NOTE: This post is my thoughts after viewing the documentary titled “The Business of Being Born” – Produced by Ricki Lake and Directed by Abby Epstine. You may or may not agree with what I thought of the film, and you may or may not agree with the conclusion I draw from this film. But I asked that you please be respectful when considering leaving your comments. Thanks.
NOTE 2: Of course being me, this is not just a strictly review post. It also involving on how I came across the title and why I became interested in watching this film.
NOTE3: I am not affiliated with any of the below mentioned film or books. I do not make any profit from them and my promotion of them are purely based on my experience as a consumer.
Five years ago, or even when I first found out I was pregnant, if you ask me where I plan on delivering my baby and how I’m going to do it, I would have said, “In the hospital with all the drugs the doc will give me! I’m a whimp and I don’t want pain!”
No doubt, that has always been my view of having babies – I mean, who would want to have a baby outside the hospital? That sounds so unsanitary and gross! And why would any women want to go through the pain when you can easily avoid it? That just doesn’t add up in my logical brain! It doesn’t make sense if anyone would want to go through that!
If you know me, you would know that “granola crunchy” is probably not the phrase you use on me. I do, however, like to eat and get organic food whenever possible, and when you look at my registry for my baby, you will notice large amount of organic items, or environmental friendly items, such as glass bottles. (I came from a country that recycle is a must and it is built into your daily lives, unlike the United States, only recycle when one feels like it. “Green” is not optional where I came from. There is no land to bury all the trash, we MUST recycle when we can. Well, we are getting off track here… “Green” is a topic for another day.)
My friend Alexis and I had always had similar taste in things, doesn’t matter if it is craft or clothes related. And I guess only us, can some how manage getting pregnant around the same time. I know, hard to believe, but we are only due about 2 weeks apart, and no, we didn’t plan it that way! (Imagine the interesting phone conversation we would have to have to make that happen on purpose!) Except she is having twins! And the likelyhood of her having the twins on time instead of early is pretty slim at this point. (So everyone send good thoughts to her and another day for the girls to be in mommy is another day they don’t have to spend in NICU! And if you do visit her blog and leave her a comment, make sure you tell her I sent you so she doesn’t freak out that all the new people she doesn’t know!!! While I’m still typing up my post, I got an update that Alexis is now a proud mommy of two girls!!!!! No details yet though! So excited!) [Bare with me… I get off track quite easily these days…] So of course, we will consult each other on things to register and things to buy, things to read and things to consider.
When Alexis lived in Hawaii, she has become an “natural ingredients” expert. What I mean is that she has gone organics on almost anything, and that she really knows her ingredients when it comes to things you put on yourself, such as shampoo, conditioner, lotion, face wash, etc. I was having trouble with my acne for awhile and she introduced me to Garden of Eve Skin Care, which I absolutely love and it helped cleared my acne before I have too much chemical crap build up on my face. So no doubt, when I started looking for baby stuff, I asked her for her opinions. What was shocking to me, was that of all the things I asked her opinions on, I didn’t ask what kind of birth she was going to have. Until I watched “The Business of Being Born”.
To be honest, I am scared shit less about this whole birth thing. The pain, the process, the whole bit. Until recently, I didn’t realize there is a different way to have birth than be at the hospital, hooked up with IV and the various monitors. You see, I am a whimp, and I don’t like needles. Last August, I had a scared of appendicitis and when the night doctor told me that they are admitting me and the possibility of having the surgery down on me and I couldn’t stop crying. I was scared. Any surgery in my mind is a major surgery. Even the outpatient kind. Now birth is a whole new level on top of that in my head! And I think because of that (the fact that I was scared and in denial), and because of few other things in life, I didn’t register for any birth classes at the hospital that I will deliver at on time. (Remind me to tell you the annoying lady who answer the phone next time!) All the classes were filled! And the next available class was too late, according to the lady who answered the phone. After bitching about it at SnB (yes, we do bitch while knitting!), PeacefulKnitter was so nice and sent me a few things she was looking into, while I decided to google about the different birth methods. That is when I came about this film. She had watched it, and she also listed the book by the same people – “Your Best Birth“. Along with it, was a link to Tree of Life classes. They offer similar classes as the hospital, so I thought it would be a good fit. I called and emailed them, but heard back only after I have found the Bradley Method during my research, a week after the original email sent. I was intrigue by the Bradley Method, and I called my local instructors, told them my due date and dilemma of wanting to take the classes but not having 12 weeks left! They were very nice and are willing to work with us to have accelerated classes towards the end so we can be prepared for the big day.
