I will be doing it with a midwife and either in a birthing center or at home. And if you are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant do your research. Even if you choose to go with a doctor make sure its a doctor that's goal and objective is to give you, your best birth.

And check out the movie if you haven't seen it.

Good places for information and facts:


  1. It was a definite eye opener for me when I watch it about 2 years ago. We opted for a home birth until a c-section had to be scheduled due to the baby being breech. I have a septum in my uterus that does leave room for them to turn the baby so I had to do a c-section. Oh well next time. I found some great home birth midwives in the area and they are fabulous.

  2. I'm a new follower! You have an awesome blog and a beautiful family!

  3. Love this post! The BoBB inspired me to find a midwife for the birth of my second child. My first child's birth wasn't "bad" but I had no control and was in a lot of pain. And while the second birth did not go completely as planned (she was incredibly stubborn!) my midwife was perfect and it was so much calmer & less stressful. My midwife let me decide what I wanted to do and helped me out every step of the way. I am hoping to have a homebirth in the future, if I can. I wish we had a local birthing center!

  4. You are the most gorgeous little thing on the planet to have ever just had a baby - seriously you're radiant in all those pictures!!!

  5. Alexandria,
    I really love your blog post! I wrote something similar, but from a different direction of sorts.
    I have always believed that my body is made to carry, nurture, and birth babies. I have one daughter, and through the use of HypnoBirthing classes, I was able to achieve as close to a perfect birth as could have been possible with a hurried doctor at my bottom end. While my birth was not all I wanted it to be, I still was able to use all of the HypnoBirthing skills I learned, and it made such an impact on me, in fact, I am now a HypnoBirthing Childbirth Educator!

    Knowing what I know about the United States, and our unfortunate and scary statistics about birthing. Knowing that giving birth in the United States turns out to be a terrifying experience for so many, and knowing that more women are admitted to hospitals every year to GIVE BIRTH (and that birth is a multi-billion dollar business) than for any other reason, I work everyday to bring awareness to something different. Birth is beautiful. Birth is natural. Birth is normal (it is not a disease). Birth has its ups and downs (no need to give us pitocin). Birth is healthy (please don't treat us like we cannot walk, and please don't strap us down so we can't get out of the bed, which is what we need to do, to facilitate the descent of our babies). Knowledge is power, and when women begin to realize that we don't have to lie down and accept everything our providers tell us as the only truth for us, that's when change can begin to happen.

    What I am saying with all of this, is that in order for anything to take place, education should be first. A woman must first know how her body works, and learn how to not counteract the natural process of labor and birth, in order to decide if she wants an unmedicated, intervention-free birth. This can be done in a hospital, birthing center, car, back yard, or at home (anywhere, in other words).

    There are several other movies you would love, one of which is What Babies Want. Beautiful movie about the conscious awareness of babies.

    Thank you so much for your beautiful blog post. :)

    Here is a link to my blog as well!

    -Teva Dellabalma, HBCE

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  7. Your baby is BEAUTIFUL. Your story brings tears to my eyes for you...I'm so sorry you had to undergo that much just to have your beautiful bb. I had my first dd in a birth center, 36 hours of NORMAL labor, no drugs, a lot of patience from the midwives and me and some tearing - but not too bad and a beautiful girl to gaze at. My 2nd dd was born in a hospital, (the birth center closed, i was 7 mos preg) I felt panicked, was made to sit still, chastized for "making a mess" and had to have a surgeon come to stitch me up bc I blew out my took me a year to heal. my 3rd dd was born in a birth center, it was quick, it did hurt but i had no stitches and she was 10 lbs!
    if i were to do it all again, and i swore w/bb #3, if i had to give birth in a hospital i would do it at home first...for all the reasons you listed.

    thank you for sharing your story! you are so right about asking questions! that epidural is NOT the answer to our prayers if it means having surgery to have a bb!
    BUT what a beautiful bb you have, good job!

  8. When i became pregnant i was a huge...and i mean HUGE homebirth advocate. i wanted all natural, in a tub, at my hubby and i live close to a birthing center that is across the street from a hospital so we decided to go with that since it was close.
    at 32 weeks i went into early labor and was put on bed rest and was then considered high risk so my dreams of a home birth/birth center were dashed. i was devastated but figured we could still go all natural at a hospital.

    I made it to 239 weeks to the day when i finally went into my true labor. I had my son in the hospital. He had the cord wrapped around his neck so tight and he was stuck. The monitor was on my heartbeat and not his and they did not know until too late that he was in distress. he went almost five minutes without oxygen and nearly died in front of me. If it had not cut me he would have died.
    Had i been in the birthing center my son would not be alive.
    i no longer am a huge birth center advocate.
    I dont want to scare anyone but if i had not had that team of doctors from the NICU my son never would have made it.

    you can read more about my birth story here:

  9. Adriana-

    I'm so sorry to hear that you had a traumatic birth. That is something no mother should ever have to go through.

    That being said I think that there are things that can go wrong in labor, but we shouldn't be motivated by fear.

    Before I had my son I never thought I would ever give birth any other place other then a hospital because of fear and all the what ifs. But there are all kinds of dangerous and things to be afraid of in life but we can't let it rule us. I think that as long as you are working with a midwife that is experienced and knows her limits you're in safe hands.

  10. Great post!! I thought TBOBB was good but not my favorite... I think if you do you research you can also find a great OB and hospital that will respect you wishes... That said, I'll tell you what I REALLY think in a couple of months when I have my baby :)

    I do think my expectations for birth aren't as high as many other women though. I mostly want cute pictures, a cute and healthy baby and I'm good!

    Loved reading your story though! :)


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