"I Put My Birth Video on YouTube"

birth video

Alloy Photography/Corbis

I have been documenting my life on video since fifth grade, but I didn't start posting regularly on YouTube until about two years ago, when I was six months pregnant. I live in Midland, Texas, and my family is on the East Coast. I wanted to keep them updated, so I'd put up clips about getting my sonograms and decorating the nursery. At first, my grandparents were confused when they saw my vlogs; they didn't understand the Internet and thought YouTube was like TV, with millions of people tuning in live to watch. I'm not that popular! Once my cousins explained it to them and showed them how to log on, they were happy to stay connected via the web. More people started watching my videos too; by the time I gave birth, I had a few hundred subscribers, primarily other mothers, to my channel, youtube.com/loraandlayton.

I always knew I would videotape my birth, even before I got pregnant. I wanted to have a record of it for my children one day. My family loved my pregnancy videos, and I thought they'd like to see how my baby was born -- shot tastefully, of course. Further prompts came from subscribers who watched my videos and commented on them (many of them were due to give birth right after me); some asked me to show footage of my actual delivery. Sharing what I went through, I figured, might help them prepare. Hospital policy allowed patients to record labor only, not the birth, but our doctors gave us permission as long as we kept all shots behind my shoulder or to the side and didn't show the baby emerging.

My husband, Layton, started recording as soon as I was admitted to the hospital on December 18, 2008. He passed the video camera to my mother-in-law when I started pushing so he could hold my hand and experience the birth. I wasn't worried about how I looked in the video, beyond wearing a little makeup. (I knew I would be editing it!) In fact, knowing that Layton and my mother-in-law were filming helped me relax. After all, even if I was out of it due to the pain or the epidural, I could always replay the whole process later. When I got home with Tripp, I watched the video, and it was amazing all over again.

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