Knowing that my wife Jill and I were gung-ho about have a natural as possible delivery for our son back in November 2010 and used a group of midwives featured on TLC’s “Baby’s First Day,” a Dadabase reader asks about our thoughts on it in retrospect.
“Hey Nick and Jill!
I am pregnant again. Although I had a natural and mostly intervention free labor and delivery with my first child, I had to fight for what I wanted the whole time.
Thinking about doing all that again makes me anxious and exhausted. I’ve seen the show on TLC ‘Baby’s First Day’ that takes place at Vanderbilt and it appears they are very natural friendly. Is it really like that?
From what I’ve found on the web I don’t see any restrictions for sibling visitors any time of the year. Is there any particular midwife or group you would recommend?
I know there will be a higher price tag to deliver outside of our town (Clarksville, TN) and the inconvience of driving to Nashville for all the prenatal appointments but I think the end result will be positive.
Thanks for taking time to help me out!”
It’s funny; we were actually invited to be featured on the first season of “Baby’s First Day” because decided against since all we’d get for our trouble was a free DVD of the episode we’d appear on. Interestingly, one the women who gave birth the same night as Jill is on one of those episodes. Could have been us…
To answer your question, I passionately recommend going through the Vanderbilt Nurse-Midwives in Nashville and I think it would be worth the drive for all your appointments.
I just hope you don’t get Elaine: During one of the appointments she told me to make my hands into a vagina and then she demonstrated forcefully how to massage to bring upon the labor process. That was with my mother-in-law in the room.
Other than that, we couldn’t have been more pleased. They completely respected all of our wishes concerning our attempt to go “all natural” to the end. In fact, if we have another child, we will absolutely be going through them again.
Regarding visitors, I can tell you this: The morning after Jack was born, among the visitors was a couple with a toddler and an infant. Those kiddos made it through so I imagine your child will permitted without any hassle.
If you haven’t already watched “The Business of Being Born” on Netflix streaming, I think it would be a great idea to get you even more pumped up about doing this your way; with the encouragement of midwives.
For the past several weeks, my wife has been toying with the idea of “going natural” for the birth. In other words, no pain medication. And I’ve been impressed just by her willingness, because I know if it were up to the men of the world to continue the human population by giving birth instead of women, the human population would have died off thousands of years ago.
I had been seeing The Business of Being Born keep popping up on my Netflix as a recommended title that I would enjoy. Then recently, a writer friend (http://www.meetmissjones.com/) also told me I should see it after she read about our disappointment with our first two appointments at a standard hospital. (Of course, we ended up switching to midwives and are so happy, though I had no idea what a midwife really even was when we first met with them.)
So last night we watched the documentary, The Business of Being Born, directed by Ricki Lake and produced by Abby Epstein (yes, they are both Jewish). I went into it thinking it would be a tiring movie telling how much money is made off of strollers, cribs, daycare, etc.
Instead, it is a one-sided film about the importance of the long-lost tradition of natural births. And we loved it!
I took notes:
-Induced labor increases the chances of C-Section by 50%
-In Japan and Europe, 70% of births are delivered by a midwife. In the US, only 8%
-The US has the 2nd worst newborn death rate in the developed world
-The US has one of the highest maternal mortality rates among all industrialized countries
-Since 1996 the C-Section rate in the US has risen 46%; In 2005, it was one out of every 3 American births
While there are obviously certain situations where a C-Section is absolutely necessary (like the baby being “breach”), it is a major surgery that has become the new norm.
Interestingly, in the movie, a group of young doctors are asked how many live births they have witnessed. Basically, none of them had.
And to me, that’s scary. That it’s easier, less time consuming, and more profitable to induce labor and perform a C-Section that it is to let the baby born naturally.
In the documentary they explain how the peak times for American babies being born is at 4pm and 10pm, the times at the end of the work shifts so that doctors can go home.
For me, the desire to have a natural birth all comes down to observing the downward spiral of having a baby in a hospital, with a doctor, the American way:
The mother is given Pitocin, to induce labor. Which causes longer, more intense contractions and cuts off oxygen to the baby, putting both the mother and the baby at risk, as well as potentially causing birth defects (even ADHD or Autism in the child later on, though not enough evidence can back this yet, but I won’t be surprised when it can).
So inducing labor increases the chances of having a C-Section by 50%, which puts both mother and child at greater risk. And the epidural slows down the birthing process- which in addition to the Pitocin, is another drug that may also affect the health of the baby.
Until last night, I had never witnessed a live human birth. But now I’ve seen at least four or five. All of them natural.
It’s pretty interesting to watch. I didn’t think it was gross, and I’m not artistic enough off a person to go on and on about how beautiful it was. It just seemed natural and normal. Like watching someone poop. But a baby came out instead.
The Business of Being Born does contain a large amount of nudity, as most of the mothers are nude while giving birth. But we were so intrigued by watching the births, that it didn’t register, “hey, this is porn”. It was just a woman giving birth. The documentary is not rated, because if it was, it may have to be rated NC-17. But to that I say, What Movie Rating Does Real Life Get?
One of the major reasons I now support natural birth (and denounce induced labor by a doctor, with certain exceptions) is the fact that in a hospital, the mother lays down flat on a bed. Common sense tells us that gravity will naturally help pull the baby out. Plus the fact that by having the mother lay down flat, it gives the baby less room to come out.
I also learned that when a baby is born naturally, “a love cocktail of hormones” is released by the mother, causing a unique bond to occur between the mother and the child.
This is where we’re headed. This is what we will attempt. A natural birth overseen by midwives. Yet just down the hall from an M.D. in case something goes wrong.