After signing up, I was very interested in watching this film. It took me going to three libraries to find the DVD. And yes, I made David watch it with me, and I have to say, he was a trooper and sit through the whole thing, although he did say at one point that he thought he was gonna be sick. The film was very graphic, so if you are interested in watching it, be prepared.
The film’s approach was very interesting. Ricki and Abby wanted to show the world that there is a different type of birth – the natural kind, free of drugs and interventions. They are biased and thinks that natural home birth is much safer for the mom and baby and that’s what they really wanted for their own births. They interviewed doctors who supported home birth and doctors who think that birth should only take place in the hospital. They filmed real footage of women having home births and women having hospital births. They discuss the national rate of C-sections labor and the effect of pitocin and epidural on the laboring women and babies during labor. And it even included footage of Abby’s own birth and how it took a turn that forced her to have a C-Section, and her feelings about it after. This film had completely opened my eyes on birth, and I now see it as a natural process, not a diaster that’s about to happen.
One thing to note though – after watching this film, I was very emotional. I cried through the film as they uncover some of the facts on hospitals, and why the hospital operates the way they do. I was angry with that. Then I cried at seeing the home birth footage, the beauty of the birth and how joyful the families were after the birth. I turned away at the administration of the epidural footage, and the C-Section footage. I felt sick at the sight of those things. And then, I was empowered. I felt strong and determination forming in my head. I feel empowered by this film and am confident that I have the knowledge and smarts on writing my birth plan. I now have a list of questions to ask the hospital during the tour next week, and I also have a list of questions to ask my OB/midwife. I was so empowered, I searched on google for nearby stand along birth center (as much as I was empowered, I didn’t think David was ready for home birth, and stand along birth center is as close to home birth as I can get.). Unfortunately, the closest stand along birth center is about an hour away. Actually, it was the only one in this state! Which is a little shocking to me being in the northeast. Yes, I was ready to switch to have the birth at a birth center, because I’m not sure if I trust hospitals! And in order for me to do that, I will have to switch OB/midwife, which I am okay with it also. But I decide to hold my horses and go on the tour with the hospital and see how I feel about it after. Plus I heard good things from other new moms I know that delivered at the hospital that I’m going to be at and said they didn’t do any interventions, nor did they push to give you IV or monitors. She had a natural birth there and she was happy with it, comparing to her previous births, which was at a different hospitals, with lots of attempts for interventions.
I am now committed to have a safe, natural birth, with no drugs, no IV, no various monitors and no intervention, unless it is absolutely medically necessary. Now, I’m not saying that what I’m committing to is for everyone. Everyone is different, every pregnancy is different. You should do what’s best for you and your baby, and always consult your birth team, whether it be your midwife or OB. But I do encourage you to do plenty of research. Just think about this: Giving birth to your baby is probably the hardest thing, and probably the biggest investment of your life. Now, when you go buy a car, a gadget, a TV or a computer, wouldn’t you do plenty of research on which model you like the best? What are the softwares that comes with that computer that suits you the best? Which car test drive the best? So why wouldn’t you interview your OB or midwife, or even the hospital? To find out what’s best for you? And if you are interested in looking into more, I highly suggest the book Your Best Birth, which has lots of questions listed that you can ask the hospital, OB and midwives, and also Husband Coached Birth, which is about the Bradley Method.
I hope my thoughts will help someone out there to do a little more research on their own birth. Even if they decided hospital birth with epidural is the way to go for them, at least they had made that decision informatively.